In case you haven’t noticed, Dubai is once again bursting at the seams with people. Families descended on the city for the start of the school term (on September 9), and it’s estimated that about five million passengers will pass through Dubai Airport this month. The busy season is back, which means two things: it’s nearly impossible to get a taxi after 8.15am and, more importantly, there’s loads of new stuff to keep you occupied at the weekend. To prove it, we’ve rounded up 38 great new outlets or activities to try for the first time over the next two weekends. Never was there a better reason to look forward to the weekend. Enjoy!
Enjoy a rub-down at Solo Tre Spa Ongoing Leah, the resident therapist at this new spa, is a gem. Head down to Media City for a fantastic reflexology treatment or a Swedish massage. Reflexology Dhs100 for 30 minutes, Swedish massage Dhs200 for 60 minutes. Atlas Building, Dubai Media City (04 452 7774).
Play all-new games at Games12 Thursday 20-Saturday 22 The fifth edition of the Middle East’s biggest video-games show will give gaming aficionados a good thumb workout, courtesy of some of the latest, most anticipated games of 2012. Free. Thu-Fri 2pm-11pm, Sat 11am-11pm. Dubai Festival City, www.mygames12.com (04 454 2801).
Eat oxtail to celebrate South African National Heritage Day Friday 21-Friday 27 Two South African-themed steakhouses are offering a special menu for this special day. Dishes at Tribes include biltong bread and beef tripe, while The Meat Co offers slow-braised oxtail in tomato with colcannon mash. The Meat Co, Madinat Jumeirah (04 368 6040), Souk Al Bahar (04 420 0737); Tribes, Mall of the Emirates (04 395 0663).
Get fit and have fun at a new Polercise class Ongoing Combining dance and acrobatics, this alternative dance/exercise class works on core strength to help build flexibility and endurance, and is great fun to boot. However, it’s for ladies only – sorry, gents. Dhs100 per session, Dhs800 for ten. Sun-Mon 7pm, Fri 6pm. Fortune Executive Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (050 854 4308).
Go to Blue Marlin’s swanky reopening party Friday 21 Members-only beach club Blue Marlin launches the new season with sets from DJ Behrouz, Fred Stone and Jixo & Danz. Members and restaurant reservations only. Open 1pm-late. Golden Tulip Al Jazira Hotel & Resort, Ghantoot (056 113 3400).
Have a haircut at the new iGlow Beauty Lounge in JLT Ongoing This salon offers a great range of services, all administered by professionals. Cut and blow-dry from Dhs190. Lake Terrace, promenade level, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 420 9667).
Buy cool new knitwear at Topshop Ongoing Bespectacled British knitwear designer JW Anderson’s funky designs hit Topshop’s shelves this weekend, fresh from London Fashion Week – great for anyone looking for an alternative Christmas jumper. Prices vary. Available at Topshop, The Dubai Mall (04 339 9802).
Give yourself a 3D manicure with ‘caviar’ polish Ongoing This new nail polish doesn’t actually contain caviar (that would be silly), but it’s black, shiny and has the bobbly texture of the gourmet dish. It looks rather fetching. From Dhs60. Sisters Beauty Lounge, various locations including Mall of the Emirates, www.sistersbeautylounge.com (04 379 2992).
Scream your head off on the new Jumeirah Sceirah Ongoing Stand on the trapdoor, then plummet down Wild Wadi’s new 120-metre waterslide at speeds of more than 80kph. As you do. Dhs220 (adults), Dhs175 (kids under 1.1m tall). Open daily 10am-7pm. Wild Wadi, Jumeirah (04 348 4444).
Eat pizza at the renowned Brandi Pizzeria Ongoing The first branch of this famous restaurant chain apparently opened in Naples – the pizza capital of the world – in 1780. The Dubai Mall (04 325 3336).
Dance to R&B at Barsha’s newest nightclub Friday 21, Friday 28 Club Silk in Barsha now hosts its Massive R&B night every Friday – hit the floor for plenty of urban tunes. Free for ladies, Dhs100 for men. Open 9pm-3am. Club Silk, Grand Excelsior Hotel, Barsha (04 444 9999).
