This post covers the top things to do in Dubai in May, updated for 2024.
It includes free entertainment, after-dark activities, family-friendly things to do, concerts, festivals, tours, and more.
Dubai is among the most popular destinations for tourists with its shimmering beaches, shopping, and majestic buildings for sightseeing.
It's a beautiful blend of the old and the new, with high-rise buildings adorning the skyline in the new part of the city and stoned-colored houses with Barjeels (towers) in the older part of the city.
Tourists and locals love the older part of the city for its authentic Emirati/Arabic cuisine, desert safaris, and dhow cruises.
Then there is the new part of the city with shopping malls like Dubai Mall and the Mall of Emirates and the many entertainment venues.
The weather in May is a bit hot with the temperatures heading up, yet it is pleasant to go out in the evenings.
A visit to Dubai in May gives you a chance to explore it all with lesser crowds.
Here is our guide on the top things to do.
1. Visit an Air Fair
For four days in May, World Art Dubai brings contemporary art to the city. There are artists prices, highlights of artists from around the world, and much more.
They exhibit the works of around 300 local and international artists and put around 4,000 pieces on display.
The art covers several price points, some starting as low as $100.
Also included is Urban Art DXB which has live graffiti and mural demonstrations, dancing, and singing.
The festival runs from May 2nd - 5th, 2024 at the Dubai World Trade Center. Visit the World Art Dubai website for more details.
2. Visit other Festivals or Concerts
These are just a few of the events going on in May in Dubai. Read further down the page for even more things to do in this magical city.
Salon du Chocolate | May 2nd-4th | This event at the Dubai Mall celebrates everything chocolate.
Film Music Week | May 9th-13th | The Dubai Opera launches its inaugural event celebrating music in film.
Cinema Medley | May 10th | The Imperial Orchestra plays classic motion picture soundtracks.
Jewelry and Bride Arabia | May 10th-13th |a high-end jewelry event that offers great craftmanship and deep savings.
Dubai Tango Festival | May 23rd-26th | Workshops, shows, meals, and more - all around the Tango dance.
Rome Opera in Dubai | May 25th-26th | Les Deux Nuits is performed in Dior costumes to the backdrop of a Dior-creator-designed-backdrop.
Dubai Comedy Festival | dates TBA | Catch some up-and-coming comedians at this very funny festival.
3. Hatta Day Trip
Hatta, just about a 2-hour drive from Dubai, is a perfect place for a day or a weekend getaway.
A trip to Hatta is an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The place offers beautiful mountain ranges with a culturally rich history.
There is much to do for adventure seekers. You can either walk or ride a bike through the heritage street, kayak in the blue water of the Hatta Dam, and observe the birds and fish in the vicinity.
You can also glimpse the old towers, mosques, and forts in the area.
The Hatta village, which was restored in 2011, has numerous artifacts that will give you an insight into the past.
Note that for the kayak ride, you can rent a kayak, a paddleboat, or a family boat from the kiosk near the lake.
4. Spend an evening at Al Seef
Found upon the shores of the Bur Dubai side of Dubai Creek, the Al Seef development is packed with shops and restaurants.
Al Seef is an area of Dubai steeped in history, with a huge amount of Emirati culture.
This latest attraction leans heavily on the contemporary elements of life in Dubai in 2024, but in equal measure, it reflects and pays homage to the city.
It’s a top spot to just meander around and enjoy the views of the Creek.
It's easily accessible as it is in walking distance from Burjuman Metro station and cabs are easy to catch there. Check out our blog on how to get around in Dubai.
If you visit Al Seef with the kids, you'll find museums that will keep their interest.
One of them, the Museum of Illusions, houses 80 exhibits of all shapes and sizes that tantalize visitors with a unique visual and sensory experience.
Unlike other museums, you are encouraged to interact with the exhibits and take as many photos as you like.
If you would like to soak up the neighbourhood more, the area also has two classic hotels which are great for art lovers. Being a part of the Jumeirah collection, they are described as ‘maximum attitude, minimum frills.’
You can stay at the no-frills hotel- Zabeel House by Jumeirah, The Greens. It is a four-star hotel and an explorer’s dream that offers an affordable stay and convenient service.
The Zabeel House MINI is a three-star property described as "a grown-up's playground" with an eclectic interior.
To learn more about each of them, check out our blog on the Zabeel House hotels.
5. Take a Sunrise Desert Safari
A desert safari is a must-do for anyone who comes to Dubai as it's truly enjoyable.
