My Adopted Home – Dubai

After growing up in Mumbai, I have spent the last 18 years living in Dubai and I now consider the City of Dubai to be my adopted home city. This post encompasses some of my favorite places in the city. I don’t pretend that this is a comprehensive list of anything and everything you can see or do in Dubai 🙂

Dubai: is the vision of the remarkable Al Maktoum dynasty – probably the most wildly successful ruling family in modern times. Today Dubai stands as a symbol of stability and prosperity in the Middle East. It is also one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities: 80% of its population is expatriate, with people from more than 200 countries living and working together in pursuit of their dreams. As their dynamic ruler Sheikh Mohammed himself puts it, ‘To dream of the future is one of the most beautiful things in life. We are not content only to dream, we also work hard, because our ambitions are great and so are our dreams.’

For visitors, Dubai is a master of seduction, with a genuine desire to please. Whatever your holiday fantasy, chances are you’ll find it here, with hotels, dining, nightlife and shopping to rival the best anywhere. Dubai combines an ancient Arabic culture and history with the latest trends. In minutes you can travel from post-modern skyscrapers to timeless sand dunes, hip beach bars to Bedouin tents. Where else can you go snorkeling in the morning, ski down snowy slopes in the afternoon, enjoy a camel ride into the desert at sunset, then have a Michelin-starred meal in the evening, and dance until dawn to the hottest DJ at a nightclub? Dubai is an almost surreal experience.

There are several words that can be used to describe Dubai. It is magnificent, mundane, interesting, diverse and hot.

But if I were limited to describe Dubai:  This is a City of Contrasts, this is My City ♥

Dubai (Old and New):  I am anxiously awaiting the completion of the Dubai Frame project which will provide an incredible view of the changing skyline.  The frame is a simple rectangular form consisting of 150m high concrete (core) legs connected by a 93m long steel bridge at the top level. The bridge serves as an observatory providing  a bird’s eye view of Old Dubai as they look towards Al Karama, Umm Hurair, Bur Dubai and Deira, and as they turn around, they will see the high-rise towers and development projects of New Dubai in stark contrast. The construction of this structure in Zabeel Park is expected to complete shortly. 

Pic courtesy: The Dubai Chronicle

Here’s a list of what I have visited in this sprawling metropolis so consider this a shortlist of the terribly, delightfully, inimitably Dubai that mix the classic with the new, the high with the low and the simple with the indulgent.  The city comes alive as soon as the sun goes down and the temperatures drop, and all the buildings become one beautiful colorful show.

New Dubai route map – places of interest

(A)  Dubai International Financial Centre  (DIFC)
Financial freezone having A-grade office space, retail outlets, lavish restaurants, exquisite art galleries, beautiful residential apartments and prolific hotels all in one.  Termed as the gateway for capital and investment, DIFC is in itself a miniature city within a city. Besides standing out as a supreme economic hub of the region, DIFC is one of the state-of-the-art buildings of Dubai capturing the essence of sophisticated business of the future.

(B)  Downtown Area (Dubai Mall, Dubai Trolley, Burj Khalifa, Old Town, Souk Al Bahar,  Burj Park)
‘The Centre of Now”, Downtown Dubai is the world’s most visited destination. Downtown Dubai is a thriving city hub with a unique mix of aesthetically designed residential towers and commercial precincts. Located at its centre is Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building;  Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping and entertainment destination, and The Dubai Fountain, the world’s tallest performing fountain. Souk Al Bahar, an Arabesque shopping and dining out destination, further broadens its appeal to visitors. Downtown Dubai has several world-class hotels including the world’s first Armani Hotel and Emaar’s flagship Address, Vida and Manzil hotels. The Opera District, highlighted by the majestic Dubai Opera, a 2,000-seat multi-format events venue, luxury hotels and residences, is a brand-new addition (this project will be completed soon).

