22 great places to hide from the rain in Dubai
For when the weather in Dubai plays havoc on your plans…
In a city where most of the fun is built around having nice weather, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what to do on a rainy day in Dubai. But aside from seeking shelter at home – or assessing your car’s flood damage – there’s plenty going on. From playing retro games in an arcade to hitting up a great new restaurant in Dubai, here are 22 fun ideas you can do when it’s raining in Dubai.
Don’t let the rain dampen your spirits. Have some kidult fun at Atlantis, The Palm’s restobar funhouse complete with ten-pin bowling and arcade games. Plus, there’s plenty of delicious comfort food to keep you well-fed all day.
Wavehouse, Atlantis The Palm, daily 12pm to 1am. Tel: (04) 426 2626. atlantisthepalm.com/wavehouse
Al Safa Art and Design Library
Another great budget-friendly indoor activity to do in Dubai: Al Safa Art and Design Library. The quaint Jumeirah library opened its doors in 1989 and underwent a refurbishment in 2018. You’ll find books that cater to both adults and children. With minimalistic interiors and art on the walls, you can enjoy your reading in a distraction-free zone. It’s also great if you want to get some work or research done.
Al Safa Art & Design Library, behind Safa Park, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 8pm, Fri 8am to 12pm, closed on Sat, Tel: (04) 515 5241. linktr.ee/dubaipubliclibraries
Sketch Art Café
This cafe can help to bring the Picasso out of you. At this unique coffee shop, guests are invited to sketch, paint and draw whilst sipping a cup of coffee. If you’re looking for somewhere outside of your regular coffee haunt, Sketch will make a fun and pocket-friendly afternoon activity. Sketch also offers DIY art kits to take home and holds regular workshops inside the dedicated art studio from ceramics to rug making.
Box Park, Jumeriah, Al Wasl Rd 35 Street, Sun to Thur 8am to 11pm, Fri and Sat 7am to 11pm, sketchstudioart.com
The Mud House
All levels of potters are invited to this studio where everyone can play with clay. The Mud House is a diverse space, offering innovative classes, workshop space or somewhere to relax and have a coffee. Guests can enroll in their workshop programs with six sessions over a three-week period. For those interested in a membership, they start from a day pass to a week or even a month. If you’re in need of a new hobby, this is your cue.
Warehouse no.2, Street 4, Al Quoz Industrial 3, Tue 2pm to 8pm, Wed to Sun 10am to 8pm, Mon closed, Tel: (0)58 890 1500, themudhousestudio.com
The largest coffee museum in the Middle East is right here in Dubai in the Al Fahidi Historical District. It showcases a wide selection of antique items illustrating regional and international coffee history and culture. You will get to experience a number of different regional styles of coffee including the local Arabic style, Ethiopian style, Japanese style and more. You can even grab a coffee, sit back and sip as you get more coffee education in the cosy space.
Dubai Coffee Museum, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Bastakiya, Villa 44, Dubai, Tel: (0)4 353 8777. @coffeemuseum
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TEPfactor challenges groups to work together to solve a number of challenges around the ‘cave’. They offer a number of party packages for those who crave a little extra adventure, with kids aged 8 to 12 playing from Dhs79 and 13+ from Dhs99.
TEPfactor Dubai, Bahar Plaza, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, Sun to Wed 12pm to 12am, Thurs to Sat 12pm to 1am, from Dhs79 per hour. Tel: (056) 404 0802. tepfactor.ae
Chinatown Dubai Mall
The eye-catching Chinatown in Dubai Mall is officially open and well worth a meander. As well as the neon lights and lanterns that have already taken social media by storm, there’s a food court with affordable fast food restaurants including Hawker Chan, a Singaporean restaurant that is known for offering the world’s most affordable Michelin-star meals.
Chinatown inside Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, thedubaimall.com
Mohammed Bin Rashid Library
Love reading? The eye-catching Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, the biggest library in the Arab world is the place to be. Spanning seven floors, you will find a general library space, a young adults library, a colourful children’s library, a library dedicated to maps and atlases, a media and art library, a business library, an Emirates library, a periodicals library, and the ‘Treasure of the Library’ which features rare items and special collections. Entry to the library is free but you must book a time slot in advance: tiqets.com
Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, Al Jaddaf, Dubai. Monday to Saturday 9am to 9pm. Friday 2pm to 9pm. Sundays closed. 5 years and above. Tel: (0)4 222 2025. @mbrlae
Yes, you CAN play video games at home. For free. But can you also play amazing, interactive VR games at the brand new virtual reality park now open in Mall of the Emirates. There are three experiences available for VR fans. In Alien Zoo, you’ll journey into a galactic universe where endangered wildlife roam the planet; The Blu Deep Rescue takes you on a deep underwater adventure; and the game called Curse of the Lost Pearl, is described as a ‘magic projector adventure’.
