Christmas in Abu Dhabi 2019: Festive markets and family events

Where to take the little ones and get feeling festive

Christmas in Abu Dhabi 2019: Festive markets and family events
Swiss Market at Beach Rotana

Christmas is almost here and it’s the perfect time of year to have fun with family and friends in Abu Dhabi.

From magical markets, fantastic firework and fun family events, there’s plenty going on in Abu Dhabi this festive season.

Al Muneera
Family friendly winter festivals will be held in December at Aldar Communities in Abu Dhabi. At Al Muneera, from December 11 to 14, families can check out all the Christmas decorations, as the beachfront destination transforms into a winter wonderland. You can also get creative with Christmas bell painting, live entertainment and festive food stalls. It’s sure to get you into the Christmas spirit.
Free. Dec 11-14. 4pm-10pm. Al Muneera. For more information visit

Beach Rotana
The Swiss Market will be setting up shop at Beach Rotana this December for four-days of festive fun from December 4 to 7 with a host of retail and food a drinks stalls, live music, events and activities. Giving you the chance to pick up some unique gift for your loved ones you can shop goods sold by a host of local and international vendors. Seasonal food and drink will also be on offer including bratwurst, raclette, mulled grape and many more sweet treats. On a musical note, Appenzeller Streichmusik Alder will be in town to perform Swiss folk music and there will also be performances from a selection of local school choirs who will sing popular Christmas carols. Children can also keep busy with gingerbread making activities, face painting, arts and crafts and film screenings. Plus, the famous man with the white beard and the red suit will also be making an appearance on Saturday December 7. From December 4 to 26 the Gingerbread House will also return to Café Colombia to sell a host of festive treats from stolen, gingerbread and yule logs. It sounds great.
Free. Wed Dec 4 4pm-9pm; Thu Dec 5 2pm-10pm; Fri Dec 6-Sat Dec 7 11am-10pm. Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiya.

Carols in the Desert
Popular al fresco musical event Carols in the Desert is set to return to the capital on Friday December 6. The free annual event sees hundreds of people take the short drive out of Abu Dhabi city to the dunes where Christmas carols are sung as the sun sets. You can sing along with the music, cook some food on the communal barbecues and get caught up in the Christmas spirit. Once there, there's a small climb up a dune to reach the site, which is worth keeping in mind if some of your party has limited mobility. Plus, it gets a little chilly in the evening so it’s worth bringing a blanket or jumper and a seat doesn’t go a miss either. We don’t know about you but we’re excited.
Free. Dec 6. From 4pm. Sweihan Road (GPS 24.407 59N, 54.96457E)

Sanderson’s café in Al Seef is hosting a Christmas fair on Friday December 14. On the day the wholesome restaurant will be hosting stalls from jewellery vendors, Balinese bag makers, wood carvers and more crafty businesses. While you’re purchasing your gifts for family and friends (or yourself, we reckon you deserve it), the kids will be kept busy with a variety of activities like face painting and festive-themed games. If you dine in the stylish venue at any point during December you can enter a competition to win a Christmas hamper, and a festive menu is available until Boxing Day, too. For more information visit
Free. Dec 14 8am-10pm. Andalus Al Seef Resort, Khalifa Park area (02 222 1142).

Shams Boutik
Family friendly winter festivals will be held in December at Aldar Communities in Abu Dhabi. On Reem Island, the shopping destination will be decked out in festive light and decorations and you can keep busy with a snowman photo booth, choir performances, gingerbread and cupcake decorating and more. We also heard that the big man in the red suit will also be making an appearance to meet children. The Winter Carnival will take place on Reem Island from 4pm to 10pm on Wednesday and Thursday and 5pm to 11pm on Friday and Saturday.
We don’t know about you but we’re really excited, especially to meet Santa.
Free. Dec 18-21. 4pm-10pm. Shams Boutik, Reem Island. For more information visit

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal
Get ready kiddos because Dolce’s popular gingerbread house making classes are back for the holiday season. Little ones can fashion their own versions of the sweet mini home before decorating their masterpiece with delectable treats such as marshmallows, candy canes and, every child’s favourite, candy floss. Mini chefs will get some top tips from the expert pastry chefs, while mums and dads can help them to get their tiny houses just right.
Dhs175 (per gingerbread house). Aimed at children aged four to 12. From Sun Dec 15-Sun Jan 5. Daily except Fri, Wed Dec 25 and Tue Dec 31. Al Maqta Area, Abu Dhabi, (02 818 8888).

Yas Gateway Park
If you can’t wait until December 25 for a festive celebration then a free winter festival is coming to the city from December 11 to 15 to help get you in the mood ahead of Santa’s visit. Yas Winter Carnival will take over Yas Gateway Park for five days of festive fun and will feature a winter market, a tree lighting ceremony, a snow zone where you can build your own snowman and singalongs to all the festive classics. The best part? Fireworks, of course. The night’s sky above Yas Island is set to light up every night at 9pm with a dazzling fireworks display. The free event will also feature a gingerbread making station, travelling entertainers and magicians and more to keep you busy as you wait for the fireworks to start. All we need now is to find the perfect cheesy Christmas jumper and to convince the rest of the office to let us play our festive playlist. Wish us luck.
Free. Dec 10-14. Yas Gateway Park, Yas Island,

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