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What to wear in Dubai in December

What to wear in Dubai in December

Are you wondering what to wear in Dubai in December? December is actually my favorite time to visit the UAE because of the good weather and Winter celebrations. However it can be tricky to pack for Dubai in Winter. In this guide we will cover everything from what to wear for Dubai tourist attractions, how to dress for the heat and also how to adhere to the Dubai dress code.

Important Note: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click through and make a purchase I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you. 

Weather in Dubai in December

Dubai can never really be called cold, even in Winter. In fact Winter can be the best time to visit due to the more moderate heat. But how hot is Dubai in December?

Is Dubai Hot in December?

woman on a sand dune - What To Wear on a Desert Safari in Dubai
What To Wear on a Desert Safari in Dubai

The weather in Dubai in December is usually very pleasant. From our experience of living in the UAE what surprised me about the Winter months, is how much tourists will be in shorts and t shirts while locals will be wrapped up in their Winter wear.

I always said I wouldn’t do this, but after a couple of years in the region I found myself doing the same. However if you aren’t a local in the middle east you won’t usually find Dubai cold as the temperatures usually range from highs of 26°C/78.8F to lows 16°C/60F.

However it can feel cooler next to the water, and the desert can feel cold whatever time of year you visit.

Therefore for Dubai in December you will largely need your summer travel capsule wardrobe but it is worth having extra layers, especially if you plan on doing a Dubai desert safari.

Is Dubai cold at night in December?

While the temperatures in Dubai during the day in December are hot, they do drop during the night. However I would not classify it as cold in Dubai at night in December.

But it is worth having a top layer for outside in the desert and also I always carry a pashmina or cardigan as the air conditioning in Dubai can be fierce.

Does it rain in Dubai in December?

Rain is not a common occurance in Dubai whatever time of year you visit, it is the desert after all! However even though rain in Dubai is rare it does occur – but does it rain in Dubai in December?

Well the good news is, that even though Dubai in December is classified as Winter it isn’t the rainiest month. In fact usually you only get a day of rain in Dubai in December.

And even in the rainier season you will never need waterproof wear on your packing list.

Dubai Dress Code

Before we start to put together the guide to what to wear to Dubai in December packing list it is important to understand the Dubai dress code rules. As an Islamic country there are rules about what you can and can’t wear in certain places.

The general rules for the Dubai dress code for both men and women are

  • Keep your shoulders covered
  • Keep your knees covered
  • Don’t wear anything overly revealing.

And it is important to remember that these rules apply to both men and women. Lots of people assume that rules connect to the Dubai dress code are solely aimed at women but this isn’t true.

For a complete guide on what NOT to wear in Dubai check out this post. And if you are visiting other countries in the region be sure to check out our wondering what to wear in the Middle East post which offers a helpful country comparison.

It is also important to remember that different places in Dubai will also have different dress code standards.

For instance on hotel property you will be able to be more liberal in your clothing but in public places modesty is VERY Important.

Also, in Dubai you are likely to see lots of tourists breaking the dress code rules, however this is not respectful to local culture so we advise you not to do this!

For more information on what to wear in specific places in Dubai be sure to check out our guides:

Considerations for Dubai Outfits in Winter

Alongside the Dubai dress code rules as stated above there are a couple of other things you should consider when putting together your outfits in Dubai in Winter.

Air Conditioning

Even though it is warm in Dubai pretty much all year round you will find the air conditioning fierce in some indoor places.

Therefore we recommend always having a top layer such as a pashmina or a cardigan with you.

Beaches, Beach Clubs, Swimming Pools and Water Parks

Dubai Beaches Dress Code what to wear on the beach in Dubai
Dubai Beaches Dress Code what to wear on the beach in Dubai

Even in December it is largely possible to use the pools, and swim in the sea in Dubai. In fact the winter sun is the reason that many people visit Dubai in December.

However depending on where you are heading to indulge in some swimming you will need to adjust your swim wear accordingly.

Bikinis are more appropriate at beach clubs and private spaces while public beaches you should have a more modest piece of swimwear.

Religious Sites

If you are planning to visit some religious sites while in the UAE you will need to ensure you have very modest clothing with you. Shoulders and knees must be covered at all times and clothing shouldn’t be tight or overly revealing.

For more information on visiting UAE mosques check out these posts:

What to wear in Dubai at Christmas

Dubai Christmas Lights
What to wear in Dubai at Christmas

Although Dubai is a Muslim country, you won’t be short of Christmas celebrations. From Christmas day brunches, the Christmas Markets at Madinat Jumeirah and Dubai Festival City and even carols in the desert. There are plenty of ways to celebrate Christmas in Dubai.

