Is Dubai THAT hot? What to expect visiting Dubai in summer

Dubai gets hot in the summer. Really hot. We’re talking up to 50c / 120F. But is it still worth planning a stopover, or even a longer holiday in Dubai over the hot summer months?

Dubai beach front with city skyline - Dubai in the Summer

Yes, it’s going to be sweaty hot, but it’s also a city built to deal with the extreme temperatures.  A summer stopover in Dubai may not be as unbearable as you think.

In this guide to what to expect during summer in Dubai, we run you through;

  • Dubai temperature – how hot does it actually get?
  • Dealing with the heat in Dubai
  • Best summer activities in Dubai
  • Where to stay in Dubai during the summer

Dubai Temperature – How hot does it actually get?

Whilst summer averages are reported at 45c/113F, it is quite typical to experience day time maximums up to 50c/122F.

Weather chart for Dubai MeteoBlue

Weather Chart courtesy of MeteoBlue

What you feel in Dubai and what is actually reported in the peaks of summer can also be two different things!  You need to take into account not only the temperature but the humidity too.  It helps if you have a weather app that gives you the “feels like” temperature as well!!

The humidity tends to be more noticeable in the later half of summer August to September.

It’s also important to note that overnight, although you don’t get the powerful heat of the sun, the temperatures really don’t drop really below 30c/86F.  You can certainly see and do a lot more after dark without the glaring sun and heat, but be realistic about what can be done at night time too.

Let’s agree, it’s hot.

You can learn more about Dubai’s weather patterns and the best time to visit here.

Dealing with the heat in Dubai

Dealing with the summer heat in Dubai for most tourists is not nearly as difficult as it might seem,  First up, nearly everything is airconditioned to the max  – even too cold.  You will arrive in an airconditioned airport, transfer to an airconditioned car or Metro train and arrive at airconditioned accommodation.  Even bus stops are air-conditioned in many locations!

Whilst the outside air temperature is extreme, most hotels will chill their pools in the summer months to make them a refreshing retreat. Swimming is still best tackled early morning and late afternoon/evenings.

The same cannot be said for the ocean, however!  You will need to mindful that the salty waters of the Gulf can be too hot for swimming in over summer (32-35c/90-95F); it will feel more like spa water than a refreshing break.

And in case it isn’t obvious, sand becomes excruciatingly hot in the summer. It only takes burning sand becoming trapped in your sandals or flip-flops once to work this one out, let alone if you dare attempt to walk on it with bare feet!

Hot sand warning sign in the UAE - English and Russian

A trap for UAE newcomers – the sand really is HOT

Dressing for the heat in Dubai

You should always dress sensibly for the heat.  Please don’t have any misconceptions though that ladies need to be wearing a full head covering or burkha! This means ideally wear loose cotton clothing that is still respectable. We have a full guide on what you should expect to wear in the UAE here.

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A couple of important summer clothing observations:

  • Tourists need to note is the difference between “resort wear” and what you wear in public.  Although this seems to have relaxed over the years (maybe too much?), as a sign of respect, keep the skimpy clothing and bathers only to the pool & beach.
  • When walking through hotel public areas, on public transport, in malls and restaurants, you should ALWAYS dress respectfully for the Muslim country you are in. At a minimum, think covered knees and shoulders for both sexes and nothing too clingy and revealing.
  • Temperature drops between outside and indoor air conditioning can be extreme. Make no mistake you will still want to pack a wrap or cardigan for those indoor blasts of cold!

Places to visit in Dubai during summer

Dubai’s best indoor attractions

Whilst many seasonal favorites may be closed, there’s still plenty happening indoors to enjoy in Dubai over the summer months.

If you are looking especially for family activities PLEASE HEAD OVER TO THIS PAGE where we share 60+ indoor attractions for kids. 

Note we include a few links here top our favorite attraction ticket providers Klook and Get Your Guide.  Both ticket booking services have a wide range of attraction options you can book straight from your phone.  Klook in particularly offers deep discounts on advertised ticket prices – you can see all our favourite Dubai special offers on Klook here). We are affiliates for both. 

Dubai Mall & Burj Khalifa

One of the world’s largest malls still has a huge amount going on over summer. You could literally spend a couple of days here and not run out of things to do.  Some of our family favourites include:

  • Burj Khalifa Observation Deck (Levels 124 & 125 “At The Top” advance booking essential). Entrance is through the Dubai Mall basement level.
  • Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo you can view the world’s largest suspended tank from within the Mall for free, or come in for plenty of interactive water life experiences.
  • Kidzania Dubai – a real-to-life town where kids “work” to earn Kidzos to spend on fun activities.
  • VR Park a virtual reality theme park.
  • Dubai Ice Rink – indoor ice skating fun.
  • With the kids, don’t forget the giant Hamleys store, plus The Toy Store in the basement – plenty of FREE fun entertainment!
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Dubai Mall is certainly not the only shopping mall with a lot going on.  In fact, Malls are where most summer life circulates around in Dubai during the day.  You can also try a few more novel indoor ideas in Dubai such as:

Mall of the Emirates

City Centre Mirdif

Times Square

Top Tip: Look out for shopper discounts with My Emirates Pass if you have an Emirates boarding pass

Top Dubai tourist attractions to visit in the summer

These are the best ones for keeping cool inside, though you may still need to walk outside a little to get to them!

