Dubai: Events in 2013


Dubai is known as the “City of Gold” because of its amazing shopping malls, five-star hotels and amazing economic growth. Over the past few years, thanks to huge private and state investment, Dubai has earned its place as one of the world’s “must-see” destinations and it only continues to grow in popularity. But despite its glamorous and glitzy reputation, it’s still possible to find cheap hotels in Dubai. One interesting time to visit Dubai is during one of its many internationally acclaimed events. Check out what 2013 has in store for the “City of Gold.”

The skyline of Dubai with the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, on the right.

The skyline of Dubai with the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, on the right.

Dubai International Dance Festival

Sept. 25 – 28 welcomes back the Dubai International Dance Festival, highlighting international and local performers. Last year featured 400 dancers from 40 countries, and introduced the Dubai audience to new and exciting choreography.

Gulf Bike Week

Incorporating the Gulf Bike Expo, this homage to two-wheeled transportation is a unique and fun event to experience in the UAE. The region’s largest bike exhibition, it will feature music by local and international artists, a Moto X competition, a custom bike competition, street bike stunts and FMX stunts. Last year, it attracted over 30,000 daytime visitors. This year it will be held from Oct. 10 – 12

Dubai International Motor Show

Car fans and industry professionals flock to the Dubai International Motor Show each year to see some of the automotive field’s most interesting product launches. In 2009, the show hosted 13 world premieres and five new concept cars. The show has one of the longest histories of any Dubai event and remains the largest such show in the Middle East, with 100,000 visitors each year. This year, it will be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from Nov. 5 – 9.

The Dubai Airshow

Held every two years, the Dubai Airshow will amaze the world once again from Nov. 17-21 at Dubai World Central. At the last airshow in 2011, almost 1,000 companies came from 50 countries to exhibit the latest products on the international aerospace marketplace. While the show’s main point is to bring aerospace movers and shakers together to talk progress, there’s plenty to see and do for people who are not in the business.

Dubai International Film Festival

Held in December, the Dubai International Film Festival is an important event for area filmmakers. A pioneer festival in the region, this festival lasts a week and showcases films from international and local talent. Its goal is to promote cross-cultural understanding, using film as a medium. Although it attracts some film academics, the star-studded awards banquets and premieres make this a gala event for even casual film buffs. Last year, the festival showed 158 films, including over 75 Arab films, shorts and documentaries, and hosted the Middle Eastern premiere of Hollywood blockbuster “Life of Pi.” This year the film festival will be held Dec. 6 – 14.

IMG Theme Park to Open

The four-zoned IMG Theme Park will open in December and will undoubtedly impress, though its exact details are still somewhat mysterious. What we do know is that one zone will be dedicated to Marvel Comics and another to the Cartoon Network. The themes of the two other zones are still unrevealed, but the park will certainly have enough rides, shops and restaurants to go around.


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Lila Moussad is a California-based travel writer and translator who specializes in the Middle East.