Out & About

This page highlights all the going out and about options in Dubai.

Dubai is one of the world’s ultimate Out and About cities. Sure, it doesn’t have the glitter of Michelin restaurants around every corner, or theater like on Broadway, but it certainly makes up for it in the enthusiasm and excitement that almost every nook and corner can provide. 

Some of the top attractions in Dubai are now well known across the world, and some of these have put Dubai right on top of the world map as a fun destination to visit. Regardless of whether you are just visiting, or have recently arrived in Dubai to stay here, these are what make the Dubai list…

Burj Khalifa: is the world’s tallest building. Burj Khalifa was built right in the middle of a sandy desert area and is considered an absolute breakthrough in engineering and design. The structure is 828 meters (2,716.5 ft) tall. It is 200+ storeys up, and has Burj Khalifa has 160 levels of livable space – a world record. From the observation decks ‘At the Top’ on the 124th floor and the newly opened ‘At the Top Sky’ on the 148th floor you can view the fantastic views of Dubai all around you. Best times to visit are early morning and sunset (but tickets cost more during these times).

Dubai Mall: The mall is probably the most iconic of any city in the world. It is currently the largest mall in the world. It has every conceivable luxury store, an aquarium, ice rink, and straight on views of the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa. It is recognized as one of the best malls in the world – and features more than 1,400 stores and over 200 restaurants including a massive food court.

Dubai Fountain: is a mix of music, dancing lights and a magic water fountain. Designed by the people who created the fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas the Dubai fountain is right next to the Dubai Mall and the world’s tallest building Burj khalifa the fountain dances to choreographed music and shoots water as high as 500 ft which is as tall as a 50-story building.  The location is excellent to surrounded by a number of very good restaurants and you can see the fountain dance with light and music easy access from Dubai Mall and it’s also close to the Dubai opera building it’s quite an amazing experience and a wonderful sensation to watch the water rise and fall to the blend of international and oriental music.

Ski Dubai: is one of the world’s largest indoor ski slopes and the first to open in the Middle East. It is located inside the Mall of the Emirates on Shk Zayed Road. It has a proper chair lift and a t-bar and 6,000 tons of snow are continuously available on the ‘slopes’. Professional instructors are available to help you learn and you can do practice jumps, ramps and tricks in the dedicated freestyle zone. Also meet Snow Penguins and let the children learn about this colony of Gentoo and King Penguins through special interactive programs. Ski Dubai is a miracle in Dubai. You are literally 12 minutes away from the beautiful beach, and you can be trashing that fresh powder in the middle of a 45°C summer.

 

Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark: is a water park experience that promises to give you a completely different experience from any other. Get your pulse racing on 30 slides and attractions, There’s a long Lazy River, and a solid half kilometer of private beach. But there’s a lot more fun and action than just that. There are at least 30 slides and attractions here. The super fast slides are absolute thrills, and marine animal fans have an up-close chance to hang out with dolphins, sea lions, sharks and stingrays. This is a great day to spend in the water.

Dubai Desert Safari: Get out of the city and into the surrounding desert and enjoy the beauty of the sand dunes. It’s a way to drive around in the desert, up and down the gorgeous dunes, and then in the evening enjoy true Arabic hospitality bedouin style. During the sand dune bashing rides, you’ll have plenty of instagram moments, and a shot at sand-boarding (like snow boarding, but warmer!). In the evening you are driven to a ‘bedouin camp’. Here you can take photos with a falcon, dress up in Emirati attire, get henna ‘tattoos’ amongst other fun activities. This is followed by a barbecue dinner buffet, folk dances and good fun. The entire safari is about a 6-hour experience.

Global Village: Dubai’s Global Village is a multiple award winner as far as experiences go. It is a family that is destination for entertainment and shopping and an exposure to culture from all around the world. It’s a unique integrated destination that operates for certain months of the year and it is provides incredible entertainment and experience value. There are several pavilions – each of which represent the culture, the norms, the artifacts and food from a different country. It offers international cuisine, entertainment, and a wide range of games and interesting tours.