Therefore feel free to throw in a festive t shirt or Christmas jumper if you want. However for Christmas day brunches and meals you will find that many people will dress up. Therefore I recommend having at least one smart casual outfit / going out outfit with you.

What to wear for NYE in Dubai

Fireworks on Burj Khalifa on NYE in Dubai
What to pack for Dubai in December

Dubai has some of the best New Years Eve Celebrations. But what do you wear for New Years Eve in Dubai?

Well the answer is it really depends on where you are going and how you plan to spend NYE in Dubai. Many of the nightclubs in Dubai and high end restaurants may have dress codes for NYE so be sure to check your venue to specific dress codes.

However if you are just planning on watching the Burj Khalifa fireworks it is a good idea to pack a light jacket for being outside at night.

What to wear in Dubai for UAE National Day

Flag of the UAE with Dubai skyline in background
What to wear on UAE National Day

The other big celebration in Dubai in December is the UAE National Day. This is celebrated every year on 2nd December every year and is a public holiday. The holiday celebrates the independence from Britain and the unification of the Emirates to become the United Arab Emirates.

There is no special dress code for National Day though however you will find many people will dress in national dress in schools etc.

Others like to wear the colors that feature in the national flag (red, white, black, and green). However you really don’t know need to pack anything special if you are visiting the UAE over the National Day Celebrations.

What to wear in Dubai in December for Women

Woman in jumpsuit at Burj Khalifa Dubai in December
What to wear in Dubai in December

So now you know some of the dress codes you need to consider we will turn our attention to what to wear for women in Dubai in December first.

Maxi Skirts

A Maxi skirt is always on my Dubai packing list no matter the time of year you visit. Maxi skirts are a great modest but cool piece of clothing. However just be sure the skirt you pick doesn’t have an overly high slit that reveal your knee.

Click here to shop maxi skirts for Dubai

Maxi Dresses

A Maxi dress is another staple of my Dubai packing lists. I try and pick one made of a natural fabric such as cotton so it is more breathable.

I would advise picking a dress that has at least some cap sleeves to make it more appropriate for the Dubai dress code thank something that has spaghetti straps.

Click here to shop Maxi Dresses


It might sound strange to be heading to a country that has high daytimes temperature to recommend taking a cardigan but I am. The reason is because the indoor venues such as the Dubai mall, Burj Khalifa or in hotels the air conditioning is very strong so you will want an extra layer.

Shop cardigans here.

T Shirts

A T Shirt that covers the shoulder is great wherever you are heading in Dubai.

I recommend stick to plain and lightly patterned t shirts in Dubai. And certainly avoid anything that has a slogan or graphic that could be deemed offensive.

Shop t-shirts here.


When I am traveling to Dubai in December my preference is to take one pieces for swimming. That is because they can work at whatever beach or water park you are at.

If you are traveling and using the private beaches and beach clubs however then you can wear whatever type of swimwear you desire.

I will normally pack two swimsuits for Dubai no matter how long I am traveling for. This way I can have one piece to wear and have another drying.

Shop swimwear here.

Beach Cover

Now although you can wear swimwear in Dubai on beaches and in the waterparks, swimwear is definitely only appropriate at these places.

As soon as you leave the beaches and water parks and head onto the boardwalks, shops, restaurants and bars you will need to cover up.

We advise choosing a beach cover that covers both your knees and shoulders again to adhere to the Dubai dress club.

For this reason I usually opt for beach kaftans such as the one below

Depending on how long your Dubai itinerary and how often you are planning to hit the beach and pool will affect how many covers you want to take. Personally I usually travel for one week in Dubai with two kaftans.

Click here to shop kaftans for Dubai.

Trousers / Jumpsuits

Trousers and jumpsuits are a great pick for Dubai in December as they are modest by nature. We recommend only picking ones in natural fabrics such as cotton and linen.

Light Jacket

Although this wont be needed in most places in Dubai it is useful to have a light weight jacket as part of your Winter airport outfit that you can then use on a Dubai desert safari or standing outside watching the New Years Eve fireworks.

Shorts (Longer Length)

We often get asked “Can I wear shorts in Dubai?”. And the answer is surprisingly yes but they have to be the right type.

If you want to wear shorts in public they have to be longer length and cover the knee. If you just want to use shorts in your hotel and around a private pool then you can pick whatever variety you wish.

If you are just looking for shorts for on private beaches I would chose a quick dry pair of shorts.

Best Shoes for Dubai in December


When I am thinking about the best shoes for Dubai in December sandals are the number one pick. The sun is hot in Dubai even in December and these can be used in a variety of places such as the mall and the beaches.

Click here to shop sandals.


