Dubai: Get in to the festive spirit of Christmas and New Year's Eve with these fun winter markets and wonderlands across the UAE.
You could do a lot of things including meeting Santa, his Elves, and other favourite movie and cartoon characters. Also plan ahead to watch popular festive movies with friends and family. Most of these venues are free to enter.
This Abu Dhabi mall has turned its garden area into a Winter Wonderland. Features include a winter market that supports local vendors and an assortment of food trucks offering culinary delights. Kids can have a blast with engaging activities, while roaming performers and skill games add an extra layer of fun with inflatable attractions.
Dates: November 17 – December 31, from 5 pm onwards
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
The adventure park has its annual festive celebration, Winterfest, for visitors - featuring a spectacle of dazzling lights, delightful festive sleighs and towering snow globes that depict a winter. You can also enjoy 'Winterfest on Ice', featuring a sensational ice-skating spectacle with highly skilled skaters, acrobats and aerialists.
The venue will have a live show daily, called Bella, Jack, and Gio. The exclusive debut takes place at Cinema Maranello, with three daily showings at 2 pm, 4pm, and 6 pm followed by a meet-and-greet session with the Ferrari characters.
Dates: December 8 to January 7
Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi
The movie-themed park is bringing its Winter Spectacular fest back for the season. Enjoy a unique spin of the popular NutCracker ballet, in a show called 'The NutQuaker'. The show will cast much-loved characters including Lola Bunny, Tweety, Sylvester, Taz, and Tom and Jerry. The Cartoon Junction is sure to keep the attention of movie and cartoon lovers with Scooby-Doo & The Mystery Inc. gang or a spirited Daffy Holiday Dance Party for a fun twist, testing their dance moves against Daffy Duck's entertaining choreography. Visitors can also choose a VIP package for festive treats.
Dates: December 8 to January 7
The Galleria at Al Maryah Island
Located on the South Plaza, head to the Winter Wonderland playground this season. Open every day, weekdays at the mall will feature special showings of popular Christmas movies, including Home Alone 1 & 2, Frozen, Santa Clause, Christmas Chronicles, and The Grinch and Miracle on 34th Street.
The Galleria inside the mall will have a Santa meet-and-greet as well as a Santa's workshop for kids. Families have the option to either book their visit online or simply walk in to experience a delightful encounter with Santa Claus, who will be available from 10am to 10pm until 24 December. Until 24 December, on Level 3, Central Kitchens, children can write heartfelt letters, make their wish lists and post them to Santa with the assistance of friendly elves.
There will be live performances every weekend (Friday- Sunday): Be Our Guest (4.15 pm), A Whole New World 6.30 pm and Home Alone (8.45 pm)
Dates: December 14 – December 26 from 3pm to 10pm
Enjoy festive treats and take your kids to the Grotto at the Souk’s amphitheatre where little ones can share their holiday wish list, participate in themed arts and crafts workshops and catch performances by drummers and jugglers. Of course there’s got to be some Dubai glamour in there too – ride aboard an Abra.
Dates: 15 December – 25 December, from 4 pm to 10 pm
The Green Planet Dubai
The indoor tropical rainforest has a long list of exciting events planned for everyone turning its outdoor ‘Nature Park’ into a ‘Winter Wonderland’. Enjoy an eco-friendly snowfall at the biodome as well as outdoors in the Nature Park. Kids can meet Santa and also work at his workshop. Families can head to Santa’s grotto for a free meet-and-greet.
Dates: December 6 – January 7
Santa’s Secret Island at Bluewaters
Bluewaters has brought Santa’s Island back to its shores with a festive market, food, entertainment and activities like candy making, face painting plus magical snowfall to really set the scene everyday. The real showstopper is the 800 drones taking over Bluewaters’ sky for the Dubai Shopping Festival.
Dates: 9 December - 30 December from 5pm -10pm
Jumeirah Emirates Towers
Explore the festive season at M2L’s Winter District in Jumeirah Emirates Towers. This winter wonderland, framed by the Museum of the Future, showcases massive Christmas Trees, a snow fight zone, and live weekend music. Children can have a blast in the Snow Play Area, Carousel, and Ball Pit. Don't miss the chance to meet Santa and his elves, and be part of a lively parade featuring drummers and stilt walkers.
Dates: 14 December – 5 January from 2pm to 2am
Prance through JBR’s Promenade
The ongoing JBR Winter Nights offer family-friendly workshops and outdoor movie nights along the 1.7km promenade. Enjoy holiday classics like Home Alone and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, plus themed entertainment from JBR's restaurants, including a Santa appearance on December 16.
Dates: Until 31 December. Workshops: Saturday and Sunday, 5-9pm. Roaming entertainment: Saturday and Sunday, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm
Ras Al Khaimah
Rixos Bab Al Bahr
This RAK property is hosting a Christmas Eve Carnival. The event includes appearances by Santa Claus, a Christmas-themed buffet dinner, and performances by saxophonists, cellists, and violinists. Special programs for children, such as yoga, art & craft, dance rehearsals, face painting, and more, are also available.
Date: December 24 only