23 incredible things to look forward to in the UAE in 2023

Hot hotels, fabulous restaurants, incredible megaprojects, festivals, shows and so much more…

Here, we’re looking ahead to all the brilliant things still to come across the emirates in 2023. Whether it’s a stunning new hotel, hotly anticipated restaurant, new culinary destination or a festival or show you’ve been waiting for, here you’ll find all the best bits we already know about happening in the coming months.

Here’s 23 things to look forward to in the UAE in 2023.

La Mer will get a stunning new destination

La Mer South is set to be redeveloped into a dazzling new beach resort called J1 Beach, complete with some incredible new restaurants and beach clubs. The first-of-its-kind day to night destination in the region will be home to three beach clubs and ten restaurants, all set to open at the end of the year. The three stars of the show will be a trio of beach clubs, all with regional and international acclaim behind them. From award-winning homegrown restaurant Gaia comes Sirene Beach by Gaia, described as a ‘coastal evolution of Dubai’s home-grown, Greek-Mediterranean concept, Gaia. From the ultra chic shores of Cannes comes Bâoli, renowned for its haute modern Japanese cuisine and A-list guest. Merex will team up with Paris Society International for the third beach club at J1 Beach, bringing the legendary Gigi Rigolatto to the region for the first time.

J1 Beach, La Mer South, Jumeirah 1, opening late 2023. 

A beloved family musical graces the Dubai Opera stage

Matilda The Musical

In the past few years, Dubai Opera has thrilled us with a number of phenomenal musicals from Mamma Mia! to Chicago, the Musical; Footloose and so much more. This year, the performing arts centre has announced that yet another highly popular musical will be gracing its stage – Matilda the Musical. The multi-award-winning performance by The Royal Shakespeare Company will be heading to Dubai Opera for ten days from Tuesday, October 3 to 12. Tickets are now on sale on dubaiopera.com and start from Dhs325. Read more here.

Matilda The Musical, Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Oct 3 to 12, 2023. Ticket prices start from Dhs325. Tel: (0)4 440 8888. dubaiopera.com

The region’s biggest indoor adventure attraction adds another reason to head to the capital

Adrenark Adventure is set to open at Al Qana later this year and its chief deliverables are entertaining kids and adrenaline-baiting thrill experiences. You’ll find the whopping 54,000 sq ft (making it the largest of its kind in the region) wow-0polis right next to Pixoul Gaming. It features an incredible 20 different activities, such as challenging climbing walls, elevated rope courses, cheek-puffing thrill rides, bravery-testing stunt bag jumps and, we’re informed, for the first time in the UAE — a multi-level E-karting track that climbs three floors inside the building.

Adrenark Adventure, Al Qana, Abu Dhabi, opening first half of 2023. alqana.ae  

The oceanic trilogy at Jumeirah will be completed

A third oceanic-themed hotel will open up alongside Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel, completing Jumeirah’s nautical hotel trilogy, in 2023. The five star hotel will boast 386 rooms and suites, four penthouses, and 83 luxury hotel apartment suites, alongside state of the art amenities. Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab will be the perfect place to unwind and find your inner zen with their special wellness and leisure facilities set across a sprawling 3,500 square metre, three-storey spa. There will also be a collection of gorgeous pools that guests can take a dip in, including a large circular pool, a family infinity pool and a private VIP adult pool. The new resort will be every foodies dream with an impressive collection of 10 restaurants and bars, all of which have been designed by globally renowned restaurant designers.


Wellness gets a new home in Dubai

Welcome to Sanskara, a wellness space, day retreat and chic eatery, opening its doors in Jumeirah in March. Transforming a multi-storey villa in Al Safa 2, Sanskara promises a ‘simple, clean, conscious and mindful approach’ through an accessible, diverse and inclusive wellness offering. Inviting guests to come for breakfast, lunch or dinner will be Sanskara’s conscious eatery, offering a menu packed with clean, locally-sourced dining options. Whether guests are coming for a power hour of self-reflection in the lounge, or wish to curl up with a book in the open-air library, Sanskara promises spaces for all occasions. More serious wellness aficionados can look forward to ice baths, infrared saunas and even a bio-hacking room, with cutting-edge wellness experiences taking centre stage.

Sanskara, Al Safa 2, Jumeirah, opening March 2023. @sanskaradxb

Ain Dubai will spin again

ain dubai premium cabin

The world’s largest observation wheel, Ain Dubai, is set to reopen in the first quarter of 2023, after closing its doors in March 2022. Citing ‘enhancement works’ as the reason for the temporary closure, a statement on the website says that operators have been “working rigorously to complete the enhancement works over the past months.” As was promised when the initial closure was announced, the website says they will introduce ‘new and exciting offers’ when Ain Dubai reopens. We’re suitably intrigued.


