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Things to do in Dubai in January 2020

Book A Guided Walking Tour

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 2020!

  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.

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. 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!

When: Every day at 10 am (Timings can be flexible)

The Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, previously known as Bastakiya is the oldest neighborhood of Dubai, and the Old Dubai Walking tour is our signature and most popular tour.  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!

When: Through January, every day at 10 am and 4 pm

*Private tours can start at the time of your convenience

  1. Enjoy the Fireworks in Dubai

January 1st, New Year’s Day, is a national holiday in the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is a hot spot during New Years' eve. 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 into the emirate from the neighboring countries and the rest of the world around this time.

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 are 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.

  1. Dubai Shopping Festival

Dubai is hailed as the 'Ultimate Shopping Destination'. And it is this reputation that Dubai has, that inspires it to offer even more to the millions of tourists that come flocking to the emirate with every passing year. Dubai alone has more than 70 malls in addition to new malls that open every year. However, with the big brands and the high-end stores, this dream often comes with a price. And this is where Dubai Shopping Festival comes to your rescue.

Dubai Shopping Festival is the most-awaited event in Dubai- extravagant and amazing! DSF is an annual month-long event put together by the Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment, which is a part of Dubai’s department of tourism. During the festival, shops offer discounts on their merchandise, daily car raffles, and prize drawings are held to win items such as gold and cars. During DSF, 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!

When: December 26, 2019, until January 24, 2020

  1. Run at the Dubai Marathon

More than 30,000 world-class runners are set to descend on Dubai for the 21st edition of the annual Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon – the world's richest road race with a winner's prize of USD$20,000. Both seasoned marathon runners and aspiring amateurs can tread in the footsteps of the record-breakers who have run the path before, with 4km and 10km distances on offer for those who aren't up for the full marathon. Participants can take in some of Dubai's most iconic sights, including the Burj Al Arab, on their way along the racecourse.

Spectators can cheer the runners on and enjoy the festive ambiance filled with healthy snacks and sports accessories from all the top brands, so head down with family or friends for a fun, sporty day in the sunshine.

Register here!

Marathon Details:

  • 195km Run

Price: 150USD

Start Time: 7:00am

  • 10km Road Race

Price: 85USD

Start Time: 8:30 am

  • 4km Fun Run

Price: 50 USD

Start time: 10:30am

When: January 24, 2020

Venue: Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim Road

  1. Visit the Global Village

Global Village Dubai is located on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (E311) Dubai. It combines the cultures of 90 countries across the world in one place. Global Village is a multicultural festival park and the region’s first family destination for culture, shopping, and entertainment.

There’s something magical about Global Village. The 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.

  1. Dubai Desert Classic

The Omega Dubai Desert Classic is a European Tour golf tournament held on Majlis course at Emirates Golf Club in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In 1999 and 2000 it was held at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, all other editions have been held at Emirates Golf Club. When founded in 1989, it was the first European Tour event to be staged in the Arabian Peninsula, but is currently one of six.

The tournament is part of a wider strategy, via a government program called "Dubai Golf", to develop both professional and casual golf tourism in Dubai.

Golfing legends such as Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, and Rory McIlroy have won this “Major of the Middle East”, which takes place annually at the stunning Emirates Golf Club. It returns this January for its 31st edition, with more action than ever before planned both on and off the course.

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

When: January 23- January 26, 2020

Tickets: From AED1,125

  1. Enjoy a Musical night at the Dubai Opera

An autobiographical account of Kahlil Gibran’s first love, Broken Wings is a musical adaptation of the iconic poet’s 1912 masterpiece. This moving new musical is written by Middle Eastern duo Nadim Naaman and Dana Al Fardan, directed by Bronagh Lagan and produced by Ali Matar with orchestrations by Joe Davison.

This autobiographical account takes audiences through Gibran’s tumultuous love story, which starts with the 18-year-old aspiring writer returning to the Middle East after five years in America. Here, he falls in love with Selma Karamy, the daughter of a respected family friend. Selma soon becomes betrothed to Mansour Bey Galib, the nephew of the powerful Bishop Bulos Galib, who has his eyes set on Selma’s family fortune.

Gibran and Selma fight against all odds for their love, forced to confront structures of tradition, expectations, and rules imposed by their communities. While set at the turn of the century, Broken Wings explores potent themes that still resonate deeply.

When: January 17- January 18, 2020

Tickets: AED 295 onwards. Tickets can be bought here.

  1. Visit the Miracle garden

Dubai Miracle Garden is a flower garden located in the district of Dubai Land. The garden was opened on 14 February 2013. The garden occupies over 72,000 square meters making it the world’s largest natural flower garden featuring over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants.

In 2015 Dubai Miracle Garden opened the Dubai Butterfly Garden which 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.


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

La Mer

La Mer is Hands Down One of Dubai’s Most ‘Grammable Spots. La Mer Dubai is a beach destination that offers fun, shopping and entertainment for residents of Dubai. This property has been developed by Meraas and spans over 1.24 million square meters of space. They have even accommodated an underground parking area. In La Mer, you will appreciate the street art and paintings and the design that makes for a nice walk. La Mer also boasts of a cinema and a water park!

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.

Recently, the board on the walk 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.

  1. Visit the Museums with your family and kids

Museum of Illusions

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.

Tickets cost AED 80 for adults and AED 225 for a family of four people.

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. This includes her perfume application and a 28kg piece of oud she had in her house and which she donated to the museum just a few weeks before she died in 2017, as well as other artifacts from other notable Emiratis, and those sourced from sites such as Saruq Al Hadid, an archaeological site in Dubai.

Take our 1001 Arabian Nights: Legends and Lore from the Trucial Coast tour to know more and delve deep into the past!

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.  Coins 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.

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.

Please note, you can only visit the Pearl Museum by prearranging with Emirates NBD beforehand. They prefer 8-10 people to visit at a time, with an upper limit of about 20 people in a larger group.

About The Author


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 12th, 2021
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