As the city marks the end of Ramadan, we take a look at the best dining, shopping and entertainment to be had during the three-day weekend.
Eid Al-Fitr marks the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, and is celebrated by Muslims not only in Dubai, but around the world. Here in the city, friends and family gather to mark the occasion through prayer, a feast, and to exchange greetings of ‘Eid Mubarak’. There are also large-scale events held across the city in honour of the occasion. From fireworks over the Creek to dance performances in malls, big blockbuster releases to special spa deals, the three-day weekend – likely to start on Friday August 9 and last until Sunday August 11 – sees Dubai become a hive of activity and colour, and over the next few pages we pick out some of the best deals and happenings you won’t want to miss. We also reveal some of the top local gigs to make sure you can get your hands on tickets from now until the end of the year.
Where to watch the fireworks
Fireworks will light up the sky around Dubai Creek and Dubai Festival City nightly throughout Eid from 8pm. Here are the top vantage points for taking in the city’s colourful celebrations.
Bur Dubai Creek
Stroll along the path that runs along the water on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek. There are benches and even a small park to pull up a perch in and catch the action.
Taxi to Al Fahidi District (formerly Bastakiya).
Belgian Beer Café
Pop out onto the terrace at this Festival City pub for great views. If you’re feeling peckish, we recommend the mussels.
Crowne Plaza Festival City (04 701 2267).
Well-known for its cable cars, this family-friendly spot is one of the most popular places for catching the fireworks at celebrations throughout the year. Parking is likely to be difficult, so take a taxi if you can.
Entry Dhs5. Umm Hurair (04 336 7633).
Festival Centre Marina Restaurant Pavilion
Watch from the promenade or one of the many restaurants lining the stretch.
Festival City (800 332 32).
This shisha hangout sits right on the edge of the Creek, offering a comfortable, relaxed spot for taking in the action. Neighbouring eatery Boardwalk, which sits directly over the water, is currently closed for renovations.
Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club (04 295 6000).
A chic hangout for grown-ups, this Creekside spot next to a private marina offers views of the skyline along the water.
Park Hyatt, Deira (04 317 2222).
Make the most of Eid weekend deals, and lunch at new eateries.
Joyous brunch at BiCE
Italian eatery BiCE is offering two consecutive days of brunch at the Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, with salads, mains and dessert cooked to order and served at your table.
Dhs395 per person (house beverages), Dhs295 (soft drinks). Friday 9 and Saturday 10 August, 1pm-4pm. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort, The Walk, JBR (04 318 2520).
Lafayette Gourmet Eid buffet
This two-day Eid buffet aims to showcase the best of the café’s eight kitchens, with everything from Italian to Indian classics. You can also pick up high-end Eid gifts, such as personalised hampers, priced from Dhs300 to Dhs3,000. Dhs145 per person. Friday 9, Saturday 10, Sunday 11 August, 12.30pm-3.30pm. Galeries Lafayette, The Dubai Mall (04 339 9933).
Latin American brunch at La Parrilla
Enjoy free-flowing bubbly, a la carte main courses, buffet starters and desserts and live music from a Latin American band.
Dhs625 per person. Friday 9 August, 12.30pm-3.30pm. Jumeirah Beach Hotel (04 406 8999).
Legends Eid brunch
This dining event offers an international buffet, complete with Arabic specialities, plus plenty of activities to keep kids entertained.
DAY TBC, noon-3pm. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club (04 295 6000).
Plaisir du Chocolat
Sample home-made chocolate pralines at this new cafe and patisserie.
Mercato Mall (04 385 6919).
Try truffle mac’n’cheese and freshly baked bread at this French bistro from New York.
Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 420 3442).
As well as serving up different types of crab, Claw also offers burgers, fajitas and a mechanical bull.
Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai (04 432 2300).
Many bars and clubs might be saving their season-opening gigs for the next few weeks, but there’s still plenty to do after dark this weekend.
Identity Launch Party with DJ Eric Francis
The debut of a brand new night at N’Dulge, run by No.1 Events and dedicated exclusively to house sounds. Resident DJ Eric Francis will be joined by a new guest every week, and clubbers can expect local and international DJs to hit the decks in coming months.
Dhs100, free for ladies before 11pm. Thursday August 8, 9pm-3am. N’Dulge, Atlantis the Palm (055 200 4322).
Unwind at sunset with Pure Sounds nights at Pure Sky Lounge on the 35th floor, every day throughout Eid. There’s also a special happy hour on Friday August 9, with selected beverages two-for-one between 5pm and 8pm.
Free. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Residences, The Walk, JBR (04 318 2914).
Keep Calm and Rock ‘n Roll
Ten top local bands including Nikotin and Ascendant rattle the walls at The Music Room – all as part of a showcase to hail the return of live music to the city.
Dhs60. Friday August 9, 8pm-3am. Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai (050 248 4054).
Parisian DJ and producer Tristan Garner is part of the new generation of French DJs that follow in the funky footsteps of Daft Punk and Cassius. The man behind track, ‘Give Love’ which has over two million YouTube hits, the house heavyweight has spun tunes across the world in a career that’s seen support from the likes of Swedish House Mafia and Tiesto.
