We’re back with our monthly calendar of all that’s new and exciting in Dubai over the next four weeks. There’s plenty to see and do every day, every month in Dubai, with the main ongoing attractions like theme parks and malls always being great bases to cover, but on top of it all we fill you in on all the seasonal events to enjoy if you happen to be planning a Dubai holiday this May. Keep reading and check out where to go depending on your interests and preferences – there’s something for everyone; from families with kids to fun-loving couples, art lovers, sports fans and keen concert goers.
Arts & Culture
Art fanatics and culture enthusiasts will be in for quite a few special treats this May and here I’ve handpicked my top not-to-be-missed seasonal exhibitions; from Ottoman traditions to world-famous paintings by renowned artists. Take your pick, or better yet, if you can spare the time make it to both!
Hareem Al Sultan Exhibition – until 31st May
For a taste of history and culture with a full immersion in the era of the Ottoman Empire; the City Walk at Al Safa Street is the place to be this month in Dubai. The Hareem Al Sultan Exhibition is based on a popular Turkish TV series set in the 1300s, with the majority of scenes filmed in the magnificently recreated Topkapi Palace. This is your chance to be part of it all and experience the opulence of this century in the Turkish Empire, with special attention to showcasing the glamorous palatial lifestyle in a series of rooms decorated to immaculate perfection and exquisite detail.
The exhibition beautifully presents all the props, costumes and furniture used in the popular TV series and visitors can touch the décor, accessories and jewellery to get a real feel of it all. If you are a history lover or interested in experiencing the decadence of the Ottoman Empirecan it’s definitely worth it to spare some of your holiday time in Dubai to head here one afternoon or evening. General admission tickets are 125 AED per person for adults while children aged between 7 and 14 pay a reduced entry price of 50 AED. Little ones aged 6 and under go free of charge. Opening hours are 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Picasso & Miro, Passion and Poetry – until 17th May
Catch the work of two outstanding Spanish artists who redefined art with some of their most famous pieces on display this May, but for a limited time only. Picasso’s avant-garde Cubism needs no introduction while Miro’s surrealism is surely impressive. The Passion and Poetry collection is on show at the Burj Khalifa Annex, next to the Armani Hotel at an admission cost of 125 AED (approximately £23). Entry to the exhibition isn’t exactly cheap but then again the opportunity to peruse the outstanding originals showcased here doesn’t come by every day, so if you are serious about art and you happen to be in Dubai you should grab your chance now. Tickets can be purchased at the Platinumlist online or right at the venue.
Live Music & Entertainment
This section is hotter than hot in the Dubai calendar this May with live performances of all kinds, for all audiences, tasstes and ages, from classical music and opera to bubbling fun, quality DJ sessions and stand-up comedy. Here are my best picks of live entertainment in Dubai this month.
World Classical Music Series – La Vie en Rose – 13th May
Taking place one day and for one very special evening only, this is my top pick of live performances this May. An outstanding recital bringing together some of the world’s best musicians and opera singers, La Vie En Rose is certainly not to be missed if you want to experience the finer musical arts during a spectacular production. Big names like soprano Sara Gouzy, classical pianist Semjon Skigin and the world’s youngest tenor promise, Joel Prieto will unite their talents for one very special act.
The date is set for 13th May 2016 with a starting time of 7 p.m. and it will be staged at the Royal Ballroom inside The One&Only Royal Mirage Hotel. As is to be expected with events of this nature, tickets are on the pricier side and start at 250 AED (around £46) in the Gold section, 350 AED in the Platinum section and 550 AED in the VIP area. The act is three-hours-and-a-half long so you’ll get plenty of refined entertainment for your money, no doubt!
Arabian Bubble celebration – 19th to 21st May
One of the most fun and light-hearted of live performances taking Dubai by storm this month will be happening over three days of guaranteed bubbling fun. Taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the Arabian Bubble Celebration is one peculiar event promising captivating bubble art like you’ve never seen before!
Prepare to feast your eyes on some extreme, super-sizes bubbles forming amazing shapes whilst perfectly complemented by laser shows and stunts. This family-friendly event is not just for kids as adults are guaranteed to enjoy it just as much – it’s a one-of-a-kind spectacle that promises a special afternoon or evening out. Prices vary according to proximity to the main stage but start at 149 AED for adults and kids of all ages.
Italian Opera Gala Dubai 2016 – 26th May
Yet another classical event taking place this springtime in Dubai, the Italian Opera Gala will be putting on a very special show for a magical night of perfectly synched, sublime melodies. Staged at the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC) in Mall of the Emirates and starting at 8:30 p.m. this will be one of Dubai’s finest nights out.
You can look forward to enjoying the most famous opera arias of all time; from Verdi’s Rigolletto to Bellini’s Norma and Puccini’s Tosca. They’ll be expertly interpreted by accomplished Italian opera singers Monica De Rosa McKay and Gian Luca Pasolini to the accompaniment of duet Larisa Capatina and Vitali Mihailuic on the piano; with narration in English by Silvia Nicolardi. Entry costs start at the moderate price of 150 AED (around £28) and go all the way up to 250 AED (approximately £46) for the best seats in the VIP stalls. Not bad at all for an event of this calibre, which will be held in honour of Italian National Day (Festa della Repubblica).
