You don’t need us to tell you that the temperature is dropping. We’re just here to tell you all about the cool activities and events that come hand-in-hand with the season.
Aside from being able to enjoy time on the terrace and explore the great outdoors, winter also means looking forward to a host of sporting events, family-friendly activities, cultural festivals and more.
So pull out your jumpers and start marking your calendars as we take a look at some of the things to do and enjoy for the cooler season.
Winter is the perfect time to take your workout outdoors, whether it’s a regular routine in a different setting or something new altogether.
Unwind under the guidance of yoga instructor Sasha Quince at the core strength Vinyasa yoga session. During the poolside practice, you’ll achieve balance through a combination of movements with calming views of the mangroves. AED 71 per session. Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street. Sun 7pm-8pm. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, letsgoyogame.com
Bodytree Studio has also prepared a series of yoga classes to make the most of the cool weather. Aside from the outdoor yoga at Saadiyat Beach Club every Saturday at 8.30am, there’s also a pop-up winter yin yoga class on 8th December from 2pm to 5pm. Prices vary. Corner of Hazza Bin Zayed and Mubarak Bin Mohammed Streets. Contact: 02 443 4448, bodytreestudio.com
Zayed Sports City has reopened its paintball facilities in time for the cooler months. Extreme sports fans will enjoy open-air combat in the paintball park or a family-friendly Wet N Wild water fight version, with rates starting from AED 74. Or why not conquer a flight of stairs by joining the TrainZSC event happening at the tennis stadium every Monday from 5pm to 8pm. Free but registration required at trainzsc.com. Saif Ghubash Street. Visit: zsc.ae
Want to explore local nature? Hop into a kayak and join the eco tour with Noukhada Adventure Company to learn more about the lush mangroves, or the night light tour where, from the comfort of an LED-fitted kayak, you’ll have the chance to see fish and nocturnal wildlife in the area. From AED 160. Eastern Mangroves Marina, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street. Times vary. Contact: 02 558 1889, noukhada.ae
Winter is the perfect time to set new fitness goals and give yourself a challenge. If you have a competitive side then why not sign up for TriYAS? Taking place on 2nd February 2019, this community competition features various categories for athletes of all levels, and is perfect for beginners. From AED 85. Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island. From 11am.
The returning ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi is a great way to be part of a world-class sporting spectacle. Some of the world’s top triathletes will be coming to take part in the series on 8th and 9th March, but participation is open to athletes of all abilities with varying distances to choose from. From AED 95 for children, AED 350 for adults. Visit: abudhabi.triathlon.org
Not keen on triathlons? There are plenty more events coming up for runners, cyclists and swimmers, including the ADSC Cycle Race on 23rd November, ADSC Swimming Festival on 24th, Adnoc Abu Dhabi Marathon on 7th December and the family-friendly Santa Chase on 15th December. For a full schedule of events, visit: gulfmultisport.com
Explore local culture
After months of anticipation, the historic Qasr Al Hosn is reopening on 7th December. The fort will unveil new facilities for hosting exhibits, workshops and performances. What’s more, visitors can take in some fresh air at the sprawling outdoor space decorated with trees, benches for resting and a man-made pond. A series of open-air activities are expected to be announced in the coming months so stay tuned. Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street. Visit: alhosn.ae
Take a trip to Sweihan where the returning Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Heritage Festival pays tribute to local traditions. Expect camel and saluki races and beauty competitions, a traditional market, heritage village and competitions for horse riding and handicrafts. Visit: visitabudhabi.ae
Now is the perfect time to explore our beautiful desert landscape and learn more about local culture. Companies such as Desert Rose Tourism organise various tours including an Arabian overnight safari, which includes dune bashing, camel riding, a sunset brunch and an overnight desert stay. Intrigued by the Garden City? The Al Ain oasis tour includes a trip to Jebel Hafeet, the Camel Market, Green Mubazzarah Park and Al Ain National Museum. Prices and times vary. Visit: desertrosetourism.com
Gain a unique perspective of our capital on foot with Remote Abu Dhabi. Hosted by NYUAD Arts Center and Abu Dhabi Art, this interactive walking tour uses computer-generated voices to guide you through a unique sci-fi narrative as you visit familiar city locations downtown. Free, registration required. Landmark Tower, Al Hosn. Every Friday until 25th January, from 5pm. Visit: bit.ly/2DxkNHh
Grab the family
While summer might mean regular visits to the air-conditioned mall and cinema, now is the perfect time to take these activities outdoors.
