57 things to do in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE this February: from Hay Festival to Stormzy at RedFest

It looks set to be a busy month across the emirates, with concerts, literature festivals and high-profile sporting competitions

There is plenty going on across the UAE this February, from the first Hay Festival to Redfest DXB. 
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February is upon us, and with it comes a jam-packed schedule of events taking place across the UAE.

From the first ever Hay Festival taking place in Abu Dhabi, to a packed schedule of music festivals in Dubai featuring performances from the likes of Stormzy, Lionel Richie and Lauryn Hill, there is plenty to keep you busy.

So, diaries at the ready, here are all of the best events taking place across the UAE this February ...


Support local art with Artezaar, Dubai 

Are your walls looking a little empty? Head to The J Cafe in Scandinavian furniture store Jysk where you can see a new gallery of artworks curated by online art platform Artezaar. Designed to support the local art community, all of the pieces are by UAE-based artists and there’s a wide range of mediums on display. Prices range from Dh341 to Dh7,655, so there’s a unique piece of art waiting for every budget.

Daily, ongoing, 10am to 10pm; free; The J Café, Jysk, Umm Suqeim Street, Al Barsha, Dubai; www.artezaar.com

Be Brainwashed by Nature, Dubai 

Swiss artist Olaf Breuning unveils new, conceptual paintings that venture back to nature, and the pressing environmental concerns we face today with his Brainwashed by Nature exhibition. By using elements found within nature to discuss nature itself, Breuning's rough landscapes incorporate the usage of woodcut slices to explore the foreseeable circumstances of mankind’s detrimental actions.

Daily, 6pm-9pm, until March 15; Free; Carbon 12, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai; 04 340 6016, www.carbon12.art

Try Black Tap's vegan shake, Abu Dhabi 

Black Tap has launched a new Vegan milkshake at its Yas Mall branch. Black Tap 

Black Tap now has a vegan shake on the menu. A take on the New York burger brand's popular Black 'N White flavour crazy shake, it includes high quality vegan alternatives such as apple sauce for a perfectly moist cake, and non-dairy whipped cream. It is available at the Abu Dhabi Yas Mall eatery for Dh62 and at Dubai outlets for Dh69.

Saturday to Wednesday, 11am-11pm, Thursday and Friday, 11am-midnight; Dh62; Black Tap outlets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi; 02 446 5128; www.blacktapme.com

Marco’s New York Italian brunch, Abu Dhabi 

Marco Pierre White's eatery, Marco’s New York Italian is launching its family Saturday brunch tomorrow. Taking place from 12pm to 4pm with a soundtrack of live jazz, the sharing-style starters include calamari, a heirloom tomato and burrata salad and buffalo wings. Then you can choose between mains that include risotto, beef sirloin and black cod. Desserts are to share, with tiramisu, warm chocolate brownies and a knickerbocker glory all on the menu.

Saturdays, 12pm-4pm; Dh299; Marco’s New York by Marco Pierre White, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi; www.marcosabudhabi.com 

Get free dance lessons at Indie DIFC, Dubai 

Put on your dancing shoes for Latino Night every Monday at Indie DIFC. The resto-lounge has also partnered with Bachata Dubai, and guests can sign up for free lessons from the dance academy’s instructors. Bachata originated in the Dominican Republic, and involves a three-step Cuban hip motion, followed by a tap on the fourth beat. The hour-long lessons will be followed by salsa, bachata and reggaeton tunes from the in-house DJ until the wee hours of the morning.

Mondays, 9pm to 10pm; free; Indie DIFC, Gate Village 05, Dubai; 055 455 6106, reserve@indiedifc.com

Pancakes at Carine, Dubai 

Shrove Tuesday may not be until Tuesday, February 25, but the French tradition of La Chandeleur (Candlemas, in English) is on Sunday, February 2, so Carine is celebrating all week. Chef Izu's eatery will be serving pancakes at live cooking stations on Fridays and Saturdays until February 8, where crepes can be freshly ordered for dessert and lunch or dinner.

Fridays and Saturdays, 8.30am-11pm, until February 8; Carine, Emirates Golf Club, Dubai; 04 417 9885; www.dubaigolf.com/carine

Movie magic at Paramount, Dubai

Film fanatics are being given the chance to win free meals at the Paramount Hotel Dubai. Courtesy Paramount Hotel Dubai

Film fanatics are being given the chance to win free meals at the Paramount Hotel Dubai. The movie-tastic property has launched The Cine-matic Brunch at its Pacific Groove restaurant, where guests are encouraged to come dressed up as their favourite film characters, make use of the props provided and create their own videos for the chance to win their next brunch for free. The brunch’s set menu features unlimited starters and sharing platters for mains.

