Bash the dunes in Sharjah
Although there’s dune bashing closer to home, head to the Mleiha Archaeological Centre in Sharjah to get educated about the region and also to have adrenaline-filled fun. Jump in a dune buggy and blitz your way up and down the sand dunes. Tours offer a thrilling way to explore the area.
From Dhs175. Daily 9am-7pm. Mleiha Archaeological Centre, Sharjah (06 802 1111).
Get your skates on at XDubai Skatepark
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or still finding your feet, the outdoor XDubai Skatepark at Kite Beach has everything you need to give your skateboard a good run. From the low-profile skate plaza for beginners to the increased difficultly obstacles including ledges, banks, steps, rails and a huge skate bowl for the more experienced, there’s plenty of room to perfect those tricks.
From Dhs45. Fri-Sat 8am-11pm, Sun-Thur 3pm-11pm. Kite Beach, (056 831 2349).
Go wakeboarding at Dubai Marina
Fancy being dragged along by a speedboat, while you balance on a board with the wind in your hair? Then wakeboarding or even wakesurfing might be the thing for you – but best to do it while the water is not like a steamy bath. Head down to Dubai Marina (the end with all the yachts) and jump on board with Xtreme Wake for some adrenaline pumping fun.
Dhs600 an hour for boat hire. Open daily, sunrise to sunset. Dubai Marina (050 342 3012).
Monkey Business at Aventura Park
Aventura Park is the place for a tree surfing and rope climbing day out. Perhaps the greenest of all the UAE’s adventure options, Aventura in Mushrif Park gives you the chance to get active within its natural mini-forest. This 35,000 sq m adventure playground offers visitors around 80 activities including zip-lining, climbing, and rope challenges, all laid out on circuits of increasing difficulty. Look out for the 25-metre Tarzan Jump.
Dhs150 (general access), Dhs125 (children under 1.35 metres). Until June. Sun-Wed 9.30am-6pm, Thu-Fri 9am-10pm. Mushrif Park (056 178 7616).
Sand slide with Lama Tours
We’re all well-versed in Dubai’s real snow ski-slope but we’re in the desert after all, so have you tried sand skiing? Though a basic knowledge of technique is handy, decent balance and a good sense of adventure are more useful when hurtling down enormous dunes on specially modified mono-skis.
Dhs149. Daily pick-up at 8am or 10am from your location in Dubai, www.lamadubai.com (04 601 3333).
Skydive at Skydive Dubai
Want to get the ultimate adrenaline rush with an amazing view of Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah to boot? Head to Skydive Dubai, one of the world’s most reliable destinations for skydiving thanks to the year-round (mostly) clear weather, and hurtle to earth at speeds of up to 190kph. Breath-taking (literally).
Dhs2,199. Mon-Sat 10am-6pm. Skydive Dubai, Dubai Marina (04 377 8888).
Cycling in Al Qudra
Although you’ll still see the hardened cyclists chancing it in the summer months, a bike ride is best taken in cooler climes. Choose sea views from the boardwalk track on the Palm, urban vibes around the lakes of JLT or take on the Al Qudra cycle route. It has almost 100km of paved track in the desert, taking in sand dunes and wildlife. And it’s free too, if you have your own equipment. Like the sound of that? See page 28 for more free workouts.
Free. Open 24 hours. Al Qudra.
SUP fit at DRIFT Beach
There isn’t much you can’t do from the comfort of a swimming pool these days and one of the most Instagram-worthy is a Super SUP Fit class. Super SUP Fit is a Yoga/Pilates and HIIT inspired workout on stand-up paddle boards and Aquafit mats in swimming pools across Dubai. These unique and fun workouts focus on core, balance and full body movements with lots of falling in and splashing about. Falling in might cool you down but the idea is to stay on the board for the full 45mins to an hour session.
Check website for latest class times. DRIFT Beach, One&Only Royal Mirage, Al Sufouh Road, www.supersupfit.com (055 437 1633). Other location Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah.
