Spring is in the air, and from Easter feasts to colourful festivals, circuses and cinema nights, the city is turning it on.

Oh, and it also happens to be the Dubai World Cup this weekend (Janet Jackson!) as well as the Classic Car Fest.

Basically, there’s heaps to choose from, so here’s our pick of the 15 things to do…

Thursday 24

1. Go to the circus, or rather ‘the cirque’


You’d be forgiven for thinking that circus acts and pyrotechnics were a dangerous combination, but at Cirque Le Noir they promise to create one of the coolest circus performances in the world combining the two. And it starts tonight! The show will be in the city until April 2. Expect 20 different acts, including the famous Colombian Wheel of Death.

Dubai World Trade Centre, this weekend shows start at 2pm, 5pm, 7pm and 8pm, Dhs199. Buy tickets here. More info on Facebook.

2. Bite into a bit of Bronx culture


Sole DXB’s debut event of 2016 is a photo exhibition from iconic Bronx photographer Lisa Leone. From The Fugees busting out acoustic rap on the rooftops of Harlem to Debi Mazar hanging out on the stoops of the West Village and Snoop Dogg on the set of his first video when they first realised he was destined for greatness – Leone’s shot them all. You can head down and see her work every night of the week, except for Friday. Read more about the exhibition here.

Lisa Leone X Sole DXB, Dubai Design District, Ras Al Khor Road. March 22 to April 5, closed on Fridays, 7.30pm to 11.30pm. soledxb.com

3. Go see a movie in a brand new cinema

reel cinema

You know the new part of City Walk on Safa Street? Well the Reel Cinemas there has just opened, a great option for a Friday night movie in that part of town when you don’t want to brave Dubai Mall during rush hour. There will be three Platinum Suites for those who like max comfort, as well as seven standard screens. Oh, and there’s basement parking too.

Reel Cinemas, City Walk. More info on website. 

4. Have a nostalgic night out

Dubai is destinated for a trip down memory lane when UB40 and Billy Ocean, two musical heavyweights of  the 1980s, take to the stage. Clearly fans of the UAE’s sunny shores, UB40 first performed here in 2014 and again in 2015, making this gig their Dubai hat-trick. Sharing the stage is legendary singer Billy Ocean. The Caribbean ‘when the going gets tough’ singer has a career spanning an impressive 40 years, having released his first album back in 1976.

Here’s a tune to get you in the zone:

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, The Irish Village, Dubai, 7pm, Dhs225. Tel: (04) 3148222. Taxi: Irish Village. Buy tickets here.

5. Get down to the final night of the Sikka Art Fair


The annual celebration of Dubai-born culture and arts is one of our favourite festivals (partly because hanging out in the beautiful Bastakiya is just lovely in-and-of-itself). Tonight is the closing night, and there will be heaps of local talent on the main stage. There’s Beatbox Ray freestyling at 5.45pm to electronic tunes from Karim Sultan at 6.45pm and Tim Hassal at 9.15pm (plus much more in between). It should be a good night.

Al Fahidi Historical District, Bur Dubai. 4pm to 11pm. More info on website.

Friday 25

6. Ogle a whole street full of classic cars

Emirates Classic Car Festival

If you’re impressed by the daily automobile eye candy in Dubai, then the annual Emirates Classic Car Festival will be right up your street. Held on the 3km-long Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai, this annual event is back for the seventh time, and is free to check out, running from Thursday to Sunday. Don’t expect a small handful of old school Ferraris or Porsches, the collection on display is set to span an entire century of motoring history.

 All weekend. Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai. More info on website. 

7. Go to a family carnival


Under-construction residential community Dubai Hills Estate (which is off of Al Khail Road) is hosting a circus-themed family carnival today (at its sales pavillion so there’s likely to be some property spruiking). Think mimes, stilt walkers, balloon benders and more. There will also be games and workshops for the younger lot, a petting zoo and food trucks.

Dubai Hills Estate, 10am to 10pm. Tel: (04) 362 4599.

8. Celebrate the festival of colour


Holi is an annual Indian celebration that celebrates all things colourful (how joyful is that?). Get to Creek Park today to see the sights, taste the flavours and hear the sounds of this ace time of year. There will be live dance, songs, bhangra tunes, lots of food and of course colourful chalk exploding everywhere.

