If the high-octane track action isn’t enough, Abu Dhabi kicks the entertainment into high gear with a sizzling schedule of events dominating Yas Island’s bars, hotels and yachts, which are moored in the marina.
Get on starters orders for a stellar line-up of incredible chart-topping musical acts (Calvin Harris, Mumford & Sons and P!nk are among 2017’s headline acts), taking centre stage for the annual after-race concerts which only ticket holders get access to. This is when a roster of world-class DJs take to the decks and super-cool club nights make this a weekend you’ll never forget. From Dhs995 (three day general admission pass). Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, www.abudhabi-grand-prix.com (02 659 9800).
The world’s largest indoor theme park is brilliant fun for all ages
The UAE doesn’t do things by halves. So it was no surprise that when a brand-new indoor theme park sprung up, it just had to be the biggest on the planet.
IMG Worlds of Adventure is so massive that it takes up the space of 28 football pitches. The goal here is definitely fun for all of the family, with exhilarating rides, movies, brilliant dining options and shopping attractions in a sprawling space separated into four adventure zones.
The Marvel Zone features a stellar cast of superheroes, including Spider-Man, The Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and The Avengers, over a host of heart-pumping rides. The thrills spill over into Lost Valley, where prehistoric creatures roar back into life for an awesome day out. And then there’s the Cartoon Network Zone, where the kids can catch up with all their favourite characters.
A whole world of adventure awaits. Dhs245 (general admission), Dhs225 (kids under 1.2m in height), Dhs150 (ages 60 and over), free (kids under 1.05m in height). Open Sun-Wed 11am-10pm, Thu-Sat 11am-11pm. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, Dubai, www.imgworlds.com (600 500 962).
A cool, sophisticated music venue from legendary producer Quincy Jones There are jazz bars and then there are jazz bars. You don’t have to be in a moody New Orleans spot or in deepest downtown Chicago to experience the cool musical genre at its finest – you can jazz up your life right here in Dubai.
With a little help from world-famous music producer, the iconic Quincy Jones, Dubai has become the prime spot for upand-coming jazz talent to be nurtured.
Jones chose the UAE as the home for his very first bar, so it would be rude of you not to pay it a visit.
Q’s Bar can be found in one of the city’s most opulent addresses, the Palazzo Versace hotel, and it’s just as stylish as you would imagine.
Inside, everything is black, even the walls are covered in leather, with the only lights over at the bar or on the acts on stage.
The living room-like space features performances from an ever-changing schedule of acts, handpicked by the music great himself.
There is a minimum spend of Dhs250, but if you don’t mind splashing out you are in for a treat. Sit back and enjoy the music at one of the hippest hangouts in Dubai. Or anywhere for that matter. Open Tue-Sat 7pm-2am. Palazzo Versace Dubai, Culture Village, Dubai www.palazzoversace.ae (04 556 8865).
A supper club and party venue from an F1 supremo. What’s not to like?
The name gives it away, really. If you are not keen on an opulent and downright ostentatious affair, this might not be the place for you.
But if you are up for a big, blow-out night full of glitz, glamour and plenty of fun, this is a party you should join at least once in your life.
There are a wealth of attractions inside the swanky venue, including a swish nightclub, live dance shows and sophisticated food offerings, which will keep you invested all night long.
The cool concept is the brainchild of former F1 team boss, Flavio Briatore, a man who certainly knows how to live life in the fast lane.
The brand was already up-and-running in Marbella and Monaco before landing in Dubai last year, and has found itself right at home in the UAE.
It has played host to regular gigs from pop and urban artists, as well as one intimate performance by Andrea Bocelli. Open 7pm-3am Tue-Sun. Taj Dubai, Business Bay, Dubai, www.billionairemansiondubai.com (04 510 3100).
One of the jewels in the UAE’s crown is a perfect place to see Dubai’s sights
You don’t have to go chasing waterfalls in Dubai. The 3.2km long Dubai Water Canal opened with the kind of pomp, ceremony and fireworks you would expect for the announcement of such an achievement, in November 2016.
One of the most spectacular parts of the canal is the water feature gushing down from the Sheikh Zayed Road bridge, which is bathed in purple light as night falls.
The canal has transformed the look of the city – and also makes for a very cool new commuter route. Five pedestrian bridges and 7km of walkways have been designed to help people make their way around on dry land, but for those who have brought their sea legs along for the trip, five new Water Canal marine stations have been set up by the city’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA), so commuters can sail happily along the canal in a water taxi or jump on board the Dubai Ferry. For RTA water taxi and Dubai Ferry routes, visit www.rta.ae.
Explore the Hajar Mountains
The huge, rugged range runs across the north of the UAE and into Oman
You know all about the deserts and dunes that dominate the UAE landscape, but how about taking in the country’s vast mountain range, too?
The Hajar Mountains are the largest in the Arabian Peninsula, bordering Oman and the UAE, and the rocky and rugged terrain provides a serious challenge for hiking enthusiasts.