Squat to it at The Beach
Work up a sweat the right way by swinging some kettle bells, perfecting your deadlifts, practising your pull ups and going full-steam on the bike at Warehouse Gym’s outdoor area on JBR Beach. The CrossFit and circuits area have stunning views of the sea, so good that they might help you forget the pain of those beach sprints and burpees. Join a morning class before it’s too hot, and you can always refuel at one of the many awesome brekkie spots neraby afterwards.
Open daily, class times vary. Unit 4401, The Beach, opposite JBR, www.whgym.com (04 368 4080).
Take a hike (or paddle) in Hatta
Experience the great outdoors with a visit to the rugged Hajar mountain range in Hatta. This scenic spot is the perfect place for short rambles or a longer and tougher hike if you’re feeling adventurous. There’s an unguided nine km-long dedicated hiking trail that sets off from near the camping area at the Hatta Mountain Bike Trail Centre, continues through Hatta Heritage Village and passes three dams and dozens of small farms nestled among the craggy landscape. If that sounds like a bit too much time in the heat, there’s also an easier 3km option to explore. Or if you’d rather take to the water, why not give a kayak trip a go.
Free. Trails open 24 hours. Starts from Mountain Bike Trail Centre, Hatta (04 852 1002).
Tee off at Emirates Golf Club
Perfect that hole-in-one before the blinding sun distracts you from your game and you’re too hot to slog around 18 holes. Head to the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club or the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s championship course to get swinging at two of Dubai’s top golf settings. If you don’t mind a little sweat once the sun’s down, then opt for the Faldo Course at Emirates Golf Club, the only fully floodlit 18-hole course in the UAE, for a spot of night golf throughout the summer.
Prices vary. www.dubaigolf.com.
Walking (or running) at Kite Beach
With beautiful views of the sea as well as Dubai’s iconic skyline, this is one jog that won’t get boring. The purpose-built track that runs alongside Kite Beach for much of its distance is also Dubai’s longest. With a 14km stretch of sponge surface, runners can enjoy a trot from Dubai Marine Beach Resort all the way to Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. The track also has 1000m markers so you know how far you’re going. There are plenty of shaded rest areas for a break or if you’re taking it easy – opt for a walk instead.
Open 24 hours. Kite Beach. Jumeirah Beach Road.
On the tourist trail
Cheer on the camels at Al Marmoum Camel Racetrack
Have you ever seen a camel run full pelt? Well it’s pretty fast let us tell you, especially for such a large and awkward-looking animal. Enjoy one of the UAE’s centuries-old past-times by watching these magnificent beasts, that are usually seen mulling around the dunes, come into their own at the Al Marmoum Camel Racetrack. Our advice is to race down there before the stands become too hot to cheer on your chosen camel – with tourists and locals alike.
Free. 6pm onwards. Al Marmoum Camel Racetrack, Al Ain Road (600 555 559).
Haggle at the souks
Looking for a bargain in Old Dubai can be quite a mission even on a cool day, but with the beaming hot sun shining on your face, things can get a little steamy. Get down to Bur Dubai while the weather allows and wander past the textiles and souvenirs, before grabbing a traditional abra for just Dhs1 to cross the creek over to spice stores and jewellery at the Gold Souk. Practise your haggling for the best bargains.
Open daily 9.30am-9.30pm. Bur Dubai and Deira.
Shine Bright at Dubai Garden Glow
In equal measures bizarre and spectacular, Dubai Garden Glow needs to be seen to be believed. The fantastical world of make believe has a glowing version of everything you could hope to see; from birds and pandas to boats, plants and mythical creatures. There’s even an ice park where you can chill with glowing polar bears.
Dhs65 (adults), free (children under three). Open Sat-Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri 4pm-12am. Zabeel Park, Downtown Dubai (052 478 5605).
Smell the flowers at Dubai Miracle Garden
If you haven’t experienced this stunning site with its three Guinness World Records, then get before mid-May when it closes its doors for summer. With 100 million blooming flowers, it’s more than just a regular garden show – sculptures of houses, hearts and even forming the shape of an Emirates Airbus A380 (which was awarded one of the aforementioned Guinness World Records), think of it more as an art exhibit with a floral aroma.
Dhs45 (adults), Dhs35 (kids aged three to 12), free (people with disabilities and kids under two). Open Sun-Thu 9am-9pm, Fri-Sat 9am-11pm. Al Barsha South (04 422 8902).
