Woohoo, summer’s coming! Here’s how to have the best one yet

Keep calm: it’s heading towards 50 degrees but there’s still plenty to keep you entertained


Okay, before we tell you what you already know, which is that the temperatures are rising and the sky is no longer blue, admit one thing: you’re bemoaning the fact that summer is nearly here.

You are preparing yourself for over three months of boredom, cooped up indoors, eating more, working out less, catching up on films and wandering aimlessly around air-conditioned malls.

Well take it from us: there are heaps of things to do in Abu Dhabi during the summer and they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. We’re here to help you prepare for the season and keep boredom at bay.

Pre-summer checklist

First of all, you know that summer’s coming, but are you really prepared for it?



One of the most important things during summer is to ensure you’re well hydrated, especially if you plan to continue exercising outdoors. If you don’t like the taste of water, try sprucing it up with fresh mint or slices of lemon, lime, cucumber or berries. Buy yourself a reusable glass bottle from Virgin Megastore in Yas Mall or online at Namshi.com.

You can also stock up on foods that have higher water content, including watermelon, strawberries, grapefruit, celery, tomatoes and bell peppers.

Remember the sunscreen, even if you’re not intending to be outdoors for long. Ladies should also choose foundation or BB cream with SPF.

The air-conditioning and high humidity can wreak havoc on your skin too, so remember to regularly exfoliate and moisturise.



Naturally your air-conditioning is probably going to be turned on all summer long. But to avoid respiratory and other health concerns, you should have your A/C maintained and the filter cleaned before the summer really sets in.



Remember, if it’s hot for you, it’s hot for your pets. Be prepared to rearrange your schedule around walking dogs earlier in the morning and later at night. Consider booties for your dog as surfaces may burn their paws, and consider shaving long-haired cat and dog breeds.

If you’re travelling, be sure to book a quality kennel or cattery for your cat, dog, bird or small animal, or book a pet sitter. Trusted companies include Cloud 9 Pet Hotel and Care and American Veterinary Clinic.



It’s often recommended to have a pre-summer service done, which may include replacing the air and oil filters.

Remember that tyres lose pressure in the heat so ensure your tyres are safe for the road while improving fuel economy by keeping your tyres inflated to the correct pressure. Also monitor the tread as it can wear out faster in summer.

Car batteries also die faster in this heat, so plan ahead by adding Dial-A-Battery – 800 247 365 – to your speed dial in case it does fail.



It would be easy for children to stay indoors all summer watching films or playing video games, but this doesn’t have to – and shouldn’t – be the case.

Make sure you have a plan of activities for them, from building an indoor fort to going on play dates and enjoying days out with family and friends.

Make a list of indoor venues that suit their interests, such as Bounce, Art Central, Zayed Sports City or Adventure HQ, then check to see what offers these will have throughout summer from discounts on day passes to summer camp packages. Many will also have early-bird offers.

My First Gym is hosting an open day on 25th May where you can check out the facilities and try the classes for free. Unlimited class packages will be available on the day as well as exclusive deals on memberships, camps and birthday packages. Delma Road, opposite Zayed Educational Camp. 3pm-7pm. Contact: 02 444 3560, contact@myfirstgymuae.com


Several attractions and venues in Abu Dhabi offer unmissable deals and discounts for residents during the summer. Plan ahead to make the most of them throughout the season.

Yas Waterworld recently upgraded its Annual Pass membership to include discounts on food and beverage, retail, friends’ and birthday tickets. Visit: yaswaterworld.com

Many hotels such as Tilal Liwa offer exclusive summer deals for residents so keep an eye out for family staycation options.

Summer sorted

This summer, we’re trending the #noexcuses hashtag. There are plenty of ways to make the most of summer without melting in the heat.

Basic RGB

Why not use this time to learn something new? At Eton Institute you can choose from countless languages including French, Urdu, Arabic and Turkish. Prices vary. twofour54 Park Rotana Complex, near Khalifa Park. Contact: 800 3866, contact.uae@etoninstitute.com

Focus on your inner self with the Valuing Yourself workshop on 20th May at Inner Space Abu Dhabi, Personal Power workshop on 22nd at Change Works AD, or Happiness Programme at Art of Living on 28th.


