A gaming festival, a new brunch and two celebrity chefs are in town…

The weekend is so close we can practically feel it. And, if you haven’t started planning how you’ll fill it yet, don’t worry as we have plenty of fun ideas. How about a painting class? Or maybe a tipsy tea party? You can even exchange a cucumber for a drink… yes really.

Here’s 15 great things to do in Dubai this weekend.

Thursday October 17

1. Get your game face on

INSOMNIA, the UK’s biggest gaming festival is coming to Dubai this weekend. Running from Thursday October 17 to Saturday October 19 at the Meydan Grandstand, the three-day extravaganza will give fans the opportunity to immerse themselves in all their favourite games such as Fortnite and Call Of Duty. The plastic-free event will also feature meet and greets with influencers such as the Sidemen as well as VR and live entertainment. Tickets are priced at Dhs131.25 for the day ticket and Dhs315 for a weekend ticket. Family tickets are also available for Dhs393.75 for the day and Dhs971.25 for the weekend.

INSOMNIA, Meydan Grandstand, Al Meydan Road, Dubai, Thursday October 17 to Saturday October 19, early bird tickets from Dhs131.25. dubai.platinumlist.net

2. Dine at the hands of one of the world’s greatest chefs

His restaurant Osteria Francescana has twice been ranked the world’s best restaurant, and for two nights only, Massimo Bottura will be helming the kitchen at his Dubai outpost, Torno Subito, this month. On Thursday October 17, guests can enjoy “Une Serra Con Massimo”, a tasting menu of signature dishes from both Massimo’s restaurant in Dubai, and his world famous Italian restaurant. It’s priced at Dhs450 inclusive of a welcome drink, or Dhs595 including three house beverages.

Une Serra Con Massimo, Torno Subito, W Dubai – The Palm, 7pm to 10pm, Wednesday October 16 and Thursday October 17, from Dhs450. Tel: (04) 245 5555. facebook.com/tornosubitodubai

3. Exchange a cucumber for a drink

DXB Cucumber Day is back this October with a free-two day carnival. Taking place at Soho Garden on Thursday October 17 and Friday October 18, the Cucumber Carnival promises fun workshops, performances, exciting shows and plenty of food. If you bring a cucumber with you, you’ll be able to enjoy a free gin and tonic each day at the festival. It’s limited to one per day per person. Find out more about what’s happening here.

Cucumber Carnival, Soho Garden, Al Meydan Road, Dubai, from 7pm Thursday October 17, from 2pm Friday October 18, free entry. Tel: (052) 388 8849. facebook.com

4. Dine ‘off the menu’ at Boca

If you’ve always wanted to try Emirati cuisine but haven’t had the chance, this is it. Popular Mediterranean restaurant Boca is hosting Emirati chef Khaled Al Saadi to create a special fusion menu with influences from both cuisines. The set six-course menu will cost Dhs295 per person and includes quail soup, hammour tacos and a take on lamb machboos and is available until Saturday October 26.

Boca, Gate Village 6, DIFC, Downtown Dubai, daily until October 26, Dhs295. Tel: (04) 323 1833. boca.ae

5. See Black Coffee live at Base

Superstar South African DJ Black Coffee is performing at Base on Thursday October 17. Black Coffee’s career began in the early 2000s, however it’s over the last three years that the award-winning DJ has risen to such meteoric fame. He has produced with Drake, Diddy, Usher and Akon, but most recently dropped single ‘Drive’ alongside David Guetta. Entry is free for ladies while guys will pay Dhs200.

BASE Dubai, Dubai Design District, 10pm to 4am, Thursday, September 19 and Friday September 20. Tel: (055) 313 4999. basedubai.com

Friday October 18

6. Enjoy a Great British Day Out

Live music, West End musical stars, plenty of children’s activities and some top prizes to be won – it’s the return of the annual picnic party at the British Embassy. Join them on the lawn for a truly British day out, complete with picnic and four-hour beverage package.

British Embassy, Al Seef Road, Fri October 18 3.30pm to 8.30pm, Dhs140 kids, Dhs225 soft, Dhs395 house. bbgdubai.org

7. Check out Dubai’s newest brunch

Launching this Friday, October 18, Secret Circus Brunch will take place at stunning rooftop restaurant, Paru, found at Caesars Resort Bluewaters Dubai. Kicking off at 1pm, hot and cold sharing starters will kick things off, followed by a choice of a la carte main, and finishing with a wheel of oh-so-Instagrammable desserts. A live sushi station will also compliment the a la carte service, so you can fill up on unlimited sushi between courses. It’ll all be washed down with free-flowing drinks from an array of drink stations around the restaurant and terrace, as well as bar service. In true Secret Parties style, guests can expect an array of entertainment, such as a greeting from Geishas, live percussionists, multi-skilled circus acts and a live DJ.

