10 things to look forward to in Abu Dhabi this December

Fireworks, festivals, shows and new openings…

It’s the final month of the year and Abu Dhabi is here to make sure 2022 goes out with a bang. From the last chance to catch The Lion King to fun family festivals, it’s all going on this December.

Here’s 10 things to do in Abu Dhabi this December.

December 2: Enjoy a carnival of colour for UAE National Day

emirates palace

Emirates Palace is hosting a collection of special National Day culinary adventures. There are special afternoon teas (Dhs485 for two), a family picnic in the lush gardens (from Dhs350) – the perfect spot to take in the year of the 51st Air Show, and fireworks. Hence the inclusion on this list. The best way to catch this carnival of colour is probably with the special five-course meal being hosted at Martabaan (from Dhs350), elevated food, a privileged fourth floor perch and dramatic sky fire lighting up the cosmos.

Emirates Palace, West Corniche Road, Friday December 2, from Dhs350. @emiratespalace

From December 2: Shop till you drop as Ripe Market lands at Al Maryah Island

ripe market

One of our favourite homegrown brands is returning to Abu Dhabi. Ripe Market Al Maryah Island is launching on National Day weekend, December 2 from 3pm to 10pm, and will then take place every Friday and Saturday. All guests can expect vibrant food, entertainment and covetous craft trinkets all set to the soothing backdrop of the sea every weekend.

Ripe Market, Al Maryah Island Abu Dhabi, Fri Dec 2 3pm to 10pm. Tel: (0)55 543 1282, ripeme.com

December 3 and 4: Push your limits with the Spartan World Championships

Taking place on the UAE’s 51st National Day weekend, the World Championships is one of sport’s most punishing challenges — the Spartan Trials, lands in the Abu Dhabi desert. The gruelling obstacle-littered courses will take the Spartan tribe through the stunning Martian-esque dunescape of Al Wathba.

2022 Abu Dhabi Spartan World Championship, Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, from 6.30am Dec 3 and 4, from Dhs350. race.spartan.com

December 3: See a renowned rapper live

FIFA Artists in UAE

Posty, a tatted face that we know and love. He will be heading to the UAE Capital on Saturday December 3. The Rockstar that he is, will be performing at the Etihad Park on Yas Island. He is the genius behind so many incredible tracks such as I Like You, Sunflower, Circles and Congratulations. 

Etihad Park, Yas Island, Sat Dec 3. Tickets via the via the ticketmaster.ae and virginmegastore.ae 

December 4: Get creative at a Christmas party

Crafty workshop specialists, Design & Dine are throwing a festive themed get together where you can celebrate the true spirit of Christmas, via the medium of, erm, plant pot decorating. Pro tip: Perfect for one of those ‘it’s the thought that counts’ presents. You’ll also get access to free flow mulled wine, festive cocktails and traditional Yuletide trimmings. Festive dress is encouraged, and we predict the playlist will go hard on The Pogues, Wham and Mariah. Priced at Dhs339.

The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, 12pm to 2.30pm, Sun Dec 4, Dhs339. @designanddine.ae

Until December 8: Get snap happy at a fun food festival

miami vibes

Back for a third edition, this time at leafy Umm Al Emarat Park, is Miami Vibes food festival. Those that come for the food, often stay for the experience. Miami Vibes is known for pastel shades, big pink pineapples, dainty fairy lights and fuego Floridian ambiance. This year’s culinary collaborators include: Meat X; Sip Café; Mylk Café; Cola Ribs; Tag Moon; Paella.Dxb; Island Burger; Yamasaki Sushi; Rolls Thirty Three; Lets Padel Café; Lets Sea By Bucket Co; Ezgourmet Fusion Kitchen; UZU; Coal; Gottlich; Oud Café; Coffeelism; Chocorush; Senior Taco; Dope Café; Wales cafe; Oro Pizzeria; White Café; and Spartan café.

Umm Al Emarat Park, Mushrif Area, Abu Dhabi, 3pm to 12am daily, until December 8, Dhs10. @miamivibes.ae

December date TBC: Dine your way around a new food hall

As if the culinary array wasn’t already impressive enough at Yas Bay, there’s a slew of new restaurants landing in the area thanks to a brand new food hall. Slated to open this December, Foggs Food Hall is an iteration of top Dubai pub, Phileas Fogg’s, and promises to bring an array of no less than 16 restaurants to us in the capital all under one roof.

Foggs Food Hall, Yas Bay, Yas Island, opening December 2022. foggsfoodhall.com

Until December 10: It’s your last chance to see an iconic musical at Etihad Arena

The lion king musical

Hakuna matata, UAE folks – this is your last chance to catch the award-winning stage show version of The Lion King lands in Abu Dhabi. Marking its 25-year anniversary, the world-famous, award-winning musical’s historic four-week run in the UAE capital comes to an end on December 10 at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena. Ticket prices start from Dhs200.

The Lion King musical, Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, until December 10, ticket prices start from Dhs200. Tel: (600) 511 115. etihadarena.ae

December 17 to 18: See some top gamers do their thing


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A post shared by BLAST Premier (@blastpremier)

One of eSport’s most spectacular tournaments, the BLAST Premier World Final will take place at the Etihad Arena for the very first time this December. Eight of the world’s best Counter-Strike (it’s a cult FPS game for the uninitiated) teams will compete to take home the trophy alongside an epic USD one million prize pool.

Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Dec 17 to 18, from Dhs115. blastpremier.com

Throughout December: Enjoy some family friendly fun at Sheikh Zayed Festival

Held in the Al Wathba region of Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Festival is a celebration of both UAE and world culture, and includes a collection of pavilions, parades, performances, food adventures, spectacular fireworks displays and interactive exhibitions that add up to an incredible, fun old family day out. New attractions include a Glow and Flower Garden, a ‘Horror House’, Art District, the Selfie Street District, Dessert Museum, Go Karting, Children’s District and Crazy Car District.

Sheikh Zayed Festival, Al Wathba, 4pm to midnight daily until March, 18 2023. zayedfestival.ae.