If you’re thinking about swapping over your wardrobe, why not make something yourself? Elie Robinson, creator of Unwasted UAE, offers workshops so you can learn to upcycle clothes and create your own beach cover-up. Follow her on Instagram @unwasted_uae or email elie@elierobinson.com

If you’re up for a mental challenge, grab some friends or colleagues and head to Challenge Chambers where you’ll be locked in a room together to solve clues for your escape. From AED 200. Al Wahda Mall. Daily 10am-10pm. Contact: 02 445 2522, abudhabi@challengechambers.com

Why not go old school and play a board game? Grab one at Back to Games and head to a cosy café or join one of the shop’s in-store tabletop days. Boutik Mall, Al Reem Island. Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Contact: 02 562 3338, backtogames.com


If you’re more about physical challenges, put your energy to good use at Bounce, the trampoline park that’s the ultimate indoor playground for both children and adults. You can play trampoline basketball, practice your tightrope walking and bounce off the walls – yes, literally. From AED 80 for adults, AED 70 for juniors. Marina Mall, breakwater. Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight.
Contact: 04 321 1400, bounce.ae

If you’re a golfer, take your game back to basics at the indoor facility, Performance Golf, where a simulator will help you perfect your swing. From AED 250 per hour, AED 1,000 for one-month membership. International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City. Contact: 050 103 0234, performancegolfuae.com


Abu Dhabi has a variety of galleries, museums and cultural venues where you can visit an exhibition, take part in an art workshop, watch independent films and learn more about UAE heritage. Our favourites include Cinema Space, Zayed Centre, Abu Dhabi Pottery and Al Ain’s Al Qattara Arts Centre, which is currently hosting a collage exhibition until 16th June.


If you’re feeling really cultural, then you could even plan your own exhibition tour. Start at Warehouse421 to see Emirati Adornment: Tangible and Intangible (until 27th Aug) before heading over to Le Royal Méridien to see works by Lebanese artist, poet and sculptor Rudy Rahme (30th June), then Two Souls One Homeland (24th May) at N2N Gallery in Nation Towers.

Don’t forget about the on-going exhibition of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection,
The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence, running until 29th July at Manarat Al Saadiyat. There are various public workshops hosted in tandem with the exhibition until the end of May, including the children’s Paint! Canvas! Action! session on 20th. Visit: saadiyatculturaldistrict.ae

Several children’s indoor play centres have summer specials. Orange Wheels is hosting a summer camp from 2nd July, as well as special Beat the Heat’ rates. Discounted packages are also available from the first day of Ramadan at AED 60 for the first hour and AED 40 for each hour thereafter. Al Wahda Mall. Sun-Wed 10am-9pm, Thu-Sat 10am-10pm. Contact: 02 667 4411, knockknock@orangewheels.com

Caboodle in The Galleria will be offering two hours of play for the price of one from 28th May while Fun City is offering 100 hours of unlimited play for just AED 99 at its various locations.

Yas Waterworld recently introduced a Junior Aquatics Club for its young members aged six to 12, hosted every first Saturday of the month. Contact: 02 496 8008, sales@farahexperiences.com


Now is a great time to do some family bonding with the kids. Challenge them to a round of glow-in-the-dark mini golf at Tee and Putt. AED 75, AED 45 for children, AED 300 for three-month pass. Dalma Mall, Mussafah. Contact: 02 555 5307, teeandputt.com

The NYUAD Art Gallery is hosting a Family Workshop on 19th May as part of its But We Cannot See Them exhibition. Children aged six to 16 and their parents are invited to create artwork using everyday objects like slippers and combs. Free but registration required. NYUAD, Saadiyat Island. 4pm-6pm. Contact: nyuad-artgallery.org

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi also offers various promotions including family discounts and resident offers so keep track of updated deals at ferrariworldabudhabi.com

While it’s inevitable that many families will leave over the summer holidays, there are still parents here looking for other mums to keep them company or to arrange play dates with their youngsters. Search for groups on Facebook or Meetup.com including Abu Dhabi Mums, Expat Woman and The Mama Bear Club.

