12 incredible things to do in Dubai this weekend: Dec 30 to Jan 1
The final weekend of the year is here…
Let’s make sure it’s one to remember. As the year winds down, Dubai shows no signs of slowing down with even more events, adventures, restaurants, pop-ups, and things to do.
Here are 12 of the best things to do in Dubai to make the most of your final weekend in 2022:
Friday, December 30
Get ready to move it move it at Motiongate
Motiongate Dubai is hosting the ultimate three-day New Year party from Thursday to Saturday. Children can meet their favourite characters inside the Madagascar zone and show off their moves at the Afro Circus Disco. A musical parade with clowns, jugglers, and stilt walkers, and a new stage show called King Julien’s Holiday Stomp will also add to the magic of the themepark.
Dreamworks, Madagascar Zone, Motiongate, Dubai Parks and Resorts. Thursday, December 29 to Saturday, December 31, 5pm to 7pm. dubaiparksandresorts.com
Kickstart your New Year’s Resolutions at 1Rebel
Ready to get your sweat on? London’s ‘king of gyms’ 1Rebel recently opened its doors inside ICD Brookfield, DIFC. The fitness studio has two high-energy full-body workout classes to choose from: Reshape and Ride. Classes start at 6.15am on weekdays and 8.15am on weekends. And that’s not all, newbies get their first three sessions for Dhs250.
1Rebel gym, ground floor, ICD Brookfield Place, DIFC, Dubai 1rebel.com/ae
Make the last brunch of the year one to remember at Iris
Chic rooftop bar Iris, located in Meydan, is the ideal place to spend one of the last few days of the year. Set against the backdrop of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai skyline, the elegant lounge also offers unmissable sunset views and chilled-out vibes. Luckily, their popular brunch is taking place on Friday from 1pm to 5pm with amazing food, free-flowing drinks, and live entertainment headlined by internationally renowned DJ Eric Estornel.
Iris Dubai, Meydan Grandstand, Dubai. Friday, December 30, 1pm to 5pm. Dhs260 soft, Dhs360 house, Dhs460 cocktails, Dhs720 premium. Tel: (056) 951 1442. @irisdubai
Watch an incredible drone show light up the sky
The epic show takes place at Bluewaters and The Beach opposite JBR and runs until January 29 with two shows taking place daily at 7pm and 10pm (except New Year’s Eve when the shows will take place at 8pm and 11pm). The 3D production cleverly illustrates the story of Dubai, with the help of cutting-edge technology including AR headsets, 500 drones, and two pilots.
The Beach opposite JBR and Bluewaters, daily until January 29, 7pm and 10pm, free. visitdubai.com
Saturday, December 31
Experience the last of the festive season at Ripe Market
Popular Ripe Market is home to an array of stalls with everything from organic fruit and vegetables to freshly baked bread, live music, handmade clothes and jewellery, unique homeware, artworks, fresh coffee, food trucks, children’s play areas, and more. Find it at Dubai Police Academy every Saturday and Sunday from 9am until late.
The Ripe Market, Dubai Police Academy Park, Umm Suqeim Street, Dubai, every Sat and Sun from 9am. Tel: (0)4 315 7000. ripemarketme.com
Watch the NYE fireworks for free on Kite Beach
Dubai folk not wanting to spend an arm and a leg on NYE reservations can simply head to Kite Beach and find a spot in the sand to watch the fireworks a few kilometres away at the Burj al Arab. Be sure to make your way early to find the best spot and avoid peak traffic hours.
Transport to Paris this NYE at Couqley
Couqley French Brasserie, with its gorgeous new Downtown venue located inside the Pullman Hotel, is hosting an epic NYE party: A Night in Paris. For Dhs649 per person, guests can enjoy an exclusive five-course menu, a glass of French bubbly on arrival, and dance into the new year with the live DJ. There’s indoor and outdoor seating available offering unmissable views of Dubai Canal fireworks and Burj Khalifa fireworks. NYE guests will also have free access to the afterparty at the Birdcage Lounge from 1am to 4am.
Couqley French Brasserie, Pullman Hotel Downtown Dubai, 9pm until late. Dhs649 per person. Tel: (0)4 514 9339, couqley.ae
Party like it’s 2023 at one of these star-studded NYE concerts
If you’re looking for a night of top international music talent to see in the new year, there are plenty of venues in Dubai that have you covered. There’s Kylie Minogue at Atlantis The Palm, Enrique Iglesias at Nammos, The Mambo Brothers at White Beach, Jonas Blue and Sigala at Zero Gravity, and many, many more.
Sunday, January 1
Head out of the city on the Hatta Express Bus
Hatta is one of our favourite spots for escaping the city with a myriad of adventures on your doorstep. From mountain biking to waterslides, a honey bee farm to a swan lake, it is the ultimate adventure haven. The Hatta Express Bus costs Dhs25 and takes you from Dubai Mall bus station to Hatta bus station in just over an hour. And, after an adventure-filled day, you can hop on the same bus back to Dubai. The last bus leaves Hatta bus station at 7pm.
Dubai Mall to Hatta bus station. Daily 7am to 7pm, departing every two hours. Dhs25 one-way. visithatta.com
Get your New Year’s breakfast from Birch Bakery
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Wake up and smell the doughnuts with Birch Bakery’s exclusive New Year’s Doughnuts recipes: vanilla bean cream brûlée, blueberry mascarpone, and Mirzam milk chocolate hazelnut cream. The bakery door, located in Al Quoz, will be open from 7am to 3pm, or you can order via WhatsApp for delivery. Also try their sourdough loaf, croissants, and morning buns. Bon appetite!
Birch Bakery, 28 16b St – Al Quoz – Al Quoz Industrial Area 3 – Dubai. 7am to 3pm. @birch.bakery
Have an overdue catch-up with friends at Zuma
Start your 2023 with the tantalising tasting menu at Zuma’s New Year’s Day brunch. Bringing a sophisticated twist on the classic izakaya style of informal eating, Zuma’s award-winning brunch incorporates all of the brand’s signature dishes. The brunch runs from 12.30pm but guests can still enjoy à la carte dining which will take place from 1.30pm.
Zuma, Gate Village, DIFC, Sun Jan 1 from 12.30pm to 3.30pm, Dhs595 soft, Dhs695 Prosecco, Dhs 795 Champagne. Tel: (0)4 425 5660 @zumadubai
Escape to this beautiful secret island off Khorfakkan
Located on the South Eastern side of Khorfakkan’s bay, beach dwellers must make their way to the Khorfakkan port, at which point there will be plenty of boats that will take you to the island. Here, you can bask in the crystal clear waters that surround the stoney island formation. Shark Island is perfect for those who have a hankering for snorkeling, as the waters are home to a phenomenal variety of sea life. Boat rides should cost between Dhs60 and Dhs100 depending on how many people are in your party. Be sure to pack all your essentials before reaching the island as there are no amenities available, as well as a form of ID for the boat trip.
Shark Island, Khorfakkan, open daily