21 things to put on your 2021 UAE bucket list

New year, new places to explore…

A new year has arrived and naturally we’re thinking about what we wish to achieve in 2021. With so many awesome things to do in the UAE, it can be difficult to pin down a definite list of activities. That’s why we’ve rounded up the newest and greatest things to do in the UAE, as well as few that are set to launch in the coming 12 months.

Here’s 21 things to put on your 2021 UAE bucket list.

1. Go glamping in these stunning eco-pods

Abu Dhabi’s Al Jubail Island has revealed a brand new camping area with a collection of cool eco-pods. We were able to catch an early glimpse of the project back in February of last year, but Pura Eco Retreat is now officially open and taking bookings. It’s a luxury, unique camping experience but one that doesn’t come cheaply. Room nights start at Dhs1,800 (with breakfast).

Jubail Mangrove Park, Al Jubail Island (next to Saadiyat Island), Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)50 3837878. park.jubailisland.ae. You can book stays and meals at Pura Eco Retreat via staypura.com.

2. Swing away at Topgolf

Topgolf Dubai has officially opened its doors, set to get residents of Dubai swinging their way through 2021. The new three-storey, 50,000 square foot mega complex is the ideal place to relax and enjoy with friends. There’s space for 96 groups to all play at once, with up to six guests per group.

Topgolf Dubai, Emirates Golf Club, Sun to Wed 11am to midnight, Thur 11am to 2am, Fri 9am to 2am, Sat 9am to midnight. Dhs130 to Dhs180 per hour from Sun to Wed, Dhs180 to Dhs220 per hour from Thur to Sat. topgolfdubai.ae

3. Visit the Khorfakkan Ampitheatre

khorfakkan amphitheatre

Khorfakkan has built a brand new 190,000 square feet amphitheatre which boasts a jaw-dropping unique design, transporting you instantly to Rome. It can accommodate up to 3,600 individuals and will host various activities for the people of the region in particular and the UAE in general. Located on the east coast of the UAE along the Gulf of Oman, Khorfakkan is the perfect escape for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of regular routine.

4. Check out this mangrove beach

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A stunning new mangrove beach has opened in Umm Al Quwain. Currently, public-friendly facilities are being constructed on the beach which include wooden swings and thatched parasols. As well as exploring, it looks like the perfect spot for sunbathing, walking and relaxing. You’ll find the beautiful beach at Khor Al Yeefrah, Umm Al Quwain, which is approximately a 55-minute drive from Dubai.

5. Read at the Sharjah House of Wisdom

the scroll

Sharjah was recently selected by UNESCO to be the host city for World Book Capital (WBC). In order to commemorate the prestigious title, the city built a state-of-the-art public library, aptly named House of Wisdom. It’s over 12,000 square feet in size and is home to 305,000 books, of which 200,000 are in the digital format and 11,000 comprise books in varied languages.

House of Wisdom, Al Juraina 1, Sharjah, open daily 10am to 8pm. Tel:(0)6 594 0000. @sharjahhow

6. Dine at the UAE’s highest restaurant


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A post shared by 1484 by Puro (@1484_by_puro)

1484 by Puro became the highest restaurant in the UAE when it opened in October 2019. You’ll find the new licensed hotspot at the top of Jebel Jais mountain, in Ras Al Khaimah. It’s a bit of a drive to reach the restaurant, but when you get there the views are worth it – trust us.

1484 by Puro, Jais Welcome Centre, Jais Adventure Peak, Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah, daily 8am to 7pm. Reservations only: bit.ly/Book1484

7. Explore the Dubai Safari Park

Dubai Safari Park reopened in October 2020, after a two-year hiatus. It is home to around 3,000 animals including lions, rhinoceros and much more. You’ll find Dubai Safari Park on Al Warqa 5 on the Hatta Road. It will be open to the public from 9am to 5pm every day, with standard adult tickets priced at Dhs50, and children’s standard entry priced at Dhs20, available for pre-booking online only.

Dubai Safari Park, Al Warqa, Hatta Road, Dubai, open 9am to 5pm daily, adults Dhs50, children Dhs20. Book online dubaisafari.ae

8. Observe the Theatre of Digital Art

Theatre of Digital Art

Cool new art space, the Theatre of Digital Art (TODA), spans 1,800 meters and displays digital shows combining high-end technology with classical art. And for a truly multi-sensory experience, it is accompanied by stunning visual effects, classical music and surround sound. Visitors feel as though they are stepping into some of the most famous paintings created by the most gifted artists the world has ever known.

Theatre of Digital Art (ToDA), Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, opening on Oct 13, ticket prices start from Dhs75 for adults and Dhs45 for children. Tel:(0)4 277 4044. toda.ae 

9. Kayak under Burj Khalifa

At The Top Burj Khalifa unveiled a series of cool new activities at the end of 2020. If you love water adventures and are looking for a dose of adrenaline – hop onboard one of the specially crafted kayaks and water bikes. The activity is ideal for beginners, intermediate, and advanced paddlers. It will cost you Dhs80 per person.


