Make sure the first weekend of the year is one to remember… 

The search for the best things to do in Dubai at the weekend isn’t exactly the easiest endeavor. Why? Because there are so many options – like the return of popular outdoor market MOTB, the iconic Dubai Marathon, Orthodox Christmas celebrations, new brunches, beach workouts, and more.

Here is our shortlist of 12 brilliant things to do in Dubai this weekend:

Friday, January 5

Check out a popular outdoor market


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Celebrate Dubai (@celebratedubai)

Etisalat Market Outside The Box (MOTB) lands in Dubai Design District (D3) this weekend. Taking place from January 5 to January 14, the annual Dubai Shopping Festival event returns for its 11th edition with all the shopping, food, entertainment, and family-friendly fun you’ve come to expect from the market along with a few surprises. From food trucks to a Fenty Beauty drive-in, hourly live entertainment to rap Olympics, there’s something for everyone. And best of all, it’s free to enter.

Etisalat MOTB, Dubai Design District (d3), Dubai, Jan 5 to 14, free entry. @dsf_markets

Let the good times roll


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by What’s On Dubai (@whatsondubai)

Round up the group… After four successful years at Bluewaters, Brass Monkey has officially opened its second Dubai venue at the new licensed dining destination, C2 in City Walk. The two-storey adult-only playground features bowling, arcade games, pool tables, two outdoor terraces, and more.

Brass Monkey, C2, City Walk, Dubai. Soft opening (officially open from January 11). Tel:(0)4 582 2244. @brassmonkeysocial

Don’t miss the spectacular drone and firework displays

As part of Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), the drone light show has been lighting up the skies in JBR since December 8. But if you haven’t seen the spectacle, take note: it’s only running until January 14. This year there are two all-new displays taking place at 8pm and 10pm each evening. On top of this, announced a month of fireworks which will run at JBR and Bluewaters at 9pm every day until January 14.

Sundowners at this new rooftop spot

If, like us, you’re big fans of Asia Asia, you’ll be excited to learn that the pan-Asian hotspot is now open on the rooftop of Andaz Dubai The Palm, taking the space formerly occupied by Hanami. Across the 10,000 square foot space, guests can expect to drink, dine and party across a dining room, bar area, and terrace, which comes with panoramic views of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks. The new branch of Asia Asia marks the restaurant’s third Dubai opening, joining the original in Pier 7 and the Downtown edition in Business Bay.

Asia Asia Palm Jumeirah, Andaz Dubai The Palm, Palm Jumeirah. @asiaasiauae

Saturday, January 6

Head to Hatta for a day of adventure

alcohol-free activites Dubai

Hatta is one of our favourite spots for escaping the city with a myriad of adventures on your doorstep.  From mountain biking to waterslides, a honey bee farm to a swan lake, it is the ultimate adventure haven. There’s an affordable new way to get to Hatta from Dubai: the Hatta Express Bus from Dubai Mall costs only Dhs25 per person and only takes one and a half hours. On arrival in Hatta, there’s the Hop On and Off bus from Hatta bus station to transport visitors around the main attractions, for just Dhs2.

Try out a new foodie brunch

New year, new brunch? Say hello to Beefbar’s new Bossanova Brunch. Taking place every Saturday from 12.30pm to 3.30pm, guests can expect an array of dishes from around the world across three courses, as well as live entertainment and a live DJ. On the menu? Try Beefbar’s signature dishes including their take on dynamite shrimp, the Rock Corn, iconic pizza, hamachi crudo, black cod, and more. Packages are priced at Dhs350 (soft), Dhs450 (house), and Dhs750 (bubbly).

Beefbar, Jumeirah al Naseem, Dubai. Saturdays 12.30pm to 3.30pm. Dhs350 (soft), Dhs450 (house), and Dhs750 (bubbly).Tel:(0)4 423 2238. @beefbar_dubai

Escape the city

Spend a wholesome day in nature at Emirates Bio Farm this weekend, around a 45-minute drive from Dubai. Visitors can enjoy the new and improved restaurant, play area, and self-guided field access. Hop on a tractor ride, walk the sunflower fields, feed friendly goats and chickens, pick up seasonal fruits and veggies, and enjoy a hearty farm-to-table breakfast at The Farmer’s Table. Open from 9am to 5pm daily, you can pre-buy tickets for Dhs40 online, with under threes entering for free.

Emirates Bio Farm, Al Shuwaib, Al Ain. Monday to Sunday, 9am to 5pm, Dhs40. Children under three go free.  Tel: (0)3 7838422,

Check-in to a staycation of dreams

Just 45 minutes north of Dubai,  Ras Al Khaimah’s long-awaited Anantara Mina Al Arab officially opened its doors this week. The 174-key resort features a range of room, suite and villa categories, with one-night rates for an entry-level premier room priced from Dhs995 for room only, or Dhs1,148 including breakfast. But of course, it’s the top-tier villas you’re probably looking to splash out on here, as the resort is also home to a selection of Maldives-style overwater villas.

Anantara Mina Al Arab, Ras Al Khaimah, room rates from Dhs995.

Sunday, January 7

Laugh out loud with Omid Djalili

Omid Djalili

Omid Djalili is the first comedian of the year hitting the stage in Dubai. Taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Djalili will be performing for one day only this Sunday. The award-winning British-Iranian actor and comedian has been to Dubai several times before, so if you missed catching his antics on stage in the past, now’s your chance. Read more here and book here.

Sheikh Rashid Hall, World Trade Centre Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, Jan 7, prices from Dhs195, strictly 16+. Tel: (0)4 332 1000. @dubaiworldtradecentre

Celebrate Orthodox Christmas

The festive season isn’t over just yet… Orthodox Christmas falls on Sunday, January 7, and where better to celebrate than homegrown Balkan bistro, 21Grams? Starting from 11am, guests can expect a special five-course set menu featuring festive Balkan dishes accompanied by live soul music, a welcome drink, and fun festive traditions such as breaking Christmas bread and finding a lucky coin.

21Grams, Meyan Mall, Umm Suqeim, Dubai. Sunday, December 7 from 11am. Dhs275 per person. Tel:(0)50 841 50 21.

Take part in the Dubai Marathon


Running shoes at the ready… The Middle East’s first and oldest international marathon, The Dubai Marathon, returns for its 23rd run this Sunday. This year, the marathon race returns to its historical route after moving to Expo City last year. The Dubai Marathon will start and finish on Umm Suqeim Road for all three races – the 4km fun run, the 10km road race and the classic 42.195 kilometre marathon. The deadline for registration has been extended so you now have until Saturday, January 6 to sign up:

Recharge your soul

Sculpt and stretch with a morning pilates class on the beach at the popular family-friendly beach club, Peaches and Cream. Located on the Palm, the pilates session takes place every Sunday at 8.30am, priced at Dhs150 which includes 20 per cent off their fully-redeemable beach access for those looking to make a day of it.

Peaches & Cream, Al Nafurah Building, Shoreline 1, Palm Jumeirah. Tel: (0)52 947 4552. @peachesandcreamdxb 

Images: Social/Provided