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24 Best Annual Dubai Events and Dubai Festivals


The UAE has for years been one of the most popular tourist spots in the world, and the country runs a series of exciting annual events.

Dubai is a multicultural city which welcomes thousands of tourists each year, a place where rich Arabian history coincides with vibrant community life and culture. This cosmopolitan city is practically bursting at the seams with world class events and unique recreational pastimes, making it a desirable destination for any visitor.

Dubai is a social hub with hundreds of activities taking place every day. It is also a city known to host some of the most extravagant celebrations and events in the world. From the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) to the Dubai Summer Surprises, there are plenty of events that residents and visitors to the city can look forward to and we’ve got the guide on all of them. Here are 22 of the biggest annual events in Dubai that guarantee a world of fun for everyone!

The Biggest Annual Events and Festivals in Dubai

Here are Dubai’s top events taking place every year:

1- GITEX Technology Week (October)

Calling out to all computer geeks, GITEX is the perfect event for those who love all things tech. Held annually in October, the week-long event has been taking place in Dubai for 37 years, gathering technology lovers as well as those who are looking for great prices on tech products. The show brings together innovation, vision and technology in order to inform the public about all the latest products out there – making sure Dubai customers get a chance to shop for the latest gadgets as soon as they hit the shelves.

2- Dubai Shopping Festival (January – February)

With crazy sales running throughout the month across all stores, the Dubai Shopping Festival is first up on our list of the best annual events in Dubai. Dubai is known to be a shopper’s paradise and DSF brings to life every shopper’s dream of discounted prices, in stores across all of the best malls in Dubai.  This is one of the yearly festivals in Dubai, that sees over two million people visit from all the other emirates, to take advantage of all the bargain deals along with concerts, children’s entertainment, firework shows and more!

3- UAE Desert Challenge (March – April)

The UAE Desert Challenge is a rally across some of the most dramatic and demanding terrain. Drivers from all over the world race their cars, trucks and motorbikes on a thrilling journey through the desert. It is now known as the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge as most of the stages now take place in Abu Dhabi.

The event begins with a ceremonial start in Abu Dhabi and heads south into the desert. The race is based at the Moreeb Hill Bivouac, close to the Liwa Oasis, and special stages stretch out into the legendary Rub Al Khali or Empty Quarter, a perfect name for one of the largest sand deserts in the world. Nerves and endurance are crucial survival tools, as well as some hardcore driving skills.

While previous Desert Challenges have seen motorbike, quad-bike, four wheel and truck competitors battle cross-emirate stages, the event in recent years has gradually migrated towards a majority routing through Abu Dhabi’s majestic desert areas.

During the Challenge, competitors face two days of documentation and scrutinizing (usually on a Friday and Saturday), before a Super Special Stage (on a Sunday) which decides the starting order. Competitors then brave the Liwa Desert and the Moreeb area of the Empty Quarter for five days.

4- Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon (January)

Considered to be one of the richest races in the world, this is one of the most anticipated annual sporting events in Dubai. Taking place every January, with three types of races which includes a 3 km fun run for beginners, a 10 km and 50 km marathon for 18-year-olds and over, the Dubai Marathon is one of the biggest annual events in Dubai that sees thousands of participants, with numbers growing every year.

5- Taste of Dubai (March)

This is an event made by foodies, for foodies. Taste of Dubai is the perfect place to really “taste Dubai” and all the best cuisine it has to offer. The event celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2017, taking place in the month of March. The event brings together all the best in food, drink and music, as well as celebrity chefs and cooking workshops so people can learn how to cook in addition to eating amazing dishes from several stands around the festival. Although the Taste festival originated in London, it has truly taken Dubai by storm.

6- Dubai Jazz Festival (February – March)

Held at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, the Dubai Jazz Fest is another one of the most anticipated music festivals in Dubai. The event has seen big names from the Jazz community such as Duran Duran, John Legend, and Ricky Martin Mariah Carry and more perform their hits in Dubai, with line-ups getting more interesting every year. The 17th edition for the Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival is set to return in February 2019 and will take place over 10 days.

7- Art Dubai (March)

ArtDubai was founded in 2007 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Widely regarded as one of the most globally diverse art fairs, ArtDubai is held every March and features not only emerging artists but also the leading artists in the field.

