Is It a Bad Idea to Visit Dubai in Summer?

Why Visiting Dubai in Summer Might Surprise You

Dubai, a dazzling gem in the United Arab Emirates, is known for its luxury, innovation, and record-breaking attractions. But, when summer rolls in, potential travelers are often left pondering, Is It a Bad Idea to Visit Dubai in Summer? While many folks often shy away from the soaring temperatures, Dubai in summer packs more than just heat. This article sheds light on why a summer visit might just be the unexpected vacation you’ve been looking for.

Is It a Bad Idea to Visit Dubai in Summer?

With sweltering temperatures soaring upwards of 45°C , it’s undeniable that Dubai’s summer heat is intense. However, the city is well-equipped for it. Thanks to top-notch infrastructure, advanced cooling technologies, and a range of indoor activities, many visitors find the season surprisingly bearable, and sometimes even preferable.

Perks of Visiting During the Off-Peak Season

The mere mention of Dubai often conjures images of glistening skyscrapers, sprawling shopping malls, and glitzy beach resorts. But there’s another side to the city that only comes alive during the off-peak season, particularly in the summertime. It’s a side that’s devoid of the regular hustle and bustle, and one that offers a more personal experience. If you’re considering a trip during the hot months, here are some compelling perks of visiting Dubai during the off-peak season.

1. Budget-Friendly Options Galore

Ah, the sweet lure of savings! As the crowds thin out, many establishments lower their rates to attract the more intrepid travelers. Hotels and resorts, which are often booked out or priced at a premium during peak months, roll out fantastic deals and discounts. This not only applies to accommodations. Even some of the city’s top attractions offer discounted tickets. It’s not uncommon to stumble upon offers for desert safaris, dhow cruises, or even skydiving experiences at significantly reduced rates.

2. A Breather from the Crowds

If elbowing your way through packed tourist spots isn’t quite your idea of a vacation, summer in Dubai is a revelation. The usually teeming places, like the viewing deck of Burj Khalifa or the bustling lanes of Gold Souk, take on a more tranquil air. You can truly soak in the views, take unobstructed photos, and simply enjoy the experience without feeling rushed or overwhelmed.

3. Exclusive Summer Events – Just for You

Contrary to popular belief, Dubai doesn’t go into hibernation during the summer. The city hosts the Dubai Summer Surprises festival, a summer-centric celebration brimming with events, concerts, and of course, shopping deals. From unique pop-up markets to thrilling live performances, there’s something for everyone. And the best part? You won’t have to vie with large crowds to get the best seats or deals.

4. More Personalized Services

With fewer guests to attend to, establishments often go the extra mile to offer more personalized services. It’s not unusual for guests to receive complimentary upgrades at hotels, enjoy more attentive service at restaurants, or even get a chance for longer, more intimate chats with tour guides who are more than eager to share tales and tidbits about the city.

5. Discover Hidden Gems

Lesser crowds mean you have more opportunities to explore Dubai’s lesser-known spots at leisure. Maybe it’s that quaint café tucked away in a corner of Old Dubai, the art galleries in Alserkal Avenue, or the tranquil parks dotting the city. With fewer people around, you get a chance to explore these gems at your own pace.

6. Easier Reservations

Popular restaurants or experiences that usually require booking weeks in advance? Not so during the off-peak season. Spontaneity is entirely possible when Dubai is less crowded. On-the-whim decisions to dine at a sought-after restaurant or take that popular city tour often work out in your favor.

Indoor Attractions to Beat the Heat

Dubai, a city that thinks of everything, has long anticipated the needs of those looking for escapades away from the scorching sun. When the desert temperatures rise, the city’s indoor wonders beckon, ensuring you’re never at a loss for entertainment. If you’re pondering about how to sidestep the summer sun while not missing out on Dubai’s essence, here’s your golden list of indoor retreats.

1. Dubai Mall & Aquarium – More than Just Shopping

While the vast expanse of the Dubai Mall offers a shopper’s paradise with over 1,200 retail outlets, it’s more than just a temple of commerce. Delve into its depths and you’ll discover the mesmerizing Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. Housing over 33,000 aquatic animals, from sharks to rays, it’s an underwater spectacle you wouldn’t want to miss. If that’s not enough, the mall also boasts an indoor ice rink and a virtual reality park, making it a day-long retreat for families.

2. IMG Worlds of Adventure – A World of Fantasies

Step into the world’s largest indoor theme park and you might just forget about the world outside. Spread across 1.5 million square feet, this park is an exhilarating fusion of adrenaline-pumping rides, meet-and-greets with beloved characters, and immersive attractions from popular franchises like Marvel and Cartoon Network. Whether you’re battling villains alongside The Avengers or joining The Powerpuff Girls in saving the day, the adventures are endless.

