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30 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.

ACTIVITIES

Wavehouse

wavehouse atlantis the palm

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

OliOli

oli oli - soft play centres in Dubai 

Have fun while learning at this experiential play museum in Al Quoz, OliOli. The interactive space features eight fun-filled galleries across two floors including Water, Air, Cars & Ramps, Toshi’s Nets, Future Park, Incredi-Balls, Toddler Gallery and Cars & Ramps.

OliOli Building, Al Quoz, Dubai. Children aged 2 to 11. Tel:(0)4 702 7300. @olioliuae

Sketch Art Café

sketch cafe

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

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

Coffee Museum

dubai coffee museum

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

TEPfactor

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

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

Dreamscape VR

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

Ski Dubai

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

Bounce

bounce x

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.

IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai, weekdays 11am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 10pm, Dhs285 adults, Dhs265 children. Tel: 04 403 8888. imgworlds.com

Aya

 

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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

ramadan deals offers Dubai

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 Coster alcohol-free activites Dubai

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

The Jamjar

the jamjar

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

Leo&Loona

leo and loona

Looking for somewhere to keep the children busy and the parents happy? Say hello to Leo & Loona, a huge indoor play area inside Dubai Festival City Mall. The space is designed for children aged between three and 10 years old and features pedal go-karts, trampolines, climbing walls, a foam pit, a ball pool, a magic sandbox, space rockets, glow-in-the-dark slides, and more. In other words: endless hours of fun. While the children blow off some steam, parents can sit and watch or get some work done from the trendy dining area. The restaurant serves a range of international dishes from all-day breakfast to pizzas, salads to burgers, as well as an extensive children’s menu, coffee, ice cream, smoothies, and more.

Dubai Festival City Mall, second floor (opp. Fabyland), Dubai. Monday to Thursday, 10am to 11pm. Friday to Sunday, 10am to 12am. Dhs179 weekdays, Dhs229 weekends. Tel:(0)4 894 7117. leoloona.ae

Brass Monkey

Brass Monkey is set over a gigantic two-story space complete with a 12-lane bowling alley, arcade, pool tables, plus a restaurant serving up tasty tacos, sliders, pizzas, quesadillas and old-school desserts. Downstairs you’ll find the bowling alley and old arcade games. Upstairs, there are pool and snooker tables, basketball machines, a dedicated game room with more arcade games including Pac-Man to take you on a nostalgia trip. Brass Monkey has two licensed locations in Dubai to choose from: the original outpost in Bluewaters Dubai and the new branch in  C2 in City Walk.

Brass Monkey, Bluewaters and City Walk. Tel:(0)4 582 2244. @brassmonkeysocial

RollDXB

ROLLDXB

Remember the rollgood ol’ skates? You can relive your fun childhood memories this summer at RollDXB. The huge space is created by roller skating fanatics but open to skaters of all abilities. The goal, besides falling, is to just have a good time.

Roll DXB, Shed 3 Marina Cubes Street – Dubai Maritime City, Port Rashid, Dubai, Tel: (0)4 238 6206. @rolldxb

Wild Paint House

wild paint house

Located in Al Quoz, Wild Paint House has transformed an industrial warehouse into a home for creativity, where budding artists can graffiti the walls, unleash their creativity on a spinning blank canvas or make a UV masterpiece. There are six activities to get involved in: splat, spin, swing, pour, neon and graffiti. Prices start from Dhs160, with the experiences available to book individually, or group together for an afternoon of artistic exploration. All are designed as fun-filled, expressive ways to play with paint.

Wild Paint Studio, Al Quoz Industrial Area 1, 2pm to 8pm Weds to Fri, 10am to 10pm Sat and Sun, prices from Dhs160. Tel: (0)56 145 9689, wildpainthouse.com

Kidzania

kidzania

Designed for children ages four to 16, Kidzania in Dubai Mall is a 7,000-square-metre city of fun with over 40 activities for children to tackle. Inside, children can tackle real-life scenarios, role-play different jobs and even earn special ‘Kidzania’ currency. Book here.

Kidzania, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Mon to Sun 10am to 10pm. Tel: (800) 3822 46255. kidzania.ae

NEW BARS & RESTAURANTS TO TRY

Papas

Papas is the personality-packed Italian restaurant from Solutions Group, replacing Marina Social in the InterContinental Dubai Marina. Designed to look like a wholesome trattoria that’s been plucked straight from the streets of Rome or Florence, the kitsch decor is warm and inviting. There’s even a wine window at the entrance, where you can order a glass of grape and capture the perfect Instagram moment. Outside, the venue’s gorgeous Marina-facing terrace offers some of the most sought-after tables in the city, where traditional Italian flavours can be enjoyed against the backdrop of the twinkling Marina skyline. Inside, there’s also an open, glass-walled kitchen, so guests can watch the chefs at work, where fresh pasta hangs in neat rows, just like Nonna would have made it. Must-tries include the panzanella, nduja  and burrata pizza, veal ossobuco and Sicilian cannoli.

Papas, InterContinental Dubai Marina, 6pm to 12am Sunday to Thursday, 6pm to 1am Friday and Saturday. @papasdubai

Eugene Eugene

eugene eugene

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

42 Midtown

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

Zenon

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

Berenjak

A Persian restaurant by way of London, Berenjak is now open in Dubai’s Dar Wasl. The unlicensed eatery, which has held a Michelin Bib Gourmand at its original UK outpost since 2019, serves up modern interpretation of founder Kian Samyani’s Iranian family meals from his childhood. A cosy space adorned in classical Persian patterns and rich fabrics, there’s both indoor and outdoor seating, plus a private dining room with seating for up to 12. The menu promises some of London’s best-loved dishes, including the coal cooked kebabs served with Taftoon and Sangak. There will also be some Dubai exclusives, like the must-try Shishlik Omani, lamb chops marinated in dried lime, saffron and strained yoghurt.

Berenjak, Dar Wasl Mall, Al Wasl Road, 12pm to 4pm and 6pm to 11.30pm Mon to Thurs, 12pm to 12.30am Fri and Sat, 12pm to 11.30pm Sun. Tel: (0)4 295 3644. berenjakuae

UCHI

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

Rohini

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

Images: Provided/Social 

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