Almost always held in March, it attracts over 28,000 visitors from all over the world and includes art collectors, curators, patrons, museums and other institutions. The gallery is categorized into three sections: Contemporary, Modern and Residents. It also holds the most significant art conference in the Gulf known as The Global Art Forum. As the name suggests, the conference invites artists, leaders, curators, and writers from all parts of the world.

8- Dubai Tennis Championships (February – March)

This one is for all the tennis lovers visiting and living in Dubai! The Dubai Duty Free Championships is another one of the annual sporting events in Dubai, that has brought some of the biggest names in tennis to compete in the city. This is one of the yearly events in Dubai that has been taking place since the past 25 years during the cooler months of February to March, allowing tennis fanatics to watch their favorite players while enjoying the weather.

9- Dubai Desert Classic (February – March)

Dubai is known to host some of the best sporting events in the world, and the Dubai Desert Classic, which is the most popular golfing event in the UAE, is just that. Held at the famous Emirates Golf Club, this event has seen some of the world’s leading gold champions return every year for a chance to play for the grand prize money. This annual professional golf tournament has been part of the European Tour schedule since its inauguration in 1989.

10- Dubai Food Festival (February – March)

To all the foodies, this is one of the yearly festivals in Dubai that should be on your calendar. The annual Dubai Food Festival is one of the most exciting annual festivals in Dubai with main events such as the flagship Etisalat Beach Canteen, Dubai Restaurant Week and Taste of Dubai returning, to give visitors a chance to enjoy amazing discounts at restaurants, meet their favorite celebrity chefs and see some amazing cooking demos.

11- Swim the Burj (March)

Burj al Arab is perhaps- if not the most- one of the fascinating structures of Dubai. It is one of the most iconic landmarks of Dubai that is featured in any movie shot in the city.

Held every year in mostly March, Swim the Burj is an event that gives an opportunity to the participants to view Burj Al Arab up and close. Participate in the race to swim around the Burj al Arab in either 1,600 m or 800-meter race categories. The competition is open to people aged 16 or above. All the proceedings earned from the event are donated to charities every year.

12- Dubai World Cup (March – April)

The next feature on our list of the largest yearly events in Dubai is the Dubai World Cup. Held for the first time in 1996, the Dubai World Cup is a horse racing event that is one of the biggest annual events in Dubai. With a prize of US $10M, the Dubai World Cup is known to be the world’s richest horse race and is one of the most prestigious annual events to take place in the city. The event is the largest social event in Dubai and is also well-known for its statement that competition, where women compete by wearing the most extravagant hats.

13- Dubai Summer Surprises (June – August)

The Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) is a six-week sales extravaganza that takes place right after the schools close for the summer break. Parents get to take advantage of unbelievable deals on clothes, accessories, electronics as well as back to school discounts on school supplies.

The ever-popular mascot for the DSS, Modesh comes to life and numerous activities for kids in Dubai take place through the six-week event ensuring entertainment for the whole family. Some of the most popular activities that take place for the DSS include the 12-hour mega sale on the first day of the festival and the Deal of the Day discounts.

14- Dubai Fitness Challenge (October – November)

Launched by HH. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai in 2017, the Dubai Fitness Challenge which is currently running on its third edition, challenges residents to take the challenge to live a healthier lifestyle by participating in 30 minutes of exercise for 30 consecutive days. The entire city turns into a playground for fitness enthusiasts as free fitness classes that take place around the city.

15- Dubai Design Week (November)

Our next feature is one of the most famous annual events in Dubai, that is aimed at celebrating Dubai’s creative community through art installations, exhibitions and events throughout the city; including Dubai Design District (d3) which is home to the Bayut office! The previous year’s event witnessed more than 60k visitors and is one of the most anticipated events in the design community.

16- Dubai Dhow Race (April)

Al Gaffal Dhow Race is an annual event that honors Dubai’s past and glorifies the primary commercial activity: pearl diving. Dhows are traditional Emirati boats that were used by fishermen in the past for pearl diving which helped establish Dubai as a leading trading port. Nationalistic pride is quite recognizable in this event as all the crew members on the Dhows must be Emiratis, and the crowd that gathers to watch them sail are mostly Emiratis.

17- Dubai International Film Festival (December)

For all the movie buffs, the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is one of the yearly festivals in Dubai that aims to provide a platform for showcasing original films from the region, highlighting Arabic culture and honoring local talent. The event is also known internationally and has seen several Hollywood A-listers in the past, including George Clooney, Cate Blanchett, Morgan Freeman and Ben Affleck, walk the red carpet.

