Culture of Dubai

From its food and festivals to its many religions and languages, Dubai is one of the most diverse cities in the world. Its character is a product of its culture, with a large population of both expats and locals sharing and respecting each other’s customs.

The city is working on being established as a vibrant, global Arabian metropolis that shapes culture and arts in the region and the world. Across the city you’ll find hundreds of art and cultural events, handfuls of interesting museums and regular performances from local and global artists.

Dubai Cultural Holidays


The official religion in Dubai is Islam, but due to the heavy expat population many other religions are also practised.

As one of the most liberal places in the Middle East, you’ll find Hindu and Buddhist Temples alongside Christian churches and Islamic Mosques.

Despite its toleration of other religions, Islamic Law and Arabic culture is strictly adhered to and respected. During the month of Ramadan, you’ll gain a real sense of the national religion with Muslims fasting from dawn to dusk. Tourists are expected to observe this too, but may eat in screened-off dining areas set up in some hotels.


As a result of the mixed demographic in Dubai, there’s a host of exciting festivals throughout the entire year. One of the biggest events is the National Day Festival held on the 2nd December. As zealous locals celebrate Dubai’s independence from British colonial rule, many of the city’s leading monuments open their doors and put on special events throughout the day.

Sport enthusiasts will be in their element with events ranging from the Dubai Desert Classic golfing tournament to the Dubai rugby Sevens. January sees the arrival of the month long Shopping Festival which attracts over two million visitors and the Dubai Marathon, should you need to escape. The annual Dubai International Film Festival held in December also attracts large crowds and special guests.


Dubai is well known as being a shopper’s paradise and hitting the malls has become a significant part of the city’s culture. With temperatures too hot to wander the streets for half of the year, shopping malls have become the hub of the city, offering a welcome break from the heat.

The Mall of Emirates is the largest in Dubai, which boasts opulent marble floors and a huge collection of stores. Aside from shopping, these grand centres are a place for socialising and stay open until 10pm every night. From restaurants and entertainment to bowling and beauty spas, there is nothing you can’t find in Dubai’s malls and they’re packed with fun-filled activities.


With an exciting mix of nationalities and more liberal approach to Western culture, Dubai continues to produce some of the best nightlife in the world. Bars and clubs are bustling almost every night of the week with expats unwinding after work and visitors looking for a good time.

Due to licensing laws, most bars and clubs are housed inside hotels offering spectacular views of the skyline. From cosy pub quizzes and live bands to sophisticated cocktails in sky high lounges, evening drinks are part and parcel of the Dubai experience.