Pack it up, pack it in

Un­furl that blan­ket, pic­nic sea­son is upon us, writes Tim Skin­ner

Time Out Dubai - - INSIDE -

Let us be­gin – in bring­ing you the best pic­nic spots and ex­pe­ri­ences that Dubai has to of­fer. Feel free to jump around

I

t is the most won­der­ful time of the year for some mar­vel­lously al fresco bites fresh from the ham­per. We can’t ex­plain why sand­wiches al­ways taste bet­ter when they’ve been in a lunch­box for a cou­ple of hours, but they do. So, while the weather is gor­geous, we’ve wrapped up the best places for you to shake off that blan­ket, get out the cheese and pickle sangers and bust open that pun­net of straw­ber­ries.*

*Time Out Dubai can­not be held re­spon­si­ble for the pres­ence of any ants at your pic­nic.

Al Bar­sha Pond Park

Home to count­less win­ter pic­nics, this (un­sur­pris­ingly) pond-side spot is a bril­liant spot to un­furl your blanky and kick back for the af­ter­noon. There’s a huge lawn over­look­ing the pond – which is more lake­sized than pond-sized, re­ally – and once you’re done scoff­ing your cherry toma­toes and pic­calilli you can go and hop on a swan­shaped ped­alo and hare your way around the pond-lake. It’s a beau­ti­ful spot for a win­ter’s af­ter­noon spent in the sun.

→ Open daily 8am-10pm. Al Bar­sha (800 900).

Al Khaz­zan Park

Fun fact: Al Khaz­zan Park is the first park in the UAE to be en­tirely so­lar pow­ered. How about that? This spot, found di­rectly op­po­site City Walk, is wildly pop­u­lar with par­ents and kids alike, thanks to its two play­grounds, a mini cy­cle path for the lit­tle ones and plenty of hills for roly-polies and sun­shine frol­ics.

→ Open Sat-wed 8am-10pm, Thu-fri 8am-11pm. Op­po­site City Walk, Al Safa Street (800 900).

Burj Park

How about stuff­ing a pic­nic ham­per full of lovely grub and set­ting down for the af­ter­noon in front of the Burj Khal­ifa? We can’t think of many more scenic spots around, be­cause not only can you sit and gawk at the world’s tallest tower, but you’re also sat in view of The Dubai Foun­tain and The Dubai Mall, so your sarnies can be de­voured with some of the most mag­nif­i­cent views around. It’s also home to the odd gig, and you can rent bikes to burn off the calo­ries from those cheese scones.

→ Open Sat-thu 6.30am-8pm, Fri noon-mid­night. Down­town Dubai (04 366 1688).

Creek­side Park

A lovely spot from which to ad­mire Dubai Creek – and an equally lovely spot for set­tling on down with a ham­per and nib­bling away at some car­rot sticks and hum­mus. In the shadow (not lit­er­ally) of the Dubai Dol­phi­nar­ium, you can get your kicks from the aquatic crit­ters re­sid­ing next door, then take a ride on the ca­ble car through the park, be­fore down­ing tools and grab­bing a bite to eat, and

soak­ing up some vi­ta­min D.

→ Open Sun-wed 8am-10pm, Thu-sat 8am-11pm. Oud Metha (04 336 7633).

JLT Park

There aren’t many neigh­bour­hoods in the world where you’ll find a sprawl­ing com­mu­nity park snaking out be­tween sky­scrapers. But that’s what you’ll find at JLT Park, where on any given day you’ll find jog­gers hit­ting the track, ballers shoot­ing some hoops, ex­er­cis­ers grap­pling with the free-to-use equip­ment, crick­eters crick­et­ing, foun­tain fans ad­mir­ing foun­tains and pic­nick­ers… do we need to say it?... pic­nick­ing…

→ Open 24 hours. Clus­ters O to Clus­ter R, Jumeirah Lakes Tow­ers (no num­ber).

Mushrif Park

Pony rid­ing, minia­ture houses, an “In­ter­na­tional Vil­lage”, an eques­trian cen­tre, and even wind­mills can be found at this charm­ing lit­tle spot. It’s the per­fect spot for a morn­ing or af­ter­noon stroll, and if you’re look­ing for a spot to lay out your blan­ket and open up your ham­per, then this place of­fers up bar­be­cue ar­eas, play­grounds, sports courts and more. Once you’re done di­gest­ing, there’s even a swim­ming pool for tak­ing a dip.

→ Open Sun-wed 8am-10pm, Thu-sat 8am-11pm. Al Khawa­neej Road, Mushrif (no num­ber).

Ripe Mar­ket at Po­lice Academy Park, Umm Suqeim

If you head to Ripe Mar­ket at the week­ends, you can trawl through some home­made hand­i­crafts – jew­ellery, knick-knacks, dec­o­ra­tions and the like – as well as sec­ond hand books, toys, games, clothes and more. But it’s the fresh food mer­chants which make this place come alive, in our opin­ion. If you haven’t packed your own pic­nic, you can grab

loads of fresh grub – whether it’s from one of the food trucks, the ven­dors sell­ing fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles, or the clean-liv­ing baker. A crack­ing hang­out for all the fam­ily, open ev­ery Fri­day and Satur­day.

→ Open Fri-sat 9am-7pm, un­til Sat May 4 2019. Dubai Po­lice Academy, Umm Suqeim (04 315 7000).

Safa Park

This park just off Sheikh Zayed Road has en­dured in its pop­u­lar­ity for years, and re­mains one of the city’s top spots for an af­ter­noon spent in the sun. Grab your ham­per and run on over to this place, where you’ll find plenty of fam­i­lies hap­pily en­joy­ing their sur­round­ings. Or­nithol­o­gists will have a blast here, too, since Safa Park also hap­pens to be home to some 200 species of birds hid­ing among 16,000 va­ri­eties of trees and bushes. See how many you can spot, once you’re done ex­plor­ing.

→ Open Sun-wed 8am-10pm, Thu-sat 8am-11pm. Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Safa (no num­ber).

Umm Suqeim Park

This is a fam­ily-only des­ig­nated area, and this charm­ing spot sits un­der the Burj Al Arab, with some lovely views out over the Ara­bian Gulf. Only women with their fam­i­lies are al­lowed in dur­ing the week, and men are al­lowed to attend with their kids come the week­end. A won­der­ful spot to escape the hus­tle and bus­tle of city life, with­out ac­tu­ally hav­ing to leave it at all.

→ Open daily 8am-10pm. Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 2 (no num­ber).

Zabeel Park

In the semi-hol­low shadow of the Dubai Frame (to which, if you’ve not yet vis­ited, you should make your way post-haste) is this gor­geous park found just north of Down­town Dubai and Dubai World Trade Cen­tre. There’s so much go­ing on that you can spend the en­tire day here, quite hap­pily, and still feel slightly re­sent­ful when it’s time to go home. It’s equiv­a­lent in size to 45 foot­ball pitches, and three dif­fer­ent tech­nol­ogy-driven zones are de­signed to help en­ter­tain and ed­u­cate the lit­tle ones while you can re­lax in one of the ded­i­cated pic­nic ar­eas. On top of that, there are boat rides, restau­rants, live mu­sic and bar­be­cue pits, too. How could this not be the per­fect pic­nic hang­out?

→ Open Sat-wed 8am-10pm, Thu-fri 8am-11pm. Sheikh Zayed Road (no num­ber).

Mushrif Park

Zabeel Park

Vida Down­town

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