Prove the best things in life are free, even on New Year's Eve
Time Out Dubai Staff
New Year’s Eve on a shoestring
The best things in life are free, but living in a modern metropolis it’s hard to find consolation in the wise words of Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson. Fear not: even in Dubai there are thrifty ways to see in the new year in style. Here’s our handy guide.
Host your own themed party Like any special occasion, New Year’s Eve is about the people you’re with, not how much money you spend. It may be easier said than done, but any real friends won’t judge you on how much you’ve spent on hosting a get-together, and with a bit of invention it doesn’t need to cost a penny. Ask your guests (politely, of course) to bring their own refreshments, and keep them entertained with one of the following themes:
Movie night Ask around, see if someone you know owns a projector, and plan a double header of new year-themed movies. Good ideas: When Harry Met Sally and About A Boy. Bad ideas: Last Night and 2012.
Karaoke contest Fuelled by X-Factor et al, singing games such as SingStar have brought the karaoke contest out of dead-end pubs and into many living rooms. Alternatively, host a stadium-worthy Guitar Hero showdown and find your inner rock star. Borrow a PlayStation from a friend and get your mates to chip in towards SingStar Dance PS3 Move (Dhs249) or Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock (Dhs599), at Virgin Megastore, Mall of the Emirates (04 341 4353).
Console game-off Whether shoot ’em-ups, arcade racers or sports games are your chosen platform, now’s the time to organise a knockout tournament to crown the last champ of 2011. Hot games include Call of Duty Black Ops (Dhs199) and Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 (Dhs269), available at Virgin Megastore.
Wardrobe swap If you’re too poor to go out for NYE, your wardrobe is probably on the tired side too. Start the New Year with a fresh look for free – invite your mates round to trade clothes. You can donate the leftovers to Aid in Motion (06 503 4535, www.volunteerindubai.com), which distributes unwanted clothes to those in need.
Feel the buzz for
Thanks to Dubai’s warm climate, there are plenty of places you can wander comfortably for free among the masses to soak up the new year spirit.
Downtown Dubai Walk around the 30-acre Burj Khalifa lake soaking up the twinkling cityscape, the warmth of families out for a stroll and the record-breaking Dubai Fountain in full flow. Start at Emaar Boulevard, walk around the base of Burj, past The Dubai Mall and on to Souk Al Bahar in time to watch the fireworks at midnight.
Dubai Creek For a free slice of atmosphere, head to Dubai Creek Park – the main green space on the Bur Dubai side, near Rashid Hospital, will be throbbing with families out for the night, and offers splendid views of creekside fireworks. Take a picnic and get stuck in. Entry Dhs5. Open 8am-xxx(to come).
The Walk at JBR On any given weekend, The Walk is alive with an exhilarating buzz of colours, people, commerce and cars, so imagine the electric atmosphere in the run-up to midnight on New Year’s Eve. There are also plenty of places to grab a meal if you get peckish, but we’d advise leaving the car at home – the traffic jams are liable to be epic.
A cheap Pub If you find yourself in need of a hip-and-happening nightlife venue, don’t panic – most of the lower-end bars we spoke to said there would be no cover charge and normal drinks prices on NYE. Try Time Café (Ramee Royal Hotel, Karama, 04 334 4088), Waxy’s (Ascot Hotel, Bur Dubai, 04 352 0900) – or if peckish, the Old Vic (Ramada, Bur Dubai, 04 351 9999), which is offering a buffet from 7pm until 1am for Dhs125.