Events & Festivals – Dubai

Dubai’s calendar offers numerous events and festivals, catering to tourists, locals, and business visitors. Most are packed into the high season, between November and March, when the climate is most pleasant.

The city hosts several major sporting events, offering huge cash prizes and drawing the world’s top sporting personalities. The year starts with the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon in January, a race with a purse of $250,000 for both the male and female winners. In March the Dubai World Cup at the Meydan Racecourse offers total prize money of $10 million, making it the world’s richest horse race. Other major sporting events include the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and the Dubai Desert Classic, both in February, and the Rugby Sevens in December.

Dubai is the only city in the world that hosts two entire festivals dedicated to retails shopping. The month-long Dubai Shopping Festival begins in January and features promotions, bargains galore, and plenty of entertainment. A similar festival, Dubai Summer Surprises, starts in June.

The arts are not forgotten. The Dubai International Jazz Festival in February features renowned artists such as Jools Holland, Macy Gray and Mica Paris. Art Dubai is a contemporary art fair held the following month featuring impressive works from the world’s leading galleries.

The city is also a popular venue for trade shows and conferences. Some of the biggest are the Arabian Travel Market in May, the Dubai International Boat Show in March, GITEX Shopper in October, and the Dubai International Motor Show in November.

Visitors should aware of special restrictions in effect during the holy month of Ramadan.