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The Ras Al Khor Bird Sanctuary in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: While people in many countries are stuck indoors during the winter months, Dubai’s residents are encouraged to take advantage of the warmer temperatures and become a tourist in their own city. With its plethora of world-class attractions, outdoor adventures and family-friendly activities, Dubai offers plenty of ways for families and friends to spend quality time together, day or night.

While the city continues to regain its vibrancy and the health and safety of everyone remains a key priority, here are some destination experiences compiled by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) for residents to enjoy.

Open-air places to visit:

For those that want to visit one of Dubai’s world-record breaking attractions, The Palm Fountain holds the title for the world’s largest fountain. For this mesmerising performance, two giant floating platforms cover 14,000 sq metres of seawater, towering at 105 metres and light up the sky of Dubai with magical 3,000 LEDs. The spectacular shows take place daily from sunset to midnight and are accompanied by hit songs from all around the globe.

Al Serkal Avenue has emerged as a hipster hangout and local-favourite with its combination of galleries, pop-up shops and concept spaces. Amassing a legion of loyal fans, NightJar Coffee offers decadent brunches and an extensive coffee list, while a DJ hits the deck every weekend. The cultural district is also popular with families as the JamJar invites guests of all ages to paint a canvas or for those that want to update their look Chalk Salon is a unisex high-end salon.

While winter means that most people are stuck inside, the pleasant weather in Dubai encourages everyone to hit the beach, whether this is JBR Beach, Kite Beach Dubai or Umm Suqeim Park Beach. With all of these free, public beaches, families and friends can meet up to soak up some rays together and get that needed dose of vitamin sea. JBR Beach has plenty going on for kids and you can spend as much or as little as you want in the nearby cafes, shops and restaurants.

Away from the glittering lights of the city, the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is a 6.2 square km haven to 450 species of animals and 47 species of plants, with the pink flamingoes as the main attraction. Ideal for families looking to connect with nature, the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is open for free every day between 7.30am and 5.30pm. Guests are invited to pick up a pair of binoculars and hide out in one of the three wooden birding hides near the water’s edge for the best view of the stunning wildlife.

Enjoy a leisurely picnic

Zabeel Park has become one of Dubai’s favourite picnic spots as it offers a plethora of options to host a relaxing meal, including the shaded lawn, the convenient outdoor seating or basking in the sun in the amphitheatre. As well as providing a perfect setting for a flavourful feast, the park is also home to Dubai Frame, Dubai Garden Glow — the region’s first glowing theme park — and an education zone for children.

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Dubai offers plenty of locations for families and people of all ages to have picnics and enjoy outdoor life. Image Credit: Supplied

For those looking for some gentle entertainment while they enjoy their picnic, Burj Park affords visitors magnificent views of the Dubai Fountain with the backdrop of the world’s largest building, the Burj Khalifa. For the ultimate convenience, those needing to pick up a few last-minute ingredient can head to Dubai Mall, which not only has a supermarket but hundreds of eateries providing take-away to choose from.

Safa Park is known for its calm and natural environment as the green oasis is surrounded by the Dubai Canal, making it the ideal picnic park for residents looking to escape the bustle of city life. After a picnic, visitors can choose to work off their meal by renting a bike or even a boat while groups can play football, basketball or volleyball.

Calling all cyclists

Al Qudra Cycling Track is one of the world’s largest designated cycle tracks, as the 84km trail loops through the desert and attracts amateurs and triathletes alike. Set against the stunning backdrop of the picturesque red sands, riders are given the chance to spot a glimpse of local wildlife such as the Arabian Oryx, all for free! For those looking to hire bikes, visitors can do so with at a daily rate of Dh105 from the Trek Bicycle Store.

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Zabeel Park is one of the favourite places among residents to make the most of outdoor life in Dubai during the cooler months. Image Credit: Supplied

As Dubai focuses on initiatives to transform into a bicycle-friendly city, the new Jumeriah Beach Track enables cyclists to visit major tourist hotspots including Jumeirah Beach, Etihad Museum, Dubai Sailing Club, Kite Beach, Umm Suqeim Park and Burj Al Arab. It’s the perfect way to see the city.

Great camping sites

For the best campsite view, make the most of Al Qudra Lake’s tranquil oasis setting that’s located adjacent to the Al Marmoon Desert Conservation that’s still close enough to see the city’s iconic skyline. Escape into nature to the one part of Dubai where wildlife is likely to be seen in its natural habitat, from desert foxes to the Oryx, or one of 170 bird species living around the lakes. Couples can also visit the heart-shaped lake called the Love Lake, it also has the word ‘love’ spelt out by an arrangement of plants and trees.

Literally translated as ‘rocky mountains’, Hatta is located in the foothills of the Hajar Mountains, 130 km east of Dubai city’s centre. Combining camping with a host of adrenaline-fuelled activities such as hiking, mountain biking and kayaking, Hatta has become a popular weekend hideout for locals, especially with the introduction of the luxury caravans at Hatta Sedr Trailers.

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Known for its stunning red sandscapes that are visible from Fossil Rock, the Lahbab desert offers the perfect Arabian adventure. Whether you’re looking to explore the rocks and dunes such as Pink Rock and Big Red, a 300-foot high sand dune, or get that adrenaline rush by driving quadbikes, Lahbab desert has everything you need for a memorable camping trip.