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What to do this weekend in Abu Dhabi (5/6/7 June)

Another busy week for us, but hopefully the weekend will give us time to catch up: so many things to write about!
Here are our activity picks for this weekend, chosen among the many things happening in Abu Dhabi. Have a relaxing one!

Please note that to join some of the activities listed below you need to become a member of the group that organises them: most memberships are free but some might require a fee.
double check/book using the provided links before setting off, as last minute changes to time/places/availability might have occurred since this list was compiled.



4 PM – The Abu Dhabi Beach, Sun and Sand group is planning a trip to explore Lulu island, an island 25 minutes from the Corniche.

5:30 PM – The Abu Dhabi Art and Culture group is embarking on a pearling journey.

7 PM – The Self Development in Abu Dhabi group is meeting for coffee and conversation.

7 PM – The After Work Drinks group is meeting up at the Tavern, the British pub inside the Sheraton Corniche Hotel.

7:15 PM – The Raw Yoga group is ready for an evening Yoga Flow session.

8 PM – The Abu Dhabi Art Initiative group is planning on watching the film Frida together.

9 PM – Y Bar, inside the Yas Island Rotana Hotel, has a different theme every night of the week. On Thursdays is Punch night, with free bubbly for ladies and discounts for everyone. More details here.


8:30 AM – The India Social & Cultural Centre is hosting the Cricket Sixes tournament, a two days event taking places in the stunning grounds of the Emirates Palace on Friday and Saturday. More info here.

11:30 AM – The Clubhouse Sports Bar and Cafe is showing the IRB Junior World Championship live on their screens. Match of the day is: New Zealand vs South Africa (For more info email:

12 PM– This week we chose to try the brunch at Noche, inside the Hilton Capital Grand hotel, which promises indulgence with a South American flavour.

2:30 PM – Always dreamed of owning your own piece of Viking bling? Well, now you can. This workshop at Manarat Al Saadiyat will teach you everything about Viking designs and will help you create your own jewellery.

4 PM – If you think that your car is the loudest in the neighbourhood (!), this is your chance to measure your exhaust’s skills against like-minded people: don’t miss the Bass Monster Battle, organised by Monster Team. More info here and here.

4 PM – The UAE Parkour group is meeting on the Corniche for their weekly jam.

4:30 PM – If you love when children take part in the X Factor, you should totally head to the National Theatre to witness the second round of the Small World Talent Show competition. More info here.

6 PM – Dust off your gown for the annual Emirates American Football League gala dinner, which promises to be a glamorous affair, held at the Radisson Blue on Yas island.

7:30 – Head to the International Music Institute Abu Dhabi for a hip-hop workshop and get the chance to show off you newly learned moves straight after, at the following after-workshop party.

8 PM – Guess what is the Kart Racing Abu Dhabi group planning to do? Yes, to go karting, at the Al Forsan Sports Resort.

10:30 PM – The Expat Nightlife group is going to party the night away the Zenith Club, inside the Sheraton Corniche Hotel.


The Clubhouse Sports Bar and Cafe is showing live Rugby Union matches on their screens. Games of the day are:
11 AM – New Zealand vs England
2 PM – Australia vs France
7 PM – South Africa vs World XV
(For more info email:

2 PM/5 PM – Up to 80 traditional dhows are due to take part in the Ghanada Dhow sailing race between Lulu Island and the Corniche beach. From personal experience, the best shot you have at seeing something is to wait the end of the race next to the circular theatre, the one with the big flag on the Breakwater (after the Heritage Village), where the boats are supposed to end their course.

2:30 PM – Make your own currency without getting arrested: thanks to this workshop at Manarat Al Saadiyat, you will learn the secrets of metalwork and make your own coins as minters used to do in the past. You will be able to create your own design and cast it using molten metal. Your finished coins are yours to take home, so you better prepare your best profile.

2:30 PM – The Inner Space meditation centre offers a free seminar entitled Balancing a healthy body and healthy mind. You can book your space and read more about it here.

5 PM – The Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga group is meeting for a sunset session at the Hiltonia beach club.

6 PM – The Abu Dhabi Book Club is meeting to discuss The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, written by David Mitchell.

7 PM – Listen to the newest UAE musical talents and party the night away at the open mike evening at B-Lounge.


The Royal Moscow Ballet is bringing Cinderella to Abu Dhabi, performing on the score of Sergei Prokofiev, with choreography by Anatoly Emelianov. The show is on from the 6th June to the 16th of June at ADNEC. Tickets are available here. And if you don’t fancy going alone, this Meetup group is going on opening night, while this Internations group is going on the 13th.