Sea the sights with Xclusive Yachts
Get those celebrity feels by stepping onto a luxury yacht without paying the decadent hire price with Xclusive Yachts’ new ‘Yacht Share’ experience. Operating three times a day (morning, afternoon, sunset) from Sunday to Thursday, the guided tours are either two or three hours in length, come with breakfast or a barbecue and are capped at 30 people. Head out aboard a 65ft catamaran for the Dubai Marina tour and take in the Marina, JBR, Atlantis the Palm and Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, or opt for a 70ft yacht for the Dubai Water Canal Tour with views of Business Bay, Burj Khalifa, Waterfall Canal Bridge, Twisty Bridge and Burj Al Arab Jumeirah.
From Dhs210. www.xclusiveyachtshare.com (04 457 3185).
Time for a history lesson in Al Fahidi
Head to Al Fahidi Fort and museum to get to know a thing or two about Dubai’s past. First built way back in 1787, it was opened to the public in 1971 and then restored in 1995. Learn about the interactions between different people and civilisations through Dubai’s history, and see just how far our city has come over the years. Then wander over to the free coin, camel, horse and coffee museums in the nearby Al Fahidi Historical District before stopping for a well earned bite to eat at the cute XVA cafe and gallery in the Bastakiya area just a few minutes away.
Dhs3 (adults), Dhs1 (kids under six). Open Sat-Thu 8.30am-8.30pm, Fri 2.30pm-8.30pm. Bur Dubai.
Up in the air with Balloon Adventures
Hot air ballooning is one of the best ways to take in views of the Dubai desert but less fun when it’s about 40 degrees out there. Even if you opt for an early morning or dawn ride – it’s still pretty uncomfortable. So, get this spectacular bit of sight-seeing done before summer hits. With Balloon Adventures Dubai offering everything from early rides that include breakfast and falconry to overnight adventures, there’s something for everyone.
From Dhs1,195. Daily until May 31. www.ballooning.ae (04 440 9827).
Al fresco viewing at VOX Outdoor Cinema
If you love watching the latest blockbusters while enjoying the cool climes of a Dubai evening then your days are numbered as the heat is on its way. Catch Keira Knightly’s Aftermath among other films under Dubai’s starlit skies at the Vox Outdoor Cinema. It’s equipped with some of the best visual technology and has a Dolby 7.1 surround sound system to make sure no outside noise will ruin crucial dialogue. It’s the ideal place to kick back and relax in a lounge-style setting, with large comfy VIP couches and bean bags. Also, look out for the Deira branch at Aloft City Centre.
Open daily, various timings. The Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah (60 059 9905).
Float away at Aquaventure
One of the best things about Aquaventure at Atlantis The Palm is the 2.3km, never-ending lazy river. It’s the best way to see a huge part of the waterpark without lifting a finger… and getting a tan (while the weather’s still safe to do so). Float (for what can take 45-minutes) through the gentle rapids with the odd place to get splashed or dive into a faster pace by tackling some of the waterslides and rides including the river rapids or the brutal Leap of Faith, if you’re brave enough.
Open daily 10am-6pm. From 195AED (adults) and 170 (kids) Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 0000).
Picnicking with Tania’s Teahouse
This charming little café and eatery in Jumeirah offers up a picnic hamper worth rushing for, if only so you can really relax with some lovely grub once you’ve got your hands on one. You can order a range of snacks, food and drinks from the Teahouse’s menu, and have them packed for you in a beach basket, which also comes with blankets, sun cream and drinks canisters to keep your cold drinks ice cool for the day. It will cost you per item, so prices vary depending on what your order from the menu, and each basket also comes with a Dhs200 deposit, so take good care of the hamper if you want to see your dirhams returned to you safe and sound.
Open Sun-Wed 8am-10pm, Thu 8am-midnight, Fri-Sat 9am-midnight. Jumeirah Beach Road (04 324 0021).
Tan while you can at Barasti
A totally free pool day? Plus totally free drinks? You heard right. This casual beach bar at Al Sufouh offers ladies’ complimentary pool and beach access, as well as free-flowing pink frozen grape on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday each week. You’ll even get 50 percent off water sports and food and drink, too. Result.
