31 fun things to do in the UAE this January
Here’s how to make the most of the month ahead.
From new dining destinations to concerts and sporting events – we have something exciting for you every day this month.
Sunday 1 January 2023
Celebrate New Year’s Day at Gaia
On 1 January, the FACT Award-winning Gaia welcomes the new year with the time-honoured custom of Vasilopita, the delicate and light sponge cake that has been made for centuries in Greece to mark the beginning of the year. On New Year’s Day, across Greece, families come together and sharing the cake brings with it the hope of prosperity and happiness. Gaia’s culinary team will prepare a stunning Vasilopita, and as tradition dictates, a coin will be hidden within the cake. The one lucky guest that finds it will be gifted an exclusive opportunity to enjoy a dinner for two at the intimate Chef’s Table.
GO: Call 052 573 6219 for reservations and more information.
Monday 2 January 2023
Discover Gilt’s festive grotto
Situated on the 27th floor of Burj Al Arab, Gilt invites guests to step into a festive grotto for the ultimate winter night out. The contemporary cocktail bar has transformed into an enchanting winter wonderland with twinkling lights and classic tunes. Here, visitors can indulge in festive small plates (including a smoked salmon platter and Panettone served with vanilla and citrus zest ice cream) and seasonal cocktails curated by Head Bartender, Thibault Méquignon. Beverages include the Gilt Egg Nogg, Christmas Cookie Old Fashioned, Panettone Negroni and Mulled Wine Spritz. Available daily until 7 January, from 6pm to 3am.
GO: Visit jumeirah.com or call 800 323232 for reservations and more information.
Tuesday 3 January 2023
Hit the pool at Dubai’s new Tomorrowland Resort
Terra Solis Dubai offers chilled vibes at one of the region’s largest desert swimming pools. The super-sized swimming pool, open to both overnight guests and day visitors, takes centre stage at the heart of the desert destination. Visitors can enjoy a vibrant yet relaxing setting under the Dubai winter sun with some of the finest music by carefully selected Tomorrowland resident DJs and local heroes. The pool features cabanas and sun loungers, an eye-catching bar with a wide selection of drinks and cocktails and the Sala shisha lounge. AED 200 (weekday access with 50% redeemable on food and beverages).
GO: Visit https://terrasolisdubai.com for reservations and more information.
Wednesday 4 January 2023
Have a beachfront treat
Blu matcha, a homegrown lifestyle café, is serving high-quality Japanese matcha beverages at La Mer. Created by two F&B experts from the Zuma Group, this freestyle café is the perfect spot to relax and unwind on a comfortable sun lounger, soaking in some rays while sipping a signature vanilla almond latte. It’s not just the beverages that draw people in because the venue also offers acai bowls topped with matcha, matcha ice cream, sandwiches and salads.
GO: Visit www.blumatcha.co for reservations and more information.
Thursday 5 January 2023
Visit a wax museum
Meet your favourite superstars – in wax – at Madame Tussauds with an exclusive offer to all UAE residents. With seven themed rooms, you can step into a Bollywood movie with Shahrukh Khan, take a selfie with Kylie Jenner or pose next to Cara Delevingne, Christiano Ronaldo, Jennifer Lawrence, Jackie Chan, Taylor Swift, Will Smith, Justin Bieber and Lewis Hamilton. The standard admission price has been reduced to AED 100 until 9 January for those with a valid Emirates ID to show on arrival.
GO: Visit www.madametussauds.com for reservations and more information.
Friday 6 January 2023
Enjoy a MICHELIN culinary collab
To celebrate the local dining offerings of Abu Dhabi, the MICHELIN Guide and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi invite you to travel the world through your palate. Chef owner-Umberto Bombana of the three MICHELIN Starred Italian restaurant, 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana in Hong Kong teams up with MICHELIN Young Chef Award winner Luigi Stinga at Talea By Antonio Guida for a one-night-only collaboration. The chefs will come together to present the best of Italian cuisine with ingredients from Italy that celebrate the truffle season with homemade pasta and Italian favourites. Available on 6 and 7 January, from 8pm. AED 695 per person.
