Looking for a little change in your routine? We round up 15 new hobby ideas you can take up in Dubai this year
1 May 2022| Last updated on 18 May 2022
These Dubai hobby ideas could be your new 'thing'!
If you're feeling an itch to add something new to your expat life in Dubai, it might be a sign to find yourself a new hobby.
Channel your inner artist, craft maker, athlete, gamer or foodie with any one of these interesting hobbies to try in Dubai, ranging from fun and creative to productive and athletic. So take your pick and go master something new that'll keep you from feeling bored and impress your mates.
Here are 15 hobby ideas to make more of your spare time as an expat resident in Dubai.
Swap your daily routine of scrolling through Instagram to snap your way into photography. There's loads of opportunities for urban and cultural photography as well as outdoorsy shoots across the UAE.
2. Hand-made ceramics and pottery
Pottery is another great hobby for expats who enjoy crafting. Throw down some clay and spin it as you slowly mold it into your vision of something quirky, elegant, or chic. Handmade pottery also makes for a great gift idea for family and friends!
Painting can be a creative, relaxing, and meditative outlet for many expats.
If you don't want to paint alone, you can find plenty of painting classes and art workshops hosted in art galleries, hotels, and restaurants across Dubai. We recommend checking out Alserkal Avenue for their creative workshop events as well!
The UAE has a strong cycling scene, with the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum being an avid cycler himself.
Dubai hosts annual cycling events, has dedicated cycling paths for residents, and even has public bicycles available for rent in select spots across the city.
5. Horse riding
Take up horse riding lessons at local equestrian clubs and riding schools in Dubai. Horse riding makes for a great hobby as it can help build self-confidence and discipline.
6. Beverage tasting
Whether you're looking to broaden your beverage knowledge and tastes, or find like-minded individuals, there are several tasting classes hosted in Dubai and across the UAE that you can join.
7. Supper Clubs
Supper Clubs are a whole different kind of dining you can get in Dubai, perfect for foodies seeking to try exotic, experimental, or uniquely traditional dishes combined with a refined social experience.
8. Video games
Whether you're casual player or a professional gamer, there's something for everyone in Dubai. Family arcades and entertainment centres can be found in almost every major shopping mall in the emirate. Video game cafes are also popular hangout spots among teenagers and adults, with an average price of AED 10-15 per hour.
Dubai sees annual gaming and pop culture events every year, including the Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC) until 2020.
9. Board games and tabletop games
Far from your typical Snakes & Ladders or Scrabble, there are hundreds of interesting and challenging tabletop games to play. If you're new to it, we recommend visiting a board game cafe in Dubai to test out some titles.
Board game cafes provide hours and hours of fun for friends and families in Dubai. Some cafes offer unlimited all-day play for an entry fee, or charge by the hour.
Why not grab a rod and spend a day by the water, or rent a boat offering a fishing experience with professional assistance?
An urban city like Dubai might not seem like the most obvious choice for those seeking the peace and stress-relief that comes with fishing, but there are actually several great fishing spots in the emirate.
Did you know that baking can be good for your mental health? If you're struggling to manage symptoms of anxiety or depression, why not give baking a try!
Even if you're not feeling down, baking is a fantastic activity as it can improve your skills and then reward yourself with a tasty treat afterwards or gift your home baked goods to a loved one.
12. Pick up needlework
If you're the type who likes to keep your hands busy, consider a needlework hobby such as knitting or crocheting. Needlework can be a very satisfying hobby and a meditative process as well.
13. Learn an instrument
For expats looking to discover or reconnect with their musical side, we recommend picking up an instrument you've always wanted to learn or improve on an old skill.
There are plenty of instrument shops as well as several music and singing classes across Dubai for all ages.
14. Learn to code
For a productive hobby, learning to code will provide you with skills that can add to your current career or can be a great skill to have for future plans down the road.
There are tons of free-to-watch video tutorials on YouTube or online tutorials that can teach you to code from your sofa or during your lunch break.
15. Polish your green thumb
If you're new to being a plant parent or you've seen the demise of your previous one, consider opting for low maintenance plants until you feel more comfortable enough to grow your greenery collection at home.
Easy-to-care-for plants may also be better for expat residents with busy schedules, rather than plants that require daily attention and complex care.
Don't worry as there's loads of online and book resources you can dive into when taking care of a plant, as well as plenty of shops and garden centres where you can buy houseplants in Dubai.
How to find inspiration to pick a new hobby in Dubai
If the ideas listed above may not appeal to you, here are some ways to figure out and decide what hobby might be best suited for you.
It's good to note that what separates an 'interest' from a 'hobby' is that hobbies are activities where you actively commit more of your time, participation, and efforts to. Interests are more of feelings or desires about a subject, which can have the potential to be an activity.
1. How do you like to spend your free time?
We recommend taking a closer look at your interests and what you find yourself drawn to. Do you spend a lot of time watching movies, playing with your pets, reading books, cooking, etc.?
The interests you have can be potential hobbies, such as cinema clubs or starting your own movie review blog/channel, opening a social media account for your pet, joining a book club, signing up for a Supper Club or cooking class, etc.
2. What is it you've always to do?
Is there something you've always thought about doing but haven't been able to yet? When you have conversations with someone, have you ever said "I've always wanted to..."? Pay attention to what follows in that sentence.
3. Look back at your childhood.
Feeling nostalgic for things or you're simply young at heart? Think back when you were younger and what activities you found joy in, such as cycling, exploring outdoorsy places, playing with collectable figures, or art.
4. Try something that's the opposite of what you might usually try.
Our brains enjoy novelty and engaging in true 'play', says licensed family therapist Thea Monyeé to Bustle. She adds: "Anything you're curious about or takes you away from daily life is a good place to put your energy."
By trying an activity that might be the opposite of what you'd usually go for, you might open yourself up to new interests you might have never realised you could enjoy. It can also be challenging, which is great exercise for the brain.