  • The Dubai Frame – superb views as well as interactive displays around Dubai’s past and present in Zabeel Park
  • Etihad Museum – learn more about the country’s recent history and journey to unification
  • The Green Planet Dubai – an entirely indoor biodome experience transports you to a tropical rainforest (warm but much cooler than outside!!) at City Walk.
  • La Perle evening extravaganza by Dragone is one of the city’s most highly acclaimed shows in Al Habtoor City.
Dubai Frame

Dubai Frame is a great indoor tourist attraction with some fabulous views to enjoy

Theme Parks

  • IMG Worlds of Adventure is the only entirely indoor theme park in Dubai.
  • Hub Zero – huge indoor entertainment centre including VR games, 4D theatre and climbing wall in City Walk.
  • Dubai Parks and Resorts is another favourite family offering including Legoland Dubai and Motiongate but as it’s partly outdoors, it may not suit everyone.

We have a detailed review here what you should expect at Dubai Parks and Resorts in the summer so you are fully prepared for just how hot it can be.

Legoland Dubai Miniland

Miniland in Legoland Dubai does bring some relief from the heat indoors

There are a tonne more fun indoor activities with a family focus we have included in our family article here – loads of ideas from rock climbing to escape rooms that can all be enjoyed entirely indoors over the summer in Dubai.

Outdoor activities in Dubai over Summer

The main outdoor attractions that are still in full operation over the hottest summer months are the water parks.

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Dubai Waterparks

There’s a great review by Our Globetrotters here explaining the difference between each of the waterparks and splash parks in the UAE and who they are best suited to.

REMEMBER: Even if you hire a cabana, wear sunscreen and stay in the shade, it can still be excruciatingly hot outside even at a water park. Be mindful of hot surfaces (wear flipflops. or non-slip pool shoes everywhere and be VERY careful of touching surfaces).

Outdoor evening activities to try in Dubai:

  • Dubai Garden Glow & Dinosaur Park – previously a seasonal winter venue, this park stayed open over Eid evenings and looks like it will stay open in the summer too.
  • Walk around the Al Fahidi neighbourhood, taking in many of the city’s museums and galleries and along the creek front at Al Seef before catching a traditional abra across the gold and spice souks in Deira.
  • The Walk in JBR, a popular outdoor dining district alongside the beach still has a vibrant nightlife, although outdoor dining is mostly removed in the peak of summer.
  • La Mer – not just the waterpark there’s also a vibrant nightlife district here that still has a good vibe after dark.
  • Souk Madinat Jumeirah – a much more modern souk experience, from here you get the spectacular views back to Burj Al Arab. Mostly indoor and airconditioned, lots of dining options and picturesque waterways.

Should I do a Dubai desert safari in Summer?

Many desert safari companies do continue to run over summer, albeit on a reduced program.

Desert safari in Dubai

We think this really depends on how you cope with the heat, but based on many years experience, anything from late May to early October starts to get really sticky outside.

If you are heat lovers you may still enjoy it, but with young kids, I would be extremely cautious of recommending a desert safari in the summer.

If you are planning to self-drive at all, make sure you understand these important points about driving in desert conditions. 

What will be closed in Dubai over Summer

Our favourite attractions in Dubai that are NOT operational in summer (see links to find out when they will re-open, its variably around end of October/early November) include:

Power Points and Voltage in the Middle East

Many restaurants and attractions do now remain open throughout summer, albeit very reduced programs or only opening in the evenings. It’s always best to check opening hours from Ramadan all the way through summer.

Where to stay in Dubai over the summer

The good news is, almost anywhere is the answer. All Dubai hotels will be airconditioned, and it’s very uncommon to come across a hotel that does not chill their pool in summer.

If you stay in a hotel directly attached to one of the malls or souqs you will have excellent access to leisure and dining facilities without having to put a foot outside. Why not try;

Best Dubai hotels attached to waterparks;

Many hotel resorts also include mini water parks, lazy rivers, and kids clubs within their grounds. The choices are almost endless and the summer value can be fantastic. A few suggestions to try:

Aeriel view over Dubai the Palm and Atlantis

If you are only in Dubai for a very short stopover, you may like this guide to the best options for staying in Dubai airport.

Check out all Dubai Summer Resort Hotel Pricing Here

Further reading on visiting Dubai & the UAE

We have plenty more articles to help you learn more about visiting Dubai & the UAE:

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A final note.  We can’t stress enough staying hydrated is key! If you do attempt to walk outside in the daytime heat take precautions, be realistic how far you can go and keep a taxi or Uber app on your phone!

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