Stunning hotels, super-sized music festivals, jaw-dropping attractions, and so much more…

We’re nearly half way through the year, and although we’ve already seen splashy hotel openings, exciting new restaurants and mega festivals, the country is far from done.

The second half of the year promises exciting new attractions, entire new dining destinations, and some unforgettable events.

Here are 24 things to look forward to in the second half of 2024.

An iconic new Jumeirah hotel will welcome guests

A third oceanic-themed hotel will open up alongside Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel, completing Jumeirah’s nautical hotel trilogy, in Q4 2024. The five star hotel will boast 386 rooms and suites, four penthouses, and 83 luxury hotel apartment suites, alongside state of the art amenities. Jumeirah Marsa Al Arab will be the perfect place to unwind and find your inner zen with their special wellness and leisure facilities set across a sprawling 3,500 square metre, three-storey spa. There will also be a collection of gorgeous pools that guests can take a dip in, including a large circular pool, a family infinity pool and a private VIP adult pool. The new resort will be every foodies dream with an impressive collection of 10 restaurants and bars, the first of which has already been confirmed as Lebanese-born Meat the Fish.


La Mer will get a stunning new destination

It’s goodbye La Mer South and hello J1 Beach, a chic new day to night beachfront destination debuting this September, which will be home to three beach clubs and nine restaurants. The three stars of the show will be a trio of beach clubs, all with regional and international acclaim behind them. From award-winning homegrown Greek restaurant Gaia comes Sirene Beach by Gaia, described as a ‘coastal evolution of Dubai’s home-grown, Greek-Mediterranean concept, Gaia. From the ultra chic shores of Cannes comes Bâoli, renowned for its haute modern Japanese cuisine. Then there’s St Tropez hotspot Gigi Rigolatto, a 5,000 square metre destination featuring a private pool and beach, Mediterranean garden, Bellini bar, pétanque court and a charming concept store. On the restaurant front, expect openings like African Queen, from the team that brought us Beefbar; Tulum-born Gitano; and Sakhalin, a Michelin Star awarded restaurant from Moscow.

We’ll be riding the waves in Abu Dhabi

Set to open in June 2024, Surf Abu Dhabi will be the most advanced artificial wave facility in the world, and it’s just the first crest of an expansive Modon masterplan for Hudayriyat Island. The island masterplan will also see Hudayriat become home to a regional first velodrome, and the biggest urban park in Abu Dhabi. With the potential to host big tour competitions and offering up the artificial surfing world’s longest ride, biggest barrel, as well as the largest man-made wave pool, this truly is radical class water sporting. But it’s not just for seasoned surf bros, the facility will also offer thrills for newbies and aspiring Point Breakers with literally zero chance of you getting mangled on a sand bar. All of which will undoubtedly make this one of the best places for surfing in the UAE.

London’s famed China Tang will debut in Dubai

Get ready to get your fix of Cantonese fine dining at China Tang, opening soon at The Lana, Dorchester Collection Dubai, in Business Bay. It’s a fitting location for the Middle East’s first outpost of China Tang, with the original being housed in the iconic Dorchester Hotel in London. And you won’t have long to wait to check it out, as it’s set to open in the final quarter of the year. The upscale Cantonese restaurant is inspired by the art-deco era of 1930s Shanghai, and is known and loved for its classic Chinese and Cantonese dishes, as well as its signature Peking Duck, so we can’t wait to check out the menu at the brand’s upcoming Dubai venue.


Wellness gets a new home in Dubai

Welcome to Sanskara, a wellness space, day retreat and chic eatery, opening its doors in Jumeirah in the second half of the year. Transforming a multi-storey villa in Al Safa 2, Sanskara promises a ‘simple, clean, conscious and mindful approach’ through an accessible, diverse and inclusive wellness offering. Inviting guests to come for breakfast, lunch or dinner will be Sanskara’s conscious eatery, offering a menu packed with clean, locally-sourced dining options. Whether guests are coming for a power hour of self-reflection in the lounge, or wish to curl up with a book in the open-air library, Sanskara promises spaces for all occasions. More serious wellness aficionados can look forward to ice baths, infrared saunas and even a bio-hacking room, with cutting-edge wellness experiences taking centre stage.


A Dubai-loved restaurant comes to Abu Dhabi

Three years after opening in Dubai, Sushisamba is set to add a slice of fine, fun-dining excellence to Abu Dhabi’s dining scene. The renowned restaurant will open at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers. Sushisamba Abu Dhabi will be located on Podium 1 level, replacing VaKaVa, and will invite diners to enjoy dining both in the vibrant indoor restaurant as well as on the terrace. On the first floor, guests will find a restaurant and a terrace, while a second floor will house a private dining room, bar, an infamous Sambaroom terrace offering a beautiful sea views.


