Rain in the UAE: 10 things to do in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this washed-out weekend

The downpour may have put a dampener on some outdoor events, but there's still plenty to do around the Emirates

For some, rainy days call for one thing only: curling up on the sofa with Netflix's finest.

However, for those who don't fancy being relegated to the inside of their apartments, this weekend isn't a total wash-out.

Read: Weekend rainstorm brings chaos to Dubai and Abu Dhabi roads

While the weather has forced the postponement of some scheduled events, including Mohammed Assaf and Omar Al Abdallat's gig at Al Majaz Amphitheatre and Al Shindagha Days, a 10-day cultural festival in Dubai that will resume later this week, there's still plenty to do around town.

Sure, sunbathing and an afternoon by the pool might be out of the question, but below, we have 10 ideas to get you out (if not outside) and about in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Head to the cinema

No, it's not exactly an inventive suggestion, but this weekend is a particularly good time to hit the movies. Sam Mendes's First World War epic 1917 landed in cinemas on Thursday, and it looks set to be a shoo-in when the Academy Award nominations are announced on Monday, January 13. Also still in cinemas this weekend are the Golden Globe-nominated whodunnit Knives Out, Ford vs Ferrari and Nicole Kidman's Bombshell, based on sexual harassment allegations at Fox News.

Get a discounted bite to eat

With delivery services seeing a halt or delay in food orders thanks to the inclement weather, venture out for dinner – without breaking the bank. Restaurant Month Abu Dhabi, which launched earlier this month, gives residents living in the capital the chance to dine at their favourite eateries at discounted prices, with participating restaurants offering three-course meals, as part of a special menu, for Dh175. For those of you in Dubai, head down to JLT where a number of restaurants are offering one main course dish for only Dh10 per portion (plus VAT) as part of the #Ten4JLT dining promotion.

Shop 'til you drop

Dubai, United Arab Emirates- August, 10, 2013: Visitors at the Mall of Emirates during the EID holidays in Dubai . ( Satish Kumar / The National ) For Business *** Local Caption ***  SK100-MallofEmirates-05.jpg

Again, not the most surprising suggestion, but this weekend's downfall handily coincides with the ongoing Dubai Shopping Festival, which is currently in its 25th year and runs until Saturday, February 1, There will be sales across the city throughout the month, in destinations including The Dubai and Mall of the Emirates, as well as daily raffles and prizes, with everything from a Nissan Patrol 2020 to Dh200,000 up for grabs. Shoppers in Abu Dhabi will also find plenty of post-Christmas deals at stores across the city, so now's the perfect time to snap up a new wardrobe or replace your outdated TV.


Hit the gym

It's not for everyone, granted, but you could kick those New Year's resolutions up a gear for an hour or so. Whether you pound the treadmill in your building or visit your local gym, some cardio, weights or a spot of yoga will make you feel a little better about spending the rest of the day on the sofa. For those of you in Dubai, this weekend also marks the opening of StudioRepublik on Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai Garden Centre. The 65,000-square-foot fitness and wellness destination is putting on a range of complimentary classes this weekend, from yoga and Pilates to bootcamp-style workouts and drama sessions for kids.

StudioRepublik, daily, 5.30am-11pm; Eiffel 1, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai; www.studio-republik.com

Find an adrenalin rush

Elsewhere in the world, theme parks tend to be an outdoorsy affair, with excursions called off when the clouds come rolling in. The same is not true of the UAE. Both Warner Bros World in Abu Dhabi and IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai are expansive indoor theme parks, with rides and entertainment to thrill every member of the family.

Tickets for Warner Bros World, Abu Dhabi, start at Dh230 for kids and Dh295 for adults, www.wbworldabudhabi.com, and IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai, start at Dh299 for adults, www.imgworlds.com

Treat yourself to a spa day

Make sure you're fully rested and relaxed before another working week kicks off. Whether you opt for a mani-pedi, a facial or a full-body massage, indulge in a little me-time at salons and spas around the UAE. For those looking for something ultra-luxe, Melia Desert Palm Dubai is offer one-day recharge package which includes a 30-minute mini facial, lunch, a personal training session or horse riding, yoga and then a 90-minute full body treatment. In Abu Dhabi, meanwhile, visitors to the Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island's Anjana Spa will get a free upgrade to a 90-minute massage when they book any 60-minute body treatment.

Sunday, January 1 until Friday, January 31; 9am-9pm; from Dh1,520 per person; Dubai Melia Desert Palm Dubai, Al Awir Road; 04 323 8888 www.melia.comAnjana Spa, daily, 8am-10pm; Rixos Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi; 0850 755 1 797, www.saadiyatisland.rixos.com

Challenge yourself at an escape room

Hit up an escape room for the day, and there are plenty around the UAE. In Abu Dhabi try Sharda at Dalma Mall. Sharda (an Emirati word for escape) offers challenges that will see you get kidnapped, washed up on a desert island and more. You have 60 minutes to try and crack the code. In Dubai, head to TEPfactor in Jumeirah Beach Residence, which offers a variety of different physical and mental challenges. Thrill seekers should go to Phobia, which has two locations in Dubai's Jumeirah Lakes Towers. The Dark Room, in the Red Diamond Building, is said to be a particularly terrifying experience.

Sharda, Dalma Mall, Abu Dhabi, open daily from 10am, from Dh90 per person, www.sharda.ae; TEPfactor, Bahar Plaza, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, open daily from 10am, from Dh79 for kids and Dh99 for adults, www.tepfactor.ae; Phobia, X1 Tower and Red Diamond Building, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, open daily from 11am, from Dh115, www.phobia.ae

Head to a museum

FILE PHOTO: Visitors look at the dome hall design of the Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, December 25, 2018. Picture taken December 25, 2018. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

When was the last time you brushed up on local history? The Dubai Museum gives visitors an insight into traditional Bedouin life; Louvre Abu Dhabi has some of the world's most valuable pieces of art on display; the Dubai Moving Images Museum in Barsha Heights displays a private collection of photography artefacts; Emirates National Auto Museum in Al Gharbia, Abu Dhabi, is a must-visit for car buffs; the interactive Sharjah Science Museum is a great place to brush up on all things scientific; and the Sharjah Art Foundation is a great place to check out guest exhibitions.

Get building

Visit the Lego Festival at Dubai Festive City Mall. The event is for kids and adults alike, offering a host of activities and a Lego Ninjago-themed Imagine Show. There will also be seven Lego-themed zones at the festival, located across the mall in both indoor and outdoor venues. The sections are to dedicated to Lego City, Lego Friends, Lego Duplo, Lego Ninjago, Lego Technic, Lego Architecture, Lego Shadow Runner and Lego Jungle. With more than one million Lego bricks, guests will be able to try their hands at building sculptures of trains, fire engines or even a Burj Khalifa model.

Until Saturday, March 14; Sunday to Wednesday, 2pm-10pm, Thursday to Saturday, 2pm-midnight; Dh30; Lego Festival, Dubai Festival City Mall; Crescent Road, Dubai; 800 332; www.dubaifestivalcitymall.com

Take a selfie

Arguably this can be done at any time, but you can now upgrade your typical portrait at the “first ever dedicated selfie museum" in Dubai. The Selfie Kingdom in Motor City features 15 pop-up rooms filled with backdrops and props, so you can get something a bit different for the 'Gram.

The Selfie Kingdom, 11am-8pm, Sunday to Saturday, Dh55 per adult, per hour for general admission, Daytona House, Office 101, Motor City, Dubai, www.theselfiekingdom.com