Dubai Shopping Festival is about way more than discounts. Time Out rounds up the best DSF events
So far it’s seen a record-breaking bid for the Biggest Biryani Bowl at Global Village, a Carpet Oasis (surely an oxymoron?) at Airport Expo Dubai and frocks fashioned from balloons at BurJuman. But with DSF getting ready to enter its final week, the fun is just getting started. Here’s our guide to the best events out and about this week.
Dubai Creek without a doubt remains one of the city’s most beautiful backdrops, which makes it even more criminal that it remains woefully underused as a location for many of the emirate’s activities. DSF, fortunately, has long recognised the value of the watery strip that divides old and new Dubai. Head there this week for one of your last chances to explore the Night Souk (which comes complete with fun fair and floating restaurants) on Al Seef Street, where the Dubai Food Festival is also taking place nightly from 5pm until February 14. Weekends also see spectacular fireworks displays (the closing one, on February 15 promises to be a corker). And for those who like to enjoy the Creek by day, there’s always Saturday’s Souk Al Bastikya.
The Walk – Jumeirah Beach Residence
As one over-excited colleague put it, ‘JBR is alive with the Shopping Festival’. The official line is hardly less enthusiastic: ‘Art presentations transcend The Walk’, screamed a recent PR missive. Well, quite. Highlights include a host of international artists working in mediums from sand and rice to metal and tyres. But the star of the show must surely be the strange art of rock balancing, as practised by Reinhard Boehme. Gravity-defying it may be, but curious doesn’t even come close to describing it. Look out, too, for the pop-up Comedy Café (as mentioned in Around Town last week), along with the open-air cinema, kids’ corner and regular fashion shows.
Nothing quite says celebration like a street party and Jumeirah Road’s drive-through provides visitors and locals with just that. Cafes and restaurants on the strip are offering al fresco dining, all the better to enjoy the nightly entertainment provided by a host of international entertainers. Taking things inside, the neighbourhood also plays host to Dubai Fashion 2009 in the suitably plush surrounds of the Madinat between February 9-11 with presentations from the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue and Harvey Nichols. Because nothing says shopping festival like an homage to a spangly frock.
The highlight here still has to be the Chinese State Circus. It’s residence of spectacular acrobatic and martial-arts mastery is now sadly drawing to a close. But Festival City still has more to give. Mr Boombastic himself, Shaggy, will be serenading the masses on February 12, while the weekend fireworks displays that have been a fixture during DSF are still putting on their bi-weekly display. Hold your breath, however, for the grand finale, due to take place at Festival City on February 15 in a haze of song, dance and pyrotechnics. See www.dubaishoppingfestival.com for details
The boys are back in town. This month’s laughter line-up features three British comedians – Andy Borgh, Mike Gunn and Markus Birdman. They’ve been playing at venues across Dubai and Abu Dhabi last week, but there’s still time to catch them if you’re quick. February 12, Chi@The Lodge. Dhs115. Phone 800 4669, www.timeouttickets.com
Drumming – it’s so over. Kidding! (We love the beats here at Time Out). But if you want to increase your skill-set, why not try your hand at the Arabic tabla? Ductac offers weekly group sessions for would-be tabla experts. Join them. Ductac, Mall of the Emirates, Mondays 8-9pm, Dhs60, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stuck for a way to show your love? Want more than red roses, candy and cheap (or expensive) perfume? Check out Blue Banana’s selection of truly original gift ideas. www.bluebanana.com