30 things to do outdoors in Dubai before summer strikes
Brunches, dining al fresco and adventurous outdoor activities…
It’s that time of year again, the weather is heating up and soon we’ll be running from air-con to air-con, in a rush that only people living in the Gulf can understand.
Before we say goodbye to outdoor brunches and pool days (sob), we’ve rounded up the best things to do outdoors in Dubai before the heat really kicks in.
Bars & Restaurants
1. Impress your guests at an alfresco restaurant
With its beachfront location, whitewashed fit-out and twinkly lights, Fish is brilliant for wowing guests. As well as tables in the garden, there is seating right on the beach, so you can enjoy the restaurant’s Turkish, Greek and Mediterranean fusion dishes with your toes in the sand. Open for both lunch and dinner, it’s a sharing concept that invites guests to sample a variety of hot and cold plates. The focus for main course is grills and casseroles, and guests can have fresh fish grilled to order in front of them by Fish’s chefs.
Fish Beach Taverna, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, daily 12pm to 11pm. Tel: (04) 511 7139. fish-dubai.com
2. Sunsets at The Beach House
If you’re looking for chilled vibes to watch the sun go down on a Saturday afternoon, Anantara ticks all the right boxes with its waterfront restaurant, The Beach House. With stunning views across the fronds on the Palm Jumeirah, take in your surroundings on the relaxed sun terrace with a huge serving of calamari rings served with a citrus chili dip.
The Beach House, Anantara Resort & Spa, The Palm Jumeirah, Sunday to Saturday, 12pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (04) 567 8316. anantara.com
3. Enjoy rooftop drinks at a new hangout
The number 23 is believed to have a unique role in human relationships, health and life order and this brand new 23-themed rooftop bar on, (you guessed it), the 23rd floor at the Grand Plaza Movenpick hotel in Media City is perfect for after-work drinks, sundowners and has incredible views of the city at night. If you fancy some dishes to share, try the miso ginger fried chicken or succulent black angus beef sliders. What’s more, they have an awesome happy hour on every day from Sunday to Thursday, 4.23pm to 7.23pm for Dhs23 per drink.
Twenty Three, Grand Plaza Movenpick Media City, Sheikh Zayed Road. Sunday to Thursday, 4.23pm to 7.23pm. Tel: (04) 525 7777. movenpick.com
4. Enjoy a Chilled afternoon by the beach
Sitting at the end of the ever-popular Club Vista Mare on the Palm Jumeirah, with beach bar vibes and a DJ playing, Breeze is the perfect place to head wearing shorts and flip flops for a chilled hang out with a group of friends at the weekend. If you’re hungry, they have an extensive sushi menu or tasty burgers, sandwiches and salads. You’ll need to head down early if you’re going on the weekend though – the best tables are bagged early.
Breeze, Club Vista Mare, Palm Jumeirah, Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 12am. Tel: (04) 568 3000. Facebook.com/breezebeachdxb
5. Party at a sleek marina hotspot
Siddharta lounge by Buddha Bar oozes sophistication and style. With chic outdoor furniture set by a beautifully lit pool, it’s a great place for after work drinks or to bring visitors for that wow factor – showing off Dubai Marina in all of its glittering glory.
Siddharta Lounge by Buddha Bar, Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, Sunday to Saturday. 5pm – 12am. Tel: (04) 317. 6000. siddhartalounge.com
6. Head to popular party brunch
Treehouse has to be one of our favourite outdoor spots in Dubai. With Burj Khalifa views and a leafy setting, it’s one of Business Bay’s best gems. Since it’s teamed up with the brains behind popular party brunch We Brunch, Hidden has become Downtown’s go-to party brunch. It’s a mix of international buffet and a la carte dishes served to the table, but it’s the party vibe and extensive cocktails that you book this one for.
Hidden Brunch, Taj Dubai, Business Bay, 1pm to 4pm, Dhs325 soft, Dhs375 house, Dhs425 sparkling. Tel: (058) 827 2763. hiddenbrunch.com
7. Tuck into some top seafood
Jumeirah Al Naseem, with its close-up views of the Burj Al Arab and blue waters beyond is definitely one for the ‘Gram. At its beachfront restaurant, Rockfish, guests can feast on a Mediterranean menu of brilliant seafood dishes, and their lazy lunch is the perfect way to while away a Friday afternoon.
