12 ways to live life on the wild side this weekend

 Lion king

Across the desert, the weekend begins its journey towards home. Over dunes, following the path of the sun, it carries with it the burden of the week before, at last, its trail ends. The weekend has arrived.

**Voices chant** “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba Sithi uhm ingonyama”


Thursday, 6th December

Lit festival 

Wafi, markets, Christmas, winter markets, meet Santa Claus, snow in Dubai, Imagine light show, Dubai Festival City

Tree lighting goes 21st century at Festival City. Tonight Santa Claus arrives on the shopping centre’s helipad to unleash a winter wonderland of carolling, festive-themed IMAGINE laser and light shows and the promise of snow falling outside at Festival Bay. Once he hits the switch at 6pm, you’ll see lights on the whopper of a tree all the way from Business Bay Bridge too.

Festival City Mall. Meet Santa 3pm-10pm weekdays and 4pm-11pm weekends (From AED 50). Snowfalls are hourly and the special festive IMAGINE show stars after sunset.  www.facebook.com/DubaiFestivalCityMall


Deck the tree with decs from Costa


For-la-la-la-lahh la-la-la-lah those of you that like their coffee, like they like their Decembers (sprinkled with xmas joy), Costa is here. If you purchase one of their seasonal range – either the Gingerbread Latte, the Hazelnut Praline Latte, or the Luxury Hot Caramel– they’ll give you a Chrimbo tree decoration to keep, or hang on their wishing tree from which Costa will grant one wish on the 16th December.

From AED 19-AED 24. At Costa Coffee outlets across Dubai


Gouryella’s in the mix

Ferry Corsten at Zero G

Trance master Ferry Corsten brings his big room sounds to beachside club Zero Gravity’s Helter Skelter night on Thursday. The Dutchman has revved up clubbers around the world since the superclubs of the ’90s and has a back catalogue of hits in various guises that are guaranteed to get you throwing shapes.

Zero Gravity, Skydive Dubai Drop Zone. Free entry for everyone before 9pm and ladies all night. Men AED 100 after 9pm. AED 75 advance tickets available from platinumlist.me 


Friday, 7th December

Festive fast-breaking

eggspectation christmas pancake

If like Buddy the Elf, in the movie Elf, you try to stick to candy, candy corn and syrup as your main Christmas food groups, you’re in luck. Eggspectation has a limited edition menu which includes Christmas Red Velvet Chocolate Pancakes. Yep, chocolate for breakfast is their gift to you.

AED 49. JBR 7am-12am, 04430 7252. City Walk 7am-11pm, 04 240 6877. 


Sole music


Sole DXB – the cultural festival where beats, streets, sport, sneakers, fashion and art all collide –  takes place this weekend. Sportswear devotees will get an exclusive sneakerheads up about forthcoming releases, and there’ll be some huge urban artists on stage including actual rap OG, Nas and Lion Babe. But on Friday the stage is lit by Brit hop & grime luminary Giggs and smooth R&B act Blood Orange.

Day pass from AED 195. Weekend AED 295. 12pm-10pm, 6th-8th December. Sole DXB, Dubai Design District. www.tickets.virginmegastore.me


Grass roots

Redshape 2

Groove on the Grass is back with another indulgent mix of decent electronica, live in the green green fields of Emirates golf Club. David August headlines, along with Danny Daze, Sebastian Kramer (Redshape), Gigi Masin, and Chloé. As Groove on the Grass is so delightfully psychedelic, there’ll also be acro-yoga, hula hoop dancing, food trucks and talented artisans displaying their unique creations at pop up art installations. Groovy.

Tickets from AED 265. 5pm-3am. Emirates Golf Club. www.dubai.platinumlist.net


24 karat culture

art show, exhibition, free art, Golden Mile Galleria

‘A Cultural Flair’ festival brings an eclectic group of artists, musicians, painters, sculptors and dancers to the terraces of Golden Mile Galleria this weekend. Dancing and fashion at the Africa Cultural Pavilion and the up-and-coming creatives of Art Nights’ make sure there’s plenty to see and do.

Golden Mile Galleria. 7th-8th December. Africa Cultural Pavilion: 10am-6pm, Buildings 7 to 10. Art Nights: 12pm-6pm, Building 7 to Building 1. For more info, go to www.goldenmilegalleria.com


Saturday, 8th December

A winter’s tale

Winter Show

The students of the Ballet Centre are performing a winter music show and they’re inviting friends and family, as well as music and dance lovers to come along and join them.

Free. 6.30pm. Ballet Centre, Jumeriah 1. 04 344 9776.


Grape expectations

Couqley Paint & Grape

Save cash this Christmas by painting your own works of art for lucky loved ones. Couqley’s Paint & Grape help you become an artist by supplying a pre-sketched canvas, all your painting supplies and two glasses of grape, to unleash those creative vibes. This edition’s inspiration is the colourful Balloon Festival by painter Leonid Afremov.