3. Ski Dubai – An Icy Wonderland in the Desert

Believe it or not, even in the heart of summer, you can indulge in wintry fun. Ski Dubai, situated within the Mall of the Emirates, is a snowy haven where you can ski, snowboard, or simply engage in a playful snowball fight. For those looking for something extra special, meeting the resident penguins is sure to be a highlight.

4. Green Planet – Dive into the Tropics

A vertical rainforest in the heart of a desert city? Dubai makes it possible. Green Planet recreates the enchanting world of a tropical forest with over 3,000 species of plants, birds, and animals. From the sleepy sloths to the vibrant toucans, it’s a slice of the Amazon in Dubai.

5. Theatre and Arts – Cultured Respite

For those who lean towards the arts, Dubai Opera offers a resplendent schedule of ballets, operas, and theatre productions. Its architectural marvel is worth a visit in itself. Alternatively, the Theatre by QE2, aboard the famed Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner, brings a mix of shows, musicals, and comedy nights in a unique setting.

6. Ossiano – Dine with the Fishes

If looking to combine gastronomy with aquatic views, Ossiano at Atlantis, The Palm offers a dining experience like no other. As you savor gourmet dishes, you’re treated to views of the Ambassador Lagoon, teeming with marine life, making your meal truly memorable.

Safety Measures in the Heat

Dubai, with its opulent skyline and dynamic spirit, knows how to handle its hot summers. While the city is well-equipped to deal with the blazing sun, visitors too can enjoy their stay by taking a few precautionary steps. Venturing into Dubai during its summer months? Equip yourself with these essential safety tips to ensure your experience remains comfortable and, more importantly, safe.

1. Hydration is Key

The desert sun can be relentless, sapping away vital hydration. It’s paramount to keep your water intake high. Always carry a bottle of water and take regular sips, even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty. Remember, by the time you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already heading towards dehydration.

2. Sunscreen – Your Best Friend

Even a few minutes under the Dubai sun can be intense. A broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF is a must. Reapply every couple of hours, especially if you’re venturing in and out of indoor places. Don’t forget often-missed spots like the back of your neck, ears, and feet.

3. Light and Airy Clothing

Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Loose-fitting clothing not only keeps you cooler but also provides better protection against the sun. While Dubai is a cosmopolitan city, it’s wise to remember cultural sensitivities; so, always carry a light scarf or shawl that can double up for sun protection and adhere to local customs.

4. Limit Outdoor Activities

While the temptation to explore every nook and cranny of Dubai is strong, it’s advisable to limit outdoor activities to the cooler parts of the day, like early mornings or late evenings. Many of Dubai’s attractions have nocturnal timings in the summer, allowing visitors to enjoy them without the brunt of the sun.

5. Cooling Accessories

Think beyond the usual. Cooling wristbands, neck wraps, and even personal hand-held fans can be a godsend when out and about. Not only do they provide instant relief, but they’re also lightweight and easy to carry.

6. Stay Informed

Before heading out, it’s a good idea to check the day’s temperature and heat index. Some days can be exceptionally hot, and it might be best to reshuffle your itinerary to include more indoor activities on such days.

7. Recognize Heat-Related Illnesses

Awareness is a crucial part of safety. Familiarize yourself with signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Dizziness, excessive sweating, rapid pulse, and nausea are red flags. If you or anyone in your group exhibits these, it’s crucial to get to a cooler place and hydrate immediately.

8. Shaded Parking

If you’re driving around the city, always park in shaded areas or use sunshades for your vehicle. Not only does this ensure a cooler car when you return, but it also prevents any potential hazards, like overheating.

Experiencing Traditional Dubai

Despite its towering skyscrapers and sprawling malls, the heart of Dubai still beats with traditional rhythms. Beyond the shimmering façade, the city has a rich tapestry of history, culture, and Emirati heritage waiting to be unraveled. If you’re yearning to experience the old-world charm of Dubai amidst the contemporary dazzle, here’s your essential guide to a deep dive into traditional Dubai.

1. Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

Tucked away from the city’s hustle and bustle, Al Fahidi transports you to a bygone era. With its winding alleys, mud-brick buildings, and iconic wind-tower architecture, this district offers a snapshot of Dubai in the 19th century. Several heritage sites and museums pepper the area, each narrating tales of a time when Dubai was a modest port town.

2. Dubai Creek and Traditional Abra Rides

The lifeline of old Dubai, the Creek, has witnessed the city’s transformation from a fishing village to a global metropolis. Board a traditional wooden abra for a nominal fee, and let the gentle waters give you a perspective of the city that’s both refreshing and deeply rooted in history.

