What’s On? Upcoming Events in Dubai 2021

The events listed are due to go ahead at the time of writing. However, information may be out of date due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Do confirm details with event organisers before planning to attend. 


A dazzling, energetic metropolis, Dubai is packed with plenty of incredible sights and exciting events. With inspiring landmarks like the Burj Khalifa drawing global acclaim, Dubai has become a magnet for some of the world’s most thrilling events and festivals. 


The city’s calendar is action-packed throughout the year – from shopping and food festivals to music events and even sports challenges, there’s always something going on! If you're planning a holiday to Dubai in 2021, take note of our guide to the most popular events taking place in the city throughout the year.


Dubai events in 2021 

  • Dubai Shopping Festival 
  • Dubai Desert Classic 
  • Dubai Jazz Festival 
  • Desert Warrior Challenge 
  • Taste of Dubai 
  • Dubai International Boat Show 
  • Art Dubai 
  • Dubai World Cup 
  • Dubai's Expo 2020 

Dubai Shopping Festival 

Dates: 17th December 2020 - 30th January 2021 

Millions of shoppers are drawn to Dubai’s mega-malls every year from keen-eyed fashionistas looking to replicate catwalk designs to those seeking big name products. The city is home to a variety of malls, including the largest in the world, as well as local markets and souks for a more traditional shopping experience. If you are heading to Dubai specifically to shop, then the best time to visit is during the Dubai Shopping Festival.


The event takes place across the city with more than 4,000 outlets offering deals and discounts. Expect daily raffles with prizes including luxury cars and indulgent hotel experiences, plus live performances and entertainment from world-renowned artists (One Direction's Liam Payne and John Legend are just two names that have performed at this event in recent years).

Dubai Desert Classic 

Dates: 21st - 24th January 2021 

Golf fans should plan a visit to Dubai early in the new year to catch the Dubai Desert Classic – one of the most popular golfing events on the sporting circuit.


See the biggest names in golf, the tournament has seen incredible games from the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory Mcllroy in previous years, competing for the title at this fantastic event, which takes place on the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club.


If you're feeling inspired to play a round or two on the green after watching the professionals, then the great news is that Dubai is also home to three of the world’s Top 100 Golf Courses. You can purchase packages that include the opportunity to play on the tournament course, just after your favourite golfer has finished.


Dubai Jazz Festival 

Dates: 26th - 28th February 2021

This three-day music festival takes place at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Jazz is not the only genre to be heard though, with the very best in soul, blues and rock also taking to the stage.


The line-up for 2021 is yet to be released but to give you a taste of what you can expect, last year included Lionel Richie, OneRepublic and Ms Lauryn Hill. Meanwhile, the likes of Mariah Carey, Tom Jones, Macy Gray and John Legend have also wowed crowds at past events.

Taste of Dubai 

Dates: 11th - 13th March 2021

Foodies will want to visit Dubai in March for this three-day food, drink and music festival.

For almost two weeks the city comes alive with dining experiences and delicious events to sink your teeth into. The exciting calendar includes demonstrations by celebrity chefs, as well as interactive cooking experiences and guided food tours. 

A selection of the city’s best restaurants take part in the Dubai Food Festival, serving up special set menus over the popular ‘Restaurant Week’.

Spend seven days sampling dishes from across the globe, from freshly rolled Japanese sushi to spicy stuffed tacos and authentic Arabian-inspired dishes.


Desert Warrior Challenge 

Dates: 19th February 2021 

The gruelling Desert Warrior Challenge takes place over various courses that take you through Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve. Grab your best trainers as you’ll have to conquer obstacles alongside the elements and rugged terrain. You can choose from the following:


  • Fearless Warrior: 5km track with 12 obstacles
  • Ultimate Warrior: 10km track with 20 obstacles
  • Extreme Warrior: 20km track with 30 obstacles


If you’re not one for tackling sand dunes in your gym gear, you can always opt for spectator only passes and watch some of the world's best athletes compete across the day.


Art Dubai 

Dates: 17th - 20th March 2021 

This international art fair, postponed from 2020, takes place at Madinat Jumeirah Conference and Events Center. Spread across four days, the event aims to showcase local arts and inspirations.  


There are four galleries: Contemporary, Modern, Bawwaba and Residents. Alongside work from both established and emerging artists, there will be a programme of talks to attend.


Local artwork is displayed, as well as pieces from ‘The Global South’ which includes Australasia, Latin America, the African continent and South East Asia. 

Dubai Marina at sunset, United Arab Emirates

Dubai International Boat Show 

Dates: 19th - 13th March 2021

See impressive superyachts, check out the latest boating innovations and sign up for the exhilarating competitive fishing competition at this five-day boating event. Over 500 incredible yachts and boats converge in Dubai’s waterfront for this maritime marvel. For visitors who prefer firmer ground, there are plenty of events and exhibitions located around the harbour area to explore on foot.


There will also be demonstrations and competitions featuring state-of-the-art sailing equipment and accessories. Alongside this, you’ll be able to shop for maritime products as well as jewellery, shoes and swimwear.

Dubai World Cup 

Dates: 27th March 2021

Horse racing enthusiasts will love the Dubai World Cup, which brings the best riders from around the world to the city for one of the must-see events of the calendar.


The nine-horse races take place at the mile-long Meydan racecourse from the early afternoon of March 27.


Packages are available for this event with extras that include ‘Breakfast with the Stars’, in which you’ll be able to watch interviews with the jockeys and explore pre-race preparations ahead of the big day.


Expo 2020 Dubai

Dates: 1st October 2021 - 31st March 2022 

Expo Dubai 2020 is one of the biggest events of the calendar and showcases stunning innovations and technological marvels from across the globe.


Originally planned for 2020 - the clue is in the name! - it was understandably postponed and is now taking place at the end of 2021.


This year’s theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating Future’ with three sub-themes, Opportunity, Sustainability and Mobility. You’ll find pavilions dedicated to each one, so you can learn more about it. 


During the six-month celebration of all things creative, collaborative and innovative, there will be 60 live events and cultural performances each day as well as entertainment and food available.


So, which event do you fancy attending in Dubai in 2021? Once you've decided, check out our holidays to Dubai and plan your trip around your chosen one.