50 reasons to love Dubai right now

By

The summer’s almost over! It’s time to get out of hibernation and start having fun.

Here are 50 reasons to fall in love with the city all over again.

ACTIVE 

01. Paddleboard around Burj Al Arab

paddleboarding Dubai

Grab a ten-foot board from Surf House Dubai and paddle around this iconic landmark. It’s a tough 60-minute workout but the views are worth it.

Sunset Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, daily 7am to 5.30pm, Dhs75 one hour, Dhs200 all day. Tel: (04) 3211309. Taxi: Next to Umm Suqeim Park. surfingdubai.com

Join in the conversation…
Send us a photo of something you love about Dubai by posting it on Twitter or Instagram with #iheartdubai.

02. Do full moon yoga

Get out of the studio and head for the beach. Talise Spa holds monthly nightly yoga sessions on the sand. Listen to the waves, gaze at the pearly moon and align those chakras.

Next session: September 28. Talise Spa Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, 7.30pm, Dhs119. Tel: (04) 3666818. Taxi: Madinat Jumeirah. jumeirah.com

03. Scuba dive in the Lost Chambers

lost chambers

The Ambassador Lagoon at The Lost Chambers Aquarium is teeming with marine life, from cow-nose rays to hammerhead sharks. If you aren’t PADI certified, you can still dive as part of their Dive Discovery programme.

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, daily 6.45pm, Dhs950 for 30 minutes. Tel: (04) 4260000. Taxi: Atlantis The Palm. atlantisthepalm.com

04. Swim with penguins

penguins

Get close to these lovable creatures with a swimming session. The experience includes access to the snow park, but you must be over 18 and a good swimmer.

Ski Dubai, Mall Of The Emirates, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur 10am to midnight, Fri 9am to midnight, Sat 9am to 11pm, Dhs1,300. Tel: (04) 4094242. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates. skidxb.com

05. Wakeboard alongside flamingos

If you love to wakeboard but want a change of scenery from the marina, try Ras Al Khor. Thousands of flamingos migrate to Dubai Wildlife Sanctuary there every year, and Seariders organise wakeboarding sessions that take off from the Dubai Creek Golf And Yacht club and bring you close to the birds.

searidersuae.com

06. Ride the Seabreacher

A cross between a shark-shaped fighter jet and a 14-foot long submarine, you’ll be strapped inside as it shoots across the water.

Rixos The Palm Dubai, daily 9am to 6pm, Dhs500. Tel: (04) 4575555. Taxi: The Palm, west crescent. wateradventure.ae

07. Get frozen

cryotherapy cryo therapy

It’s hard to know why anyone would brave a cryotherapy chamber – a cubicle cooled to minus 140 degrees. But this freezing treatment at Cryo Health at Sports City’s FitRepublik is said to speed up your metabolism and soothe aching muscles after an intense workout.

Sports City, Dubai, daily 10am to 8pm, Dhs400. Tel: (04) 3518300. Taxi: Sports City. cryo-health.com

08. Monkey around at Gravity Gym

This warehouse in Al Quoz offers a different kind of workout: calisthenics, which mixes gymnastics, parkour and yoga into a hardcore workout. You can learn body weight moves like pull-ups and handstands, and there’s an indoor parkour circuit too.

Al Quoz 3, Dubai, Mon 6pm, Tue to Thur 7pm, Fri 8am and 10am, Dhs130. Tel: (04) 3216006. Taxi: Road 318 between Al Marabea Road and Umm Suqeim Road. More on Facebook. 

09. Sandboard on a dune

sandboarding

If you’re new to carving dunes, Gulf Ventures run desert safars, including sandboarding, to the Big Red dune near Hatta. A tour from 3pm to 10pm costs Dhs250 per person. But if you have yor own sandboard try it for free near Al Qudra cycle track.

gulfventures.com

10. Bike ride at night

Dubai’s Cycling Track is a short drive from the city centre, but feels a world away. There’s nothing like peddling among the tanquil dunes, under a blanket of stars.

Al Qudra Road, Dubai

11. Go bouldering 

rock republic

Rock Republic is the UAE’s only dedicated bouldering centre. Use your strength and stamina to follow colour-coded routes across low walls. It’s an incredible workout.