Saturday, 2.30pm-5.30pm. Couqley, Cluster A, JLT. AED 387 per person for three hours of painting, a canvas, painting materials, two glasses of wine or four non-alcoholic drink.


In the market for festive feels

Habtoor Palace, festive market, Christmas tree

It’s official, Christmas is here. The Festive Garden at Habtoor Palace has opened. On arrival at this winter wonderland, listen for the whimsical toot of a choo-choo train, there’s a snowball fight zone, traditional seasonal refreshments for the adults, gingerbread house making, mini golf, carol singing and a giant tree. Santa’ll be there too, snug is his LXR Hotels & Resorts grotto. He’ll be conducting meet and greets with the little ones, and adding some #sleigh to your Instagram feeds.

Festive Market, Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resort. 3pm-12am daily, until 21st December. 04 275 1542.


Retr-wow JBR

#WOWJBR, free things to do, JBR, free things to do with kids, family events, music in Dubai, outdoor cinema screenings

Street festival #WOWJBR marches on into December with a new line-up of ‘things that are happening.’ This week it’s a musical retrospective as they look back to the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Be on the lookout for song and dance performances, lookalikes and soundalikes. Elvis will be there, which is good, because it’d be a Blue Christmas without the Big Ol’ Hunk of Love.

Free. Entertainment between 4pm and 10pm. The Walk at JBR. 4 390 0091.



Nas SoleDxb

Nas AKA Nasty Nas Esocbar, legit hip hop architect, is still dropping his ill rhymes with the same fury, 24 years on from his debut album. He’s appearing at Sole festival, but stepping out on stage at BASE – to give the Middle East it’s very first taste of Nas, up in the club, on that after party vibe – spitting rap fire. The world is yours.

Free entry for ladies and three free drinks before midnight. Guys AED 250. 10am-3am. BASE, Dubai Design District. 055 313 4999.


Earlier this month…


Thursday, 29th November

Sweet on Sweden

Free Chocolate Ikea

Everyone knows that a trip to Swedish furniture store Ikea is all about the eats. Those chewy little fish sweeties, the bargainous hot dogs…and now the UTZ Certified chocolate, which ensures sustainable farming standards and fair conditions for workers. Try dark, milk and hazelnut bars for free until 10pm today, because it’s International Chocolate Day dontcha know?

Until 10pm, IKEA store in Dubai Festival City Mall. 04 203 7555.


Just scrummy

Ruby Sevens, Lock Stock and Barrel

Ready to tackle the Rugby Sevens this weekend? The family friend sports event is a good time whether you like rugby or not. There’s free entry for everyone on Thursday and for under-12s all weekend and plenty to keep kids entertained, with a giant Splash ‘n’ Party’ waterpark. Grown-ups continue the party on Friday at Lock, Stock and Barrel in Grand Millennium Hotel Barsha Heights  free buses will run from the Dubai Rugby 7’s stadium from 8pm to midnight.

Waterpark AED 50 per day, for kids aged eight to 14. Dubai Rugby Sevens, Sevens Stadium, 29th November-1st December. Tickets from AED 315 at dubairugby7s.com


Friday, 30th November

Paw patrol

dogs adopt animals

Pooches from Umm Al Quwain Stray Dogs Centre want some long weekend fun too! They need volunteers for daily walks from Friday to Monday. If you can bring a leash, even better, as the centre is low on supplies after taking a battering in the recent storms. Friday’s canine canter meets in UAQ and you should head to Creek Metro Station for 1.45pm Saturday-Monday.

Meet 3pm Friday, ADNOC Petrol Station, Al Shuwaib Road, UAQ. Call 055 348 7957 or WhatsApp 050 844 3294.


Shavasana and save

Join free free yoga and Pilates classes at City Centre Me'aisem, free yoga

If you’re stretching, you’re not spending. Join free yoga and Pilates classes at City Centre Me’aisem, where The Backyard pop-up brings the outdoors indoors with communal tables, pop-up eateries for afters and colourful murals to bliss out over. This community mall has all your favourite brands too, so check off that shopping list while you’re there.

9am-10am daily, except Tuesdays, until 15th December. City Centre Me’aisem, near Dubai Sports City/IMPZ. 04 437 4999.


Culture for miles

art show, exhibition, free art, Golden Mile Galleria

‘A Cultural Flair’ transforms Palm Jumeirah mall Golden Mile Galleria into a hub for arts and culture over the next two weekends. The Africa Cultural Pavilion and Art Nights exhibition combine dancing, workshops and works from award-winning Dubai-based creatives. There’s no admission charge either.