Rockfish, Jumeirah Al Naseem, Madinat Jumeirah, Fridays, 1pm to 4pm, Dhs495 with house drinks, Dhs395 with soft drinks. Tel: (04) 432 3232. Jumeirah.com
8. Feast poolside at a swanky hotel
A brunch buffet, pool access, big tunes and a swim up bar… this brunch ticks all the boxes for a brilliant party brunch in the sun. The buffet stretches along the length of the poolside, brimming with stations of lamb chops, beef brisket, colourful burgers, tender ribs and super-stretched hot dogs – it’s a meat-lover’s dream. There’s also a nacho station with guac made fresh in front of you, towers of tortilla chips and gooey melted cheese. Drinks include large jars of refreshing fruity cocktails, sparkling is included as standard, and cheerful waiters distribute bottles of beer directly to the beds. Frozen fruit pops are also offered. Music is supplied by DJ Shef Codes and W Dubai’s own music curator Smokingroove. Alongside a live violinist, there’s a mix of commercial house and R&B tunes to get you in the party spirit.
Palm Sugar Pool Brunch, The WET Deck, W the Palm Dubai, Palm Jumeriah, Dubai, 1pm to 5pm, Fridays, Dhs395. Tel: (04) 245 5555. facebook.com
9. Dine around the world without leaving Dubai
The famed Traiteur brunch is a must-try Dubai brunch, and extends through restaurants Noepe and Brasserie Du Park. Although it’s got a heavy Mediterranean focus, you’ll find dishes from around the world from an extensive seafood buffet, to a collection of roast meats, cold cuts and a dessert room that will make you wish you’d saved more room. Drinks are free flowing and glasses always topped up, and chilled beats are mixed with lively acoustic sets to entertain guests. Stay for sundowners, you won’t regret it – the sunsets over the creek are some of the city’s finest.
The Promenade, Park Hyatt, Deira, 1pm to 4.30pm, Fridays, Dhs495 soft, Dhs695 sparkling, Dhs795 premium. Tel: (04) 602 1814. thepromenadedxb.com
10. Tuck into some tapas
If you’re a fan of Spanish tapas and sangria then El Sur’s Friday brunch will hit the spot. Share tapas style dishes such as the Patatas Bravas, delicious prawns and, of course, paella. The outdoor terrace is a little sun trap, giving you the feeling of being in the Mediterranean right here in Dubai.
El Sur, The Westin Mina Seyahi, Fridays 12.30pm to 2.30pm, Dhs265 with soft drinks, Dhs395 with house drinks. Tel: (04) 399 7700. marriott.com
11. Top up your tan at a ladies’ day
Every Tuesday, Made In Soho runs from midday until 4pm, offering free flowing food and drink for Dhs145 for ladies. Best of all, this ladies’ day also comes with a package for guys, who can avail the exact same offer for Dhs245.
Soho Beach, Medyan, Dubai, 12pm to 4pm, Tuesdays, Dhs145 ladies, Dhs245 guys. Tel: (052) 433 3375. More info on website
12. Brunch in the pool at a top beach club
Zero Gravity is a firm Dubai favourite, even visited by celebrities such as Justin Bieber. It’s great any day of the week, especially if you’ve got some time off, but if you want to get the best value for money, head to their Tropical Brunch every Friday. Enjoy unlimited food and beverages from 1pm to 5pm whilst listening to some awesome DJs. Dhs295 for ladies and Dhs345 for guys.
Zero Gravity, Dubai Marina, Skydive Dubai Drop Zone, 1pm to 5pm, Fridays, Dhs295 ladies, Dhs345 guys. Tel: (04) 399 0009. 0-gravity.ae
13. Soak up the sun Creekside
The Lagoon opened earlier this year, offering a much-needed spot of calm in the midst of Dubai Creek. The pool, described as an ‘oasis of tranquility’, is nestled in the Park Hyatt Dubai and has a 100-metre ‘infinity lagoon’ with private sandy shore. Enjoy 180 degree views of the creek and Dubai’s iconic skyline while relaxing on a daybed or private gazebo.
