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Weekend Getaways and Activities

11 September 2015

If you are wondering what there is to do in a popular tourist destination such as Dubai, over the weekend, the answer is - plenty! Here are some popular weekend activities in Dubai. You could choose any interesting activity.

Weekend activities Dubai

Desert Safari

Dubai is surrounded by the stark beauty of the desert waiting to be explored. One of the popular activities for Dubai visitors is to take a Dubai Desert Safari in a four-wheeler. You can choose an afternoon and evening tour, and return by 11pm, or you can consider camping out overnight in the open desert.

Exploring the desert in a four-wheeler is fun, as you take a rollercoaster ride over the sand dunes, going down into deep hollows, and rising high on the peaks. Majority of the safaris will take you to Bedouin campsite, and you can experience all kinds of fun activities like camel riding or sand boarding. In fact, some tours also include belly dancing shows or a barbecue, or a chance to get some traditional henna tattoos done, or to dress up in traditional Arab costumes or smoke an authentic hubbly-bubbly pipe.

Explore the City

For getting a completely different weekend effect, why not take a hop-on and hop-off Dubai tour, as that could be one of the best ways to get to know the City, if you are new to the place. Retail therapy at Deira City Centre, Burjuman, or Wafi malls, is more than just shopping or explore the historic Dubai Creek, a busy waterway with several dhows and water taxis, or stop at the 18th century Al-Fahidi Fort which houses an excellent museum. Gold Souk, one of Dubai’s most famous markets is also a sure stop when going round the city.

Take a dhow trip

Climb aboard a weekend dhow trip around the coast of Musandam, which enables you to relax in a majlis-style camp on your first day, and enjoy a dhow cruise, swimming and snorkeling.

Go Kayaking / skating / Golfing / Cycling

For those of you, who are sportive, try kayaking tours to Umm Al Quwain. It is also a great way to tone up your arms or strengthen your core, than in a gym. Else, just strap on a pair of skates and try ice skating at one of the city’s longest established rinks, the Galleria ice rink. If you are new to skating, an instructor is also on hand to help you through the wobbly stages (visit www.dubaiicerink.com).

Other options open to sport enthusiasts are learning golf at Emirates Golf Club (Tel: 04 3802222), or just try challenging yourself the Spinneys Dubai 92 cycle challenge to cycle the 92kms stretch of Dubai, cycling past iconic landmarks and trying new routes (for details visit www.cyclechallenge.ae).

Desert Balloon Ride

When the weather is cooler, and you wish to try something different, try watching the sunrise from over the desert from a hot air balloon. In fact, there are Balloon Adventures Emirates’ Packages offering pick-up and drop-off facility too, in Dubai. For details, visit www.ballooning.ae.

Family weekend activities

Wild Wadi Winter Pass

Try and gain access to Wild Wadi, which is open until 15th March 2012, with special offer rate for adults and kids. Sign up and try to get nearly four friends at discounted entry rate (Tel 04 3484444).

Dive in Aquaventure

Chill out the weekend in one of the most impressive water parks in Dubai, which comprise play grounds and splashy rides, apart from dozens of huge slides, all spread across 170,000 sqm of space. This place is also much loved by kids, as there are both play areas and pools, and so it can be total relaxation for the whole family (Tel: 04 4260000).

Skydive indoors at iFly

It is great for fun-lovers and thrill-seekers, as the skydiving simulator is a must-try. A pre-flight training session is available to instruct you, while you can catch some commemorative photos and a DVD to mark the occasion (for details visit www.iflyme.com).

Dubai Aquarium

The Dubai Aquarium at the Dubai Mall is actually running trips in its glass-bottomed boat. Try sailing in this boat, and you can get even closer to the exciting creatures living in this world’s largest aquarium. The 15-minute tour keeps running every half an hour. The seats for boating can be booked at the main desk.

Free kids' food at Spur

Try to get some burgers for kids at this South African family restaurant at Dubai Festival City. It has its own kids’ entertainment area too, and every Tuesday, kids get to eat for free here. The venue offers plenty of balloons, colouring sheets, and crayons, so parents can enjoy their meal in peace.

Watch a movie from the pool

A good kick-start for a family weekend can be watching a communal family movie at the Desert Palm. Try to get the schedule at www.desertpalm.ae.

Paint pictures

If your kids are creative and enjoy painting, unleash their creativity with a painting session in a real art studio. Kids get to produce their own masterpieces to take home at 'Little Jammers'. For details visit www.thejamjar.com or call 04 3417303.

Relax at the beach

Spend a relaxing weekend afternoon at the Madinat Jumeirah, which offers complete access to the private beach, Madinat swimming pools, Wild Wadi, Sinbad’s Kids’ Club and health club and discounts on dining, water sports, spa treatments and hotel stays. Have a look at their club membership package. Visit www.jumeirah.com.


Spend the weekend learning about all kinds of career options, perfect for teenagers. Try Kidzania, wherein children get to try their hand at firefighting, performing on the stage, being an airline pilot, a rally driver, a policeman, a fireman, a hairdresser, and all sorts of other grown-up jobs.

More weekend ideas:

  • Take a Big Bus tour (red route around old part of town)
  • Visit the Dubai Museum
  • Enjoy a trip on an abra across the creek
  • Visit Dragonmart
  • Visit Antiques Museum
  • Falcon Gallery in Al Quoz
  • Visit the numerous art exhibitions across the town
  • Take an early morning stroll along a public beach, or walk along the Creek (Deira or Bur Dubai) in the evenings.
  • Visit the museum in the Gold and Diamond park
  • Take a guided tour around Jumeirah Mosque
  • Take a monorail at The Palm Jumeirah
  • Visit the water park at The Atlantis
  • Enjoy a bbq in the sand dunes
  • Check out the various art galleries and exhibition, they are always free.

Enjoy shopping at the various malls, and at the end of the shopping spree, as always, there are the sensational pristine beaches and warm turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf and the camel rides that can keep you busy.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries

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