DJ Armin Van Bureen Live in Dubai – 20th May
Friday 20th May has something very special in store for electronic music lovers as one amazing guest will be coming to perform his unique mix of electrifying tunes under a promising title “Armin Only Embrace”. The five times number one DJ in the world, Armin Van Bureen will be putting together one of his most awesome performances ever for his Dubai debut.
The highly anticipated event will be taking place at the grandiose Meydan Racecourse, the most apt venue for a show of this scale as it can host up to 15,000 people. The trance, house and electro-house artist will be treating the lucky audience to his unique mix of different styles and genres with a pre-party at 8 p.m. followed by a 4-hour solo performance kicking off at 10 p.m. and going into the early hours of the morning, during which he’ll be joined by various other artists, dance acts and special visual effects.
With such expectation surrounding such a big performance it might come as no surprise to learn that the cheapest tickets have already sold out and the ones available start at 499 AED (the equivalent of roughly £92). These are likely to run out soon so get booking now if interested before you’re priced out. Unlimited drinks are included in your ticket but there’s a strict 21-plus age requirement policy, so if you’re under don’t even think about it…maybe next time, eh?
Adam Hills Live in Dubai – 27th May
The last Friday of the month promises a lot of laughter with Australian comedian Adam Hills, performing in Dubai for the first time ever at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Prepare for a lively, all-smiling evening full of the quick-witted jokes and impersonations that have made Hills a household name. Tickets are on the pricier end and start at 300 AED per person (around £56) for regular tickets while premium seats are on sale for 500 AED (£93 approximately). It’s strictly for over 21s only so leave kids and teens at home (not that most parents would entertain the idea of bringing little ones over anyway).
If you’ve got a taste for sports, especially of the nautical or racket kind, there’s two events to check out in Dubai’s calendar this month. Take a glance at the details below to secure your tickets if you happen to be enjoying Dubai holidays during the following dates.
Al Gaffal Traditional Dhow Race 2016 – 21st May
For a touch of culture and tradition in the form of nautical sports recreation the Al Gaffal Traditional Annual Dhow Race is certainly one to attend this coming 21st May. Designed and created to pay tribute to the brave and sacrificed pearl divers that were the early founders of trade in Dubai’s port, this race dates back to 1991.
With a humble start where 53 dhows competed against each other in its first ever edition, it has grown to become a major sporting event with a total of 100 third version traditional boats. And the boats of today are certainly something to be admired. Whilst modern, crisp and polished to perfection, the race still retains past traditions with tight rules still place to preserve its unique heritage.
Prepare to feast your eyes as these beauties near the finishing line at various locations between the Westin Mina Seyahi and the iconic (appropriately dhow-shaped) Burj Al Arab. Dubai RTA offers ferry rides to follow the racers on their thrilling journey but to find out about the cost you’ll have to enquire locally. Otherwise positioning yourself along Jumeirah Beach will suffice to spot some of the boating action.
PSA Dubai World Series Finals – 24th to 28th May
To get some smashing squashing action in the last week of May, a very centric venue in Dubai will play centre stage to the Professional Squash Association’s championship finals. Burj Park in Downtown Dubai will be hosting the spectacular World Series Finals and the setting couldn’t be more perfect as you watch talented players battle it out against the glistening waters of The Dubai Fountain as the most scenic of backdrops. For a full schedule of all the matches taking place over the course of five days and to buy tickets in advance check the official website at worldseriesfinals.com – they start at only 25 AED (that’s less than £5) per person going all the way up to 100 AED for VIP seats.
Family and Children
There’s never been a better time for cinema and theatre-loving families to be heading down to Dubai this May. If planning a family holiday to Dubai before the summer season kicks off next June, you’re in for a surprise with two amazing children book classics being played out live on stage and plenty of cinema action for everyone to enjoy!
Children’s International Film Festival – until 7th May
Coming to an end next Saturday 7th May with a show-stopping award-giving gala this is the last week to enjoy a very special annual festival in Dubai, dedicated to film-loving children (parents are welcome too) and budding filmmakers. Created to promote local interest in the cinema industry and hosting a nationwide competition across the UAE to draw out local talent and encourage film-making project, the festival puts on a variety of excellent cinema showings with a selection featuring the best international films from around the world.
A great opportunity for families to sit back and embark on an incredible cinematic journey! Check out the festival’s official website at ciff.ae to find details on screening times and ticket options. There’s something for all ages, from tiny pre-schoolers to teens and you can select from over 56 international award-winning shorts and feature films. Bring on the popcorn!
James and the Giant Peach (theatre) – 10 to 13th May
For children there’s nothing quite as spectacular and exciting as seeing the characters from their favourite books and stories come to life on stage. That’s precisely what will be happening this early May over the course of four days at DUCTAC (Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre) in the Mall of the Emirates as a cast of talented actors re-tell the story of James and the Giant Peach, one of Roald Dahl’s most loved classics. You can get your tickets onsite or buy them in advance at ductac.org/theatre. Ticket prices range between 195 AED and 140 AED per person (the equivalent to £36 and £26 respectively).
The Tiger who came to tea – 17th and 18th May
Yet another children’s favourite will be coming to life in Dubai this springtime for two days only. The Madinat Theatre will be hosting two presentations of The Tiger Who Came To Tea, bringing to life an enchanting tale that all children love; whether they’re already familiar with the book by Judith Kerr or if this will be their first introduction to the story. Tickets can be purchased from the Madinat Theatre website and prices start at 185 AED (around £35) for stalls seats and 135 AED (or £25 approximately for balcony seats. It promises exciting fun for all!