The Emirates Park Zoo has a special summer schedule of events, active until the 1st of September. From African drum and dance to pelican feeding, elephant encounters and even crocodiles feeding (!), the zoo offers plenty of chances to have fun. The complete schedule of events is here, our blog post with photos of the zoo is here.

The N2N gallery presents Ukrainian artist Kateryna Kosyanenko in the solo exhibition Sweet and Spices. Open until the 14th of June at the Avenue at Etihad Towers, the exhibition will feature a special guest from the Make A Wish foundation: Afra is a young girl who aspires to become an artist. She wished to spend four days painting and creating art together with Kateryna Kosyanenko: her final work is showcased as part of the exhibition and will be auctioned, with the funds going towards the charity.

Peruvian master weaver Eddie Sulca is exhibiting his stunning creations in Abu Dhabi. Andean Dreams will be visible until the 1st of July in the Dusit Thani Hotel Ballroom. From tapestries with almost three-dimensional effects to unique dyes – made with colours created with secret ingredients, Sulca utilises motifs and patterns inspired from ancient cultures such as Inca and Wari, and combines them with other designs said to come to him through dreams.


What to do this weekend in Abu Dhabi (29/30/31 May)


Here are our activity picks for this weekend, chosen among the many things happening in Abu Dhabi. Have a happy one!

Please note that to join some of the activities listed below you need to become a member of the group that organises them: most memberships are free but some might require a fee.
double check/book using the provided links before setting off, as last minute changes to time/places/availability might have occurred since this list was compiled.


Enjoy a relaxing day on one of the many beaches around Abu Dhabi, where top facilities and crystal clear water make for a great tanning day.
Among the many options available are Yas Beach, Saadiyat Beach, the Montecarlo Beach Club, the Hilton Beach Club, the Emirates Palace Beach or the Corniche, just to mention a few.



7:30 PM – Legendary heavy metal band Black Sabbath are live in concert at the du Arena. Tickets are still available here.

7:30 PM – If you work in the environmental field, you already know what the Green Drinks are: the Abu Dhabi version of these monthly events taking place all around the world to give people working in this area the chance to informally network and share ideas is due this weekend at Frankie’s, inside the Fairmont Bab al Bahr hotel.

7:30 PM – The Brits in Abu Dhabi group is heading to Cooper’s for drinks and socialising.

8 PM – Social network for global minds Internations is hosting an evening out at the Jazz N’ Fizz Bar.


– The Are you new in Abu Dhabi? group is going for brunch at the Dusit Thani’s Urban Kitchen.

12:30 – The Lunch and Brunch group is heading to the brunch at the Sheraton Hotel Corniche.

12:30 PM
– This week we heard good things about the brunch at one of Abu Dhabi’s most popular Irish pubs, the McGettigan’s. We haven’t personally tried it yet but it is on the to-do list.

2 PM – Great local charity Sandy Paws is hosting a kitten adoption day, the last before the summer. If you think you would like to add a furry friend to your family count, this is your chance. Even if you can’t adopt, you can always foster, or just come by, get some cuddles and make a donation towards the many vet’s bills!

4 PM – Ok, so – technically the Al Ain Zoo is not in Abu Dhabi city, but as it is in the ‘region’ of Abu Dhabi, we are going to mention it anyway. This Friday is the last day to take part in the Arabian Endangered Species month: Arabian Oryx, Arabian leopard, Arabian Sand Cat, and Ghaf trees are the stars of the event. If you get there early, you can even get to exclusively enter in the Arabian Sand Cat incubation centre. Full program, directions and contacts are here.

4 PM – The Press Pause Skylite Party might be the last chance to enjoy the rooftop terrace of the Skylite lounge inside the Yas Viceroy Hotel before the temperatures rise for the summer. Lined up are gourmet food and music from Dj Anya, Dj Cliff Townley, and Dj Mark.

7 PM – The Holiday Inn Hotel is hosting the Reggae Jam party, with special Caribbean food and drinks, and music from Dj M’Raz and Dj Chino.

7 PM – The Aloft Hotel is hosting the massively popular Immaculate Touch Pool Party, with live entertainment (including a 8 feet LED robot!), music from Dj Natalie Brogan and more.

8 PM – The third and final round of the Gymkhana Drift racing event is taking place this weekend at the Yas Marina circuit. More info here.


9:30 AM
Animal charity Sandy Paws will be among the many sellers at the Al Yasmina Table Top Sale – inside the Al Yasmina School. It is a fantastic chance to bag a bargain and help a great cause!

