Events and Festivals in Dubai

Dubai has a full calendar of festivals throughout the year. Here you will find information and a description of the events with links to their websites where available...

From internationally recognised sporting events to massive shopping festivals, Dubai has a full calendar of events and festivals. Below is an overview of some of the most significant annual events in Dubai.

Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon (January): 42 Km, 10 Km and a 3 Km fun run starts at the American University of Dubai and ends at the Dubai Media City Outdoor Amphitheatre. Many runners use this marathon to raise money for local charities.

Dubai Shopping Festival (January-February): A month long shopping event organised by the Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE). Shoppers from around the world take advantage of bargains on luxury items like gold, jewellery, and high-end fashion brands. Daily prize raffles and entertainment take place throughout the festival.

Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships (February): High profile professional athletes from the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women's Tennis Association (WTP) compete in men's and women's singles and doubles events. All games are played on the outdoor courts of Dubai Tennis Stadium at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre. Past champions include Venus Williams, Roger Federer and Andy Roddick.

Dubai Bike Week (February): Multi-day event where manufacturers and bike lovers showcase the latest motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, custom motorcycles, and accessories and clothing. Live music, stunt shows and exhibitions round out this popular festival.

Dubai International Jazz Festival (February): Popular and critically acclaimed jazz musicians from around the world perform throughout this award-winning, 18 day live music festival. Main shows are performed at the Dubai Media City Outdoor Amphitheatre with after-show parties held at the Network Jazz Garden.

Dubai Pet Show (February): The largest (and only) pet show in the Middle East with show classes for pedigree and crossbreed dogs, police dog demonstrations, agility competitions, pet care seminars and family-friendly entertainment.

Omega Dubai Desert Classic (February): The first PGA European Tour event held in the Middle East region. For over 20 years, well-known professionals have participated in this event held annually at Emirates Golf Club. Past winners include Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Art Dubai (March): Artists and galleries from more than 30 countries around the world present contemporary art pieces to collectors, art lovers and the general public.

Dubai International Boat Show (March): One of the leading international boat shows, and the largest in the Middle East region, DIBS attracts thousands of visitors to Dubai International Marine Club every year. A number of boats and superyachts make their world or regional premier at this event.

Dubai World Cup (March): Horse racing runs deep in the history of the United Arab Emirates. This invitation-only event held at the Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse boasts the largest prize purse in racehorse competition. The energy and enthusiasm surrounding this event sweeps through Dubai. Many expatriates attend the races in over-the-top, head-turning attire not typical of everyday fashion trends in Dubai.

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (March): This festival was created to promote literacy and education in the Arab world through interaction between authors of books and their readers. Visitors can attend literary workshops, meet well-known authors and enjoy book readings and discussions.

Gulf Film Festival (April): An annual event promoting the works of filmmakers from the Gulf Coast Council (GCC), Iraq and Yemen. Films about the GCC region by international filmmakers are also eligible for submission.

Dubai Summer Surprises (early summer): A scaled down summertime version of the massive Dubai Shopping Festival. Savvy shoppers can enjoy discounted prices at participating shopping malls and venues. Entertainment and raffles are sprinkled about adding to the fun.

Dubai Fashion Week (September-October): A high-fashion event that attracts buyers, designers and fashionistas to view up-and-coming trends and new collections from international designers.

National Day (Al-Eid Al Watani): 2 December marks the formation of the United Arab Emirates. Morale is high among locals and the festivities run throughout the day. Expect marches, open-air events at local parks, demonstrations, cultural decorations and most prevalent of all, the UAE flag flying high.

Dubai International Film Festival (December): This annual event has garnered international attention from filmmakers as a platform for Arab films. The competition also has categories for Asian and African film submissions. Film screenings, workshops, seminars and parties are held throughout Dubai.

Emirates Airlines Dubai Rugby Sevens (December): A popular event featuring 16 of the top international invitational teams competing over three days. Club and invitational men's, women's and youth teams also take to the pitch to showcase their talent. After three days of intense action, the event closes with the "Rugby Rock," a live music event. The competition is held at The Sevens (off the Al Ain Road).