World class art, festivals and music – the sun’s out again and Dubai’s really turning it on. Here’s your weekend in the city sorted…

Thursday 10

1. Learn about stuff at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

emirates-literature festival

This weekend is your last chance to check out Dubai’s annual literature festival (one of our favourite Dubai events). Tonight at 8pm you can hear a humour-filled talk from Masterchef UK judge John Torode (Dhs70), while at 8.30pm three expert authors of fact and fiction will be talking about China, and its role in the world in the decades to come. There are over 20 talks each day, so check out this daily calendar to pick the right one for you this weekend.

Until March 12. Various timings and prices. InterContinental Hotel, Dubai Festival City. Tel: (04) 3559844. Taxi: Festival City.

2. Eat your way around Taste of Dubai


The three-day food festival is back this weekend, which means 20 fine-dining restaurants, a celebrity chef line-up with seven Michelin stars between them, and 1970s disco legends all down at Dubai Media City Arena (which was soggy yesterday, sure, but seems to be drying up).

For full event info, head here.

From today until Saturday. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai Media City, Dubai, Thur 4pm to midnight, Dhs125, Fri noon to midnight, Sat noon to 11pm, Dhs90. Tel: (04) 3148222. Taxi: Internet City.

3. Laugh, in French

Tonight at Ductac you’ll find the Montreux Comedy Gala – which sees some of the best Swiss, Belgian, Canadian and French comedians bringing the Francophone funny. So, yeah, if you don’t speak French, this will be deadly. If you do, should be a good night.

Centrepoint Theatre, Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai. Tickets from Dhs195. From 8.30pm, tonight only. Buy tickets here.

4. Take advantage of your last chance to check out mind boggling 3D art


Dubai Canvas Festival sees 30 artists from around the world taking to the pavement to paint one-of-a-kind, giant optical illusions during daily live performance for the public, free of charge. The works make up a two-kilometre stretch of JBR, and there will be about 60 pieces. The festival wraps up on March 14, so this is your last weekend to check it out. See 10 of the coolest works here.

The Walk, Jumeriah Beach Residence, Dubai Marina, Dubai, free. Tel: (04) 3833333. Taxi: The Walk, JBR.

Friday 11

5. Watch the world’s best drone racers in action

World Drone Prix

This weekend the world’s best drone pilots will be donning headsets and moving their tiny aircrafts through the above obstacle race to compete for a grand prize of Dhs3.7 million.  Just like in car racing, the drones are all required to be of similar specifications – which includes similar batteries and air frames to ensure the races are fair. Also, just like in car racing, a whole team is required to take part in the race, with roles including a pilot, navigator, technician, pit stop personnel and a team manager. Go down and watch the action today or tomorrow.

World Drone Prix, Skydive Dubai, Al Sufouh. March 11 to 12, 3pm to 9pm. One day access tickets from Dhs100, two day access tickets from Dhs150. Tel: (04) 3189240.

6. See some of the world’s best art


Art fans or culture junkies in general won’t want to miss out on the Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro exhibition that’s just kicked off in Dubai. These Spanish artists are two of the most iconic names in 20th century art, and you’ll get to see some of their finest work if you head down to the show. Head here for more on the exhibition.

Annex One, The Burj Khalifa, 12pm to 10pm, until May 17. Tickets Dhs125 (some of the proceeds go towards the Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs). More info and tickets here.

7. Head to the Beach Canteen


This weekend also marks the last few days of the Dubai Food Festival (here’s a full guide of what’s happening with that), and today at the super cool Beach Canteen on Kite Beach you’ll find a family market day. Also at the Canteen tonight is a Disney movie night from 7.30pm to 10pm.

Beach Canteen runs until March 12. Kite Beach, Umm Suqeim, Jumeirah, Dubai, free. Tel: (600) 555559. Taxi: Kite Beach. For more info about timings and details, check or Dubai Food Festival’s Facebook.