GO: Visit www.mandarinoriental.com for reservations and more information.
Saturday 7 January 2023
Laugh with Jimmy Carr
Known for being one of the hardest-working comedians in the industry, Jimmy Carr brings his Terribly Funny 2.0 World Tour to Etihad Arena, Yas Island, for an exclusive UAE performance. Jimmy is known for delivering one-liners and his extensive work across television and radio. His current comedy tour will feature over 280 shows this year. Tickets are now available.
GO: Visit www.etihadarena.ae for more information.
Sunday 8 January 2023
Create a new weekend ritual
Acclaimed chef Kelvin Cheung and his culinary team invite guests to gather their loved ones for a selection of Jun’s signature dishes alongside special brunch exclusives, paired with a drinks package of choice – from mocktails to bubbles. Weekend Rituals features an a la carte menu of Jun’s favourites, such as charred rainbow heirloom carrots with smoked labneh (AED 65), seabass carpaccio (AED 80) and truffle gunpowder dosa cauliflower (AED 110). The Weekend Rituals menu also introduces some new dishes such as the egg n cheese bagel (AED 75), gluten-free chocolate chip pancakes (AED 75), gluten-free waffles (AED 65) and gluten-free churros (AED 65). Available every Saturday and Sunday, from 11am to 3:30pm. Food is ordered a la carte and beverage packages are charged at an additional fee – soft beverages (AED 100), house beverages (AED 200), bubbles (AED 275) and premium (AED 475).
GO: Visit www.sevenrooms.com or call 04 457 6035 for reservations and more information.
Monday 9 January 2023
Enjoy a floating breakfast
Start the morning with a floating basket at Park Hyatt Dubai’s news Al Porto Family Lagoon. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, a honeymoon, or just want to treat yourself, the idyllic lagoon serves a sumptuous floating basket in the sun, adding a magical touch to every morning. Available daily from 9am to 12pm. AED 750 per couple.
GO: Call 04 602 1660 for reservations and more information.
Tuesday 10 January 2023
Retreat to a desert nest
Forget about glamping, it’s all about nesting. The Nest by Sonara Camp is now open for eco-friendly overnight experiences in the desert. Architect Gianni Ranaulo has expertly designed the 14 desert rooms – better known as nests – which have undulating roofs that resemble sand dunes, and blend beautifully into the desert landscape. The team are experts at creating unique experiences, which let guests wake up amidst the peaceful dunes and admire the surrounding Dubai Conservation Reserve. Each nest includes a bedroom area, ensuite bathroom and an outdoor majlis where you can watch the stunning sunsets and sunrises. Plus, each room comes with a complimentary mini-bar and mudeef (helper) on hand.
GO: Visit www.nara.ae for more information.
Wednesday 11 January 2023
Watch a drone show
Feast your eyes on a mesmerising spectacle at Bluewaters Island each evening with a nightly drone show. The night sky will light up with floating lights and images as part of the Dubai Shopping Festival. The choreographed drones will narrate a story through dynamic aerial formations and shapes. Available daily until 29 January.
GO: Visit https://bluewatersdubai.ae for more information.
Thursday 12 January 2023
Visit the world’s first metaverse nightclub
We’ve had silent discos, roller discos and kitchen discos. Now, Vision Club Dubai in The H Dubai is going digital, as it is the world’s first-ever metaverse nightclub. Vision Club Dubai boasts a neo-noir, futuristic vibe. The dance floor is filled with LED lights and laser beams. For those after exclusivity – this is Dubai, after all – there are private rooms for VIP guests. Plus, look out for cool DJs spinning hip-hop and pop tunes.
GO: Visit @visionclubdubai for more information.
