12 massive things to do in Abu Dhabi this weekend: March 3 to 5

It’s a big one…

I know we say this a lot, and we honestly maintain that it is always true, but saying it this week feels particularly accurate —  this is going to be a MASSIVE weekend for Abu Dhabi. An Ultra weekend, some might say, filled with pop culture heroes and duelling engines. It’s also our What’s On Abu Dhabi 2023 Awards tonight.

Friday, March 3

This is the way

The first episode of the third season of Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian is now available to stream on Disney+. A show that introduced us to Pedro Pascal’s helmet daddy incarnation, The Child AKA Baby Yoda AKA Grogu and launched a thousand chiccy nuggie-based memes. It’s a Samurai-esque space Western set five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and weaves the yarn of a warrior creed on the brink of extinction, thick with themes of companionship and the price of honour. The third series promises to drop us yet deeper down the snarling sarlacc pit, with a significant increase to the Mandalorian G-Unit entourage size, more darksaber wielding and Grogu-smuggling skullduggery, the appearance of famous Jedi masters, and the prospect of (finally) a jolly old field trip to the fabled land of Mandalore. This, dear friends, is the way…

Episode one, series three of The Mandalorian is available to stream now on Disney+. The service is available through apps on your smart device for just Dhs29.99 per month.

Without a padel

The time between Padel going from “what’s that? Oh you mean tennis” to literally everyone playing padel, all of the time, every weekend — is intangibly short. It’s gone viral, the chat GPT of racket sports, it’s as moreish as Maltesers and incalculably more healthy for you and now thanks to one of the biggest Padel enabling names in the capital, Just Padel — there five new padel courts open for service and available at smashing prices in Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall. The courts are all alfresco and rental rates start at Dhs220 for 45 minutes.

Marina Mall, from Dhs220, justpadel.ae

Mano Amano

As part of the grand opening celebrations of chic new Euro-smash ristorante, Amano — the owners are pouring a pretty ‘pazzo’ happy hour deal, daily between 5pm and 7pm. Available until March 5, diners at the restaurant will be able to enjoy free-flow beer and wine, with no charge. None, it’s *gestures excitedly in Italian* completely free. And not in that mafia movie “it’s free for now, but at some point you will get the call” kind of way. Located on the verdant shores of the Eastern Mangroves complex in Al Kheeran, Amano is open now and offering open invites to la bella vita.

Amano, Al Kheeran, Eastern Mangrove, daily midday to 11pm. Tel: (055) 128 8635, @amano_easternmangroves

Saturday, March 4

Ultra excited

Ultra Abu Dhabi is making its long-awaited arrival in Abu Dhabi on March 4 and 5, and phase one of the exciting lineup for the event has now been confirmed. And what a phase it is… Topping the bill for Ultra Abu Dhabi 2023 are — Calvin Harris, Skrillex, Armen Van Buren, Sasha and Digweed, Adam Beyer, Amelie Lens, Illenium, Kshmr, and Nghtmre. The second phase of announcements is expected soon. So keep make sure you switch on your notifications for What’s On. Tickets for world’s premier electronic music festival’s inaugural Abu Dhabi event are Dhs315 for early bird single day general access (still available). Once the limited early bird tickets are gone, regular general access tickets will be Dhs450 per day. Those looking for two-day tickets can snap them up for Dhs420 for general access or Dhs595 for premium general access during the early bird window. Thereafter, they will be Dhs600 for general access and Dhs850 for premium general access. Get them now via platinumlist.net

Ultra Abu Dhabi, Etihad Park, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, March 4 and 5, 2023, from Dhs315. ultraabudhabi.complatinumlist.net

Free (plant based) nugs

Patrons of the bags of taste, plant-based meat alternatives — Impossible Foods, are about to drop a brand new product and it dear friends is an absolute game changer. A guilt free, cruelty free, completely vegan way to let the nug life choose you — chicken-free nuggets. And there’s a way to try them out for free this weekend. Nabati, the vegan burger joint will be offering 20 complimentary portions on both Saturday and Sunday for the first 20 dine-in, burger ordering customers on each day.

Al Reef Downtown Mall, midday to 10pm. @wearenabati@impossible_foods

Market on your calendar

We’re coming to the end of this year’s season of The Saturday Market Al Ain Oasis — with the final weekly session booked in for March 25. Highlights of the  souk-style wholesome vibe hive include bubble tea from Yi Fang Taiwanese Tea; live entertainment; arts and crafts; top-tier biscuit binging frim Cookie Break; cosmetics from Saante’ and My Korean Product; and exotic trinkets from R&A Handicraft.

Al Ain Oasis, Saturday 3pm to midnight, kids Dhs10, adults Dhs20. 

Red Bull gives you wing(mirror)s

The Red Bull Car Park Drift series is about to turn the ignition on a 15th season this weekend, and the startline is Abu Dhabi’s Corbiche, this Saturday March 4. Through the haze of smoking tyres, near-miss autombile chicanery, taking the rules of physics to the absolute melting point — the expert drivers of the Red Bull Car Park Drift entourage will battle it out on a specially built track at Nation Towers, in front of thousands of souped-up petrol-head fans.

Nation Towers, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Sat March 4, doors open at 2pm. redbull.com

Into the Comic-conniverse

The 11th edition of the Middle East Film & Comic Con (MEFCC) is confirmed for March 2023, and for just the second time it will be hosted in Abu Dhabi. A celebration of all things pop culture, Comic Con went on a quest last year, moving from its previous home at Dubai’s World Trade Centre Exhibition Halls to Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). And it’s ADNEC that will host the capital sequel, between March 3 and March 5 of 2023. Comic Con is a festival devoted to the spirit geek within us all — offering fans the opportunity to get involved with A-lister meet and greets, talks from entertainment icons, theatre, workshops, comic and anime art galleries, eSports expositions, and even cosplay parades. Talent for this year includes Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), a pair of Stranger Things stars — David ‘dances with penguins’ Harbour and Jamie Campbell Bower AKA Lord Vecna, Dr Who (Matt Smith), Andy Serkis and C3PO (Anthony Daniels).

ADNEC, Tickets for the event are now on sale via the mefcc.com website, with one day passes available at Dhs135, and three-day passes for Dhs299.

Sunday, March 5

Dive-in theatre

Crooning crustacean, Sebastian the crab once famously sang,”darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter” and given the range of submarinal adventure offered by Abu Dhabi Marine, we might actually be on board with that assessment. You can take the plunge on trips fit for all ability levels, from snorkelling escapades (from Dhs150) and beginner scuba diving (Dhs350, for ages 10 and up) to more challenging dives and advanced PADI certificate diving courses (from Dhs1,500). Proof if any were needed, that watersports are “hotter under the water”. But if you prefer your thrills on the frills waves, there’s plenty of that sort of action too — SUPping, jet skiing, water skiing, flyboarding, E-Foil and donut riding, zorb ball and sea ray sessions, see-through kayaking, wake-surfing and nautical lot more.

Abu Dhabi Marina, next to Emirates Palace, Break Water, Tel: (800) 4386, abudhabimarine.ae



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The hugely popular Dubai cycling studio, Motion recently opened an Abu Dhabi location on Al Reem Island. 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, motion-cycling.ae

Welcome to the family

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, announced the inauguration of the Abrahamic Family House — a mega project holding places of worship for the three Abrahamic religions — via Twitter last month. And now this very special beacon of love, tolerance and peace, located in the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island, is open to the worshipping and visiting public. You can find out more in advance of your visit, with our handy guide.

Jacques Chirac Street, Saadiyat Cultural District, free @abrahamicfh

Images: Provided