10 brilliant things to do in Abu Dhabi this weekend: Feb 10 to 12
Putting moves on the weekend…
It’s the weekend before Valentine’s and there’s a lot of love in the air. The perfect excuse to go big with gestures, hold loved ones tighter, or go completely the other way and celebrate your individuality. Whatever you choose, know that we love you.
Friday, February 10
Cinema in the Park is still going strong 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 Feb 10, and Sat Feb 11) line-up includes Stork, an underrated, animated, Andy Samberg vehicle with an epic voice talent line-up. On Saturday, it’s the Disney female empowerment visual anthem — Brave.
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, ummalemaratpark.ae
Some of the biggest tennis players in the world are in the capital this week for the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open. Running until February 12, the roster includes Rybakina, Jelena Ostapenko, Bianca Andreescu, Ons Jabeur, Danielle Collins, Daria Kasatkina and Veronika Kudermetova and more. The tournament will also feature a variety of entertaining activities for families and sports enthusiasts. Tickets for the tournament are available via ticketmaster.ae and start at Dhs50. Save some dirhams and opt for a weekly pass if you plan to spend more than a day here.
Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open, Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, February 5 to 12, from Dhs50. @MubadalaAbuDhabiOpen
The Godfather of Friday brunches
Hit cheat day right in the throat with a conveyor belt of authentic Naples staples and rustic Mediterranean classics at the Dino’s Friday evening brunch. Formaggio lovers should also be aware that the Friday evening session (Saturday and Sunday day brunch seatings are available too) comes with a dedicated cheese & antipasti station.
Pearl Rotana Capital Centre – Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, near ADNEC, every Fri three hours between 6.30pm and 11pm, Dhs190 soft, Dhs250 house including cocktails. Tel: (02) 307 5551, @pearlrotana
Stay in love
We’ve tracked down three new all inclusive staycation options in Abu Dhabi package prices starting from less than Dhs600 per room (excluding taxes). The hotels offering these ‘Capital Getaways’ are all recently renovated and are located on the beach — Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort Abu Dhabi Corniche, Le Meridien Abu Dhabi, and Sheraton Abu Dhabi Hotel & Resort.
Dates Valid: Now until December 31, 2023. Book your Radisson Blu Hotel & Resort, Abu Dhabi Corniche all-inclusive from Dhs599 per night at RadissonBluCornicheAllInclusive
Saturday, February 11
Ain’t that a kick in the head
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“SWEEP THE LEG” that’s the energy we’re taking to Etihad Arena this Saturday, February 11 — for the UAM Fight Night K1 Pro Kickboxing Championship. 28 male and female athletes from 18 countries and multiple weight classes will compete in the UAE Muay Thai & Kickboxing Federation’s (UAEMTKF) first event of the new season. Of the 14 fights on the night, the headline bout is undoubtedly the clash between Michael “The Punisher” Wakeling and UAE champion Ilyass Habibali. Entry to watch the championship is free.
Etihad Arena, Yas Island, February 11 from 4pm. etihadarena.ae
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Now open at the Yas Bay Waterfront — The Warehouse Gym is serving up the perfect way to earn and burn the delicious range of craft calories on offer in the restaurants around the bay. Memberships start at just Dhs199, there are both mixed and ladies only classes available and the personal trainers have been hand selected for expertise, and turning excuses into reps and bulging biceps. They have a Blackbox studio (the brand’s signature multisensory workout), a cycle studio, Olympic lifting zone for those in search of beefcaking, a functional training area, crossfit obviously, free weights, cardio equipment, squat rack and there’s free parking. They also offer boxing classes (and kids’ boxing classes), Grit sessions (strength and conditioning exercises), abs and glute workouts and lots more.
Yas Bay Waterfront (next to Lock, Stock and Barrel), Mon to Fri 5.30am to 11pm, Sat to Sun 7am to 10pm. Tel: (02) 675 2221, @whgym_abudhabi
The spice is right
Muscling into Yas Bay, full of Eastern promise, Asia Asia Abu Dhabi has been replicated from one of Dubai’s most popular Pan Asian restaurants. It’s characterised by epic Eastern feasts, immersive decor, and special promotions that have a loyal following of their own. Sundays are sushi nights (unlimited sushi and a bottle of grape for Dhs330 per couple, 2pm to 6pm); Tuesdays are ladies’ nights — a special three-course menu and three drinks is Dhs225 per person, and the award-winning Saturday ‘Spice Route’ brunch has packages from Dhs275.
Yas Bay, Yas Island, Mon to Fri 6pm to 1am, Sat and Sun 2pm to 1am. @asiaasiauae
Make Saturday your hump day
You’ll find this dromedary expo about 15 minutes outside of downtown Al Ain. The camel is of central importance to the UAE story, and their trade still takes place in these bustling market places today. Lucky guests might get the opportunity to see camels flexing their A-game in demonstrations of racing pedigree. You’ll have to brave some pretty formidable scents, but it’s rare to find examples of traditional Middle Eastern life, this authentic and open to the public. It also affords a perhaps unmatched opportunity to catch a candid camel selfie.
Al Ain, daily 6am to 7pm (although most of the trading happens first thing). visitabudhabi.ae
Sunday, February 12
I am speed
Judging by the way some of you treat the expressways here, it’s very unlikely you’ll get a shock call up to this year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (tickets now on sale *teeth sparkle*). But there is still a way you could find yourself doing laps of Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit. They have a stacked grid of car experiences, but the best for thrill seekers has to be Formula Yas 3000 (Dhs1,840). Described as, “the closest thing to an F1 car most people will ever drive,” you’ll get to zoom around in a race car armed with a 3.0 litre V6 Jaguar Cosworth engine, plus Formula One-style paddle shift flappy paddle gear sticks. Looking for something a little less fast pace? Yas Marina also offers karting sessions too (from Dhs120). yasmarinacircuit.com
This restaurant on the seafront of the stunning Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort is visited by two overlapping culinary waves — Italian food and seafood. With it’s romantic Saadiyat dune setting and signature dishes such as their seafood tower, risotto ai frutti di mare, tartares and carpaccios, spaghetti alla vongole and grilled octopus salad, it’s always a popular pick for those seeking the romance of a Mediterranean holiday, closer to home.
Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort. Tel: (02) 811 4444, @jumeirahsaadiyat
Into the green
Jubail Mangrove Park offers visitors the opportunity to explore one of this region’s most fascinating natural habitats. Found nestled away on a quiet outcrop of Jubail Island, Abu Dhabi — the mangrove park became an instant hit with locals, residents and tourists. It features a meandering 2.3km boardwalk and sits in close proximity to the city. There are plenty of ways to explore this fascinating ecosystem including boardwalk meditation sessions (Dhs120) ranger-led, guided boardwalk (from Dhs50), kayak (Dhs100), and e-dragon boat tours (from Dhs80) of the mangroves.
Jubail Mangrove Park, Al Jubail Island (next to Saadiyat Island), Abu Dhabi, 8am to 7.30pm daily, Dhs15 for adult, Dhs10. Tel: (05) 63032423. park.jubailisland.ae