The busy season is almost upon us, with dozens of events set to take place in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the coming weeks. As the weather cools down, we will finally be able to start enjoying the best of the UAE, with new outdoor brunches, sporting events and pool days taking place across the emirates.
There is also plenty to look forward to in the way of culture, with exhibitions, theatre shows and top comedians set to take place throughout October. So, diaries at the ready, here are the best things to do in the UAE this month:
1. Celebrate International Coffee Day in Dubai
Tuesday, October 1 marks International Coffee Day and plenty of UAE coffee houses are jumping on the bandwagon, offering free cups of joe on the day. Grounded at the Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai, for example, is handing out free single espressos to absolutely everyone (no other purchase necessary), from 7am to 10pm. Elsewhere, Park House is giving away a free coffee to go or for dine-in at their Nessnass Beach location from 7am to 9pm.
Tuesday, October 1, various timings and locations across Dubai
2. 'Wreck': A dance in the dark, Dubai
A dark and intense contemporary dance performance that features dancers battling a soft sculpture (shaped like an airy black pillow) on stage, Wreck — List of Extinct Species comments on capitalism and the fate of mankind. The metaphorical piece, which is directed by Brussels-based artist Pietro Marullo and features the Inslemi Irreali Dance Company, will combine visual and sound art in an hour-long performance.
Tuesday, October 1, doors open 8pm, show starts at 8:30pm, Dh150 online or at the door, Concrete, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, concrete.ae
3. See world-class watches at Christie's, Dubai
Christie’s Dubai in association with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons will display the 50 unique watch lots from as many brands that are part of Only Watch 2019, a charity auction that will finance research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Some of the watchmakers to keep an eye out for include Audemars Piguet, Bovet, MB&F, Patek Philippe, Tudor and Ulysse Nardin.
Tuesday, October 1 to Thursday, October 3, 1pm to 6pm on October 1, 10am to 6pm on October 2 and 3, Christie’s, Gate Village Building 5, DIFC, Dubai, www.christies.com
4. Chinese Golden Week menu at Hakkasan, Abu Dhabi
Visit Hakkasan Abu Dhabi in Emirates Palace and enjoy their exclusively curated Golden Week set menu. The Cantonese eatery gives guests the chance to savour the region's most decadent and exquisite Chinese dishes such as Stir-fry Wagyu beef with yam bean and pine nut, wok-seared tiger prawns or a dim sum platter. It will be followed by a divine dessert and an exclusive drink created from Hakkasan’s in-house mixologists.
October 1 to 7, 7pm to midnight, Dh398, Hakkasan, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, 02 690 7739, www.hakkasan.com
5. Listen to a live podcast recording, Dubai
Podcast aficionados will get a chance to listen (and see) an episode in the making at Kerning Cultures' live listening party. Attendees will get a first listen to an unreleased episode about the invention of the Arabic typewriter, with the show's producers and sound designer bringing the story to life on stage. Tickets come with a voucher for light bites and drinks.
Wednesday, October 2, 7pm to 9pm, Dh60 with food and drinks voucher, One Life Kitchen and Cafe, Dubai Design District, kerningcultures.com
6. Treat yourself to a daycation at Lapita, Dubai
Polynesian-themed hotel, Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, has launched a daycation deal, meaning guests can enjoy a day of pool access for Dh99. Embrace the dropping temperatures and relax poolside. Plus, the Dh99 entry fee gets you Dh99 food and beverage credit, to spend at Ari Restaurant, which offers up live entertainment, fun kids' activities and international cuisine at live cooking stations.
Fridays from October 4, all day pool access from 8am, lunch from 1pm until 4pm, Dh99, Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts, 04 810 9999, www.dubaiparksandresorts.com/en/hotels/lapita
7. Hooray for Hollywood at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi
EDIT: This event has been postponed until March 20, 2020.
Book tickets for the NSO Symphony Orchestra's performance of Hooray for Hollywood, led by conductor Andrew Berryman, and featuring music from Academy Award-winning films such as Harry Potter, Superman, The King's Speech and Star Wars.
October 4, 4.30pm and 7.30pm, from Dh150, auditorium, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, www.nsouae.org
8. Take part in Fitness First's Pink Party, Dubai
Fitness First’s annual Pink Party is back for another year, marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a night of fun-focused fitness. Honour those affected by the disease with a two-hour Zumba class hosted by Fitness First instructors, as well as a one-hour Zumba class for little ones beforehand. The event is free to join, but attendees must wear pink to participate. Throughout the month, non-Fitness First members can also join a complimentary workout every weekend at locations across the UAE if they register for free access online.
