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Things to do in Dubai in January 2023

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This post covers the top 10 things to do in Dubair in January, including evening, free, as well as family-friendly activities, updated for 2023.


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN JANUARY

The best time to visit Dubai is during the winter months, from November to April. 

The city is full of life and light because of the Dubai Shopping Festival which makes the city come alive. Not the one who likes to shop? Then you can enjoy on the beach or go for a lovely outdoor brunch in the pleasant weather!

Whether you are in Dubai for a vacation or just for a short layover, we have a list ready for you. Here are the top ten things you can do in Dubai in January 2023!


1. Take a City Tour or the Old Dubai Walking Tour

Dubai has emerged as a thriving metropolitan city that has become the most popular tourist destination in the Middle East.

The megacity has earned the title of being the land of superlatives because of its affinity to have the best of everything.

From infrastructure to lifestyle, every day, the capital city of Emirate of Dubai sets a new example of excellence for the world.

Dubai’s humble beginning as a fishing village keeps the city grounded and stands in sharp contrast with the level of advancement it has achieved.

The best way to experience what the city has to offer is to go to a Dubai city tour.

Who doesn’t love skyscrapers, high rise buildings, and culture together? Our city tour is a blend of all, and we make sure to let you have the experience of both sides of Dubai.

One moment you could be among the clouds as you zip through Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, and the next you could be sailing through the bustling waterways of Dubai in a traditional Abra ride.

There are the flourishing spice and gold souks that you must visit to get a glimpse of the city’s past.

Dubai City Tour

Every day at 10 am (Timings can be flexible)

With so much to see and do, you can make the most of your time in Dubai by booking yourself a place on a Dubai City Tour. The Whet-Your-Appetite City Tour lasts for approximately 5-6 hours.

The tour starts with an engaging walk through the old historic neighborhood. Old Dubai is the center of local trade in Dubai hence there will be plenty of shopping opportunities in the traditional souks.

We then proceed for a fun Abra ride across the Dubai Creek and a lunch break with local Emirati Food.

We then head to the modern developments in Dubai, driving through the coastline, the beaches, the fancy hotels, the Marinas to the Palm Islands.

The tour concludes at the Dubai Mall – the hub for many fun-filled evening activities. There is also time planned for shopping or a visit to the Burj Khalifa.

At the end of the day, you will have so much insight into the city that therefore you will feel like you own this town!

Old Dubai Heritage and Souks Walking Tour

Every day at 10 am and 4 pm through January | Private tours can start at the time of your convenience

The Old Dubai Heritage and Souks Walking tour is our signature and most popular tour.

It takes place in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, previously known as Bastakiya, the oldest neighborhood of Dubai.

Dubai is known for its glitz and glamour, but before the tourism boom or the discovery of oil, it was a vastly different place. Dubai was then a land of fishermen, divers, and Bedouins.

On this tour we will visit the Coffee Museum, Dubai Museum, the Spice and the Gold Souk and cross the creek on the Abra boat.

The Creek is the historic heart of Dubai, which once divided the city into two areas: Deira and Bur Dubai.

Until the construction of Al Maktoum Bridge, the first bridge in Dubai in 1963, the only way to get from one side to the other was in a rickety little wooden boat called an abra. It’s still undoubtedly the most fun (and affordable) way across.

We offer this tour daily as both public and private tours, for those who like to book a luxurious tour for themselves.

Our Old Dubai Walking tour is the best way to visit this part of the city!


2. Enjoy the Fireworks

Dubai is a hot spot during New Years' eve, and January 1st, New Year’s Day, is a national holiday in the United Arab Emirates.

With insane fireworks and the possibility to enjoy some of the grand New Year's celebrations for free in Dubai, it is no wonder that tourists start pouring in from the neighboring countries and the rest of the world.

The fireworks continue in the evening in different parts of the city like Palm Jumeirah, JBR Walk, Al Seef, La Mer for a week after the New Year’s Day.

While museums, government services, and other official establishments will be closed, most shops and restaurants will remain open.

Many eateries offer special New Year’s Day brunches. And with the city relatively quiet on this day it’s also a good time to enjoy relaxing on the beach.


