Things to do in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this week: October 13 to 19

Diaries at the ready, here are all the best events happening this week

The Dubai Fitness Challenge returns to the emirate this week. Courtesy Dubai Fitness Challenge 
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Making plans for the week ahead? There are plenty of events on offer in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to keep you busy. From the arrival of one of the world's most famous musicals in Dubai, to all things superyachts with the return of the Abu Dhabi International Boat Show, here are all the big events happening over the next seven days:

Talk literature with author Lisa O’Donnell, Dubai

'The Death of Bees' author Lisa O’Donnell is coming to Dubai to to discuss the art of story-telling at Emirates Literature Foundation event. Courtesy Emirates Literature Festival 

Author Lisa O'Donnell ill be in Dubai for an evening of literature hosted by the Emirates Literature Foundation. O'Donnell is award-winning author of The Death of Bees (2013), which won the Commonwealth Book Prize. Her second novel, Closed Doors was described as a "dazzling new novel" by The New York Times Book Review.

Tuesday, October 15 at 7pm at the Creative Space, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Dubai Festival City, tickets start from Dh35, booking is required,

Last chance to see the 'Friends' set in Dubai

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - September 21, 2019: Standalone. Tourists at Dubai mall celebrate the 25th anniversary of the TV show 'Friends' where they have set you the Central Perk couch. Saturday the 21st of September 2019. Dubai Mall, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Head to The Dubai Fountain and your last 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 Wednesday, October 16, free, Waterfront Promenade, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, 04 567 2030,

Get out on the water at the Abu Dhabi International Boat Show

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, September 1, 2014:     A man flyboards in the Al Maqta Channel in front of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi on September 1, 2014. A Flyboard is a type of water jet-pack attached to a personal water craft which supplies propulsion to drive the device through air and water. Christopher Pike / The National

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Possible focal point

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,

Dine with Massimo Bottura in Dubai

Italian chef Massimo Bottura will host two dinner at his Dubai restaurant Torno Subito this week. AFP

This week, 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.

Wednesday, October 16 and  Thursday, October 17, open 7pm to 11pm, from Dh450, Torno Subito, W Dubai — The Palm, 04 245 5555,

Enjoy 'The Phantom of the Opera' in Dubai

'Phantom of the Opera' is based on the stormy relationship between the title character and his protege Christine Daae. Courtesy Dubai Opera

Phantom of the Opera, 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,  

Stay up at Insomnia Gaming Festival in Dubai

Multiplay Insomnia62 at NEC - James Lawson/iEventMedia

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,

Catch The Laughter Factory in Abu Dhabi

Comedian Mike Capozzola. Courtesy The Laughter Factory 

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.

Wednesday, October 16, 8pm, Park Rotana, Abu Dhabi, 050 878 6728,

Scour for books in the Big Bad Wolf Sale, Dubai

Big Bad Wolf book sale 2019.
(Photo: Reem Mohammed/The National)


The world’s biggest book sale is continuing in Dubai this week. 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.

Until Sunday, October 20; free; Sound Stage Venue, Studio City, Dubai,

Get cosy for Yas movies in the Park, Abu Dhabi

Yas Movies in the Park returns for 2019. Courtesy Yas Island 

Book your tickets for the Yas Movies in the Park outdoor cinema experience. Enjoy al fresco screenings, music and entertainment, shopping, food trucks, a children's zone, carnival rides and a funfair. Films include Aladdin, Moana, The Greatest Showman, Beauty and the Beast and Avengers: Endgame.

Thursday, October 17 to Saturday, October 19, 4pm to midnight, free entry with registration, from Dh65 for the VIP experience, du Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi,

Enjoy 'Friends' on the big screen in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

FRIENDS -- Pictured: (l-r) Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller, Matt Le Blanc as Joey Tribbiani, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay  (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Get tickets for a screening of episodes from the popular American TV show Friends. In honour of the show's 25th anniversary, Vox Cinemas will screen some of the most  popular episodes in 4K on the big screen. Four episodes will be screened in separate sittings, held on Monday, October 14, Saturday, October 19 and Wednesday, October 23. Each screening will also include special cast introductions and "bonus footage". The locations are Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Deira, City Centre Mirdif and Kempinski Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, and Yas Mall and The Galleria Mall on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi.