3. Souks of Dubai

The air in the old souks of Dubai is thick with nostalgia and aromas. The Gold Souk dazzles with its display of intricate jewelry, while the Spice Souk entices with its mounds of colorful, fragrant spices. Meander through these markets, haggle a bit, and immerse yourself in the vibrant trade culture that has sustained Dubai for centuries.

4. Cultural Meals at Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU)

To truly know a place, one must savor its cuisine. At SMCCU, not only can you feast on traditional Emirati dishes, but you can also engage in candid conversations about Emirati culture, customs, and religion. It’s a culinary and cultural treat rolled into one.

5. Bedouin Experiences in the Desert

Step away from the urban sprawl and into the sweeping desert dunes. Opt for a desert safari that offers traditional Bedouin camps. Here, you can enjoy age-old activities: from camel riding and falconry displays to enjoying tales by the campfire under a canopy of stars.

6. Visit the Dubai Museum

Housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum offers a comprehensive overview of the emirate’s evolution. With artifacts, dioramas, and multimedia displays, the museum paints a vivid picture of Dubai’s pearl-diving past and its journey to modernity.

7. Traditional Dance and Music Shows

Dubai’s traditional dances, like the Yowla or the Ayala, are a rhythmic spectacle, capturing the spirit of the desert and its people. Many local events, hotels, and desert safaris showcase these performances, offering a rhythmic glimpse into the Emirati soul.

8. Art in the Alserkal Avenue

While not “traditional” in the strictest sense, Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz is the heart of Dubai’s contemporary art scene. Here, old warehouses transform into dynamic art spaces, marrying the old with the new, and showcasing the city’s evolving cultural narrative.

Nightlife and Evening Attractions

When the sun sets over the desert horizon and the neon lights begin to shimmer, Dubai transforms into a playground for night owls and enthusiasts of the evening. Its vibrant nightlife and plethora of nocturnal attractions make the city come alive in a dazzling display of entertainment, culture, and splendor. So, is it any wonder why the night is when Dubai truly shines? Let’s explore the highlights that make the Emirate’s after-dark scene nothing short of legendary.

1. Dhow Cruise on Dubai Creek

A dhow cruise offers a magical experience. As you gently float on the Dubai Creek, you’ll be treated to a tapestry of lights from old Dubai on one side and the modern skyline on the other. Complement this with a sumptuous dinner on board and traditional entertainment, and you’ve got an evening to remember.

2. Rooftop Bars and Lounges

Want to catch Dubai’s skyline at its glittering best? Head to one of the city’s many rooftop bars. With innovative cocktails, groovy beats, and panoramic views, spots like Atmosphere at Burj Khalifa or the Iris at The Oberoi promise an elevated nightlife experience – literally and figuratively!

3. Dubai Opera Garden

Even if you don’t catch a show inside the iconic dhow-shaped Dubai Opera, its outdoor garden area is a must-visit. With the Burj Khalifa as your backdrop, you can sip on delightful beverages amidst the buzz of Downtown Dubai.

4. Desert Safari Camps at Night

The desert isn’t just for daytime dune bashing. As night falls, desert safari camps come alive with traditional dance performances, barbecue feasts, and star-gazing sessions. Nestled amidst the dunes, these camps offer a slice of Bedouin life under the starlit sky.

5. Global Village

This seasonal attraction is a potpourri of cultures from around the world. With pavilions representing various countries, live performances, and a plethora of cuisines, Global Village is a nocturnal carnival of global proportions.

6. La Mer and JBR Walk

These beachfront locations turn into vibrant hubs come evening. With alfresco dining options, live music, and street performances, they offer a laid-back, beachy vibe to your nighttime escapades.

7. Nightclubs and Dance Temples

For those who love to dance the night away, Dubai’s nightclub scene is pulsating. From the opulent White Dubai to the trendy Soho Garden, there’s a club for every mood and groove.

8. The Dubai Fountain Show

Set against the backdrop of the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Fountain’s evening performances are an aquatic ballet of water jets dancing to global tunes. With the play of lights and music, it’s an enchanting spectacle not to be missed.

9. Night Markets

Shopaholics, rejoice! Places like the Ramadan Night Market (seasonal) and the Ripe Market offer unique trinkets, artisanal crafts, and gourmet food stalls, making for a charming shopping experience under the stars.

10. Dubai Marina Yacht Tours

Embark on a nighttime yacht cruise in the Dubai Marina. With the skyline illuminated in all its glory and the gentle lapping of waves, it’s a serene and romantic way to experience Dubai from the waters.


While the mere thought of summer in Dubai might make one perspire, the reality is layered with unexpected delights, comforts, and experiences. So, if you’re considering whether Is It a Bad Idea to Visit Dubai in Summer?, remember that with the right planning and an open mindset, it can turn into the vacation of a lifetime.

Elina Shaukat
Grumpy but gorgeous.