Dubai's premier entertainment destination is officially open for business. After a long wait, the Coca-Cola Arena finally opened at the weekend with a performance from the hilarious and at times politically incorrect, Russell Peters. You can read more about the gig here.
But with all new venues, come questions: How do you get there? Where do you park? What is there to eat?
Here's exactly what to know about Dubai's newest entertainment spot:
How do you get to the Coca-Cola Arena?
In a nutshell: don't drive. The arena is located in City Walk and there is no public parking at the venue, so it's best you leave your car at home and make use of public transport. If you have to drive, you will need to allow yourself enough time to find parking nearby and for you to make your way to the venue.
Other options for getting there:
- Dubai Metro. It's a 3/4-minute walk from Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall station. As you come out of the main bridge across Sheikh Zayed Road, there is a manned pedestrian crossing that enables visitors to cross Al Albaany Street straight into the arena plaza
- Use a taxi, or book a ride with Careem or Uber. Taxis will go to the venue's central plaza, while the ride-hailing apps have designated pick-up and drop-off areas at The Green Planet car park, roughly three minutes from the arena
- Park-and-ride. You can park your car opposite Safa Park. You'll need to book ahead of time
What's it like when you're there?
The venue is located in the busy City Walk district in Dubai. The circular-shaped arena is modern and slick in design. When the facade lights up at night, thanks to the installed LED strip light system, it's quite spectacular. When the venue is lit up, it looks fizzy and reminiscent of its name. It will definitely draw you in.
The Meraas team were also mindful of the importance of making the venue a sustainable one. From lights and water sensors to air conditioning units, it's all accounted for.
Speaking of air-conditioning, for a good six months of the year, the weather in the UAE is beautiful, but in the warmer months, it can become a little uncomfortable with the hot and humid conditions. You will be happy to know that the arena's AC works like a dream, but take a sweater with you just in case it gets a bit nippy.
Where do I go when I am there?
Once you have cleared security, the friendly and knowledgeable ushers at the venue will guide you to the area you need to be in. Otherwise, the venue has a lot of signage to help when ushers are busy with other guests.
The venue itself is split into four levels, ground, first, second, third and fourth, with multiple entrances:
1 x VVIP entrance (for talent and other high profile personalities)
2 x VIP entrances, plus a VIP Suite
2 x main entrances, gates A and C
If you're treating clients or staff, or even just your loved ones to a special experience, check out the hospitality suites. Nothing like the suite life.
Is it wheelchair accessible?
The arena is fully accessible with 28 wheelchair spaces and companion seats. The site can accommodate up to 17,000 people at one time, and depending on the show in question, the ground floor will be used for standing purposes or equipped with chairs for shows like the inaugural one with Russell Peters.
What can I eat?
There are some 35 food & beverage outlets throughout the arena, with a variety of different options available. Depending on the show in question, there might also be some pop-up food stores at the venue from time to time too.
Food-wise, you can expect the usual suspects like shawarmas, pizzas, and hamburgers. You might also want to seek out the chicken donuts. The Cajun chicken and avocado-infused donuts are appealing, but an acquired taste.
The venue is fully licensed, too, and the prices are fair. So take advantage of the public transport options.
What about the bathroom facilities?
Nobody likes a long queue (toilets included), so you will be happy to know that there are more than enough toilet facilities on all levels that will limit the long lines. Based on our experience, levels 1 and 4 looked like the best best for short queues. They are clean, and the staff are there to make sure everything is fully stocked.
Are there prayer rooms?
There are male and female prayer rooms located on the first floor at the venue. Note, they're on opposite sides, so bear that in mind.
What about the technicalities?
The venue is equipped with state-of-the-art sound systems. At times, during the Russell Peters gig, we could hear an echo towards the back of the venue. Those could be teething problems and will no doubt be rectified for further performances.
The venue's seating and capacity will change to suit the artist or entertainer. But by and large, if you prefer sitting and you want to be close to the stage, your best bet would be sections 102, 103, 104 and 115 (nearest), 114 and 113. You'll get a slight sideline view, but you'll be close enough to your favourite artist without the congested golden circle area. Higher up, you're looking at cheaper tickets, but a good view of the stage and the crowd too.