1 PM
– The Volleyball Beach Brunch at the Blue Marlin Ibiza – which is in Ghantoot, so slightly outside of Abu Dhabi city on the road to Dubai, promises an afternoon of sports and food, with tunes from Dj Jean B and Dj Frederick Stone.

2:30 PM – What about creating a mask cast from your own face and then decorating it? If this sounds like your cup of tea, head to Manarat al Saadiyat for this interesting “Helmet Mask” workshop, part of their vibrant art program spanning all weekend.

3 PM – The Abu Dhabi Creative Club is going to Cafe Arabia to share poems and ideas.

7 PM: Head to Art Hub for the opening night of the new exhibition of works by acclaimed Iranian-born/UK-based painter Mohsen Keiany. On the same evening, also present will be resident artists from the Philippines and Ireland. More info here, and location map here.


The Sky Over the East exhibition at the Emirates Palace Gallery opens this weekend, on Thursday 29th, and will run until the 27th of June.
A selection of 54 works by 48 leading 20th century Arab artists from 12 countries follows the theme ‘Museum Collections Make Connections’, reflecting the important role of these institutions as cultural heritage storytellers.
Guided tours are also available – more info here, and a selection of images can be seen here.
Among the many acclaimed artists featured, you might recognise many whose art is found in leading museums around the world, such as Dia Al Azzawi, (Tate Modern, UK); Ibrahim Salahi (MoMA – Museum of Modern Art, New York); Laila Shawa (British Museum); Munira Al Kazi (Victoria & Albert Museum, UK); and Saliba Douaihy (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, David Rockefeller Collection, USA), just to mention a few.

Last chance to see closing exhibition Elemental Forces at the Avenue at Etihad Towers Gallery: last day is Saturday the 31st. This solo display by Ukrainian artist Tetyana Yagodkina, organised by N2N Gallery, is a collection of recent and old works painted in her distinct signature style. The theme is nature: earth and sky, water and air, lush varieties of greens and rigorous simplicity of mountain rocks, all act as an inspiration to the artist. Examples of her works can be seen here, and more info can be had contacting +971 2690 8929 or

American fashion designer Norma Kamali has collaborated with FBMI to create a collection of hand-made carpets which will be exhibited at Manarat Al Saadiyat until the 1st of June only. FBMI helps Afghan women to find employment by hiring them in the carpet production process, while at the same time offering them and their families critical social services in healthcare and education.


International Pillow Fight Day – 5th April

Pillow Fight Day 2014

(Photo © Art Hub)

The 5th of April is  International Pillow Fight Day! Abu Dhabi art community Art Hub is organising a friendly celebration and art festival this Saturday 5th of April, from 11 AM to 3PM. More info on the flier above or contacting Art Hub.

Mina centre: Jarir bookstore


A wide range of books, both in English and Arabic.


Where: Meena Mall, Mina Zayed, Abu Dhabi
Opening Hours: Sat 9am-11pm, Sun-Wed 9am-1pm, 4.30pm-10.30 pm;
Thu 9am-1pm, 4.30pm-11 pm; Fri 4.30pm-11pm
Tel. No. +971 2 673-3999, Fax No.+971 2 673-3222

This bookstore, known to some as United Bookstores and to others as Jarir bookstore, is an Aladdin’s cave for all bookworms out there, and for the crafty ones, the pinterest-addicts, the artists, the DYI gifters and all those who might need stationery for all sort of purposes. The store also offers a good selection of electronic items and accessories.

This spacious shop has it all: books on all subjects you can think of – from cookery to international politics and architecture, both in English and Arabic, and all sorts of stationery for the office and arts and crafts supplies: you can even buy canvases and an easel for your next masterpiece, or ‘colour the dots’ books for your first steps into the world of art.

A lot of office supplies…

…and art supplies.








Pinterest addicts rejoice!

The shop from outside.









I personally love to go there to browse their sales tables (sometimes they sell books for just a few AED, and my amazing bread machine recipe book came from there) and to look for pretty wrapping paper.
The truth is that I am a sucker for anything stationery-related, and I could spend hours browsing pens and cute notepads, hence W always has a hard time dragging me away from here!


The Abu Dhabi Festival 2014 is in full swing.

(Photo: © Abu Dhabi Festival)

I know, I know. I am a bit late with this post, but better late than never, right?!?

The Abu Dhabi Festival is an unmissable appointment on the Abu Dhabi Calendar, as for all the month of March, top artists will perform at the Emirates Palace auditorium.

Tickets can be bought at the Virgin megastores around the city, or online.
Some tickets will be available at the box office on the night of the event, but of course many concerts get sold out pretty quickly, so it is always better to book in advance.

