Ice skating at winterfest on Al Maryah Island

Abu Dhabi For Christmas 2024: Celebrating the Winter Festive Season

by Abu Dhabi Travel Planner Team

Are you considering Abu Dhabi for Christmas this winter? Abu Dhabi is a magical place to visit at Christmas time, and make no mistake, even though you are in a Muslim country, the festive season is very widely celebrated in the UAE capital.

Abu Dhabi is the perfect destination if you’re seeking some sunshine with your Christmas celebrations. Seamlessly blending beautiful beaches, cultural attractions and a good dose of Santa celebrations, here’s what you can expect.

Abu Dhabi Weather at Christmas

December in Abu Dhabi brings with it mild weather, and largely blue skies and sunny days, perfect for outdoor adventures.

Abu Dhabi’s average daytime maximum temperature in December is a pleasant 24.7°C (76.5°F), with highs as much as 31.6°C (88.9°F) and average lows overnight down to 20.1°C (68.2°F).

In December, you should expect sea temperatures from 27.4°C (79.3°F); dropping to 22.5°C (74.4°F) by month-end. Local’s will tell you its really cold by Christmas for swimming in the Gulf, but rest assured, resorts and hotels will keep their pools temperature-controlled year-round for a comfortable visit!

Christmas Events in Abu Dhabi 2023

Please note this Christmas guide is yet to be updated for 2024: The event-related information listed below still pertains to 2023 but will give you a good guide as to what happens in the captial over the festive season

So now you’ve booked to come to Abu Dhabi at Christmas time, what sort of events can you expect to get you in the Festive spirit? We’ve compiled for you here a selection of the best festive season events in Abu Dhabi for December 2023.

Yas Winter Fest

Taking place at Yas Gateway South, this fantastic 5-day festive family event, Yas Winter Fest, will bring guests plenty of festive singalongs, festive activities, gingerbread-making sessions, and a snow park.

The adults aren’t missing out either with the Kibsons Festive Cook School, live music, or carnival rides. It will topped off with a special appearance by Santa and a nightly fireworks display.

Timing & Pricing

  • 6 to 10 December 2023 from PM to PM (Tree lighting 6:30 PM daily; Fireworks 9:00 PM daily)
  • Advance sale prices: Kids (4-12 years) 10 AED, adults 25 AED (extra activities chargeable) – buy tickets in advance on PlatinumList
Winterefest Abu Dhbai 2023 advertisement graphic

Breakfast With Santa

A special Christmas celebration at Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi, this family-focused event will take place every weekend in December. Join in with storytelling, Christmas Carol singalongs and a chance to meet Santa Claus himself at this wonderful event to get your younger kids especially involved in the spirit of Christmas.

Timing & Pricing

  • Every Saturday & Sunday -2nd & 3rd, 9th & 10th, 16th & 17th, 23rd & 24th – in December from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM
  • Children 2-3 years AED 75, children 4-16 years AED 100, adults AED 125 – purchase tickets on VirginTickets

Jingle Bells Market Le Royal Meridien

Supporting local female artisans and entrepreneurs, the WE Market by WEADS brings a great family afternoon even to the grounds of Le Royal Meridien Abu Dhabi. With over 70+ vendors displaying their wares, plus plenty of kids’ activities and a chance to meet Santa, this is one of the best Christmas Markets in Abu Dhabi.

Timing & Pricing

  • Saturday 2 December 2023
  • Free entry

Winter Wonderland at Snow Abu Dhabi

A long-standing classic family festive event in Dubai can now be found at the new branch of Ski Duba, Snow Abu Dhabi at Reem Central Mall.

Here, you’ll find a Santa Grotto with a Santa meet and greet, including a Christmas goodie bag and hot chocolate. You can also enjoy fun adventures in the snow park, including Snow Movies, snowman building and breakfast with Santa.

(NB Due to the cold conditions, entry to Santas Grotto starts from 2 years of age)

Timing & Pricing

  • Tickets go on sale mid-November for dates 1-25 December
  • Packages start from 150 AED for a standard meet and greet or AED 450 for a Family Pass

Learn more at skidxb.com/en-ae/snow-abu-dhabi/

Winter Market at Abu Dhabi Golf Club

Running from Friday to Sunday in December, 4:00 PM to midnight, for just 10 AED per person, you’ll get entry to the Falcon Country Club, including pool access and the opportunity to shop at the Christmas Market.

Timing & Pricing

  • Thursday to Sunday 14, 17 and 21 to 24 December 2023
  • 10 AED entry
  • Phone +971 2 885 3555 for more details.

Al Maryah Winter Wonderland

One of the best Christmas events in the city, the spectacular Winter Wonderland at Al Maryah Island, is always a beautiful way to finish your evening in Abu Dhabi during the holiday season.

It is held in front of Galleria Mall on the waterfront promenade between the Four Seasons and Rosewood hotels. Expect daily crafting stalls, food stalls, a mini ice rink, a snow machine, and live shows.

