By now, you’ve become a pro at flipping your spectacles up just before they fog as you step outdoors and you’ve learned to expertly lick your ice-cream seconds before it completely melts into your hands. The bad news is you still have a whole month to practise those techniques and the good news is it doesn't really matter as none of it will leave a lasting impression. It’s partly because the human body has a short memory, but mainly because there are so many cool things to do in Doha that don’t require collecting gallons of sweat.
Newcomers and long-time residents, here are 40 of the most fun ways to celebrate good times in air-conditioning and/or away from the scorching summer heat.
Admire modern art at Mathaf
Aside from three interesting current exhibits, you can also take art classes with Ismael Azzam. FOCUS: Works from Mathaf Collection is an ongoing series of solo exhibitions featuring artists from Mathaf's Permanent Collection. Currently, Shakir Hassan Al Said: The Wall; Mohammed Melehi: 1959-1971 and Jassim Zaini, Features from Qatar, 1973, are all on display.
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Education City, www.mathaf.org.qa (4402 8830).
Be a butterfly at Hamad Aquatic
We don’t mean fluttering around like a butterfly at a public swimming pool, that would be mad. It's the butterfly stroke we speak of, which is just perfect to practise on a hot summer day at this Olympic-size indoor swimming pool. Ladies and men have separate timings, too.
Hamad Aquatic Centre, Aspire Zone, Al Waab (4413 8484).
Bounce a lot
When people in Doha say, “Let’s bounce”, they mean it quite literally these days, especially after the country's largest trampoline park opened. Pack in loads of jumping around with groovy tunes and you’ve got a heat-free, super fun evening out at Bounce Qatar.
Bounce Qatar, Tawar Mall, Al Markhiya, www.bounce.qa (4321 1400).
Bury yourself in books at QNL
We were ecstatic when Qatar National Library opened. Besides being massive and having every single book you can imagine, they have cosy bean bags and reading corners to just hang around in all day, hibernating through the hottest time of the year with an air-conditioning-powered pile of incredible books. For bookworms (or anyone who needs to get out of the heat), this is truly the greatest gift they could receive. See you near the bean bags.
Qatar Foundation, Education City, www.qnl.qa (4454 6039).
Celebrate summer at Entertainment City
We're usually of the opinion that there's not much to celebrate during this season, but the Qatar Summer Festival definitely is the family favourite. It’s spread out across DECC and features a host of fun activities from the world’s largest bouncy castle and an 18-hole mini-golf course to exciting rides, skill games and an ice skating rink. You can also try the varied food and beverage and retail options.
Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC), opposite City Center, West Bay, www.qatarsummerfestival.qa.
Chill out with a cryo-massage
Staying cool is one thing, actively going for an icy blast is another level of chilling out entirely. We're fans of the Jaula Spa at the Grand Hyatt Doha at any time, but summer will make us seek out the colder therapies among the many on offer. A cryotherapy facial uses specially made cubes to hydrate and uplift the skin. Cryotherapy is the name given to medical and cosmetic treatments that use extreme cold to get results. At the very least, they’ll keep you cool.
Daily. 9am-10pm. Jaula Spa, Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas, West Bay Lagoon, www.hyatt.com (4448 1056).
Dinosaurs and more at Gondolania
It is not so much that you need a gondola ride through a Qatari mall, it is more that you deserve one. One piece of advice: based on the colour of the water, you shouldn’t jump in. While you're at Villaggio’s indoor park take a look at the dinosaur train ride, karting, skating, bowling and other attractions.
Sat-Wed, 9am-11pm; Thu-Fri, 9am-midnight. Gondolania, Villaggio Mall, www.gondolania.com (4403 9800).
Drive around in circles on the new Orbital Road
Fuel prices may have doubled but our love for the long, not-so-winding roads of Doha remains the same. If you’ve been reading Time Out Doha regularly, you’ve probably covered three quarters of accessible land in your car. So we’ve discovered the new Orbital Road is actually quite interesting. It connects random areas in Doha, shortens the drive to Wakra and brings you back to where you started (the road name might have given that away). It’s the most fun you’ll have driving around in circles. And nobody will judge.
