Go to free fitness classes, markets or day raves, see some Shakespearian theatre or brunch at a new beach club. Here’s what to do in Dubai this weekend…

Thursday 21

1. Go to OTB market

The pop-up trailer box market OTB is back – it will feature great food stalls, music and a smorgasbord of boutique shopping. Definitely one of the places to be this weekend. Stores that will be there include yApparel, West LA, Boom & Melow, Circle Cafe, Vik Jethwani, Satami, Deborah Henning, Dina Zaki and more.

Burj Park, near Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, Dubai. 10am to 10pm Friday to Saturday and 4pm to 10pm Sunday to Thursday. Thursday January 21 to Saturday January 30, free entry. More info on Facebook.

2. Karak Beats


The first Karak Beats of 2016 features Sarah Farina, one of the finest tastemakers in Berlin’s underground bass scene (and quite a scene that is). Her eclectic set will be driven by intense beats and futuristic breakbeats.

Velocity, JW Marriot Marquis, Business Bay, Dubai. 9pm to 3am, Dhs100. More info on Facebook

3. Admire Shakespearian theatre


The Courtyard is continuing their UK National Theatre screenings with Coriolanus featuring an award-winning performance from the wonderful Tom Hiddleston. The play is set in Roman times and follows Coriolanus as he defends the city when famine and the anger of hunger takes over. Note, this is a film screening of the play, it’s not Tom live on stage (we wish).

The Courtyard Playhouse, Al Quoz, 8pm to 11pm, Dhs100. More info on Facebook. Buy tickets here.

4. Celebrate ‘Straya

Next Tuesday is Australia Day (so many of the city’s pubs will be heaving), but here to celebrate early tonight is Australian singer-songwriter Tina Arena. She’s been going strong since the late 80s and has sold 10 million albums worldwide.

Remember how she went through a French phase?

(Serious question for native speakers of the language, is she singing in French with an Aussie accent?)

Grand Hyatt, Oud Metha. 7pm, Dhs650 (includes a three-course meal). Tel: +971 4 317 2222. More info on website.

Friday 22

5. Cheer marathon runners on

dubai marathon

That’s right, many motivated individuals are getting up super early this morning in order to run 42km (shout out to Team What’s On’s Stacey who is doing her third marathon this weekend. Legend). Head down to Jumeirah Beach Road to cheer the runners on, just be aware of road closures and parking issues – you can read all about those here.

From 6.30am, starting in Umm Suqeim (near the Madinat Jumeirah and Dubai Police Academy). More info on website

6. Get your scooters/skates/blades out

There’s a new skate park in Dubai, right on Kite Beach (epic location). Serious skaters tend not to get up that much before midday (massive generalisation, yes, but mostly true), so those with little kids who like to scoot about should get there early in the morning for a less-interrupted turn around the facility. Here’s what to expect:

2nd street, opposite Kite Beach Kiosk area, 10am to 12am Sunday to Thursday, 8am to 1am Friday and Saturday. For more info visit www.xdubai.com/skatepark.

7. Go to a free fitness class

The excellent trainers at Sheikh Zayed Road’s FAST Athletic Training are hosting a free circuit class at the Market OTB (see above) this morning. The 10am class in Burj Park will be high intensity, but will leave you full of endorphins for the rest of your Friday.

Burj Park, Downtown Dubai, 10am today. More info on Facebook

8. Head to a book launch

jalal abuthina

Dubai expat Jalal Abuthina is launching his photography book Dubai Behind The Scenes at Kinokunya in Dubai Mall tonight – it takes the reader on a 210-page tour of the city’s original ‘downtown’ area. Head to the bookstore to pick up your copy and meet the man behind the lens. MORE: See 15 of the pictures (and read the stories behind them) here. 

Kinokunya, The Dubai Mall, from 5pm, book is Dhs170. See www.insidedubai.ae for more. 

