14 things to do over the long weekend in Dubai and Abu Dhabi

From new exhibitions to brunches and staycation deals, here's how to make the most of the three-day break

With the weather cooling down across the UAE and another long weekend upon us, it's the perfect time to get out and about and enjoy what the country has to offer.

This weekend, there are plenty of exciting things happening, so whether you are looking for a summer staycation, or to indulge in delicious dining offers, you can find some inspiration below...

Ain Dubai

Be among the first to ride the long-awaited Ain Dubai, as it opens to the public on Thursday. The world’s largest observation wheel will celebrate its grand opening with fireworks displays, food trucks and live performances across Friday and Saturday. DJ Dany Neville will start celebrations on Friday evening, with a live set at 8pm which will be projected in all the capsules for riders to enjoy.

On Friday, several artists and acts from Flash Entertainment and Virgin Radio Dubai’s Regional Artist Spotlight initiative will perform from 2pm until evening. Of course, you can book your tickets for a 38-minute spin on the wheel, and take in incredible views of Dubai in all its glory.

From Friday, October 21; 2pm-10pm; tickets from Dh130, performances at Ain Dubai Plaza free; Ain Dubai Plaza, Bluewaters Island; aindubai.com

All Africa Festival

Downtown Dubai’s Burj Park will play host to All Africa Festival this weekend, when the likes of Mohamed Ramadan and M People’s Heather Small take to the stage. Plenty of food from the continent will be on offer, with more than a dozen food trucks serving up authentic flavours.

Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, whose work has been exhibited at London's Tate Modern, will debut a series of pieces created for the festival.

Thursday, October 21 to Saturday, October 23; 1pm-10.30pm; from Dh52.50; All Africa Festival, Burj Park; allafricafestival.com

Ula beach club

Enjoy the long weekend with a chilled out day at Dubai’s newest beach club, Ula. The chic beachside spot, located at Dukes, The Palm, offers up some serious boho vibes, Mediterranean dishes and a great view set against the backdrop of the Marina skyline. Ula is from the team behind Dubai favourites including Asia Asia, STK and Koyo, so you can expect the same lively vibe and Instagrammable decor.

To celebrate the opening, it is offering a special deal throughout its preview period which includes a three-course set menu of chef favourites, accompanied by two drinks per person for Dh500 per couple. Standard weekday entry is Dh100, with Dh50 redeemable on food and drink, while for weekend entry, it’s Dh200, with Dh100 redeemable.

Open daily; Ula, Dukes, The Palm, Palm Jumeirah; 04 565 2231, @uladxb

Down-To-Earth feast at Nikki Beach

Dubai’s Nikki Beach will celebrate the return of al fresco dining season with a special 15-course dinner, taking place on Thursday. The Down-To-Earth feast pioneers sustainable eating through vibrantly coloured, peak-season fruit, as well as dishes from the land and sea, with sharing-style dishes. The menu is priced at Dh350 per person, inclusive of a glass of sustainably made grape.

Thursday, October 21, 8pm-10pm; Dh350 per person, prior reservation required; Nikki Beach Resort and Spa, Pear Jumeirah; nikkibeach.com

Family-friendly brunch at The First Collection, JVC

Try the new nautical-themed Seaside Brunch at Village Bistro inside The First Collection, JVC. The brunch will focus on British seaside classics when it comes to both the menu and entertainment, with staples such as fish and chips, mushy peas, and a roast dinner on offer. Families can also enjoy a number of nostalgic seaside games, from bucket throws to tin can bowling, and little ones can build sandcastles. The brunch also grants access to the pool at The First Collection.

Fridays, 12.30pm-4.30pm; Dh150 for children aged 4-11, from Dh250 for adults; Village Bistro, The First Collection, JVC; thefirstcollection.ae

Palmarama at White Beach Dubai

A slice of Ibiza comes to Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah this weekend, as the event series Palmarama kicks off a winter residency at White Beach this Friday. Taking place each Friday, the residency, which is an import from Ibiza’s famous Ushuaia hotel and club, will bring a host of world-class DJs, starting off with house and techno producer Damian Lazarus. Guests are invited to purchase a seated or standing table, with minimum spend at Dh2,000 per group.

Friday, October 22; 9pm; Dh2,000 per table; White Beach, Atlantis, The Palm, Palm Jumeirah; atlantis.com

Diwali Bazaar in JLT

Start your Diwali shopping by visiting a Diwali Bazaar, taking place at Jumeirah Lakes Towers this Friday and Saturday. Organised by Khau Galli in collaboration with Indian Expats in Dubai, the bazaar will feature more than 50 brands offering festive clothes, jewellery, decor and gift hampers.

