Theatre, off-kilter music, EDM superstars, an art festival, a craft market, Thai food and more. April is all about exploring the city before it gets too hot. So hop to it with our list of 16 things to do in Dubai this weekend…

Thursday 13

1. Celebrate Songkran by the water

The waterfront Pai Thai in Madinat Jumeirah is one of Dubai’s most magical dinner spots, and the Thai restaurant is currently all trussed up to celebrate the water festival of Songkran. There’s a three-course menu on offer, as well as entertainment in the form of traditional Thai dancing, with the dancer floating on an abra while performing. The set menu features everything from crab dumplings with sweet potato to chicken wrapped in pandan leaf and a delicate, aromatic sea bass. Expect the food to be excellent, as we’ve never had a bad meal at Pai Thai. Book a table outside, and make a reservation because it gets busy.

Al Qasr Hotel (Google Maps will tell you to take another entrance, but ignore it and go to the main Al Qasr lobby, and from there take an abra or walk to the restaurant). Dhs280, special menu available 6.30pm to 11.30pm until April 23. Tel: (04) 432 3232. More info on website

2. Sample off-kilter music all across the city

The Red Bull Academy Weekender is taking over venues this weekend – the festival brings together over 30 international and regional artists, read more about it here. Highlights include a set from Mixmag’s 2016 DJ of the Year, The Black Madonna (Thursday 13 April, On 42, Media One Hotel), a ‘Sunrise Session’ with electronic looping artist Julianna Barwick (Friday 14 April, Kite Beach), and a banger of a closing party with a line-up that reads like a veritable who’s-who of hipper-than-thou MC’s like Danny Brown, Earl Sweatshirt and Princess Nokia (Friday 14 April, Dubai Design District). For the full schedule of concerts visit the Red Bull Music Academy website.

Red Bull Music Academy Weekender, various Venues. 12-15 April. Tickets from Dhs100. More info and tickets on website.

3. Go see some blue men at Dubai Opera

Fancy watching three blue, bald, mute men drumming the night away in Dubai and paying from Dhs195 to Dhs595 for the privilege? Yep, we’re perplexed too… But the Blue Man Group is a surreal, absorbing mix of comedy, music, science and more that’s been beloved the world over for decades. Definitely one to catch.

Dubai Opera, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai. Dhs195 to Dhs595. Thursday 5.30pm and 8.30pm, Friday and Saturday 4.30pm and 7.30pm. Tel: (04) 440 8888. More info and tickets on website. 

4. See the first ever UAE production of Hamlet

Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most tragic tales, and the Dubai Drama Group is taking it on this weekend. It will be stripped down: there’s no director, and just five seasoned actors without a set, and no costumes. They will simply use a few props to differentiate between characters.

The Junction, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz. Dhs100 (Dhs50 students), 8pm, April 13 to 15. Tel: (04) 338 8525. Buy tickets here. More info on Facebook

Friday 14

5. Learn to cook raw (ladies only)

There’s a new women’s only pop-up in d3 from Puma that will host fitness classes, cooking lessons, brunches, shopping and more until May 18. This Friday you’ll find a raw cooking workshop on offer, which will teach you how to create some easy slaws and salads, as well as provide some tips on plating and photography.

Building 6, Dubai Design District (D3), Dubai, 12pm, Dhs75 per person. Tel: 050 156 8462. More info on website.

6. Visit Hopfest at the original IV

Dubai’s Celtic institution, The Irish Village, is hosting Hopfest this weekend. The annual three-day party features 75 varieties of beer, abd live music. There are basketball and football games for teens and a bouncy castle for little ones. Entry is free, you just pay for what you eat and drink.

The Irish Village, Garhoud. Free entry, from 6pm Thursday and 12pm to late Friday and Saturday. Tel: (04) 239 5000. More info on website.

7. Experience some real life Fast & Furious action

From this weekend until April 22 you’ll find more than 85 uniquely modified, super-tuned 4x4s, classic cars and motorbikes on display at City Walk, including Devil 16 – aka the fastest car on earth. There will be activities on from 4pm to 10pm every day of the festival. You can pay Dhs100 to try Drift Planet, a drifting experience with a professional driver (at the carpark next to Green Planet). But if Fast & Furious is your favourite film franchise you’ll want to head to the ‘Tokyo Drift’ style underground parties in the City Walk basement parking this Friday night and next Friday too – think lots of mods’, a DJ, open hoods and a sound system competition (so yes, it’ll be noisy).

City Walk, Al Safa Street. Free (some activities cost), various times from April 12 to April 21. More info on website.

