With the holy month falling in summer vacation this year, many Saudis have booked their tickets for Dubai to experience an authentic Emirati Ramadan.
The vibrant city of Dubai is celebrating Ramadan with a wide range of cultural and family events inspired by the values of the holy month. The 6th edition of ‘Ramadan in Dubai’, a multi-purpose awareness campaign, is highlighting how Dubai embraces the serenity and tranquility that comes with Ramadan, yet remains faithful to its dynamic business environment.
Most of the events and activities under the ‘Ramadan in Dubai’ banner involve the whole community and are organized as a collaboration between the government and private sectors. The events are part of the country’s efforts to further enhance Dubai’s image as a must-visit holiday destination across the year.
From cultural activities embracing the spirit of Ramadan and showcasing Emirati heritage to indoor events and daily iftar gatherings, the citywide Ramadan in Dubai campaign is offering a line-up of special experiences for both residents and tourists to enjoy.
‘Ramadan in Dubai’ calendar of events and activities:
Dubai International Holy Qur’an Award
Venue: Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Date: June 6–25
This event, founded in 1997 under the directive of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, features Holy Qur’an memorization contests, as well as lectures on Islam at various locations across the emirate. The event is aimed at confirming and celebrating Islamic values. Many world-renowned Islamic scholars have been invited to enliven this spiritual month. The events of the festival are held from the first until the 20th of Ramadan each year.
Open Doors, Open Minds — Ramadan Iftar
Venue: Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU)
Date: 8 June – 4 July
Held in the courtyard of the wind-tower house in the heart of the Al-Fahidi Historic District of Old Bur Dubai, and hosted by Emiratis, the “Open Doors, Open Minds” cultural experience enables an interactive opportunity for learning more about Ramadan, as well as the UAE history, culture and cuisine.
Princess Haya bint Al-Hussain Center — Ramadan Initiatives
Venue: Princess Haya Bint Al-Hussein Islamic Cultural Center
Date: 6 June – 4 July
A series of Islamic activities for Muslim women, such as a Qur’an Challenge, Qur’an Recitation activities and Islamic lectures throughout the month of Ramadan. Join gatherings of culture and tradition by engaging with Muslim women and learning more about Islam.
Zayed Humanitarian Work Day
Venue: Elderly Home
Date: June 24
On the 19th day of Ramadan every year, the UAE celebrates Zayed Humanitarian Work Day in memory of the founder of the state, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, who passed away on that day.
Culture — All year round
Venue: Jumeirah Beach Road
One of the most beautiful mosques in the Arab world, and one of the most photographed landmarks in Dubai, Jumeirah Mosque is characterized by the white stone used to build it in the Medieval Fatimid Tradition. The mosque that welcomes up to 1,200 worshippers, is most beautiful when lit up at dusk, when the artistry is most evident.
Enjoy a bit of culture and heritage, and learn more about the Emirati culture and the UAE by visiting Jumeirah Mosque during the day prior to Iftar.
Al-Ahmadiya School & Heritage House
Venue: Al-Fahidi Fort
A former residence of a wealthy pearl merchant, and the first school of its kind in Dubai, Al-Ahmadiya School and Heritage House dates back to the 1890s. It was fully renovated in 1995 as a museum of education.
To interactively learn about the Emirati culture this Ramadan, visit Al-Ahmadiya School and Heritage House. It’s a good place to gain traditional insights into Dubai’s past.
Ramadan Night Market
Venue: Za’abeel Halls 4 & 5, Dubai World Trade Center
Date: 23 June – 2 July
Bringing retailers from across the world together, Ramadan Night Market offers visitors endless shopping opportunities, as well as family fun. The ten day market offers shoppers the opportunity to purchase a wide variety of branded merchandise from over 300 retailers.
Eventra Ramadan Fair
Venue: Sunset Mall, Jumeirah Road
Date: 15 June – 20 June
Local and regional retailers showcase their talents through fashion, food and more. This five-day event has been running for 8 years and continues to see rising entrepreneurs year after year.
Malls across Dubai
Most of the malls across the city of Dubai keep their lights on and shopping is extended to a few hours later than the rest of the year.
Sports and Games
Dubai Sports World
Venue: Sheikh Saeed Halls, Dubai World Trade Center
Date: 5 June – 27 August
Celebrating its 6th outing this year, the UAE’s largest indoor summer sports venue offers athletes and sports lovers the opportunity to engage in 10 weeks of action-packed sports, tournaments, and engaging activities. The multi-purpose Dubai Sports World 2016 will feature four pro-standard pitches for five-a-side football, four pro-standard pitches for seven-a-side football and rugby, four basketball courts, two tennis courts, six badminton courts, a mini cricket pitch nets, a regulation-sized volleyball court, an expansive skate-boarding and BMX park, a state-of-the-art gym by TechnoGym, a dedicated fitness studio for group classes and a cycling studio.