Friday, October 4, kids’ party from 4pm to 5pm (over sixes only), adults from 5pm to 7pm, free with registration, Championship Court, Dubai Stars Sportsplex, 11A Street, Al Mizhar 1, Dubai, www.uae.fitnessfirstme.com/events/pinkparty
9. Watch some of Arab cinema’s newest films at Afac Film Week, Dubai
As part of Afac Film Week, some of the best contemporary feature films, documentaries and shorts from the Arab world will screen at Cinema Akil in a week-long programme. Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka's romance A Kasha, Lebanese-Egyptian director Reem Saleh's documentary What Comes Around, and Soudade Kaadan's Syrian drama The Day I Lost My Shadow are among the works that guests can watch, with each film promise thought-provoking, emotive viewing.
Until Saturday, October 5, various timings, tickets are Dh52.5, Cinema Akil, Warehouse 68, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, www.cinemaakil.com
10. Last chance to see Thymesis at NYUAD, Abu Dhabi
Don’t miss ‘Thymesis’, the exhibition at NYUAD Art Gallery’s Project Space, which raises questions about our earliest memories. Laura Schneider’s solo exhibition includes a phone booth that allows visitors to share their first memories via audio recordings. Visitors can also listen to around 50 recordings.
Until Monday, October 7. Open Saturday through Thursday, 3-10pm, Project Space, NYUAD Art Gallery, Saadiyat Island, nyuad-artgallery.org
11. Watch world-class acts at Wake Up Call, Dubai
Get tickets for Wake Up Call, a three-day festival taking place at W Dubai — The Palm. Rita Ora and Disclosure will headline the event with other acts including Rufus Du Sol, Bob Moses and Hollaphonic also on the bill. As well as the music, W Dubai will also be offering a number of special room rates for guests, and will be hosting a series of events across the three days. Also expect fashion pop-ups, a shisha garden and food trucks.
October 10 to 12, weekend festival pass starts at Dh345, W Dubai — The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, www.wakeupcallfest.com
12. Catch The Laughter Factory in Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Catch a show on The Laughter Factory’s Social Faux Pas! Tour, featuring Irish comic Eleanor Tiernan, who brings a masterclass in stand-up; former comedy club doorman Emmanuel Sonubi, who is described as a comedic force of nature; and New York-raised Mike Capozzola, who delivers the laughs with his dry sense of humour.
9pm, October 10, Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach, Dubai; 9pm October 11, Grand Millennium Dubai, Barsha Heights, Dubai; 9pm October 17, Tryp by Wyndham Dubai; 7pm (early show) on October 18, Studio One Hotel, Dubai; 9pm (late show) on September 20, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, Dubai, from Dh160; October 16, 8pm, Park Rotana, Abu Dhabi, 050 878 6728, www.thelaughterfactory.com
13. Scour for books in the Big Bad Wolf Sale, Dubai
The world’s biggest book sale is set to return to Dubai this month. Over the course of 10 days, the 24-hour event will offer massive discounts on literature, children’s books, cookbooks, self-help guides, crime fiction and more. Last year, thousands flocked to the Studio City event, so in 2019 the organisers are offering VIP passes for the Wednesday, a day before the crowds descend, giving a few buyers access between 9am and 11pm.
Thursday, October 10 to Sunday, October 20, free, Sound Stage Venue, Studio City, Dubai, www.facebook.com/bbwbooksuae
14. Enjoy Gatsby-themed dining on board the QE2, Dubai
Book your spot at Gatsby: The Dinner Experience in the Grand Lounge of the Queen Elizabeth 2. The immersive experience brings to life a dinner show concept that is straight out of the 1920s, with characters and scenes based on Jay Gatsby’s party in F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel. Enjoy songs, dances and scenes from the story, with performances taking place with and around the audience.
October 10 to 12, 8.30pm daily, plus 1pm on October 11, from Dh395, Grand Lounge, Queen Elizabeth 2, Mina Rashid, Dubai, www.platinumlist.net
15. Take part in Tough Mudder, Abu Dhabi
Register to take part in Abu Dhabi's first Tough Mudder, which will take place on Al Hudayriat Island. The mud-drenched obstacle race features four different routes, including the Tough Mudder 5K with 13 obstacles; the Tough Mudder Classic with more than 25 obstacles; and the Mini Mudder for children aged seven to 13. New obstacles include the Black Widow and the Leap of Faith, while favourites the Pyramid Scheme, Mud Mile and Everest 2.0 also reappear on the course.
