A to Z: 26 fabulous ways to beat the heat in Dubai
Plenty of summer fun awaits…
Staying in Dubai over the summer months? Just because it’s (really) warm outside, doesn’t mean you have to stay home and watch Netflix until it cools down again. To help you plan out your itinerary over the next few months, we’ve put together some fabulous ways you can beat the heat in Dubai, and we’ve done it in alphabetical order – you know, to make it more fun.
A is for Aya Universe
Hitting up an immersive entertainment park sure sounds like a neat way to pass a few cool and totally sun-free hours – and if you’re a social media whizz, you already know about Aya Universe. If not, now’s a great time to get acquainted. From the moment you enter this sprawling 40,000 square-foot space in Wafi City Mall, you’re surrounded by high-tech sound, lights and graphics with 12 zones that together comprise the Aya universe, each telling a different story. It’s a visual, kaleidoscopic, fully-airconditioned spectacle.
Aya Universe, Wafi City Mall, Sun to Thur 10am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 10am to midnight, Dhs99 (online), Dhs125 (walk-in), under-threes free. Tel: (0)4 542 0300. @ayauniverse__
B is for Beach and pool days
It’s one of the reasons we all love living here – access to amazing beaches and temperature-controlled pools, which are especially welcome in the summer months. For a slightly more five-star experience, why not join the What’s On award-winning Privilee app and gain access to 70+ luxury resorts and their private beaches and pools, plus gyms, classes and discounts on food and drink. There are various pricing plans to choose from but rates start from Dhs529 per month.
C is for Chinatown Dubai Mall
Chinatowns across the world – from New York to London – have served as hubs of community, love and culture. And when walking these streets, one thing is abundantly clear: the area’s restaurants are a key part of what keeps the heartbeat of Chinatown pulsing. Can Dubai’s very own fully-indoor Chinatown – which opened quietly in Dubai Mall in March – recreate that same magic? It’s certainly giving it a shot with a wave of new restaurants opening up, including Haidilao Hot Pot, Singaporean import Hawker Chan, and Ri Hua Xuan, the restaurant said to have invented the inimitable xiao long bao soup dumpling.
Chinatown Dubai Mall, opposite Dubai Ice Rink, daily 10am to midnight. thedubaimall.com
D is for Dubai Sports World
Dubai Sports World is one of a few places where you can run without having to brave the summer heat. The centre is home to a 545m indoor track, so you can log those miles in air-conditioned comfort. Elsewhere, you’ll find a range of sporting academies for kids to join, including the Real Madrid football academy, badminton academy and tennis 360. You can also book a range of indoor pitches and courts for everything from padel and pickleball to volleyball and basketball. There is no entrance fee, but you do need to register on Dubai Sports World mobile app and present the QR code at the entrance. You then pay only for the sports facilities you book and use.
Dubai Sports World, Dubai World Trade Centre, daily 8am to midnight (until September 10). Tel: (800) 3982. @dubaisportsworld
E is for Eye Heart Rabbit
Why not spend the summer branching out from the traditional dining circuit and meet other die-hard food fans at a supper club? These days there’s a whole host of options to choose from, but the latest to pique our interest is Eye Heart Rabbit. This wandering neighbourhood pop-up and supper club, with menus created by Jesse Blake of Green Michelin Star restaurant Lowe fame, serves self-proclaimed modern plates of Middle Eastern appearance. We’ll let you know what we think as soon as we’re quick enough to nab a seat.
F is for Footlab
There’s not much professional football to look forward to this summer, but that just means you’ve got more time to flex your own teckers at Footlab, ‘the world’s first indoor football club’. You’ll find the expansive indoor facility, unsurprisingly, at Dubai Sports City and it’s packed to the air conditioned rafters with future footie tech. There are designated zones to help raise your precision, kick power, technique and speed stats; a street soccer area, foot volley court, and a five-a-side pitch (Dhs490 per hour), which offers the opportunity to record and replay your net-busting screamers and cheeky nutmegs.