While my go to shoe for Dubai is of course a sandal, I would also advise taking a sneaker to Dubai. Although there are lots of indoor things to do in Dubai this doesn’t mean that there isn’t any walking to be done.

A day at Dubai mall can rack up the step count as well as the Dubai theme parks and boardwalks. For these days I recommend having a comfy pair of sneakers with you.

But be sure you pick a lightweight pair that can deal with the heat in the Middle East. At the minute my go to hot weather shoe is an All Birds Tree Runner however select the pair you are most comfortable in.

I also like a white sneaker as they are the most versatile. My go to at the minute is the Addidas Cloud Foam.

Click here to shop good sneakers

Flip Flops

Although the most important shoes for Dubai are definitely sandals and sneakers, you may also want to pack a pair of flip flops with you for wondering around the pool and beach.

I would never recommend wearing flip flips for doing lots of walking i.e. for going round Dubai Mall, the boardwalk at Jumeriah Beach or Old Dubai. However they are perfect for round the beach and by the pool.

And as they take up so little space in your case they won’t cause you to overpack by throwing a pair in.

Click here to shop flip flops


This goes without saying. If you plan on wearing sneakers in Dubai it is a good idea to pack sneaker socks too. The heat in Dubai can make your feet sweat and sneaker socks are a great way of reducing sweat and odour.

Click here to shop sneaker socks.


For any trip to Dubai whatever time of year you are traveling we recommend taking a pashmina. This is for two reasons:

  • The air conditioning can be very strong so you may want to have a pashmina as an extra layer for some indoor locations.
  • It can be used to make an outfit more modest when required.

Wherever I go in Dubai I always keep my pashmina in my day bag as you just never know when you are going to need it.

Shop pashminas here.


I would recommend a lightweight pair unless you are traveling with someone who will be putting the aircon up high!

Sun hat

The sun is very strong in Dubai so to protect your face from the sun while walking around the city and for hanging out on the beach.

I recommend packing a wide brimmed hat.

Click here to shop sun hats

For more information on how to pack sun hats for travel click here.


Sun safety in Dubai is very important so be sure to pack a good pair of sunglasses that have good UV Protection even in December.

What to Pack for Dubai in December for Men

Man on beach in Dubai with Burj al arab in background
What to wear in Dubai in December for men

Although many people think Dubai dress code rules only apply to women but they apply to men too. Therefore be sure that men keep shoulders and knees covered when out in public in Dubai.

So what should men add to their Dubai packing list!

Cotton Pants

To keep your knees covered for certain public places but keep cool we recommend wearing lightweight cotton pants.

Other great fabric choices for Dubai are linen pants and shirts. To learn how to pack linen without wrinkling check out this post.

T Shirts

T Shirts are appropriate throughout Dubai for men. We recommend packing plain short sleeve t shirts as opposed to graphic or slogan, and I would avoid tank tops away from the beach.

Longer Length Shorts

While at hotels and on the beach shorter length shorts are fine. However we recommend packing a long length pair for certain public places and avoiding shorts altogether at mosques and religious settings.

Generally speaking for the beach we recommend quick dry team.


While T shirts are appropriate in most public places, button down shirts should be added to your packing list if you plan on eating at some of Dubai’s fine dining establishments.

Dubai Packing List (non clothing)

Woman in Old Dubai
What to wear in Dubai for Women

Now we have covered the clothes you should pack for Dubai, we will look at the non clothing items to put on your Dubai packing list

  • Documents – including but not limited to: passports, travel insurance, COVID related documents, visas etc.
  • Crossbody bag – Dubai is actually one of the places I have traveled to where I have felt safest. However I always travel with a crossbody bag with plenty of zips that deters pick pockets.
  • Reusable Water bottle – as the temperatures in Dubai are high it is important to stay hydrated. For this reason we recommend packing a travel water bottle.
  • Sunscreen – the sun is strong, keep your skin protected.
  • Toiletries – find out full list of essential travel toiletries here. However if you are tight on space, it is easy to buy toiletries in Dubai in supermarkets such as Waitrose, Carreforre and in local pharmacies.
  • Medication – just be sure to have your prescription with you and check for anything medication that can not be brought into Dubai.
  • Travel First Aid Kit – we always travel with one.
  • Blister plasters
  • Camera
  • Universal Travel Adaptor – very important for those traveling from outside of Europe as Rome uses standard European plugs.
  • Power Pack / Battery recharger
  • Aloe Vera – in case you do get burnt this is. a good to have with you.
  • Lip Balm with SPF my current favorite brand is Sun Bum.
  • Cooling Towel – if you feel the heat a cooling towel as a great addition to your packing list.
  • Quick Dry Towel – useful if you plan on visiting beaches or the water parks in Dubai.

What else would you add to this Dubai in December packing list?