50 reasons to love Dubai right now
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.
01. Paddleboard around Burj Al Arab
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
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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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
11. Go bouldering
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
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.
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.
18. Ride the world’s longest slip and 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
22. Watch the acrobats
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
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
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
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
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
29. Tango at 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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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!