| VICTORIA ZURAKOWSKI

The Year Of The Rat In Dubai – Celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 In Style


Whether you live in Dubai or are just passing through, the Chinese New Year for 2020 looks set to be bigger than ever.


Each year, Dubai’s Chinese New Year revelries are celebrated in style, which includes everything from the cool venues, VIP parties, to even the Chinese New Year outfits.

The Gulf’s most famous city is home to many expatriates, which includes a large Chinese community, so it’s really no surprise that the Chinese New Year in 2020 is going to be huge. From attending eclectic dance performances to colourful street processions to themed Chinese New Year parties, Dubai has a lot to offer.

At Sand Dollar Dubai, we love staying in the know, and parties and celebrations are our thing. It’s a great excuse to get dressed up and party the day and night away. But perhaps more importantly, the 2020 Lunar New Year events in Dubai are a great way to observe the city’s diversity while letting your hair down. There are so many exciting things do and see in Dubai for the Chinese New Year, which is why we’ve put together this concise guide about the best Chinese New Year events in Dubai this year. And just like the Western New Year festivities on December 31st, dressing up is the norm, so we’ve also included some amazing Chinese New Year outfit ideas to take inspiration from.

Fireworks, Traditional Celebrations, and Parties – Dubai’s Chinese New Year Events Rock

The Chinese New Year 2020 will be celebrated globally on January 25th.

Like previous years, the city will become alight with vibrant colours and the streets will be filled with the sounds of singing, dancing, and traditional Chinese music. And the wafting lingering smells of freshly made dim sum and Chinese noodles will take over the streets. It’s truly a sensational sensory experience.  

Dubai is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, Chinese restaurants included. Without any exception, every Chinese restaurant in Dubai will be bustling and putting on special menus to welcome the Chinese New Year. As well as tucking into fabulous Chinese fare, you’ll also be treated to some traditional Chinese entertainment. Here are our top Dubai Chinese New Year 2020 picks…

Streetery

The Year of the Rat will be celebrated to epic proportions at one of Dubai’s award-winning restaurants, Streetery Food Hall. This 2020 Chinese New Year celebration will certainly be an event to remember.

Streetery’s family Chinese New Year event in Dubai includes a shared traditional banquet with all of the restaurant’s signature dishes, including New Year ‘yusheng’ noodles, curries, and dim sum.

As well as feasting on some of the best Chinese food in Dubai, you’ll also be transported to the lively and colourful streets of China as the Food Hall metamorphoses into the Orient with its vibrantly strung Chinese lanterns and the roaring lion dance performance.

And, because gift-giving is an integral part of all Chinese New Year celebrations, Streetery Food Hall will have a variety of prizes, gifts and surprises on offer.

What To Wear

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Streetery is uber cool and oh-so casual compared to many other Dubai restaurants. With plenty of street food on the menu and a laid-back atmosphere, you’re likely to look slightly out of place in a glamourous CNY dress. As far as Chinese New Year outfit ideas go, for joints like Streetery, wearing a cute tank top with a pair of smart jeans or an equally cute denim skirt will work a charm. And because red is the lucky colour in the Chinese culture, something like this top from Free People is perfect. Also, January in Dubai brings rain and cooler weather, so throw on a casual oversized jacket to keep you warm when you head out to take in the spectacular Chinese New Year fireworks. But just because you’re going casual it doesn’t mean you have to forgo the bling – add some jewelled statement earrings and channel your inner 80s child. Keep the footwear simple and opt for a pair of trainers or chunky boots.

Blue Jade at the Ritz Carlton Dubai 

Another top Southeast-Asian restaurant in Dubai, the Blue Jade, which can be found in one of the UAE’s most luxurious hotels, The Ritz Carlton Dubai, specialises in delectable pan-Asian cuisine. Head Chef, Ta Van, showcases the very best when it comes to traditional food and drinks during the Dubai Chinese New Year celebrations, so you’re in for a treat.

Sit down to an 8-course à la Carte Asian meal with free-flowing dim sum while taking in the spectacular fireworks display over the Dubai Marina. Perfect for families, groups of friends or couples, the restaurant’s distinctive Spring Festival menu is a fusion of classical Chinese dishes imbued with a touch of modern flair that includes everyone’s favourite, crispy roasted duck served in traditional Chinese pancakes with leek, cucumber and hoisin sauce – it’s a gastronomical delight! And if you’ve got a group of six, you’ll have a truly unforgettable Chinese New Year this 2020 in one of the restaurant’s intimate private rooms.

