Things to do in Dubai this weekend
Golf, badminton, the world’s best films, a brand new bar, free drumming nights and much, much more. Oh Dubai, you’re such a little beauty.
Thursday 10 December
1. Book tickets for the film fest
Dubai Film Festival is a chance to watch fantastic, unedited art films, and with plenty of screenings all throughout the city (including free showings at The Beach, opposite JBR) there’s something for everyone. To make your life easier, here’s our pick of the 17 movies to see.
2. See badminton’s best ace it
The Dubai World Superseries finals will see the world’s badminton rockstars taking each other on. This is a lively sport to watch, and there will be other activities during the tournament, like family entertainment and fan zones. Matches will run from 10am to approximately 9pm until Saturday, and from 1pm until 9pm on Sunday. There will also be shuttle buses to and from places like Mall Of The Emirates and the venue (the Hamdan Sports Complex), find out more about those here.
Hamdan Sports Complex, Global Village, general admission from Dhs25, VIP hospitality from Dhs600, until December 13. More info on website.
3. Watch the ladies’ masters
The season-ending Ladies’ European Tour attracts some of the world’s top female golfers. Last year’s champion, China’s Shanshan Feng, will be back to defend her title, and just-turned-pro Paige Spiranic (above) – who was interviewed by our sister site Emirates Woman this week) – will surely have something to prove.
4. Check out a brand new bar
Treehouse is a new leafy terrace that opens today at Taj Dubai (it’s basically the Burj Khalifa’s back garden). The menu includes Mediterranean bites and bespoke drinks to enjoy alongside uninterrupted views of the world’s tallest building.
Friday 11 December
5. Saddle up for the Spinneys Challenge
Dubai’s biggest bike race is back for its fifth year with a new route. The new 92km course starts and finishes at Dubai Autodrome, taking you through residential neighborhoods, and happily missing Al Khail. There’s also a 56km loop for anyone who’s new to the sport. Plus, on Thursday December 10 children can take part in a 32km race or 16km race at the Dubai Autodrome.
Dubai Autodrome, starts at 6am, finishes at 11am. More info on website.
6. Go to a Business Bay block party
Urban Block Party aims to bring some life to the Bay Square area (which houses the excellent Pantry Cafe).
Throughout the weekend you’ll find food, markets, human statues, unicyclists, illusionists live bands and a children’s zone. Carl & The Reda Mafia, who opened for Bon Jovi last October, will be there, as will DJ Miss PM and Capoeira dancers. The marketplace runs from 11am to 6pm, music from 11am to 9pm, the family area from 11am to 9pm, workshops from 2pm to 4pm and performers from 12pm to 6pm.
Bay Square, Business Bay, Friday, 11am to 9pm. More info on Facebook.
7. Watch an urban skateboard race
M1 Shred is the first event of its kind in the region, and will see longboarders and skateboarders race down three levels of the Media One Hotel’s car park, taking tight corners at high speed as they all vie for a sponsorship deal. The top five riders from each category (juniors and seniors) will go through to the finals, with the winners bagging a deal with Canadian skate company Landyachtz. International skaters from the Dwindle Riders are flying in for the event.
The pros – Ryan Decenzo, Chris Haslam, Willow, Zack Wallin and Tommy Sandoval – will demonstrate jaw-dropping tricks on a mini skate ramp, while graffiti artists will give the car park walls a makeover. There’s also an after party at Dek on 8 for those over 21.
Level P7, Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City, 12pm to 8pm, free. Metro: Nakheel. More info on Facebook.
8. Be floored by fancy footwork
If, like us, you thought Irish dancing was all rigid arms, glitzy outfits and upbeat folk music, think again. Murphy’s Legacy, set to stomp its way into the city on December 11, is essentially Riverdance’s cooler, moodier, slightly gothic little sister.
While it has all the Irish dance fundamentals – synchronised dance moves, fancy footwork that’ll leave you wondering who pressed the fast forward button, and exceptionally straight arms – it also includes an epic soundtrack with electro vibes, which scores a dark plot based around warring families. That said, if Irish dancing is your worst nightmare, it’s not like this will all of a sudden be your thing.
9. Drum into the night
There are free drumming sessions at Dubai Marina this weekend. You’ll find your rhythm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Park Island (near the fountain).
Park Island, Dubai Marina, 4pm to 8pm until Saturday, free.
10. Eat late, eat cheap
Are you a night owl? Well hip new JBR spot The Maine Oyster Bar & Grill serves up a blue plate special every Thursday and Friday night from 11pm to 1am. This means you can get a top notch three-course meal for only Dhs120 a person. Courses include Clam chowder, steak frites, cedar planked salmon and crème brûlée. We visited recently, and loved it: here’s what we thought.
11. Have an incredibly Irish evening
The Coronas are back in Dubai this weekend – the band, that was formed in Dublin, has notched up two top 10 albums in Ireland: Tony Was an Ex Con and Closer To You. We’re hoping to hear this tune on the night:
The Baggot, McGettigan’s JLT, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, 8pm to 3am, Dhs 150. Metro: JLT. More info on Facebook.
Saturday 12 December
12. Admire knitted and stitched art
Turkish-born, New-York-based artist Sermin Kardestuncer has done well at shows in her home in the US, and now her creations are heading to Dubai. She uses stitching and knitting techniques and works with materials including rice and silk paper to create her pieces, which have been praised for combining an organic feel with a contemporary aesthetic.
13. Visit a Christmas fair
Reform Social & Grill will be bringing some jingle to The Lakes with a visit from Santa, a bouncy castle, food stands selling Christmas treats and more.
Reform Social & Grill, The Lakes, Dubai, 11am to 6pm. More info on Facebook.
14. See Sirens of the Silver Screen
Sirens of the Silver Screen is a one-off dinner-and-show night at The ACT Dubai. It stars Beth Burrows and explores the lives of Judy Garland, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe through singing, acting and original footage. If you’re a fan of old school cinema, you’ll love it.
Dhs395, includes a three-course Peruvian sharing menu and soft drinks. The Act Dubai, Shangri-La Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road. Tel: (04) 3551116. Metro: Financial Centre. More info on Facebook.
15. Get your guac’ on
Loca in Dubai Marine Resort is quite the classic Saturday night spot for us, and now we can eat their fantastic guacamole while taking in the sight of the spindly Burj Khalifa, as a branch of the restaurant and bar’s just opened in Souk Al Bahar. They’ll offer the same brunch and ladies’ night deals at this location.(Top tip: They’re now taking bookings for New Year’s Eve, but there’s a minimum spend of Dhs1,500 per person).