The Lagoon, Park Hyatt Dubai, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, 9am to 8pm, daily, Dhs360. Tel: (04) 602 1234. hyatt.com
14. Chill out at an old favourite
A favourite with British expats, Barasti is an ‘oldie but a goodie’. Enjoy a bucket of beers whilst chilling on the beach, or spend your day splashing around in the pool. Bold and boisterous though it may be, you’re always guaranteed to have a great day with your mates and best of all – it’s free!
Barasti, Le Meridien Mina Seyahi, Weekdays 10am to 1.30am, Weekends 9am to 3am, free. Tel: (04) 318 1313. Barastibeach.com
15. Head to a luxe hangout for a glam pool day
This globally renowned beach club has built its reputation for good reason. The expansive space comes complete with two pools, white sandy beach and range of sun beds, cabanas and private villas. As beach clubs go it’s not exactly in a central location, but worth the effort to get to and it’s always a lively crowd looking to party on the weekend.
Nikki Beach, Pearl Jumeirah, 11am to 9pm, daily, Dhs150 weekdays (with a Dhs100 food and drink voucher), Dhs300 weekends (with a Dhs250 food and drink voucher). Tel: (04) 376 6162. nikkibeach.com
16. Party at a rooftop
The Penthouse has firmly cemented itself as one of the go-to places in Dubai for its ladies’ nights, pool parties and club nights. A rooftop bar with incredible views of the glittering Dubai skyline, join them for ‘Skyline Thursdays’ where you can dance the night away to guest DJs from 9pm.
The Penthouse, FIVE Palm Jumeirah. Tel: (04) 455 9989. fivehotelsandresorts.com
17. Check out a lively bar
Soho Garden has built up a reputation as the go-to bar for a big night out five nights a week. Whether it’s their bi-weekly ladies’ night on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, or you’re wanting to catch an international or local DJ on Thursdays or Fridays, Soho Garden has raised the game when it comes to bringing big events to bars in Dubai.
Soho Garden, Meydan, Dubai, Weds to Sat, 7pm to 3am (food until 12am), Sun and Mon closed. Tel: (056) 82 22 559. sohogardendxb.com
18. Party into the early hours at Meydan
You might not have thought Dubai needed another alfresco super club, but that was until Drai’s arrived to fill a void you didn’t even know existed. The Las Vegas export had a lot to prove with such a huge reputation in the US, but they have delivered and then some. With the biggest names in hip-hop regularly headlining the stage to a sold-out crowd of fans, this is THE place to be on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Drai’s, Gate B, Meydan, 10pm to 4am, Tuesday and Friday. Tel: (052) 3888857. Draisdubai.com
19. See a live performance at a ladies’ night
White is well-known for its celebrity performers (and celeb visitors too), legendary shows and incredible open-air setting. It’s a futuristic rooftop playground, with a list of performers as long as your arm on its books. Head down on Saturday for their award-winning urban night.
Meydan Raceourse, Nad al Sheba, Dubai, Thurs to Sat 11pm to 4am. Tel: (050) 4430933. whitedubai.com
20. Or make your way to D3 for a big night out
Base is another legendary name on the Dubai nightlife circuit, and frequently welcomes big name performances from the likes of 50 Cent, Tyga and many more. A huge open-air venue, it has the feeling of a mini concert but with all of the luxuries that you’d expect from a Dubai club venue.
Base, Dubai Design District, Dubai, Thurs to Sat 10pm to 4am. Tel: (055) 313499. basedubai.com
21. Cool off at a waterpark
Wild Wadi is always a great one to take the kids to, or just to be a big kid yourself for the day, before it gets too hot. Part of Jumeirah Beach Hotel, find your wild side on one of the 30 rides and attractions such as Tantrum Alley and Burj Surj or, for something more chilled enjoy floating round the lazy river with epic views of the Burj al Arab and beyond. Book online to get the best rates.
Wild Wadi, Jumeirah Street, Daily 10am to 6pm, from Dhs283.50 for adults and Dhs231 for children. Tel: (04) 348 4444. Jumeirah.com
22. Admire the blooms
If you haven’t visited Dubai Miracle Garden yet, it is definitely something to see before the summer! Perfect for family days out or if you just fancy a wander and a break, prepare to be awed by the incredible creations, made entirely of flowers and foliage. In an explosion of colour and with the feel of a fairyland there are little villages, animals, heart-shaped arches and even a full-sized replica of an Emirates A380 plane. This is Dubai after all – we don’t do things by halves.
