28 cool things to do in Doha this summer

Indoor fun, cooling challenges, special offers and more things to try

28 cool things to do in Doha this summer

We all know it’s hot outside, but that doesn’t mean all fun has to stop. Don’t believe us? Here’s proof – 28 cool things to do in the heat

Is the heat starting to get you down? Is cabin fever driving you crazy? Well, we’re sorry to remind you things aren’t likely to get cooler anytime soon – August typically sees July’s blazing temperatures maintained, with daily mean highs of a scorching 41°C throughout both months. Meanwhile, humidity normally rises in August (from an average of 49 percent to 55), while the calendar month also clocks the most sunlight of the year (an average of 329 hours). But don’t despair – there’s still plenty of fun to be had in Doha, as the normal pace of life picks up again in August. Still don’t believe us? Check this out – we’ve put together our favourite ways to cool down, top things to do indoors, and the smartest ways to spend time outside. In short – 28 cool things to do in the heat. That’s nearly one for every day of the month.

Cool down at a waterpark
There is clearly no better way to cool down than a day at a waterpark – that’s what they’re made for, alongside the childish thrill of waterslides, of course. Qatar’s ‘first water theme park’ Aqua is an extra-appealing option right now thanks to stacks of special summer deals. Four separate promotional packages are currently on offer, priced between QR65-130, which include meals and access to the park’s 15 rides.
Opening times vary. Aqua Park Qatar, www.aquaparkqatar.com (4490 5872).

A night out on the town

Remember those? Well the city’s after hours scene is picking up steadily, with lots of regular deals, packages, themed nights and live entertainment back just in time for August. For sheer value hit a happy hour – most wrap up early, so to make a night of it we’d recommend the buy-one-get-one free deals at Level 23 (daily 6pm-9pm; The Ritz-Carlton, West Bay 4484 8000) or The Cigar Lounge (daily 5pm-9pm; Sharq Village & Spa, Khulaifat, 4425 6666). Click here for our round-up of the best drinks deals in town.

Get on your skates

So used are we to seeing kids twirl around artfully in the midst of a mall, that sometimes it’s necessary to stop, pinch yourself and recall what a technological marvel it is to be ice skating in the midst of a desert. An even stranger fact is that, apart from all the symbolism and significance of hosting a gigantic slab of ice here in the first place, many Doha folks we speak to admit they’ve never once hit said ice. Well, what more fitting time than when the mercury is pushing 50 outside?
QR30-35 per session (one hour 45 minutes); QR100 full day pass. Gondolania Ice Rink, Villagio Mall, www.villaggioqatar.com (4413 5655).

Cinema to the Max
The summer blockbuster run has been good to us, with three massive Imax movies set to screen throughout August. First off, we were expecting to see the long-delayed Transformers: Age of Extinction (that’s Transformers IV to me and you) land over the Eid weekend (a good month after the rest of the world). If Michael Bay’s robots don’t tickle your cinematic fancies then hopefully you like celluloid silliness of another kind, with Marvel ensemble piece Guardians of the Galaxy, starring Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper, set to land on August 14, or historical epic Hercules, starring Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and slated for August 21.

Splash in a pool
Okay, this might sound obvious – but taking a dip in a swimming pool is a time-honoured and sure-fire way to cool down. But while your building’s facilities may be exposed, toasty, or overcrowded with squabbling kids, make a day of it and head to the luxury of a temperature-controlled hotel pool. We recommend a day at the InterContinental Doha’s pristine pool complex. Day access QR200 (QR300 on Saturdays; QR100 for ladies on Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
Open Sun-Thu 7am-9pm (beach until sunset). InterContinental Doha, West Bay (4484 4852).


Learn a language

Thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web, it’s possible to learn all the exotic intonations of a whole new tongue from the comfort of your home. Or even your bed, come to think of it. If you need the formal structure of a course, we’d recommend well regarded specialists the Cambridge Institute. elearning.cambridgeinstitute.net

Test your wits at a pub quiz
Are you a brain box, culture vulture, sports buff, music snob, or just a regular Joe who thinks they know best? All need apply to a good old pub quiz, a Western European tradition which sees teams of friends (or not) gather to take on a series of themed question rounds. It’s a bit like a TV quiz show, but without the glitz, glamour, or celebrity quizmaster. Among our favourites is the monthly ‘let’s get quizzical’ event at Champions – the August date was yet to be firmed up at the time of press, but call ahead to check. Last season the top prizes was worth QR3,000. Blimey.
Champions, Renaissance Doha City Center, West Bay (4419 6100).