Fridays, 1pm-4pm; Dh275 for food and soft drinks; Pacific Groove, Paramount Hotel Dubai; 04 246 6777; www.paramounthotelsdubai.com

See Jamaica through a lens, Dubai 

Photographer Peter Dean Rickards considered himself an “unofficial member of the Jamaican Tourist Board” because of the unique way he portrayed his country. Instead showcasing the lush forests or pristine beaches common in visitor catalogues, Rickards instead took a documentarian approach – capturing moments of chaos, beauty and resilience on the streets of Jamaica, with a specific focus on the characters who inhabit them. His survey exhibition boasts of these moving and sometimes humorous images, offering an extraordinary glimpse into the “yard”, a term for home in patois.

Daily, Saturday to Thursday, 10am-7pm, closed Fridays, until February; The Third Line, Dubai; www.thethirdline.com

Visit the Building Bauhaus exhibition, Dubai 

The exhibition explores the Bauhaus art school’s approach to design, which strove to combine beauty with usefulness, crafts and the fine arts. It was considered one of the most influential schools of the twentieth century. The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of the movement and presents iconic design objects, photography, textiles, and archival material. It also sheds light on the movement’s relationship to the region.

Daily, 11am-6pm, until February 29; Free; Jean-Paul Najar Foundation, Warehouse 45 Alserkal Avenue, Dubai; 04 258 7078, www.jpnajarfoundation.com

Step into a Story, Abu Dhabi

The opening exhibit of the Abu Dhabi Children's Library focuses on the role that pop-up books play in literacy. The stories of UAE authors and illustrators are reimagined as 3-D immersive and interactive learning spaces to spark children's imagination within the exhibition.

Daily, 10am-8pm; running until March 28; free entry; Abu Dhabi Children’s Library, Exhibition Hall; www.culturalfoundation.ae/en/childrenslibrary

February 1 to 8 

Hear Lise de la Salle live, Abu Dhabi

Klavierfestival Ruhr 2018
Lise de la Salle, Konzert im Skulpturenpark Wuppertal

07. Juli 2018

Fotografie: Peter Wieler
Mobil: 0171 8249821

As part of Abu Dhabi Classics, French pianist Lise de la Salle is performing a programme called Dances, which reflects on a new approach to classical music, as it explores dance rhythms from across history and the world. It will include Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, combining this with Stravinsky’s Tango, Bartok’s Romanian Folk Dances and Debussy’s Mazurka.

Saturday, February 1, 8pm-10pm; tickets from Dh195; Cultural Foundation, Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street, Abu Dhabi; www.culturalfoundation.ae

Six Nations at Wavebreaker, Dubai 

The Six Nations Rugby kicks off in February. Watch all of the games live at Wavebreaker Beach Bar and Grill this season, starting with Wales versus Italy at 6.15pm, then Ireland versus Scotland at 8.45pm on Saturday, February 1. There will be a big screen to watch all the action on in the stadium seating, or small screens around the bar and a happy hour deal of 50 per cent off drinks from 5pm until 8pm.

Saturday, February 1, from 6.15pm; free; Beach Stadium, Wavebreaker Beach Bar and Grill, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, JBR; 04 318 2319

Go on a vertical run, Dubai

2015 Vertical Run winner at Almas Tower.

Courtesy Fidelity Fitness
 *** Local Caption ***  wk22ja-oasis-almas-p10.jpg

Sign up to run up Dubai’s tallest business landmark: Almas Tower. Athletes are climbing 64 storeys and 1,600 stairs, covering a distance of 280 metres on foot. You can go it solo or register for the relay event, where teams of four compete with each member taking on 16 floors.

Saturday, February 1, 11am; tickets from Dh115.50; Almas Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai; www.premieronline.com

Take in some theatre, Dubai

The Dubai iteration of Short+Sweet is back as of Saturday, February 1 and running throughout the month. It’s one of the world’s biggest 10-minute play competitions and brings more than 300 of the city’s top directors, actors and writers together, as they perform over 115 stories in vrious categories. Guests can vote for their favourite plays performed in English, Hindi, Arabic, Malayalam, Zulu and Bengali.