October 11, from 8am, from Dh350, Al Hudayriat Island, Abu Dhabi, www.toughmudder.ae
16. A free day for dog lovers, Dubai
Dogwalk is hosting a day of free activities and socialisation for pets and their owners at their facility in Dubai. Dogs can join group obedience classes with the centre’s head trainer and swimming sessions with their hydrotherapist. If your pups need a little grooming, complimentary ear cleaning and nail clipping are also offered.
Saturday, October 12, 2:30pm to 5:30pm, free with registration, Warehouse 1, Street 4, Al Quoz Industrial Area 4, Dubai, 052 861 0990 www.dogwalkonline.com
17. Celebrate Monir at the Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah
Sharjah Art Foundation presents the first major retrospective of Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian in the region. Titled Sunset, Sunrise, the show brings together more than 70 works from the late Iranian artist's 60-year career. Visitors can trace Monir's practice through these pieces, from her sculptures in the 1970s, never-before-seen collages from the 1980s and her final drawings before her death this year.
From Saturday, October 12, 9am to 9pm from Saturday to Thursday, 4pm to 9pm on Fridays, free entry, Al Hamriyah Studios, Al Hamriyah, Sharjah www.sharjahart.org
18. Visit 'Hallowed' at Warehouse421, Abu Dhabi
Visit Warehouse421, where Emirati visual artist Maitha Abdalla presents Hallowed, a film installation that focuses on social commentaries. Explore the human condition in narrative form, specifically the idea of emptiness as a place or a feeling.
Until October 13, 10am to 8pm Tuesdays to Sundays (closed Mondays), Warehouse421, Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi, www.warehouse421.ae
19. Talk literature with author Laura Barnett, Dubai
Award-winning and best-selling author Laura Barnett will be in Dubai for an evening of literature hosted by the Emirates Literature Foundation. Laura is the author of the number-one bestseller The Versions of Us (2015), which has been translated into 24 languages, and was shortlisted for Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards. Her second novel, Greatest Hits, was published in 2017, with an accompanying soundtrack album by musician Kathryn Williams.
Tuesday, October 15 at 7pm at the Creative Space, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dubai Festival City, tickets start from Dh35, booking is required, elfdubai.org/en/laura-barnett-in-conversation
20. See the 'Friends' set in Dubai
Head to The Dubai Fountain and get a chance to visit the famous Central Perk Cafe set from the hit American television show, Friends. The set-up is displayed on a float with a backdrop of the Burj Khalifa. On display is the signature orange couch, rug, coffee table and other accessories seen on the show. Fans can take photos while visiting the prop set.
Until October 16, free, Waterfront Promenade, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, 04 567 2030, www.thedubaimall.com
21. Abu Dhabi International Boat Show, Abu Dhabi
Returning to the capital from October 16 to 19, the Abu Dhabi International Boat Show 2019 will play host to a weekend of maritime activities. As well as showcasing the best in the luxury yacht, leisure marine and fishing industries, the show will offer visitors the chance to get out on the water for a number of high-adrenalin activities and enjoy live stunts and performances.
Wednesday, October 16 to Saturday, October 19, 4pm to 10pm, entry from Dh20, ADNEC Marina, 30th Street, Abu Dhabi, www.adibs.ae
22. Dine with Massimo Bottura, Dubai
This October, Massimo Bottura will host two dinners at his Italian restaurant, Torno Subito, at W Dubai – The Palm. Bottura is set to step behind the stove at Torno Subito, his only restaurant outside of Italy, on Wednesday, October 16 and Thursday, October 17. Dine on an eight-course feast, featuring menu of some of his favourite childhood dishes; the experience costs Dh450 with a welcome drink, or Dh595 with three drinks. The menu includes pappa al pomodoro; focaccia with robiola cheese and black truffle; a mozzarella and scamorza calzone; roasted octopus with green pea velvet and crunchy pickled vegetables and a fassona beef tartare.
October 16 and 17, open 7pm to 11pm, from Dh450, Torno Subito, W Dubai — The Palm, 04 245 5555, www.tornosubitodubai.com
23. Enjoy 'The Phantom of the Opera', Dubai
One of the most popular musicals of all time is heading to the Dubai Opera stage to entertain theatre-lovers over a three-week run. The multi-award-winning show by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which tells the tale of a phantom in love with a lead soprano, premiered in 1986 and has since been seen by more than 130 million people worldwide.