DhsTBC. Friday August 9, 3pm-3am. Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina (056 640 6161).
Audio tonic Summer Sessions
Resident DJs get back behind the decks for the return of this popular night at the scenic hangout at the end of Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s lengthy jetty.
Free. Friday August 9, 4pm-3am. 360º, Jumeirah Beach Hotel (056 682 6617).
Deals on facials, massages, mani-pedis and more, exclusively for the three-day weekend.
Ahasees Spa and Club
This refresh and rejuvenate Eid offer includes a 30-minute apricot and citrus body polish, along with a 60-minute pearl balm massage, and a 20-minute lip or eye plump treatment.
Dhs650. Valid during Eid only. Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha (04 317 2333).
Balance Wellness Club
For the entire Eid holiday, get 30-percent off all facials and wrap therapies at this wellbeing centre. There are both organic and Ayurvedic wrap options available, for 60 or 90 minutes, using assea lettuce, sea lavender and essential oils of rose, jasmine and sandalwood. Facial options include the anti-ageing rainforest, skin-toning ku nye Tibetan and Ayurvedic detoxifying and cleansing.
From Dhs245. Valid during Eid only. Oasis Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 384 7010).
Jasmine Spa & Health Club
The 120-minute royal Eid delight package includes a Balinese massage, followed by a chocolate body treat for her, or an African body treat for him, rounding off with a facial.
Dhs549. Until August 31. Grand Millennium Hotel, TECOM (04 429 9999).
Book the 90-minute full-body massage Arabian Nights treatment and get a complimentary gift from the spa.
Dhs750. Until September 15. Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6818).
The Nail Spa
Get an angel face-lift (a 50-minute non-surgical treatment which is designed to tone and tighten the facial muscles), along with a stress-buster head and neck massage, a classic mani-pedi and a heaven vanilla pod hand and nail cream to take home.
Dhs780. Until September 30. Ladies only. Various locations including Mercato Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 349 7766).
Top cinema for the Eid weekend
After a quiet period for movie launches in the UAE, blockbuster cinema is back with a vengeance. Take a look at the biggest flicks out this weekend.
Despicable Me 2
Tender-hearted villain Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) returns in this highly anticipated sequel. Despite having moved into the more family-friendly jam business, the reformed criminal finds himself recruited by the Anti-Villian League to help foil a new super villain. But although he may now be a dad, don’t expect Gru to have forgotten his roots as an evil mastermind.
Expect monsters and robots in the latest sci-fi flick to contemplate what an apocalypse could look like in 2025. Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) and Rinko Kikuchi (The Brothers Bloom) are the pilot and trainee tasked with saving the world when war-mongering creatures known as Kaiju start emerging from the sea. In order to save mankind, they must use machines from the discontinued Jaeger project, to control which they must connect with their minds.
The Lone Ranger
Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp star as John Reid and Tonto, a native American of the Comanche tribe who rescues the former after he is left for dead and then helps him to become the masked Lone Ranger. Disney’s take on the character from the much-loved TV series failed to win the hearts of critics in the US, but Dubai’s love of blockbusters and a longer opening weekend could spell better luck here.
The Smurfs 2
Smurfette is kidnapped by the evil Gargamel (Hank Azaria), who has created Smurf-like creatures called the Naughties in a bid to become all-powerful, only to discover he needs to turn them into real Smurfs, which he needs the little blue lady’s secret spell to do. As the rest of her diminutive kind team up with their human friends to rescue her, Smurfette contemplates whether she’s better matched with her mischievous new acquaintances.
Adamant that there’s still time yet before they’re settling for a pension, this action comedy sees Bruce Willis’s team of ageing former CIA operatives reunite for another risky mission. John Malkovich, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren all star in the follow-up to the 2010 caper
Where to shop
Eid sees visitors descend on Dubai’s malls from across the Middle East. We round up the top in-mall entertainment and deals.
Expect traditional entertainment such as dabke dancing, tannoura dancing, free henna tattoos and kids’ arts and crafts, with the mall open until 2am every night until August 14. There will also be the chance to win prizes – with shoppers given a coupon for every Dhs200 spent in the mall throughout Eid.
Mirdif (04 284 5555).
Dubai Outlet Mall
Running for the duration of the Eid holiday, expect Arabic entertainment, music and dance shows, as well as an Arabic Majlis tent for visitors to unwind in and moons and stars adorning almost every available space. Shoppers will also have the chance to win gold, Dhs1 million in cash, shopping vouchers, Skywards miles and much more.
Dubai to Al Ain Road (E66) (04 423 4666).
Festival City Mall
Home to Dubai’s only IKEA, this large mall has its own marina (which you can take small boat rides around), lined with dozens of restaurants, each serving up a different style of cuisine. Throughout the three-day weekend, from 3pm to midnight, there will be Arabic folklore dance shows in the main Festival Square. There are also fireworks and laser shows every night from 8pm.
Dubai Festival City (800 332 32).