G Ring Road, Hamad Port Interchange, Salwa Road.
Enjoy peace at the Museum of Islamic Art
We can honestly say a visit to this waterfront icon is a delight at any time. The I.M. Pei-designed building is probably the best photo opportunity in the Middle East and the regularly changing exhibitions are a cool
way to spend an evening or afternoon of cultural significance.
Museum of Islamic Art, Corniche Street, www.mia.org.qa (4422 4444).
Enrich your knowledge at Msheireb Enrichment Centre
Not much has been said about this centre, but if you’re a culture vulture, you really shouldn’t miss it. It’s in a ship, docked at the Corniche near Sheraton. You can take a peek at Qatar’s glorious past here with the display of historic artefacts, antique work tools and a treasure of information on Qatar’s unprecedented growth. There are beautiful images, architectural highlights and interactive displays.
Sheraton Park, Al Corniche (4404 0222).
Enter the Ice Room
You know how some spas invite you to arrive early to use facilities before your treatment? It is an offer you're going to want to take them up on at the Four Seasons Hotel Doha. As well as a soothing sounding collection of plunge pools, foot baths, Swiss showers, hydrotherapy areas and a relaxing colour therapy room, it has an actual ice room. What is it? Exactly what you are thinking (probably) and a good option for closing pores and enhancing circulation after selected heated treatments.
Four Seasons Hotel Doha, The Corniche, www.fourseasons.com (4494 8801).
Experience a unique cinema
We’ve waited for years for this and it’s finally here. Souq Waqif has its own five-screen cinema from Novo. The entire block is decorated in the same vein as the entire Souq, and the interiors are traditional and exciting. It's pretty unique and we’d even go as far as saying the seats are actually more comfortable. You can skip the long walk through the Souq if humidity isn’t your thing (we’d be surprised it if was) by going to the West Parking and accessing the cinema directly from level B2.
Souq Waqif, near The Village restaurant (no number).
Explore an exquisite collection at Sheikh Faisal Museum
Catch up on the heritage attractions you've been meaning to check out for a while this summer. We're big fans of this museum and reckon in the zoned sections you'll find plenty of interest among the 15,000 artefacts. With sections dedicated to Islamic art, vehicles, Qatari heritage and currency it is well worth your stroll.
Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, Al Samriya (4486 1444).
Get a culture fix at Doha Fire Station
The old Civil Defence Headquarters converted into a modern day art gallery is a thing of beauty. From an art supplies store and a cool café to a food truck and various exhibits, the Doha Fire Station is quite the spot for culture aficionados. They even conduct art and architecture lectures occasionally. If not for anything else, you must go for the camel burger at Café #999. They also sell it at the food truck just outside.
Civil Defence Roundabout, www.firestation.org.qa (4422 4222).
Go dune bashing
It might be treacherous and might involve a lot of screaming, but the ride through the dunes and the final views are completely worth it. Besides, even though you’ll be tossed around like a hot potato, the air-conditioning will be on (and working well, hopefully). Just make sure you head back before sunset. The sand “sings” – or, to describe it more accurately, it produces a variety of noises from bumps and thumps to hums, whistles and a haunting, moan-like sound. We declare this is Qatar’s most unbeatable experience.
Head out of the city towards Wakra and follow the signs towards Mesaieed.
Have a true spa day
Nobody can prepare you for how tired you'll feel after months of 40-plus degree heat. In case you hadn't realised, it is exhausting and even the slightest of effort leaves you needing sanctuary. Give up any pretence of activity and check in for an extended spa stay like the ones at Remède Spa in The St. Regis Doha. For four hours, you can luxuriate over a customised body scrub, massage and facial, as well as a light lunch.
Remède Spa, St. Regis Doha, West Bay, www.remedespadoha.com (4446 0300).
Head over to Al Riwaq Exhibition Centre
This gallery has been one of the most popular ones in recent times, hosting some of the craziest and most interesting exhibitions since its inception (Damien Hirst’s dead cow, anyone?). We have to admit the best art exhibits are usually here. And, they’re free!