Saturday to Saturday, February 1-29, 3.30pm and 7.30pm; tickets from Dh100; The Junction, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai; ae.bookmyshow.com

Take the little ones to Caboodle, Abu Dhabi

The biggest branch of the indoor play park officially opens in the capital on level two of the new Galleria extension on February 1. Expect climbing pits, jungle gyms, soft-play zones, mini-cities, gardening and crafting zones, and delicious food. Ideal for children between six months and 12 years, the arena also includes a children’s salon and drop ‘n shop services with qualified baby sitters.

Daily, 10am-10pm, Saturday to Wednesday, 10am - midnight, Thursday and Friday; from Dh45 per hour; The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi; 02 679 8019, thegalleria@caboodle.ae 

Register your teens for a self-exploration workshop, Dubai

Thrive Wellbeing Centre in Dubai is hosting Me, Myself and I for teenage girls between 12 and 15 years, to help them engage in self-exploration in a safe space free from external expectations. The workshop, led by psychologist Ola Pykhtina, will incorporate art and mindfulness techniques to address some of the particular issues teens face in the UAE, in a bid to build self-esteem and identity.

Saturdays, February 1 to March 7, 11am-12.30pm; Dh3,200; Thrive Wellbeing Centre, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai; 056 895 2347, info@thrive.ae

Chow down with a view, Dubai  

Japanese-meets-Korean restaurant Akira Back, helmed by the namesake Korean-born American chef, has launched a brand-new ladies’ night this month. Offering up unlimited select beverages and sharing plates for Dh250 per person, the weekly event blends a culinary experience with sweeping views of the Palm Jumeirah. Diners can choose to sit inside or on the terrace, with dishes including many of the eatery’s signature sushi and sashimi.

Sundays, from Sunday, February 2; 7pm-midnight; Dh250 per person; W Dubai – The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; 04 255 555, www.akirabackdubai.com

See Ludovico Einaudi, Dubai 

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 23: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Image has been converted to black and white) Ludovico Einaudi performs on stage at Clyde Auditorium on November 23, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns)

Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi is bringing his world tour to Dubai Opera. It's the acclaimed composer's second time in the Middle East, after he made his debut in 2017 at the same venue, with two back-to-back capacity shows. Einaudi is the most-streamed classical artist on Spotify, with his 14th album Seven Days Walking: Day One becoming the fastest streamed classical album of all-time. His first show is now sold out.

Monday and Tuesday, February 3 and 4, 8pm; from Dh400; Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai; 04 440 8888; www.dubaiopera.com

Listen to poetry under the desert stars, Dubai 

One of the annual highlights of the Emirates Literature Festival programme, Desert Stanzas is this year back for a night of cultural entertainment under the stars. Pitch up on a sand dune in the desert and spend a night listening to the best in international and homegrown poetic talent and traditional music while tucking into an authentic Emirati feast. It can get chilly in the evening in February, so come prepared with layers and comfortable shoes, and prepare for a quintessential Emirati night of culture.

Tuesday, February 4, 7pm-9.30pm; Dh249; Al Sahra Desert Resort, Dubai; 04 427 4055; www.emirateslitfest.com

See the skies of Sharjah light up 

The Sharjah Light Festival is back for its 10th year, bringing installations, displays and shows to the emirate. The 10-day event will see some of Sharjah’s most renowned landmarks, such as Masjid Al Noor and Al Hisn Fort, illuminated in new colours, featuring creative light technology and curated soundtracks. For 2020, the festival will comprise 18 daily shows spread out across the emirate, and will also include pop-up food trucks and a sightseeing bus as part of its itinerary.

Wednesday to Saturday, February 5 to 15; various locations; www.sharjahlightfestival.ae

Say ‘I do’ to your dream wedding dress, Dubai 

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES,  APRIL 11. The Dubai Bride Show 2013. Part of 5 new trends in the market for weddings. A dress completely made out of crystals made by AsFour Crystals to showcase how their product can be used for the wedding market. (ANTONIE ROBERTSON / The National)

The Bride Show, one of the region’s biggest events for all things wedding-related is back for its 24th year, bringing together dress designers, jewellery and beauty labels, caterers, decor brands and more under one roof to help brides-to-be plan their perfect day. More than 100 international and regional brands will exhibit at this year’s Bride 2020, including UK brand Yulduz Wedding, Purplish Weddings India and Dubai’s Al Daker. There will also be catwalk shows, live entertainment and make-up tutorials throughout the event.

