Things to do in UAE this week, eat a Moist Maker sandwich or create a 2024 vision board

The winter break is at its peak this week with many children-friendly activities to check out

Indulge in a festive Friends-inspired sandwich. Photo: Wise Guy
Powered by automated translation

Christmas Day and the lead-up to the New Year is always an extra-busy time in the UAE, as the country goes into peak festive mode, with everything from meals and markets to fireworks and family-friendly events.

Here, The National rounds up seven things to do around the Emirates, from December 25 to 31.


Plant-based diners, or those who want to try the diet before Veganuary comes along, can head to Planet Terra in Dubai for a six-course meal made of animal-free, organic and ethically sourced ingredients.

Christmas Day lunch starts with an amuse-bouche of truffle taco with mushrooms and cream, followed by a starter of (not) tuna tartare with beef tomato, haricots and creme fraiche. Cleanse your palate with mango and lime granita before diving into the main, which is a choice between creamy butternut and pesto ravioli with basil, or pumpkin turkey roll with chestnut puree with rainbow carrots and jus.

End the meal with hazelnut and pecan millefeuille with cream, strawberries and ice cream, as well as an after-dessert treat of dark chocolate Christmas truffle with pistachio and ginger.

Planet Terra has a special menu for children that includes a main, hot chocolate and a Christmas cookie. Carol singers will be on site to set the festive mood, while little guests can get gifts from under the restaurant's Christmas tree.

Monday; noon-3pm; from Dh220 per person, Dh60 per child; The Greens, Dubai; 054 306 6000


On Tuesday, sign up the little ones for Mess Fest, which takes place in the outdoor area of edutainment play centre OliOli in Dubai. On offer are sensory-rich activities with sand, water and paint, which is code for one big messy play session.

The pop-up, which runs until Saturday, features different play areas with activities such as paint palooza and mud madness. Children can also blow bubbles or mess around with slime, and also witness fun and educational experiments.

Until Saturday; 10am-7pm; Dh139 for one child and one adult for three hours; Al Quoz, Dubai; 04 702 7300


Continue the play session at Cityland Mall in Dubai, which has launched a toy festival in partnership with pan-Arab free-to-air television channel Spacetoon.

The three-month festival brings together the world's leading toy makers such as Barbie and Hot Wheels to showcase their products. There are also meet-and-greets and photo opportunities with mascots such as CoComelon and Bluey, as well as parades and live performances.

Children can engage in arts and crafts workshops, interactive activities such as jumbo games, cupcake decorating, as well as a petting zoo. The mall's outdoor amphitheatre is hosting live performances, including one by Grammy-nominated Arab singer Rasha Rizk.

Until March 22; noon-10pm; Dh60; Wadi Al Safa 4, beside Global Village;


On Thursday, visit the new Graffiti Art House at Adrenark Adventure, a massive indoor adventure park in Abu Dhabi.

As its name suggests, the new attraction is built with art at its heart. Visitors can engage in fluid art, canvas and ceramic painting or face art under the guidance of in-house artists. You can channel your inner graffiti artist by wielding recreational spray paints in purpose-built chambers.

Mondays to Wednesdays, 10am-10pm, Fridays and Saturdays, 10am-midnight, Thursdays and Sundays, 10am-11pm; from Dh135; Al Qana, Abu Dhabi;


After Rachel's Thanksgiving trifle, another culinary recreation inspired by the sitcom Friends is on offer at a Dubai sandwich shop.

Head to Wise Guys in DIFC to sample the Moist Maker, a sandwich inspired by Ross Geller’s stolen Thanksgiving sandwich. It is made of smoked turkey, truffled mashed potatoes, herb mayonnaise, melted provolone and Kashkaval cheeses packed between pillowy slices of brioche bread. The sandwich also comes drizzled with a generous amount of gravy and is served alongside a dollop of cranberry sauce.

Daily; 8.30am-11.30pm; Dh70; Dubai International Financial Centre; 052 686 3801


Join a vision board workshop Society Dubai on Saturday.

Participants will be taken through a three-hour step-by-step guide in crafting vision boards that serve as visual representations of their dreams and desires. The concept is meant to serve as a source of motivation, and has been endorsed by celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Steve Harvey.

The UAE session will be led by motivational speaker Ira Poladko, who's the creative mind behind Mira Vision Board. “Vision boards, also known as dream boards or inspiration boards, are a visual tapestry of your goals and aspirations, a simple yet profound way to clarify your desires,” explains Poladko. “It's more than just images; it's a personalised roadmap to make your dreams tangible through consistent focus.”

Saturday; 11am-2pm; Dh330 per person, inclusive of breakfast; Jumeirah 1; 04 222 2811


Numerous spots across the UAE are turning into party venues and viewing hubs for dazzling fireworks shows to ring in 2024 with a literal bang. While Burj Khalifa spots can get a tad expensive, Global Village has not one but seven fireworks displays for a fraction of the cost.

The shows are timed to represent midnights in seven different countries and time zones. The first will commence at 8pm on the main stage, marking midnight in China. This is followed by fireworks at 9pm (for Thailand), 10pm (for Bangladesh), 10.30pm (for India), 11pm (for Pakistan), midnight (for the UAE) and 1am (for Turkey). Each display will have its own countdown.

Fireworks aside, visitors enjoy more than 250 dining options, head to the carnival area with about 195 rides, games and attractions, or shop at the various country pavilions.

Sunday; from 8pm; Dh27 per person; Global Village, Dubai;

Updated: December 29, 2023, 10:16 AM