If there was ever a time to visit Dubai, it is now. Breaking away from its biggest tourist ticket, the Dubai Shopping Festival, the city is celebrating the last days of summer and getting a head start on a year-ender countdown with activities that include great shopping and car races to some spectacular music. Here’s a quick guide on what to do and where to go if you are buying a ticket to the global city.
Come end of September, the decibels will rise as Dubai Music Week kicks off. Offering live music from 10 international acts across pop, rock, urban and Arabic genres, we suggest you register for the masterclasss by celebrity artistes (on all four days) and check out the interactive entertainment village—which promises music and gaming experiences. Though the full line-up is yet to be announced, British singer Ellie Goulding and the Jared Leto-fronted American rockers, 30 Seconds to Mars, will be headlining. September 23 – 26, at the World Trade Centre. AED 295 onwards (`5,315). Details: dubaimusicweek.ae
International Motor Show
This one’s popularly called the ‘motorshow where money is no object’. In its 13th edition, the Dubai International Motor Show—the largest and most extravagant motoring event in the Gulf Cooperation Council—expects to welcome over 1,00,000 motoring enthusiasts and industry moguls from across the world. We suggest you take advantage of all four days because there is a lot to see—from the launch of new supercar models of Audi, McLaren and Porsche to the new UAE motoring museum. Also check out the Biker’s Arena (with helmet art and custom bike builds) and the world’s hottest collection of supercars at the Boulevard of Dreams. From November 10-14. 11 am to 10 pm. AED 60 (`1,081).
The numbers are big: spread across 1,72,00,000 sq ft, the largest family entertainment tourism project in the world attracts over five million visitors every year. And this year, it’s going to go higher because, to celebrate its 20th edition, the Global Village is hosting over 31 new pavilions—representing over 70 countries—and over 50 fun rides (by UK-based Mellors group). Our pick: the new Illumination World (lantern art highlighting the world’s iconic monuments) and the Prehistoric Oceanarium (featuring 3D reconstructed prehistoric water creatures). November 3 to April 9 (2016). AED 15. Details: globalvillage.ae
In the midst of all that partying, let’s not forget the finer things in life. Head to the three-day Art Fair, which will be hosting international galleries and independent artists from around the world (the previous edition witnessed photographs, sculptures and paintings by artists including Devi Seetharam and Singapore-based Wai’s Art Gallery), including Korea, UK, Burma, Pakistan and India. At the Dubai Mall, from October 15 – 17. Details: artfairdubai.com
A short, two-hour drive from Dubai will bring racing enthusiasts to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, the site of the last race on 2015’s F1 racing calendar. The Yas Marina Circuit, which combines aspects of Singapore’s street sections and Monaco’s marina, is considered one of the most exciting race tracks. Make sure you grab the best seats and, when you can find the time, head next door to the world’s largest indoor theme park, Ferrari World. November 29. $619 onwards (`40,990). Details: formula1.com
Dubai Summer Surprises
It’s a maze of mirrors and Shalini Menon is lost. But the little girl quickly pushes aside any fear and follows a boy who is confidently walking ahead of her. She soon finds her way out and, bubbling with laughter, tells her mother, “It is so much fun.” The nine-year-old is one of hundreds of children who are enjoying the rides and games—from the popular Giant Slide and the Fly Jump (where kids bounce on massive trampolines) to ice rinks, bumper boats and much more—at Modhesh World, the 34,000 sq ft indoor entertainment destination at the Dubai World Trade Centre. And if we tell you this is just one part of what you can enjoy at the 45-day Dubai Summer Surprises, you can guess the sheer size of the city-wide extravaganza.
In its 18th edition, the annual event (which ends on September 5) organised by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), also boasts a wide range of celebrity shows, entertainment and shopping. “We create events for different types of people. In fact, to do that, the government has made 70 malls in Dubai,” explains Naser Hakim, manager, DFRE, Media Centre. What began as a means to overcome the economic slowdown has now become an annual staple. “The results have been positive,” beams Hakim, adding, “We ensure that we give plenty of incentives to keep the people interested.” Like winning cars! Those who spend over AED 200 (`3,500) at a retail outlet at any of the participating malls stand a chance to win 12 luxury cars. Another great draw, the ‘Back to School’ campaign for children, where 10 winners will be awarded school tuition of up to AED 50,000 (`9 lakh) each. Details: summerisdubai.com