10. Get to Ghantoot

At Blue Marlin today you’ll find Route 94 and Finnebassen on the decks on the terrace. Brit producer Route 94 – Rowan Jones to his mum – had a UK no. 1 single in 2014 with My Love, which featured Jess Glynne’s vocal talents. Norwegian producer Finnebassen, meanwhile, plays melancholic dance music.

Blue Marlin Ibiza, Ghantoot, Dubai, 1pm to 11pm, free guestlist entry. Tel: +971 56 1133400. Taxi: Golden Tulip Al Jazira Island Hotel. More info on Facebook.

11. Load yourself with Sixties tunes

Award-winning indie night Loaded is having a special ’60s night tonight – resident DJs Andy Buchan and Conan Liquid (The Scene) will be spinning music from The Beatles, Gloria Jones and more while classic cult films loop on the projector. Those in the best ’60s get up will win a Dhs500 gift voucher from Fred Perry.

Casa Latina, Ibis Hotel, Barsha, 9pm to 2.45am, free entry. Metro: Sharaf DG. More info on Facebook. 

Saturday 23

12. Go to an arts fest


Quoz Arts Fest is now in its fourth year – expect food trucks, exhibits throughout Alserkal Avenue and plenty of creative folk. There will be gallery tours, a showcase of Danish furniture design, cinema screenings, artist talks, special commissions, contemporary dance performances (which will be at 3pm both days) and much more. Head here to check out a full schedule.

We’re definitely going to check out the screening at 7pm on Saturday of Monir, a documentary about the life and work of Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian.

Al Serkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz. 10am to 10pm Friday and Saturday this weekend, free entry. Taxi: Al Serkal Avenue. More info on website.

9. Go to a picnic, not a teddy bear’s one


Piknic Elektronik Dubai is a massive grass-bound electronic day out that runs every fortnight and starts again this weekend: it’s unique because it’s got a party vibe but is also family friendly. On the decks you’ll find Frankey & Sandrino, Moullinex, JC Pinto and more. For the kids, there will be bouncy castles, face painting, slides and a workshop from 2pm to 3pm.

The Address Montgomorie, Emirates Hills, 1pm to 9pm, Dhs150 (or Dhs200 for parents with their children, sold only at the door). Buy tickets hereMore info on Facebook.

13. Get your Zumba on

Fan of dancing away in your living room when no one’s watching? Well then Zumba could be for you, and there’s a whole festival dedicated to the Latin dance craze today. There will be actual Zumba battles, African drum demonstrations, a photobooth and food stations. See the whole schedule here. And a map here.

Gate 1 & 2, Zabeel Park, 10am to 5pm. Dhs95, free for kids under 12. You can buy tickets from ZOOM, EPPCO, and ENOC. More info on website.

14. Brunch at a brand new beach club


Purobeach has just opened at JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort, and this weekend is the inaugural Miami Grill Brunch (we’re not quite sure what makes a grill Miami-like). Anyway, from 1pm to 4pm you’ll get to munch on food from the live cooking stations, drink selected house beverages and chill on the sunbeds around the pool or beach, or sit at a table if that’s more your ‘steez’. The tunes on a Saturday are all about soul and retro house (with a dash of live sax). Food is served from 1pm to 4pm, but you’re welcome to stay on for longer.

Jebel Ali Golf Resort, Jebel Ali, 1pm to 4pm every Saturday, Dhs300. Tel: +971 50 701 3303.

15. See a Sultans of Swing tribute

Massive Dire Straits fan? Well, tribute band Money For Nothing specialise in reproducing the tunes of Mark Knopfler and the rest of the Straits lads. Head to Music Room tonight to sing along to Romeo and Juliet, Brothers in Arms, and, of course, Sultans of Swing. It’s a late night for a school night, sure, but if you’re a superfan we’re sure you won’t mind the tough Sunday morning.

The Music Room, Majestic Hotel, Mankhool Road, Bur Dubai, 9pm to 3am, Dhs100. Tickets available here. More info on Facebook.

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