See street art by Mr Brainwash, SEEN and Blek Le Rat From Thursday 20 There’s more to street art than Banksy. Works by Blek Le Rat (commonly referred to as the ‘father of stencil graffiti’) and SEEN (aka Richie Mirando of the Bronx), among others, are all on show at Opera Gallery – this should be an electrifying exhibition. Free. Open Sun-Thu 10am-8pm, Sat noon-8pm. Opera Gallery, Gate Village 3, DIFC, www.operagallery.com (04 323 0909).
Try bubble tea for free at Share Tea Until October 19 This global chain of Taiwanese bubble tea stores, which has branches from Australia to America, has just launched a store in Dubai. It’s offering buy one, get one free on classic pearl milk tea and fruit tea for limited time. Prices vary. Deira City Centre metro station (near exit 4), Deira (04 256 6125).
Listen to fado music at new restaurant Portugal Ongoing Portuguese restaurants in Dubai are like buses in London – you wait ages for one, then two come at once. Portugal restaurant, which recently opened its doors ahead of rival Piri Piri, complements its food with traditional fado music courtesy of Portuguese guitars (which look suspiciously like lutes). Prices vary. Sea View Hotel, Bur Dubai (04 355 8080).
Browse (or sell) wares at Traffic’s eclectic market Thursday 20-Saturday 29 Head on over to the third instalment of the ten-day ‘Market of Everything’, where Traffic brings together members of the community looking to buy, sell, trade, rent, lend or donate anything from furniture to books, music to art and clothes to cars. Free entry. Sun-Thu 10am-7pm, Fri-Sat noon-7pm. 179 Umm Suqeim Road, firstname.lastname@example.org (04 347 0209).
Play some dodgeball From Wednesday 19 The aim of dodgeball is to throw the ball to hit players on the opposing team, without being hit yourself. It’s a fun unisex activity that requires some genuine skill. Sign up for this league, or try Duplays’ new handball league. Dhs205 per person; Dhs1,480 per team. Wed 7.30pm. Collegiate American School, Umm Suqeim, www.duplays.com/sport/dodgeball (04 447 2394).
Try a foie gras burger or a fish hotdog at Burger Rebels Ongoing Want to sate a guilty pleasure? This new burger joint slathers foie gras on its burgers, and also serves fish hotdogs. Yes, really. Prices vary. Wafi City, Oud Metha (04 324 4252).
Take a Taiwanese tea lesson at Sino Chai Saturday 22 We really rate this authentic restaurant and are particularly taken by its tea ceremony classes. Head down to learn more about the drink itself, as well as the ancient traditions with which it’s associated. Dhs300 per person for five-course lunch and Dhs300 worth of gift vouchers. 2pm. Dubai Healthcare City, Block B (04 435 5650).
Slurp Chinese dumplings at the refurbished Long Yin Ongoing This Chinese favourite has reopened and is boasting new decor, new ambience and – wait for it – 34 different varieties of steamed and fried dumplings. Head down to Le Méridien Dubai to check it out for yourself. Prives vary. Open daily 12.30pm-6pm, 7.30pm-11.45pm. Le Méridien Dubai, Garhoud (04 217 0000).
Learn to sail at Watercooled Every weekend Watercooled in Jebel Ali now runs two-day RYA-certified sailing courses, and once you’ve learned the skills, you’re set for life. The watersports centre also offers windsurfing and powerboat courses. Dhs1,500 per person for two-day sailing course. Watercooled, Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa (04 887 6771).
Try a Japanese izakaya bar Ongoing Dubai’s first izakaya bar – a type of Japanese bar that also serves small plates of food – is said to feature the largest selection of Japanese rice-based beverages in the city, as well as private karaoke rooms. Prices vary. Yuraku, Asiana Hotel, Salahuddin Road, Deira (04 238 7777).