Wednesday, October 16 to Sunday, November 6, Dh250, Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, dubaiopera.com
24. Stay up at Insomnia Gaming Festival, Dubai
The UK's longest-running eSports and gaming festival is coming to Dubai for the first time, for three full days. Expect cash-prize tournaments, drone racing, virtual reality gaming, live performances, DJ sets and even a bring-your-own-computer section, where players can hook up for huge LAN parties. Celebrity guests will also be dropping in, such as world-famous YouTubers Sidemen, a team of seven British vloggers with more than 5.9 million subscribers.
Thursday, October 17 to Saturday, October 19, from 11am, tickets from Dh131 (one day), Meydan Racecourse, Dubai, insomniadubai.com
25. Get cosy for Yas movies in the Park, Abu Dhabi
Book your tickets for the Yas Movies in the Park outdoor cinema experience. Enjoy alfresco screenings, music and entertainment, shopping, food trucks, a children's zone, carnival rides and a fun fair. Films include Aladdin, Moana, The Greatest Showman, Beauty and the Beast and Avengers: Endgame.
October 17 to October 19, 4pm to midnight, free entry with registration, from Dh65 for the VIP experience, du Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.yasmovies.ae
26. Witness the start of Yas Racing Season, Abu Dhabi
The first round of Yas Racing Series Season 6 takes place at Yas Marina Circuit between Thursday, October 24 and Saturday, October 26. As well as witnessing the first test for the TRD 86 Cup, motorsports fans will be able to enjoy a classic car parade and take part in a 'Circuit Safari' over the course of the weekend.
Thursday, October 24 to Saturday, October 26, entry from Dh25, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, www.yasmarinacircuit.com
27. Challenge yourself at The City Half Marathon, Dubai
A brand new race, The City Half Marathon, is set to take place in Dubai on Friday, October 25. You will have the choice of running a five kilometre, 10km or 21km course around DIFC. Described as a fast and flat course, runners will start in front of the Gate Building, before running through the financial district, enjoying views of the Burj Khalifa, Emirates Towers and the Museum of the Future.
Friday, October 25, from 6am, entry starts at Dh130, Dubai International Financial Centre, www.cityhalfmarathon.com
28. Catch Grammy-winning group Arrested Development in Dubai
Grammy-winning group Arrested Development return to Dubai this October for a one-off performance at Dubai’s Irish Village. On Friday, October 25, the American hip-hop heavyweights will bring their extensive back catalogue to the emirate, with hits such as Tennessee and People Everyday. The band will be joined by UK folk-rock duo Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood, alongside Dubai’s own six-piece instrumentalists Jaye & Foe.
Friday, October 25, 9pm to 11pm, Dh175, The Irish Village, Al Garhoud, Dubai, www.theirishvillage.com
29. Laugh at Trevor Noah in Abu Dhabi
Trevor Noah, comedian and host of The Daily Show, returns to du Forum for two nights of stand-up hilarity. Noah has been performing regularly in the UAE since 2014. He headlined the Dubai Comedy Festival in 2015 and last performed in Abu Dhabi in December 2017. Tickets for the cancelled December 2018 show will still be valid. Contact Ticketmaster at 800 86823 for more information. The show on Friday, October 25 is sold out.
October 25, 8.30pm; October 26, 7pm, from Dh300, du Forum, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.ticketmaster.ae
30. Catch Eminem's return to Abu Dhabi
American rapper Eminem is returning to Abu Dhabi this month as part of his Kamikaze world tour. The stadium show will feature other performers including Royce Da 5'9 and DJ The Alchemist. Eminim's hit songs include Lose Yourself, Stan, Without Me and The Real Slim Shady.
October 25, from Dh395, du Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.ticketmaster.ae
31. Catch The Unseen exhibition at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi
Visit the touring exhibition The Unseen by Emirati photographer Yousef Al Habshi, which features 27 macro photography images of battle and suspense. See artistic extreme close-ups of tiny subjects – a world not normally visible to humans – that focus on the defence mechanisms of insects. The artist will be on hand to teach masterclasses to beginners and children.