Dubai Miracle Garden, Al Barsha South, weekdays 9am to 9pm, weekends 9am to 11pm, Dhs50 for Adults and Dhs40 for Children. Tel: (04) 422 8902. dubaimiraclegarden.com
23. Have a fun-filled day at a theme park
Motiongate Dubai, the Dreamworks Studio Park is a fantastic place to be a big kid in the city. There are four unique lands for you to explore based on blockbuster favourites such as Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, The Flintstones and The Smurfs. Enjoy a fun-filled day of rides, 4D screenings and thrilling, interactive shows.
Motiongate Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai Park and Resorts, Weekdays 12pm to 9pm, Weekends 12pm to 10pm, Dhs245. Tel: (800) 2629464. motiongatedubai.com
24. Feast your way round the Dubai Marina food trucks
For a relaxed way to spend a day at the weekend with no pre-amble, the Dubai Marina is always great for a wander and the magnificent views of the Marina Towers and luxurious yachts never really get old, no matter how many times you’ve seen them. If you’re feeling peckish, take a trip to the many food trucks perched up outside the mall where you can get creative with shawaramas at Lulu’s Sharawama’s, find your burger heaven at Jollibee or chill on the bean bags with a delicious dessert at Num Nom.
Dubai Marina Walk, Tel. (04) 567 2030. Dubai-marina.com
Outdoor Activities and Exercise
25. Fly across Dubai Marina
One for the thrill-seekers, XLine Dubai is a fantastic and fun way to get a different view of Dubai across the Marina. Feel like a superhero as you fly along the zip line taking in the vast skyscrapers, blue waters and impressive yachts. Go solo for Dhs650 or do it, quite literally, alongside a friend for Dhs1200.
XLine Dubai Marina, Dubai. Daily, 9am to 11am, 1pm to 4pm. Dhs650 one person, Dhs1200 for two people. (04) 457 3212. Xdubai.com
26. Go camping at the beach
Banan Beach in Jebel Ali is the perfect place to ‘pitch up’ when you fancy doing something a bit outdoorsy but don’t fancy going all the way out into the desert. With cute and colourful tents readily set up for you with a restaurant, bathrooms and a mini-market at Dhs350, it’s a great alternative to a staycation. You’ll also have access to the beach for Dhs100 per day.
Banan Beach, Jebel Ali, Dubai. Tel: (050) 501 6413. Bananbeach.com
27. Race around Dubai Autodrome
While you may never be able to sit behind the wheel of a real Ferrari car, nor race in an international competition, the Ferrari GT driver experience at Dubai Autodrome gets you pretty close. With incredible speed, this beast from Italy combines raw power with razor-sharp handling, guaranteed to make you feel like Lewis Hamilton, even if only for a few laps.
Dubai Autodrome, Dhs2,995. Tel: (02) 659 9800. dubaiautodrome.com
28. Test your fitness levels
This well-known outdoor gym is a definite must visit for fitness fanatics and those looking for something a little different from their usual workout scene. Set against an impressive backdrop of the Marina skyline and the sea, there is something for everyone with CrossFit equipment, calisthenics, sprint tracks, a climbing area and specialist flooring.
Outdoor gym, Skydive Dubai, Dubai Marina, open 24 hours, free. skydivedubai.ae
29. Work up a sweat
The outdoor gym at Talise Fitness in Jumeirah has something for every work out – with an innovative range of equipment and facilities including a sprint track, climbing area, boxing and free weights. If you’re more into your yoga they offer a fantastic range of classes or you can get competitive with squash, tennis and watersports.
Talise Fitness, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Jumeirah, 5.30am to 11.30pm, daily. Tel: (04) 406 8800. facebook.com
30. Find your zen with alfresco yoga
There are a number of community yoga classes springing up around the city, bringing together seasoned yogi’s and those who simply want to give it a go. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, become part of a community and find your inner zen. There’s a great one every Saturday at Al Barsha Pond Park from 5.30pm. Don’t forget your mat.
Al Barsha Pond Park, Opposite Al Barsha Mall, every Saturday from 5.30pm. meetup.com