10. Walk on the roof of Ferrari World

How do you add a new dimension of excitement to an attraction that already boasts record-breaking roller coasters and was created as an homage to some of the world’s most exhilarating hypercars? Add a scenic walking tour over the park’s iconic red roof of course. The roof walk is priced at Dhs125 per person, and there’s also a zip line if you’re really feeling adventurous.

Yas Island, daily midday to 8pm, closed Sun and Mon, from Dhs155. ferrariworldabudhabi.com

11. Pick up survival skills at Bear Grylls Explorer Camp

Launching in Ras Al Khaimah in 2021, the Bear Grylls Explorer Camp will feature 20 containers, each holding up to three people. The campsite will be self-catering, and each container will have a private outdoor terrace and personal barbecue to prepare meals. If you can’t wait until then though, you can already sign up to complete survival courses with trained survivalists at Jebel Jais mountain.

Discover what we thought of the experience here.

Bear Grylls Survival Academy, Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaimah, courses available now, Explorers Camp launching 2021. Tel: (056) 317 3958. beargryllscamp.ae

12. Go for a spin on Ain Dubai


The long-awaited Ain Dubai will open this year, becoming the world’s tallest observation wheel, at more than 200 metres high. Since installing its first pod in August, most of the pods are now in position, with this mega-project edging ever closer to completion.

13. Enjoy breakfast with penguins

Snowy attraction, Ski Dubai, has launched a new deal where guests can interact with penguins as they wake up and begin their day. For Dhs65 you can pick a dish, a hot drink and a seat at North 28 from 8.30am to witness the alluring animals wake up and go for wander. Dishes include shakshuka, pancakes, omelette, eggs Benedict and more.

Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8.30am to 10am, Dhs65 breakfast, Dhs150 breakfast and walk. skidxb.com

14. See the action at Etihad Arena

The next home of UFC in the UAE, is the grand Etihad Arena, set to open very soon and located in Yas Bay North. The sparkling new arena is a 18,000-seat, stunningly-designed space and is pretty much finished now. The problem is that as long as the pandemic holds out, it’s hard to foresee there being any change to restrictions on large crowds of spectators at events.


15. Discover the Museum of the Future

Museum of the future

The official opening of stunning architectural masterpiece, the Museum of the Future, has yet to be announced although, in October 2020 the eye-catching facade of the structure was finally completed so we expect it to be relatively soon. The Museum of the Future is a unique design shaped like an eye with a hollowed-out middle.  It covers an area of 30,000 square metres and is 7-stories standing at 77m high.

16. Feel the chill at the world’s largest Snow Park

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The enchanted-forest themed Snow Abu Dhabi is scheduled for completion this year, and it’s being trailed as ‘the world’s largest snow park’. Construction is well underway at its location inside the USD1.2billon Reem Mall project, on Reem Island which is set to open around the same time. We can look forward to themed-character and 13 thrilling rides and attractions when it opens.

17. Travel the world at Expo 2020

Expo 2020 – otherwise known as ‘The World’s Greatest Show’ – is happening later this year. Due to the global pandemic, its original 2020 start date was postponed until October 1, 2021, and it will run until March 31, 2022. The huge event will see countries from all over the world exhibit their vision and plans for the future, through a uniquely designed, architecturally extravagant pavilion. Additionally, there’s set to be retail, dining and so much more.


18. Stay in the Warner Brothers Hotel

If being home to a 1.65 million square feet Warner Bros theme park wasn’t fun and exciting enough, the capital will be opening the world’s first Warner Bros. themed hotel in 2021. The hotel will boast over 250 rooms which will be themed on your favourite characters from Bugs Bunny to Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat and much more.

19. Experience great food and great views at SushiSamba

With venues already in London, Miami and Amsterdam, SushiSamba is set to open its first Dubai restaurant in Q4 2021. The stunning restaurant and bar will open on the 51st floor of the currently under construction The Palm Tower, which soars 240 metres above the Palm Jumeirah. When you visit, expect to feast on Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine.

20. Ride the wave at a new waterpark

Aquaventure waterpark at Atlantis The Palm is set to become one of the world’s biggest next year with the addition of a huge 34-metre tall new tower. Trident Tower will introduce an impressive 12 new slides to the waterpark on Palm Jumeirah when it opens this summer. The opening will be swiftly followed by the launch of The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, set to open in the third quarter of 2021.

21. Spend the weekend in Europe, without leaving Dubai

Portofino Hotel will be a deluxe five star family-only hotel on Main Europe island of The World Islands and is the first in the region to operate and cater exclusively to families. The 451-room hotel has been designed in a traditionally European style, with every room offering a sea view. The hotel was originally on track to open at the end of 2019 but has since been pushed to February 2021.