Get outside. Now. Seriously. Just go outdoors. Well done
There are heaps of things to do outdoors in Dubai – and the list just keeps on growing. In the past few weeks alone we’ve welcomed a brand new bike hire service, a park packed with 45 million flowers and the Middle East’s first bungee spot.
March is also one of the most perfect months of the year in the city in terms of climate, with daytime temperatures hitting an average of 28°C, accompanied that lovely cool breeze that’s so missed in summer. To help you make the most of it, we’ve compiled a bumper list of ideas to inspire every personality, and arranged them by price to help you identify which activities best suit your budget. Just don’t forget your suncream!
Less than Dhs100
1 Stroll around Dubai’s newest and most beautiful park Marvel at the colourful tapestry of 45 million flowers as you wander through the heart-shaped archways. Dhs20 per person; free for kids. Dubailand, near Arabian Ranches, www.the-miracle-garden.com.
2 Hire a bike from Byky Cruise around on European-style cycles, now in Downtown and Dubai Marina. Read more in our review here. From Dhs15 for 30 minutes. Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai, www.bykystations.com (800 3330).
3 Check out the Blue Planet Green People market in JLT This market sells organic products and has a gardening workshop on Friday at 11.30am. Free. Fri 10.30am-2.30pm. JLT (04 369 5209).
4 Scoff buckets of falafel on the quaint patio at Zaroob Portions arrive in batches of five or ten. From Dhs5. Jumeirah Tower, SZR (04 327 6060).
5 Do full-moon yoga at Talise Spa Stretch into your favourite poses to the sound of softly crashing waves. Dhs99. Wednesday March 27, 7.30pm. Talise Spa, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6818).
6 Skate the Tashkeel skate bowl Practise your kick flips and nose slides in the newly built Canopi bowl. Free. Tashkeel, Nad Al Sheba (04 336 3313).
7 Jump on the swings at Downtown’s new kids’ playgrounds Swings, slides and a playhouse feature in the playparks near the Pavilion and Burj Khalifa. Big kids welcome! Free. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (no number).
8 Buy organic produce at the new market in Deira Pick up a range of produce, fresh from local farms. Free. Fri-Sat 9am-4pm. Next to Deira fish market (no number).
9 Stuff your face with Barasti’s big breakfast Start the weekend with an enormous English breakfast, or the healthier fruit platter. English breakfast Dhs78, fruit Dhs45. Fri-Sat 9am-noon. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi (04 318 1313).
10 Meditate outdoors Choose a spot in the shade in the park, or on the breakwater rocks at Al Mamzar. Dhs5 per person. Al Mamzar (04 296 6201).
11-15 Quick ideas
Hire a Segway and glide round Downtown Dhs150 per person for 30 minutes. The Pavilion (056 146 4093).
Drinks, snacks and shisha at QD's by the creek Prices vary (04 295 6000).
Go horse riding in Mushrif Park Dhs300 per person (04 257 1256).
Hurl yourself down the revamped Jumeirah Sceirah at Wild Wadi From Dhs225 (04 348 4444).
Enlist some friends and clean up a patch of desert Free. For tips, contact www.emeg.ae (04 363 0582).
16 Play pool at Wavebreaker This chilled-out al-fresco beach bar is a great place to kick back and relax with friends. Dhs92 for two glasses of house grape; pool Dhs5 per game. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, The Walk at JBR (04 399 1111).
17 Drink fresh juice at Tavalino Café in Deira Pull up a seat at this hidden yet buzzing joint and order a tangy lemon juice. From Dhs9. Baniyas Tower, Al Maktoum Road (04 222 9921).
18 Have sundowners at Belgian Beer Café in Festival City This creekside Dubai institution, affectionately known as BBC, became so popular it spawned two siblings elsewhere in the city. Dhs70 for a hops tasting tray. Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City (04 701 1127).
19 Meet friends for drinks at Rivi Bar in Madinat Jumeirah The Rivington Grill’s bar boasts one of the best terrace views in the area. Happy hour drinks and bites from Dhs25, daily 5pm-8pm. Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6464).