3. Dubai Shopping Festival

December 15, 2022 until January 29th, 2023

This is one of the most-awaited events in Dubai, and is both extravagant and amazing!

Dubai is hailed as the 'Ultimate Shopping Destination', with 70 malls and new malls opening every year.

However this dream often comes with a price. This is where Dubai Shopping Festival comes to the rescue.

DSF is an annual month-long event put together by the Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment, part of Dubai’s department of tourism.

During the festival, shops offer discounts on their merchandise. Daily raffles and prize drawings are held to win items such as gold and cars.

The malls also tend to have longer working hours which ensures that you have plenty of time to shop till you drop!

DSF is celebrated like any other festival in Dubai: with pomp and show. This means shopping isn't the only experience to please your soul.

There exist a plethora of activities that go on here which you could participate in, apart from shopping- fireworks, film festivals, music shows, and events!


4. Take the Dhow Cruise or a Yacht

Head on to a relaxing evening with fun and entertainment on a traditional Arabic boat.

Famous for its Tanura dancers and their colorful costumes, a Dhow Cruise cheers up everyone.

Dhow cruises usually includes a three-course dinner buffet. It’s a magical experience drifting along the creek while watching colorful reflections out on the water of the beautifully lit up skyline of Dubai.

Make sure you bring your camera as there are lots of photo opportunities. It's the perfect antidote to a busy city life.

If you would like a more private experience, then we would recommend you take a yacht from the Dubai Marina area.

Sail through the Dubai Marina to Bluewaters Island, and cruise over to the Dubai Eye.

See the famous Jumeirah Beach and the Palm, as well as passing the Atlantis on the breakfast and lunch tours. You can also opt for a yacht experience with breakfast.

You get a lot of opportunities for taking insta worthy photos or take a dip in the sea!


5. Visit the Global Village

Global Village Dubai is located on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (E311) Dubai.

Global Village is a multicultural festival park and the region’s first family destination for culture, shopping, and entertainment. It combines the cultures of 90 countries across the world in one place.

There’s something magical about Global Village. Part theme park, part market, Global Village features pavilions with displays from countries near and far where visitors can pick up traditional handicrafts and snacks.

This festival park brings cultures together as visitors discover different parts of the world in just a few hours.

The pavilions are designed in the image of iconic structures or local architecture, inviting all to meander from London’s Big Ben to the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy.

Take selfies against the romantic backdrop of the Taj Mahal or travel back in time to Ancient Egypt.

Children and adults alike will delight in the bright lights and lively atmosphere created by parades and all kinds of shows, from fire-breathing street performances to star-studded concerts.

Plus, there’s even more fun to be had with countless games and thrilling rides at the region’s largest funfair.

Keep an eye out for Global Village’s mascot, Globo, and his adventures across the globe with Scaredy Bat and more!

Visit Global Village this season to see all the open-air fun you and your family can have.


6. Dubai Desert Classic

January 26th - 29th, 2023

The Dubai Desert Classic is an annual European Tour golf tournament held on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club.

When founded in 1989, it was the first European Tour event to be staged in the Arabian Peninsula, but is now one of six.

Golfing legends such as Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, and Rory McIlroy have won this “Major of the Middle East”.

The tournament returns this January for its 35th edition, with more action planned both on and off the course than ever before.

Guaranteed to be a showcase of the world’s finest golfing talents, this tournament is a must-attend for every golf fan.

For more information, visit the Dubai Desert Classic website.


7. Enjoy a Musical night at the Dubai Opera

Though it only opened its doors in 2016, the Dubai Opera has quickly become one of the city’s most treasured cultural jewels.

The 1900-seat performing arts center has played host to operatic performances, ice shows, ballet dances, orchestral productions, illusionist acts, musicals and more.

You can buy tickets in-person at the Dubai Opera Box Office. The Box Office is located on the Opera Plaza on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard and is open daily from 10am to 9pm.

Seating is divided into three main areas – Stalls, Royal Circle and Grand Circle. Pay close attention to the seating designation as the pricing can vary significantly.