Wireless Festival lands in Abu Dhabi

The UK’s number one ‘urban music festival’ – Wireless, will be making its debut in Abu Dhabi in March 2023. It’s a sonic celebration of beats from the streets and showcases the best artists from cutting edge musical genres such as hip-hop, grime, electronica, trip-hop, trap and afrobeats. We know Wireless Festival Abu Dhabi 2023 will take place on March 4, but headlining artists have not been announced yet. Rest assured, as soon as we have that information, we will let you know.

Wireless, Abu Dhabi, March 4, @wirelessfest

West Side Story will dazzle audiences at Dubai Opera

West Side Story is one of the most popular American musicals of all time and it will be showcased at the Dubai Opera from Tuesday, April 25 to 30. The musical explores the rivalry between The Jets and the Sharks – two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds with a (tragic) love story thrown in the mix. Tickets are already on sale on the Dubai Opera website with prices starting from Dhs250.

West Side Story musical, Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, April 25 to 30, 2023, from Dhs250. Tel: (0)4 440 8888. dubaiopera.com 

Abu Dhabi will get a lot cooler – with the arrival of a snow park

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 in 2023). 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.


The most beautiful restaurant in the world will open on The Palm

Top Andalusian chef Dani García is set to open his first restaurant in Dubai. The man behind some of Spain’s top restaurants, including BiBo, Lobito de Mar and Dani Brasserie, will bring his sleek steakhouse Leña to The Palm in 2023. If you’re not familiar with the brand, let us introduce you. Leña was born in Marbella in the summer of 2020, replacing chef Dani García’s eponymous fine dining restaurant, which the chef announced would close just 21 days after it was awarded its third Michelin star. A year after opening Leña Marbella, an opening in Madrid followed, the same year that the Marbella restaurant was recognised with the highest accolade of the restaurant category at the 2021 Restaurant & Bar Design Awards. So, we can expect some pretty wow-worthy interiors when the brand opens in Dubai.

Leña, Nakheel Mall Rooftop, East Side, Palm Jumeirah, opening Q2, 2023. groupodanigarcia.com

Dorchester will mark 10 hotels worldwide with the opening of The Lana

Those who live or work around the Business Bay area will probably recognise the unique shape of The Lana (previously called Dorchester Dubai), perched on the waterfront of the Dubai Canal. The striking 30-storey tower will house 225 ultra-luxury guest rooms – 69 of them suites – which will ooze contemporary-chic with triple height ceilings, plush furnishings in gold, beige and olive and deep-soaking bathtubs. The ultra-luxury property is expected to open in September 2023, bringing with it a collection of signature restaurants and a stunning rooftop pool.

The Lana by Dorchester Collection, Business Bay, opening September 2023. dorchestercollection.com

Flamingo Room will have foodies flocking to Abu Dhabi’s Al Maryah island

A second UAE branch of Flamingo Room by Tashas will open on Al Maryah island in early 2023. The original Flamingo Room by Tashas opened its doors back in 2017 at the appropriately stunning Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel in Dubai. The striking interiors there, give sophisticated finishes to inspiration drawn directly from Africa’s enchanting wildernesses. Playful features such as meerkats and monkeys cast in bronze blend effortlessly with flamingo-pink and gold art-deco styling, and the elegance of the food and drinks menu. It’s peak safari chic.

Flamingo Room Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island, opening early 2023. flamingroombytashas.com

A new skyscraper will rise in Dubai

Located on the edge of DIFC, One Za’abeel is an innovative new skyscraper that comprises of two towers connected by the world’s largest cantilever. This will house The Link, comprising of viewing decks, celebrity chef led restaurants and a stunning infinity pool. Elsewhere, there will be sleek residences, chic stores and a duo hotels from Kerzner International: Dubai’s third One&Only Hotel and the world’s first Siro hotel, which focuses on fitness and recovery.


Dubai will get its very own Chinatown

chinatown dubai mall

First announced back in 2018 for Dubai Creek Harbour, Dubai’s very own Chinatown is now gearing up to open inside The Dubai Mall. Across the world, stores in Chinatowns sell Asian cosmetics, Chinese-inspired trinkets and gifts and much more. Of course, we’re hoping for authentic Chinese food shops and bakeries, too. No opening date has been given for this addition to The Dubai Mall, but it’s likely to be in 2023.


Abu Dhabi’s leafy green Jubail Island gets a new Marina

Nestled between Yas and Saadiyat, Jubail Island is already one of Abu Dhabi’s most idyllic islands, thanks to its lush, stretching mangroves. But the development of Jubail Island is set to see it become one of the capital’s most desirable residential destinations, with the stunning Jubail Marina to become the beating heart for the new local community. On track for completion by mid-2023, Jubail Marina will form part of the Marina District, and will feature 66 berths for visitors and residents to set sail for Jubail as and when they please. This stunning seafront community project will also feature a luxury yacht club, scenic boardwalk and a collection of restaurants and cafes that will make the most of the gorgeous alfresco setting. That sounds like a true haven for boating enthusiasts.