Sun-Tue 10am-10pm. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh (04 318 1313).
Al fresco dining
Award-winning dining at Key West
You can’t get any more beachy than this location – which is why it’s the winner of our Best Outdoor Restaurant 2019. One of the few places in Dubai where you have a clear view out across the Gulf, this laid-back Caribbean restaurant and bar is amazing at sunset. Dishes are tasty too, and the vibe is friendly.
Open daily 4pm-11pm. Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai, Peal Jumeira (04 376 6000).
Beachfront eating at Fish Beach Taverna
One of the prettiest outdoor settings you can find, with twinkling fairy lights, whitewashed furnishings and a beachside setting. Dishes are Mediterranean and tasty, and it’s equally charming by day or night.
Open Sun-Thu noon-3pm, 6.30pm-11pm, Fri-Sat noon-3pm, 6.30pm-11.30pm. Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh (04 511 7373).
Family-friendly meals at Boardwalk
If you haven’t taken a mosey on down to Dubai Creek then this is an ideal pit-stop. Winner of our Best Outdoor Restaurant in 2018, with a massive terrace jutting out over the water, the views are sublime. The vibe is deeply laid-back and it’s the perfect place for a a lazy, family-friendly afternoon out. Order a pizza and sit back and admire the views.
Open daily noon-midnight. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira (04 295 6000).
Romantic dates at folly by Nick & Scott
As well as being Highly Commended in our Best Rooftop Bar category, the restaurant at this place is serving up some excellent dishes (which is why it’s Highly Commended in our Best European Restaurant category). If you want to wow visitors, this is the spot for you.
Open Sun-Thu noon-2.30pm, Fri-Sat noon-3.30pm, daily 5pm-11pm. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 430 8535).
FOUR POOL BRUNCHES
Brunch by the Terrace takes place every Saturday, with doors from 9am for prime sunbathing time. Brunch starts from 2pm with tapas and Mediterranean bites.
Dhs295 (house beverages). Sat 2pm-5pm. Habtoor Grand, Autograph Collection, Dubai Marina (04 408 4400).
Nikki Beach Dubai
This world-famous beach club hosts La Vie en Rose every Saturday, with a pink theme, mixed drinks and a buffet with dishes including sushi. Splash around in the pool afterwards.
Dhs265 (soft drinks), Dhs395 (grape and hops), Dhs465 (grape, hops and shorts). Sat 1pm-4pm. Pearl Jumeira (04 376 6162).
The brand-new Palm Sugar Brunch at the swish new W Dubai – The Palm has cool, Ibiza-style beats. Choose a cabana, pool-side lounger or the beach, while food comes in the form of salads, burgers, pizzas et al.
Dhs395 (house beverages). Fri 1pm-5pm. W Dubai – The Palm Palm Jumeirah (04 245 5555).
Head to this beach club for the Tropical brunch every Friday. You’ll get unlimited food and drink from 1pm until 5pm, plus beach access from 8am paired with tropical and tribal sounds from the resident DJs.
Dhs295 (ladies), Dhs345 (gents). Skydive Dubai Drop Zone, Dubai Marina (04 399 0009).
TOP ROOFTOP BARS
Because where else in town could claim to have a better rooftop al fresco bar experience than this simply magnificent terrace bar on Palm Jumeirah? Our Best Rooftop Bar – and Bar of the Year 2019 – has stunning views, tasty snacks and a super-cool vibe.
Open Sat-Wed noon-3am, Thu-Fri noon-5am. FIVE Palm Jumeirah Dubai (052 900 4868).
folly by Nick & Scott
This charming rooftop terrace at the restaurant from top chefs Nick Alvis and Scott Price provides stunning views, especially at sunset. With a happy hour menu, a new ladies’ night and friendly staff, it’s an excellent place for an al fresco drink.
Open daily noon-3am. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 430 8535).
Luna Sky Bar
This gorgeous bar in DIFC is a romantic spot if you’re after a post-work open-air drink amid the skyscrapers as the sun goes down.
Open daily 5pm-3am. Four Seasons Hotel DIFC (04 506 0000).