Rock Republic, Dubai Investment Park 1, off E77, Dhs80 per session, Dhs500 ten sessions, Mon to Thur 5.30pm to 9.30pm Fri and Sat 1pm to 8pm. Tel: (050) 1001370. Taxi: Dubai Investment Park. facebook.com/rock.republic.dubai

12. Run along Jumeirah Beach jogging track

If you’re tired of the treadmill, take advantage of the cooler evening temperatures by heading to this 14-kilometre spongy, purpose-built track that runs parallel to Jumeirah beach. The ocean views will make those miles fly by. MORE: Best running tracks in Dubai.

13. Camp at Al Qudra Lakes

50-al-qudra

If you want to spend a night under the stars but don’t want to risk getting stranded among the dunes, Al Qudra is a good choice. Head south – away from the lakes – and you’ll find dozens of perfect desert camping spots accessible even to non-4X4 owners. MORE: A quick guide to Al Qudra lakes.

14. Wall run at Bounce

This colourful trampoline park in Al Quoz caused quite a stir when it opened last year, and shows no signs of slowing down. To take your bouncing to the next level, ask the instructors to help you master the wall run.

wall runner

Bounce, 32, 4B Street Al Quoz, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm, Dhs80. Taxi: Next to Lime Tree Cafe. facebook.com/bouncemideast 

15. Run around the Creek at sunrise

The city’s biggest running club, Dubai Creek Striders is always open to new members, and their Friday morning long run is the perfect way to improve your fitness and explore older parts of the city. Runs often go around the Creek and can involve an abra ride.

 DCS meet at 6am every Friday in the car park opposite the Novotel World Trade Centre. facebook.com/dubaicreekstriders

16. Tackle the original Dubai obstacle race

Obstacle races in Dubai are nothing unusual now, but it all started with the Desert Warrior Challenge. Pick your poison – a 5K or 10K route – then tackle monkey bars, rope climbs, dune running, and the intimidating ‘Brain Freeze’. MORE: Obstacle races in the UAE.

Next race: October 23. desertwarriorchallenge.com

17. Tour Dubai on a motorcycle

Ignore the tour buses; for a far more adventurous way to see the city, check out flybike, a tour company that takes you around Dubai on the back of a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle or three-wheeled trike. The Night Dubai tour (Dhs260) is unforgettable.

flybike.info

18. Ride the world’s longest slip and slide

city slide

The world’s longest slip and slide is heading for Dubai Motor City this month. Measuring a whopping 1,000 feet, you’ll be able to slide the length of the chute on a rubber ring. The attraction has already proved a big hit in the UK, the Netherlands and the US. More here. 

19. Learn to play polo

Anyone can try the ‘sport of kings’ at the Dubai Polo Academy. The expert instructors and well-behaved steeds ensure that by the end of the 90-minute lesson you’ll be cantering around the field, hitting a ball with a mallet.

Dubai Polo Academy, Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, Studio City, Dubai, Fri and Sat 4pm, Dhs850. Tel: (050) 8879847. Taxi: Studio City. dubaipoloacademy.com

20. Play beach soccer

Have you seen the quadriceps of beach soccer players? You too could have quality quads by signing up for beach soccer at JLT’s Sportsmania. Yes, you’ll get sweaty, sticky and sandy – but just think of the thighs you’ll have at the final whistle.

Garden Cross Road, JLT, Dubai, daily 2pm to midnight, Dhs350, Dhs250 off peak. Tel: (052) 2424789. Taxi: Exit 27 off Sheikh Zayed Road. sportsmania.ae

21. Bounce into bubble soccer

This twist on the beautiful game sees you locked in a bubble from your waist to above your head while you try to kick a ball and bounce off your opponents.

Bubble Soccer UAE, Cover Drive Sports Academy, Al Quoz 1, Dubai. Tel: (052) 2882018. Taxi: Al Quoz. bubblesoccer.ae

NIGHTLIFE 

22. Watch the acrobats

The Act Dubai, Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai

Hidden behind an unmarked door on the 42nd floor of the Shangri-La Hotel, The Act has achieved cult status, thanks to its Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatic shows and fabulous Peruvian food. MORE: The weird & wonderful world of The Act.

Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Mon, Tue and Wed, 8.30pm. Tel: (04) 4438215. Metro: Financial Centre. More on Facebook.

23. Belt out an Ellie Goulding tune

Hands in the air people: the British starlet makes a welcome return to the UAE this month. MORE: Full details here.

24. Step inside a speakeasy

You’d be forgiven for missing the secret entrance to Nippon Bottle Company. MORE: A full look at the speakeasy.

25. New ladies’ night 

Crab Tavern654x426

Media City haunt Crab Tavern has launched a Sunset Wednesday night where ladies get half price meals, as well as unlimited signature cocktails.

Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City, 8pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 4207489. Metro: Nakheel. crabtavern.ae 

FAMILY FUN 

26. Meet albino alligators

Ali and Blue are the two newest members at the Lost Chambers Aquarium. The lack of melatonin in their skin means these Floridian critters have alabaster skin and red eyes. You’ll find them in a dimly lit enclosure under special lighting, which helps keep them healthy.

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm, Dhs75 residents, Dhs110 non-residents. Tel: (04) 4260000. Taxi: Atlantis The Palm. atlantisthepalm.com

27. Crack a code 

challenge chambers

You and a group of friends are locked in a room – no phones, no cameras (except the ones watching you), and no Google. Your task? Escape in an hour. How? You figure it out.

Sunset Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10.30am to 9pm, Dhs200 for two people, Thur to Sat 10.30am to 10.30pm, Dhs250 for two people. Tel: (050) 2560587. Taxi: Sunset Mall. challengechambers.com

28. Enjoy a butterfly garden

Butterfly House, Miracle Garden, Dubai

Step inside the enormous air-conditioned domes next to Dubai Miracle Garden and wait for one of these colourful creatures to land on your nose.

Dubai Miracle Garden, Dubailand, Dubai, daily 9am to 6pm, Dhs50. Tel: (04) 4228902. Taxi: Off Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road. dubaimiraclegarden.com

DINING 

29. Tango at Gaucho

Gaucho

Forget the foxtrot, see ya later samba, and whatevs to the waltz – the best dance to see live is the tango. See the tango done as it should be at Gaucho every Wednesday night.

Gate Village, DIFC, Dubai, Wed 9pm. Tel: (04) 4227898. Metro: Emirates Towers. gauchorestaurants.ae 

30. Munch a super sandwich

Sum-Of-Us2

Confession time: we’ve been to The Sum Of Us four times and had the corned beef sanger. Every. Single. Time. As soon as we walk through the door memories of the crunchy sourdough bread, Dijon mayonnaise, strips of beef, and melted cheese act like a Jedi mind trick and we can’t help but order it again.

Burj Al Salam Tower, next to Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai daily 8am to 10pm. Tel: (056) 4457526. Metro: World Trade Centre. thesumofusdubai.com

31. Visit Der Keller

Der Keller, Jumeirah Beach Hotel

Achtung! Dubai’s oldest licensed restaurant has just reopened with a new German chef and a fresh menu of hearty dishes from Austria, Switzerland and Germany – we’re guessing kale won’t be on the menu. Der Keller’s Oktoberfest party is on September 17.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Sun to Thur 6pm to 2am, Fri and Sat noon to 2am. Tel: (04) 3665866. Taxi: Jumeriah Beach Hotel. jumeirah.com

32. Scoff Arabic bread

Nothing smells sweeter than freshly baked bread, but traditional Lebanese dough – known as kaak – trumps the lot. The ring-shaped bread covered in sesame seeds and filled with za’atar is so delicious, you could easily gobble down three in one sitting. Get your fill at Lebanese street food pop up Kaak Al Manara.

Find out where they are next on Instagram.

33. Eat like a caveman

cycle

Start your day with a protein-packed brekkie at The Cycle Bistro, Dubai’s first fully-paleo restaurant inside bike emporium The Cycle Hub.

Dubai Autodrome, Motor City, Thur to Tue 8am to 8pm, Wed 8am to 5pm, Fri and Sat 8am to 5pm. Tel: (04) 4256555. Taxi: Motor City. facebook.com/thecyclebistro 

34. Dine in Dubai’s best restaurant

La Petite Maison

It’s little wonder why La Petite Maison won the coveted Restaurant Of The Year title at last year’s What’s On Awards: The food is exceptional.

DIFC, Gate Village 8, Dubai, Sun to Fri noon to 3pm, 7pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 4390505. Metro: Financial Centre. lpmdubai.ae 

35. Sit in a cat café

cat-cafe

Cat ladies (and men) form an orderly queue: Ailuromania Café, has 20 rescue cats living inside the café so customers can enjoy a cuddle with their coffee and cake.

Umm Suqeim 3, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Sat to Wed 2pm to 10pm, Thur and Fri 2pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 3216661. Taxi: Next to Jumeirah Beach Hotel. ailuromania.com 

36. Shawarmas at dawn

No matter the hour, Zaroob is always packed, thanks to its quirky décor, delicious food and cool crowd.