Secret Circus Brunch, Paru, Caesars Resort Bluewaters Dubai, 1pm to 5pm, Fridays from October 18, Dhs299 soft, Dhs399 house, Dhs499 sparkling, Dhs599 champagne. secret-parties.com/secretcircusbrunch

8. Unleash your inner artist

If you’re looking for a way to get creative this weekend, Chill En Paint is offering a fun art class. On Friday October 18, discover your artistic flair at the hands of visual artist and animator Wilfredo Leonardo. From 5pm to 8pm, learn all the tips and tricks you need to create your own masterpiece to take home with you. Classes are priced at Dhs249 for adults including two house beverages and Dhs180 for children. There will also be soft drinks and snacks including mini burgers, churros, nachos and fries provided. 

LOCAL, Tryp by Wyndham, Barsha Heights, Friday October 18, 5pm to 8pm, Dhs180 kids, Dhs249 adults. Tel: (056) 588 4437. chillenpaint.com

9. Dance the night away with Richie Hawtin

This Friday, October 18, Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE will host legendary DJ Richie Hawtin to its world-renowned beach club. Spend the day and enjoy a pop-up brunch from 1pm to 4pm, priced at Dhs350 per person. Then get ready to dance as the ‘maestro of techno’ takes you through until late.

Blue Marlin Ibiza UAE, Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotels, Ghantoot, Friday October 18, 1pm to 11pm, free before 4pm, Dhs115 via Platinumlist.net or Dhs140 on the door. Tel: (056) 113 3400. bluemarlinibiza-uae.com

10. Work up a sweat with Dubai Fitness Challenge

Kite Beach is well known for being a family-friendly activity spot and one of the best places in Dubai for some al fresco group exercise classes. They’re celebrating Dubai Fitness Challenge with the annual Fitness Village, which will run from October 18 to November 16 with over 300 complimentary fitness activities that you can take part in. Find your chi with sunset yoga or beat out some frustration with boxing and martial arts. There’s even a tough mudder or mini mudder style challenge, an inflatable aqua park or watersports like kayaking or canoeing so literally the whole family can get involved. There’s even an open-air cinema with child-friendly films showing from October 24 to November 8.

Kite Beach, Jumeirah, Dubai, 7am to 9pm, weekdays, 7am to 11pm on weekends, October 18 to November 16, free. Tel: (04) 317 3999. kitebeach.ae

Saturday October 19

11. Enjoy breakfast with a side of rugby

It’s England vs Australia in the Rugby World Cup this Saturday, and Bidi Bondi are hosting an epic breakfast to enjoy with the game. Kicking off at 11.15am, the game will be played on one of 20 big screens and guests can enjoy a ‘Brekky Buffet Brunch’ from 8am to 12pm. The breakfast comes with unlimited tea, coffee and juice, or upgrade your package to include house drinks, bottled beer and a selection of breakfast cocktails. Advance booking recommended.

Bidi Bondi, Shoreline The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Saturday October 19, 8am to noon, Dhs140 soft, Dhs240 house. Tel: (04) 427 0515. bidibondi.com

12. Try a tea party with a twist

The Loft at Dubai Opera has just launched a new ‘Twisted Tea Party’ where guests can enjoy ‘tipsy teapots’ alongside modern treats including tuna tartare, chicken caesar croquettes, wagyu sliders, Canadian lobster rolls and truffle arancini. The brunch is running every Saturday from noon to 4pm.

The Loft, Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, Saturdays, 12pm to 4pm, Dhs199 soft, Dhs399 house, Dhs799 champagne. Tel: (04) 362 7312. loftatopera.com

13. Party with Animal Picnic

Andreea’s is throwing a huge pool party this Saturday at its super-sized beach club. Legendary Spanish duo, Daniel Banker & Inigo de la Riera, fondly known as Animal Picnic will be spinning the decks, alongside residents DJs MOII, Soberboy & Serhan. Ladies’ day will be running from 12pm, at Dhs125 including drinks and lunch. Guests arriving after two will have a Dhs250 minimum spend applied.

Andreea’s, Habtoor Grand, Dubai Marina, Saturday October 19, noon til late. Tel: (058) 693 5778. andreeas.ae

14. Kick of a week of Alpine activities

Alp’fest at Hilton Dubai Jumeirah JBR is back again this year and will be hosting a series of brunches and dinners all in celebration of the Savoy region of France. On Saturday October 19, The Alpine Brunch will take place at Oceana from 12.30pm to 4pm. Guests can expect a special menu prepared by two Dauphine Chefs and live music performances by Les Tradi’sons. 

Oceana, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, JBR, Saturday October 19, 12.30pm to 4pm, Dhs195 adults, Dhs100 kids. Tel: (04) 318 2319. hilton.com/dubai

15. Finish the weekend with a delicious Italian meal

Enrico Bartolini, the youngest chef in Italy to be awarded two Michelin stars, will be cooking up a storm at Roberto’s DIFC this Saturday. Guests can enjoy a five-course set menu including chilean seabass, veal chop and beetroot risotto. The menu is priced at Dhs495 per person and visitors will also be treated to a fashion show and live DJ.

Roberto’s, Gate Village 1, DIFC, Saturday October 19, 8pm onwards, Dhs495. Tel: (04) 386 0066. robertos.ae

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Images: Supplied