What To Wear

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Dubai Chinese New Year events like this one at the Ritz Carlton come with a lot of expectations, including your Chinese New Year dress. Think along the lines of old-school glamour with a little bit of edge; this show-stopping asymmetric crochet and silk dress from Chio, will surely turn heads. This dress speaks for itself, so keep it simple. We recommend pairing it with a cropped faux fur jacket or a cape in beige, and a pair of strappy heels in gold.

Add some texture to the look with a simple but unique woven clutch bag in gold and some understated yet elegant jewellery – this Sea La Vie necklace from Spartina will sit prettily just above your collarbone, adding a hint of sparkle without taking away from your CNY dress. And to finish it all off, these simply sophisticated bead drop earrings, also from Spartina, are just perfect.

Hakkasan at The Atlantis 

Offering discounted stays during the 2020 Chinese New Year celebrations in Dubai and some specially curated Chinese fare, the Atlantis plans on welcoming the Year of the Rat with a bang.

From the 24th of the month, you’ll be able to explore authentic Chinese delicacies while celebrating the Lunar New Year in Dubai’s esteemed restaurant, Hakkasan.

With its exclusive set menu featuring signature dishes to celebrate the Chinese New Year in style, you’ll be taken on a journey through China and its ages. This is fusion cuisine at its best, which includes steamed sea bass with dragon’s well broth, golden abalone and wild mushroom pastries, and salt-crusted fortune roasted chicken. Complemented by delicious cocktails infused with CNY flavours of chilli and mandarin and traditional music, this Chinese New Year dinner in Dubai will surely whet your appetite for more.

The restaurant will also continue with its unique “good wishes” tradition; guests will be invited to pen their wishes on provided red ribbons that will then be used to decorate the dining area. Later in the evening, you’ll be entertained by live DJs.

What To Wear

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Any evening dining at the Atlantis in Dubai calls for something a little bit more formal and there are stricter dress codes in place, which of course gives you the perfect excuse to dress up a little while keeping it cool to fit in with the luxury resort surroundings and the VIP guests you may encounter. For a completely unique Chinese New Year’s outfit that will make you the star of the evening, try teaming a luxury swimsuit that doubles up as an ultra-glam evening bodysuit like this gold belted frill swimsuit in black and white from Nessi Byrd with a pair of wide leg black crocheted trousers. Take your pick from a pair of strappy kitten heels in gold or some killer heeled ankle boots – either will look amazing. And why not go all out with a statement clutch like this highly coveted Aranaz Mabel bag? We also love how these adorable Suzywan Deluxe parrot tassel earrings in black and gold complete this look.

Saffron at The Atlantis

Dubai’s favourite brunch and buffet venue at the Saffron will host a 2020 Chinese New Year’s Eve extravaganza. Never one to disappoint with its array of mouthwatering spreads, the Saffron’s Chinese New Year dinner will comprise of more than 200 Asian dishes, which will be a fusion of the traditional and new.

The interactive cooking scene will get guests talking, and you'll be able to watch the dishes come to fruition right before your very eyes at the live cooking stations dotted about this famous Dubai restaurant. The vast CNY menu at the Saffron will certainly include some crowd-pleasers like steamed buns, crispy Peking duck, dim sum, Sichuan hot pots, noodles, oysters, and more.

Guests who visit Dubai’s Saffron restaurant will also be treated to the Chinese New Year traditional dances, which include the Lion Dance, along with a mesmerising fireworks display.

What To Wear

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Just like Hakkasan, Saffron is also a resident Atlantis restaurant, meaning it’s time to get dressed up. With a slightly more refined dining atmosphere than the former, you’ve got to think along the lines of outfits that are dazzling without going over the top, which is why we think this elegant white one-shoulder dress from Seven Wonders is ideal. Keeping in line with the theme of subtle classiness, this woven straw clutch from Aranaz will add that little extra to your look. Platform sandals or a pair of peep-toed heels in white will elongate the legs while keeping everything chic. We vote gold accessories all the way; this is where you can add a bit of playfulness with unique pendants and embellishments like this Spartina pineapple bauble necklace in gold and a bee bangle.

Al Forsan at Bab al Shams Desert Resort and Spa

Bab al Shams Desert Resort and Spa invites you to join in its Chinese New Year 2020 party in Dubai with an immersive Asian food experience.

Offering some of the best Asian food in Dubai at al Forsan, you’ll get to sample some irresistible traditional Chinese dishes and Asian street food favourites. From stir-fries to dim sum to ramen, whatever your favourite Chinese food is, this is one CNY feast in Dubai you can’t afford to miss.  

The resort will welcome the Year of the Rat with traditional live performances in both the hotel lobby and garden.