Golden Mile Galleria, Palm Jumeirah. 30th November-1st December and 7th-8th December. Africa Cultural Pavilion: 10am-6pm, Buildings 7 to 10. Art Nights: 12pm-6pm, Building 7 to Building 1. www.goldenmilegalleria.com


Saturday, 1st December

Budgeting for Baby  

Baby Bazaar, BurJuman

BurJuman is the staging point for another round of Baby Bazaar. It’s a market style network of stalls where people can buy and sell pre-loved children’s items and maternity wear. Not only is it an affordable option for parents, in what is inevitably an expensive time of their lives, but it cuts down on waste and provides a forum for important community discussions.

Free entry. Sellers pitch from AED 200. 10am-4pm. BurJuman, Bur Dubai. 04 352 0222.


Hack the sys-STEM

Rove Hotel Downtown, Rove Hotels

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and maths. Wait, stop, don’t go anywhere. It’s not for you, it’s for your 5-11 year olds. These special Saturday camps at Rove Downtown offer fun and engaging and interactive ways to explore disciplines like engineering and robotics. Which actually sounds pretty cool. SOLD.

AED 250 for a day pass. 9am-12.30pm. Rove Downtown. Registration is essential. 04 432 9464. 


Ladies, join the Q 

Q43, ladies night, Media One

Sky high Media One hang out Q43 now has two ladies’ nights each week. Women will no longer have to wait until Tuesdays for unlimited drinks and 50 per cent off the food menu, because glitter has sprayed Saturday with same wild discount treatment. Groups of six or more chicas also get a free VIP table and a sushi platter. Because you’re worth it **flicks hair**.

AED 59, unlimited drinks and 50 per cent off the food menu for women. 8pm-3am. Q43, Media One, Dubai Media City. 04 443 540


Tyga, Tyga burning bright

tyga, Base, ladies night

Rap prodigy Tyga is appearing at CODE – the Saturday ladies’ night at super club BASE. There are free drinks for females the whole night long, but everyone will be able to appreciate the lyrical genius of special guest Tyga. You may remember him from such hip hop classics as ‘Rack City,’ ‘Swish,’ ‘Taste’ and ‘Ayo,’ or from his collaborations with Drake and Lil Wayne.

Girls free entry. Guys AED 250. 11pm-3am. BASE, Dubai Design District. 055 313 4999.


Ready for Trivedi? 

Bollywood Park, Dubai Parks & Resort

Head to Bollywood Parks on Saturday to catch a performance by quadruple threat Amit Trivedi. He’s an award-winning Bollywood music composer, music director, singer and song writer. Expect grand theatrics and charismatic stage presence. Annual pass holders get in free, as do those purchasing a days pass for the park (AED 99).

AED 49. From 8pm. Bollywood Park, Dubai Parks & Resorts. 800 262 9464.


Sunday, 2nd December

More bang for no bucks

Imagine, Dubai Festival City, National Day, long weekend

Festival City has lined up not one but two spectacular fireworks spectaculars for the UAE’s National Day. Celebrate 47 years since the seven emirates became united with a line-up of free events that start at 2pm and ends with shows of sparkles at 8pm and 10pm.  There’s also a special edition of Festival City Mall’s water and light show IMAGINE

Festival City Mall. From 2pm on Sunday, 2nd December. Fireworks at 8pm and 10pm. Admission is free. www.dubaifestivalcity.com


A thousand times yes

Burrito close up-min Taqado

Who’d say no to a free burrito at Mercato? To celebrate UAE National Day, Taqado Mexican Kitchen is giving away 1,000 free burritos to shoppers in Mercato Mall! Like all great deals, when they’re gone, they’re gone. If you do miss out, the outlet is open Saturday to Wednesday, 10am to 11pm, and Thursday and Friday, 10am to 12am and build-your-own burritos start from AED 36.

The giveaway starts at 5pm on Sunday, 2nd December at Mercato Mall, Jumeirah 1. 800 827236.


Monday, 3rd December

Help is here

Motherless daughters support group, The Lighthouse,

Pic posed by models

The LightHouse Arabia invites daughters without mothers to a free support group . If you’re going through tough times, there’s no charge for coming along, but you do need to book in advance with the mental health outpatient centre in Al Wasl Road.

Motherless daughters support group, The Lighthouse, Al Wasl Road. Over 18s. 6.30pm-8.30pm. 04 380 9298.


Alright for fighting

Lawrence Carmichael, theatre workshop

Want to add an edge of realism to your ‘for the ‘gram antics’?  Stage combat and physical theatre practitioner Lawrence Carmichael leads a three-hour workshop in fighting for stage and film. Learn how to punch, kick, grapple and fall for theatre or camera. Bring loose clothes and a camera or phone.

AED 500. 7pm-10pm, Monday. Malhaar Centre for the Performing Arts, Tiffany Tower, Cluster W, Jumeirah Lakes Towers. (near Damac Properties Metro station). To book, call 052 837 0405.


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