See an inspirational author live in Dubai

You may have seen Jay Shetty and his viral videos on social media and if you’re a fan, take note as the life coach is coming to Dubai in May 2023. Jay Shetty is an award-winning storyteller, podcaster, and former monk who shares videos on wellness and mental health. He is also the author of Think Like A Monk, a New York Times bestseller and his new book  8 Rules of Love – How To Find It, Keep It and Let It Go releases January 31, 2023. On May 11, he will be bringing this same wisdom to Dubai Opera.

Jay Shetty live, Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, May 11, prices tbc. dubaiopera.com

Ras Al Khaimah gets a slice of Maldivian luxury

We’ve been writing about the opening of Anantara Mina Al Arab for years, and finally it’s happening. This stunning Anantara eco-resort will be located in the new Mina Al Arab district along the coast of Ras Al Khaimah. When it’s completed in late 2023, it will boast 306 guest rooms, suites and overwater villas (Maldivian style). There will also be an overwater restaurant serving Thai cuisine, as well as a seafood grill, and a beach and pool bar. There’s an outdoor swimming pool, as well as mini pools in many of the rooms. Guests will be welcome to relax in their sanctuary or keep active at the health club, which includes a gym, aerobics and yoga studios, squash and tennis courts.

Anantara Mina Al Arab, Ras Al Khaimah, opening late 2023. anantara.com

Lewis Capaldi will finally make his UAE return

Lewis Capaldi was originally set to perform in November 2022 but the concert has been postponed to October 7, 2023. A statement on Capaldi stated that he was gutted to postpone his show as he is learning to adapt following the star’s recent diagnosis of Tourette’s. If you purchased tickets for the gig at Coca-Cola Arena, your tickets will be automatically valid for the new date. His Dubai gig will now come after the release of his long-awaited second album, Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent, which will drop on May 19, 2023.

Lewis Capaldi, Coca-Cola Arena, City Walk, October 7. coca-cola-arena.com

Crucial conversations will happen in Dubai around climate change

This year, Dubai will host COP28, described by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai as the most important event in the city in 2023. The 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place at Expo City from November 30 to December 12 and will see some 140 heads of state and government leaders, over 80,000 delegates and more than 5,000 media professionals descend on the city.

Rev your engines for the final F1 race of the year

One of the biggest sporting events of the year, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, marks the final race in the F1 Calendar. Set to be 23 races long in 2023, all the on track action will cumulate with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from Thursday November 23 to Sunday November 26. As always, it will all take place across 50-something laps around Yas Marina Circuit, although off-track you can expect pop-up restaurants, epic concerts and plenty of parties.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023, Nov 23 to 26, 2023. yasmarinacircuit.com

FIVE Hotels will open a third Dubai property

Five LUXE will take prime position in JBR’s famous beach strip when it opens in 2023, taking over the spot where Corinthia Meydan was due to open. As well as all the best bits of the Palm Jumeirah property – the iconic social pool, a firm focus on culinary excellence and a sparkling beach club – there will be some exclusive additions specifically for the new luxury address. FIVE LUXE will boast 222 luxury rooms and suites and 275 opulent residences, with some seriously plush suites for guests to splash out on including the Writer Suite, Musician Suite and regal Royal Suite. In true FIVE style, you can expect a best-in-class culinary offering, with an array of restaurants and nightlife venues all designed to wow guests. This will include Ibiza-born Lio.

FIVE LUXE, JBR, Dubai Marina, opening 2023. fiveluxe.fivehotelsandresorts.com

The world’s first Real Madrid theme park will open in Dubai

Football club Real Madrid C.F have signed an exclusive multi-year partnership with Dubai Parks and Resorts that will see the two entities open the world’s first Real Madrid destination theme park in Dubai at the end of 2023. Visitors will be able to enjoy audio-visual displays, interactive experiences, playable gaming interactions as well as unique attractions that are inspired by the spirit, passion and success that make Real Madrid the team that it is.

We’ll be zipping around in driverless taxis

driverless taxi dubai

Self-driving taxis will be on the roads by the end of 2023. While initially it might only be a small fleet, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) reitterated in March 2022 that the aim is to reach 4,000 driverless taxis by 2030. To put your mind at ease, the vehicles will be equipped with 80 sensors, cameras and LiDAR systems – light detection and ranging (laser scanning technology) to monitor road conditions, and controls to avoid collision with any objects – even those the human eye cannot see.