Discover all that glitters in the City of Gold
Even though you can't gamble in Dubai and alcohol laws are strict, the city is often compared to Las Vegas on steroids. Its Burj Khalifa tower is more than twice as high as Sin City's Stratosphere, and the fountains that play at its feet are more extensive than the Bellagio's. Both cities tower out of the surrounding desert, but Dubai has many things not found in Vegas. Whether vacation plans include soaking up sun on Jumeirah Beach or riding in a traditional abra across Dubai Creek, there's more than one "best" time to visit Dubai.
Best times to visit
Before peak tourist season: Dubai's searing summer heat cools down by early November, making days at the beach or exploring Ghaf tree woodlands enjoyable vacation activities. Visit during November and December to avoid the peak tourist crowds and high-season hotel and airfare rates during January and February.
Before summer hits: The weather is nice for getting outside in Dubai long after the peak tourist crowds leave at the end of February. Stop and smell the flowers ‒ about 100 million of them ‒ at the expansive and whimsical displays of Dubai Miracle Garden.
Other times to consider
For those willing to brave tourist crowds or Dubai's sweltering heat, other times of year may prove enticing.
Shopping Festival season: This is during peak tourist season, but for shopaholics, this one's a don't-miss event. The festival takes place in January and lasts for the entire month. See the city decked out in lights and enjoy free evening entertainment. Uncover the deepest shopping discounts of the year that soothe the sting of premium-priced hotels and airfare.
Summer: Consider carefully before heading to Dubai in the summer. Temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees, with humidity levels at 50 percent or more. However, tourists won't have trouble limiting their time outdoors. Some of Dubai's best attractions swaddle visitors in air-conditioned comfort. Shop in the world's largest shopping mall, ski the indoor slope at Ski Dubai or sip hot chocolate in the 21 degrees F climate of the Chillout ICE Lounge.
Make the most of Dubai's desert climate
Although Dubai's a desert, it experiences greater humidity because of its location tucked between the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Humidity ranges between 40 and 60 percent year-round. Enjoy temperatures averaging between 68 and 77 degrees F from November through April before the heat sets in for the summer. If Dubai gets any rain, it comes between December and March in short-lived storms.
Getting around Dubai
Traffic coincides with the city's tourist seasons. Rent a car or four-wheel drive vehicle at the airport. Present a valid national or international driver's license, passport and two photos to obtain a UAE temporary driving permit issued by the car rental. Gas is cheaper than in the U.S., and driving is on the right side of the road.
Dubai's other transit options make it easy to get around without getting behind the wheel. Dubai Metro connects to the airport and maintains air-conditioned stations and access bridges. Clean, climate-controlled buses are easy to navigate as routes are posted in both English and Arabic. Futuristic water taxis navigate Dubai Creek, offering a climate-controlled alternative to open-air abras. Taxis are inexpensive in Dubai and can be hailed on the street, booked by phone or arranged through the hotel.