Street food from JLT restaurant Khau Galli will be on offer, as well as a host of activities.

Friday and Saturday, October 22 and 23; 4pm-10pm; free; lake level, Cluster S, JLT

What will we wear? exhibition at Expo 2020 Dubai

Leicester's De Montfort University, which has a campus in Dubai, will bring an exhibition called What will we wear? that looks at how technology is reshaping our world and the clothes we wear, to the UK Pavilion this weekend. The show will feature some of the materials and technologies that have been developed at DMU to resolve a few of the huge challenges faced by the textile industry. Some have been created using space-age technologies, while others use ancient materials in unexpected new ways, with works by Jinsong Shen, professor of textile chemistry and biotechnology, and Martin Richardson, professor of modern holography.

Friday and Saturday, October 22 and 23; all day; UK Pavilion; Expo 2020 Dubai; expo2020.com

Maxime Gasteuil live

Award-winning comedian Maxime Gasteuil will perform his latest French-language stand-up show at The Theatre, Mall of the Emirates, at the weekend. The comic, who left his small home town of Saint-Emilion to live in Paris, bases much of his content around the 80 per cent of people living in the French capital who move from the country’s extensive countryside. Expect plenty of laughs and relatable, city-living content. Tickets are required to be booked in groups.

Saturday and Sunday, October 23 and 24; 10pm-midnight; from Dh350 per group; The Theatre, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai; malloftheemirates.com

ICC Men’s World Cup

The second round of the ICC T20 World Cup gets under way this weekend, with Australia set to play South Africa at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi at 2pm on Saturday.

That will be followed at 6pm at the Dubai International Stadium by a repeat of the 2016 final, when England, cricket’s 50-over world champions, face West Indies, the T20 World Cup holders.

Saturday, October 23; 2pm and 6pm; tickets from Dh75; Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Dubai International Stadium; t20worldcup.com

The Abu Dhabi Edition staycation

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 31 OCTOBER 2018. The newly opened Edition Hotel in Al Bateen. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Melinda Healy. Section: Weekend.

Make the most of the long weekend and take advantage of a great staycation offer at The Abu Dhabi Edition. Grab a friend or partner and check-in for the Edition Weekender, which offers early check-in and late check-out, so you can really utilise your time at the luxury hotel. You’ll also get brunch for two at your choice of the hotel’s restaurants on Friday, or day access to the pool and al fresco breakfast at Alba Terrace. Prices are from Dh1,502 per room.

Weekends; from Dh1,502 per room based on two people sharing; Abu Dhabi Edition, Al Bateen Marina; editionhotels.com

Abu Dhabi Culinary season

The third Abu Dhabi Culinary is under way, and this weekend, a host of supper clubs take place as part of the Food Forward Series. Join chefs Anthony Demetre and Faisal Naser as they put their heads together to create a farm-to-table experience that celebrates regional produce and international techniques for a special menu on offer at Emirates Palace’s Sayad at the weekend.

Until Saturday, October 23; Dh400; Sayad, Emirates Palace, Corniche Road; abudhabiculinary.ae

Rooftop Rhythms

Join a virtual slam competition and open mic night as part of NYU Abu Dhabi’s ever-popular Rooftop Rhythms sessions. Up-and-coming spoken word artists, poets and musicians will present original material and showcase their talents, for the 10th season of the series. Spots can be reserved online free of charge.

Wednesday, October 20, 8pm; free with registration; nyuad.nyu.edu

Warehouse421

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. October 13, 2015///

Preview of Warehouse 421, Sheikha Salama's Foundation arts center located in Mina Zayed. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Mona Al Marzooqi/ The National 

Reporter: Nich Leech 
Section: Arts & Life  *** Local Caption ***  151013-MM-Warehouse421-026.JPG

Check out Warehouse421’s new exhibition, As We Gaze Upon Her, which launched earlier this week. Created by the Banat Collective in partnership with the Bombay Institute for Critical Analysis and Research, the exhibition attempts to expand the notion of "woman", which has “often been constrained by social, cultural, and existential insecurities”.

Until January 23; Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-8pm; free; Warehouse421, Zayed Port, Abu Dhabi; www.warehouse421.ae

Updated: October 21st 2021, 3:09 AM