Friday 13 January 2023
Have your mind read
Performing on the world’s biggest stage – aka America’s Got Talent – is no small feat, so you’ll want to mark your calendars for this one. Homegrown mentalist couple James Harrington (38, United Kingdom) and Marina Liani (31, Ukraine) will soon return to Dubai to debut their brand new Mind2Mind show at Theatre by QE2 in Queen Elizabeth 2 on 13, 14 and 30 January. The Las Vegas-style mentalism theatre show, which is called “Connected”, will feature their captivating and unique form of mind-reading, enabling audiences to learn about ‘connection’ and uncover their own mental abilities over a span of 60 minutes.
GO: Visit www.mind2mind.live or follow @mind2mindofficial on Instagram for more information.
Saturday 14 January 2023
Brunch at Black Flamingo
Perfectly poised in Palm Jumeirah’s Radisson Beach Resort, Black Flamingo’s ‘Soul Brunch – Miami Edition’ features an incredible vibe and fantastic food. Tuck into beef empanadas, crispy squid, quesadillas, jerk wings, seabass frito, grilled corn, rice and peas, and baked mac ‘n’ cheese. The party atmosphere comes from an infectious mix of Afro beats, Reggaeton, Latin, Hip-Hop and R&B from DJ Kidy and Loso. Saturdays, from 2pm to 6pm. AED 295 (soft beverages), AED 395 (house beverages) and AED 445 (premium).
GO: Email email@example.com or call 052 717 6464 for reservations and more information.
Sunday 15 January 2023
Scare yourself silly
Thrillseekers will be excited to hear that a new rollercoaster has opened at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. The all-new Mission Ferrari is a multi-sensory 5D attraction, and includes the world’s first sideways coaster drop. The new rollercoaster combines state-of-the-art technology with show sets, and includes an exhilarating inverted loop. Mission Ferrari is set to launch on 12 January 2023.
GO: Visit www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com for more information.
Monday 16 January 2023
Hit the beach
Overlooking Palm Jumeirah, Zenzi Beach is for all those who love the sun, sand and all things boho chic. Set on Palm Jumeirah, Zenzi Beach offers unique flavours from South America in a laid-back atmosphere. Escape the city and enjoy 1km of pristine beachfront or soak in the 59m infinity pool whilst the kids engage in activities at Sinbad’s Kids Club. AED 350 for adults (Sunday to Friday) and AED 175 for children (Sunday to Friday).
GO: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 04 453 0444 for reservations and more information.
Tuesday 17 January 2023
Have coffee at an ethereal cafe
ICD Brookfield Place is now home to Lulu & The Beanstalk, a dreamy new cafe offering high-quality coffee, craft cocktails, comforting small dishes and hearty sharing platters amidst whimsical interiors. Wafa Tajdin and Amirah Tajdin are the two sisters behind the brand who share a deep love for storytelling, creating a venue that encourages guests to get lost in a world of art, design, photography and poetry. In addition to retail books, a floor-to-ceiling bookcase houses over 1,000 rare books, some dating back to 1857. Lulu & The Beanstalk is open daily from 9am to 11pm.
GO: Follow @lulus.bean on Instagram for more information.
Wednesday 18 January 2023
Indulge in an authentic taste of Italy
Located in the heart of Saadiyat Island, the FACT Award-winning Antonia brings an authentic Italian dining experience from the streets of Rome to the Arabian Gulf. Hailing from Rome, Antonia’s gourmet pizza slices are baked in rectangular trays, loaded with delicious toppings, displayed on the counter and sold by the square, half-tray or full-tray. The concept, driven by Chef and Restaurant Owner, Simone Federici has recently introduced a new menu featuring tartare di tonno, gamberi grigliati and a pancette e patate pizza.
GO: Visit www.antoniarestaurant.com for reservations and more information.
