Even though we’ve begun 2022 under the inescapable shadow of COVID-19, there are plenty of things to look forward to in the months ahead. Whether you’re a pop culture junkie, a football fanatic, or a die-hard foodie, there’s something in this round-up that will appeal to you.
1. CHICAGO, The Musical
The longest-running American musical in Broadway history is headed to our shores, running at Dubai Opera from January 5 to 15. Not only does this iconic production set in the roaring 1920s boast it all – murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery, and treachery – but its sassy score also includes hits like “All That Jazz” and “Razzle Dazzle”.
2. Opening of Pavilion at The Beach
Expected to open in Q1 of 2022, Pavilion at The Beach will span 1,394 square meters and house six licensed restaurants – Italian favourite Eataly, the second Dubai outpost of Akiba Dori, and authentic Mexican eatery La Mezcaleria included. Bonus: the new culinary hub will be air-conditioned.
3. 2022 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature
The upcoming Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will take place from February 3 to 13, taking up residence at its new home in Al Habtoor City. Themed Here Comes the Sun, its programme has been designed to bring about optimism and “shed light on issues that are usually obscured by the dark”, according to Ahlam Bolooki, Festival Director.
4. 2022 Winter Olympics
Beijing 2022 is already marred by controversy – both Australia and the US have announced a diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights record. Still, with a total of 109 medal events (seven of which are brand new) taking place across 15 sports from February 4 to 20, there’s plenty of action on the horizon.
5. Opening of LENTO
LENTO practically has a cult following in the capital because of its smashed burgers and, now, it’s gearing up to open its doors in the Umm Al Sheif vicinity come February. For the uninitiated, an Emirati celebrity chef is at its helm of this artisanal fast food concept: Faisal Naser.
6. The Real Housewives of Dubai
Reality TV is the pop culture equivalent of greasy comfort food and, this year, there’s not one, but two major shows that we’ll all turn to for a mental escape: The Real Housewives of Dubai (Bravo’s first international ‘Housewives’ series) and The Kardashians (the return of reality TV’s first family). No premiere date for either of the two has been announced, but the latter is expected to air in early February.
7. Opening of The Guild
Expected to open its doors in March 2022, The Guild by hospitality giant Bull&Roo will be a larger-than-life dining concept located at ICD Brookfield Place in DIFC. Spanning 15,000 square feet, it promises to “blow up the food scene” by way of five culinary experiences, eight homegrown brands, and a setting accented with foliage aplenty.
8. Season 2 of Bridgerton
Netflix hit Bridgerton is set to release on March 25, with showrunner Shonda Rhimes revealing that she has plans for at least eight seasons because there are a total of eight Bridgerton siblings. And while Regé-Jean Page will (tragically) not be reprising his role as the duke, Anthony Bridgerton – played by Jonathan Bailey – will be the main storyline of the new season.
9. Expo 2020 Closing Ceremony
Few details are known about the closing ceremony of Expo 2020 Dubai on March 31, but if the pomp and circumstance of the global event’s opening ceremony is any indication, it’s not to be missed. As for what happens after that? The site will transition into District 2020, a sustainable smart city that will reuse at least 80% of the Expo-centric infrastructure.
10. Left on Tenth by Delia Ephron
After the heartbreaking losses of both her sister and her husband to cancer, Delia Ephron of You’ve Got Mail fame channelled her grief into a New York Times op-ed, resulting in reconnecting with a man she dated in college just before she’s diagnosed with leukemia. Her memoir Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life, which will be in stores April 12, explores life and all the highs and lows that come with it.
11. Jo Koy’s Rescheduled Show
Jo Koy (yes, Chelsea Handler’s new boyfriend) was set to kick off his Funny Is Funny world tour in Dubai on December 29, but coronavirus had other plans. Now, the Filipino-American comic’s show has been rescheduled to May 14, promising an evening of spot-on impersonations and highly relatable humour.
12. Legally Blonde 3
We’re still thanking our lucky stars that Mindy Kaling is a longstanding fan of the two Legally Blonde films – the actress and comedy writer is writing the script of the third installment as we speak. Legally Blonde 3 is set to release in theatres on May 20, with both Reese Witherspoon and fan favourite Jennifer Coolidge confirmed to return.
13. Season 4 of Stranger Things
While we’re still awaiting an official release date of the fourth season of sci-fi hit Stranger Things, we do know that filming has wrapped and it will drop sometime in the summer of 2022 – a relief considering season 3’s explosive finale left plenty of loose ends that need tying up. Fans will also be pleased to know that Priah Ferguson – who stole the show last season as Erica – has been promoted to series regular.
14. Season 4 of You
With Joe’s sights now firmly set on his boss Marienne, season 4 of You promises to be gripping, especially as the final few moments of the last season place TV’s most beloved sociopath in Paris. There’s no word on when it will be released, but based on the launch dates of the first three seasons, Fall 2022 feels like a safe assumption.
15. Opening of Legoland Hotel
With the planned 2021 opening of LEGOLAND Hotel postponed, families across Dubai continue to wait with bated breath for this unique property to start welcoming guests. The first of its kind in the Middle East, it will boast LEGO-themed rooms, play areas, entertainment, and more, with its Stay & Play package including complimentary tickets to LEGOLAND Dubai and LEGOLAND Water Park within Dubai Parks & Resorts.
16. Opening of Atlantis The Royal Resort
Atlantis, The Palm is where so much of the city’s excitement happens, so the anticipation for the opening of its sister property Atlantis The Royal Resort is very, very real. Due to open in September of 2022, the property will house a whopping 90 swimming pools – including a rooftop infinity pool suspended 96 metres above Palm Jumeirah – in addition to the world’s largest jellyfish tank, eight restaurants by award-winning celebrity chefs, and more.
17. Opening of Museum of the Future
Unlike typical museums that transport visitors to the past, the calligraphy-covered Museum of the Future is gearing up to offer a glimpse of life in 2071 by combining elements of traditional exhibition, immersive theatre, and themed attractions. An official opening date is yet to be revealed, but considering it was supposed to be announced last year, we reckon any day now.
18. 2022 FIFA World Cup
Kicking off on November 21, FIFA World Cup will arguably be the biggest sporting event of 2022. Not only will this year’s edition mark the first World Cup to take place in the Arab World, but it will also be the last to involve 32 teams – the final will be expanded to 48 teams from 2026 onwards.
19. The Release of Avatar 2
13 years after the release of the original, the highly awaited sequel to James Cameron’s epic science fiction film is expected to drop on December 16. Once again transporting audiences to Pandora, it’s expected to be the first of four Avatar sequels and will primarily be set underwater, with much of the film centering around Neytiri and Jake Sully’s preteen offspring.
20. The end of coronavirus.