20 Watch a film at Wafi Rooftop and see the Light & Sound Show Catch the eclectic light and sound show in the courtyard before the 8.30pm film screenings every Sunday. Free. Wafi, Oud Metha (04 324 4555).
21 Take a bracing walk along the Palm Jumeirah’s crescent Start your walk at Rixos The Palm on the east crescent, and stroll approximately 11km along the footpath round to One&Only The Palm. Free (no number).
22 Tuck into Mediterranean fare on Barça Club’s patio Check out the deal on Monday nights for a bowl of pasta, garlic bread and a glass of grape. Dhs85. Mon, from 5pm. Shoreline Apartments, Palm Jumeirah (04 439 3548).
23 Watch premier league football on a gigantic screen Al-fresco spot The Deck is showing big matches on a large projector screen. Free. Byblos TECOM (04 448 8000).
24 Tuck into a Turkish breakfast at Kosebasi Try sucuklu yumurta – fried eggs and sliced Turkish sausage. Dhs34 for sucuklu yumurta. Daily 9am-noon. The Walk at JBR (04 439 3788).
25 Skate with Dubai Roller Derby This skate fitness and derby training session runs every Monday and Wednesday. Dhs30 per session, Dhs175 for monthly subscriptions. Tennis 360, Meydan Tennis Academy, next to Meydan Hotel (055 889 1725).
26 Check out new shopping kiosks The stalls, located outside Marina Mall, The Greens Town Centre and The Springs Town Centre, sell everything from plants and soaps to Japanese trinkets. From Dhs14 for plants. Dubai Marina and Emirates Living (no number).
27 Relax in Madinat Jumeirah’s Amphitheatre with a cold beverage Pull up a cushion and lounge in the chilled surroundings of the amphitheatre. Shisha is also available. Two house beverages approximately Dhs70-100. Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6730).
28-32 Quick ideas
Have tennis lessons at Repton School From Dhs200 (050 837 6481).
Ride a Jet Ski near Ghantoot From Dhs250 (052 983 8959).
Hire a speedboat in Dubai Marina From Dhs300 (04 432 7233).
Join a running club Free. Nike+ Run Club, various locations (055 885 4734).
Play basketball From Dhs30. Go Sports, The Dubai Mall (04 325 3595). Free courts at Al Sufouh Park, Al Sufouh Road (no number).
33 Buy a rope and start skipping Skipping is a great way to keep fit, and new research also suggests it can help to suppress appetite. Dhs35. Go Sports, The Dubai Mall (04 325 3595).
34 Watch the turtles being fed at Mina A’Salam Catch a glimpse of these endangered creatures at the hotel sanctuary. Free. Wed 11am, Fri 1pm. Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 8888).
35 Get vertigo with drinks at Level 43 The open-air bar offers impressive, 360° views of the city. Dhs50-100 for two drinks. Four Points by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 323 0333).
36 Eat cakes and drink coffee at Madeleine Café This spot overlooks the Dubai Fountains. From Dhs35 for a cake and coffee. Fashion Avenue, The Dubai Mall (04 438 4335).
37 Check out Bliss Lounge A vastly underrated beach bar just off The Walk. From Dhs90 for two house mixed drinks. Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort, JBR (04 399 5533).
38 Grab a cheese manakish at Al Mallah Chow down and do some people- and car-watching. Dhs6. 2nd of December Street, Satwa (04 398 4723).
39 Take a tour of Taste of Dubai Meet celebrity chefs, watch cooking demonstrations and sample taster-sized plates from Dubai’s top restaurants. Dhs60 (regular), Dhs220 (VIP). March 14-16. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, www.tasteof dubaifestival.com (050 734 1277).
40 Watch the Dubai Kartdrome Endurance Championship Enjoy the adrenaline rush of the final round in this 12-hour endurance karting event. Free. Fri March 15, from 2pm. Dubai Autodrome, MotorCity (04 367 8700).