Timing and Pricing

  • 9 to 31 December 2023
  • Entry is free, but you’ll need to buy tokens for the crafts and activities.

Galleria Santas Grotto

In addition to the winter wonderland, kids will want to head to the new extension in Galleria, where you’ll find one of the city’s best meet-and-greet experiences with Santa.

  • 9 to 24 December.
  • You can turn up, without a booking and queue, but it’s always best to pre-book a slot for this one.

NB Shopping malls all over the city tend to have Santa photo opportunities, though they’re frequently poorly advertised or put on at the last minute. Other good malls will be Christmas decorations and Santa appearances in the past have included Abu Dhabi Mall (between le Meridien and Beach Rotana), Yas Mall on Yas Island, and WTC Mall on the Corniche.

Masdar City Winter Festival

This fun family event takes place in the few days before Christmas at Central Park, Masdar City. A 12-metre tall tree takes centre stage while kids participate in festive activities, including gingerbread house making and a Christmas bookmark workshop. The big man himself is expected to make an appearance and look out for the roaming street act Choco Loco Carnival.

Timing and pricing

  • 22 to 24 December, 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM
  • Entry is free, paid activities

Ferrari World Winter Fest

This year’s Winterfest will include an ice skating show, live acrobatics, a treasure hunt, live entertainment and a giant Christmas tree. There will also be arts and crafts and the chance to build your own gingerbread house (this must be booked in advance and involves an extra fee).

Timing and pricing

Christmas Spectacular at WB World

You can also celebrate Christmas with Batman and Bugs Bunny at Warner Brothers World’s Winter Spectacular! There are beautiful decorations and magical Christmas shows, as well as lots of other festive treats. The celebrations for 2023 will start on the 8th of November and will run until the 7th of January 2024. 

Timing and pricing

For more details, click here.

Characters in Christmas theme at Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi

Polar Fest at SeaWorld

The first year of Polar Fest at the newly opened SeaWorld Abu Dhabi promises all sorts of wintry delights. From the 8th of December until the 7th of January 2024, you can escape into the Polar Ocean realms of SeaWorld for an unforgettable festive experience. 

There will be character performances and the chance to visit the Christmas village and see the big man in red himself, known as Joulupukki, at the North Pole. You can also get up close and personal with some of SeaWorld’s polar residents with a range of animal experiences.

Timing & Pricing

Dear Santa

Little ones can enjoy an adaption of the iconic children’s book Dear Santa at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation on the 10th of December. There are two showings, one at 3.00 pm and another at 6.00 pm. 

The production is suitable for children over the age of 2.

Book your tickets on PlatinumList

The Illusionists Magic of the Holidays

A bit of a different type of event for the Abu Dhabi festive season: join a thrilling night of holiday magic at Etihad Arena, from disappearing acts to magic tricks and breathtaking feats. Suitable for all ages.

Timing and pricing

illusionists magic of the holidays advertising poster for festive event in abu dhabi 2023

Festive Tree Lighting Ceremonies

There are too many for us to list them all, but there are simply LOADS of opportunities to get involved in festive tree-lighting ceremonies at hotels across the city. Christmas carolers and Santa appearances usually accompany these elaborate displays.

They normally start as soon as the National Day Holidays (December 2-4) are finished.

Christmas Afternoon Tea

Another lovely festive thing to do in Abu Dhabi is indulge in afternoon tea. Most hotels offer afternoon tea throughout the year, but December sees them transformed into fun and festive arrays of mince pies, yule logs and seasonal sandwiches.

Whilst there are many teas on offer, you won’t be disappointed by the following venues:

Gingerbread House Workshops

Many hotels offer children’s activities like gingerbread decorating alongside their afternoon teas. Some even have fully-fledged gingerbread house-making workshops. Not all have been confirmed for 2023, but we know that they will be taking place at the following hotels:

It’s always worth phoning your hotel of choice to see whether they have added any last-minute workshops as they are not always advertised widely.

Abu Dhabi Christmas Brunch

Are you after a traditional family meal packed full of festive dishes? Then you’re in luck, as Abu Dhabi restaurants put on a spectacular feast.

The most popular Christmas Day Brunches in Abu Dhabi book up fast, so if you’re reading this in December, you may be a little late to the party. Conversely, the venues are terrible at advertising in a timely manner, so capturing some converted Christmas Brunch seats is a fine art of timing and persistence!

Brunch in Abu Dhabi for Christmas normally involves a Turkey carvery live cooking station. Many will also include an appearance by Santa and accompanying carol singers.

We share over here a guide to our favourite Abu Dhabi Christmas Brunches and dining deals for the major celebrations over the festive season.

You may also want to check out our list of Christmas Eve brunches. Given Christmas Day falls on a Monday (which is still a work day in the United Arab Emirates, not a public holiday), Christmas Eve this year could make a great option for many looking for a taste of the festive season.

We also have a guide to the best New Year’s Eve events in Abu Dhabi you’ll want to book now!


Before you go… Important things to consider when planning a trip to Abu Dhabi

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