In January 2023, there are couple of performances scheduled:


8. Visit the Miracle garden

Dubai Miracle Garden, opened in 2013, is a flower garden located in the district of Dubailand.

The garden occupies over 72,000 square meters making it the world’s largest natural flower garden.

It features over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants!

In 2015, the Dubai Butterfly Garden then opened. It is the world’s largest and the region’s first indoor butterfly garden and sanctuary for over 15,000 butterflies from 26 species. 

Other attractions in the park include a floral clock, peacocks, flower castle and an aromatic garden.

It also has an Airbus A380 which is the biggest flower structure in the world as per the Guinness book of world Record.

Dubai Miracle Gardens also has a Mickey Mouse flower structure weighing almost 35 tons to attract the kids and families.

The tickets for Dubai Miracle Garden are 50AED for adults and children above the age of 2 are 40AED.


9. Enjoy the evenings at the JBR Walk or La Mer

If you'd like to take an evening stroll, there are two areas you might find of interest.

La Mer

La Mer is hands-down one of Dubai’s most instagrammable spots, spanning over 1.24 million square meters on a white sands beachfront.

It combines commercial, residential, and leisure attractions in one area.

Fun can be had at places such as a water park or cinema, along with shopping, dining, and beach experiences.

Along with street art, there are water features, lots of greenery, elements made to look beach worn, and a general contemporary and minimalistic design.

It's truly fun to walk along and take it all in.

JBR Walk

Shop dine and stroll by the sea along the chic waterfront strip known as The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR).

Along this buzzing beachside boulevard, there’s plenty of opportunities to satisfy your retail cravings with an array of fashion, home, and handicraft shops and boutiques.

The promenade gives some fascinating views of the Blue waters island and Ain Dubai.

You can also check our self-guided tour of JBR on our website.


10. Visit the Museums With Your Family

If you're looking for some family-friendly places to visit with your kids, we can suggest a number of options for you.

Museum of Illusions

The Museum of Illusions in Al Seef houses 80 exhibits of all shapes and sizes.

The museum promises to tantalize visitors in a unique visual and sensory experience – and provide heaps of fun, of course.

Unlike other museums, you are encouraged to interact with the exhibits, and take as many photos as you like.

Click here to purchase tickets or learn more.

Perfume Museum

One of the first museums to open in the Al Shindagha neighborhood is the Perfume House, paying homage to the history of all scented things in UAE.

Perfume House is built within the former house of an avid Perfumer, Sheikha Shaikha bint Saeed bin Maktoum.

Many of the items inside were part of her personal collection. She donated these items to the museum just a few weeks before she died.

There are also artifacts from other notable Emiratis, as well as those sourced from archaeological sites in Dubai.

All of this takes place in a location that is a mixture of both old world and state of the art.

Click here to purchase tickets or learn more.

Note: You might enjoy our 1001 Arabian Nights: Legends and Lore from the Trucial Coast tour as well.

Coins Museum

The Coins Museum Located in Bastakiya and built of coral, stone, plaster, and leaves of palm trees and teak wood, the two-story. 

The museum displays more than 470 rare coins belonging to different historical eras.

Special display cabinets and magnifying screens give visitors a better view of the coins, while electronic drop-down lists provide all the information required.

Admission to the museum is free, but click here for more information.

Pearl Museum

Before the discovery of oil, pearls were the biggest cash crop in the Gulf, whose warm, shallow waters produced some of the world’s finest.

You can see many of these exquisite natural wonders on display at the Emirates NBD Pearl Museum.

In addition to examples of magnificent jewelry, the museum also celebrates the lives of the divers and sailors by displaying the instruments and tools they used to harvest and ship the precious cargo.

Admission to the museum of free, but click here for more infromation.


About The Author

Pri

Pri is a true believer in the Rule of Three - she lives between Dubai, Bombay and Washington DC, speaks three languages and has 3 kids under 3. She graduated from Connecticut College and has a Masters Degree from New York University. Pri is a licensed Dubai tour guide, travel blogger, art aficionado, foodie and curious to check out all things new in her city. Pri has been part of the Free Tours By Foot team since 2015 and loves to make customized itineraries for her guests.
Updated: October 25th, 2022
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