You can also make the trip on four wheels rather than on your feet, by booking a full-day safari from Dubai, so you can discover the dramatic canyons and valleys of the nation’s highest mountain range.
Soak in the glorious solitude of the area, far removed from the hectic nature of big city life, before visiting the picturesque villages that lie in the shadow of the mountains. From Dubai, head East on the Al Ain road towards Oman.
Restaurants, bars, shops and more in an atmopsheric old-style souk
Enjoy a slice of ancient Arabia in modern Dubai at the majestic Madinat Jumeirah.
Interconnected by 3km of wondrous waterways and surrounded by lush gardens, the luxurious location is an ideal setting for a scenic route through top-class restaurants, buzzing bars and superb shopping.
The idyllic stretch is made up of three opulent hotels, with top spots to dine out at including the classy Pierchic, stylish Italian spot Segreto, North American meatery The Hide and super-cool Bahri Bar, which boasts spectacular views looking out onto the Arabian Gulf and the striking Burj Al Arab. The newest hotel opening, Jumeirah Al Naseem, houses the cool bar Black Tap and first-class Italian Il Borro.
The souk itself has the superb folly by Nick and Scott, the down-to-earth Perry & Blackwelder’s and a scenic branch of Irish bar McGettigan’s, among dozens of other choices.
After you are well fed and watered, why not take a trip to Souk Madinat Jumeirah? The traditional market-style complex combines Arabian shopping stands, barrows and stalls with a blend of boutique brands, souvenir gift shops and luxury fashion and jewellery outlets. Timings vary. Umm Suqeim, Dubai, www.jumeirah.com (04 366 8888).
Humble seafood joint that serves freshly-caught fish at budget prices
Never judge a book by its cover, or a restaurant before you’ve tried the food.
Bu Qtair, to the uninitiated, may not look like one of the best dining destinations in Dubai, but looks can be deceiving. Glitz and glamour is certainly off the menu at this fairly basic eatery, but turn up for a bite to eat and you will join a lengthy queue full of hungry hordes who know all about Bu Qtair’s reputation for culinary distinction. The line begins well ahead of opening time, with visitors chomping at the bit to try the various seafood delights caught fresh from the sea.
The price depends on the type of fish and how much your order, but satisfaction is pretty much guaranteed to follow, regardless of what you get.
The family-run venue just off Umm Suqeim Fishing Harbour is proof that first impressions don’t always matter.
Try it for yourself. You’ll be hooked. Open daily 11.30am-11.30pm. Fishing Harbour 2, Umm Suqeim, Dubai (055 705 2130).
See a show at Boracay
A great night out filled with dancing and singing at Dubai’s Asiana Hotel
Named after the salt-white beaches of beautiful Boracay Island in the Philippines, this dynamic Deira venue brings plenty of the vibrant colour and a sense of fun from the island country.
This is not your typical night out – and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Don’t expect blaring techno beats and sets from super-cool DJs; here you’ll get a flamboyant variety of live acts which are often bizarre, always entertaining and never, ever dull. We love it.
The three-storey club, which can pack in more than 400 people, boasts sound that surrounds every corner of the massive venue, thanks to a seriously impressive system with 48 gargantuan speakers. It is a feast for the ears and the eyes as well, with dazzling special-effects and lighting adding an extra layer of theatre.
Traditional Boracay snacks are also served up to offer an extra taste of life in the Philippines. If you are in need of a detour from your usual Dubai night out, look no further. Open daily 7pm-3am. Asiana Hotel, Salahuddin Road, Deira, www.boracayclub.com (050 725 1051).
Dine with the fishes
Try two stunning seafood restaurants with mesmerising aquarium views
For the ultimate seafood experience, what could it be better than enjoying a five-star meal surrounded by a giant aquarium filled with marine life?
You can enjoy wall-to-ceiling views of exotic creatures while you sample fine food brought fresh from the sea to your plate at Ossiano (pictured right, bottom), the super-fancy, perennial award-winner at Atlantis The Palm. It’s hard to beat this classy restaurant for a special night out, thanks to its atmosphere.
If the feeling of dining under the sea under really floats your boat, the iconic Jumeirah Burj Al Arab is host to another splendid seafood venue. Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara – led by the eponymous British celebrity chef – has proved a big hit since Outlaw took the reins in 2016. Guests dine around a central aquarium while enjoying superb seafood selections, such as Scottish scallops, Cornish oysters and shrimp all the way from Madagascar.
Neither place is cheap, but for a romantic evening out that will linger long in the memory, you will be in for a treat. Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara: Open daily 12.30pm-3.30pm, 7pm-11.30pm. Burj Al Arab, Umm Suqeim, Dubai, www.jumeirah.com (04 301 7600); Ossiano: Daily 6.30pm-11.30pm. Also open Sat 1pm-3pm (lunch). Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, www.atlantisthepalm.com (04 426 2626).