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Life & Style

From shopping to music: 10 events happening in Dubai this winter

  • From concerts by Ed Sheeran and Rahat Fateh Ali to Christmas markets and Marvel Universe Live, here's a curated list of the top upcoming events in Dubai
Published December 15, 2023

The cooler months of December and January are the perfect time to head off to Dubai. The weather is pleasant enough to be outside in the day, the city is abuzz with the holiday spirit and there are tons of events that are sure to keep you entertained whether you’re there with friends or family.

Business Recorder has put together a list of the top events happening in Dubai this winter.

1. Dubai Shopping Festival

The Dubai Shopping Festival started back in 1996, when the emirate wasn’t quite the sprawling city it is now. Much like the city itself, the event has continued to grow and evolve over the years.

This year will be its 29th edition, taking place from 8 December to 14 January city-wide at various malls.

Shoppers can expect discounts, deals and freebies that they won’t get any other time of year. This year participants can take place in prize draws to win a luxury apartment, cars and millions of dirhams in cash.

For the non-shopaholics, expect an incredible drone light show – the longest running in the region using cutting-edge drone tech against the coastline backdrops of Bluewater, an artificial island, and The Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residence.

As per the festival’s website: “the longest-running drone light show in the region will see the night skies of Dubai come alive with an out of this world display.”

Dubai Lights is also back this year for the third time, where international artists, designers, architects and studios display mesmerising lighting installations at destinations citywide.

2. Ed Sheeran

Dubai is the place to be for music fans. Ed Sheeran – the artist behind everyone’s favourite ‘Shape of you’ and ‘Perfect’ – will be performing in Dubai on 19 and 20 January at The Sevens Stadium.

The venue’s 360-degree central stage promises to elevate an already electrifying production with the multiple Grammy and BRIT Awards winner.

Tickets start from AED495

3. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

If you haven’t had the chance to hear Rahat Fateh Ali live on stage, or simply want to do so again because, let’s face it, he is that good, then be sure to get tickets for his show at the Coca Cola Area on 29 December.

He will be performing on the stage for the sixth time since 2019. Tickets start at AED99.

4. Sean Paul

If you remember grooving to Sean Paul’s ‘Temperature’ and ‘Get Busy’ in your younger days, then you don’t want to miss his concert with rapper TI at the Coca-Cola Arena on 30 December.

Tickets start at AED150.

5. Neha Kakkar

Whether we like to admit it or not, we all have a favourite Neha Kakkar song. The award-winning Indian playback singer will perform at the Coca-Cola Arena on 7 January.

Fans can expect to hear her belting out chart-topping tunes like ‘Dilbar’, ‘Garmi’ and ‘Maahi Ve’.

Tickets start at AED99.

6. Ali Zafar and Jonita Gandhi

Music lovers will not want to miss Speed Music Fest: Ft Jonita Gandhi and Ali Zafar at the Coca-Cola arena on 23 December.

The night is set to offer “an enthralling concert organised to celebrate diversity and unite Indian and Pakistani music fans under one roof”.

Tickets start at AED102

7. New Year’s Eve

For those who want to ring in the new year in style, Burj Khalifa’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display, a massive tourist attraction for Dubai, is set to be bigger than ever.

This year, the celebration is set to feature a pyrotechnics display precisely choreographed to a content and light show and a fitting soundtrack.

As the city braces itself for the sparkling display, a record 325 firing positions have also been placed around Burj Khalifa for the show, reported The National.

These will fire into 2,800 different directions made possible by 15,682 pyrotechnic elements, accompanied by more than 6,600 lights and 127 strobe strings that will illuminate the Dubai Fountain.

8. Sting

For a more upscale new year celebration, and if you are willing to fork over at least AED7,500, head over to Atlantis, the Palm, on 31 December for their New Year’s Eve Gala headlined by English music sensation Sting.

The evening will include a 30-piece live band, live-cooking stations and a live performance by the iconic singer including ‘Every Breath You Take’ and ‘Shape of My Heart’.

9. Winter Garden

If you want to get into the Christmas spirit, you don’t want to miss the Winter Garden at Habtoor Palace, which runs from 1 November to 31 January.

Expect food trucks, live acts and a massive tree. Little ones will love the holiday decor all around, along with daily visits from Santa.

10. Just for kids: Marvel Universe Live and Paw Patrol

Kids (and let’s face it adults as well) who love Marvel will not want to miss Marvel Universe Live at the Coca-Cola Arena from Jan 25 - Feb 4.

“Immersive video projection and cutting-edge special effects will captivate and transport audiences across the universe … Spider-Man’s dynamic aerial stunts along with Captain America’s daring motorcycle skills will be on display in the ultimate race against time to save mankind,” according to the Arena’s website.

Tickets start at AED165.

If you’re in Dubai with younger children, you’ll want to take them to the Paw Patrol Fest, based on the hit cartoon, at Dubai Festival City Mall from 12 to 28 January.

The mall’s website says: “Come meet the pups, enjoy kids’ and family activities, loads of photo opportunities, watch amazing singalong performances and so much more.”

Tickets start from AED 90.

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