Museum of Islamic Art, Al Corniche (4452 5555).
Hit an exercise class
If you're a regular boot camper or outdoor fitness enthusiast, no matter how much you want to keep your workouts al fresco, it is probably wise to take them indoors for a couple of months at least. That does not mean letting intensity slip, though. Fitness gym Strongbox has indoor training classes in TRX suspension, aerial yoga, pole fit, boxing and even high intensity swimming sessions. With classes in venues across town and flexible membership and sign-up options it could be the answer to the summer fitness questions you didn’t know you had asked yet.
StrongBox Fitness, West Bay, www.strongboxqatar.com (4029 3720).
Jump into health mode at Evergreen Organics
Not only have they snagged the Best Café award at the Time Out Doha Restaurant Awards 2018, they have successfully managed to make healthy foods much tastier than you’d imagine. Since summer means salads, Doha's first vegan café and organic food specialist makes more sense than usual in the sweltering heat and interesting dishes such as a "raw-mazing Caesar salad", acai bowls and cold-pressed juices are seasonal favourites.
Evergreen Organics, Qanat Quartier, The Pearl - Qatar, www.evergreenorganics.qa (4472 0437).
Ladies, you're probably the luckiest ones because you really are spoiled with options for ladies nights all around town. From free sips to discounted eats, almost every night is ladies' night at different venues. We can’t pick our favourites, so we suggest you regularly check our music and nightlife deals pages. Oh, and see you at the Nobu terrace on Mondays.
Nobu, Four Seasons Doha, West Bay (4494 8600).
Let kids be grownups at Kidzmondo
As this is basically a theme park that simulates a fun approach to the world of work for kids it is probably going to be more popular with junior residents. That said, the kid-sized indoor city scores very highly with parents looking for an entire day of entertainment for children. An indoor aircraft simulator, bank, fire station, race track and university are among the many excellent indoor simulations.
Kidzmondo, Mall of Qatar, www.kidzmondodoha.com (4028 5888).
Listen to live music
Over the last few years, Doha has seen so many live musicians and bands perform at even independent restaurants. Catch the new Colombian band at Trader Vic’s, Frank, the amazing pianist at The Den and live bands like Under Construction and Dynamix every weekend at venues like Irish Harp and Paloma, too. You don’t even have to pay to get in.
Trader Vic’s, Hilton Doha (4423 3118). Paloma, InterContinental Doha (4484 4444). Irish Harp, Sheraton Grand Hotel (4485 3000).
Make way for a Moroccan experience at Mssamen & Atai
Sitting outdoors at a café this month is completely out of question. Unless, you’ve made your way to this Moroccan café at Qanat Quartier. You can sip on the best Moroccan tea in town, try their variety of mssamen (Moroccan bread) and have shisha with beautiful views of bridges and the canal. How, you ask? Technology, friends. Okay, well, it’s not that advanced, but the outdoor coolers here are just as good as proper air-conditioning. It’s like having the indoors, outdoors.
Qanat Quartier, The Pearl-Qatar (4490 7060).
Master the art of ice skating
Forget the fact that the uninitiated are likely to end up with a few bumps and bruises from repeated slips, slides and stumbles and concentrate on the fact that down on the ice is the coolest place in the city. Start now and by the time you’re able to go back to the beach again you will be one of those accomplished skaters who can do jumps and pirouettes
and that cool backwards skating thing that really impresses spectators.
City Center Doha, West Bay, www.citycenterdoha.com (4483 9990).
Meet Chuck and Red at Angry Birds World
The world’s first Angry Birds-themed amusement park is an incredible family destination. And, there’s something for everyone. The park occupies more than 17,000 square metres of sp, incorporating an expansive indoor and outdoor area. It houses a slingshot, roller glider, a trampoline park, drop towers, sand play areas, reverse bungee rides and so much more. If you’re lucky, Chuck and Red might just make a special appearance.
Doha Festival City, www.angrybirdsworld.qa (4035 4444).
