Things to do in the UAE this week, from Exo concert to Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix

There's an outdoor market in Dubai, cartoon takeovers at malls and an outdoor gallery in the capital

Abu Dhabi is hosting Sail Grand Prix for the first time. Photo: Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix
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It's been a busy start to the UAE's events calendar, especially as the weather remains optimal for outdoor fun.

This week, things to do include watching a sailing competition in Abu Dhabi, an al fresco market in Dubai and a K-pop concert by boy band Exo.

Here, The National rounds up seven things to do around the Emirates from January 8 to 14.


Dubai Design District is hosting Etisalat MOTB (Market Outside The Box).

This year's event has a treasure trove of retail, beauty and food vendors, both local and international. Highlights include handmade candles from Adore Sand; kaftans and abayas from Rai The Label; and the Fenty Beauty drive-in at the car park for make-up enthusiasts.

Food pop-ups include Vietnamese Foodies, Streetery Mamafri and Club Mochi.

An hourly live performance will take place on the main stage, in addition to dance battles and “rap Olympics”.

Monday to Thursday, 4pm-10pm; Friday to Sunday, 4pm-midnight; until Sunday; free; Dubai Design District


Topgolf is celebrating its third anniversary on Tuesday with a promotion.

Guests who book one hour of play will receive an extra hour for free. There are 96 hitting bays at the lounge and semi-indoor driving range.

The licensed facility is open to all skill levels and no prior golf experience is required. Players can choose from a selection of games where digital trackers measure and score every shot.

Tuesday, 10am-2am; from Dh140 per hour; Emirates Golf Club; 04 371 9999


Characters from The Smurfs are taking over City Centre Mirdif.

A magic forest activity area has games and other interactive sessions such as a mirror maze, gardening zone and an augmented reality mirror that turns guests into versions of the blue cartoons.

Daily, 2pm-10pm; until January 21; free; City Centre Mirdif, Dubai;


The Khalifa Park Library has turned into an outdoor gallery showcasing artworks from dozens of Emirati and other Arab artists.

Launched by Maktaba, the library management section of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, the KPL Art Hub has numerous formats on display, from sculptures and paintings to handicrafts and photographs.

Daily, 6pm-10pm; until Sunday; free; Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi; 02 657 6182


The cartoon fun continues at Dubai Festival City Mall with a Paw Patrol-themed festival.

A section of the mall has been transformed into Adventure Bay with interactive elements from the popular children's franchise. There is an augmented reality trampoline game and a “Pup Park” play area among games and activities.

There are also daily shows that include live singalong performances with the Paw Patrol gang.

Daily, 10am-midnight; until January 28; from Dh130 per person, inclusive of a show; Dubai Festival City Mall;


Watersports fans can head to Mina Zayed on Saturday for an adrenalin-fuelled weekend at the first Mubadala Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix.

High-speed catamarans, manned by professional athletes, will sail through the waters of the Dhow Harbour during the competition. There will also be live performances, food pop-ups and other activations.

There will be various viewing decks – at varying prices – to watch the action, though guests can also bring their own boats to watch the competition from the waters.

Saturday and Sunday, from 1pm; from Dh145 per person; Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi;


K-pop fans can head to Coca-Cola Arena on Sunday to see performances from Chanyeol, Xiumin and Chen, who are part of the boy band Exo.

Expect to hear hit songs such as Love Shot, Growl and Overdose. South Korean DJ Raiden and Dubai's DJ Bliss will also take to the stage.

Sunday; doors open 5pm; from Dh295; City Walk, Dubai;

Updated: January 08, 2024, 3:58 AM