18- Dubai Rugby Sevens (November – December)

Known to be the longest-running annual sports event in Dubai, the Dubai Rugby Sevens, is an annual social event that sees 16 international teams competing over three days for the prestigious trophy. This is another one of the yearly events in Dubai that attract fans of the sport from across the world to visit to watch the nail-biting action at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai.

19- Dubai International Boat Show (March)

Dubai International Boat Show is one of the classiest events in Dubai. Every year, luxurious yachts from all over the globe. It will also have stands from the prominent brands in the yacht world. Marina Art Gallery exhibition is open to the VIPs attending the boat show. It has selected acclaimed pieces from the leading galleries around the world. There will be live music and entertainment throughout the day. Unlike other boat shows, Dubai international boat show has a chill vibe which starts at 3 pm and goes on until 11 pm.

20- National Day Celebrations (December)

Our final feature is one of the most anticipated annual celebrations in Dubai -the UAE National Day, which falls on the 2nd of December. The event commemorates the UAE’s independence and is one of the annual festivals in Dubai where the city is lit up with decorations featuring the colors of the UAE flag. Special events take place throughout the day to celebrate, with parades, fireworks and more!

21- Mother of the Nation Festival (March)

Although Abu Dhabi may not have as many widely known annual events as Dubai – it still has a lot to offer, and the Mother of the Nation Festival is perhaps the most exciting of them all. The festival has been running for two years to celebrate Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, the wife of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who has become known and loved through her efforts towards empowering women. The 10-day long festival in March brings together live street performers, activities, dining, markets and more to provide the public with a unique and fun choice of entertainment.

22- Formula 1 Grand Prix (November – December)

The Yas Marina Circuit is an impressive venue, one of the most popular Formula 1 racing tracks in the world. Every year, normally in November, the venue holds the Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, one in a series of international Formula 1 races.

This is undoubtedly the biggest event to take place in Abu Dhabi every year, gathering thousands of people to cheer on their favorite drivers and teams. The event is also well known for the after-race concerts it brings to town, having hosted the likes of Paul McCartney, Lionel Richie, Rihanna – and has already confirmed PINK and Calvin Haris for this year.

23- Sandscapes (January)

Sandscapes was founded in 2009, and has been a platform of emerging and established artists, musicians, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs for over 9 years. As an annual art and music festival held in the heart of Dubai, Sandscapes touches the hearts of over 3000 people every year, both young and old, to expand opportunities for collaboration and creation, and instill a sense of community and belonging.

Through the efforts of numerous families and friends, we are able to leave a bigger impact each year by contributing over 10,000AED per festival to Mawaheb from Beautiful People, a studio for artists with special needs. We’d like to thank everyone for making Sandscapes such a beautiful endeavor.

24- Dubai Winter Festival (December)

The Dubai Winter Festival is a fun day out for kids! Santa Claus and his animals are present and can be visited by the kids. Make sure you take a camera with you to have their photo taken with Santa! But kids can also meet their favorite cartoons known from tv and movies or play the snow. Every evening kids can participate in meet & greets, performances, competitions and workshops. The kids can show their talents and win great prizes.

Inlogic’s Event Management Software is the best choice of Dubai Event Organizers

There are plenty of other tech and business events held in Dubai beside cultural and community events. Without event management software, managing an event is said to be one of the most complex tasks as it requires plenty of research, planning, coordination and more. Hosting an event can be the most effective and significant marketing tactics for a business. With some considerable time and effort, one can carry out the most amazing event which can bring some incredible arrangement of benefits.

Inlogic Events Management System is a state of art solution that is designed to save your time and cost, it has been developed with experienced best event management consultants to meet the requirements of a successful event. we compile the experience of more than 8000 successful events. We’ve tested, tried and experimented till we reached the formula that works. We offer the all in one, easy to deploy, missing piece of the successful event puzzle.

With a social calendar filled with all these recurring events in Dubai, you are sure to find something great to experience and look forward to every month. The best part about all these festivals is that you get to take advantage of all the amazing deals and offers that come in conjunction with these yearly events in Dubai.

Which of these annual events in Dubai do you find most interesting? Let us know in the comment section below.