Monday, October 14, Saturday, October 19 and Wednesday, October 23, from 7pm; from Dh36.75; various locations,

Catch a free screening at Sharjah International Film Festival for Children 

'Belly Flop' by Jeremy Collins is one of 132 films that will be screened at the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth. Courtesy SIFF 

Head to the Sharjah International Film Festival for Children and Youth. There will be 132 films from 39 countries, of which nine are short films from the GCC, 38 short animation films, 10 documentaries, 11 feature films, 10 child-made films and a special screening of nine refugees films. They will be shown in the JRCC main cinema, JRCC mini cinema, Zero 6 cinema and Arabian Centre cinema.

Until Friday, October 18, various timings; free; for locations and schedule, visit

Enjoy a week of Latin American cinema in Dubai 

Enjoy a week-long celebration of Latin American cinema with Alternativo Latino at Cinema Akil. The programme aims to explore the physical, emotional and socio-political landscapes across Central and South America. Films on the schedule include the award-winning City of God and Gael Garcia Bernalstarrer The Motorcycle Diaries. The event will close with the Chilean documentary Nostalgia for the Light where director Patricio Guzman travels to the Atacama Desert to observe the stars.

Until Thursday, October 17, various timings; from Dh56.50; Cinema Akil, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai,

Learn to Mosaic with an Emirati artist

Commercial and residential skyscrapers surround the Qasr Al Hosn palace fort in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Abu Dhabi sold $10 billion of bonds in a three-part deal in its first international offering in two years as it takes advantage of relatively low borrowing costs. Photographer: Christopher Pike/Bloomberg

Learn mosaic art with Emirati artist Nasim Al Majid. Create your own mini-mural by painting and gluing mosaic pieces into a works of art. He carefully selects the material for each artwork, taking into consideration shape, size, texture, and colour and in most cases cuts and shapes the tiles by hand. Materials usually include shells, corals and found objects.

Tuesday, October 15, 5pm; Dh250, Cultural Foundation, Qasr Al Hosn, Abu Dhabi, 

Enjoy a Sunset dinner on a Helipad above Abu Dhabi

View from St Regis Abu Dhabi Corniche helipad. Photo: Reem Mohammed / The National  (Reporter: Melinda Healy / Section: AL) ID 97699

 *** Local Caption ***  RM_20161111_STREGIS_016.JPG

Book your reservation for a Helipad Sunset Supper at the St Regis Abu Dhabi. Twenty guests will be able to experience a very unique event with elegant and palatable signature cakes, 255 meters in the air. With ambiance created by sounds of live violinist, delectable treats that satisfy every sweet tooth and the view from the highest active helipad in the Middle East – this is the perfect way to create a truly unforgettable evening. Attendees must be 21 years old.

Saturday, October 19, sunset, Dh650, St Regis helipad, The St Regis Abu Dhabi, Nation Towers, Corniche, 02 694 4553,

Get healthy with the return of Dubai Fitness Challenge

The Dubai Fitness Challenge is coming back on Friday, October 30, 2019. Courtesy Dubai Fitness Challenge 


ready to hit the gym, as the Dubai Fitness Challenge is returning this week, encouraging people in the emirate to get up and get active. The month-long initiative, which encourages people to do 30 minutes of exercise every day for 30 days, will kick off on Friday, October 18, and end on Saturday, November 16. There will be a host of workshops and sports events across the 30 days, including an appearance from Joe Wicks The Body Coach.

Friday, October 18 to Saturday, November 16; free; various locations, Dubai;

Celebrate all things cucumber at Soho Garden Dubai

Soho Garden is set to expand this summer. Courtesy Soho Garden

If you’re a cucumber fan, head down to Soho Garden Dubai on Thursday, October 17 and Friday, October 18, for a two-day celebration of the vegetable. With performances, tastings, workshops and shows over the two days, the festival-style Cucumber Carnival promises to bring something different to the emirate. Entertainment will include international acts such as The Electric Swing Circus and magic shows, to cucumber croquet and a cucumber horse race, plus food and drinks tastings.

Thursday, October 17 and Friday, October 18; free entry; Soho Garden Dubai, Grand Stand Al Meydan Road;

Get in to the Halloween spirit at Green Planet Dubai

The Green Planet will be turned into The Haunted rainforest for Halloween. Courtesy The Green Planet

Visit The Haunted Rainforest at The Green Planet. For two weeks, the family-friendly indoor tropical rainforest in City Walk will transform into an eerie Halloween haunt, complete with spooky spider webs, animal skeletons, pumpkins galore and a series of Face Your Fears animal encounters. There will be animal face painting and a range of child-friendly games including hopscotch and pumpkin tic-tac-toe. There will also be a range of tombstones throughout to showcase extinct animal species of the past.

Thursday, October 17 to Saturday, November 2, from 10am to 7pm; The Green Planet, City Walk, Dubai,, 04 317 3999