What To Wear

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As you’ll likely be moving between the restaurant and hotel gardens, you’ll need to think functionality as well as finding the perfect Chinese New Year dress. When teamed with a pair of black tailored jeans or high-waisted white trousers, our Tiger Madalena one-piece swimsuit from ViX makes for an amazing bodysuit that can be dressed up or down – we guarantee you’ll get plenty of wear out of this one. Keep it cool with a cropped black leather jacket and an oversized lightweight scarf to ensure you stay warm when admiring the fireworks and traditional dance performances in the hotel’s outdoor premises. For ease of walking while adding a bit of height, a pair of neutral coloured wedged heels are both comfortable and stylish. And with this outfit, one can never have enough bracelets, which is why this multi-beaded bracelet in black and gold works well as a base for stacking your arm candy. These simple Spartina crystal-studded hoop earrings are just enough bling without appearing loud.

Dubai Festival City

No matter what time of the year it is, Dubai Festival City is one of the leading shopping and entertainment precincts in Dubai.

Find the perfect spot for you, your family and friends on the boardwalk to make sure you get the very best views of the 2020 Chinese New Year pyrotechnics display.

With well over 350 shops at your disposal, why not head on down earlier to make the most of all the offers or grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants.

What To Wear

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If you can’t wear a cool jumpsuit to the mall, where can you wear one? A minimalist linen jumpsuit looks absolutely amazing with an oversized chunky knit cardigan and a pair of black ankle boots. To add some boho vibes and a pop of colour, adorn yourself in some tassel earrings with a matching tassel necklace. And because you’re in one of Dubai’s most famous shopping areas, you need an oversized woven tote for all your finds.

Traditional Dragon Boat Races at the Pointe

Celebrate the Chinese New Year in Dubai at The Pointe’s Dragon Boat Festival that will see about 50 different rowing teams compete in two dragon boat events – the 500m rowing challenge for the pros and the 200m rowing challenge for the amateurs.

This great family event, which takes place from 8:30am until 5pm, is a guaranteed fun-filled day with lots of laughter at Palm Jumeirah.

What To Wear

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Even Dubai gets a little cold at times, and being by the water all day, cheering on the rowers, calls for something a little more practical. Nothing says winter like a cute knitted sweater with a pair of skinny distressed denim jeans. A pair of chunky fur-lined ankle or combat boots that sit above the hem will keep your feet warm and dry. Basic elegant jewellery is the key to keeping this flirty feminine look – we love this delicate pearl necklace and earrings. And despite the cooler climes, it's highly possible it'll still be sunny, not to mention there will be a glare from the water, so a pair of oversized sunglasses are a must. 

City Walk Parade

Dubai's Chinese New Year 2020 celebrations are kick-started with the city's annual Chinese New Year parade at City Walk. Here, you and your family will be able to celebrate the Year of the Rat at one of Dubai’s most exhilarating carnivals.

This must-see event includes thrilling traditional lion and dragon dances and Chinese acrobatics and martial arts performances. With live music, including a symphony orchestra and folk music, this festival will be one to remember.

What To Wear

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Pay homage to the Chinese New Year this 2020 by dressing in red. You don’t need to go all out, but a splash of this lucky Chinese colour is a nice touch. A long-sleeved peasant-style top with red detail, like this one from Devotion, ticks all the boxes when it comes to comfort, style and colour. Pair with some boyfriend style jeans rolled up and a cute pair of red slip-on shoes – these Casa de Vera red pom-pom shoes will complement your Chinese New Year outfit beautifully. Finally, any outdoor daytime experience in Dubai requires a cool pair of designer sunglasses – they’re the Dubai fashion staple!

The Dubai Mall

When it comes to celebrations in Dubai, The Dubai Mall never lets us down. Like every Chinese New Year in Dubai, the mall will transform into an oriental affair. You’ll get the opportunity to enjoy and take part in traditional Chinese art workshops, games, live shows, and parades. The kids will also love the tailored traditional puppet shows and music performances while you challenge a friend to a game of mahjong.

What To Wear

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While there’s no real written dress code for the Dubai Mall, it is more conservative, and women are expected to dress appropriately. At the same time, the Dubai Mall is one of the coolest shopping places to be seen, so getting the outfit right is essential. Knee-length patterned swing dresses, such as this one from Devotion, look great with black tights. And if you’re anything like us and love to shop then an oversized designer tote will surely come in handy. Tassels are all the rage, and a long tassel necklace will add even more colour to your outfit. Team with your favourite white trainers, and you’ve got a very cool and casual Chinese New Year outfit that everyone will approve of.


It’s really true what they say about Dubai – it’s a melting pot of cultures – if ever there was a city that values diversity, it’s Dubai. Chinese New Year 2020 celebrations will be in abundance, and you’ll be able to experience Chinese traditions and food first hand.  

Xin Nian Hao!

Happy Chinese New Year 2020 from the team at Sand Dollar Dubai

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