Thursday 19 January 2023
Listen to live Jazz in the capital
Penelope’s Brasserie & Jazz Bar Américain in Yas Marina has the jazz seal of approval as Layla Kardan, the jazz musician behind Dubai’s Papillion cabaret, is just one of the big names backing the project. So, if you love French cinema, jazz and wine, put this new venue on your must-visit list. Guests will be entertained by talented jazz musicians throughout the night complemented by an elegant space with Art Deco touches. When it comes to the food, don’t miss the beef tartare or the lobster linguine.
GO: Visit www.penelopes.ae for more information.
Friday 20 January 2023
Experience the region’s first listening bar
Honeycomb Hi-Fi brings to life a record store, izakaya kitchen and the Middle East’s first listening bar inside the Pullman Dubai Downtown hotel. From the record storefront, guests enter into “The Listening Room”, where the warm interior lighting brings a honey hue to the perforated wooden wall panels resembling a honeycomb, whilst acoustic foam-covered ceilings reaffirm the audio-centric dining and drinks experience. The casual Japanese menu from Chef Matt Abergel is broken down into cold/raw, hot, binchotan grill and rice/noodles sections. Signature dishes include scallop siu mai and mochi stuffed wings with yuzu chilli salt.
GO: Follow @honeycombhifi on Instagram for more information.
Saturday 21 January 2023
See Ashanti live in concert
Ashanti is no stranger to the UAE – she performed live at the now-defunct Supperclub back in 2014 and headlined the Rich List’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix afterparty in 2022. But the R&B star is nowhere close to being done with UAE audiences. In fact, she’s performing at Coca-Cola Arena and she’s bringing her friends. Presented by Full Circle, Ashanti is expected to bring back several of her nostalgic hits, including “Foolish” “What’s Luv?” and “Always on Time.” Saturday 21 January. Tickets from AED 175.
GO: Visit www.coca-cola-arena.com for more information.
Sunday 22 January 2023
Relax at Dubai’s hottest new beach club
The effortless sophistication of Mediterranean coastal dining has arrived at Palm West Beach with the opening of Kyma Beach Dubai. One of 2022’s most popular openings, Kyma is inspired by the multicultural yet vibrant spirit of the Mediterranean and the lively vibes of Greece. Presenting an escape from the ordinary and a breath of fresh air to the Dubai beach club scene with a high-end curated menu at the heart of the experience.
GO: Visit www.kymabeach.ae for reservations and more information.
Monday 23 January 2023
Dine at a Drake-backed chicken joint
Dave’s Hot Chicken may be backed by investors such as Drake and Samuel L. Jackson, but this is an eatery where the fried chicken speaks for itself. After months of rumours, the Los Angeles export has made its debut in Dubai, welcoming diners at The Walk and Motor City with its signature hot chicken tenders and sliders, along with sides like crispy fries, creamy mac and cheese, and housemade kale slaw. Offered at seven different spice levels ranging from ‘No Spice’ to ‘Reaper’ (which requires a signed waiver for those who dare), each piece of juicy, hand-breaded chicken is spiced to order.
GO: Follow @daveshotchickengcc on Instagram for more information.
Tuesday 24 January 2023
Take a trip to Expo City Dubai
If you’ve been missing Expo Dubai 2020, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Expo City Dubai is now open, which means that some of the much-loved pavilions are back. The first areas to reopen include Alif The Mobility Pavilion, which explores how mobility transforms our lives, Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, which shares environmentally-friendly options for the future, and Garden in the Sky with 360-degree views. Elsewhere, the Opportunity Pavilion has been transformed into the Expo 2020 Dubai Museum, which tells the story of this monumental event that took place last year.
GO: Visit www.expocitydubai.com for more information.
Wednesday 25 January 2023
Head to DIFC’s buzzing jazz lounge
A new jazz venue in town is hitting all the right notes. Jass Lounge in DIFC hosts live music, including jazz, soul, funk and blues. The current musical line-up takes place from Wednesday to Saturday night and celebrates the best live jazz musicians in Dubai. No-nonsense cocktails are masterfully presented by bar manager Ziyan Mohamed (aka @the_bar_dude). Open daily from 6pm to 3am.
