There's nothing you can't do in Dubai. Whether you want to dine in a posh restaurant, explore a massive shopping mall or cruise over the sand dunes, it all can happen in the United Arab Emirates' biggest city. Americans don't need to apply for a visa in advance to visit Dubai, but pack your sunglasses even if you're going in winter, as cloudy days are few and far between.
The weather in Dubai ranges from cool winter evenings to scorching summer days well into the 100s. To stay comfortable during the hot months of spring, summer and early fall, choose clothing made from natural fibers, such as cotton. Anything made from artificial fabrics like polyester will become hot, sweaty and unbearable if you're outside for more than a few minutes. Also, leave dark-colored clothes at home and stick to lighter shades, which won't absorb heat from the sun.
Dressing modestly in Dubai is respectful of conservative local Muslim culture, but women are not required to wear headscarves or other Islamic clothing. ExpatWoman.com recommends wearing clothes that keep you covered from shoulders to knees, which helps you avoid unwanted attention or even being asked to leave public places like malls. Men also should dress to cover; avoid wearing tank tops, tiny shorts or anything else that leaves you overly exposed.
Dubai is famed for its nightclubs, many of which have strict dress codes. To make it past the bouncers, women should pack a cocktail dress or an elegant skirt-and-top ensemble, and men should bring slacks and a button-up shirt. Don't forget dressy shoes, too, as sneakers usually are banned. In many establishments, it's alright to show some skin, notes Gourmantic, as the clientele is largely foreign. However, cover up on the way to and from the venue in a coat or a shawl.
Almost everything in Dubai -- from tiny cafes to enormous shopping centers -- is heavily air conditioned due to the climate, and it can get quite chilly indoors. To stay comfortable, bring a cardigan, shawl or light coat that you can toss in your bag and put on when needed. Also, evening outdoor temperatures in Dubai during the winter often are in the low 60s and high 50s, making jeans, long-sleeve tops and jackets smart clothing choices.
If you visit the deserts surrounding Dubai, bring tough clothes that you don't mind getting dirty. A pair of jeans or khakis keep you sheltered from the sun and sand when exploring on foot, although a dress or shorts are fine if you're only going to picnic. A wide-brimmed hat shelters your face, and sandals are handy for walking in the dunes, as shoes will just fill with sand. Also, the deserts often cool down after dark, so bring a light coat.