Wednesday to Saturday, February 5 to 8; 3.30pm-10.30pm; free with pre-registration, Dh30 on the door; Dubai World Trade Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai; 04 407 2630, www.thebrideshow.com

See Camille Thomas at Dubai Opera 

Franco-Belgian cellist Camille Thomas, who was nominated as Newcomer of the Year 2014 at the French Grammys, is coming to the UAE to entertain classical music lovers for one night only. She will perform a programme featuring Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1, 2, 3 and 5 in the intimate space of Dubai Opera.

Thursday, February 6, from 8pm; tickets from Dh150; Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, Dubai; www.dubaiopera.com

Play Harry Potter Pictionary, Dubai 

Think you can quick-draw a muggle? Then you’ll want to get down to Kinokuniya in Dubai Mall on the evening of Thursday, February 6 for the giant bookstore's Harry Potter book night with Pictionary and prizes. It's free, and while dressing up is optional, reserving a spot is essential, and they're only taking RSVPs by phone.

Thursday, February 6, from 7pm; free; Kinokuniya, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai; 04 434 0111

Watch Stormzy at RedFest, Dubai

Grime artist Stormzy performs on the main stage as part of the V Festival at Hylands Parks, Chelmsford, Sunday, Aug 20, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

British grime artist Stormzy will return to the UAE to headline RedFestDXB 2020. The Blinded by Your Grace star will be joined by Cheat Codes and Machine Gun Kelly on Friday, February 7 for the annual two-day event at Dubai's Media City Amphitheatre. Martin Garrix, Bastille and Young Thug will play on Thursday, February 6.

Thursday and Friday, February 6 and 7; 7pm-1am Thursday, 4pm-1am Friday; from Dh395; Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai; www.redfestdxb.com

See an environmental film, Abu Dhabi 

A scene from 'Albatross'. 

The inaugural Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival, organised by Zayed University and the Environment Agency, takes place at Manarat Al Saadiyat from Thursday, February 6 to Saturday, February 8. The free event will feature a curated selection of films highlighting pressing environmental issues, from climate change to single-use plastics, e-waste and food waste. There will also be talks from environmental activists, workshops, and a photographers’ gallery.

Thursday to Sunday, February 6 to 8, 9am-8pm; free entry; Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi; 02 657 5800, www.alsidreff.com

Take a chance on an award-winning tribute act, Dubai 

They have not embarked on a tour since the 1980s, but fans of Abba can experience the Swedish foursome's chart-topping tunes live in Dubai this month, thanks to Bjorn Again. The tribute act will take music lovers on a trip down memory lane, with tracks such as Waterloo, Dancing Queen and The Winner Takes It All in their repertoire. The four-piece, first formed in 1988, have performed all over the world, and have been praised by Abba founders Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson for their live concerts.

Friday, February 7; 8pm; from Dh195; Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, Dubai; www.dubaiopera.com

Polo season begins, Dubai

Polo season begins with the Dubai Silver Cup.

Kicking off Dubai’s polo season and the first of five tournaments in Dubai’s Polo Gold Cup Series, the Silver Cup will culminate at Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club on Friday, February 7. Nine of the world’s leading teams go head-to-head in an 18-goal handicap competition, to be watched over a polo picnic or alongside a brunch overlooking the polo field.

Friday, February 7; 8pm; Dh234; Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club, Dubai; 04 435 4444, www.habtoorpoloresort.com

Check out the action at Dub Drive GCC 2020, Abu Dhabi

Petrol heads should prepare to beeline to Yas Island for the largest gathering of Volkswagen vehicles in the Middle East. As well as a huge convoy of cars with models driven from across the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain, Dub Drive GCC 2020 will also have live music, food trucks, a children's driving school, racing simulators and drag racing.

Friday to Saturday, February 7 and 8, 10am-7pm; free; Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.dubdrivegcc.com

Oscars Week at Outdoor Urban Cinema, Dubai 

Dubai's Outdoor Urban Cinema will be celebrating Oscars week by showing some of the biggest winners from the Academy Awards of years gone by. Taking place at the Habtoor Grand Resort, the Oscar Winner Special week will kick off on Saturday February 8 with a screening of Gladiator. On February 9, Chicago will be shown, and on February 10, there will be a screening of Titanic. There are three more screenings scheduled to take place on February 15, 16, and 17, but it looks as though organisers are saving those slots for this year's winners.