Play all day at Megapolis
You’re never too old for fun and although some of the attractions here seemingly come from the wish list of an excitable teenager, they’re extremely enjoyable for all ages. Being indoors, it is the sort of place you could put down roots through the summer and never get bored of. It has the bowling, billiards and giant arcade games you might find at locations across the city, but some special additions as well. Private karaoke suites anyone? They include impressive recording facilities meaning you can take away your self-performed album. If that isn't your thing then look out for the virtual reality gaming simulators that allow a round of golf or intergalactic space battles. Try their escape rooms. Even if you lose, it won’t be as embarrassing as failing to pick your favourite stuffed toy from the claw machines.
Medina Centrale, The Pearl-Qatar, www.megapolisqatar.com (3303 0555).
Pocket stripes at Hot Shot Billiards Club
With a reported 30 tables you're unlikely to have to resort to challenging a house champion to a game of winner stays on to get a game of pool at this large club. So, whether you're a beginner wanting to try out for the first time or a hustler looking to take on the best in the city, there is a great chance to get a cue without being in a queue. And if you want to take a break from the small balls, challenge your pal and shoot some hoops at the electronic hoop machine in the arcade games area.
Hot Shot Billiards Club, Old Airport Road (4465 7215).
Richard Serra’s art at Zekreet
We’ve always been big fans of these unique desert surroundings featuring limestone cliff formations and unusual formations, but, since artist Richard Serra’s sculpture East-West/West-East was unveiled, it has become a breath-taking marriage of stunning scenery and provocative art. You need to see this. Just make sure you’re heading there in a four-wheel drive. This landscape-busting art spans more than a kilometre and comprises four steel plates, each upwards of fourteen metres tall. Prepare to be stunned.
GPS: 25.5171° N, 50.8710° E, Brouq Nature Reserve (4452 5555).
Score a strike at Qatar Bowling Centre
32 lanes. No, really, we're not kidding. This enormous bowling centre has the capacity to make us very happy. Have you any idea how enjoyable it is to hear the sounds of clatter from 32 simultaneous bowling games? The murmur of excitement, the hum of balls on wood and the crash of pins striking. No better time than during this sweltering summer. You can also pop over for a game of table tennis, billiards or good ol’ darts. You can even find intensely competitive tournaments here if you pass by on a Friday.
Qatar Bowling Centre, Al Bidda, www.qatarbowlingcenter.net (4432 9178).
See a movie from your car at Drive-in Doha
It’s pretty exciting how this old driving school has been converted into an awesome venue for outdoor activities, entertainment, go-karting and much more. But that’s not what we care about. We’re all about beating the heat this month and the drive-in cinema here is just perfect. Book a spot for your car and tune in to a certain radio station for a complete theatre experience. Best part? It’s not just popcorn, there are so many food options. You never have to get out of your car again.
Aspire Zone, www.driveindoha.com (3327 3362).
Shake a leg
The name International Academy for Intercultural Development sounds like such a formal institution, we'd expect to see accounting lessons break out if we didn't know any better. The reality is that visitors can learn the moves of dance styles from contemporary jazz and hip hop to ballet or classical Indian. Elsewhere there are music and singing courses, visual arts lessons and even fitness classes such as Zumba.
IAID, Al Hilal Street, www.iaidonline.org (4432 0974).
Soak in some culture in Katara
If in doubt, Katara. The rule applies year-round and we see no reason why this should be any different at this time of year. Get down to the cultural quarter and find a little corner of the city with art you love. A visual art centre, fine arts association and photography society are among the organisations with frequent exhibitions and even workshops.
Katara Cultural Village, www.katara.net (4408 0050).
Spruce up your home at ACE
Head over to ACE at Doha Festival City to browse through an exciting range of home-improvement and lifestyle products. This summer might be the perfect time to transform your home to finally host a much-needed gathering or just make it feel cosier. ACE has DIY products, hardware, outdoor living items and so much more. Ace.
Doha Festival City (4424 2444).
Shop at Souq Waqif
The Souq is obviously outdoors, but the bylanes and alleyways that have all the shops you can spend hours at, from perfumes and antiques to handicrafts and toys, are all air-conditioned. We’re sure you’ll survive the short walk from the parking. Doha's souq is a treasure trove of indoor shopping delights. Whether shopping for gold, sniffing spices or looking up local arts and crafts it is an evening shopping experience to savour in the summer.