Dreamscape, Level 2, Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, Sunday to Wednesday 10am to 10pm, Thursday to Saturday 10am to 11pm, Dhs75. dreamscapeimmersive.com
If you haven’t yet given skiing a go at the Mall of the Emirates then you really should. This 22,500 sq-metre ski park set in the mall has loads of entertainment for all of the family, with a ski slope, a ‘Snow Park’ with a giant zorbing ball, ice cave, and animal lovers can even see a penguin show. If you’re planning a family ski trip, the ski school is available to help you learn the basics. Afterwards, warm up with a hot chocolate at the Avalanche and Ice Café. Ticket prices vary depending on your choice of activity.
Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Rd, Dubai, daily, 10am to 11pm. skidxb.com
Make like House Of Pain, and jump around on indoor trampolines at Bounce. There are fitness classes and family-friendly bookings, with sessions charged by the hour, or opt for the three hour session for Dhs120. Children have to be a minimum age of three to get in on the bouncy action.
Building 32, 4B Street, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, 10am to 10pm Sun to Weds, 10am to midnight Thurs and Fri, 9am to 9pm Sat, Dhs80 per hour, Dhs120 for three hours. Tel: (04) 321 1400. bounce.ae
IMG Worlds of Adventure
IMG Worlds of Adventure is the world’s largest indoor theme park, and it’s packed with fun for all the family. There are a host of rides designed specifically for children, including the Dino Carousel where children can take a spin with the friendlier inhabitants of the Lost Valley and ‘Adventure Time – The Ride of OOO with Finn & Jake’, which will see little ones soar high over the Cartoon Network Zone. Height restrictions vary, but children need to be around 1.2m to 1.3m tall for the rides.
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Aya, an experiential entertainment park, just opened its doors at Wafi City Mall and transports visitors into a futuristic universe through the magic of art and technology. Aya is Spread across 40,000 square feet at Wafi City Mall, divided into 12 different zones, all with water and space themes, such as ‘the falls,’ ‘luna,’ and ‘aurora.’ Each room is filled with interactive experiences that you can wander through, witness and even touch, so there’s sure to be some Instagram-worthy locations as you move through the destination. Luminous gardens, twinkling galaxies and stunning light shows await.
Aya Dubai, first floor, Wafi Mall, Oud Metha Road, 10am to 10pm weekdays, 10am to midnight weekends, opens December 17, Dhs99. Tel: (0)4 542 0300, aya-universe.com
The Green Planet
It’s hard not to be impressed by nature at this tropical rainforest, home to over 3000 plants and animals. Little ones will be fascinated with activities such as The Sloth Encounter, The Bat Cave, The Sugar Glider Encounter and Creatures of the Night. There is also a wonderful variety of tropical fish to gaze at and, those feeling brave, can even hold a Python.
The Green Planet, City Walk, Dubai, Sunday to Wednesday 10am to 7pm, Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 8pm, from Dhs125 adults, Dhs110 children. Tel: (04) 317 399. thegreenplanetdubai.com
The Smash Room
The Smash Room is full of experiences that will unleash an inner beast you didn’t know you had in you. From printers, washing machines and crockery to much ‘softer’ bubble wrapping experiences, their Ecstacy and Euphoria packages are also at a 15 per cent discount, allowing you to break glass items, CPU’s and printers.
The Smash Room, Mon to Thur 12.30pm to 11pm, Tel: (0)4 339 7810, thesmashroom.com
The Storm Coaster, Dubai Hills Mall
The Storm Coaster is a thrilling, first of its kind indoor coaster combining a vertical drop and an immersive pre-ride experience. The aptly name coaster places guests in the exciting world of storm chasing. Daredevils will be lifted high above the Dubai skyline and then will be plunged into the heart of an epic mega-storm using real-world footage with cinematic special effects. Do note, riders need to be at least 130cm in height to hop onboard.
