Try something new: 15 fun new things to do in Dubai


From long-awaited openings to fresh dining spots, deals, and places to party, we bring you our monthly round-up of new things to do in Dubai.

1. Check out the new season of Global Village

One of our all-time favourite winter attractions, Global Village, has just opened for the new season, with plenty of exciting new additions. Highlights include a floating market, which will sail up and down the river selling food from all over the globe. The Carnaval funfair area has also had an upgrade, and is now bigger than ever, featuring more than 30 rides and loads of new arcade-style games. Plus, after a few years’ absence, the popular circus show is back, featuring a ringmaster, high wire acts, clowns, a wheel of death and more.

Global Village, Exit 37, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, open until April 6, Sat to Weds 4pm to midnight, Thurs & Fri 4pm to 1am. Mondays for families and ladies only. Dhs15 entry.

2. Head to Hatta for a staycation

Just an hour and a half’s drive from Dubai is Hatta, which is now home to an amazing new glamping spot. At Hatta Sedr Trailers, you can stay in a luxuriously appointed trailer on the banks of Hatta Dam, or at Hatta Damani Lodges, you can stay in a cosy mountain cabin. Both options start from Dhs250 per night. There’s heaps of cool stuff to do in Hatta – the new Hatta Wadi Hub offers a range of both paid and free activities such as mountain biking, downhill carting, a human sling shot, axe throwing, archery, adventure rope courses, and zip lines.

3. Have a go on a human slingshot


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Thrill seekers, who’s up for this? There’s now a human slingshot on Kite Beach… #whatsondubai #extremedubai #XDubai

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The daredevils at XDubai have launched the city’s first human slingshot at Kite Beach. Which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Riders are fitted into a harness, pulled back 40 metres, then propelled at a force up to 4Gs (four times the force of gravity). You’ll reach speeds of up to 100 kilometres an hour in just half a second, travelling 120 metres over sand and water. It’s open for a limited time only – go on, you know you want to…

 XDubai Slingshot, Kite Beach, Dubai, Thurs to Sat, Dhs280, tickets available onsite only (first come, first served). xdubai/slingshot

4. Smell the roses at Dubai Miracle Garden

Another of the city’s top winter attractions, Dubai Miracle Garden, has just opened for its seventh season. The unique outdoor destination, which contains around 100 million blooms, has a new theme every year – this year it’s a reimagined Disney Avenue, where the record-breaking Mickey Mouse sculpture from last year will be joined by some friends. Other new features include a floral castle which houses a garden dining experience, a new amphitheatre for putting on shows, as well as life-sized floral elephants that will spray water from their trunks.

Dubai Miracle Garden, Al Barsha South 3, Dubailand. Dhs50 for adults, Dhs45 for children under 12. Tel: (04) 422 8902.

5. Check out a new restaurant by a top chef

DIFC has a new dining option as Greek restaurant GAIA has just opened its doors in Gate Village. The concept was created by homegrown culinary hero Chef Izu Ani, who you’ll recognise from other top restaurants including La Serre, La Petite Maison, and carine. Signature dishes include freshly baked bread, Greek salad, baked feta, seabream carpaccio and baby goat. Guests can also visit the in-house fish expert – a fishelier – for bespoke orders and recommendations. Sheikh Hamdan has already visited for lunch, so you know it must be good…

Gaia, Gate Village 4, DIFC, Dubai, daily 12pm to 3pm and 7pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 241 4242. @GaiarestaurantDubai

6. Make the most of a new ladies’ day

V Hotel Dubai in Al Habtoor City has just launched a new ladies’ day – and we think it might be one of the city’s best. Running from 12pm to 5pm every Thursday at the V Deck, ladies can enjoy free entry with a towel and sunbed alongside free-flowing Frose cocktails. The pool deck features individual sun loungers as well as VIP cabanas and jacuzzis, perfect for when you have a big girls group. Then, from 5pm to 11pm, ladies can enjoy a further three free cocktails.

V Deck, V Hotel Dubai, Al Habtoor City, Thursdays, 12pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 436 6666.

7. And a fabulous new ladies’ night

Thursday ladies’ nights can be hard to come by. But there’s now an excellent value deal at trendy cocktail lounge, Noir. Tucked away in the Kempinski Hotel connected to Mall of the Emirates, every Thursday, Noir treats ladies to three hours of unlimited drinks for Dhs105. The deal runs from 8pm to 11pm and includes wine, spirits and a selection of specially crafted cocktails.

Noir, Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates, Thursdays, 8pm to 11pm, Dhs105. Tel: (04) 409 5222.

