For an exhaustive list of events beyond those detailed here, check, where you'll find a searchable, up-to-the-minute roster of what's happening in cities all over the world.


Dubai Marathon. The event includes a full marathon, 10km (6.2 miles) road race, and 3km (2 miles) "fun run." People of all ages and backgrounds participate. Cost is AED 370 to register. Late January.

Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF). Roughly 3 million annual visitors come for "DSF," as it's known locally, which takes place for one month between mid-January and February. DSF has evolved into an international tourist extravaganza in which thousands of Dubai retail stores participate with impressive bargains and store giveaways under the theme "One World, One Family, One Festival." Everything is on sale at discount prices and tax free -- gold, jewelry, perfume, haute couture, electronics, handicrafts, textiles, you name it -- and there are numerous raffles and special events. AED 16 million in prizes will be awarded during the 2011 DSF. This is a fun but crowded period in Dubai, when numerous family-friendly events take place around town.


Dubai Pet Show. "Best in Show" has nothing on the Dubai Pet Show, which takes place at Dubai Festival City. Competitions at this popular family event include best pedigree, crossbreed best in show, happiest dog, dog most like its owner, and, the grand finale, best fancy dressed dog. One Saturday in February.

Terry Fox Run. This run, which takes place at locations around the world, commemorates Terry Fox's 1981 "Marathon of Hope." To date, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised worldwide for cancer research in his name. This non-competitive event welcomes walkers, runners, bikers, and those with wheelchairs. There is no fee to enter. One Friday in February (usually in Abu Dhabi).

Dubai Desert Classic. This PGA European Tour event takes place at Emirates Golf Club and is worth $2.5 million in prize money.

Dubai Tennis Open. This million-dollar event is held in the tennis stadium at Dubai's Aviation Club and includes top seeds at the men's and women's tournaments. Late February.

Gourmet Abu Dhabi. Top international chefs take over kitchens at Abu Dhabi's finest restaurants for this month-long event. Special tasting menus are offered at eateries throughout town.


Dubai International Jazz Festival. Within just a few years, Dubai's jazz fest has grown from a simple village event to a major annual attraction. The 2-week festival includes nightly concerts by internationally acclaimed musicians and takes place primarily in Media City.

U.A.E. Desert Challenge. This thrilling motor-sport event is the World Cup final in cross-country racing. Top rally drivers from around the world compete during the main event in late March.

Art Dubai. This international art exhibition takes place at the Madinat Jumeirah for four days in mid-March. Over 70 galleries from 30 countries participated in 2010, with various art and poetry events happening alongside it.

Dubai World Cup. This glamorous event is the world's richest horse race (over $20 million in recent years), with $10 million going to the Group One Dubai World Cup race alone. It takes place at the new Meydan Racecourse and marks the finale of the Dubai International Racing Carnival, a 9-week festival of top-class racing beginning in late February. One Saturday in late March.

April - May

Boat Racing. April and May bring a host of competitions to the Arabian Gulf, including sailing, traditional dhow, rowing, and powerboat races. For a schedule of events, visit

June - August

Dubai Summer Surprises. Created to lure visitors to Dubai during the sultry summer months, "DSS" lasts for 10 weeks starting mid-June and includes steep shopping discounts and reduced hotel rates. Since kids are out of school, DSS has a particular emphasis on family events, including children's entertainment and educational activities.

Summer in Abu Dhabi. The capital's own summer program is a carnival in the ADNEC center that features games, sports, and educational activities designed primarily for kids.


Dubai Fashion Week. Regional and international designers present their latest fashions to models, would-be models, critics, and fashion media in this most glamorous of Dubai events. The event has been held in recent years at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers.

October - April

Camel Racing. Camel racing is one of the U.A.E.'s most revered traditional sports. Robot camel jockeys (rather than child jockeys) nowadays prod the desert animals forward at impressive speeds, with races taking place at various locations in the country on weekend mornings starting in October and continuing throughout the winter.

Abu Dhabi Classics. Classic music concerts take place in various venues across the capital, including at Emirates Palace, with performances by international artists and orchestras.


Horse Racing. The racing season starts in November and culminates in late March with the Dubai World Cup. Races take place at Nad Al Sheba Racing Club and Jebel Ali Racecourse, usually on Thursdays and Fridays at 7pm. General admission and parking are free.

Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix. This high-speed event takes place outside Abu Dhabi at the new Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island, where Ferrari World is also opening. Month subject to change.

Dubai World Championship -- Race to Dubai. Part of the PGA European Tour, the Race to Dubai features nearly 50 tournaments, culminating in the Dubai World Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in late November.


Dubai Rugby Sevens. Sponsored by Emirates Airlines, this 3-day event starting at the beginning of the month is the first round of the International Rugby Board Sevens World Series. More than 1,750 players take part, with over 130,000 fans attending. The event is enormously popular with Western expatriates living in Dubai, and is accompanied by "Rugby Rock" concerts that liven up the crowd.

Dubai International Film Festival. This weeklong cultural event in mid-December showcases full-length feature movies, shorts, and documentaries from around the world, with an emphasis on Arab cinema. The event continues to grow in prominence and takes place at venues across the city.

Islamic New Year's Day. This holiday celebrates the Prophet Mohammed's emigration from Mecca to Medina to create the first Islamic state.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.