Chic festivals in Dubai
Only in Dubai would you find not one, but two festivals entirely dedicated to retail shopping. While the city is well known as a shopping mecca, it is equally renowned as a global microcosm of cultures that interact and unite in dynamic and eclectic ways. Here is our list of the top chic festivals in Dubai that will have you engrossed in its cultural diversity, pulling those greenbacks out of your pocket and being astounded by the enormity and glamour of it all.
Before you pack your bags, bear in mind that most of the festivals in Dubai take place between November and March when the temperature is not a sweltering 40 degrees plus. Also don’t forget that a number of hotels sponsor or are involved in the activities, so your chances of picking up a discounted accommodation package during this time are pretty good.
Calling all shoppers and fashionistas
The Dubai Shopping Festival is the longest running and most successful shopping festival in the world. It kicks off the winter season in January with a month of gobsmacking sales, competitions, fashion shows and entertainment. Just about all the retail outlets in the city take part and you will find bargains on every corner, from jewellery and perfume to electronics and high-end brand names such as Prada, Versace and Armani.
Apart from the shopping there is also the allure of a few million dollars in prize money to be given away along with luxury cars and gold. It is an excellent opportunity to check out goods and products from virtually every corner of the globe and fill your suitcase with incredible bargains.
The Dubai Summer Surprises Festival runs in June and celebrates the beginning of the summer calendar. Initially launched to promote Dubai as a family holiday destination it focuses on fun, entertainment and special discount deals for young and old alike. The streets, malls and souqs come alive with music concerts, exhibitions and children’s games and activities while top brands go on promotion.
And naturally in a city obsessed with shopping there is also a great deal of emphasis placed on style and the importance of looking chic.
Fashion Week in Dubai showcases its Spring/Summer collection in October and its Autumn/Winter collection in early April. The collections feature a mix of traditional Arabic culture, modern couture and international ready-to-wear and have become a permanent fixture on the international fashion week circuit alongside London, Paris and Milan. Take the chance while you have it and pick up a sweet little number from an up-and-coming new designer or book in with the rich and famous at Raffles Dubai, whose head pastry chef, incidentally, creates inventive afternoon tea for each catwalk fashion session.
A dollop of culture and a spoonful of heaven
The vibrant cultural destination of Dubai also hosts a variety of high-quality food festivals, art fairs and music concerts.
The Dubai Jazz Festival will have you chilling out to the likes of John Legend and head banging along with Deep Purple. It is the biggest and longest-running music festival in Dubai attracting world class artist and performers. Although called a Jazz Festival, over the years it has become an eclectic mix of all genres of music and caters to all tastes from jazz and blues to pop and rock. Go punk style in your Doc Martins or laidback in a feminine frock by local designer Zaeem Jamal – the choice is up to you.
If you prefer a bit of close-up celebrity spotting, then the Dubai Film Festival is the place for you. Film stars such as George Clooney and Colin Firth have been known to grace the red carpet here, along with thousands of cinema-goers, directors, producers and writers. Get sneak peeks of world premieres and watch as many movies as you like as free public screenings are available throughout the festival. Another chic element is the post-screening Q&As where the audience is free to pose questions to (or lavish adoring praise on) the talents behind the movies.
The focal point for the month of March is the Dubai Art Festival, which brings together works of art from over 90 galleries and 30 different countries. The fair has become the cornerstone of the region’s fast-growing, contemporary art scene and reflects the city’s growing prominence as a leading culture and arts hub. Whether you are a buyer, collector or simply just a lover of art, this festival will have you enthralled.
As with everything in Dubai your choices are limitless, especially when it comes to food. Experience the delicious side of Dubai in the month-long Food Festival (usually held during the month of February) that turns the whole city into a mobile, global gastronomic experience. Various restaurants take part in the festival so if your eye is on the food fair then book a room with a participating establishment. 3 in 1 at Vida and the Boulevard Kitchen at Manzil Downtown are both chic spots that are affiliated with the food festival and also offer superb accommodation.
Shiny classic cars and show-stopping colourful lights
Regarded as the Middle East’s premier showcase of classic cars, the Dubai Car Festival usually runs in March and is held on Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, overlooking the colossal Burj Khalifa. Classic car enthusiasts the world over flock to this fair that is also open for free to the public. A room at the stylish Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa will give you a bird’s eye view of what’s happening as classic cars and motorcycles of unmatched elegance are put on show.
Downtown Dubai is awash with glitzy elegance and the biggest of just about everything in the universe. It’s no surprise then that the area is also host to the Dubai Festival of Lights, an epic and magical light show that can even be seen from space! From the Waterfront Promenade to the Dubai Mall and past the Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai is transformed into an outdoor art gallery. The Dubai Fountain, The Palace Downtown and The Address Downtown all partake and are adorned with thousands of colourful lights.
With various festivals in Dubai now covering every month of the year there is nothing you can’t buy, do or see in the world’s fastest growing metropolis and one of the most popular travel destinations on the globe.