January is loaded with the expectations of a spanking new year and all the goals and intentions you’ve set for yourself. Before you run out of steam with those resolutions, we suggest enjoying the coldest month in Dubai with some of the hottest events on the calendar. Arts festivals, drama, running races, block parties, phew… January is setting the theme for 2024 in Dubai and it’s non-stop excitement. Bring it on, we say! Here are 17 exciting things to do in Dubai this January
1. Add some drama to life at this theatre festival
The annual Short and Sweet Theatre Festival is treading the boards again in Alserkal Avenue from January 13 to March 3. The two-month festival of bite-sized performances that are only 10 minutes long is also a competition where audiences can judge the best performance piece by voting for it. You’ll get to see the best of thespians in action performing monologues, ensemble pieces, mime, and musicals across an array of languages. More info on their website
2. Slip, slide n’ sprint through foam and bubbles at the Bubble Run
On January 20, you can dash through a sea of suds at Expo City which is the new location for the annual Bubble Run UAE. With options of a 4km and 8km course, the race is open to runners of all ages and fitness levels, making this a perfect entertaining exercise event for the entire family. More details here.
3. Get a slice of the French New Year’s pie Galette Des Rois
For a year that’s easy as pie, French eatery Couqley is serving Galette Des Rois (King’s Pie). Legend has it, that whoever finds the hidden bean inside the crispy puff pastry dessert will be crowned king or queen of New Year’s. Galette Des Rois, priced at AED 249 serves 8-10 people and will be available for dine-in, takeaway, and delivery A single slice for dine-in is AED 49. Available until January 31.
4. Speed over to the 24h endurance motor race
The Hankook 24H Dubai race is back for its 2024 lap around the Dubai Autodrome from January 27-28. The day-long motor race will see over 70 Touring and GT cars race around the autodrome for 24 hours maneuvering them at fast and furious speeds of over 300km/h the entire time. Big automobile brands such as Porsche, BMW, Ford, Ferrari, Mercedes and Audi are participating so you’ll sight some sweet rides. Visitors can see the cards up close on January 27 during the Grid Walk. Details here
5. Lose yourself in the magic of Dubai’s first Bollywood Candlelight Concert
Love Indian cinema music? You’re in for a treat on January 20 at the inaugural Bollywood Candlelight Concert in Zabeel Theatre. Renowned Dubai-based musician Nabeel Khan and his band of sarangi & tabla players, keyboardists, guitarists and percussionists will recreate instrumental versions of popular songs from Hindi movies across the ages amidst a sea of LED candles.
From the seventies’ lively Gulabi Aankehen, nineties anthem Tujhe Dekha Toh from DDLJ and Tum Hi Ho from the aughts, you’ll hear ‘em all. Dancers from the Showstoppers Dance Crew will perform live on stage to add colour and vibrance. Get tickets here.
6-8. Laugh your guts out at 4 different comedy events
January 12-20: Dubai-based comedy night The Selfdrive Laughter Factory has a witty start to 2024 planned with their ‘Start The Year, With 100% Guaranteed Happiness!’ Tour. Keith Johnson, Eleanor Tiernan, Saanya Abbas and Yash Bhardwaj will take to the mic across various venues and ensure you break into belly laughs. The four comics are some of the best stand-up acts touring the world, with Dubai-based Abbas and Bhardwaj flying the flag for the city’s thriving comedy scene. Tickets and show details here.
January 21: Indian stand-up comedian Harsh Gujral is back in Dubai but this time with a new show – Jo Bolta Hai Wohi Hota Hai. Known for his wry humour and incisive crowd work, brace yourselves if you’re sitting within the funnyman’s eye line at the Zabeel Theatre. You’ll find yourself becoming the punchline to some hilarious jokes. Get tickets here.
January 27: Crack up with some good craic at Northern Irish jokester Shane Todd’s show aboard The Theatre at QE2. The actor and host of the Tea with Me podcast arrives in Dubai with heaps of anecdotes and rip-roaringly funny tales to share. Buy tickets here.