Saturday to Monday, February 8-10 and 15-17, 8pm; Dh75; Outdoor Urban Cinema, Habtoor Grand Resort, Jumeirah Beach, Dubai; 04 399 5000, www.dubai.platinumlist.net

February 9 - 15 

See A-ha, Dubai

Switzerland, Zurich - February 5, 2018. The Norwegian pop group a-ha performs a live concert at Hallenstadion in Zurich as part of the a-ha MTV Unplugged Tour 2018. Here singer and songwriter Morten Harket (R) is seen live on stage with Magne Furuholmen (L). (Photo by: -/PYMCA/Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Norwegian band A-ha are set to play two nights at Dubai Opera. The trio, made up of singer Morten Harket, keyboardist Magne Furuholmen and guitarist Pal Waaktaar-Savoy, will play the Downtown Dubai venue on Monday, February 10 and Tuesday, February 11. The band will play their 1985 debut album Hunting High And Low in its entirety at the gig, and in the running order of the original release. Tickets start from Dh250.

Monday and Tuesday, February 10 and 11, 8pm; from Dh250; Dubai Opera, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard; 04 440 8888, www.dubaiopera.com

Visit the latest exhibition at Intersect by Lexus, Dubai

German artist Petra Von Lutterotti had a successful career as a dancer, choreographer and music theatre director, before studying fashion and interior design and launching her career as an artist. Her solo exhibition We Left the Desert Behind at Intersect by Lexus in DIFC, she depicts colourful fashion figurines merged with idiosyncratic contexts.

Tuesday to Thursday, February 11 to 13, 7pm-9.30pm; free; Intersect by Lexus – DIFC , Gate Village 7, Dubai; www.petravonlutterotti.com

Treat yourself to a mid-week laugh, Abu Dhabi

The Laughter Factory’s latest stand-up tour is coming to the capital, bringing a trio of comedians to the stage for a riotous show. The Do Yourself a Favour and Laugh More tour feature sets from Tez Ilyas, a British-Pakistani stand-up who has his own comedy show on the UK’s Channel 4, British comedienne Karen Bayley and Canadian funnyman Chris Betts, each of whom will present their humorous perspectives on life.

Wednesday, February 12; 8pm; tickets from Dh140; Park Rotana, Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi; www.thelaughterfactory.com

Plan the proposal of a lifetime with Dubai Opera

Dubai Opera and Broadway Entertainment Group have come together to offer the perfect Valentine's Day marriage proposal. Guests can pre-arrange tickets to FormidableAznavour, a musical by Charles Aznavour set on the streets of Paris. After the show, the couple can enjoy a private dinner under the stars in Dubai's Opera's gardens, overlooking the Burj Khalifa. Meanwhile, a talented soloist will play signature melodies inspired by the music of Charles Aznavour, adding to the romance of the evening. The Dubai Opera team will organise a meet and greet with the performers from the musical and assist with every detail of the proposal - from arranging a bouquet of favourite flowers to organising a majlis for the family and friends to say for the post-proposal surprise.

Thursday and Friday, February 13 and 14; 8pm (with an additional performance at 3pm on Friday); Dh10,000 per couple; Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai, Dubai; www.dubaiopera.com

Pamper your loved one with a luxury staycation, Dubai

Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort and Spa. Courtesy Patrick Blanc

Luxury property Sofitel Dubai The Palm is going all out with a number of staycation packages for couples – including an ultra-extravagant inclusive two-night staycation priced at Dh122,000 per couple. The package includes accommodation in one of the signature villas (complete with a private swimming pool, Jacuzzi and private beach), one carat diamond soltaire ring from Dhamani Jewels, a seven-course private dinner under the stars, breakfast in the villa, a couple cabana spa treatment, a private two-hour sunset yacht cruise, a Moana seafood ocean brunch and more. It’s the ultimate celebration of love. Bookings have to be made prior to Thursday, February 6.

Thursday to Saturday, February 13 and 15; Dh122,000 per couple; Sofitel Dubai The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; www.sofitel-dubai-thepalm.com

Watch Maluma, Dubai

Colombian superstar Maluma is bringing his world tour to the UAE for one night only, marking his debut performance in the Emirates. The No Se Me Quita singer will perform at Dubai's Coca-Cola Arena on Friday, February 14. The 25-year-old, born Juan Luis Londono Arias and raised in the city of Medellin, released his first album at the tender age of 17, though found fame with his 2015 album Pretty Boy, Dirty Boy. He has gone on to collaborate with some of the Latin music industry's biggest names, including Ricky Martin and Shakira, as well as Madonna and J Balvin.

