The perfect accompaniment to Dubai’s balmy winter nights is smooth jazz. Some of the biggest names in music have flown into the glitzy emirate to show off their vocal and instrumental talents at the three-day Dubai Jazz Festival, an all-encompassing celebration with markets, intimate gigs, and of course, a series of arena concerts featuring some of the biggest names in music.
Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, with its arena-style seating and standing sections, sets an open-air stage for the major concerts of the Dubai Jazz Festival. Bring your music-loving family out to relax to the mellow sounds of James Blunt of February 25, or groove to the soulful John Legend on February 27. Pre-performance, take the family for a meal at any one of the nearby restaurants, including Urban Bistro for gourmet organic fare, or Al Merkaz for traditional Arabic food. Relax for a bit in the bright, comfy restaurant and order a few shish tawook platters to share. The tender, perfectly seasoned cubes of chicken satisfy without making you too full – and the crispy fries might provide incentive for your kids to finish their veggies.
After dinner, browse local artwork and handicrafts at the festival’s on-site arts and crafts village, where you can buy a few souvenirs to take home with you. Be sure to check out Osama Afnan’s paintings that pay homage to Dubai, Susan Lee’s charming handmade stationery, and Michaela Heidenfelder’s sterling silver with mother of pearl jewelry that she sells under the label Ta’Ansami.
If big shows and big crowds aren’t really your family’s thing, maybe you’re more the dinner-and-a-show types? Check out some more intimate concerts known as Urban Sessions at smaller venues around town. Enjoy a delicious meal with a side of jazz at participating restaurants, such as Trader Vic’s at Souk Madinat and Jazz@PizzaExpress at JLT. Dig into some hot jazz and the American hot pizza, which is spiced up with pepperoni and your choice of hot peppers.