41 Pick up new plants for your garden or balcony… Explore the new outdoor plants section at Dubai Garden Centre, and then stop for coffee at the new Rose Leaf Café. From Dhs18 per plant. Sheikh Zayed Road (04 340 0006).
42 ....or head out a bit further to Al Awir nurseries Behind the Ras al Khor wildlife sanctuary is a network of approximately 15 plant nurseries, all selling affordable selections. From Dhs4 per plant. From Al Khail Road (E44) towards Hatta (no number).
43 Pick up some fresh produce at the fish market for a seafood barbecue Peruse fresh, local fish brought in by the fishermen every morning. We particularly like the crab. Prices vary. From 5am. Al Khaleej Road, Deira (no number).
44 Enjoy an open-air walking tour Step back in time with a guided tour organised by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. The walks take place in Al Fahidi (formerly Bastakiya), one of the oldest Emirati neighbourhoods. Dhs35 per person. (04 353 6666).
45 Buy a badminton set and play in Burj Park Get a cheap set so you can have fun without worrying about damaging your rackets. Dhs17.50. Park’n’Shop, various locations including JLT and TECOM (04 394 5671).
46 Explore Al Wasl Square There are plenty of new shops and boutiques here. Start with an outdoor breakfast at Pantry Café. From Dhs38 for eggs Benedict (04 388 3868).
47 Check out artists and live music at Sikka Art Fair Expect plenty of music and unusual artworks from local artists on display throughout the 11-day event. Click here for more information. Free. March 14-24. Al Fahidi (formerly Bastakiya), Bur Dubai, www.sikka.ae.
48 Tuck into a Thai mango salad on Little More’s marina terrace This More Café spin-off features an ideal outdoor spot in which to dine, overlooking the picturesque marina. Dhs44. Dubai Marina Mall (04 432 4608).
49 Eat a feast at Karachi Darbar This no-nonsense Karama restaurant is a favourite of the city’s Pakistani taxi drivers. Average price of a meal for two Dhs30-70. Karama (04 334 7272).
50 Tuck into great-value sushi on Bento-Ya’s patio This no-frills sushi joint features a ‘Know Your Sushi’ chart for beginners, and an inviting al-fresco patio space. Sushi from Dhs14. Al Kawakeb, D Block 1F, Sheikh Zayed Road, behind Skechers (04 343 0222).
Dhs100 to Dhs349
51 Get your heart racing with a bungee jump at Gravity Zone A new extreme sports centre has opened in Al Quoz, currently offering bungee jumping, with zip-lining and abseiling to follow soon. From Dhs339. www.gravityzone.co (056 364 7997).
52 Feast on a healthy outdoor lunch at The Farm This gourmet destination café’s outdoor area is a zen-like, leafy oasis. From Dhs200 for a meal for two. Al Barari Estate (04 392 5660).
53 Have a spa treatment in a new fountain-side cabana Try one of the signature treatments and watch the fountains at The Address Downtown Dubai’s luxurious spa. From Dhs275. www.theaddress.com (04 436 8888).
54 Hire an abra Grab some friends and cruise up and down the creek in your own private boat. Dhs100 per hour. RTA abra station near Bait Al Wakeel, Bur Dubai (no number).
55 Take to the track and race your mates at Emirates Kart Zone Organisers claim the karts accelerate like slingshots and make hairpin bends seem supremely easy. From Dhs120 for 15 minutes. Al Wasl Sports Club, Oud Metha, www.emirateskartzone.net (050 426 3424).
56 Try the barbecue at Rosso Feast on affordable all-you-can-eat grilled fish and meat, served in the restaurant’s delightful garden. Dhs189 with soft drinks. Sun 8pm-10.30pm. Amwaj Rotana, The Walk at JBR (04 428 3088).
57 Have a manicure at home with Belle Femme Get pampered in the comfort of your own garden (or on your own balcony). From Dhs130. Various locations (04 454 8652).