Jumeirah Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 24-hours. Tel: (04) 3276060. Metro: Emirates Towers. zaroob.net

37. Taste Maria Bonita’s guacamole

Maria Bonita's Dubai

No one can do guacamole like Maria Bonita’s. A huge portion of green goodness (Dhs48) is prepared at your table with fresh avocados, lime, salt, coriander and chilli.

Umm Al Sheif Road, Dubai, daily 6pm to midnight. Tel: (04) 3955576. Taxi: Umm Al Sheif Road. mariabonitadubai.com

CULTURE 

38. Experience Vox

The new immersive cinema experience launching at Vox Mall Of The Emirates is a movie maven’s haven with the largest 4DX cinema in the region, the only IMAX laser cinema in the Middle East and a special food menu from Gary Rhodes. We’ll bring you more soon.

Mall Of The Emirates, Dubai, daily 10am to midnight. Tel: (600) 599905. Metro: Mall Of The Emirates. voxcinemas.com

39. Ride an abra

abra

Embrace old Dubai by hopping on an abra – all for a dirham.

Deira Old Souk Abra Station to Bur Dubai Abra Station, daily 6am to midnight, Dhs1. Tel: (04) 2844444. Taxi: Deira Spice Souk. rta.ae

40. Join The Scene Club

scene

Pop along to the UAE’s only film club to watch the best in independent movies. Turn to p98 for more.

Knowledge Village Conference Centre, Dubai, 7pm. Tel: (04) 3910051. Taxi: Knowledge Village. thesceneclub.com

41. See an award-winning play

arabian-nights

Arabian Nights is coming to DUCTAC this Eid – the Edinburgh Fringe Festival award-winning play tells tales of Ali Baba, Aladdin and more via puppets, drama, dance and song (this is a bring the whole family along sort of job).

Ductac, Mall of the Emirates. September 24-26. Tickts Dhs120-Dhs180. See the website for more. 

42. Ride the trolley

Dubai Trolley1

Travel on the Dubai Trolley. The San Francisco-style tram will soon worm its way along Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard.

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Dubai, Sun to Thur 4pm to midnight, Fri and Sat 3pm to 11pm. Tel: (800) 36227. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. emaar.com

43. Listen to sound art

Try an experiemental club night of sound art on September 18. Turn to p111 to meet the artists.

Casa Latina, Ibis Hotel, Al Barsha, Dubai, 7pm to 10pm, free. Tel: (04) 3996699. Metro Sharaf DG. ibis.com

44. Paint a canvas at Jam Jar

Get arty at the public DIY painting studio and drawing workshops in the Al Quoz creative space.

Street 17, Al Quoz, Dubai, Mon to Sat 10am to 8pm, Fri 2pm to 8pm. Tel: (04) 3417303. Taxi: Behind Dubai Garden Centre. thejamjardubai.com

45. Hear local musicians

Freshly Ground Sounds at Dubai Garden Centre

See Dubai talent at the indie music initiative Freshly Ground Sounds. The next event is an indoor picnic at Tribeca tonight.

September 13. JA Ocean View Hotel, The Walk, JBR, Dubai, 7pm, free. Tel: (05) 03456067. Metro: JLT. facebook.com/FreshlyGroundSounds 

46. Experience a 360-degree cinema

Look out for The Dome Box, a new 360-degree cinema theatre.

BoxPark, Al Wasl Road, Dubai. Tel: (800) 637227. Taxi: BoxPark. boxpark.ae

47. Visit Alserkal Avenue

Alserkal Avenue

Gawk at regional art on September 14 as Alserkal welcomes the public for Galleries Night.

Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, 6pm to 9pm, free. Tel: (05) 05569797. Taxi: Alserkal Avenue. alserkalavenue.ae

48. Browse old books 

Get lost in some lovely second-hand books at House Of Prose. Once you’ve read it, bring it back and they’ll buy it back for half what you paid for it.

Dubai Garden Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, daily 9am to 8pm. Tel: (04) 3449021. Metro: First Gulf Bank. facebook.com/houseofprose

49. Fly an eagle owl

The new falconry centre in Ras Al Khaimah is home to four desert eagle owls. Give them food and watch them fly.

Banyan Tree Al Wadi, Ras Al Khaimah. Tel: (07) 2067777. banyantree.com

50. Enjoy a five day weekend? 

Eid al Adha is coming up – which means a four or five day break ahoy. We’ll let you know as soon as the dates are announced.

– Why do you love Dubai? Tell us on Twitter or Instagram by adding #iheartdubai, and your city favourite may end up on WhatsOn.ae!