Dubai Hills Mall, Dubai Hills Estate. @dubaihillsmall
Nestled in the heart of Dubai’s art scene on Alserkal Avenue, thejamjar is a community arts centre striving to grow Dubai’s art scene. It holds weekly art workshops for adults, teens and children. If you want an artwork space, thejamjar has you covered with its ‘do-it-yourself’ painting studio. thejamjar offers diverse art programs, educational initiatives and community projects, building and strengthening the Dubai art world. It’s open for all levels of artists.
Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, Daily 10am to 7pm, Tel: (0)4 341 7303, thejamjardubai.com
NEW BARS & RESTAURANTS TO TRY
Hidden away on a rooftop in the Mall of the Emirates, Eugène Eugène is a stunning oasis and greenhouse-inspired French brasserie. By day, Eugène Eugène is the perfect space for an elegant lunch and coffee catch-up, and by night, the glass hideaway transforms into a captivating, candle-lit dining room ideal for late-night cocktails. Drawing inspiration from greenhouses and market halls, the restaurant features hundreds of plants, a green marble bar, an inviting conservatory, an outdoor terrace, comfortable rattan sofas, and plenty of seating options to choose from. Culinary highlights from head chef Yannis Sgard include the Taleggio cheese pizzetta (Dhs55), the roasted whole baby chicken (Dhs125) with a non-negotiable side of pomme puree (Dhs34), and for dessert, the red fruit pavlova (Dhs50).
Eugène Eugène, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, daily 12pm to 12am. Tel: (0)4 379 8963. @eugeneeugenedubai
Now open as part of the culinary array at Zabeel House The Greens, 42 Midtown is self-described as a sophisticated restobar that ‘combines the spirit of New York with the charm of Dubai.’ A smart and sophisticated aesthetic is reminiscent of a cool NYC neighbourhood hangout, with dark woods, monochrome prints and verdant plants dotted throughout the dining room. The relaxed yet sophisticated social dining space also houses a long bar, where guests can perch up for after-work drinks or pre-dinner aperitivo’s. On the food front, crowd-pleasing flavours from around the world include truffle pizza, refined mini hot dogs, a 12-hour smoked brisket and a lobster roll.
42 Midtown, P2 Level, Onyx Tower 2, 12pm to 3.30pm and 5pm to 12am Sun to Thurs, 12pm to 2am Fri and Sat. Tel: (0)4 519 1111. jumeirah.com
Futuristic Zenon is a lively new restaurant in The Dubai Mall. The licensed eatery is an avant-garde interpretation of a futuristic restaurant, with an internationally-influenced menu and show-stopping digital artworks. Google intelligence and Microsoft Kinect cameras turn the restaurant into a digital wonderland, even the resident DJ wears specialist headwear so that the sounds are reflected on the digital artwork.
Zenon, Address Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, daily 12pm to 3am. Tel: (0)50 807 7812. zenonrestaurant.com
Adding to the ever-expanding array of culinary offerings in DIFC is Uchi. An intimate fine-dining restaurant with a contemporary feel, this Izakaya-inspired restaurant combines a menu of inventive, Japanese-inspired dishes with a neat menu of crafted cocktails. Perch up at the counter or book one of the restaurant tables and dine through a menu that features dishes like sea bass crudo, asparagus ravioli, Wagyu sando and poached black cod. After dinner, linger longer at the bar, a stylish space that’s been designed for socialising.
Uchi, Gate Village, DIFC, 12pm to 1am Sun to Weds, 12pm to 2am Thurs to Sat. Tel: (0)4 298 5044. uchihospitality.com
Little Miss India, one of Dubai’s best restaurants for top Indian cuisine in a beautiful setting, now has a sister restaurant, Rohini. The newest addition to the city’s dining scene is now open in one of Dubai’s premier foodie hotspots, JLT. Bringing a fresh, rebellious approach to Indian cuisine, the menu offers an opportunity to dive into modern twists on classic Indian fare, taking you on a journey that transcends regions. The design is as bold as the fare the restaurant offers, with maximalist, industrial-inspired interiors featuring graffitied artworks that take up entire walls, ruby red trees that form the centrepiece of plush leather booths, and tiled floors in bright geometric prints. It’s got an edgy-urban feel befitting of its more casual JLT setting.
Rohini by Little Miss India, Mövenpick Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster A in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, daily 12pm to 2am. Tel: (0)4 438 0064. @rohinibylmi