And we think to ourselves, what a wonderful emirate…

The world is full of wonder, but we must choose to see it. That’s the energy we’re going to this weekend with, positivity and making the right choices. Join us, as we dive into a world of wonder and opportunity in Abu Dhabi.

Friday, January 20

Stars under the stars

Cinema in the Park is back at Umm Al Emarat Park — a series of free-to-watch (although you need to pay the Dhs10 entry park entrance fee) movies screening every Friday and Saturday outside of sweat season. This weekend’s (Fri Jan 20 and Sat Jan 21) line-up includes the powerful penguin empowerment biopic, Happy Feet 2 — the animated tale of Mumble (Elijah Wood), a tap dancing fishbird (they should be called fishbirds let’s be honest) who encourages the audience to celebrate difference, and bopping along to the sweet sweet jams of the soundtrack. On Saturday, it’s The Croods — a prehistoric coming of age romp from the Dreamworks Studios, that teaches kids about the importance of family, and of individuality within that family. And never mess with grandma.

If you’re headed that way, you should also visit the Park Market, taking place every Friday and Saturday until March 18, 2023 between the hours of 4pm and 11pm. You’ll find such ‘you never knew you wanted’ items as candles, clothes, accessories, antiques, jewelry, cosmetics, perfume, and organic produce. There are also fun activities for kids — flying kites, getting messy with bubbles and slime, there are educational arts, painting ops, skill games, magic shows, clown shows, storytelling sessions, and music performances

You’ll find showings at 6pm and 8pm — and popcorn is available to purchase on site. Mushrif area, entry to the park is charged at Dhs10 per person. Located at Umm Al Emarat Park,

13 reasons why

Last week we took a tour of the 13-course Fuyu Tasting Menu (Dhs950 per couple) at 99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant. It takes a bisecting line straight through the restaurant’s signature creations. 13 courses, 13 engagements with cuisine and craft, and 13 reasons why 99 Sushi deserves its red hot reputation. You can read our full review here, but highlights of the menu included chu-toro (tuna belly) hosomaki; edamame in Kobe beef fat, togarashi and truffle; sake tiradito; capumiso soup; uni (sea urchin) tempura maki; fake nigiri (with Wagyu tartar on potato croquette); toro flambé nigiri; carabinero nigiri; and foie & maguro zuke and robata wagyu skewers.

Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island, midday to 3.30pm and 7pm to 11.30pm. Tel: (02) 672 3333, @99sushibaruae

Issa Yas Vibe

If you’ve made the resolution that 2023 should be a year of ‘good vibes only’ — you’re in luck. Slightly less so if there’s a caveat in there about eating in moderation. One of the UAE’s favourite food truck fiestas, Miami Vibes, has reopened in Abu Dhabi at a brand new location. Running from Friday January 13 to Friday January 27, it’s taking place at Yas Island’s Yas Creative Hub for the first time. This time around, the theme is purple rain, so rather than the endless shades of bubblegum, magenta and blush you’re used to, this pop-up is adorned in shades of violet, lilac, amethyst and mauve. Brands taking part include boutique bakery MYLK; Eats Hub food truck; Moon cafe; Get Beefy, chocolatier Gottlich; Coal food truck; and Ava Cafe.

Miami Vibes, Yas Creative Hub, Yas Island, 3pm to 12am daily until January 27.

Saturday, January 21

Glasgow smiles better

If you’re able to decode the Glaswegian accent (and this gentleman’s is milder than most) you have zero excuse (including prior engagements) not to go and watch Kevin Bridges at the Etihad Arena this weekend. Tickets are still available from Dhs195. He’s probably best known for his regular appearances on UK television panel shows including Would I Lie to You?Have I Got News for You, Bridges has also performed on Live at the Apollo and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow. The Scot is here with his ‘Overdue Catch-Up’ world tour and after years of solo-tours to standing ovations has earned a distinction as one of the finest comedians of his generation. We’d even go as far as saying, in terms of storytelling — one of the all-time greats. Commenting on the upcoming show, Bridges said: “I am delighted to be returning to the UAE in January – it’s good to be switching it up a bit by performing in Abu Dhabi this time! I’ve only performed there many years ago, in some hotel somewhere so it’s exciting to be returning to such a massive venue for my first solo show in the capital.”

Kevin Bridges, Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Saturday January 21, 2023, from Dhs195.

We don’t talk about churros (till the kids have finished their mains)

Kicking off on Saturday, January 21 (and then every following Saturday) with adult prices from Dhs350 (kids four to 12 Dhs150), Family Brunch’s latest project is Encanto-themed ‘Enchanted, the ultimate family brunch experience’ at Vendôme, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. Distracting attractions available at the Enchanated Family Brunch include a Fairy Tale Corner visited by song and dance performances inspired by popular family films; the Mini Chef Corner will let your little lambs go full Ramsay with cookie decorating; there’s a Face Painting Corner; supervised arts and crafts classes; balloon bending; a planting station for the kiddlywinks to learn, play and take home green fingered souvenirs. There’s a dedicated children’s section offering a wide range of kids’ favourites with both healthy, and everso slightly less healthy, snack choices. The Palace’s banquet for grown-ups includes beef Wellington, seared Asian beef fillet, zesty lime prawns, grilled sea bass fillet, beef tenderloin, classic ratatouille and others big hitters.

