As the heat sets in, get a final dose of al-fresco fun
As you sip sundowners on the beach with the cool breeze blowing through your hair (with no sweat patches to speak of), it’s easy to forget how quickly things change in Dubai. According to Dubai Meteorological Office, the weather will warm up to 39°C before June, while August, the hottest month, will bring searing temperatures of 42°C and above (even the sea will heat up to 32°C). Though there’s plenty to do indoors during summer, we’re making the most of Dubai’s last-chance al-fresco activities by rounding up 33 great reasons to head outdoors.
1 Do yoga on a paddleboard The sea is the perfect temperature to try out these new ‘paddleboard yoga’ sessions.
Why you need to do it Now: It won’t be long before you feel like you’re wading into a bubble bath (sans bubbles, obviously). Dhs175. Call for timings and availability. Watercooled Watersports Centre, Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa (04 887 6771).
2 See a movie under the stars A number of al-fresco venues screen cinematic classics on a weekly basis, often by way of cool double-bills, making a perfect low-key night out.
Why you need to do it Now: The last film at Wafi Rooftop will be Inception on May 27. Free. 8.30pm. Pyramid Rooftop Gardens, Wafi, Oud Metha (04 324 4100).
3 Take on Skate Biladi The impressive ramp at Tashkeel will be dismantled once it’s experienced sufficient wear and tear – and the guys behind it anticipate it won’t last the summer.
Why you need to do it Now: Visit now before they take it down, or it gets too sweaty to skate comfortably. Open daily 8am-10pm. Tashkeel, Nad Al Sheba, www.tashkeel.org.
4 Hire a party boat Party boats are popular in Dubai: a feature we wrote about them back in February is still among our most-read articles on timeoutdubai.com. After all, what could be better than you, a group of mates and the open sea? For more water-based options, see our dinner cruise feature on page 12.
Why you need to do it Now: Most of the city’s party-boat companies will wrap things up for Ramadan in July. Aloha Hawaii, Dhs400 for three hours. Cruises leave from Dubai Marina Walk every Thursday at 8.30pm. www.bristolcharters.com/aloha-hawaii (04 430 9941).
5 Eat brunch outside Brunch is a quintessential Dubai pastime, with many of the most memorable dining experiences taking place in the mellow glow of the afternoon sun.
Why you need to do it Now: Al-fresco brunching usually wraps up some time in June. Every restaurant will have its own policy, often based on customer demand, but very soon there won’t be a soul sitting (comfortably) at an outdoor brunch. Try Vivaldi: Dhs175 (soft drinks), Dhs225 (house beverages). Fri 12.30pm-3.30pm. Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel and Towers, Deira (04 207 1717).
6 Set foot on The World After years of anticipation, The World Islands are finally open to the public with the launch of weekly club chill-out session Stranded, on Lebanon Island’s Royal Island Beach Club.
Why you need to do it Now: Sadly just weeks after its opening, soaring temperatures mean there’s little time left to enjoy the exclusive beach hangout 7km off the coast – so get on the boat now. Every Friday noon-late. Dhs200 including transport from Jumeirah. To book, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
7 Skydive over the Palm, then relax at Barasti Jumping out of a plane over The Palm Jumeirah is a one of those experiences you’ll remember for a lifetime. Afterwards, wind down from the adrenaline rush with a cool drink on the beach at Barasti as you watch others take the leap.
Why you need to do it Now: Skydive Dubai’s Al Sufouh location shuts from the end of May until September, and braving the Barasti’s outdoor, sun-soaked decks in the heat will take some guts. Dhs1,750. Skydive Dubai, off Al Sufouh Road behind Habtoor Grand, Dubai Marina (050 153 3222). Barasti, Al Sufouh Road, Dubai Marina (04 399 3333).
8 Hire a boat in Safa Park Drift around the pond in a small boat (you’ll fit four small adults in at a push).
Why you need to do it Now: The warmer weather makes the water start to smell a bit iffy. As Safa Park’s arcade is currently closed, there will be nowhere to play away from the sun when it gets uncomfortable. Boats Dhs50 for 20 minutes. Park entry Dhs3. Safa Park, Jumeirah (04 349 2111).
9 Race your mates in a kart Suit up, put pedal to metal and accelerate to speeds of up to 55kph around Dubai Kartdrome’s purpose-built circuit.
