… and none of them involve giving up stuff

If you felt you missed out on a lot in 2021, this list will help you ensure the same doesn’t happen this year.

Now, of course, this list is based on current events that we know of, so you’ll have to keep coming back to whatson.ae to keep up-to-date with the best and latest news.

But for now, here are 22 unmissable things to do in 2022. 

1. Darren Day is taking the stage to razzle-dazzle us 


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A post shared by Dubai Opera by Emaar (@dubaiopera)

When: January 5 to 15

An all-star cast – including West End legend Darren Day – are being welcomed to the city this month as musical Chicago opens at Dubai Opera. Darren Day, whose many West End credits include the title role in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, plays Billy Flynn – Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer. He’s hired by inmates – and nightclub singers – Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly to help them avoid conviction.


2. The UAE’s largest yoga festival returns to Dubai


When: March 18 to 20

Slip on those Lululemon leggings and set your mind to Zen mode – things are about to get mindful. After a couple of postponed dates (thanks, Covid), the organisers of this year’s YogaFest Dubai are going big this year with a three-dayer in Internet City Amphitheatre. There are dozens of classes in yoga, meditation, and sound healing, plus local vendors and food stalls. Tickets cost Dhs95 per day, or Dhs150 for a full weekend pass.


3. Dubai has a new neighbourhood to explore

Dubai Harbour

Dubai Harbour is that extraordinary seafront district that juts out into the ocean beside Barasti. Not only is it the largest marina in the region, but it’s now a cruise terminal, with a range of f&b and retail offerings opening throughout the year. Specifically, we’ve got upscale seafood restaurant L’Amo Bistro Del Mare (a partnership between Sunset Hospitality Group and Mine and Yours Group, and Addmind’s new bar and brasserie Bar Du Port on our radars.

dubaiharbour.com; @lamobistrodelmare; @barduportdubai

4. A top restaurateur is opening a new Italian place

Chic Nonna

For those fortunate enough to have met Piero Giglio, you’ll know his charm knocks the socks off anyone that meets him. A big name in the hospitality industry having worked at a handful of Dubai’s top restaurants, Piero is now the managing partner of Mine and Yours, and the group is set to open Chic Nonna in DIFC, featuring an elegant Osteria gourmet restaurant on the ground floor and a vibrant lounge bar above.


5. A gruelling workout is headed for the Marina

Rebel Dubai

Fancy London fitness studio brand 1Rebel is opening its first Dubai studio bang in the middle of town this year. Once the door opens to W Dubai – Mina Seyahi, be prepared for one of the most gruelling workouts where its 45-minute session torches more calories than you would in a session twice that long.


6. The Future should be here

museum of the future

First announced in 2015, the Museum of the Future is nothing short of an architectural marvel. Designed in the shape of an eye hollowed out in the middle, the outside is covered in Arabic calligraphy. While traditionally museums showcase the past, the Museum of the Future will explore the future of science, technology and innovation.


7. Is it take two for Ultra Music Festival?

Ultra music festival

We heard it through the grapevine that Ultra Music Festival will finally make its UAE debut in the coming months. Ultra’s first attempt at expanding into the Middle East hit the skids in March 2020. The build for the two-day event in Abu Dhabi was almost complete when Covid-19 forced the festival’s cancellation. Our spies tell us the festival is back on the agenda for 2022 although we don’t know whether it will take place in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. One thing is for sure though, it will boast a line-up of fist-pumping, pyro-loving EDM headliners.

We’ll bring you more info as soon as we have it…

8. Aussie spot Bidi Bondi is being replaced… by an Aussie spot

When Bidi’s closed last year, it left a hole both in our hearts, and along the Palm’s prime real estate. Thankfully, restaurateur and all-round bonzer bloke Tom Arnel (of Tom & Serg fame) has taken over the space to open a brand new multi-concept called The Byron Bathers Club. Opening in February, 2022, The Byron – as it aims to be affectionately known – will be a seafood focused beachside dining destination offering a la carte breakfasts, lunches and late-night dinners.


9. A Granny sport takes over Zero Gravity


When: January 28

The What’s On Award-winning Bongo’s Bingo is back at a brand new location, with a surprise guest to be announced soon.