ISD, Dubai Sports City, daily 10am to 10pm, activity packages from Dhs90. Tel: (0)55 997 4878. @footlab_dubai
G is for Game nights (and golf days)
For those who want to tee off without frying in the midday sun, opportunities abound in Dubai, including Topgolf and Goose Island Tap House. But Bedrock DXB is one of the city’s newest offerings, which also features five state-of-the-art dartboards (complete with digital scoring, and tongue-in-cheek reactions to rubbish attempts). For a bit of both, The Bunker is a private space that’s home to an X-Golf simulator, where
players compete against each other on 50 of the world’s top courses, without even breaking a sweat. You’ll also find another dartboard, a 200-inch TV screen and a personal bar inside.
Pier 7, Dubai Marina, Sun to Thur noon to midnight, Fri and Sat noon to 2am. Tel: (0)4 578 16668. @bedrockdxb
H is for Hanging tough at Mountain Extreme
Looking for a gnarly summer challenge? Master the art of rock climbing inside Mountain Extreme, where thrill seekers can scale the largest climbing wall in Dubai, or traverse the many bouldering walls around the complex in Al Quoz. With 129 bouldering problems, some 127 top rope routes and 14 auto belays that’s more than enough to keep you busy all summer. Bookings are mandatory.
Mountain Extreme, Al Quoz 3, Mon to Fri noon to 9pm, Sat and Sun 9am to 4pm, Dhs125 (drop-in). Tel: (0)4 236 6040. @mountainextremedxb
I is for Ice baths at Contrast
The stunning new wellness studio on the Palm, by Dubai superstar Layla Kardan, brings together the benefits of hot and cold treatments, including the use of stylish infrared saunas. But the perfect remedy for a sweaty summer is, of course, their signature cold water therapy. You’ll plunge into a tub of freezing temperatures (we’re talking 5 to 7 degrees) to soothe pain, reduce inflammation, and boost mood, energy, and sleep. Don’t worry, the plunge lasts as long or as short as you want, and you can even bring a friend to join in the fun. Step out and your body will be ready to fight the heat for the rest of the day.
Golden Mile 6, Palm Jumeirah, Dhs95 (30-minute ice bath session), Dhs65 (extra person). Tel: (056) 401 1162. @contrastwellness
J is for Jameel Arts Centre
There’s a beautiful building that sits at the south edge of Jaddaf Waterfront. Within the building are unassuming light-filled rooms, bordered by white walls and punctuated by little gardens. These are the hard facts that describe Jameel Arts Centre but they fail to do justice to a gallery space that has become a staple of showcasing contemporary arts in the Middle East. Explore its beauty – and a special solo exhibition by Japanese artist Tsuyoshi Hisakado this summer – for free, then make a discerned stop at new Green Michelin Star restaurant Teible for some stunning dishes that celebrates local produce.
Jameel Arts Centre, Jaddaf Waterfront, Mon to Sun 10am to 8pm, Fri noon to 9pm (Tue closed), free. Tel: (0)4 873 9800. @jameelartscentre
K is for Killer daycations
Just a quick WhatsOn.ae search and you’ll notice that daycations come out on top time and again – and for good reason. They’re often the best way to spend a day in Dubai no matter the season. But which to highlight here? With breathtaking views of Dubai’s iconic skyline coupled with the best infinity pool in town, Address Beach Resort might just have the splurge offer of the summer. Bag yourselves one of the 11 fully air-conditioned private cabanas, and you’ll have your own bathroom with a shower, plus a lounge, TV and stereo system. The cabana fits four adults and includes access to the exclusive infinity pool and a bottle of white or rosé for Dhs2,777. That’s Dhs695 per person.
Address Beach Resort, Dhs2,777 for four for cabana, until August 31. Tel: (0)4 879 8866. @addressbeachresort
L is for The Laughter Factory
Dubai’s beloved – and longest running – comedy club The Laughter Factory continues to host its fantastic shows throughout summer. Each tour format features a trio of international comedians who take on indoor stages around the city, where you can sit in darkened comfort while laughing yourself silly. This month’s line-up features Adam Bloom, Michael Fabbri and Red Richardson.
