With the weather orbiting those golden ambient degrees right now, there really is no better time to get out and celebrate the great outdoors. And one of our favourite alfresco, wholesome-as-a-mug-of-cocoa, family-friendly activities over this season, is a craft market. The simple joy derived from sun-warmed wander between the stalls selling organic bongos, macrame crockery sets and artisanal activated charcoal chutney — is almost unmatched in adult life. It’s peak weekending. Even if you only buy tacos.
Whatever type of market you’re, erm, in the market for, Abu Dhabi has got a stacked shelf of options on the go right now. These are just some of our favourites.
One of our favourite homegrown markets has now been confirmed as returning to the capital. Ripe Market Al Maryah Island is launching on National Day weekend, December 2 from 3pm to 10pm, and will then take place every Friday and Saturday. Al Maryah Island’s South Plaza will be transformed into a bustling market space — filled with exotic articles of curiosity-piquing allure and the calls and stalls of a dizzying mix of merchants. Those keen on the pursuit of perusal can expect vibrant food and entertainment options, alongside all the covetous craft trinkets and soothing soundtrack of the lapping sea.
Al Maryah Island Abu Dhabi, Fri Dec 2 3pm to 10pm, Tel:(0)55 543 1282, ripeme.com
The Park Market at Umm Al Emarat Park
Taking place every Friday and Saturday until March 18, 2023 between the hours of 4pm and 11pm, The Park Market is a little piece of fresh air retail reverie. You’ll find such ‘you never knew you wanted’ items as candles, clothes, accessories, antiques, jewelry, cosmetics, perfume, and organic produce. There are also fun activities for kids — flying kites, getting messy with bubbles and slime, there are educational arts, painting ops, skill games, magic shows, clown shows, storytelling sessions, and music performances. To keep the whole family entertained the park will be hosting magic shows, clown shows, storytelling sessions, music shows and much more. Other Umm Al Emarat Park attractions include the petting zoo, amphitheatere, petting zoo, a wisdom garden (because you’re never too zen to wise up), Salt burger van, Parker’s cafe, home Bakery, shade house, promenade, a miniature train tour, alfresco movies every weekend, and until December 8, the Miami Vibes street food festival.
Mushrif area, Fri and Sat 4pm to 11pm entry to the park is charged at Dhs10 per person.ummalemaratpark.ae
Manbat Farmer’s Market at Deerfields
There’s a tighter visit window for this particular market in Abu Dhabi, it’s running every Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 10pm but only until December 4. What can you expect from this crafty collab? Located in The Garden area of the mall, you’ll be able to fill your tote bags with such fresh, organic, locally sourced products as fruit, vegetables, and honey. There will also be the usual sorts of quaint objets de curiosité, we don’t know but we’re guessing — ethical, cruelty-free, sustainably-sourced artisanal soaps, artisanal bamboo lawn furniture, artisanal kids’ books, artisanal sarongs and a whole army of artisanal artisans. And if all artisan browsing has got you hungry, the mall’s newly expanded Restaurant Walk now includes Otantik café & Restaurant, Chilies, La Brioche, India Palace Restaurant, Shakespeare & Co, Off the Hook, Bursa, Kebab Evi, Café Be.K, Pizza Hut, Tres Bien Restaurant & Café and Emerald Grill.
Deerfields Mall, Friday and Saturday from 4pm to 10pm, until December 4. @deerfieldsmall