Chill by the beach
Surely not? Before you scoff, we’re not suggesting rocking up at the wide, open and utterly exposed public beach (although Al Wakra, we love you!). However with strategy (and suncream), you can enjoy a carefully balanced beach day, split artfully between tanning in the sands and chilling at the shaded restaurants of the Sealine Beach Resort. QR150 (Thu-Sat), QR75 (Sun-Wed); children QR25 (daily). Open daily 8am-7.30pm. Sealine Beach Resort, Mesaeed City (4476 5299).

Enjoy some art

How often do you plan to do something cultural with your weekend, but end up getting distracted? Well, with the more typical temptations of the great outdoors currently at bay, it’s time to buck up your ideas and engage your mind with some of the region-leading museums and galleries found in Doha. If you’ve not done them yet – and we’re sorry to say far too few Doha residents have – start with the Museum of Islamic Art and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. There’s even a free air conditioned bus between them – no excuses now.
Free entry. Museum of Islamic Art, Doha Port, www.mia.org.qa (4422 4444).
Free entry (permanent collections). Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Education City, www.mathaf.org.qa (4487 6662).

Eat ice cream!
What better excuse for indulging in calorific sweet treats than the fact they cool you down. Qatar is packed with decent ice cream parlours. There are few things we wouldn’t do for Velvet Cupcakery’s handmade cookie and ice cream ‘sandwich it’ concoction (QR18), while we’ve been known to trek from the other side of town for La Dolce Gelato’s pure Italian flavours... we could go on – for more, check out our ‘Qatar’s best ice cream’ feature at www.timeoutdoha.com.
Velvet Cupcakery, Katara Cultural Village, West Bay Lagoon (4408 0700). La Dolce Vita Gelato, Souq Waqif (4436 7991).


Get fit
In truth, we all know that in Doha the busy winter festive period is no time to go make character (and physique) forming resolutions – it’s the slower pace of summer where good habits can really be shaped. If you want to lose a few pounds, or just feel better about yourself, there really is no better time than now. Get started at the reasonably priced Aspire Active, which boasts separate up to date gyms for men and women, plus a huge range of fitness classes.
QR2,150 per nine months (basic membership and gym add-on). Aspire Zone, Al Waab, www.aspire.qa (men's 4413 6472, Ladies Club 4499 7665).

Time for brunch, surely?
August sees the return of many expat’s favourite weekend pastime – brunch. Beat the rush and make your Friday count by booking a table at the splendid Market by Jean-Georges. The renowned chef’s Doha restaurant picked up two of our Restaurant Awards this year – Best Brunch and the coveted Best Contemporary European – and the venue’s jazz-themed Friday offering is a genuine most-do-once deal.
QR290; QR380 (including beverages). Fridays noon-4pm. W Doha Hotel & Residences (4453 5135).

Eat quality sushi

Sorry carnivores, but summer is simply not the time to load up on big, hearty, and hot main meals. It’s been proven by nutritionists we all eat less when it’s hot. But forget the science, it’s all about feeling – and nothing seems more cooling to eat when it’s baking outdoors than sushi. Head to the hip and urban Yen Sushi Bar, where plates of yummy sushi skid past on a conveyor belt so you don’t even need to wait to order.
Open daily noon-midnight. La Cigale Hotel, Bin Mahmoud (4428 8888).

Groove to some jazz
August sees the return of live music to Doha – so make the most of it and head to hear the city’s thriving bar band scene. For a spot of sophistication we’d recommend a visit to The Jazz Club, where the band’s chops are matched only by the quality of the kitchen’s food – we’re such fans, this place picked up the Best Bar Food gong at our Time Out Doha Restaurant Awards earlier this year. Looking further ahead, the city’s premier live music venue Jazz at Lincoln Centre promises another packed programme of international stars from September – keep an eye on www.jalcdoha.com for the latest.
Open daily 6pm-2am. The Jazz Club. Oryx Rotana, Umm Ghuwaylina (4402 3333).

