Things to do in UAE this week, from Taylor Swift tribute act to Steve Harvey BBQ festival

Gulfood and Phantom of the Opera are also on the cards

A Taylor Swift tribute concert is taking place in Dubai. Photo: Reuters
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This week is made for foodies with several big-ticket events lined up, from the annual Gulfood in Dubai and a barbecue-themed food festival in Abu Dhabi.

Dining aside, there's also a Taylor Swift tribute concert, as well as a cultural event preluding Ramadan.

Here, The National rounds up seven things to do around the Emirates, from February 19 to 25.


Parents who dine out at Expo City Dubai on Monday will receive complimentary meals for their children.

Diners aged 12 and under eat for free at any of the restaurants across the vicinity until March 8. This includes Alkebulan by renowned chef and author Alexander Smalls. For Middle Eastern cravings, Assembly Mezze & Skewers might do the trick, while health buffs can head to vegan cafe PXB.

Other restaurants include Philly Jawn by Ghostburger, Yamanote Collective, Talhan and Grand Beirut. Eligible diners get one meal on the house for every order of an adult's meal.

Until March 8; Expo City Dubai;


It's never too late to grab those training shoes and get a gym membership. Fitness First has introduced Rush, a 45-minute group workout targeting both cardiovascular and muscular endurance.

The programme is available to members of all Fitness First clubs in the UAE. However, on Tuesday, there will be a special ladies-only class at the Abu Dhabi Mall branch.

Rush comprises two rounds of high-intensity interval training, utilising eight working stations to blend cardiovascular, strength, functional, fit bench and core exercises. The workout also comes with a curated pre-choreographed music playlist to set the mood.

Various dates and timings; memberships start at Dh258 per month;


Attend the annual Gulfood at Dubai World Trade Centre on Wednesday, for a taste, literally, of all things culinary.

Thousands of brands will gather under one roof showcasing food products, from cooking ingredients to pastries and packed goods. The event blends trade and consumer elements, with the public also invited to sample one-off finds and little-known cuisines, and attend workshops and demonstrations.

Some of the award-winning chefs set to make an appearance this year include Christian Le Squer of Le Cinq in Paris; Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca in Spain; and Mark Donald of The Glenturret in Scotland – all Michelin-starred restaurants.

Until Friday; from Dh595 for a five-day entry pass; Dubai World Trade Centre;


On Thursday, catch the return of the critically acclaimed musical Phantom of the Opera in Dubai.

Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, the show is set in 19th-century Paris. It tells the story of the musical prodigy the Phantom who haunts the Paris Opera House. He falls in love and lures Christine, a young soprano, to be his protege.

The show features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It has won more than 70 major awards since its debut in London's West End in 1986. Some of the hit songs include Think of Me, All I Ask of You and Music of the Night.

Until February 27; 8pm; from Dh275; Dubai Opera;


Unfortunately for Taylor Swift fans, her record-breaking The Eras Tour isn't making a Middle East stop. However, for those in Dubai, a tribute concert at Theatre at QE2 might be enough for now.

The UK tribute act is led by British singer Katy Ellis, who attempts to emulate the American superstar from her voice, look and contagious energy on stage. Fans can expect to sing along to hits such as Love Story, You Belong With Me and Cruel Summer.

Friday and Saturday; 2.30pm and 7.30pm; from Dh99; Port Rashid;


For a cultural treat, and charming preview of the coming Ramadan, head to Al Shindagha Museum to learn more about Hag Al Laila – an ancient Emirati tradition where children visit homes in their neighbourhood, singing songs in return for sweets.

The Creek-side heritage venue will host authentic experiences that highlight the values of community by way of workshops and demonstrations.

Friday and Saturday; 4pm-8pm; free; Dubai Creek;


Foodies can head to Yas Marina Circuit on Sunday to catch the last day of the Open Fire Food Festival, featuring the “smoky flavours of the desert”.

Hosted by Steve Harvey, the event celebrates all things barbecue, with demonstrations from prominent pitmasters such as Moe Cason, Steven Raichlen and Melissa Cookston. Several food stalls will be at the venue, while young Emirati chef Aysha AlObeidli will host workshops for the children. There will be eating competitions, too.

Saturday and Sunday; 10am-midnight; from Dh75; Yas Marina Circuit;

Updated: February 20, 2024, 6:38 AM