Celebrate the 253rd Arthur’s Day at The Irish Village Thursday 27-Friday 28 For the uninitiated, Irish celebration Arthur’s Day marks the anniversary of the founding of Arthur Guinness’s company and the famous black-coloured hop-based beverage he created. Between 5.59pm and 7.59pm, said beverage will flow for discounted prices, and there will be live music and much mirth. Free entry; Dhs40 for Proclaimers gig at 9pm on Friday. 11am-2am. The Irish Village, Aviation Club, Garhoud (04 282 4750).
Buy all-new tech gear at Gitex Shopper From Sunday 29 Gitex is a must-visit for gadget geeks, offering a look at all the latest technology set to hit the market in the coming year. Dhs30. 11am-11pm. Until October 6. Dubai World Trade Centre, www.timeouttickets.com.
Party with Mark Ronson Thursday 27 If you missed him last time, the legendary DJ, producer and former Amy Winehouse collaborator returns to the club he helped to relaunch two years ago. Dhs150. 9pm-3am. Trilogy, Souk Madinat Jumeirah (050 624 5751).
Check out the Cultural Night Market at Safa Park Friday 28-Saturday 29 Expect a heady mix of music, painting, sculpture, dance and theatre. There will also be vintage and second-hand stalls and a cultural exchange. Free. 3pm-11pm. Gate 5, Safa Park, www.greateventsdubai.com.
Go to a different outdoor bar Ongoing It’s (nearly) cool enough to spend time outside, which is why underrated beach bar Bliss has just reopened. Head down for a cold one. Open daily 6pm-2am. Sheraton Jumeirah Beach, JBR (04 399 5533).
Hear exotic world music Friday 28 Known as the ‘King of Ghazal’, Pakistani singer Mehdi Hassan passed away in June. Hear this moving tribute. Dhs200-300. 6.45pm. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, www.timeouttickets.com.
Marvel at breakdancing set to classical music Friday 28-Saturday 29 The Red Bull Flying Bach World Tour lands in Dubai to treat us to a heady mix of breakdancing with a classical twist. Dhs250. 8pm. First Group Theatre, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6546).
Order a healthy lunch Ongoing New healthy fast-food joint Richy’s claims to ‘revolutionise the salad’. Perfect for a quick-fix weekend lunch. Prices vary. HDF Tower, Cluster F, JLT. Order online at www.richys.ae.
See raw rock’n’roll Thursday 27-Friday 28 Scuzzy US rockers The Black Lips and Lebanese indie boys Lazy Lung play The Music Room. A day later, ten local rock bands descend on the same stage for rockfest Reformed Absolutizm. Thursday Dhs80 advance, Dhs100 on the door; Friday Dhs50. 9pm-3am. The Music Room, Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai (056 799 6355), www.timeouttickets.com.
Go zouk dancing Sunday 23, Sunday 30 Prolong your weekend by a day and head to Savage Garden (which has no affiliation with the rubbish ’90s rock band, as far as we know) for an energetic zouk dance every Sunday. Dhs40. Classes 8pm-9pm, 9pm-10pm. Capitol Hotel, Satwa (04 346 0111).
Try a ‘mini’ grape masterclass at Gaucho Every Thursday and Friday Check out the grape room at Gaucho, which now hosts free masterclasses. At weekends Gaucho’s sommelier guides guests through the venue’s grape list, sharing knowledge on how to match your drink with your food. Free for diners. Thu-Fri 11.30am-2am. DIFC (04 422 7898).
Watch an iconic comic character come to life Thursday 27 Futuristic superhero Judge Dredd is back on the big screen – this time in 3D. At cinemas across Dubai. Read our review in next week’s issue.
Try a fancy new brunch at Atlantis’s steakhouse Every friday Steakhouse favourite Seafire welcomes Aussie chef George Calombaris to its inaugural brunch event. The menu will be based around five interactive live stations, featuring providore, Mediterranean-style cold dishes, a butchery (of course, this is a steak restaurant, after all!), and a fishmonger. Dhs435 (selected house beverages). 12.30pm-4pm. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2626).