Nad Al-Sheba Sports Tournament (NAS)
Venue: Nad Al-Sheba Sports complex
Date: 7 June – 29 June
Embracing all sports lovers of all nationalities, genders and interests, NAS offers tournaments and competitions in several sports including: football, volleyball, squash, paddle tennis, running (10km), cycling (70 km), tennis, archery, wheelchair, as well as bow and arrow.
For the sightseers and adventurous
Venue: Dubai Motor City — Dubai
In for a thrill? Bring your friends and enjoy a medieval castle type environment of 400 square meters. Challenge yourself and your friends to a battle of laser guns in a dungeon style decorated venue, with lighting and artificial fog aimed at challenging opponents.
Venue: City Center Mirdif
Be a bit of a dare devil this Ramadan, and feel the sensation of sky diving at City Center Mirdif. Enjoy your weekday or weekend by soaring to new heights in the 10-meter acrylic glass tunnels at iFly Dubai.
In a city that is evergreen in its touristic and entertainment offerings, exploration can never get old. Turning away from the thrill and action, a tranquil Dubai can be enjoyed prior to and after Iftar.
Dubai Butterfly Garden
Venue: Al-Barsha South 3, Dubailand Area, Beside Dubai Miracle Garden — Dubai
See more of Dubai by visiting the biggest covered butterfly garden in the world, and one of the city’s newest attractions. The Butterfly Garden consists of nine custom built domes around 2,600 meters square, as well as a butterfly museum; and is home to thousands of colorful butterflies from around the world.
There is no better time than the month of Ramadan, characterized by shorter working hours, to explore a city that is continuously innovative with its offerings to residents and tourists alike.
Ras Al-Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
Venue: Ras Al-Khor, Dubai
Located at the mouth of Dubai’s Creek, and one of the few protected urban areas in the world, Ras Al-Khor Wildlife Sanctuary (Cape of the Creek), is the destination of choice for tens of thousands of migrating birds.
Spread over an area of 620 hectares, featuring a combination of salt flats, intertidal mudflats, mangroves and lagoons, the sanctuary supports more than 20,000 water birds and 67 species. It is also home to more than 500 species of flora and fauna, and one of the best-managed arid wetland zones in the region.
Where to stay:
The Four Seasons DIFC is the newest edition to the hospitality scene in Dubai. This five-star boutique hotel has 106 rooms — including 27 studios and one-bedroom suites, plus a sumptuous Presidential Suite that may be configured with up to 4 bedrooms. The experience starts as soon as you walk into the hotel across a small, elegant reception area that reflects the whole idea behind the hotel.
The hotel is located in the business district, which means most guests are from the corporate world or those who want to escape the city’s noise and unwind in a more relaxed and luxurious venue. The hotel is very charming yet very cozy. It is an outstanding piece of art, you almost never see children running around, this to me was a major selling point for it is an adult hotel. The pool area is my favorite part of the hotel. You will fall in love with the 7th floor, it is where the pool and the spa is located. The pool offers a seating area for those looking for a quick outdoor lunch. Try the beef burger and fries, they are to die for. The area also includes a small swimming pool and sun beds. As for the spa, the Four Seasons DIFC offers a beautiful variety of treatments that are much needed especially for travelers.
For Ramadan, Four Seasons DIFC is offering an American style Iftar in their unique 70’s inspired diner. This diner is made especially for those who are looking for something different and modern. The diner is called Firebird and it is a culinary and creative collaboration with celebrated Chef Michael Mina, renowned for the success of his restaurants across the United States including Michael Mina Restaurant. This classic American eatery is highly recommended for those who are looking for a family oriented meal. You can try Firebird’s Steak & Eggs, “The Elvis” American Toast, Mina’s twist on traditional French toast; Ahi Tuna Tartare, Maine Lobster Corn Dogs, San Francisco Cioppinno, and “Chicken Fried” Wagyu Steak. Above all, you cannot leave the diner without trying their pancakes. I mean seriously fluffy pancakes with generous portions.
Also not to be missed is a collection of signature burgers that pair perfectly with Mina’s Signature Duck Fat Fries and one of the diner’s milkshake creations.
The decor is exactly how I imagined a traditional American diner would look like, it is designed like those you see on TV with all red, while and silver leather seating areas. You have the choice either to enjoy your all American experience while seated on the counter or in one of the plush booths. A serene yet celebratory time of the year, Ramadan is characterized by bringing people together, be it through religious and cultural activities, social events and gatherings or food festivities.