Friday, February 14, 8pm; from Dh295; Coca-Cola Arena, Dubai City Walk; 04 215 3000, www.coca-cola-arena.com

Spend an afternoon onboard an abra, Dubai

The hotel is celebrating the most romantic day of the year with a number of packages. Those looking for something a tad offbeat can book an “Abra Afternoon Tea” and enjoy views of the Madinat Jumeirah waterway onboard an abra, with two glasses of premium bubbly and a bouquet of roses. The hotel is also having a Valentine’s Day themed brunch, with the best-dressed couple winning a couple’s Talise Spa massage. Meanwhile, a lady “dressed to kill” at the brunch stands a chance to win a complimentary one-night stay at the Jumeirah Al Wasr.

Friday, February 14; timings vary; prices start at Dh480 per person for the brunch, the Abra Afternoon Tea is priced at Dh1,500; Jumeirah Al Qasr; 04 4323232


Read more: Valentine's Day events in the UAE


Go vegan with Brambles, Dubai 

Brambles Cafe is offering an all-vegan Valentine's Day set menu. Courtesy of Brambles

The pretty bohemian cafe will celebrate V-Day with a five-course Italian-themed vegan dinner, titled Veni Vidi Vici (which translates to “I came, I saw, I conquered”). Couples can expect dishes such as lentil bruschetta, soup or salad, puttanesca lasagne or spaghetti and meatballs pomodoro and a dessert of a brownie sundae with berries compote. The package also includes a ticket for two beverages, which can be claimed at Tryp by Wyndham hotel later that night.

Friday, February 14; 7pm-10pm; Dh145 per person; Citadines Metro Central, Barsha Heights, Dubai; 04 452 9529 

Spend a day out with your pets, Abu Dhabi 

The Yas Pet Festival is returning for the second year. Taking place on Friday, February 14 at du Arena from 1pm to 9pm, the popular event features activities to celebrate both dogs and cats. From the same organisers as the Abu Dhabi Pet Festival, this event will focus more on pet and owner interaction. This year will see a dog agility competition, pets fashion show and cat and dog competitions. There will also be a pet and owner fancy dress competition, as well as a K9 Unit and petting farm on hand. Guests are welcomed to come with or without pets.

Friday, February 14, 1pm-9pm; free entry; du Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.petfestival.ae

Watch a Spanish film at Cinema Akil, Dubai 

For a week, Dubai's arthouse theatre Cinema Akil will bring seven award-winning Spanish films to the big screen, including 1973's The Spirit of the Beehive. The most recent film on show is Handia from 2017, a story about the world's tallest man.

Friday to Thursday, February 14 to 20; various times; tickets from Dh52.50; Cinema Akil, Dubai; www.cinemakil.com

Hear Asala at Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi

Syrian singer Asala Nasri, one of the most famous singers in the Arab world today, will perform this Valentine's Day in Abu Dhabi. Last year, Asala was part of an A-list cast of singers who sang the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi's official anthem Right Where I Am Supposed To Be.

Friday, February 14, 8-10pm; tickets start from Dh250, Dh300 and Dh500; Cultural Foundation Theatre, Abu Dhabi

February 16  - 22

See the tennis pros in Dubai

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 28: Roger Federer of Switzerland plays a forehand during his Mens Singles Quarterfinal match against Tennys Sandgren of the United States on day nine of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 28, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

The annual Duty Free Tennis Championships returns to the city for two weeks of exciting on-court and off-court action. Roger Federer will be back to defend his title and six of the top female tennis players are set to compete in the women’s tournament. Off-court there will be entertainment, live music, and a host of eating and drinking options for the whole family.

Friday to Saturday, February 17 to 29, match timings vary from 10:30am to 7pm; tickets from Dh55; Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Garhoud, Dubai; www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com

Enjoy a Michelin-starred meal, Dubai 

Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura is hosting a special dining experience at his Dubai restaurant, Torno Subito. The exclusive two-night dinner will see Bottura himself step behind the stove to prepare an eight-course meal that includes a selection of traditional Italian dishes, as well as some of Bottura’s childhood favourites.

Tuesday and Wednesday, February 18 and 19; Dh600 for food only, Dh1,500 for dinner and an overnight stay at the W Dubai; Torno Subito, W Dubai, West Crescent, Palm Jumeirah; 04 245 5800, tornosubitodubai.com 

Try a flexi Masterchef menu, Dubai

Elena Duggan, the winner of MasterChef Australia 2017, is heading to Dubai for a debut residency at MasterChef, the TV Experience. For three evenings, Duggan will prepare a five-course flexi-menu that is adaptable to diners who are gluten free or vegetarian. Dishes include an amuse-bouche of lavender goats cheese and beetroot relish with Aussie dukkha; octopus and mandarins for a starter; and duck and grapes for a main.

