Before we kiss this year goodbye…

The festive season is in full swing, and it will soon be time to bid farewell to the year. Before we venture into the new year, we have the month of December to pack in as much 2023 fun as possible. Here are all the ways you can do just that and end 2023 in style.

Here are 24 brilliant things to do in Abu Dhabi this December.

BLAST Premiere World Final

BLAST is all set to host the Season Finale Counter-Strike Competition at the Etihad Arena for the second time. Expect to see e-sports enthusiasts go controller to controller for a whole million dollars of prize money. Tickets to gamer fever at Dhs160.

BLAST Premiere World Final, Etihad Arena, Dec 16 and 17, tickets at Dhs160, Tel: (600) 511115, etihadarena.ae

Twilight brunching at UVA Wine Bar and Lounge

Evening brunches are essentially an excuse to have a huge dinner, and as far as we’re concerned, that’s totally valid. Head over to UVA Wine Bar and Lounge for the La Luna Evening Brunch, where three hours of select free-flowing beverages and three dishes go for Dhs249.

 UVA Wine Bar and Lounge, Marriott Hotel Al Forsan, Fridays, 7pm to 11pm, Dhs249, Tel: (0) 2 201 4000, @marriottalforsan  

Magic madness with The Illusionists at the Etihad Arena

the Illusionist Abu Dhabi

The world-renowned group first graced us back in 2015 and are back for a second time with fresh tricks up their sleeves. They’ll be bending minds for three nights at the Etihad Arena. Tickets start at Dhs95.

The Illusionists, Etihad Arena, Dec 8 and 10, Dhs95, etihadarena.ae

Christmas Day Dinner at Aqua

At the Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Christmas Day will have you tucking in to their amazing Aqua Christmas Day dinner, which will feature cherished seasonal dishes including the perfectly roasted turkey, their classic Beef Wellington, baked cod with a crumble, warm sage and chestnut stuffing, maple-glazed shallots and an array of delectable desserts.

Aqua, Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)2 813 5550. @rosewoodabudhabi

 The Great Circus of Europe in Al Ain

The Great Circus of Europe is in Al Ain this December, and it’s everything you would expect from a spectacle called The Great Circus of Europe. Take your pick from multiple scheduled shows. Tickets start at Dhs75.

The Great Circus of Europe, Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, Dhs75, platinumlist.net

Pushing track limits with the ADNOC Marathon

Elite distance runners, this one’s for you. Challenge yourself over one of the quickest 42.2 kilometres on the circuit, or if like us, climbing a flight of stairs makes you breathless, sign up for the relay 10k, 5k and 2.5k races. Registration costs may vary.

ADNOC Marathon, Dec 16, adnocabudhabimarathon.com

Sushi and socialising at Siddharta Lounge

Sushi Social at Siddharta Lounge will take you on a culinary voyage to the heart of Japan, in a sushi-shaped boat, no less. Indulge in unlimited sushi every Wednesday from 7pm to 12am for Dhs99. Perfect for your gang or just yourself…we don’t judge.

 Siddharta Lounge, The Pier, Yas Bay Waterfront, Wednesdays, 7pm to 12am, Dhs99, Tel: (0) 50 601 1194, @siddhartalounge_abudhabi

Masquerade Gala-ing at Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi

grand hyatt

It’s all glitz and glamour at Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi’s masquerade-themed gala dinner within the Grand Ballroom. Get ready for a night filled with live performances and a stunning firework display to usher in the New Year.

Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi, 8pm to 1am, Dhs600 soft, Dhs800 house. Tel: (0)2 510 1234. @grandhyattabudhabi

Witness jaw-dropping feats at Broadway

 

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Enter a world of theatrics, mystery and enchantment at Broadway in the Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, with their incredible new show, Impossible. Drummond Money-Coutts (DMC) brings his acclaimed skills to the capital, and you can get ready to be captivated with immersive feats here.

Broadway, Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Fri to Sun, Tel: (0) 2 690 9000, mandarinoriental.com 

Festive cheer at Ferrari World’s Winterfest

All the winter fun and feels, made festive with Ferrari World’s Winterfest. It’s a family fun hotspot, with extravagant decorations, themed shows and performances, and exciting activities that will keep the little ones entertained.

Winterfest, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, from Dec 5, Tel: (600) 511115, ferrariworldabudhabi.com

Chilling and grilling at Acres Grill House

It’s time to whip out those chunky sneakers and your best dad stance, because Acres Grill House is all about that perfect barbecue. Get a sweet two-for-one steak special deal between 6pm and 10pm every Tuesday.

 Acres Grill House, Yas Acres Golf and Country Club, Tuesdays, 6pm to 10pm, Tel: (0) 2 208 7331, @yasacresgolfcc

Family fun at the Sheikh Zayed Festival

Sheikh Zayed Festival

This year’s Sheikh Zayed Festival runs from Friday, November 17, 2023 to Saturday, March 9, 2024. In the past, the festival brought together the people of Abu Dhabi for a plethora of exciting activities, including the popular Extreme Weekends, a car and motorcycle stunt show, and record-busting fireworks shows. For foodies, there’s a large selection of dining delights comprising restaurants and food trucks. Read all the details here.

Sheikh Zayed Festival, Al Wathba, Nov 17 to March 9, 2024, @zayedfestival

Foodie madness at the MICHELIN Food Festival

Talea by Antonio Guida-Polpo Scottato

At the region’s first MICHELIN food event, chefs from 16 Michelin-selected restaurants around the world will come together under the theme ‘Discover the Art of Flavour’. Expect specially-curated menus, exclusive dishes, a chef’s table event, a selection of culinary masterclasses, and a marketplace where you can shop a selection of produce. Purchase tickets here and read more here.