Ibn Battuta Mall
Throughout the weekend, this country-themed shopping destination near Discovery Gardens will house a special tent with dates, coffee and a henna artist. There will also be stilt walkers, African drummers and jugglers performing throughout the mall, with on-the-spot giveaways and balloons handed out to children.
Jebel Ali Village (04 362 1901).
The Dubai Mall
Among the most popular spots for residents and visiting shoppers, we recommend ditching the car and taking a taxi or using the metro to get to this mammoth mall – despite ten floors of parking, getting out (even at midnight) can take up to an hour. Throughout Eid, for every Dhs300 or more spent on shopping, dining or entertainment in the mall, visitors can enter a raffle draw to win a luxury car.
Downtown Dubai (04 362 7500).
View Where to watch the fireworks
View Daytime dining
View Top nightlife
View Spa specials
View Top cinema for the Eid weekend
View The essential season preview
The essential season preview: 10 Dubai gigs to look forward to
Get booking for the top gigs and events coming to Dubai before the end of the year.
Boom Box launch party with N.W.A’s DJ Yella
The team who brought us Wu-Tang associate DJ Suecide earlier this year is back with the launch of a new monthly hip-hop club night. And boy have they lined up something rather fine for the opening night, with DJ Yella behind the decks – a founding member of pioneering gangster rap group N.W.A.
Dhs100. August 23. The Music Room, Majestic Hotel Towers (056 799 6355).
Horace Andy at Drop Dread
The Drop Dread team is clearly preparing to up the ante in the new season. Rootsy Jamaican singer Horace Andy is something of a reggae legend and alongside his incredible and extended CV of releases, you might recognise his contributions to all five of trip-hoppers Massive Attack’s albums.
Price Dhs75. Casa Latina. September 6.
The Lightning Seeds and Toploader
Topping the IV’s Arthur’s Day bill is The Lightning Seeds, who jammed early ’90s airwaves with a string of popular indie-pop hits including ‘Life of Riley’, ‘Pure’ and ‘Change’. They’ll have competition from co-headliners Toploader, who remain a jukebox favourite for their catchy cover of King Harvest’s song ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’.
Dhs70. September 26. The Irish Village, Garhoud
Al Murray ‘The Pub Landlord’
A Dubai regular who seems to provoke more hype with every returning visit. It might be the same ‘The Only Way is Epic’ show you might have caught at the Madinat Theatre last September, but Murray has promised us plenty of fresh material.
Dhs300-500. October 3. Dubai World Trade Centre
Following from a reliably wacky stop at JLT conference centre Almas Tower last year, hyperactive Irish comedian Byrne is back for another two-night stand in the same venue.
Dhs120. October 10-11. Almas Towers. Tickets on sale August 22 from timeouttickets.com.
Sandance third birthday with The Killers
Having recently headlined London’s Wembley Stadium – where they touchingly performed ‘Wembley Song’ written specially for the occasion – The Killers could be the festival’s biggest booking yet. But the promoters haven’t skimped on the rest of the bill, with the welcomingly edgy booking of Icelandic indie sextet Of Monsters and Men, while The Wailers – yep, that’s Bob Marley’s backing band – might be the most perfect sunset fit we can think of. Expect a big name DJ to be added to the bill soon.
Dhs295-500. Friday October 11. Atlantis The Palm.
Initially scheduled for May, comedy legend John Cleese’s return visit to the Madinat Theatre has now been confirmed for a five-night run from November 9. Cleese is returning with the same An Evening with... concept he brought to the same venue last May. Tickets to be released.
November 5-9. Madinat Theatre (04 366 6546).
Sandance with Jamiroquai and Chic featuring Nile Rodgers
Little over a month after celebrating its third birthday, November’s Sandance will take a turn into funkier territory with both Jamiroquai and Chic featuring Nile Rodgers taking headline slots. While Jay Kay and co are taking headlining duties, it may be Chic who are most in vogue now – 36 years after they first set the dancefloor alive with singles such as ‘Dance Dance Dance’.
Dhs295-500. November 15. Atlantis The Palm
Alicia Keys and Jason Derulo
Going head to head with Jamiroquai and Chic at Sandance is ‘Girl on Fire’ Alicia Keys. She may have been appointed ‘global creative director’ at BlackBerry last year, but soulful Ms Keys has enjoyed a musical career renaissance of late. Meanwhile, American R&B Jason Derulo will support Keys at the 14,000-capacity gig. He’s no stranger to the emirate, playing at the inaugural Dubai Caribbean Carnival last November, a few months after getting on the mic at People by Crystal last June.
Dhs295-1,295. November 15. Dubai Media City Amphitheatre www.timeouttickets.com.
Craig Charles at Sunny Vibe Up
Charles has been spinning choice nuggets on the UK’s BBC Radio 6 Music every Saturday for more than a decade. While he’s not much of a club DJ, relying on hidden handymen to drop the tunes while he hypes an incessant round of rabble rousing into the mic, it’s this populist approach he’ll be bringing to underground pool party Sunny Vibe Up on November.
Price TBC. November 22. Dusk Terrace, Radisson Blu Hotel Media City (04 366 9111).