Yas Waterworld has launched Cinema Under the Stars so you can catch family-friendly films including The Lion King, Shrek, Jumanji and Night at the Museum. Swapping the typical cinema setting, you can settle down in and around Amwaj Wave Pool and enjoy a film under the night sky, followed by a meet-and-greet with the park’s characters. From AED 55. Yas Island. Until 30th Nov Fri 6pm, 7th-28th Dec Thu-Fri 6pm. Visit: yaswaterworld.com
Running until May next year, the Movie Nights at ESS Lounge will feature various screenings for film fans. Movies lined up for this month include The Break Up, Ted, Left Behind and Snow White and The Huntsman. AED 60 with unlimited popcorn and one drink. Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, between the bridges. Thu-Fri 9pm. Contact:
02 509 8888, shangrila.com/abudhabi/shangrila
Abu Dhabi may not resemble a winter wonderland even in the cooler months, but you can still get that festive feeling in the desert at the Yas Winter Carnival. Hosted from 11th to 15th December, the family-friendly festival will feature simulated snowfall at the Snow Play Zone area, activities such as gingerbread-house making, arts and crafts and face painting, roaming magicians, a pop-up market and a daily fireworks display at 9pm. Free. Gateway Park South, Yas Island. 2pm-11pm. Visit: wintercarnival.ae
Meanwhile, Festive Candy Land at Yas Marina is rolling out a variety of activities and treats for the family. Taking place on 21st and 22nd December, the fun-filled event will feature festive-themed games, workshops, shows and entertainment. Free entry. Yas Island. 1pm-7pm. Visit: yasmarina.ae
The regular Ripe Market has taken over its outdoor location at Umm Al Emarat Park, where every Saturday you can shop the organic fruit and vegetable market. The community event also features a range of local vendors selling everything from cosmetics and apparel to home accessories, as well as food stalls and live entertainment from local musicians and poets. Free, AED 5 park entry. Mohamed bin Khalifa Street, Al Mushrif. Sat 3pm-9pm. Visit: ripeme.com
Mark your diary
When you think of good weather, a barbecue is often the first thing to spring to mind. The UAE’s finest grill masters will come together for three days of cooking, entertainment and family-friendly activities at The Big Grill Festival. 6th-8th Dec. Free entry. Yas Links Golf Club, Yas Island. Thu 5pm-1am, Fri noon-midnight, Sat noon-11pm. Visit: bit.ly/2JWUCKH
Lifestyle and entertainment collide as Festember returns from 5th to 9th December with a variety of attractions from light and visual shows and live performances to a
retail section and food trucks. Adults AED 75, children AED 25. Waterfront Park, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island. 5pm-midnight. Visit: festemberad.com
Top international tennis players will descend on the capital for the latest edition of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship from 27th to 29th December. This year’s star-studded roster includes Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic, Kevin Anderson and Venus Williams. From AED 100. Zayed Sports City, Saif Ghubash Street. Noon-9pm. Visit: mubadalawtc.com
Heading into the new year, a trio of exciting tournaments are bringing world-class golf to the emirate. First is the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open from 10th to 12th January, followed by celebrity charity meet Gary Player Invitational on 13th at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club. Topping it off is the prestigious Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from 16th to 19th January, featuring some of the world’s top names in the sport. Visit: abudhabichampionship.com
WORDS Ferdinand Godinez