Why you need to do it Now: The Kartdrome is open throughout summer, but we reckon even the evenings will be too hot for racing come the end of June. Dhs110 for 15 minutes, plus Dhs10 annual registration. Opening times vary: check website for info. Dubai Autodrome, MotorCity, www.dubaiautodrome.com (04 367 8744).
10 Eat at Bussola Pizzeria This al-fresco Italian eatery sits on the roof of the more formal Bussola restaurant, and offers great views of the Westin gardens, the beach and the Palm.
Why you need to do it Now: Bussola offers some of the city’s best pizzas (it was highly commended in the 2012 Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards), but it doesn’t stay open through summer. It’s weather-dependent, but last orders are usually in mid-June. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi, Al Sufouh Road (04 399 4141).
11 360° closing party A night out at 360° is one of the key Dubai experiences for both fresh-faced tourists and hardened clubbers, with priceless views of the Burj Al Arab.
Why you need to do it Now: The venue will close on Friday May 25 and won’t reopen until autumn, although this year is the last time it will shut up shop for summer – a refurb is under way to transform 360° into a year-round venue. Free. Audio Tonic’s closing party is on May 25, 4pm-2am. Jumeriah Beach Hotel (04 406 8999).
12 Play beach volleyball Block Busters II is a unisex tournament that’s described by organiser Duplays as its ‘most social’ league. Plus there’s the advantage of playing right next to the sea, so you can take a dip to cool off after a game.
Why do it Now: The league draws to a close on Monday June 4. Dhs450 per person. 7.30pm-10.30pm. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, www.duplays.com (04 447 2394).
13 Have a drink on the terrace at Margaux Watch the Dubai Fountains after dark with a drink and bar snacks, while taking in the views of the nearby Burj Khalifa.
Why you need to do it Now: In summer, the restaurant terraces in Souk Al Bahar become deserted – the best view you’ll get will be from a window table. It’s just not the same. Open daily noon-midnight. Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 439 7555).
14 Run the Hilton Dubai Tower Race For those who still want a dose of healthy competition over the summer but don’t fancy running under the sun, there’s still time to sign up to the Hilton’s Tower Race on Friday May 18, which involves running up 925 steps (that’s 35 floors). Better get training.
Why you need to do it Now: Because it only happens once a year. 8am, Friday May 18. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort & Residences, JBR, www.premiermarathons.com.
15 Ride an abra The traditional abras that cross the creek between Bur Dubai and Deira aren’t just a tourist attraction: they’re used daily by commuters, and you can also charter an abra for a private cruise for Dhs100 per hour. Afterwards, stop at Bait Al Wakeel near Bur Dubai abra station for Middle Eastern eats overlooking the water.
Why you need to do it Now: Abras run all summer, though the daytime heat will get uncomfortable from the end of May. Dhs1 per person one way. Open daily 24 hours. Dubai Creek (no number). Bait al Wakeel open daily noon-11.30pm. Bur Dubai, near Textile Souk (04 353 0530).
16 Drive a pedal kart Nothing beats some foot-powered fun as you weave your way around Dubai Marina on one of these foot-powered buggies.
Why you need to do it Now: Technically, you can hire these fun contraptions all year round, but to ensure a more comfortable drive around the Marina,we suggest you hire one now before it becomes too hot. Happy families can hire four-seaters, though competitive individuals might want to hire a single seater to race against their chums (or random joggers). Dhs20 for 20 minutes, plus Dhs50 deposit. Behind Dubai Marina Mall (050 844 0556).
17 Breakfast with marina views at Baker & Spice Any form of outdoor eating will become a difficult endeavour when the humidity sets in, though the terrace at Baker & Spice in Dubai Marina should facilitate this rather pleasant activity longer than most venues – it boasts large parasols to provide plenty of shade, plus the fact that it opens at 7am – early enough to have a great breakfast and beat the heat.
Why you need to do it Now: Even with the shade of aforementioned parasols, the humidity will ensure midday dining will no longer be an option. Dubai Marina, behind Marina Promenade (04 362 4686).
18 Order an ice cream at The Ice Factory Granted, you can do this at any time of year, but now’s probably the last chance you’ll get to purchase a dairy-based treat from this quaint ice cream store before it melts within a matter of seconds.