Beat the heat


With temperatures rising, exercising outdoors is about to get tougher. Maybe you’ve already resigned yourself to spending the majority of time inside air-conditioned cafes and malls, leaving waistlines vulnerable to the bulge.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, according to fitness experts.

Contrary to popular notion, engaging in physical activity – even outdoors – is still doable.

“It’s okay to exercise outdoors throughout the entire year, and that includes summer,” says Grant Goes, managing director at Fitness Link ME, an app that links subscribers to various fitness venues across the country.

“The key is to regulate and control your body temperature: increase your water intake, include more rest periods, lower your intensity and reduce the length of training.”

Keep yourself up to date on the average monthly temperature as well as the ideal hours to exercise outdoors to help you come up with a short-term routine.

May should still be conducive for running and cycling so you can participate in the free training sessions on Sunday and Tuesday evenings – or Wednesday for ladies – at Yas Marina Circuit, or sign up for Fairmont Bab Al Bahr’s pier-front hatha yoga sessions hosted on Monday and Wednesday nights.

What’s more, the city is full of indoor options for all age groups and fitness levels to keep you focused on your fitness goals.

Sophie Pless, general manager for GuavaPass UAE, the healthy-living app that gives users unlimited access to fitness studios, classes and experts, says summer is actually an exciting time to dabble in a new sport outside of your usual routine.

“If you want to try a combat sport like boxing, jiu-jitsu and MMA, go to Primal Gym on Al Reem. There’s the Bounce Fit class at Bounce in Marina Mall where you’ll be jumping up and down for a fun but effective cardiovascular workout,” she suggests.

If you want to take up tennis, Zayed Sports City’s academy has launched a six-session package for new players from 28th May for just AED 600.

Great indoor group classes include Zumba, Pilates and spinning at The Room in Zayed Sports City, wrestling, jiu-jitsu and TRX at Cobra Fitness in Al Bandar, Body Step and Pump at Adrenagy in Khalifa Park, and CrossFit at Vogue Fitness in Yas Marina.

While Sophie admits that staying motivated during the summer can be a challenge, she says it’s achievable with planning and time management.

“Make sure to plan your workouts of the week every Saturday night, whether this is booking your favourite classes or open gym time or scheduling an early morning run or swim with your workout partner.”

“I usually send calendar invites to myself and friends who are joining me so cancelling is simply not option.”

Apps like MindBody also allow you to check class schedules and book instantly, making it easier to plan ahead and giving you a sense of commitment. Also check for discounts on bulk classes at various gyms including Abu Dhabi Country Club and Yoga One.

Fitness contacts

GuavaPass guavapass.com
FitnessLink ME fitnesslink.me
• Yas Marina Circuit 800 927, yasmarinacircuit.com
• Fairmont Bab Al Bahr 02 654 3160, healthclub.babalbahr@fairmont.com
• Primal Gym 050 296 2157, primal.ae
• Bounce 04 321 1400, bounce.ae
• The Room 02 444 4945, theroom.ae
• Vogue Fitness 02 583 2380, vfuae.com
• Cobra Fitness 02 449 6524, cobrafitnessuae.com
• Zayed Sports City 02 403 4200, zsc.ae
• Adrenagy 02 444 1121, adrenagy.com
• Abu Dhabi Country Club 02 657 7777, adcountryclub.com
• Yoga One yogaone.ae

Summer: how do you survive yours?

Stella Brockway

“To prepare mentally and physically for summer I try to plan ahead and look for events and activities that take place inside. There are loads of yoga and fitness classes available plus I love swimming in the warm sea. I actually enjoy the summer: it makes me think outside the box and explore Abu Dhabi and go to places that I don’t normally go to!”

Mohamed Ali Chaouch

“As summer is approaching, I try to reschedule everything that I need to do to either early in the morning or the evening. I also engage in more indoor activities and double the amount of water I usually consume.”

Ayoub Dallali

“I prepare myself for the hot season by making sure that I increase my water intake and wear lighter clothes, as well as making sure that my cats are shaved.”

WORDS Rachael Perrett and Ferdinand Godinez
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