8. Spend the evening doing yoga (for free)

From 4pm to 7pm tonight you’ll get to try three forms of yoga for free at Dubai Internet City Ampitheatre. From 4pm you can try uplifting Jivamukti, from 5pm you can align with Ashtanga and 6pm to 7pm is all about de-stressing and tapping into the power of the subconscious mind.

Dubai Internet City Ampitheatre. Free, 4pm to 7pm. More info and class registration on website


9. See a massive line up at DXBeach

It’s DXBeach at Zero Gravity this weekend, and that means South African legends Goldfish, English DJ Jonas Blue, Arcade 82, Ben Santiago, Sonny Fodera and Josh Butler all in one day. Should be epic. Top tip: If you opt for the pricier poolside ticket (Dhs350) you’ll get access to the pool, a private bar, a lounge and the changing facilities.

Zero Gravity by Skydive Dubai Dropzone, Al Sufouh. From Dhs150, 12pm to 3am. Buy tickets here. More info on Facebook. 

10. Or catch an EDM megastar on the Palm

Leave room for cake if you’re going to see Steve Aoki at Atlantis tonight – his sets are known for being turbocharged, and so we expect a high energy night and good vibes overall. He’s no stranger to the UAE though, and we don’t imagine this will be his last visit.

Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah. Dhs175, 7pm to 3am, from Dhs175. Tel: (055) 200 4321. Buy tickets here. More info on Facebook

Saturday 15

11. Check out Emirates Golf Club, on the house…

There’s an open day at Emirates Golf Club from 10am to 4pm today, which means free lessons from The Academy on the Faldo driving range, fitness sessions from the Fit Lab team as well as physiotherapy advice and even a spot of Padeltennis. The coffee will be good as the folks from Roseleaf cafe will be there, as will other food trucks and a bouncy castle for little ones.

Emirates Golf Club, Sheikh Zayed Road. Free, 10am to 4pm. Tel: (04) 417 9999. More info on Facebook.

12. An Easter activity for kids

It’s Easter weekend, which, for many of you will mean your families back home have long weekends and are spending time together. This can be a tough time to be an expat, but there are plenty of Easter lunches and brunches that you could go to with friends this weekend – read about them here. Got little ones? On Saturday from 2pm to 5pm, the Fairmont Dubai on Sheikh Zayed Road is holding a chocolate and cookie masterclass for kids aged 3 to 10. And yes, there will be a visit from the Easter Bunny.

Fairmont Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road. Saturday, April 15, 2pm to 5pm. Dhs65 per kid (3 to 10), includes cookie art kit and hot chocolate. Advance registration recommended. Tel: (04) 311 8316, more info on website.

13. Find some affordable art

This weekend at Dubai World Trade Centre you’ll find World Art Dubai – a collection of more than 3,000 painting, prints, sculptures and photographs from around the world, priced from D360 to Dhs734,000 (something for everyone then). While the art fair is inside, outside you’ll find an artist’s Ripe Craft Market, running from 2pm-9pm on Friday and 2pm-8pm on Saturday – this will feature fashion, crafts, furniture, and, of course art.

Dubai World Trade Centre. Dhs20, 2pm to 9pm. Buy tickets here. More info and schedules on website

14. Meet some of the globe’s most brilliant minds

You’ll find ING Creative Festival at Alserkal Avenue this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The festival features three days of workshops and talks by an impressive line-up of speakers from the likes of Pixar, Disney, National Geographic, MoMA, Google and Behance. Dan Goods, Visual Strategist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (pictured) is holding a talk from 4pm to 7pm on Saturday. There will also be a Creative Market running next to the festival featuring over 55 artists – some traveling from as far a field as Mexico and the Dominican Republic – showcasing their wares, accompanied by live music and a variety of food vendors. For a full schedule of talks and workshops head here.

Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, one day pass Dhs715, 9am to 10.10pm all weekend. Buy tickets here. More info on Facebook. 

15. Admire the world’s fabrics

This month at Gulf Photo Plus you’ll find the photography of Alia Ali, an artist whose personal influences include Yemeni, Bosnian, American and Austrian cultures. Her photos tell human stories through the diverse yet common medium of fabrics – from Central America to South Asian block printing and West African wax printing.

Gulf Photo Plus, Unit D36, Alserkal Avenue. Free entry, 10am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 380 8545. More info on website.

16. End the weekend poetically

From 6pm to 9pm tonight there’s a poetry reading at One Life in D3 that’s being run by Dubai Poetics. The spoken word will be in both Arabic and English, and everyone is welcome to come listen, discuss and share.

One Life Kitchen and Cafe, Dubai Design District. Free, 6pm to 9pm. More info on Facebook. 

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