From huge festivals to free cinema and chilled family days out, here are 14 things to do in Dubai this weekend…


1. Eat all of the food

dubai food festival

Dubai Food Festival begins today, with Dhs189 meal deals at fine dining restaurants, a food truck festival, celeb chefs in town and a ‘beach canteen’ down on Kite Beach, you could fill your entire weekend just with festival activities. Read all about the different elements and what to do here. We’ll definitely be heading to Eat The World DXB, a food truck festival that sees London’s best moveable restaurants in Burj Park this weekend (they’ve travelled so far, eating everything is the polite thing to do, right?)

Various times and locations, depending on event. Head here for full details on each element.

2. Skate in the snow

Dubai Mall ice rink will now boast snowfall (yes, you’re reading that right) three times a week so that you can experience a winter wonderland right here in the desert. While timings may vary slightly, on Thursdays the flakes will flutter from 8.15pm to 10pm, on Saturday from 2.30pm to 4.15pm and on Tuesday from 6.15pm to 8pm.

Dubai Ice Rink, Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai. Tonight from 8.15pm, Dhs100. More info on Facebook.

3. Go see the Mario Testino exhibition


Just opened at Dubai’s new design district, d3, Heat is a one-man exhibition showcasing the work of famous Peruvian photographer Mario Testino. The collection shows off the fashion, fine art and portraiture work of the iconic artist, with portraits of everyone from Kate Moss to The Rolling Stones. Read more about it here.

Courtyard between buildings 9 and 10, d3. Until April 15, 10am to 10pm, entry is free. See website for more.

4. Head to the Jazz Fest


Last night’s gig with headliners Toto went down a treat, and there are still two more days left of the Dubai Jazz Fest.  Tonight it will be all about singer-songwriter David Gray and a collaboration between Sting and American trumpeter Chris Botti. Then Friday will be a dancefloor night with percussionists La Bomba De Tiempo and Santana dishing out tunes.

Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai, Thur and Fri from Dhs395. Tel: (04) 3911196. Taxi: Dubai Media City Amphitheatre.

5. Scoff seafood and listen to swing

The Swing Revue are doing a live set at excellent and lively seafood restaurant Catch tonight. So, if it’s a quiet dinner out you’re after, this isn’t for you, but if you like to boogie woogie over your bordelaise, get down there.

Here’s a bit of what they’re about:

Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, from 8pm until late. Tel: (04) 3325555. Metro: World Trade Centre.


6. Go to the Al Noor Family Fun Fair

Hosted by Al Noor Training Centre for Persons with Disabilities, this annual day out features games and competitions, a garage sale, music, a food court, a kids’ zone and more. Batman will be there, as will Dubai Drums (from 11am to 12pm), and all proceeds go right back to the centre itself, which is a fantastic facility for Dubai to have.

Al Noor Centre, behind Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha One, 10am to 10pm. More info on Facebook. Tel: (04) 340 4844.

7. Meditate under the full moon

This afternoon, Zen Yoga and YogaFest Middle East are hosting three sessions for just Dhs50, with all proceeds going to the Dubai Foundation for Women & Children. At 3pm there will be a hatha flow class, at 4.15pm a deep stretching Yin Yoga class and at 5.30pm a full moon mediation.

Dubai Internet City Ampitheatre, between buildings one and two, Dubai Internet City, 3pm to 6pm. Dhs50 (register here and then pay at the door). More info on Facebook.

8. Go to a Carnival (on a golf course)Jumeirah-Golf-Estates-launches-Family-Fun-Day-29-January

Jumeirah Golf Estates is hosting its second carnival today, which will be held on the lawn near the tennis academy and all around the club house. There will be an arts and crafts market, a fancy dress competition, a salsa and Zumba class, street food and more.

Jumeirah Golf Estates (map here), 10am to 5pm, free entry. More info on Facebook.

9. See a fantastic foreign film

Secret of the Grain is an excellent 2007 French-Tunisian film that’s as heartbreaking as it is beautiful. It’s about a Tunisian immigrant with a dream to open a couscous and fish restaurant – and is an ode to the power of family, culture and, well, couscous.

The good news for cinephiles is that the film is being shown at A4 Space in Al Serkal tonight (and on Thursday night), for free.

A4 Space, Al Serkal Avenue, 7pm tonight (and Thursday night). Free, on a first come, first served basis. More info on Facebook.

10. Opt for an evening of opera and French food

The Emirates Opera Project is hosting an evening tonight at excellent French restaurant La Residence. The arias will be performed while you sit, relax and eat. If opera’s your thing, you’ll love this. If not, why not try and expand your horizons?

La Residence, Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha. Dhs200 per person with two drinks and a sharing platter, Dhs325 per person with a three course set menu and soft drinks, Dhs425 per person with a three course set menu and a bottle of grape or sparkling. Tel: (056) 696 2211. More info on Facebook.

11. Watch Dubai’s favourite short theatre

Short+Sweet is a festival of 10 minute plays that runs over six weeks. Well the knockout rounds are over and this weekend it’s the People’s Choice and Wildcards final, so it should be a good one. The People’s Choice Final is on today at 3pm and then also at 7.30pm and will feature 10 plays. Then, on Saturday at 3pm and 7.30pm it’s the Wildcards final. Word is there are still tickets, there just aren’t any available online anymore, so call 04 3388525 to reserve a spot.

The Junction, Al Quoz, 3pm and 7.30pm, tonight and Saturday night, Dhs100. More info here.

12. Dance on the beach to Tiesto’s tunes

Zero Gravity is hosting Dutch superstar DJ Tiesto tonight – he’s not for everyone, and he definitely peaked in the early noughties, but there’s no questioning he’s one of the biggest DJs in the world and that this will be a huge day-to-night out.

Here’s one of his earlier (and hugest) trance hits:

The night will also mark the opening of Zero Gravity’s 2,000 square metre pool expansion.

Zero Gravity, Skydive Dubai Drop Zone, Al Sufouh Road. Dhs275 for regular tickets, Dhs400 for poolside access. Tickets available at Platinumlist. Tel: (04) 399 0009. 


13. Go to a pet adoption day


The Pet Shop at Dubai Investment Park is hosting an adoption day today in association with a bunch of local charities. There will be cats and kittens in store from 11am to 2pm, dogs and puppies from 3pm to 6pm and small pets from 3pm to 6pm too (including the two little guys pictured). There will also be a bouncy castle, face painting and an ice cream machine.

The Pet Shop, Dubai Investment Park (near the Park ‘n Shop). Free entry. 11am to 6pm. More info on Facebook.

14. Support local musicians

Tonight is the launch of GoPlayTheWorld – a recorded collection of original music from Dubai talent. There will be five local acts on stage throughout the night (Vandalye, Leoné Murphy, Imbue, Daisygrim and Hasan Malik), free entry, and drinks deals to boot.

Here’s a top toe-tapper from Vandalye:

Tribeca Kitchen & Bar, JA Ocean View Hotel, JBR. Doors 5pm, music starts 8pm. Free entry. More info on Facebook.

– For more about Dubai straight to your newsfeed, follow us on Facebook.