Watch a box
A time-honoured summer survival technique is to hole yourself up behind a wall of DVD boxsets. If you were as poorly prepared as us, or have run out of episodes already, may we recommend True Detective, the new HBO cop drama which is talk of the town among small screen-literate folk. For something less angsty new Netflix comedy Orange is the New Black is killing it right now. Further ahead we’re sure that there are plenty of Doha folk eagerly anticipating the third season of Homeland (out on September 8). The same day also sees the complete Blu-Ray release of perhaps the best TV series ever – and it’s not just us saying this – The Sopranos.
All available from www.amazon.co.uk.


Cool down in a spa
There’s simply no better place to find the perfect temperature than in one of the city’s spas. Not only can they scrub away your weather-ravaged dry bits and rehydrate your parched skin, but there are also a number of great cooling treatments on offer this summer. For utter indulgence try the De Stress package at Six Senses Spa, a 130-minute programme (QR1,100) which includes 20 cooling minutes in a bath alongside hand, foot and body massages.
Open daily 9am-11pm. Sharq Village & Spa (4425 6999).

Host an indoor sports tournament
These hotter months mean that many competitive souls, more used to battling it out against friends (and enemies) on football pitches and other outdoor turfs, are left with buckets of fighting spirit (or testosterone) to spare. Round up your mates and rivals for a mini Olympics-style multi-disciplinary tournament at the Qball Room – there’s billiards, snooker, darts and chess all on offer under one roof. Just remember to keep score carefully.
Billiards from QR30 an hour. Open Sat-Wed 3pm-1am, Thu-Fri 3pm-3am. Holiday Villa Hotel Hotel & Residence City Centre (4408 48888).

Try kitesurfing

Sure, it’s hot outside, but out catching waves on the open seas you’ll find a delightfully cooling breeze. And of course messing up and falling off your board is a strangely rose-tinted disappointment, as you’ll be plunged into cooling water. Combining (the best?) bits of wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and a bit of gymnastics, kitesurfing is the hottest sport in the lands right now – not least since June’s huge Red Bull Kite the Waj contest in Bahrain – and weather-wise it’s perfectly reasonable to give the sport a whirl in summer. Classes for all levels are available at Flo Kite School. Classes from QR600. www.flokiteschool.com.

Or dive in the deep blue sea
Failing that, what could be more cooling than actually immersing yourself in the deep blue sea? Find out more about where to learn to dive in Qatar here.

Download some fresh sounds
It’s a scientific fact that by this point of the summer one’s iPod can actually be blamed for causing repetitive strain injury, as weary listeners repeatedly skip overplayed and irritating songs in search of fresh sounds that never come. Do your thumb a favour and invest in some fresh earworms. We won’t tell you what to like, but this season’s more intriguing releases include earnest Jersey proto-Springsteen punksters The Gaslight Anthem’s fifth LP, Get Hurt, while Kimbra – the voice of Gotye’s one hit wonder – releases her second effort The Golden Echo (both out on August 18). Also on our radar is the return of Basement Jaxx after five years (and hints it was all over) with Junto out on August 26, and a self-titled new record from Ryan Adams (who also retired, just not for as long), expected to drop shortly.


Ten pin tournaments

Round up friends and family and head to the impressive Qatar Bowling Centre for a night of nostalgic fun. With a positively epic 32 lanes on offer – including four bumper lanes which are great for kids. The centre also hosts regular tournaments which should keep you well occupied for weeks.
Non members QR8 per game before 4pm, QR15 after.
Opening times vary daily. Jabal Al Soudain Street, Bidda, www.qatarbowlingcenter.net (4432 9178).

Spruce up your home
Lets face it, you're probably going to spend more time in your home this month than any other time of the year. So now is the time to start making your space special. The glam 1920s Hollywood style is very hot right now and THE One furniture store is stocked up with the accessories to give you the right look. Button sofa, velvet curtains or just a few throws and cushions in elegant creams with a gold accent – whatever your budget there is a product to fit. Staying doesn't seem quite so bad now does it?
THE One, Villaggio Mall, Al Waab Street (445 07778).