Dubai Marina and JBR: Speaking of Dubai Marina, the area, fashioned after Venice with its gorgeous (but artificial) canals and waterways is an architectural digest of amazing tall towers most of which are more than 300m tall. The glitzy and bright-lights, big-city feel of Dubai Marina also extends to the area called JBR – the beach promenade on the Arabian Gulf. While you can visit any time of day or night, the lights, the glamor comes on only after the sun goes down. Dubai Marina and JBR offer dozens of restaurants and very trendy and upscale shopping options.

Dubai Frame is one of the new architectural wonders of the city. Located in Zabel Park, the Dubai Frame is literally a photo frame shaped landmark consisting of two towers with a bridge connecting the two. The attraction features museums, interactive demonstrations, and of course Skydecks from which you can see both the old and new sides of Dubai. Walk

• Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo:  Enclosed in one of the largest acrylic panels in the world, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is really a marvel of science, architecture and pure entertainment. There are more than 30,000 marine animals that make home – and you can simply watch then from the outside. There is also an underwater zoo.  You can take a swim with sharks, scuba dive in the water and more.

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Other Highlights worth visiting:

• Take a dhow (traditional wooden boat) trip on the glitzy Dubai Marina – it includes a sumptuous cruise dinner, live performances and glam sightseeing.

Practical Info | this is a page published on the official government Visit Dubai site. It shares information on the weather, the local customs, embassies and consulates, the currency, greetings, languages, tipping practices and more…

This is yet another comprehensive government website from visit Dubai that am shares information on beaches, theme parks, water parks, family outings, entertainment ideas,  adventure escapes and other options. It has a section on the cultural hotspots to explore in Dubai, amazing things to do,  public beaches in Dubai , and  a guide to the arts focused areas of the city that are hidden away.

Hatta – is a bit of a surprise around Dubai. It is a little hilly escape in the mountain area called the Hajjar mountains a bit more than an hour’s drive from Dubai. From kayaking in the cool green waters, mountain biking, picnicking – there is a lot to do here. Hatta has a very historic fort and some small farms but there are a lot of adventure sports that can be enjoyed around this time specially area.  There is the well-known Hatta Fort Hotel ( a bit of luxury), and a couple of other lodging destinations that you can stay at and also it’s a perfect place to take your camping here and have an escape for a weekend.

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Bon Appetit. Let’s Eat!

Eating (dining out, ordering in – very popular now with the pandemic), in Dubai is a hop around the world experience – with almost every flag in the world represented here. The most popular dining (eating, snacking, whatever) experiences revolve around Middle Eastern and Indian food. But you can taste everything from Korean kimchee to Mumbai Kathi Rolls (soft and tender chicken or beef kebab wrapped in a warm fluffy paratha) to Tim Horton’s Tim Bits and Argentinian rum-soaked BBQs . Start with your favorite fast food franchise – they’re mostly all here (sadly Taco Bell is missing), to corner snack places, small family run restaurants, speciality cuisine focused establishments to the fine dining galore.

Fast-Food for a Fast City

The fast city of Dubai thrives on fast food. Every major fast food chain in the world is here including McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Hardees and more. Of course there are several pizza options in Dubai and they include global names like Pizza Hut, Domino’s,  Pizza Express and more. Add to that there are several fast food cafeterias that are either in the mall food court or are tucked away in the smaller street corners of Dubai.  The ‘shawarma’ – is a soft pita bread sandwich roll that is stuffed with strips of marinated chicken or lamb roasted on the grill car into narrow slippers and added on with the famous tahini sauce and a bit of salad. You will find shawarma stalls across the city and some of them are actually very well-known and you know them by the long lines of cars parked outside waiting to be served.

Other popular fast food also includes speciality middle eastern mezzo… or starter. These include Hummus and Kibbeh that is goes well with the famous parsley and bulgur-wheat salad called tabbouleh. Indian street food or snacks are also very very popular here in the city and he will always find a typical north or south Indian snack corner that serves samosas, chaat and other delicious quick bites.

Restaurants & Cuisines

Speaking of restaurants whether it be dining in or ordering in for delivery there is a huge variety of cuisines to choose from. Almost every corner of the globe every different using is represented here in Dubai either at some of the most famous restaurants or at a small eating place tucked away in a corner.

There are options for Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mongolian from the Far East. Closer to home, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi food is widely available and serve up absolutely authentic fare. Indian restaurants are usually classified depending on the kind of food they serve depending on the region of India represented in the kitchen.