We’ll be tapping our way to Etihad Arena when Chicago comes to town


Abu Dhabi, tip your fedoras to this: Chicago the Musical is coming to town this year. This theatrical masterpiece, set in The Windy City is the newest exciting show to be confirmed for the capital as part of an electric 2024 events calendar, and capitalites will now be able to witness the longest running American musical in Broadway history at the Etihad Arena when it plays from September 12 to 22. Tickets are on sale now from Dhs185.

A London-loved crazy golf club lands on Bluewaters

Dubai, get ready to par-tee: London’s popular crazy golf venue Swingers is opening on Bluewaters Island in 2024. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, Swingers is an adults-only venue with four nine-hole crazy golf courses, street food from renowned vendors, an extensive drinks menu for post-putt cocktails, and live DJs creating a party atmosphere. At its London locations, Swingers offers a variety of including bottomless brunch, unlimited drinks packages, and party packages for large groups, so we can expect the same will be found in the Dubai location later this year.

A homegrown restaurant will put local flavour on Dubai’s culinary map

Set to open sometime this year in Nad Al Sheba is Gerbou, a sustainable, homegrown restaurant that celebrates Emirati cuisine and culture. Gerbou, which means welcome to my humble abode in Arabic, will see Atelier House Hospitality join forces with Tashkeel, a beloved beacon of arts and culture in the UAE. Housed in a renovated building from 1987, the restaurant will offer both indoor and outdoor seating, with all spaces designed by Kristina Zanic Consultants. On the terrace, Ghaf trees will offer dappled shade, for those dining alfresco during the day. Mirroring the look and feel, the menu promises to be a flight through Arab and Emirati flavours, with locally sourced, sustainable ingredients taking centre stage.


Fight night will return to the capital

It’s that time of the year again, and we now know that UFC 308 is scheduled for October 26 at the Etihad Arena this year. Although the card is yet to be revealed, as expected, the action in the octagon will be accompanied by the eagerly-anticipated Abu Dhabi Showdown Week, which will include a seven-day series of city-wide events, dedicated fan activations, hotel promotions, F&B offerings, star appearances, electrifying concerts and a whole lot more. Stay tuned.

A huge festival will take over the shores of Jebel Ali

Defected Dubai is back again. We aren’t entirely sure if we’ll be having the same three-day extravaganza as we did last year, however we do know that the festival is coming back to the UAE and will be held at JA The Resort once again. Huge gigs are set to take place on November 9 and 10. Stay tuned.


A british boyband will headline in Abu Dhabi

The iconic boyband, comprising musicians Gary Barlow, Howard Donald and Mark Owen will return to the capital for their second performance of the year, on Friday October 25. With over 45 million records sold globally, the band will bring some of their biggest hits to Etihad Park, following their performance at SailGP back in January. Tickets start from Dhs299.

A beautiful place of worship will be built on the Dubai Canal

A first-of-its-kind floating mosque will open at Dubai Canal in 2024. The mosque will feature three floors and a submerged prayer hall, able to accommodate 50 to 75 worshippers. With the third floor being underwater, the other two floors above water will have a hall for Islamic lectures and workshops. The design of the mosque shows an indoor male seating area and a coffee shop with outdoor seating on the bottom level. The top level has indoor and outdoor seating areas for ladies.The mosque will welcome people of all faiths to visit and explore.

A haute London restaurant will debut in Dubai

With decor by Damien Hirst, an exclusive address in London’s Mayfair, and a celeb clientele that includes Johnny Depp, Kate Moss and Kendall Jenner, Sexy Fish is one of London’s most glittering restaurants – and it’s opening in Dubai. The avant-garde Asian restaurant, which specialises in Japanese cuisine in a high-octane environment, is set to open in Dubai in 2024, according to its website. This will be the fourth brand of Sexy Fish, joining the original in London, plus Miami, and their newest opening, Manchester. Sexy Fish is known for its opulent and glamourous interiors, which is exactly what we can expect when the venue opens in Dubai.


… and so will an iconic Ibiza beach club

After years of planning, one of Ibiza’s biggest and most famous beach clubs, O Beach, has finally announced its first-ever Dubai location and it’s set to open this winter. Set along the beachfront of Dubai’s Habtoor Grand hotel on JBR, O Beach Dubai will take over the space previously occupied by Andreea’s beach club, offering a sprawling 55,000 sqft of fun. With stunning views over the Arabian Gulf and Ain Dubai, the space will feature a 4,000 sqft swimming pool, a sunset beach bar, a chic restaurant, a DJ booth, plush cabanas, a beachfront day bed area, a VIP section, and more.


