Lots happening in the capital this weekend – there’s festive festivals all over the city, plus it’s your last chance to check out the Abu Dhabi Food Festival. There’s also a new exhibition at the Louvre for culture vultures, and loads more

Thursday December 21

Head to the Abu Dhabi Literature And Music Festival

There’s a festival on Saadiyat Island and at Umm Al Emarat Park this weekend to celebrate Arabic Language Day. Tonight there’s a performance of Enchanting Literature by Jahida Wehbe at Manrat Al Saadiyat. The Lebanese singer will be joined by a band of 10 musicians from the UAE, France, and Lebanon to perform songs, texts and poems by Arab and international poets and writers, including Al Mutanabbi, Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Mahmoud Darwish, Khalil Gibran and Ahlam Mosteghanemi, as well as translations of famous literary pieces by Gunter Grass, Pablo Neruda and Lorca.

Winter Wonderland on Al Maryah Island

Every year, The Galleria and The Promenade on Al Maryah are transformed into a festive village, and this year is no different – there’ll be a tree-lighting ceremony on December 14, at 7pm. Kids can visit Santa in his grotto daily until December 24 and there’ll be festive flashmobs performed by professional dance troupes, plus a winter show inspired by Disney’s Frozen. There’ll also be slides in a slope park, a snow zone and a bungee trampoline.
Until December 26
Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, daily 3pm to 10pm. Taxi: The Galleria. Tel: (02) 6166999. almaryahisland.ae

Stuff your face at the Abu Dhabi Food Festival

Food trucks, secret menus, money-off deals, giant picnics and a whole lot more – the Abu Dhabi Food Festival runs until December 23. Read our full preview here.

New menu at Bord Eau

Best restaurant in Abu Dhabi - Bord Eau
The Shangri-La’s What’s On Award-winning French restaurant Bord Eau has revamped its menu. On it you’ll find a six-course set menu featuring starters such as duck foie gras with fresh fig, mains including oven-baked black seabream and Australian Wagyu beef tenderloin and chocolate tart for dessert. A seafood, four-course menu inspired by the French Riviera has also been added.
Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi, Sun to Fri 6.30pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (02) 5098511. Taxi: Shangri-La, Qaryat Al Beri. shangri-la.com

Check out a cool UAE-themed exhibition

emARTi 46 is on at Le Royal Meridien and features artworks from talents from all seven emirates. The exhibition looks at the country’s tradition, heritage and spirit.
Until December 29
Le Royal Meridien, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi, 9am to late. Taxi: Le Royal Meridien. Tel: (02) 6742020. leroyalmeridienabudhabi.com

Friday December 22

New brunch on offer at Toro Toro

The pan-Latino giant is now serving brunch every Friday. On the menu you’ll find smoked guacamole, seafood ceviche, salads, a taco stand, empanadas and cachapas and sides such as sweet potato fries and quinoa salad. There’s also an ice cream stand for dessert. Live music will be performed on the day from the outlet’s Cuban house band.
Jumeirah At Etihad Towers, Al Khubeirah, Abu Dhabi, Dhs295 to Dhs545. Tel: (02) 8115882. Taxi: Etihad Towers. d2.fajridemo.com/torotoro

A new exhibition at The Louvre

The inaugural special exhibition at Louvre Abu Dhabi, From One Louvre To Another: Opening A Museum For Everyone, traces the history of Musée du Louvre in Paris and will run throughout the first quarter of 2018. It will feature approximately 145 significant paintings, sculptures, decorative arts and other pieces from the collections of Musée du Louvre and Château de Versailles.
Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (600) 565566. Taxi: Louvre Abu Dhabi. louvreabudhabi.ae

Head to the Al Dhafra Festival

Want to learn more about Bedouin culture? Head to this year’s edition of the Al Dhafra Festival, which takes place in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region. The festival is famously known for hosting a beauty pageant with a difference – this one is for camels (and it’s called a Mazayna).
Until December 27
Al Dhafra, Madinat Zayed, Western Region, Abu Dhabi. Taxi: Madinat Zayed, near the camel ranches off E45. turathuna.ae

Learn all about the Trucial Scouts

This exhibition in Abu Dhabi’s garden city of Al Ain looks at the history of the region’s security force from the 1950s.
Until April 2018
Al Jahili Fort, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, free. Tel: (800) 555. Taxi: Al Jahili Fort. abudhabievents.ae

Have a lazy lunch at Tamba

The What’s On Award-winning Indian outlet has launched a new Lazy Lunch concept for Fridays. The menu features 20 dishes that are served to your table.
WTC Mall, Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi, Fri 12.30pm to 4pm. Tel: (02) 6728888. Taxi: WTC Mall. tambarestaurant.com

There’s a new McGettigan’s in Al Ain

Located at the Danat Al Ain Resort, the new McGettigan’s is designed just like its sister bar in Abu Dhabi with the addition of a huge terrace overlooking the hotel’s pool. It has 12 large screens showing sport, a menu featuring classic Irish dishes, and a daily happy hour.
Danat Al Ain Resort, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi. Taxi: Al Ain Danat. Tel: (03)7046000. mcgettigans.com

Winterfest at Ferrari World

The Yas Island themepark becomes a winter wonderland to celebrate Christmas, for the fifth year in a row. There’s snow slides for kids to try, plus an ice skating show called Fairytales On Ice featuring seven international performers. There’s also an elf school and kids can hang out with Bjorn the Polar Bear in a snowy play area.
Until January 6
Ferrari World, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, timings vary. Taxi: Ferrari World. Tel: (02) 4968000. ferrariworldabudhabi.com

Visit the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival

Learn about the UAE’s founding father at this annual festival – expect spectacular parades, falconry shows and plenty more.
Until January 27
Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, timings TBC. Tel: (800) 555. Taxi: Al Wathba, near the cycle track. abudhabievents.ae

Saturday December 23

There’s a new festival in Al Ain

Abu Dhabi’s garden city is getting its very own festival to close out 2017 – the Dar Al Zain Festival takes place at Al Ain Convention Centre, with a series of events planned for families. You’ll find 50 shops selling arts, crafts and more, a glowing flower garden and maze, a food and beverage zone featuring more than 50 kiosks and food trucks, live music (Arab and international artists including Balqees Fathi on December 22 and Majid Al Mohandis on December 23), and a Festival Village. There’s several kids’ sjows as well including Looney Tunes Little Tweety Hood, Iftah Ya SimSim – Simsim Outerspace and My Little Pony.
Until December 23
Al Ain Convention Centre, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, timings vary. abudhabievents.ae

See In The Making at Warehouse 421

There’s something missing from Warehouse 421’s new exhibition – every object on display is incomplete, or only partly made. Think half-built computers, musical instruments and pieces of sports equipment. In The Making is in Abu Dhabi as part of the UK/UAE 2017 Year Of Collaboration, a series of events and exhibitions put on by both countries.
Until February 11
Warehouse 421, Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi, timings and prices TBC. Taxi: Warehouse 421 next to COOP in Mina Zayed. warehouse421.ae

Save at the spa

Iridium Spa is offering 90-minute massages at the discounted price of Dhs520 (instead of
Dhs915) if you book it in the morning.
The St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, daily 9am to 2pm. Tel: (02) 4988996. Taxi: Saadiyat. iridiumspaabudhabi.com

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