South American food is become popular over the last few years. You will find restaurants that specialize in Argentinian, Chilean, Peruvian, and of course Mexican or Tex-Mex food. There are classic North American diners all around town and some of them serve well-known typically American dishes such as ribs steaks and more. Middle Eastern food is also well that is entered with cosines that specialize in food from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are all well represented.

Some of the latest global trends are also followed here in Dubai. Vegetarian and vegan options are are available at almost every restaurant and order speciality vegan restaurants and coffee shops that cater to that segment.  Organic food is becoming a big trend here in Dubai as is farm-to-table and there are a few options cropping up cross the city that cater to this fancy.

Brunch is one of better known ‘features’ of living in Dubai. Brunch means different things to different people. Brunch at some of the five star hotels can be a long drawn out luxury this afternoon and often tends to a bit ‘boozy’. But it’s not necessarily all about free champagne and all you can eat buffets. Sometimes the a brunch in Dubai puts out some exceptionally good and selective fare. Brunch usually happens on Fridays but there are a couple of Saturday brunches that are just as good. As mentioned before there are huge and sumptuous buffet branches which are usually at the five-star hotels but even the small restaurants in the area is like Bur Dubai will have a brunch on Friday and these are usually very popular.

Bars & Nightlife

TimeOut Dubai offers a comprehensive review of bars, and nightlife in Dubai.

If you are looking for bars, pubs and particularly nightlife in Dubai you won’t be left wanting. From the very well-known world-class brands of bars and nightclubs that are in Dubai too small around the corner pubs that are styled after small village British establishments the drinking-out saying is quite interesting in Dubai.

As far as nightclubs and night life goes, you will find someone the world’s top names in the city. These include Armani Price, Buddha Bar, the SkyView Bar and more.

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Shopping

Dubai is one of the most talked about shopping destinations in the world. Beyond the kind of shopping you can do in Hong Kong, London, Paris, New York, Milan, or any of the other shopping capitals of the world Dubai is fast getting to the top of the list.

There are visitors who come to Dubai from China for example just for the purpose of shopping. Some of these shoppers are shopping for high-end luxury goods to take back for themselves or to even say aloud in an open market back home. Do you have the shopping to come to Dubai I just simply interested in what Dubai has to offer. Even though there is now a 5% VAT on all goods that you can buy in Dubai it is still a very lucrative shopping place. For tourists, the VAT is refundable so it makes a lot of sense for them.

Shopping in Dubai is not limited to the super large shoppings malls that are sprawled across Dubai – including Dubai Mall which is the worlds largest shopping mall. There are literally dozens of large shopping malls and smaller shopping centres where you can get everything that your heart desires. Most of these have food courts where you can stop for a snack or a meal.

And then of course you have specialty shopping centres and areas within the mall is that cater to special-interest such as carpets and rugs, artefacts, gourmet food, luxury apparel, top brand names,  what have you.

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Geting around:

Dubai has a fairly robust public transit system – operated by the RTA. The Dubai Metro is the highlight of the public transit system – it is fast, comfortable, air conditioned and driverless. Best of all it is super punctual. Standard fares start at Dhs 3 and goes up to Dhs 7.50. The Dubai Metro goes from one corner of the city to another, has stops at the airport, and helps you reach major destinations acts the city. From most Dubai Metro stations you can jump on to a connector bus, provided it is on the route to where you want to go.

Taxis are very easy to get, they are absolutely modern vehicles, air-conditioned, and metered. The approximate cost is around Dhs 1.85/km with fares starting at Dhs 5, with the minimum fare being Dhs 12. There are two main app-based ride services – Uber and Careem. Unlike in many countries, in Dubai, Uber is operated by companies, rather than individual drivers. You’ll get absolutely top end car to ride in (most are Lexus), they are totally reliable, and very punctual and quick to arrive.

You can drive… If you already have a driving licence from one of a list of 36 approved countries (see www.dubai.ae for the full list), you can start driving right away – there are plenty of rent a car agencies that offer great value. You will need your passport, a copy of your residence permit, your driving licence from country of origin, and a no-objection letter from your sponsor. You will then have to providen an eye-test certificate and a fee of Dhs 870.

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