15 things to do in Dubai this weekend

A free happiness festival, a new waterfront restaurant and food truck, epic nights out, interesting workshops and a free guided tour of Deira.

It might be cloudy this weekend, but that’s not slowing the city down…

Thursday 16

1. Laugh the night away in Barsha Heights

Three top comedians from three different continents make this month’s line-up at The Laughter Factory: North America’s Peter White, Europe’s Funmbi Omotayo and Australasia’s Damian Clark.

Grand Millennium Barsha Heights, Dubai, 9pm, Dhs140. Tel: (050) 876 6728. More info on website.

2. Go to The Atlantic

There’s a new spot in town with enviable Dubai Fountain views, and it’s a great fancy dinner option for when you’ve got visitors in town. The restaurant’s USP is seafood – it’s an import from Melbourne, where it’s headed up by Yorkshire-born, Australia-based chef Donovan Cooke. Don’t leave without eating the olive oil confit Loch Duart salmon (Dhs159) – a simple piece of fish that’s given a wondrous texture thanks to being precisely poached in a bath of olive oil. And, of course, book your table outside if you want to be serenaded every half hour.

Souk Al Bahar, 1 Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sun to Thur 4pm to 1am, Fri and Sat noon to 1am. Tel: (04) 4425662. More info on Facebook.

3. Catch the Dub Pistols live

The Dub Pistols are bringing their unique blend of reggae breaks and raucous swagger to McGettigans tonight – we imagine the crowd will be a fun one, and the band itself is known for bringing it live (and being a likeable bunch of lads).

McGettigan’s JLT, Dhs100, doors open at 7.30pm, show starts at 9pm. Buy tickets here. More info on Facebook.

4. Check out a new food truck

There’s a new food truck along the Marina Promenade called El Cubano (serving Cuban street food), meaning you can go for dinner and a waterfront stroll tonight if you so fancy. We’ll be trying the El Cubano sandwich, which is filled with eight-hour slow-cooked brisket, pickles and more. Yum.

Marina Promenade, Dubai Marina, 12pm to 9pm daily. Tel: (055) 999 5198. More info on Facebook.

Friday 17

5. Drones for good

Remember the awesome Dubai teen who invented a drone that could save thousands of lives? Well, he’s participating in the Drones For Good Awards, which are taking place at Dubai Internet City this weekend and are free to watch. There are 40 teams in it to win it, with minds from 60 different nations. All of the drones on show will in some way be designed to bring about positive change in the world.

Dubai Internet City, free, 8am to 5pm both Friday and Saturday. See the full agenda here. Tel: (800) 12. More info on website.

6. Go to the Happiness Festival

happiness dubai

This city is really into happiness at the moment – and there’s even a Happiness Festival at Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club this Friday. There will be 65 wellbeing experts hosting sessions throughout the day, and every 40 minutes or so there will be seven new workshops to try. There are workshops on ‘How and Why Guys Communicate Differently’ (12.40pm) as well as ’10 Simple Ways to Connect with your Child Every Day’ (12pm). Here’s a full schedule of all of the classes happening at the event. Plus, it’s all free! Now that makes us happy…

Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, Dubai Studio City, Al Qudra Road, Dubai. Friday February 17, 11am to 6.30pm. Free (but register here). Tel: (04) 3618111. thehappinesshub.me.

7. Discover all things bridal in Dubai

The Bride Show Dubai is on this weekend, and it’s the place to go if you’re serious about wedding planning – there will be more than 250 exhibitors there. What sort of stuff will you find? Everything from dresses and accessories to wedding planners and hair and makeup artists.

Zabeel Halls 4, 5 and 6, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, February 15 to 18, 3.30pm to 10.30pm, tickets from Dhs25. More info on website.

8. Learn how to clown (it’s a serious art)

This evening marks the start of an intensive nine-hour-in-total series of workshops on clowning – from the dark to the funny. Held by Felipe Ortiz, who has been working in the realm of new circus and clowning since 1995, the workshop will involve improv, games, movement and more. It’s every Friday night for three weeks, so is quite the commitment (and it costs Dhs900 a person).

The Courtyard Playhouse, Al Quoz, 7pm to 9pm tonight, Dhs900 per person. Register by email marina@courtyardplayhouse.com or on the website.

9. Listen to Bollywood classics

Legendary playback singer Lucky Ali is performing live at Le Meridien Hotel Dubai tonight (his album Sunoh stayed in the top three of the Indian charts for 60 weeks. Impressive). Co-headlining the acoustic music night is actor/singer/Renaissance man Ayushmann Khurrana.

The Great Ballroom, Le Meridien Hotel Dubai, Garhoud, from Dhs100 to Dhs650 (for a Platinum table). Doors open 7.30pm, show from 9pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 702 2455. Buy tickets here. More info on website. 

10. Dance the night away (on grass)

EDM fest Groove on the Grass is always a good night out (spending the evening surrounded by greenery rather than in a windowless club is always a welcome change). Tonight there are 12 artists bringing the noise: from Steve Bug to David DeWalta, Mark Houle and of course the wonderful Royksopp.

Emirates Golf Club, Dhs195. Tel: (04) 417 9999. Buy tickets hereMore info on website. 

11. Journey from dubstep to acid house in one night

In 12 years Skream has gone from dubstep don (producing tunes like the one above) to bona fide force in house and techno, which is why we’ll be heading down to see him at Blue Marlin this weekend. He’s joined by original superstar and acid house veteran DJ Sasha. What a lineup.

Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotel, Ghantoot, Dubai. 1pm to 11pmm, free guestlist. More info 

Saturday 18

12. Go see the cricket

There’s a ton of T20 cricket in the UAE over the next month, with the Pakistan Super League running here until March 7. There are a bunch of different games throughout the month – today at Sharjah International Cricket Stadium you’ll find the Quetta Gladiators vs the Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United vs Peshawar Zalmi from 3.30pm.

Sharjah Cricket Stadium, from Dhs40 to Dhs275 (more info on where to buy tickets here, buy tickets online here), from 3.30pm. More info on website.

13. Discover Deira

Deira is one of Dubai’s oldest and most vibrant neighbourhoods, and the new Rove City Centre hotel is offering a one-off free guided tour of the area this afternoon. Hosted by cultural explorers Saleh Al Tamimi and Shaima Al Tamimi, you’ll uncover the stories, hidden gems, food and local characters that reflect the spirit of this fascinating place. Don’t forget your camera.

Rove City Centre, Deira. 2pm to 6pm. Meet at The Daily in the hotel. To book a place on the free tour email NDesai@rovehotels.com.

14. Do hundreds of sun salutations on the beach (literally)

There’s a Talise Wellness Festival on at the moment (there’s heaps on, you can check out the full schedule here) – this morning they’re hosting a yoga session and then breakfast on the beach (here’s hoping for not too much rain). Starting at 8.30am, you’ll be guided through 107 Sun Salutations, before filling yourself up with a healthy breakfast. It costs Dhs120 for the class and the meal.

15. Check out the new artist in residence at Q’s

Remember how Quincy Jones has a new music lounge in Dubai? Well there’s a new artist-in-residence there until April: Sheléa. The singer-pianist has performed for the Obamas, toured with Stevie Wonder, and she’ll be performing jazz, soul and R&B numbers live five times a week.

Q’s, Palazzo Versace, Al Jaddaf, Dubai, Tues to Sat 7pm to 2am, shows start at 8.30pm, 10pm and 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 556 8851. 21 and over only. More information on website. 

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Photos: Supplied.