We’ll be laughing out loud at a comedy gig in Dubai

Looking for some laughs? Then you’ll want to snap up tickets to British comedian Romesh Ranganathan who is coming to Dubai for the very first time this October. The master of major lols will perform at City Walk’s Coca-Cola Arena in October. Tickets for the gig are on sale and priced from Dhs195 for lower-tier silver, ranging up to Dhs350 for gold floor tickets. Do note, that the show is for adults aged 16 and over, with those under 21 required to be accompanied by an adult aged over 21.


We’ll be working up a sweat at London’s hardcore Pilates studio

Redefining the modern-day workout, London’s renowned pilates studio KARVE is set to open its doors in Dubai. The brand’s first branch will open in Alserkal Avenue, inviting fitness fanatics to sweat and sculpt with its unique Transformer pilates classes. The new KARVE Dubai will have the same New York loft-inspired studio as the Kensington one and centers around their signature low-impact, high-intensity pilates sessions. Using custom-designed reformer machines, the 50-minute classes are fun and fast-flowing, focusing on strength training and driving the metabolism through mindful, resistance-based movements. You’ll finish every session with five minutes of mindfulness and breathwork to help you wind down.

A huge festival will hit the capital

While we expected Wireless to have Abu Dhabi on its feet in March, it is now expected that the electrifying spectacle will wow fans in November 2024. One of the hottest music festivals in the UAE, last year’s edition saw big names like Travis Scott and Lil Uzi Vert in action. Who will we see this November?


Beloved Tania’s Teahouse will get an upgrade in Dubai Hills

Tania's Dubai Hill

Cuppa tea-quila anyone? Beloved Tania’s Teahouse, the pretty pink cafe on Jumeirah Beach Road, is moving to a new location with a brand-new look and feel, and an alcohol license. That’s right if picking from the vast number of teas and coffees had you scratching your head, you will now have alcoholic sip options to pick from on the menu. Opening its doors in the second half of 2024, Tania’s will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a revamped menu, three event spaces, and a heightened in-house dining experience.


Thrilling racing action will descend on Yas Island

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

The final race of the Formula One season will take place in Abu Dhabi from December 5 to 8, marking the grand finale of the longest season in F1 history. There will be plenty of on- and off-circuit action to soak up on Yas Island, regardless of the outcome of the race. Already confirmed as one of four after-race concert headliners is English rock band, Muse. With more names to be released in the months to come, we’re certain this year’s line-up will be one to watch out for. Tickets are on sale now from Dhs1,650.


Foodies will be spoiled for choice at Timbuktu Market


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A post shared by Hani AlMalki (@bedouinfoodie)

Inspired by London’s Borough Market and New York’s Chelsea Market, Timbuktu Market will bring an exciting new energy to the city’s culinary scene when it opens in Two Towers, Barsha Heights. The market will be home to several different eateries under one roof, all of which will be brand-new concepts that don’t already have a physical presence in Dubai, including home chefs, bakers, pop-ups, supper clubs, and some international concepts. As well as the myriad of restaurants, there will be space to shop for local products and burn off some calories with homegrown cycling studio, Motion Cycling. While we don’t know much more than that yet, we do know that Timbuktu Market is in great hands with Dubai-based food blogger Hani AlMalki (@bedouinfoodie) leading the curation team.


A beloved musical will grace the stage in Abu Dhabi


Missed Matilda the Musical when it arrived in Dubai in 2023? Well, you’re in luck because the award-winning musical is returning to the UAE, this time to Abu Dhabi, from June 20 to 23. The musical is inspired by the beloved book Matilda, written by world-famous British author, Roald Dahl. The story follows a little girl called Matilda who is anything but ordinary. Armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, she dares to take a stand and change her destiny.

DIFC will see the debut of a sleek new Asian restaurant

The world-famous Chinese hotspot, Mr Chow is set to replace Indochine, which closed its doors after a four-year stint in DIFC’s Gate District, in DIFC. The Dubai outpost will be Mr Chow’s eighth restaurant worldwide and second outpost in the Middle East after opening its doors in Riyadh last month, in the buzzing King Abdullah Financial District. Mr Chow is famed for its unforgettable dining experience including a daily handmade noodle show, Champagne trolley, and one of the best-prepared Beijing ducks in the world.


A new attraction will have us headed for the Hatta Hills

Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, Hatta is home to picturesque mountain views and fun activities. And if you think you’ve seen it all, think again because a brand new attraction will be opening soon – a sustainable waterfall. So, what makes the waterfall sustainable? Well, the project uses the slope of the upper dam (Al Ghabra dam) thus creating a natural waterfall. The water in the attraction is collected, recycled and pumped back to the top of the dam which makes it sustainable. A waterway will also be built along the parking area below the dam for picture opportunities, and there will be fish bred in the stream to provide an additional attraction for tourists and families. The space will also be home to recreational spaces including children’s play areas, cafes and restaurants and even souvenir shops.