Tuesday to Thursday, February 18 to 20; Dh329 for the meal and a welcome drink; MasterChef, the TV Experience at Millennium Marina Place; 04 550 8111, www.masterchefdxb.com

Take on the RAK Half, Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah- February 20, 2009 - More than 1600 runners competed in the RAK Half Marathon in Ras Al Khaimah, February 20, 2009. (Photo by Jeff Topping/ The National )  *** Local Caption ***  JT011-0220-RAK MARATHON 7F8Q8699.jpgJT011-0220-RAK MARATHON 7F8Q8699.jpg

Known as 'the world's fastest half marathon,' this 21.1 kilometre race will be set along a picturesque running route with views of white sandy beaches and the Arabian Gulf. Welcoming everyone from amateurs to world-class athletes, runners will complete a route on Al Marjan Island in the northern emirate. The marathon also this year introduced a new relay race category for the first time; allowing two participants to take turns in completing the distance in a timed format.

Friday, February 21, 7am; from Dh70; Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah; www.therakhalfmarathon.com

Take part in the Daman TriYas Challenge, Abu Dhabi

Head to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina to swim, cycle and run towards the finish line of the 10th ever Daman TriYas Challenge, which is taking place on Friday, February 21. It’s the region’s only day-to-night triathlon event and there are categories for everyone, from children to adults of all abilities. Enter as an individual or a group.

Friday, February 21, 8am-3pm; prices vary from Dh85 to Dh640; Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.yasmarinacircuit.com

Do some stretching at XYoga, Dubai

The fourth edition of this holistic Dubai yoga festival takes place at Kite Beach between dusk and dawn, offering classes, workshops and activities, as well as health-focused food stalls, yoga equipment stores and live entertainment. Mingle with international and local yogis, join classes that cater to your abilities and learn more techniques.

Friday and Saturday, February 21 and 22, 8am-6pm; free with registration; Kite Beach, Dubai; www.xyogadubai.com

Check out Bodytree’s yoga market, Dubai 

Bodytree Studio’s annual yoga market is back in the capital for a sixth year, with back-to-back classes on all things related to health, wellness and mindfulness. Children and adults are invited to join in workshops on everything from hatha to kundalini yoga, while health experts will also lead talks on topics such as sustainability, and local vendors sell their wares. New to this year’s schedule are 15-minute shiatsu massage tasters and private sound healing sessions.

Friday, February 21, 8.30am-4pm; free to enter, tickets from Dh200 for a full day; Bodytree Studio, corner of Hazza bin Zayed and Mubarak bin Mohammed Street, Abu Dhabi; www.bodytreestudio.com

February 23 - 29 

Visit Hay Festival, Abu Dhabi

Bernadine Evaristo, Adonis and Jokha Alharthi are among the names set to appear at the inaugural Hay Festival Abu Dhabi. 

One of the world’s biggest literary festivals is coming to Abu Dhabi. Hay Festival, which started in Wales in 1987 and has since been held in 30 locations around the world, arrives in Abu Dhabi for the first time, with a four-day event featuring talks, spoken word, music, comedy and theatre. There's a bumper programme featuring the likes of Man Booker winner Jokha Alharthi, Nobel Laureates Shirin Ebadi and Ahmed Galai, and Syrian poet Adonis, who will celebrate his 90th birthday at the event.

Monday to Thursday, February 24 to 27, times vary; from Dh20; locations across Abu Dhabi; 04 560 9600; www.hayfestival.com/abu-dhabi

See Colours of Life at Coya, Abu Dhabi

Coya Abu Dhabi is presenting the Colors of Life exhibition from February 25, featuring 13 works by Thomas Salamonski, a contemporary painter from Austria. An adaptation of Salamonski’s Squared Faces exhibition, which was first presented in Vienna, Colors of Life features additional works in the artist’s signature style – reminiscent of the graffiti and pop art of the 1980s – including colourful portraits and paintings of animals.

From Monday, February 25; Coya Abu Dhabi at Four Seasons at The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi; 02 306 7000, www.coyarestaurant.com 

See Lauryn and Lionel at Dubai Jazz Festival

GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 28:  Lauryn Hill performs on stage during day three of the Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 28, 2019 in Glastonbury, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

The Dubai Jazz Festival returns in February with one of its biggest line-ups to date. Hip-hop legend Ms Lauryn Hill will headline the event, held at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre on Wednesday, February 26, while Lionel Richie will be the headliner on Thursday, February 27. One Republic will be the headliners for the third and final day of the festival, on Friday, February 28. Tickets are on sale now, and start from Dh395.