58 Celebrate St Patrick’s Day with Bob Geldof The ageing Irish rocker and philanthropist performs live. Dhs125. March 14. The Irish Village, Garhoud (04 703 0500).
59 Brunch and dance under the stars at Le Méridien Village Terrace Enjoy an evening of Latin music, food and drinks on Fridays. Dhs219 (soft drinks); Dhs259 (selected beverages). Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud (04 702 2449).
60 Play volleyball at Nasimi This Ibiza-style beach club has its own court. Spend Dhs150 and you can use a lounger. Atlantis The Palm (04 426 2626).
61 Try your hand at padel tennis This is best described as a cross between tennis and squash, using a racket that resembles a beach bat. Lessons Dhs300 per person for 50 minutes. Court hire Dhs50 per person per hour. Emirates Golf Club (04 417 9850).
62 Sip mixed drinks and enjoy the view at Uptown Bar This 25th-floor rooftop bar at Jumeirah Beach Hotel provides impressive views of the area. Ladies get 25 percent off on Mondays. Approx Dhs180 for two house drinks (04 406 8999).
63 Check out the revamped Salamar at The Habtoor Grand The newly relaunched beachside eatery has a chic, upbeat restaurant bar with shisha, a DJ and cosmopolitan tapas. Dhs280-460 per couple. Dubai Marina (04 399 5000).
64 Take advantage of UAE resident rates at Aquaventure Slide through rapids, waterfalls and rides at this top waterpark. UAE residents Dhs150 for adults (normally Dhs225), Dhs125 for children (normally Dhs180). www.atlantisthepalm.com (04 426 0000).
65-69 Quick ideas
Relearn the ancient art of yo-yoing From Dhs21. Hamleys, The Dubai Mall (04 339 8889).
Watch horse-racing at Meydan’s race nights Dhs25. Meydan Grandstand, Nad Al Sheba (04 327 2110). Go boating on the lake in Za’abeel Park Dhs40 for 20 minutes. Za’abeel (04 398 6888).
Work out at The Shack Dhs35 per day. Kitesurfing Beach (056 693 9258).
Visit a new park or jogging track Try Nad Al Hamar Park, Al Aweer Park, Al Hubab Park, Al Warqa 2 Park or Al Khawaneej jogging track. www.dm.gov.ae.
Dhs350 to Dhs499
70 Eat a picnic brunch at Nomad Grab a picnic basket and blanket and plonk yourself on the grassy outdoor area. Dhs295 (food only), Dhs395 (selected house beverages). Daily noon-4pm. Jumeirah Creekside Hotel (04 230 8571).
71 Go diving in Fujairah Spot turtles, puffer fish and even whale sharks if you’re lucky. From Dhs350 with equipment; Dhs100 for transport from Dubai. www.alboomdiving.com (04 883 2322).
72 Enjoy brunch outdoors There are al-fresco options across town to suit a variety of budgets: try Thai Kitchen, Beachcombers or The Westin. Thai Kitchen Dhs260 with house beverages. Park Hyatt Dubai (04 317 2222). Beachcombers Dhs360 with house beverages. Jumeirah Beach Hotel (04 406 8999). The Westin Dhs490 with house beverages. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort (04 399 4141).
73 Chill out at 101 Dining Lounge and Bar Perched on the tip of The Palm, this tranquil spot is best reached via boat from sister hotel One&Only Royal Mirage. Average price of a meal for two Dhs350-499. One&Only The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 440 1010).
74 Al Badia picnic brunch There’s still time to try this picnic on the lawns before it shuts up shop for summer on Saturday April 21. Dhs225 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (selected beverages), Dhs550 (premium bubbly), Dhs895 (premium rosé bubbly). Fri noon-4pm. Al Badia Golf Club (04 701 1127).
75 Spend the day at Meydan Beach Club The daily entry fee includes Dhs250 that’s redeemable on food and drink. Dhs495. The Walk at JBR (04 433 3777).