The full list of the remaining events can be found here, but my personal picks are:
– American soprano Renee Fleming on the 23rd of March – (read more)
– Russian conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy on the 24th of March – (read more)
– The Coppelia ballet by the American Ballet Theatre on 28th and 29th of March – (read more)

More information reading the official FAQ.

Click HERE to read more about MUSIC in Abu Dhabi.

Piaf/Aznavour concert – 4 March

(Photo: © UFE Abu Dhabi)

UFE Abu Dhabi is hosting a concert featuring the music of French icons Edith Piaf and Charles Aznavour.
In occasion of the 50th anniversary of their passing, singers Véronique Forget and Nyno Carnino will pay a tribute  to these music giants with some of their most well known songs.

The concert will be this week, at 8pm on Tuesday 4th of March at the Lycee Louis Massignon (between Airport Road and 29th street – Tel: 02 444 80 75).

Tickets are 100 AED and can be bought at the Alliance Francaise offices (corner of 26th street and 7th street, Choitram building, block B, floor O – Tel: 02 666 6232 or email or at AATIQ on Hamdan Street (between Al Ghaith Tower and Al Hilal Bank, 4th floor, office 406, Tel: 02 627 7001).

Click HERE to read more about MUSIC in Abu Dhabi.

Qasr al Hosn festival: now open!

Beautiful atmosphere!

I know, I know… I have already written a post about the Qasr al Hosn festival, however after seeing it live I had to write another one to say: it is really amazing, and totally worth going to!!

Click to enlarge map.

There is so much going on at this festival that it is hard to decide from what to start. The place is really huge, so it needs at least three or four hours to be explored. The entry to the grounds costs only 10 AED.

And if you are new to the city and don’t have anyone to go with, this internations group is planning to go to see the Cavalia show on the 28th of February.

The festival is divided in four main areas: Desert, Oasis, Marine, and Abu Dhabi island, each with their own activities, plus the fort, the Cultural Foundation building and the tent where the Cavalia show is performed.

A lake has been created in the Marina area, and a waves machine makes it look like you are walking on the ocean side: it was one of our favourite areas.

The Marina.

A real oasis among the buildings!









Souks with local crafts and foods, story-telling corners and a really wide range of workshops make this really a unique day out. We enjoyed it so much that we are planning to go back next weekend!

Colourful souks.

You can taste traditional coffee!







We learned how to weave a basket, how to make fishing nets, how to paint a mask, and even how to cook Emirati food, just to mention a few of the activities available.
The workshop calendar is really huge: henna painting, artefact handling, horse riding, paddle making, boat making, traditional handicrafts – like sadu weaving, khoos or telli, traditional clothing and accessories making – like burqa making, scents discovery, creating traditional toys and dolls, pottery making… and if you go for the oyster shucking you can even hope to find a pearl!

Basket weaving.

Fishnet making.







Boat making.

Emirati food cookery classes.








Palm climbing!

Traditional dances.









Camel + baby camel!!

Storytelling corner.






Animal lovers can also see camels, turtles, horses, falcons, saluki dogs, goats, and a bird show, and even try their hand at camel milking!!

Most importantly, for the first time in several years, the Qasr al Hosn fort itself is open to visitors.
Qasr al Hosn dates back to the 18th Century, when it was first built in coral and sea stone, both for defence and to check on coastal trades. Starting as one single watchtower, walls, towers and residential quarters have then been added in following centuries, creating the structure we see today.

Before visiting the fort, there is a very interesting video explaining its story and the story of the people that lived in it.
Guided tours of the fort are available during the festival, starting from outside the main tower from 4:15pm, approximately every 10 minutes until 10:30pm.
Every tour takes approximately 30 minutes, and is available in both English and Arabic: the works of renovation on this beautiful structure are still under way, but thanks to amazing life-sized projections on the walls, we were able to see how it looked through the centuries. It is hard to explain it, but these 3d projections really look magical, turning time back and forth at the blink of an eye. Our guide was great, really knowledgeable and passionate about the fort, and we really enjoyed our tour.

Next to the fort, another building has great historical importance: virtually untouched since the 60s, the Council Chamber houses rooms where many historical UAE decisions were taken, including talks about the union. We were able to see a video of HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan talking to other diplomats, and it was really interesting.

All around the grounds, traditional sports and dances are performed, and we also had the chance to enjoy traditional music, such as the talented rababa players.