10. Friday brunches are changing

It made news across the world. Last month, the UAE announced that it would transition its weekends to Saturday and Sunday (plus Friday afternoon for government entities). That means one of our country’s biggest institutions will be no more, replaced instead by the Saturday brunch, and the Sunday roast.

Bear with us here at What’s On as we amend approximately 5,000 online brunch articles…

11. A Balearics cabaret is coming to DIFC


Word on the grapevine is that Lio, one of the world’s most glamorous cabarets, born in Ibiza, will shimmy its way into DIFC, setting up a home in the old Gaucho location.


12. Meat fruit is a real dish you’re about to eat

Heston Blumenthal's Meat Fruit

It’s one of celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal’s most iconic dishes and looks like a mandarin but is actually made from chicken liver parfait. You’ll be able to try it for yourself when his restaurant opens at the Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences on the Palm Jumeirah before the year is out. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will be the third outpost of the culinary concept, which already has locations in London and Melbourne.


13. The Abu Dhabi F1 is a guaranteed cert

Even before the smoke had cleared from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021 — the last race of the season – Formula 1 had dropped the dates for the 2022 season. The Abu Dhabi F1 will once again serve as the exhilarating finale to the year’s racing, taking place November 17 to 20, 2022.


14. Nathalie Emmanuel leads celebrity line-up at Comic Con

When: March 3 to 5

The tenth edition of the Middle East Film & Comic Con (MEFCC) takes place in March 2022, hosted in the capital with Game of Thrones star Nathalie Emmanuel named as the first celeb to join the event. Get involved with A-lister meet and greets, talks from entertainment icons, workshops, comic and anime art galleries, eSports expositions, and a cosplay parade.


15. There’s a new toboggan ride on Jebel Jais plus other new attractions

Jais sky tour

Jais Sledder joins Jais Wings (the first dedicated paragliding site in the GCC), and Jais Swing (a perfect ride for the ‘Gram) atop the UAE’s highest mountain peak. Soon to open: Earth Altitude, an eco-based pop-up hotel, plus Jais Yard foodie village, and Cloud7 Camp sustainable glamping experience.


16. The Lana Hotel

Lana hotel

The Dorchester group will open its stunning Dubai outpost in Business Bay by the end of 2022.


17. W Dubai – Mina Seyahi

W Dubai Mina Seyah rendering

Practically sitting atop Barasti, the new W Dubai – Mina Seyahi features 318 guest rooms, including 26 suites and an Extreme Wow Suite (W’s take on a Presidential Suite).


18. Anantara Mina Al Arab

It looks like a resort in the Maldives, but the Anantara Mina Al Arab opens this year in Ras Al Khaimah’s Mina Al Arab district, boasting 174 guest rooms, suites and – the part that’s really caught our eye – overwater villas.


19. Atlantis The Royal Resort

Eighteen restaurants and bars (which include eight celebrity chefs), impeccable rooms, Cloud 22 skypool, and its own fire and water show – this is the biggie opening, and we cannot wait.


20. A massive snow park is opening in Abu Dhabi

Blanketing a 100,000 square foot area, the “nearly completed’ Snow Abu Dhabi will take the form of an enchanted forest inside Reem Mall (also slated to open this year). Divided into distinct whimsical zones, Snow Abu Dhabi features many rides, attractions and slides that take you on a cross-country adventure, past snow-powdered pine trees and dazzling lights.


21. The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship 2022 finds a new home

Yas Links

This year, the popular golfing engagement will take place at Yas Links Abu Dhabi for the first time. It marks the opening Rolex Series event of the 2022 season and attracts the sport’s top international talent.

January 20 to 23

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22. The Expo Dubai 2020 closing will be massive

al wasl dome

Above: Expo 2020 Dubai opening ceremony

When: Until March 31

It’s hard to believe that we’re already halfway through the World’s Greatest Show, but Expo Dubai 2020 will be an event we’ll never forget. While the teams are keeping finale concerts under wraps, you’d best believe that it’ll go out with a bang. Meanwhile, make the most of Expo 2020 while you can.


Images: Supplied