GO: Call 050 912 4242 or follow @jasslounge on Instagram for reservations and more information.
Thursday 26 January 2023
Party with Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons will bring their Mercury World Tour to the capital. The tour celebrates the release of the band’s highly-anticipated double-disc album, Mercury — Acts 1 & 2with a stop at Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Imagine Dragons paved the way for their new album with the release of several chart-topping singles, including “Bones“ with 331 million streams to date and the global smash “Enemy” which has racked up 4.6 billion combined streams across two versions of the track. Tickets start from AED 250.
GO: Visit www.livenation.me for reservations and more information.
Friday 27 January 2023
Sing with Sting
Legendary British singer, Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner, is coming to the UAE capital – aka Sting. The show will feature songs from his career, which spans five decades and includes Fields of Gold, Shape of my Heart, Roxanne, Englishman In New York, Every Breath You Take and Message in a Bottle. During the show, Sting will be accompanied by his rock band and joined by special guest Joe Sumner (Sting’s son). Music clearly runs in the family, as Joe is also the singer and bassist of his own rock group, Fiction Plane. This isn’t Sting’s first concert in the UAE, as he performed in Abu Dhabi’s du Arena in 2013.
GO: Visit www.etihadarena.ae for tickets and more information.
Saturday 28 January 2023
Bop along to Blackpink
K-pop supergroup Blackpink are bringing their Born Pink world tour to Abu Dhabi. K-pop fans in the capital will be delighted, as the news follows the recent announcement that Hyperound K-Fest Abu Dhabi is coming to the UAE capital. The South Korean girl group start their world tour in October, and it will stop off at cities including Seoul, Singapore and Sydney. Blackpink are scheduled to perform in Riyadh on 20 January 2023 and in Abu Dhabi on 28 January.
GO: Follow @blackpinkofficial on Instagram for more information.
Sunday 29 January 2023
Take the kids to The National Aquarium
The National Aquarium recently opened in Abu Dhabi, and it’s the largest aquarium in the Middle East. Kids will be wowed by the sea life, which includes animal meet and greets across the aquarium’s ocean, jungle and arctic zones. The aquarium is home to amphibians, birds, reptiles and corals.
GO: Visit https://thenationalaquarium.ae for more information.
Monday 30 January 2023
Head to a Mafia-inspired restaurant
The Nice Guy Dubai is evocative of the brand’s flagship location in West Hollywood, inspired by the same cosy aesthetic that pays homage to the decadent era of Mafia bars and restaurants. In addition to an intimate lounge and restaurant space, the venue features a romantic outdoor patio and terrace that extends the palpable atmosphere beyond its walls. The Nice Guy Dubai will follow its predecessor as a highly sought-after, reservations-only destination, complete with classic Italian cuisine offerings for lunch and dinner. Diners can expect distinctly Italian plates with a unique LA spin, such as lobster pizza, kale salad, classic tiramisu, lemon tart and vanilla panna cotta with a basil twist.
GO: Follow @theniceguydubai on Instagram for more information.
Tuesday 31 January 2023
Experience the Jessica Rosval x Café Milano collab
Hailing from Canada, but based in Italy for almost a decade, Jessica Rosval is the head chef at Casa Maria Luigia, the luxury boutique guesthouse-restaurant from Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore of Osteria Francescana fame. There, Rosval recreates a selection of classic dishes from Osteria Francescana (formerly The World’s Best Restaurant), as well as introducing her own specialities. She is the perfect match for a culinary collaboration at Abu Dhabi’s Café Milano, notorious for its warm hospitality and authentic dishes, for a unique Italian-accented evening. Tuesday 31 January. Price TBC.
GO: Visit fourseasons.com for reservations and more information.