8. Visit Dubai Garden Glow for the new season

One of Dubai’s most magical attractions, Dubai Garden Glow, has just reopened for its fourth season. The illuminated wonderland in Zabeel Park comes to life after dark, lit up with hundreds of spectacular installations. This year’s theme is “Glowing Safari”, with plenty of colourful creatures to admire. Also new this year is an art park, featuring giant masterpieces made from over 500,000 recycled materials such as bottles, CDs, plates and cutlery. The ice park from last year is back, too, with several new ice sculptures to admire.

Dubai Garden Glow, Gate 6, Zabeel Park, daily 4pm to midnight. Dhs65 entrance to the park, additional Dhs45 entrance to the ice park. Free for under-3s, over-60s, and people of determination.

9. Head along to the new-look Ripe Market

The always popular outdoor Ripe Market is back this month, and has a brand new location to boot. From November 23, you’ll find it at Dubai Police Academy Park in Umm Suqeim. The market will take place every Friday and Saturday from 9am to 7pm, and will feature a farmers market and food trucks, plus arts, crafts and workshops, as well as yoga, live music and heaps of other activities.

 Ripe Market, Dubai Police Academy Park, from November 23, Fridays and Saturdays 9am to 7pm.

10. Have a picnic at a new public park

Now that the weather is finally cooling down, we’re looking forward to spending as much time outside as possible – and the lucky residents of Dubai Silicon Oasis now have a lovely new public park. North Park can be found near Cedre Villas, and spans an impressive 35,000 square metres. The landscaped gardens are home to water fountains, a children’s play area, and barbecue pits, and there’s also a new outdoor gym, jogging and cycling tracks, a football pitch, tennis court, volleyball court and skate park.

North Park, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Sun to Thurs 8am to 11pm, Fri & Sat 8am to 11.30pm.

11. Join a new foodie club

Dedicated Dubai foodies will already know about Frying Pan Adventures, the company that offers excellent food tours of Old Dubai. And now the team has launched a new community programme called “Sufra”, featuring a nine-month menu of limited edition food and culture experiences. Unlike the normal guided tours, these experiences will have more of a community focus. There will be Friday morning breakfasts, road trips beyond Dubai, visits to lesser-known neighbourhoods, interactive cooking demonstrations and more. Check out the full programme here.

Sufra by Frying Pan Adventures, Dhs990 for full nine-month membership, or from Dhs200 for individual events.

12. Book a table at a brand new brunch

We’ve seen our fair share of brunch concepts here at What’s On, but this one is pretty unique. Turquoise restaurant at Rixos Premium Dubai has just launched ‘Catch the Brunch’, where you can actually join the hotel’s chefs on their daily fishing trip – and yes, quite literally catch your own brunch. Guests will be given a welcome glass of bubbly and hot and cold canapes on the boat, before heading back to the restaurant to enjoy an organic seafood buffet (plus your own catch).

Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR, Saturdays, Dhs249 soft, Dhs349 house, Dhs549 including boat trip. Tel: (04) 520 0000.

13. Sip on sundowners at a new rooftop bar

A stylish new penthouse bar has opened at the Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights. Called Eve, the concept is inspired by “a wandering beauty whose Gatsby-esque mystique and decadent lifestyle ensure she’s always the source of intrigue”. Perched on the 34 floor of the hotel, the lounge has both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a secret room.

Eve, Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights, Dubai Creek, Sat to Wed 4.30pm to 2am, Thurs and Fri, 4.30pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 553 1214.

14. Check out a cool new taco bar in D3

Dubai Design District recently welcomed another hipster hangout with the arrival of brand new resto-bar El Noctámbulo. Inside, you’ll find a taqueria serving up casual Mexican cuisine and even a tequila bar. The funky new spot has been developed by Samer Hamadeh, creator of Japanese hotspot Akiba Dori (which is right next door) and JBR club Stereo Arcade, so we’ve got high hopes for his latest venture.

El Noctámbulo, Building 8, Dubai Design District, daily noon to midnight. Tel: (04) 566 8374. 

15. Have a cuppa at a hip new cafe

Healthy foodies will love Urth Caffe, the brand new cafe at City Walk. The Los Angeles export, which also has venues in Saudi Arabia and Japan, is considered one of the top organic heirloom coffee roasters in the US. The brand uses all-natural ingredients across its lines of chemical-free coffees and teas. Expect plenty of health-conscious yet tasty creations, such as matcha pancakes, wild mushroom pizza baked in the in-house wood-fire pizza oven, and even vegan chocolate cake. As well as the delicious-looking heirloom coffees, we also spied some bubble tea on the menu (yum)…

Urth Caffe, City Walk, daily 8am to midnight. Tel: (04) 589 7413. @urthcaffedubai

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