Various locations, including Movenpick JBR, Hyde Hotel and Dukes The Palm, July 21 to 22 and 27 to 29 from 8.30pm, Dhs160. Tel: (050) 8786728. thelaughterfactory.com
M is for Museum of the Future
Use the summer to be a tourist in your own town by finally visiting Museum of the Future. One of the most recognisable landmarks in Dubai, Museum of the Future is divided into seven levels with each giving a glimpse into what the world will look like 50 years from now. Be sure to spend some time at the meditation centre on the Al Waha level, where visitors can lie down under a dome projecting light and water ripples. It’s a cathartic and calming experience.
Museum of the Future, Sheikh Zayed Road, daily 10am to 9.30pm, Dhs149, under-fours free. @museumofthefuture
N is for Night swimming
Night swimming can be a daunting prospect for some, but the idea of cooler ocean temperatures should be tempting enough to get everyone in the water. Now it’s an even safer experience as Dubai Municipality has designated three beaches as official shorelines for night swimming: in Jumeirah 2, Jumeirah 3 and Umm Suqeim. Each of the 800-metre-long beaches has floodlights that illuminate the sea, allowing residents and tourists to swim safely, with a qualified team of ‘Baywatch Nights’ lifeguards now on duty after dark at each of the designated beaches.
O is for Oka Ceramics
Keen to find a summer hobby that keeps your brain busy but doesn’t involve looking at a screen? Making your own pottery and ceramics could be just the ticket. At Oka Ceramics’ two-hour pottery on the wheel sessions, your teacher will guide you through the basics helping you to prepare and wedge your clay, centre and throw, create bowls, cups and plates, and trim and finish your product. Taster sessions cost Dhs220 with multi-visit packages available.
Oka Ceramics, Al Quoz 3, Tue to Sat 10am to 9pm. Tel: (058) 529 5004. @okaceramics
P is for Parkour camp for kids
Need to keep the little ones entertained through summer? Sign them up to parkour camp with Parkour DXB, the region’s leading parkour training centre and celebrated GOV Games 2023 winners. With two camps to choose from – either Wallabies camp for three to five-year-olds or Parkour camp for five to 13-year-olds – kids get to explore the world of parkour in a safe and engaging environment. They’ll learn core movements such as jumping, climbing and swinging, and take part in engaging challenges and games aimed at promoting creativity, teamwork, adaptability, and confidence.
Al Quoz, JVC and Port Rashid branches, until Aug 25, 9am to noon or 1pm to 4pm (for Parkour camp), Dhs1,100. Tel: (800) 727 5687. @parkourdxb
Q is for Quiet time in Mohammed Bin Rashid Library
A beautiful oasis of calm, visitors to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library can find reprieve from the heat by curling up with a good book, or marveling at the rare manuscripts and precious first-edition books displayed in the exhibition space on the seventh floor. The dramatic building façade looks like an open novel, but is actually inspired by a rehl book rest used to hold the Quran. The facility is home to nine separate libraries, dedicated to everything from media and the arts to maps and atlases. Entry is free for all.
Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, Al Jaddaf, Sat to Thur 9am to 9pm, Fri 2pm to 9pm (Sunday closed). Tel: (800) 627 523. @mbrlae
R is for The Rapids at Aquaventure
Nothing cools you down quite like drifting along a lazy river. Naturally, at the world’s largest waterpark, Aquaventure’s lazy river is in a league of its own. ‘The Rapids’ are a 1.6km river adventure offering gushing torrents that send swimmers spinning through a raging series of rapids. It’s the Middle East’s longest waterpark river (the only multi-level one, too) and continues to rein as one of our favourite summer spots in Dubai. Plus, with 105 record-breaking slides, attractions and experiences, there’s always something new to explore. Pack sunscreen and enjoy.
Aquaventure, Atlantis, The Palm, daily 9.45am to 6.30pm, Dhs295 (UAE residents), Dhs315 (non-residents). Tel: (0)4 426 0000. atlantis.com
S is for Ski Dubai
Unless you like hanging out in your fridge, where else in Dubai can you enjoy a cooling escape where the temperature hovers around -3 degrees? The Middle East’s first indoor ski resort, Ski Dubai remains the best indoor adventure in the city. Guests can learn to ski and snowboard on the slopes, catch a movie at the snow cinema, ride a toboggan, or come face to face with the colony of Gentoo and king penguins.
Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Mon to Thu 10am to 11pm, Fri 10am to midnight, Sat and Sun 9am to midnight. Tel: (800) 386. @skidxb
T is for Theatre of Digital Art
Whether you try an immersive meditation session, enjoy a live music concert, or check out a unique art exhibition, Souk Madinat’s stunning Theatre of Digital Arts makes for a unique indoor experience as state-of-the-art lights and sounds surround you. Evening sessions vary throughout the summer, so keep an eye on toda.ae for upcoming schedules.
Theatre of Digital Art, Souk Madinat, daily 11am to 11pm, prices vary depending on event. Tel: (0)4 575 4739. @todadubai
U is for Underwater adventures
Summer is a great time to try scuba diving and while the UAE boasts remarkable diving sites off its coast, some of the more unique diving experiences take place within Dubai’s city limits. Not only can you scuba inside the shark infested Dubai Aquarium and The Lost Chambers in Atlantis The Palm, but you can also dive into the world’s deepest pool at Deep Dive Dubai. With a depth of 60 metres, divers can explore a ‘Sunken City’ featuring an eerie abandoned streetscape.
Deep Dive Dubai, NAS Sports Complex, Nad Al Sheba, daily 9am to 6pm, from Dhs1,800. Tel: (0)4 501 9444. @deepdivedubai
V is for Virtual reality escape games
We all need an escape from reality sometimes – especially when it feels hotter than the earth’s molten core outside. Virtual reality transports us to a whole new universe, and at Game Over’s VR-powered escape rooms (found at Nakheel Mall) you can do just this while solving clues, cracking codes and unlocking doors. Strap on the headsets and handle the intuitive controls as you fully immerse yourselves into a new universe. You might find yourself tumbling down into the wacky world of Alice in Wonderland; attempting a prison escape; trying to stop the catastrophic events at Chernobyl; or finding your way home out of the jungle.
Game Over, Nakheel Mall, Palm Jumeirah, daily 10.30am to 10pm, Dhs320 (minimum two players). Tel: (0)4 577 3289. @game_over_dubai
W is for Wine tasting at home with The Tasting Class
There are many wonderful wine bars in Dubai where you can relax with friends and soak up the air conditioning (with a few glasses of Chablis for good measure), but how about a wine tasting adventure at home led by an expert? The Tasting Class has a team of qualified wine professionals who facilitate fun and easy to understand home tasting experiences. Sessions are designed to help you and your guests identify and articulate what you smell and taste. They’ll teach you about key regions and styles, and give tips that can be easily applied the next time you are ordering in a restaurant. The Tasting Fundamentals class costs Dhs2,500 for up to 10 guests.
X is for Xtreme Wake
If you’re friends with any alt-fitness types, you’ll have been hearing a lot about wakesurfing, so why not try it out for yourself? The long-standing Xtreme Wake team offers casual coaching in one-hour blocks, setting off from Dubai Marina towards the calm waters off JBR.
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Dubai Marina, daily sunrise to sunset, Dhs600 for one hour (for up to seven people). Tel: (056) 423012.
Y is for Yacht training courses
Take to the high seas this summer with Wind Rises Dubai, a new sailing community located in DP World’s Mina Rashid Marina, who offer daily affordable sailing lessons in Dubai – for groups of two to six people – on its gorgeous FAREAST 28R racing keelboat yacht fleet. You’ll channel your inner Jack Sparrow and spend the 90 minutes learning on-the-water sailing skills, including setting sails, winching ropes, driving the boat, and reading the tell-tails.
Wind Rises Dubai, Mina Rashid, daily 8.30am to 10.45am, 11am to 1.15pm, 1.30pm to 3.45pm, 4pm to 6.15pm, from Dhs300 per person. Tel: (058) 106 5026. @windrisesdubai
Z is for Ziplining
Take your summer to new heights with XLine – the world’s longest urban zipline located in Dubai Marina. Measuring 1km in length and with an average speed of 80km/h, it’s not for the faint hearted. But the bird’s-eye vantage point of the gorgeous yachts and slick high-rise towers is well worth it. Prices start from Dhs650 for adults and Dhs499 for kids 12 years and above.
Dubai XLine, Dubai Marina Mall, various times, Dhs650 (adults), Dhs499 (children over 12. Tel: (056) 507 6366. @x_line