Until October 28, open 9am to 8pm daily, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, 02 657 5800, manaratalsaadiyat.ae
32. Comedy at Warehouse Four, Dubai
Award-winning Edinburgh Fringe comedy is coming to Dubai on Wednesday, October 30, as Mandy Knight is bringing her critically acclaimed solo show to Warehouse Four. Described by critics as "brutally funny" and "a thoroughly enjoyable hour", tickets to Knight's show cost Dh95 and are available to over 18s only. The Dark Knight show explores the comedian's relationship with dark humour and goes into stories about her difficult past.
October 30, doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8pm, Warehouse Four, Al Quoz, Dubai, 04 221 2160, www.warehousefour.com
33. Step out in style at Fashion Forward, Dubai
Fashion Forward has returned for a new season — and it's had a makeover. Dubai's style showcase will bring together shows and presentations from labels including Michael Cinco, Amato and Yousef Al Jasmi, and this year, for the first time ever, you can shop the collections straight from the runway at pop-ups across D3. While certain events are invite only, anyone can register for most of the catwalk displays, so try and secure your place on the front row now.
Wednesday, October 30 to Saturday, November 2, various timings, free to attend, registration required for catwalk shows and presentations, Design Quarters, Dubai Design District, Dubai, www.fashionforward.ae
34. Explore a world of luxury at Louvre Abu Dhabi
Louvre Abu Dhabi is hosting the first comprehensive exhibition on the history of luxury in the Middle East, showcasing about 350 objects from 30 countries spanning several millennia. Fashion, jewellery, visual art, furniture and design will all be on show at 10,000 Years of Luxury, which will also feature iconic designs from couture houses such as Chanel, Christian Dior and Elie Saab. It ultimately explores how luxury has been defined by various cultures, from antiquity to present day.
Wednesday, October 30 to Tuesday, February 18, 2020, free with general museum admission, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, louvreabudhabi.ae
35. Party in the Park, Dubai
Get tickets for Party in the Park. The two-day festival will be held at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre and will feature Fatboy Slim, The Kooks, Richard Ashcroft and Lighthouse Family. The gig will be held on Thursday, October 31 and Friday, November 1 and there will be a Halloween theme on the first night. Fatboy Slim will headline and perform his hits such as Right Here, Right Now, Praise You, Sunset (Bird of Prey), The Old Pair of Jeans and Eat, Sleep Rave, Repeat.
October 31, 6pm to 1am; to November 1, 2pm to midnight, from Dh250, Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai, www.platinumlist.net
36. All-you-can-eat vegan nights at Cafe 302
Cafe 302 in Abu Dhabi’s Al Maha Arjaan by Rotana has got quite a reputation among the capital’s vegan crowd. It’s not a plant-based restaurant, but it has a dedicated menu with about 20 options for those eschewing animal products. On Thursday evening, it gets better, as the trendy eatery serves up an all-you-can-eat veggie-packed buffet, so health-conscious diners can start the weekend right.
Thursdays, 6pm to 10pm, Dh89 per person, Al Maha Arjaan by Rotana, Fatima Bint Mubarak Street, 02 610 6666
37. The Rosewood Garden brunch returns to Abu Dhabi
The family-friendly Rosewood Garden brunch returns to Aqua every Friday alongside the reopening of the waterfront restaurant’s terrace. The spread includes new Mexican and Asian corners with tacos, carnitas, papaya salad, Vietnamese spring rolls, and hand-pulled noodles, plus dim sum and duck rolls from the chefs at Dai Pai Dong, and a cold seafood bar featuring Normandy oysters. Vegans can get the burger with a patty made from quinoa, vegetable fat, mushrooms and assorted beans.
Every Friday, from noon to 5pm, from Dh395 (Dh165 for six to 12-year-olds), 02 813 5550
38. Adoption Day at FitLife Vet, Abu Dhabi
Head to an adoption day at FitLife Vet. Cats and kittens of all ages, sizes and breeds are looking for their forever home. Hosted by Adopt-a-Cat UAE, those looking to add a furry friend can go to the adoption day to meet and find the perfect addition to the family.
Every second Friday of the month, from 2pm to 7pm, Fit Life Vet, Opposite Um Al Emarat Park, Abu Dhabi, 02 585 7633, www.facebook/adopt.a.cat.UAE
39. Try a new breakfast concept at Mina's Kitchen, Dubai
Enjoy Mina’s Kitchen’s new Long Breakfast every Saturday. The newly renovated restaurant at The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi serves up a serious treat, with live-cooking stations and food from around the world.
Saturdays, 11am to 3pm, packages available from Dh145, call 04 511 7373 for bookings or email email@example.com