Why you need to do it Now: If ever there was an excuse to scoff ice cream as fast as you can, this is it. The Walk at JBR (055 889 4400).
19 Go al-fresco shopping Dubai’s outdoor shopping areas, such as Beach Road and The Walk at JBR, offer a change of scenery to the city’s mega malls.
Why you need to do it Now: When summer hits you’ll find it hard to walk to your car, let alone browse outdoor shopping strips or markets, without gasping. One of the most popular al-fresco shopping areas, JBR’s Covent Garden Market, closes at the end of May, so visit while you can. Covent Garden Market Wed-Thu 5pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 10am-9pm. Until May 31. The Walk at JBR (050 425 0543).
20 See Alserkal Avenue’s art Check out the hub of galleries in Al Quoz’s arty area on foot, then walk across the road to rifle through antiques at the crazily quirky Antique Museum.
Why you need to do it Now: Most of the area’s galleries and boutiques will remain open during summer (with the exception of Ramadan in July), but you’ll find it difficult to cope outside past May. Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1 (no number). Antique Museum, Street 8, opposite Alserkal Avenue – pass Objects and Elements and take the first right at the next street. The Antique Museum is on your right (04 347 9935).
21 Go to a farmers’ market Dubai Marina and Souk Al Bahar farmers’ markets (on Friday and Saturday respectively) have been providing tasty locally grown produce to discerning shoppers for months.
Why you need to do it Now: Not only will perusing the fresh fruit and veg become a rather sweaty, uncomfortable endeavour, but the local harvest only lasts for so long. Though the Dubai Marina market will continue for as long as possible, you’re better off heading to the Souk Al Bahar market, which we’re told will be open for business on Friday May 11. Outside Baker & Spice, Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 425 2240).
22 Stroll Old Dubai’s souks Dubai’s unique cultural charm can be found hidden among the buzzing textile, gold and spice souks in Deira and Bur Dubai.
Why you need to do it Now: Come summer, the souks will offer little in the way of shade or A/C escapes. They remain open all year, but by the beginning of June you’ll need to bring an umbrella, wet towels and a fan to keep you sane. Textile Souk, Al Fahidi Street; Gold Souk, Sikkat al-Khail Street; Spice Souk, Al-Sabkha Road, Deira (no number).
23 Browse Bastakiya’s galleries and have a bite The few museums in Bastakiya are housed within low-rise heritage-style buildings that are also home to the boho-style Basta Art Café, plus a hole-in-the-wall store selling one-off Iranian antiques.
Why you need to do it Now: Most of the venues in Bastakiya are comprised of open-air courtyards, meaning there will be little in the way of A/C, plus the galleries close during August. XVA Art Hotel, Bastakiya (04 353 5383); The Majlis Gallery, Al Fahidi roundabout (04 353 6233); Basta Art Café, Al Fahidi Street (04 353 5071).
24 Ride in a cable car at Creek Park These rather cool contraptions provide great panoramic views of Creek Park, Dubai Creek and Maktoum Bridge – perfect for a leisurely afternoon ride.
Why you need to do it Now: The cable cars aren’t air conditioned, making them unpleasantly toasty when the weather starts to get hot. Dhs20, plus Dhs5 for park entrance. Creek Park, near Garhoud Bridge (04 336 7633).
25 Enjoy a drink and bite to eat on Rosso’s terrace Those who live in JBR or Dubai Marina could find far worse ways to spend their last al-fresco evenings than on Rosso’s outdoor terrace. The expansive, fairy-lit space is a fantastic venue in which to sup on discounted drinks (selected drinks start at Dhs20 every night from 6pm until 9pm), and the kitchen also cooks up a mean pizza.
Why you need to do it Now: The nights are only going to get stickier… Amwaj Rotana, Jumeirah Beach Residence (04 428 3088).
26 Watch Dubai Fountains without sweating The spectacular fountains are a must-see for visiting relatives, and the displays change regularly. Our favourites from the past year include Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, and The Supremes’ ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.’
Why you need to do it Now: It’s no fun braving the humidity, even for 150m-high jets of water. Tip: to escape the crowds, head over the bridge into Burj Park for uninterrupted views minus the jostling. Free. Daily every 30 minutes 6pm-11pm; lunch shows Sat-Thu 1pm, 1.30pm; Fri 1.30pm; 2pm. The Dubai Mall (800 38224 6255).