Just off the Corniche, opposite Fanar, adjacent to Al Souq Street.
Take a challenge at Adventure Rooms
The escape game drill is simple – you’re locked in a mysterious room and given a logic puzzle and a set of clues. Using only your wits and the friends (or strangers if you're feeling brave) you're locked in with, you have to manage to escape. There are a few across the city but this one has four games of varying difficulty and storylines such as a prison escape or crazy scientist to give narrative to your hour of entertainment. Play as a single room or competitively with others.
Adventure Rooms, New Salata Area, www.adventureroomsqa.com (7050 0139).
Tick off restaurants on our awards list
At the recent Time Out Doha Restaurant Awards 2018, we covered 20 categories excluding Restaurant of the Year. With a Winner and two Highly Commended in each category, that gives you 60 restaurants to tick off your list.
Tour the Education City
The upside to Education City? It’s full of stunning buildings and modern, space-age architecture. The Ceremonial Court (next to Northwestern University Qatar) is particularly Instagram-worthy. Since it’s too huge to cover on foot, a chilled car sounds like the perfect respite from the heat. You’ll appreciate it even more when you step outside for a few photographs. If you’re there, though, don’t miss stopping off at Chef’s Garden (Al Shaqab Hotel, 4409 5000) for a bite. The bulk of the menu uses vegetables produced locally – onsite and at a local organic farm – to make fresh and light dishes like zesty stuffed artichoke with beetroot cocoa biscuit. You’ll also be interested to know the Headquarters (the only tall building in EC) holds art tours around the premises every month.
Qatar Foundation, Al Luqta (4454 0000).
Vacation right here in Doha
If there are two things Doha does perfectly – those are brunches and staycations. There are some incredible summer deals doing the rounds, especially as part of Qatar Summer Festival. With QR75, you can unlock a host of exciting deals on the app itself (buy one, get one free nights) and if you want to save that 75 for a rare Middle Eastern rainy day, the free version of the app has lots of staycation offers, too. There are minor annoyances with the app (like being unable to do a name- or location-based search), but you'll survive.
Watch blockbusters at a premium cinema
Summer means blockbuster season and there is a stack of massive movies to look forward to this month such as The Meg and Crazy Rich Asians, whichever of the sequels and comic book movies takes your fancy. The bigger the films the greater your indulgence should be. That means going for premium seats in cinemas. Flik, Vox, Roxy and Novo all have variations on the upmarket cinema screens. You can have fancier food, reclining chairs, blankets and waiter service though. Treat yourself.
Flik Cinemas, Lagoona Mall, West Bay Lagoon, www.flikcinemas.com (4443 2757). Vox Cinema, Doha Festival City, Umm Salal Mohammed, www.voxcinemas.com (4481 1682). Novo Cinema, Mall of Qatar, Ar-Rayyan, www.mallofqatar.com.qa (4418 5736), Roxy Cinemas, B-Square Mall, Abu Hamour, www.roxy-cinemas.com (4017 1614).
Given there are so many new malls, and some of them are brilliant, window shopping should be high on your list. In fact, since the Qatar Summer Festival is currently on, actual shopping should take place with all the discounts and special offers running across 11 participating malls in Qatar. For every QR200 spent at these malls, you'll get the chance to enter a lucky draw.
Doha Festival City, Umm Salal Mohammed, www.festivalcitydoha.com (4477 6591). Mall of Qatar, Ar-Rayyan, www.mallofqatar.qa (4034 6000).
Workout at Aspire
When outdoor exercise is making you hot and sweaty, the only logical course of action is to come indoors and, err, get hot and sweaty anyway. So thinks the sport and fitness enthusiast anyway. There are many facilities with the Aspire Dome being an indoor highlight. Credited as being the world's largest indoor multi-purpose dome, Aspire has 13 separate multi-sports halls and indoor athletics facilities. Get your gear and put on your sport wear.
Aspire Zone, Al Waab Street, www.aspirezone.qa (4413 8188).