Learn yoga
We’ve all met them – people who claim that yoga is better for you than working out in the gym. Well, guess what? They’re right – holistically at least. Sure it’s not the calorie-shedding cardio fest of a treadmill, but yoga presents a far more unifying exercise of body, mind and (some say) spirit. Doha’s first dedicated yoga institute is the ideal place to find out more, with a variety of classes for all ages and levels. So whether you’re as flexible as a rubber band or as brittle as a pool cue, get started today.
From QR60 a class. Open daily 8am-8.30pm. Yama Yoga, Garvey’s European Family Club, West Bay (6617 5802).

Celebrate Indian Independence Day
August 15 marks the 67th anniversary of India’s Independence from the British Empire. Celebrate the date in Doha by dining at one of our splendid Indian restaurants – our pick is 2014 Restaurant Award-winner Saffron Lounge, the work of heavyweight celeb chef Vineet Bhatia.
Open daily 12.30pm-3pm, 7pm-10.30pm. Katara, West Bay (3325 8919).

Drink bubble tea

Bubble tea – that inimitable Taiwanese invention which finds chewy tapioca balls floating in chilled and icy fruit/milk/tea concoctions – is officially the most refreshing drink known to man: Fact (we might have done a poll and everything). Chill out and head down to Qatar’s specialist Pearl Bubble Tea, who proudly boast of their drink ‘that you can eat too!’ Positively De-lish.
Open daily 10am-10pm. Qatar City Centre (7032 8324).

Dine on a donut
On a donut, you say? Dining on doughnuts is one thing, but dining upon one is another matter altogether, especially when it’s floating on Arabian Gulf. Of course, said doughnut isn’t made from deep-fried flour dough (which isn’t renowned for its buoyancy); instead it’s a name given to the doughnut-shaped floating barbecue stations which you can launch from the West Bay shores to soak up unparalleled views of the city’s skyline while munching on grilled meat, while the breeze will keep you lovely and cool. Cast off from the Diplomatic Club daily at 7pm.
QR180 per person; rental from QR450 per hour. 7pm-10pm. The Diplomatic Club, West Bay Lagoon (4484 7445).

Learn to dance Brazilian

The World Cup may be long done and dusted – tear-jerking news for some, sigh-inducing deep relief for others – but keep that South American spirit alive by learning to dance like a Brazilian. Excellent indoor fun you can continue on the beach later on. Larissa Ferreira from Fitness with Food teaches specialist classes at B/Attitude Spa, Beverly Hills Tower, West Bay. Find out more at www.fitnesswithfood.com.


Five top takeaways

If the heat really has beaten you, and the only way to stay cool is chilling at home, then at least you won’t go hungry

Food on click
This service works solely online but it’s handy for takeaways through their partner restaurants around Doha. Just register, select your area, place your order and pay on delivery. They’ll do the rest.
foodonclick.com

Nando’s
Everyone’s favourite Portuguese-themed takeaway/restaurant hybrid, Nando’s has one of the most reliable delivery services we’ve come across. And if you like chicken, the food ain’t bad either. They even have a host of good salads for the health conscious too.
(4411 7753).

Sabah w Masa
For something more regional, our top pick is Lebanese stalwart Sabah w Masa, which offers a range of mezzes, manouche, saj wraps and other tasty treats. Try the falafel manouche – it’ll make any meat eater love veggie food.
(4466 6001).

Wok n Walk
Oozing urban cool, with reliable deliveries and quaint packaging, Wok n Walk offers everything a non-China natives wants from a Chinese takeaway. Expect noodles, dim sum, spring rolls and all other classic favourites up for grabs, plus plenty of vegetarian options too.
(4431 6226).

Yellow Cab Pizza

For pizza of the oozingly cheesy, forget-the-diet variety, this is your spot. Service is reliable and efficient, and you’ve never seen a bigger offering than their ‘large’. Plus they do a mean creamy pasta for decadent occasions.
(4488 8310).

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