76 Tone up at a bootcamp Smart Fitness runs regular sessions in JLT. Dhs400 for 12 classes. www.smartfitness.ae (056 704 9257).
77 Party on Aloha Hawaii This floating vessel can be hired exclusively or you can head out on a Hawaiian-themed catamaran cruise with other party-goers. From Dhs400 per person for three hours, including dinner and soft drinks (04 430 9941).
Dhs500 to Dhs999 78 Eat steak by the water at Madinat Jumeirah Get carnivorous at The Meat Co (a favourite haunt of Chris Tarrant and former England cricket captain Mike Gatting when they’re in Dubai on holiday, apparently). Meal for two from Dhs500. Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 368 6040).
79 Try a polo lesson with the Dubai Polo Academy Lessons are available for all levels, from novices to more experienced riders. Dhs770 for individual lessons, Dhs550 per person for group lessons. Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, Arabian Ranches (050 887 9847).
80 Learn to play camel polo Learn how to play polo on camel back. Minimum of eight in a group. Dhs690 per person. Gulf Ventures, Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club (04 294 6647).
81-90 Quick ideas
Ride a camel and spot desert wildlife at Al Sahra Equestrian Centre From Dhs180 (04 427 4055). Picnic at the Polo Gold Cup on Friday March 15 Dhs150. Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club (050 119 0732).
Play Frisbee in the park Dhs75. Go Sports, The Dubai Mall (04 325 3595).
Unwind at Calabar Approx Dhs100 for two house beverages. The Address Downtown Dubai (04 436 8922).
Go dune-buggying in the desert From Dhs400. Desert Rangers (04 357 2200).
Practise yoga in the park at The Archive Dhs40. Mon and Wed 9am and 7pm, Tue 5.30pm, Thu 9am, Sat 10am. Safa Park (04 349 4033).
Go camping on the edge of the wildlife reserve near Bab Al Shams Free (no number). Use the outdoor gym equipment in Safa Park Free (no number).
Hit the driving range at Emirates Golf Club Dhs35 for approximately 50 balls; club hire Dhs15 (04 380 2222).
Have a kite-flying competition in your local park. From Dhs30 to buy a kite. Hamleys, The Dubai Mall (04 339 8889).
More than Dhs1,000
91 Enjoy a private dinner in the desert Get whisked away to a secluded spot in a Mercedes G-Class for a six-course meal. Dhs4,500 for two. Daily, timings on request. www.platinum-heritage.com (04 388 4044).
92 Buy a remote-controlled helicopter and fly it in the desert It’s quite an investment, but if you’re passionate about remote-controlled planes The Dubai RC Club can offer plenty of tips and advice. From Dhs5,500. Hobby Centre, The Dubai Mall (04 294 6647).
93 Skydive over the Palm Jumeirah You’ll get incredible views of the city and the Palm from 13,000ft as you drift back to earth. Dhs1,750 per person (tandem jump with videographer). Skydive Dubai, Dubai Marina (050 153 3222).
94 Hire a convertible and cruise the city There’s nothing more ‘Dubai’ than posing behind the wheel of a convertible: try a BMW 640i from Lane Luxury Car Rentals. Dhs1,200 per day. Al Naboodah Building, Oud Metha (04 335 5188).
95 Go diving with dolphins Enjoy underwater interaction with Pacific bottlenose dolphins. Dhs1,550 (for 40 minutes). Dolphin Bay, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 1030).
96 Have a barbecue on a doughnut on the creek Jump into one of these circular boats, complete with a barbecue. From Dhs1,200 (six people). The Boardwalk, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).
Snorkel and picnic on the sand near Kitesurfing Beach Free (no number).
Try parasailing at The Sheraton Dhs250. Sheraton Beach Resort & Towers, JBR (04 315 3501).
Go windsurfing at Nautica 1992 Equipment from Dhs150, lessons from Dhs100. Habtoor Grand (050 426 2415). Host a pot-luck picnic at Jumeirah Beach Park See meetup.com for potluck groups. Dhs5. (04 349 5555).