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Fantastic Festivals in Dubai

By : Fernanda lustosa | Sep 28, 2020

So you are going to Dubai and would like to know what is happening around in terms of festivals? The city promises not letting you down. Below, check out some of the best festivals in Dubai.

Dubai Shopping Festival

The DSF, how it is known, is one of the most awaited festivals in Dubai. When it started, in 1996, it was just a retail event, but soon it became a tourist attraction and nowadays about 3 million people from around the world attend to the event that has 1 month duration, approximately from January to February every year. And why is it so popular it is due the great discounts in all malls, no matter the item or how luxurious it may be. Around the same time DSF is happening, other festivals, such as food festivals, are happening around the city, which makes everything more fun and enjoyable. 

Dates: Between January and February

Art Dubai

Art Dubai happens every year since 2007 and it is a very eclectic fair presenting leading and new artists. The fair attracts nearly 30 thousand visitors from all over the world and is divided in three galley sections known as Modern, Residents and Contemporary. Artists, curator, museums, collectors and others are invited to attend the Global Art Forum, the most important art conference in the Gulf, which takes place within the fair. The event is under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Dates: March

Dubai International Film Festival

The Dubai International Film Festival happens since 2004 and already is one of the most important film festivals in the region, attracting films from the Arab world and several international acclaimed works. Many people are involved in the event, from volunteers to movie stars. Beside movie exhibitions, the festival hosts many conferences, presentations and special guests. The idea of DIFF is not only focus on the glamour that film festivals bring in but to support cultural exchanges. 

Dates: December

Dubai Jazz Festival

Since 2003, the Dubai Jazz Festival has been an eclectic festival organized in many places around the city. It started modest but has grown fast and it currently attracts more than 500.000 people from over the world. Names such as Mariah Carey, Duran Duran, and John Legend have already performed at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, where the 3-day festival takes place. 

Dates: Between February and March

Dubai Marathon

The Dubai Marathon exists since 2000 and is one of the most exciting sporting events in Dubai, taking place every January. There are three races. Beginners can take the 3km run, and a 10km and 50km marathon are available for 18 years old and over. It is growing bigger and attracts thousands of runners. Since 2008 it gained the title of “world´s richest marathon” due the prize for first-place winners, US$250.00. The marathon route is around 42km.

Dates: January

Dubai Food Festival

Food lovers will be excited about the options available during the Dubai Food Festival. Over 200 nationalities gather for the most exciting food event of the year. Visitors enjoy restaurant discounts and taste dishes signed by famous chefs. There are plenty of options under the flagships of Dubai Restaurant Week, Taste of Dubai and Etisalat Beach Canteen for seaside treats; kid zones also are found in mall areas. The festival is organized by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment and is part of the city´s strategy to feed both tourist and retail sectors. 

Dates: Between February and March

Dubai World Cup

Dubai’s horse race is one of the largest and richest in the world, giving the prize of US$10 million. This festival in Dubai is also a social event, known for its hat competition and takes place every year since 1996. It happens at the Nad Sheba Racecourse under state-of-the-art facilities and the presence of world-leading jockeys, horses, trainers and many celebrities. 

Dates: End of March

Dubai International Boat Show

The Dubai International Boat Show is a classic festival in Dubai in which luxurious yachts are gathered for exhibition. The event counts with live music throughout the day and important brands from over 40 countries in the yacht world. 

Dates: March

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship

For sport lovers, Dubai also offers the annual Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship. The event happens since 1995 and has already counted with big names in the tennis world to compete. Either for those who appreciate the sport or just to have fun, it promises to be a pleasant experience.

Dates: Between February and March

Al Gaffal Dhow Race

It is time to pay tribute to Dubai’s history and past, and that is exactly what the Al Gaffal Dhow Race is about. Dubai’s primary activity in the past was pearl diving, and it is thanks to fishermen that the city became a leading port. This event invites Emiratis only to share their nationalist pride in a race that covers 23 nautical miles along the coastline. 

Dates: September

Dubai Summer Surprises

Another sale, the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) is a six-week event that starts right after schools summer break. It is the opportunity for parents to enjoy good deals on clothes and other products, even discounts on school items. Children also benefit and have fun during the event as many fun activities take place.

Dates: School Summer break

Swim the Burj

Anyone going to Dubai wants to admire the stunning Burj Khalifa. Every year the hotel holds a charity event that invites participants to swim around the structure race is open to those aged 16 or above and is divided in 2 categories: 1600 meters or 800 meters race. All money raised is donated to charity. 

Dates: March