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9 Unmissable Events And Festivals In Dubai

When it comes to festivals and cultural happenings, few other cities rival Dubai. No matter what time of the year you visit, there’s a dizzying amount of events happening in and around Dubai. Annual and upcoming events in Dubai range from dynamic art galleries to unforgettable music festivals.
 
Now that the emirate has unlocked its doors to the public, there’s no better time to visit this bustling cosmopolitan. Whether you are a frequent traveler to Dubai or visiting for the first time, consider adding some of these exciting events to your itinerary.
 
1.    Dubai Jazz Festival
 
Highly awaited every February, this music festival has been headlined in the past by some of music’s most renowned acts like Lionel Richie, John Legend and OneRepublic. This three-day jazz extravaganza offers buzzing alfresco tunes and electric vibes that are not to be missed.
 
If jazz isn’t your thing, fret not. While the Dubai Jazz Festival pays homage to the toe-tapping rhythms of jazz, the event also embraces various other genres and musical styles such as R&B, hip-hop, blues, and rock. 
 
To avoid being disappointed, book your tickets well in advance. As it pulls some of the biggest names in music year after year, the Dubai Jazz Festival gets booked out quickly by residents, tourists, and jazz aficionados.
 
2.    UAE National Day
 
An annual celebration held on December 2 to commemorate the formation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), UAE National Day is a chance to see Dubai at its most patriotic and, perhaps, most festive. 

Across the country, UAE National Day is highly anticipated by residents and expats alike.
 
Touring Dubai during such grand-scale celebrations is an experience unlike any other. Festivities last a week long and vary from spectacular fireworks displays to free concerts. Dubai malls and select retail stores also feature special discounts in celebration of the national holiday.
 
This is a great time for visitors to Dubai to immerse themselves in the richness of Emirati culture. Alongside live entertainment and brilliant light shows are traditional Arabic performances and cultural activities.
 
3.    Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
 
For racing enthusiasts, few events are as thrilling and heart-pounding as a Formula 1 race. And the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the only twilight race of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, never fails to deliver.
 
Held every year at the end of November, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix remains a massive international attraction not just for the UAE, but also for the Middle East. What’s more, the four-day racing affair draws in more than just motorsport fans.
 
Besides the on-track action, visitors are treated to numerous events and activities that include family-friendly attractions, exhibitions, after-race concerts, and after-hour parties. And as Abu Dhabi is just a short 2.5 hours away from Dubai, traveling between both emirates can be done with ease.
 
4.    Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships
 
The Dubai Tennis Championships or the Dubai Open is one of Dubai’s most eagerly anticipated sporting events. Every February, this popular tournament stop welcomes some of the game’s top players, including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Caroline Wozniacki, and the Williams sisters.
 
Given the high-profile nature of this tournament, expect tickets to sell out quickly. And as the Dubai Open runs over two weeks, you’ll have plenty of time to explore some of Dubai’s many sites and attractions.
 
5.    Art Dubai
 
Art Dubai is the largest retail art fair in the Middle East. Every year at the end of March, Art Dubai displays a diverse catalog of local, regional, and international gallery presentations.
 
Included in this annual art event’s program are education initiatives, forums and talks, and commissioned artists’ and curators’ projects. Such a focus on unique global perspectives results in an exceptional curatorial conversation.
 
According to organizers, despite the 2020 event moving to an online format due to the coronavirus pandemic, the digital catalog still attracted a considerable number of page views, approximating 50,000 visits.
 
Expect the 2021 edition of Art Dubai to return to its traditional format.
 
6.    Dubai Food Festival
 
Perhaps the tastiest festival on this list, the Dubai Food Festival is a celebration of irresistible delights, world-class dining experiences, and exciting food-related events. This two-and-a-half-week gastronomic feast is a citywide affair, allowing diners to discover delectable hidden gems and avant-garde restaurant concepts.
 
As Dubai is home to a globally diverse culinary landscape, guests will be able to sample unique culinary offerings that span the globe. The city’s many restaurants get involved during the 18-day feast, providing diners with special lunch and dinner menus.
 
Alongside the multi-course menus are special retail promotions, live cooking demonstrations, and culinary masterclasses.
 
7.    Dubai World Cup
 
Travelers with equine pursuits will find a lot to cheer for at the Dubai World Cup. Despite being a relative newcomer to the horse racing scene, the Dubai World Cup has quickly become a popular horse racing fixture, with royals and celebrities often in attendance.
 
The stars of the show are some of the finest thoroughbreds trained around the globe. 

Included in its honor roll are horses from the UAE, UK, USA, and France. Of course, this event, held every March at the Meydan Racecourse, is just as much about the festivities and fashion as it is about equine excellence.
 
8.    Mother of the Nation Festival
 
Another Abu Dhabi-focused event, the Mother of the Nation Festival celebrates and commemorates the legacy of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.
 
This festival, which runs for 10 days, occurs on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche and includes a whole host of activities and attractions ranging from cooking demonstrations, live concerts and crafts workshops to artistic acts and wandering musicians.
 
There’s also a vibrant marketplace at the festival, featuring several local and international food and retail vendors.
 
9.    Expo 2020 Dubai
 
Rounding off the list is the Expo 2020 Dubai, one of the world’s most anticipated event experiences. This global mega event is a six-month extravaganza brimming with innovative attractions, inspiring initiatives, and thought-provoking forums and presentations.
 
As the only event of its kind to be held in the Middle East region, the whole world is expected to descend upon Dubai for Expo 2020. There are expected to be 192 country pavilions spread throughout the Expo, showcasing the values and culture of each participating nation.
 
While Dubai Expo 2020 was initially scheduled for October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021, the impact of COVID-19 means the World Expo will now run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Still, this is a once-in-a-lifetime celebration that cannot be missed.
 
The best months to visit
 
Many of these events are held during the winter months, from November to April, to take advantage of the cooler temperatures.
 
To avoid disappointment, be sure to know where to buy tickets. Many of these events offer tickets and packages through their official sites. There are also third-party vendors you can purchase tickets from that provide exclusive deals and special perks.  
 

Author: Chiyako   

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