MICHELIN Food Festival, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Dec 8 to 10, Dhs100, louvreabudhabi.ae

Celebrating heritage at the Liwa Festival

Liwa Festival will take place from December 16 to 31, and we’re expecting huge things. The 2022 session was a wild success with visitors enjoying access to concerts, family activities, shows, rides, arcade gaming, spectacular immersive dining opportunities, engaging demonstrations of Emirati heritage and crafts, eGaming tournaments, souk shopping from top-tier local fashion brands and more.

Liwa Festival 2023, Liwa Village, Liwa Desert, Dec 16 to 31, @liwavillage

Stars align at World Tennis League

World Tennis League will be returning to the UAE for its second edition this December, and this time, action moves to Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena. The best and the brightest stars in the world of tennis, musical greatness and four days and nights of events you don’t want to miss… tha’s the WTL for you in a nutshell. This year, play will take place from Thursday, December 21 to Saturday, December 24. Billed as ‘the greatest show on court’, season two is slated to be just as unforgettable as last year.

World Tennis League, Etihad Arena, Dec 21 to 24, Tel: (600) 511115. etihadarena.ae

More family fun at the Mother of the Nation Festival

Mother of the Nation MOTN

The region’s ultimate family entertainment destination has begun on Wednesday, November 22, and takes place over three regions this year. Explore a jam-packed itinerary of fun activities for all ages, so every visitor, no matter what their age, is guaranteed a fantastic time.

Mother of the Nation Festival, Abu Dhabi Corniche, Dec 24 to Jan 1, 2024, ticket prices start from Dhs30. motn.ae

Sugar and Spice Christmas buffet at Sahha

sahha christmas

Nothing says festive like a grand buffet, and the Sugar and Spice Christmas buffet at Sahha is precisely that. This traditional Christmas buffet will feature all the festive classics and holiday favourites, bringing the very best of the all the sweetness and spice of the season. Expect roasted turkey, festive desserts and an appearance by, you guessed it, Santa himself.

Sahha, Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi, Dec 24, 6.30pm to 10.30pm, Dhs260 soft drinks, Dhs310 house drinks. Tel: (0) 2 510 1234, festive.grandhyattabudhabi@hyatt.com

Jamming it out with Black Eyed Peas

 

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Iconic band of the noughties variety, Black Eyed Peas will perform in the capital this December and we think we know where to look for the love now. The trio will take to the stage on Wednesday, December 13 at Mother of the Nation Festival, and will light up the Abu Dhabi Corniche with a spectacular show for one night only.

Black Eyed Peas, Mother of the Nation Festival, Wed, Dec 13, 9pm, tickets start at Dhs245,@motnfestival 

Challenging yourself at the Spartan World Championship

This year, the Spartan World championship is set to return to the same region, booked in for December 9 to 10. There are 5k, 10k and 21k route options, with 10 to 30 obstacles to tackle as you go. There’s also a smaller route for children and a team relay.

Spartan World Championship, Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi, UAE, Al Wathba South, Dec 9 and 10, from Dhs275. race.spartan.com

Akon and Ne-Yo

 

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Akon and Ne-Yo have been announced as the final acts as part of the incredible line-up of entertainment coming to the World Tennis League. The international megastars of music will be taking the stage to headline this year’s R&B Night on Friday, December 22 at the Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi.

World Tennis League, Etihad Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Sat Dec 22, tickets from Dhs199, worldtennisleague.com

Festive Lazy Breakfast at Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana

Indulge in a good old festive breakfast with a lazy twist, as you pick your favourite spot to savour this hearty treat served throughout the day from 7am to 9pm.  Recharge under energising sunlight at the lounge terrace overlooking the stunning pool view, enjoy the breeze by the beach, or simply from the balcony of your room overlooking the Arabian Sea or Presidential Palace.

Khalidiya Palace Rayaan by Rotana, Corniche Street, Al Khubeirah daily from 7am to 9pm, valid throughout Dec, Dhs199. Tel: (0)2 657 0000 rotana.com

50 Cent

50 Cents

Rap royalty, 50 Cent, will be making his way to Abu Dhabi on Thursday, December 21 for a concert at Etihad Arena, that will be part of the World Tennis League (WTL) series of events.

50 Cent in Abu Dhabi, Etihad Arena, Thu Dec 21, tickets start from Dhs225. For more information, visit worldtennisleague.com

Festive Turkey Takeaway from Pearl Lounge

pearl lounge turkey

Bring the holidays into your home with this turkey takeaway from Pearl Lounge. Expect a mouth-watering stuffed roast accompanied by a wide range of traditional trimmings and sides like cranberry sauce and giblet gravy, baked bread pudding, roasted carrots and parsnips and many more.

Pearl Lounge, Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi, Dec 24 and 25, Dhs850, Tel: (0) 2 510 1234, festive.grandhyattabudhabi@hyatt.com

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UB40, The Original Wailers and Trojan Sound System

 

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UB40 confirmed as performing on December 23 (with founding member Ali Campbell, it’s complicated, but there are now several UB40 factions)  will be joined by the likes of The Original Wailers and Trojan Sound System. Tickets are priced from Dhs225 and will be available from Virgin Megastores, and online via the etihadarena.com website and Platinumlist.

UB40 The Original Wailers, Trojan Sound System, Etihad Arena, Thu Dec 23, tickets start from Dhs225. For more information, visit worldtennisleague.com

Images: Supplied