For when the weather in Dubai plays havoc on your plans…

In a city where most of the fun is built around having nice weather, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to do on a rainy day in Dubai. But aside from seeking shelter at home – or assessing your car’s flood damage – there’s plenty going on. From playing retro games in an arcade to hitting up a great new restaurant in Dubai, here are 13 fun ideas you can do when it’s raining in Dubai.

ACTIVITIES

Wavehouse

Don’t let the rain dampen your spirits. Have some kidult fun at Atlantis, The Palm’s restobar funhouse complete with ten-pin bowling and arcade games. Plus, there’s plenty of delicious comfort food to keep you well-fed all day.

Wavehouse, Atlantis The Palm, daily 12pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 426 2626. atlantisthepalm.com/wavehouse

Unwind speciality board game cafe

While away the hours indoors by getting down to the ultimate rainy-day activity: a board game. Unwind Cafe, the first speciality board game cafe in Dubai, has over 500 board games including Monopoly, Operation, Ludo, Jenga, Snakes and Ladders, Scrabble, Battle Ship and Guess Who? The price for gaming is Dhs27 per person for one hour, or Dhs42 per person for two hours, and you can play as many games as you like during this time.

Unwind Cafe, Hessa Street, Al Barsha 3, daily 2pm to midnight, Dhs27 per hour for adults. Dhs21 per hour for children. Tel: (04) 336 6611. unwinddubai.com

TEPfactor

TEPfactor challenges groups to work together to solve a number of challenges around the ‘cave’.  They offer a number of party packages for those who crave a little extra adventure, with kids aged 8 to 12 playing from Dhs79 and 13+ from Dhs99.

TEPfactor Dubai, Bahar Plaza, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, Sun to Wed 12pm to 12am, Thurs to Sat 12pm to 1am, from Dhs79 per hour. Tel: (056) 404 0802. tepfactor.ae

Dreamscape VR

Yes, you CAN play video games at home. For free. But can you also play amazing, interactive VR games at the brand new virtual reality park now open in Mall of the Emirates. There are three experiences available for VR fans. In Alien Zoo, you’ll journey into a galactic universe where endangered wildlife roam the planet; The Blu Deep Rescue takes you on a deep underwater adventure; and the game called Curse of the Lost Pearl, is described as a ‘magic projector adventure’.

Dreamscape, Level 2, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, Sunday to Wednesday 10am to 10pm, Thursday to Saturday 10am to 11pm, Dhs75. dreamscapeimmersive.com

Ski Dubai

If you haven’t yet given skiing a go at the Mall of the Emirates then you really should. This 22,500 sq-metre ski park set in the mall has loads of entertainment for all of the family, with a ski slope, a ‘Snow Park’ with a giant zorbing ball, ice cave, and animal lovers can even see a penguin show. If you’re planning a family ski trip, the ski school is available to help you learn the basics. Afterwards, warm up with a hot chocolate at the Avalanche and Ice Café. Ticket prices vary depending on your choice of activity.

Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Rd, Dubai, daily, 10am to 11pm. skidxb.com

Bounce

Make like House Of Pain, and jump around on indoor trampolines at Bounce. There are fitness classes and family-friendly bookings, with sessions charged by the hour, or opt for the three hour session for Dhs120. Children have to be a minimum age of three to get in on the bouncy action.

Building 32, 4B Street, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, 10am to 10pm Sun to Weds, 10am to midnight Thurs and Fri, 9am to 9pm Sat, Dhs80 per hour, Dhs120 for three hours. Tel: (04) 321 1400. bounce.ae

IMG Worlds of Adventure

IMG Worlds of Adventure is the world’s largest indoor theme park, and it’s packed with fun for all the family. There are a host of rides designed specifically for children, including the Dino Carousel where children can take a spin with the friendlier inhabitants of the Lost Valley and ‘Adventure Time – The Ride of OOO with Finn & Jake’, which will see little ones soar high over the Cartoon Network Zone. Height restrictions vary, but children need to be around 1.2m to 1.3m tall for the rides.

IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai, weekdays 11am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 10pm, Dhs285 adults, Dhs265 children. Tel: 04 403 8888. imgworlds.com

Brave a terrifying escape room

Escape room specialists No Way Out have ditched their family-friendly themes in favour of some seriously scary games. The most freaky of the lot is undoubtedly The Ring Room – yes, based on the horror film – which even features real-life actors. Shudder. How bad can it be? Put it this way – the room comes with its own health and safety clause…

No Way Out, HDS Business Centre, Cluster M, JLT. Sun to Wed noon to 11pm, Thurs to Sat 11am to 1am, from Dhs125. Tel: (055) 679 3362. nowayout.ae

The Green Planet

It’s hard not to be impressed by nature at this tropical rainforest, home to over 3000 plants and animals. Little ones will be fascinated with activities such as The Sloth Encounter, The Bat Cave, The Sugar Glider Encounter and the new Australian Walkabout. There is also a wonderful variety of tropical fish to gaze at and, those feeling brave, can even hold a Python.

The Green Planet, City Walk, Dubai, Sunday to Wednesday 10am to 7pm, Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm, from Dhs89. Tel: (04) 317 399. thegreenplanetdubai.com

NEW BARS & RESTAURANTS TO TRY

Indochine

Taking over the old Gramercy spot in DIFC – though totally unrecognisable – is Indochine, a jaw-dropping new restaurant made famous in NYC. The owners have left no expense in recreating the same gorgeous decor that makes the New York flagship so popular. Walk beneath the trademark red neon Indochine sign and you’ll be greeted by Amazonian goddesses (all of whom wouldn’t look out of place at Paris Fashion Show). Enjoy drinks at an emerald-green leather booth or try a range of French-Vietnamese specialities inside the exquisite main dining room filled with decorative colonial furniture and tropical palm trees. 

Gate Precinct Building 3, Level 2, DIFC, Sat to Wed 7pm to 1am, Thur and Fri 7pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 2089333. indochinedxb.com

Amazonico

Step out of Dubai and into the tropics – without getting wet – at the newly opened Amazonico in DIFC. Open daily from noon, guests can expect to feast on array of Latin American inspired dishes and drinks, fuelled by influences from Europe and beyond. Occupying a sprawling three-storey space in Gate Village Pavilion, adjacent to Gate Village, Amazonico comprises of a Copacabana-inspired rooftop bar, mid-level restaurant and ground floor lounge.

Amazonico, Gate Village Pavillon, DIFC, Dubai, 12pm to 12am. Tel: (04) 571 3999. Facebook.com/Amazonicodubai

La Mezcaleria

La Mezcaleria, a pan-Latin restaurant and lounge hailing from Beirut has replaced Iris on the 27th floor of the Oberoi in Business Bay. Guests can expect a menu filled with flavours from around Latin America, including ceviches, quesadillas and of course tacos, as well as big plates such as lobster enchiladas in almond pipian and pastel azteca – a Latin style lasagne.

La Mezcaleria, The Oberoi, Business Bay, Sunday to Thursday & Saturday 5pm to 3am, Friday 1pm to 3am. Tel: (050) 423 4044. @lamezcaleriadxb

Depachika food hall

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Take shelter from the showers in the beautiful Depachika Food Hall which recently opened at Nakheel Mall. This isn’t just any old food hall though, this is a sophisticated foodie’s paradise crammed full of imaginative gourmet food offerings, small boutique eating areas and artisan gifts. Highlights include the Climbing Goat roastery, a 1762 Delicatessen, Kilikeo by Mythos and luxury tea spot, Damman Freres.

Depachika Food Hall, Nakheel Mall, Palm Jumierah, Dubai, 10am to 10pm weekdays, 10am to 12am weekends. nakheelmall.ae

Grapeskin

Here’s one reason to be happy in this gloomy weather: Grapeskin Grape Bar & Restaurant at La Ville Hotel in City Walk has a deal going on where in the first glass of grape is on the house every time it rains. Yes!  

Grapeskin, La Ville Hotel & Suites, City Walk, rainy days from 4pm to 1am. Tel: (054) 3095948 or email laville.dining@autographhotels.com 

Images: Supplied