Vendome, Emirates Palace, W Corniche Road, every Sat from Jan 21, 1pm to 5pm, kids four to 12 Dhs150, soft Dhs350, house Dhs450, premium Dhs550, Champagne Dhs650. Book on, or call (050) 836 1513,

Live long and prosper

One of Abu Dhabi’s most impressive new wellness hubs, The Bridge (at Al Qana) is hosting a LiveHealthy festival this Saturday. It comes with a truly incredible line up of events, workshops, panel discussions and classes for the whole family, and is a great way to get yourself acquainted with the venue. Adults can enjoy spin, mobility and step workouts, yoga and Muay-Thai classes. Kids can also get involved with Thai boxing lessons, yoga and a cute little arts and crafts session. And finally there are family sessions for laughter yoga and sound healing (13+).

Al Qana, Khor Al Maqta, Sat 21 10am to 5.45pm, adults Dhs120, kids Dhs50. Book now and find a full schedule on

Save on a stay cay

There’s currently a big ol’ combo package sale on staycations in the UAE’s unofficial excitement capital, Yas Island. The sale is live now and will continue until January 30, 2023 for stays up to March 31, 2023. Booking stays can be made via the website, with alluring exclusive rates and unlimited access to the three main theme parks (Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi) thrown in. Wait, there’s more. Guests taking up this package will also get a complimentary room upgrade, 15 per cent off dining across ALL restaurants in the incredible Yas Plaza Hotels portfolio as well as 15 per cent discount on selected spa treatments. Participating hotels include Yas Plaza – Crowne Plaza Yas Island Abu Dhabi, Yas Island Rotana, Centro Yas Island by Rotana, Radisson Blu Hotel Abu Dhabi Yas Island and Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Abu Dhabi Yas Island. You’ll need to book a minimum of two nights to qualify for the deal, but we found weekend stay packages for two adults and one child from Dhs1,802 (including tax) on a bed and breakfast basis

Bookings must be made via the website between now and January 30, 2023 for stays up to March 31, 2023.

Sunday, January 22

Chasing sunsets

This nautical tour operating outfit is extending an invitation for you to live your very best Disney pirate life. Jump aboard one of their modern vessels for a six hour tour of Abu Dhabi’s islandscape, with barbecue (though you’ll need to bring your own food). It’s land ahoy with scenic stops at such enchanting sea-hemmed spots as Salt Island and Bahrani Island. Their boats come with music systems for stereophonic shanty support and soft drinks are included in the Dhs450 per person package price (private charters of up to eight are available for Dhs2,500, or Dhs3,000 for 15).

The world in MOTION


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The hugely popular Dubai cycling studio, Motion opened an Abu Dhabi location on Al Reem Island last year. Part of the brand’s success has been built on the fact you can burn up to 1,000 calories per ride. The intense workouts have candlelit sessions (which sound deliciously trippy), women-only options, and R&B backed classes all lead by an expert team focused on keeping you motivated and pushing harder.

office 461, Floor 4, Wafra Square building, Al Reem Island, cycling classes from Dhs50 (for first ride). Tel: (055) 8530 0836,

Take a walk on the wildlife side

Al Wathba Wetland Reserve

The Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is a great place for families and children to take a wander through some real undeveloped UAE habitat. It’s primarily known for its large population of shocking pink flamingos but is home to more than 250 species of birds, 37 plant species and a wide range of aquatic life. Some of which were discovered here — completely new to science, and yet more that may be unique to this region. The reserve is free to visit and open from Tuesday to Saturday from 8am until 6pm (last entry is at 4pm). Read more here.

Al Wathba Wetland Reserve, Directions: Take the E22 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain road and connect with the E30 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Truck Road, then follow signs for the reserve, open Tue to Sat, 8am to 6pm, free entry.

EL&N fashion show

Perhaps the most exciting individual addition to the capital’s meals-on-wheels fleet in 2023 so far, is the EL&N Cafe on the Yas Bay Waterfront. You’ll find it opposite Etihad Arena, next to the Emerging Man sculpture. This food truck is essentially an amuse-bouche for the full fixed cafe opening in Yas Bay at some point in the not-too-distant future. The EL&N manifesto is all about fusing fantastical aesthetic elements — shocking pinks, neon signs and floral abundance, with red hot, statement, made-for-the-Insta-feed pastries, desserts, luxe coffees, mocktails, cheesecake pops and sandwiches.

Images: Provided