9-10. Get 2024 off to a running start at these races
🏃 Jog between two of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks at this maiden edition of the Burj2Burj race. On January 21, runners can hit the pavements and cover the distance from the Burj Al Arab all the way to the towering Burj Khalifa. This half marathon’s route stretches across Dubai’s beaches and roads letting you experience the city and its views like never before. A race village will be set up at Burj Park where spectators and live music will keep up the energy. Register here.
👟 Community Run at Ripe Market combines everyone’s favourite weekend bazaar with a social running event. The series of runs has two more editions in 2021 – one on January 21 and the next on April 14. Open to athletes of all ages and fitness levels, the race has 3 distances you can choose from – 2.5km, 5km or 10km. Afterwards, cool off at one of the many cafes and stalls scattered around the Ripe Market. Find race details here.
11. Attend a free film festival in the desert
Give spending winter nights in the desert an artsy spin by attending the Al Marmoon Film Festival. Set up outdoors in the desert, the film festival is a thriving cultural escape packed with activities, workshops, and screenings of over 70 films this year. A variety of food stalls, art galleries and kids activities will be stationed around the venue to keep you busy. Find more details here.
12. Have an art attack at the Quoz Arts Fest
The annual Quoz Arts Fest in Alserkal Avenue returns on January 27 and 28. The two-day cultural festival is your ticket to live music gigs, art installations, film screenings, all-day markets, workout events such as yoga and a smorgasbord of food stalls to nosh at. The festival is known for heaps of workshops and interactive classes, so get ready to get crafty. Find out more here.
13. Party with the cool kids at a block party in Expo City
Break The Block, Dubai’s first-ever block party is back for a second innings on January 26 at Expo City’s Al Forsan Park. Look forward to witnessing some of the hottest trip-hop talent, EDM and house music talent as well as the popular Hot Mess Party hosted by Factory People, Beirut-based events specialists. Find more details here.
14. Explore Dubai’s oldest Indian neighbourhood with a food tour
Frying Pan Adventures, the Dubai-based walking food tour company is hosting their popular Little India food tour on January 28. Busting myths about Dubai’s * cough * lack of culture *cough * since 2013, this is one of our favourite homegrown businesses that will help you unpeel the flashy exterior and reveal the heart of Dubai. The 4-hour food tour will see you traverse through Bur Dubai district’s bustling streets, scarfing down delicacies from every part of India, relishing chicken tikka and filter coffee all at once. Keep those napkins handy, its going to be a spicy evening. Book tickets here.
15. See Lucky Ali in concert at Zero Gravity
Indian pop singer Lucky Ali’s sultry voice will echo across the stage at Zero Gravity on January 20. The playback singer will perform his soulful hits such as O Sanam, Gori Teri Aankhen, Na Tum Jaano Na Hum during the show. Nineties kids, brace yourself for nostalgia galore. Get tickets here.
16. Test your swimming skills at the King and Queen Swim
Ever since Dubai Islands Beach opened earlier last year, it’s been a hotspot for the city’s water babies and their fur babies thanks to the venue’s pet-friendly credentials. Now, the public beach is hosting a swimming race on January 21 that lets you cut laps across the Arabian Gulf. The King & Queen Swim has multiple distances from 200m to 3.2km and is open to swimmers aged eight years and older. The winner of the 3.2km category will be titled King or Queen of Dubai Islands. Get tickets here.
17. Enjoy forkfuls of thrills at a Dining in the Dark experience
Looking for a dinner with the twists and turns of a thriller? The Dining in the Dark experience at VAGA in Bluewaters packs all that and more. Eat your meal without looking at screens, or phones – and here’s the kicker – the food itself! Guests will be blindfolded at the table, so you’ll have to guess what mysterious ingredients and secret menu have made it to your plate. Book tickets here.