27 Throw a barbecue The wild tiger prawns from the Philippines, available at Spinneys for Dhs146.25 per kg, are particularly tasty on the barbecue. They don’t require any preparation – just throw them on in their shells, then squeeze some lemon and a sprinkling of black pepper over once they’re cooked.
Why you need to do it Now: You won’t stand a chance by the end of June, when your burger bun starts slipping through your clammy hands. Spinneys, Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim (04 394 0695).
28 Post-brunch drinks in The Irish Village garden Soak up some rays with a cool glass of hops in the grassy environs of this Irish pub.
Why you need to do it Now: It’s the perfect place to relax and slow down the tempo with a belly full of brunch (and one of the few places still open at 4pm). Get there before June, when your drink will be warm before you’re halfway through. Next to Dubai Tennis Stadium, Garhoud (04 282 4750).
29 Pound the pavement with Nike Run Club This free club for all abilities is run by professional personal trainers. There are three sessions a week, and Nike gives away a free T-shirt for every 10 sessions you attend.
Why you need to do it NOW: Running in 40°C heat? No thanks. Aside from heat exhaustion and dehydration, you also risk sunburn. Sessions are likely to continue until the end of May, depending on the weather. Free. Tue 6.45pm at Dubai Festival City; Fri 7.45am at Burj Park, Downtown Dubai; Sat 7am at Al Fattan Towers, JBR. www.facebook.com/NikeRunningMiddleEast.
30 Take photos without your camera steaming up The snap-happy among us will be keen to get out and take shots of the city while we can.
Why you need to do it Now: Not only does the skyline become hazy when the humidity sets in, but so does your SLR. To brush up on your skills, try the Digital Photography Level 1 class on Friday May 18 for an eight-hour workshop to get the most out of your SLR. Dhs730, May 18. Unit D36, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz, www.timeouttickets.com.
31 Enjoy a picnic in the park Al-fresco cooking is one of the perks of living in Dubai, and all the major parks boast barbecue stations and picnic tables. We recommend Safa for its size and facilities.
Why you need to do it Now: The evenings are perfect at this time of year: neither too chilly or too sweaty. Make the most of it! Dhs3 per person; free for kids under two. Open Sun-Thu 8am-11pm; Fri-Sat 8am-11.30pm. Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah (04 349 2111).
32 Dance outdoors The highlight of many Dubai nightspots is their novel al-fresco dancefloors.
Why you need to do it Now: Outdoor areas will be shut and left to dwell until summer – so get out on the rooftop at Trilogy or N’Dulge, or hit Chi Garden while you still can. In previous years outdoor areas begin closing in early June and won’t open again until September (or even October). N’Dulge, Atlantis The Palm (04 426 0561). Trilogy, Souk Madinat Jumeirah (050 624 5751). Chi@The Lodge, Al Nasr Leisureland, Oud Metha (04 337 9470).
33 Sunbathe on the beach We all know Dubai is blessed with a plethora of golden beaches along miles of rolling coastline – for many people it’s why they moved to the emirate.
Why you need to do it Now: You may live minutes from the beach – but you may not be able to enjoy it for much longer. Sunbathing in the mid-30°C temperatures of May and early June may be nice, but by the time the thermometer hits the 40-plus mark of July and August, the situation is likely to change. Try Kitesurfing Beach. Corner of 2d and 35a street; behind Sega World, Umm Suqeim 1.
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Dalal May 20, 2012 08:30 am
this will be my next plan inshallah
Dalal May 20, 2012 08:28 am
i went to the island last friday, we reserved a hut which cost 5000dhs and was too small for 10 people, we expected to enjoy it but it was a bit boring ,, the dj didnt play nice songs... i think they need to add more sea sport like jet ski, banana boat, donut ride, parasailing and other activities.. they can add some intertainment shows in the evening, or massage services on the beach, it is nice to go for a visit for one or two hours but if ur planning to spend the whole day there beilve me you will be bored.
iheartdubai May 15, 2012 08:11 am
Looks like a great list, but I couldn't be bothered past the 9th thing to do before the summer because I had to close as many pop up ads. It's a shame, really.