Are you planning a trip to the UAE and want something different from the usual hotel stay? You’re in luck…
When you think of the United Arab Emirates, you don’t typically envision a Christmas wonderland. However, the country, from Dubai to Ras Al Khaimah, offers a fantastic array of festive events you can take part in during a visit.
Whether you are hanging at the beach in Ras Al Khaimah with Santa Claus or at a Christmas market in Abu Dhabi, there are many opportunities to celebrate the holiday. To help in your planning, we list some of the most popular options below.
The Hilton pulls out all the stops for the traditional Christmas Eve brunch in Ras Al Khaimah. Not only do they serve delicious high-end entrees from the hotel chefs, but you get access to unlimited drinks and a fantastic view of the Arabian Gulf.
Christmas at the beach in Ras Al Khaimah may be different from your norm, but the Hilton provides terrific opportunities to make the holiday complete.
The Hilton Ras Al Khaimah also has a Christmas Day brunch and New Years’ Eve celebrations with four courses and signature cocktails.
Just outside of Dubai is Bab Al Shams Beach Resort, where guests and locals can enjoy many festive-themed activities every December. Whether it’s atmospheric tree lighting, a nightly dinner buffet, or an adorable Santa meet and greet, there is something for everyone.
On Christmas day, you will find ample entertainment in the afternoon, including a magic show and a present-filled visit from Santa Claus. Although you won’t get to see snow, Babs Al Shams gives you the chance to enjoy afternoon tea, watch impressive juggling shows, eat delicious turkey, and take in live music.
Every year as Christmas approaches, the beautiful gardens at Habtoor Palace transform into a veritable winter wonderland. With the purchase of an entrance ticket, you have access to the garden’s Christmas tree, an outdoor food stall and retail market, and fun live entertainment.
Food options range from delicious local delicacies to indulgent treats like lolly waffles. The exciting event isn’t just for adults. Not only does the garden provide child-friendly activities and programming, but this beautiful location has pet grooming services on site.
Celebrating Christmas is done on a global scale, and the UAE organizes several events that showcase how various cultures experience the holidays. In particular, Vida Churrascaria in Ras Al Khaimah hosts the Latin and Caribbean-themed Feliz Navidad every December.
Here, you’ll get to take in the incredible cooking of chef Eliana to get an unforgettable glimpse of the traditional meals served at Christmas.
The meal comes at a reduced price for children. Guests should know that the dinner is held every evening at 7 PM from December 7th through the 26th.
As one of the top performances associated with Christmas, The Nutcracker is a staple in many countries. The Dubai Opera hosts the show every December, with multiple dates available throughout the month. This is a family-friendly show that people of all ages will enjoy.
If viewing The Nutcracker is of interest to you, be sure to buy your tickets ahead of time, as they do sell out.
If you’re visiting Abu Dhabi for Christmas, it’s only fitting to take advantage of the warm weather and enjoy a refreshing swim. With that in mind, consider heading to the W Abu Dhabi for a festive pool party to celebrate Christmas on their WET Deck.
You’ll get stunning panoramic views at this afternoon party, which is best enjoyed by adults. There is an admission cost for the pool party, which includes refreshments and musical entertainment.
Many hotels around the United Arab Emirates have a holiday market for the festive season. Indeed, you will find many throughout Abu Dhabi, including the Fifth Street Festive Market at the Courtyard by Marriott. This vibrant Christmas market features rows and rows of stalls that local people use to sell handmade products and homemade food.
In addition to the market, the hotel offers many workshops. You can participate in cookie-making and decorating, Christmas Eve entertainment, and holiday dinners at the in-house restaurant.
Another of the top festive markets in the United Arab Emirates takes place at the Dome Lounge in Ras Al Khaimah. At this market, you will see an abundance of irresistible Christmas goodies, including freshly baked shortbread and Italian panettone. There are also seasonal drinks available and stalls with handmade goods and gifts.
This market is organized daily in December and into January. There is no entry fee to visit the Dome Lounge Christmas Market, which is open to all ages.
One of the unique attractions in Dubai is the indoor ski slope at Ski Dubai, where you can play in real snow and revel in winter activities while the weather outside is still hot. During the Christmas season, they offer a designated area where children can come and spend time with Santa, with his own village and sitting area.
In addition to playing in the snow, you can also interact with penguins at Ski Dubai. The resort has several packages featuring plenty of perks, including gloves, hot chocolate, and a chance to meet two penguins. Another option for visitors is the snow cinema, where you can sit in the snow with hot cocoa and enjoy a movie with friends and family.
Although the weather in the United Arab Emirates doesn’t paint the perfect picture of Christmas, all of the festive events that occur during December make up for it tenfold. While the country is primarily Muslim, the UAE has many opportunities to celebrate the holidays.
From Dubai and Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah, or anywhere in between, you will find unforgettable seasonal activities to experience. So, take the time to visit the beautiful United Arab Emirates and have a truly memorable Christmas.