8. See a very chic French cover band

Nouvelle Vague are a band known for adding Brazilian-style bossa nova beats and French je ne sais quoi to the New Wave and Punk hits of the 1970s and 1980s. So yes, they’re a cover band, but in a very French, very classy way. The good news is they’re playing at the Music Room tonight. For more on the band, head here. Here’s what to expect:

The Music Room, Majestic Hotel, Mankhool Road, Dubai. From 9.30pm Friday March 11, tickets Dhs250. More info on Facebook. Tickets at Platinum List.

9. Witness an indie DJ-off

Billed as a “clash of the indie titans”, Dubai’s two indie nights go head-to-head in a friendly battle tonight. The Step On vs Loaded party sees locals DJs ME, Rude Larry and Andy Buchan slug it out musically. Expect to hear everything from Joy Division to Jamie XX (listen above), and all points in between.

Casa Latina, Ibis, Al Barsha, 9pm to 2.45am, free. Tel: (055) 8825675. More info on Facebook

10. See a house legend who’s still at the top of his game

In the words of our sister mag Hype, “John Digweed gets even better with age,” and the 49-year-old house DJ is playing in Dubai this weekend. Expect a belter. Up for a long one? Then go all in with the sunset pre-party on the terrace featuring Brazilian DJ Wehhba from 4pm (a combined ticket price of Dhs200 will grant you access to both the pre-party and the main event).

Pacha, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, John Digweed set from 10pm to 3am, Dhs125. Buy tickets here

Saturday 12

11. Expecting? Book a massage and get a treat

Excellent and well established Dubai beauty spot The Cure is offering all expectant mothers free pedicures with any pre-natal massage booked in March only at the Dubai Media City branch (because after a certain point, your toes are quite tricky to reach, right?). Just make sure to make it clear you’re booking a pre-natal massage when you phone to secure your spot – the hour-long massage itself is Dhs250.

The Cure Media City (Building 10, BBC World). Tel: (04) 391 6485. More info on Facebook

12. Celebrate spring, the Russian way

Today is the last day of Wafi Mall’s Matryoshka Festival (aka, a celebration of Spring). There will be a Yamarka market showcasing Russian arts and crafts, and there are different workshops each day. Today is the Family Day, with a master class by Psychologist Larisa Surkova from 2pm to 3.30pm, and there will be a stage show from 5pm to 7pm, with 30 different children showing off Russian dance and song.

Wafi Mall, Oud Metha. Last day today. More event information on website

13. Go to a free nap bar

nap poncho

French design house smarin have opened The Nap Bar in Al Quoz, offering each patron a special nap pillow, an original lullaby, a special herbal tea, some essential oils and best of all – a special nap poncho. And it’s all for free (although they may try and sell you products while you’re there). For more details, head here.

The Nap Bar, Zumtobel Lighting Warehouse, 6A Street, Al Quoz, Dubai. March 9 to 31, Saturday to Thursday 10am to 7pm. Free. 

14. Go on a grape flight

Colin Clague

Award-winning restaurant Jean-Georges Dubai is one of our top spots (its head chef Colin Clague, pictured, picked up best chef at last year’s What’s On Awards in fact). This month only they’re serving up wine flights on Saturday nights. Every Saturday, diners at JG Kitchen will be able to sample a ‘tour’ of Tuscan grape, with five glasses for just Dhs99. You can order this alongside the a la carte menu. Expect a bit of an education with each liquid course as the sommeliers guide you through the tastes.

JG Kitchen only, Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Saturday 7pm to 11pm. Dhs99. Tel: (04) 3436118. Taxi: Four Seasons.

15. Check out a new karaoke spot


If you want to sing your Saturday night away, then check out Voice Dubai, a new karaoke club in the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel. The set up includes free karaoke, a shisha terrace and ample food and drink options. Tables accomodate up to eight people, and there are 40,000 songs to choose from (in languages including English, Russian, Italian, French, Spanish and Arabic).

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Business Bay. 10pm to 3am on Tuesdays, Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays. Tel: (052) 683 5475. More info on Facebook.

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