The amphitheatre houses a range of films about the UAE and a marathon of poetry readings.
The timetable for these events is the following:
Every day, from the 21st Feb to 1st March:
4pm – Documentary (57min) – Story of a Fort, Legacy of a Nation.
5pm – Documentary (28min) – Abu Dhabi 1962-64
5:30pm – Animated film (7min) – Ostora.
5:40pm – Documentary (53min) – Farewell Arabia.
7:30 – 9:30 pm – Poetry performances.
10pm – Documentary (57min) – Story of a Fort, Legacy of a Nation.

The Cultural Foundation also houses a library, which showcases rare books and a reading area, and an exhibition and interactive area about Gahwa, traditional Emirati coffee.

Cirque du Soleil co-founder Normand Latourelle especially adapted his show Cavalia to be performed at the festival.
It is an equestrian stage show, perfect for those who love horses and acrobats: the stage also gets filled with water at some point, making for a lot of splashes and beautiful visuals.
50 highly-trained horses and over 30 crew members, including acrobats and a live band playing music throughout the show, make for a really unique show, performed here for the first time in the UAE.

See below for some snapshots from the show:

Beautiful horses!

With their trainer/performer.

In the desert.








Drinking water!

Lovely horses.

The cast taking a bow.







The Cavalia show is not included in the entry fee: the show’s tickets are going fast and are almost sold out, so it is better to hurry up if interested. (Available on Ticketmaster).

Five talks will also take place, revealing interesting facts about Qasr al Hosn, the famous visitors it hosted, and its structural changes overtime. Each talk will last one hour and will always be from 7pm to 8pm. Here is the complete schedule:
Saturday 22 Feb: Qasr al Hosn: the oldest political symbol.
Monday 24 Feb: Qasr al Hosn: guests throughout history.
Tuesday 25 Feb: Qasr al Hosn: Its current and future socio-political significance.
Wednesday 26 Feb: Qasr al Hosn: construction and development stages.
Friday 28 Feb: Qasr al Hosn: core of building Abu Dhabi.

Conservation workshops will also take place Monday 24 Feb and Wednesday 26 Feb, from 2:30 pm to 4pm.

We loved this festival and we can’t wait to go back next weekend to see all what we did not manage to see this time!!


Art exhibition: Women/Creators

(photo © Etihad Modern Art Gallery)

From the 29th of January to the 25th of February, four established female artists living and working in the UAE will showcase their work at the Etihad Modern Art Gallery, in the Al Bateen area, in the exhibition called Women/Creators.

The exhibition features works from Emirati painter Dr Najat Makki, Emirati artist Khulood Al Jabri, Italian-born artist Giovanna Magugliani and French-born artist Isabelle Riou-Teisseire.

More information on the official website, the facebook page or facebook page event.

Etihad Modern Art Gallery address:
Street 4, Villa No 4/2
(opposite Al Bateen Mall)
Abu Dhabi, UAE

Opening times:
Saturday –Thursday:
10am – 1.30pm,
5pm – 10.30pm
Closed on Fridays


Art exhibition: A pictorial orchestration

(photo © Swiss Art Gate )

Italian painter Amedeo Tremigliozzi is showcasing his work at the Emirates Palace, inside the Mezzaluna restaurant.

Directions: from the valet parking and main entrance walk through the dome to the cafeteria. From there, take the escalator two floors down, turn right and the Italian restaurant Mezzaluna is at the end of the corridor.

The art exhibition, called A pictorial orchestration, opened to the public on the 21st of January and will last until the 10th of May.

The exhibition is free but needs to be pre-booked, as it is on appointment only, but it can be visited from 12:30 to 7pm every day.

To visit, it is necessary to send a text message to 050 225 17 83 with name(s) of the visitor(s) and the date and time of the preferred visit.

Tremigliozzi is from Benevento, Italy, and a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples.
He started painting on ceramics, then transferred his skills onto canvas, creating an incredibly detailed world of colours and patterns.

After the exhibition, some of his artworks can also be bought.

More info and examples of his beautiful work are on his official website.

Art Exhibition: The Year of the Horse

(photo © Paddy Lennon )

This year’s 15th edition of the art showcase Crossroads, held at the Light Box and Bridge gallery (inside the Yas Viceroy Hotel, in the Marina wing) will feature artworks from acclaimed Irish artist Paddy Lennon. The title of the exhibition is The Year of the Horse –  a reference to the Chinese zodiac sign for 2014, and will feature the artist’s amazing drawings made with Siberian compressed charcoal. Some of the artworks will also be on sale.

The art showcase will run from the 28th of January to the 5th of April 2014, every day from 10am to 10pm and the entry is free.


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