Creek Park, gate one and seven, next to the Floating Bridge, Deira. 10am to 7pm, Dhs65 per person, Dhs115 per couple, Dhs200 for a group of four, children free. More info here.

9. See Nicki Minaj, at Dubai Outlet Mall


Nicki Minaj has sold more than 50 million singles and five million albums worldwide, has had more hits on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart than any female rapper in history, and is the third most successful Billboard female artist of all time, just behind Aretha Franklin and Taylor Swift. Respect.  The Anaconda singer is performing in Dubai to promote the opening of a brand new Dubai concert venue called, well, The Venue, so get out your Nicktionary to decode her lyrics and get down there.

The Venue, Dubai Outlet Mall, Al Ain Mall. 7pm, Dhs350 to Dhs650. Buy tickets here

10. Spend the night with a techno legend

Techno boss Sven Väth is in Dubai tonight – and it will be a big night indeed. At the age of 51, the Frankfurt DJ shows no sign of slowing down. In the words of our sister mag Hype, Sven “still avows the use of vinyl in his always memorable DJ sets, wants clubbers to get back to basics and continues to inspire and be inspired.” He rocked Blue Marlin to the core last year, and we’re thinking he’ll do the same this weekend.

Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE, Golden Tulip Al Jazira Island Hotel, Ghantoot, Dubai, 1pm to 11pm, free guestlist. More info on Facebook

Saturday 26

11. Scoff an Easter feast


It’s Easter weekend, and to celebrate Fümé Pier 7 has a sharing set menu featuring BBQ lamb ribs, pan-seared sea bass, baked lemon tart and seven-layer carrot cake. The menu will set you back Dhs195 per person, while the Easter Bunny is promising to make a visit on both the Friday and Saturday (the menu’s available from Friday to Sunday). There’s also a two-hour house beverage package on offer for Dhs189.

Pier 7, Dubai Marina. Available for lunch and dinner, open 12pm to 2am. Tel: (04) 421 5669. More info on Facebook. 

12. Go to the races

Dubai World Cup preview

The world’s richest horse race returns to Meydan this weekend – yes, that’s right, The Dubai World Cup. General admission grandstand tickets are free during the race season, and Dhs25 on Dubai World Cup Day. But to truly experience the best of the World Cup, you’ll want to book your seat in the Apron Views (Dhs450), situated between the tracks and the Meydan Grand Stand. It might not be the flashest ticket on offer (that would be the Cigar Suite, which is purely for those who have at least Dhs4,750 going spare), but it’s definitely got the liveliest atmosphere of the lot, with plenty of food and drink options to keep you going all day. Oh, and Janet Jackson’s performing on the night – that’s reason alone to go down.

Janet Jackson live

Meydan Grandstand, Al Meydan Road, Dubai, noon, Dhs25 to Dhs4,750. Tel: (04) 3272110. Taxi: Meydan Racecourse. Buy tickets here.

13. Go out for a posh afternoon tea


Celeb chef Ariana Bundy (who is American-Iranian) is hosting an afternoon tea at the World Trade Club this afternoon in the iconic Sheikh Rashid Tower. She’s cooked for everyone from President Clinton to Tom Hanks, and is known for her gluten-, dairy- and soy-free desserts (inspired by her own food intolerances). Expect Persian flavours with a healthy twist.

World Trade Club, Floor 33, Sheikh Rashid Tower. 3pm to 5.30pm, Dhs175 per person. For reservations call (04) 309 7979 or email wtc@dwtc.com. 

14. Have a side of jazz with your pizza

The Tarek Yamani Quarter is playing at Pizza Express’ JLT jazz night tonight – the group of four is made up of a piano player, a saxophonist, drums and someone on the acoustic bass. Entrance is free, but definitely book.

Here’s a taste of the sound:

Pizza Express, Cluster A, Jumeirah Lakes Towers. From 8.30pm. More info on Facebook

15. Watch classic cinema

Tonight cinephile group Cinema Akil are hosting a free screening of a 1950 Japanese crime film Rashomon, which was one of the first films to really explore the complexities of justice, innocence and guilt. Plus, the movie will be preceeded by an introduction from New Yorker Peter Scarlet, who is best known as the Artistic Director of New York’s Tribeca Film Festival. So yeah, he’s kind of a big deal.

The Yard, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz, 7pm, free but first come first seated. 

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