Wednesday to Friday, February 26 to 28; from Dh395; Dubai Media City Amphitheatre; dubai.platinumlist.net

Hear the greatest hits of ‘60s legends, Dubai 

Tunes from The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and other legends of the 1960s will be performed during a show at Dubai's QE2 this month. Expect to hear all the classics – Satisfaction, Paint It Black and Hey Jude – as The Revolvers '60s tribute band transports you back to an era of legendary music. Attend just for the show or join the supper club for a three-course meal, too.

Wednesday to Saturday, February 26 to 28, 8pm-10pm on Wednesday and Thursday, and 9pm-midnight on Friday; tickets from Dh162; Queen Elizabeth 2, Mina Rashid, Dubai; www.qe2.com

See Pastor Chris at CocaCola Arena, Dubai

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome is a superstar in Nigeria, and his events there see millions of people attend. He's holding two days of worship at Dubai's Coca Cola Arena this month. Expect a lot of song. There will be three three-hour sessions, one on the Thursday night, one on the Friday morning and one on the Friday evening.

Thursday and Friday, February 27 and 28, from 6pm or 9am; Dh35; CocaCola Arena, CityWalk; 2daysofglory.com 

See oud master Nehad Al Sayed, Abu Dhabi 

Following a week of masterclasses at Bait Al Oud, Swiss-Egyptian oud master Nehad Al Sayed will perform with his students at the Cultural Foundation Amphitheatre. Bait Al Oud Abu Dhabi is one of the leading music academies in the region. Its aim is to develop the talent of Emirati youth in playing traditional Arabic instruments.

Thursday, February 27, 8pm-10pm; Dh50; Cultural Foundation Amphitheatre, Abu Dhabi; 02 657 6348, www.culturalfoundation.ae/

See the latest French films at Francofilm Festival

This image released by Amazon Studios shows, from left, Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti and Djebril Zonga in a scene from "Les Miserables." On Monday, Jan. 13, 2020, the film was nominated for best international film of the year. (Amazon Studios via AP)

The 10th Francofilm Festival will bring nine French-language films to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Films include Oscar-nominated French drama film Les Miserables. Films will be screened at Cinema Akil in Dubai and at the Edition Hotel in Abu Dhabi. See the full list of films here. All non-English films will have English, Arabic and French subtitles.

Friday, February 28 to Saturday, March 7, various times, from Dh52.5; various locations www.cinemaakil.com/films

Men, sign up for an immersive meditation workshop, Dubai 

German sound artist and meditative healer Hansu Jot will host the Men’s Immersion workshop at Life’n One meditation centre on February 28. The session includes short lectures, kundalini yoga, breath work, sound healing, chanting and interactive exercises aimed at finding purpose, fostering healthy relationships, increasing emotional intelligence and generating prosperity, and aims to provide a safe space for men to explore their spiritual side. Jot’s premise is that men should “hold the space of clarity and connection [to] allow spiritually empowered women to relax and thrive”.

Friday, February 28, 5.30pm-7.30pm; Dh250; Life’n One, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai; 056 534 2899, info@lifenone.com

See Mr Men Little Miss on stage, Abu Dhabi 

Art For All is bringing the latest Mr Men stage show from the UK to the UAE. Kids' favourite Mr. Men and Little Miss characters will tell a series of hilarious and colourful stories told through music and puppets. It’s a family show for all ages.

Friday, February 28; 11am, 2pm, 4pm; The Theatre at Mall of the Emirates; Saturday, February 29; 2pm, 4pm; Abu Dhabi Theatre, Abu Dhabi; tickets from Dh69; www.tickets.virginmegastore.me/ae

Up your fitness game with MMA-inspired classes, Dubai

Try an MMA-inspired conditioning workout followed by breakfast at Azure.

If your new year fitness resolutions have slipped, pick them back up with an MMA-inspired fitness class at Azure Beach. Former UFC contender Krzysztof Soszynski will join coaches from UFC Gym UAE to lead participants through a series of conditioning exercises designed to get everyone’s hearts pumping. Train hard, there’s a nutritious breakfast waiting for you at Azure Beach when you finish.

Saturday, February 29, 10am; Dh80 (including breakfast), Dh130 (including breakfast and day pass); Azure, Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR; 04 342 1924. www.azure-beach.com