The tour is engaging and the desert shines when the sun rises from the east in the Arabian Desert.
But, what exactly can you expect in a desert safari tour?
The tour starts with you being picked up from your hotel in a 4x4 Land Cruiser!
A typical desert safari includes dune bashing. It is such a thrill to drive through the desert, drifting over the tall sand dunes, feeling your stomach lurch after a steep drop over the other side.
At the camp, you can go quad biking and camel riding. You will also enjoy an Arabic dinner buffet before you are dropped off at your hotel at night.
You can also opt for an overnight desert safari, where you stay in camps, or an early morning sunrise safari.
6. Ski Dubai
Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort located in the Dubai Mall of the Emirates.
It is the world's third-largest indoor ski slope and the first to open in the Middle East.
You'll find 6,000 tons of snow and a chair lift that takes you to the top of the slope.
It has activities for all age groups and all skill levels.
At the resort, you can also meet Snow Penguins in an up-close and personal one-of-a-kind encounter that the whole family will love. You can check activity prices on their website.
Purchase tickets for Ski Dubai here.
7. Visit the Burj Khalifa
Opened in January 2010 to visitors, the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest and most marvelous building! Each time you see the building dominating the skyline of Dubai, you are in awe of it.
The building offers breathtaking views of the city from above, so is a paradise for those who like taking pictures. Visitors are allowed to go to the top, 124th floor (452m) and 148th floor (555m).
Tickets to the Burj Khalifa can be purchased here. You can also buy them at the entrance of the Burj Khalifa or inside the Dubai Mall (near the Dubai Aquarium).
For more details, make sure to read our post covering how to get tickets to the Burj Khalifa.
8. See the Dubai Fountain Show
While you're in Downtown Dubai you could visit the Dubai Fountain for a captivating water, music, and light spectacle.
The Dubai Fountain is the world’s tallest performing fountain at over 900 ft in length – equivalent to over two football pitches.
It is situated on the 30-acre Burj Lake and performs a selection of different melodies, from classical to contemporary Arabic and world music.
Some popular tracks include Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman’s Time to Say Goodbye, and most recently Power by Korean pop band EXO.
Shows start at 17:45 (5:45 pm) to 23:30 (11:30 pm) daily. You can also pay for a boat and view the fountain dancing from a very near distance.
Visit The Dubai Fountain website for more information and to book tickets.
9. Take the monorail to the Palm Jumeirah
With the monorail starting from the Palm Jumeirah tram station, you can head out to explore one of Dubai’s Architectural Triumphs - the Palm Jumeirah!
It's only in Dubai that you can see a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree.
The 1539 room luxury hotel, Atlantis The Palm, is located here. This was the first resort to be built on the island and shows distinctive elements of the Arabian world.
It is complemented by the Aqua Venture Water Park as well as Nasimi Beach, which frequently plays host to concerts and other events.
There are lots of exciting activities that make Atlantis Beach Resort the epicenter of adventure and the greatest holiday experience ever.
You can swim with dolphins at Dolphin Bay, meet the sea lion at the Sea Lion Point, or visit the home of 65,000 incredible marine animals at the Lost Chamber Aquarium.
The Pointe is a brand-new promenade for lovely strolls and is another spot to watch the gorgeous dancing fountains. It couldn’t be in a better location, directly across from Atlantis, imagine the views!
The Palm is now transforming from a mainly residential place to one of the top hangouts in the city.
And with a monorail running down the ‘trunk’ that connects to the mainland’s tram system, getting to the Palm Jumeirah couldn’t be easier.
10. Take a walk in the oldest neighborhood of Dubai with Dubai By Foot
Our Old Dubai Walking tour is our signature and most popular tour.
The Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, previously known as Bastakiya is the oldest neighborhood in Dubai.
Dubai is now known for its glitz and glamour, but before the tourism boom or the discovery of oil, it was a vastly different place. It was 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.
For those who would like to delve fully into the Emirati culture as well as get a flavor of the Old city, we would recommend our food tour, Flavours of Arabia: Emirati Food walk.
We taste delicacies like falafel and hummus, Majboos, and crunchy Luqaimat.
We will also visit the Arabian Tea House Restaurant, a heritage house in Bastakiya that has been converted into a restaurant.
You can easily reach both the start locations by metro and by taxi. Here is our guide for you on how to get around in Dubai.
*Private tours can start at the time of your convenience