  • Dubai Mall:  the largest shopping mall in Dubai with the following activities: 
    • Kid Zania (Family Edutainment centre for kids)- AED 130 per person (4 to 16 years) and AED 90 (Adults) {KidZania}
    • Sega Republic Indoor Theme Park – AED 70 per person {Sega Republic}
    • Dubai Aquarium {Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo}
    • Dubai Ice Rink {Dubai Mall Ice Rink}
    • Mall Timings
      • Sunday to Wednesday 9 am to 10 pm
      • Thurs 9 am to 12 midnight
      • Friday and Saturday 10 am to 12 midnight
  • Dubai Trolley
    • The world’s first hop-on, hop-off hydrogen-powered trolley system to provide visitors and residents of Mohamed Bin Rashid Boulevard an exciting and convenient new transportation system.
  • Atmosphere @Burj Khalifa
    • Located on level 122 of Burj Khalifa, just 2 levels below the “At The Top observatory deck” which is a must visit, there’s plenty to take in as you enjoy drinks and light snacks surrounded by stunning views of Dubai’s futuristic skyline and the Arabian Gulf.
  • Old Town
    • A fully established community in the heart of Downtown Dubai, The Old Town is a uniquely pedestrian-friendly residential neighbourhood that integrates inspirational Arabian architecture in a modern setting.
  • Burj Park
    • Burj Park is a spectacular green heart of Downtown Dubai, where residents can unwind in the evenings or join with family and friends to watch the fountain and attend various events that are organized in the park.
  • Souk Al Bahar
    • Souk Al Bahar is home to a diverse range of boutiques and international restaurants.

(C)  Jumeirah Beach
The new Jumeirah Corniche – the longest in Dubai – is the city’s latest leisurely beachfront addition. It starts from the Dubai Marine Beach Resort and continues on to the Burj Al Arab hotel, 14 km of beautiful beach front goodness for running enthusiasts. In addition to the 14km track, which includes a 4m wide jogging track and 5m wide walkway, the corniche is sprinkled with rest areas and retail kiosks and is a welcome addition to the area offering ample opportunities and space for practicing jogging, walking, swimming, rowing, and other activities.

  • The 12-hectare Jumeirah Beach Park is a perfect place for an afternoon family outing thanks to its picnic facilities, food kiosks, children’s play area, swimming area with on-duty lifeguards, and shower/bathing facilities. On Wednesdays, Jumeirah Beach Park is reserved for women and children only.
  • Wild Wadi near Jumeirah Beach Park {Wild Wadi Waterpark}
    • General Admission (1.5m and above) – AED 215 per person
    • General Admission (below 1.5m) – AED 175
    • Timings:
      • Sunday to Wednesday 10 am to 11 pm

82390028Jumeirah Beach Park

(D)  Safa Park
Once a huge expanse of green in the heart of the city, Safa Park has dramatically reduced in to accommodate the Dubai Canal. However, families, couples, teenagers, joggers, roller bladers, yoga enthusiasts, kite-flyers and nature lovers can all be found enjoying the park. Facilities include barbecues, play areas, ponds, waterfalls, boats, football and basketball courts.  Safa Park is a very popular running route as it has a purpose laid running track on the outer perimeter. One lap is 3.4 km with accurate marked distances. However, as the Dubai Canal construction is underway, parts of the track have been redesigned to accommodate this, although it is still open for joggers.

(E)  Mall of the Emirates
Home to more than 630 international stores, totaling 255,489 sqm of retail space, the mall offers more than 80 of the world’s most prestigious brands housed in the Fashion Dome and Via Rodeo, such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and the Middle East flagship for Prada.  The mall also features more than 100 restaurants and cafes along with major department stores including Harvey Nichols and Debenhams, as well as fashion, lifestyle, sports, electronics, home furnishing outlets and the largest Carrefour hypermarket in the city. With direct access to the Dubai Metro, the mall’s unique family leisure offerings include Ski Dubai – the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park, VOX Cinemas – the largest cinema ever built in the Middle East with a 24-screen entertainment complex, a Magic Planet, and the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre (DUCTAC). Two 5-star hotels, the Kempinski Mall of the Emirates and Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel, adjoin the mall.  The mall has the first Apple store in the UAE.

(F)  Jumeirah Beach Residence
A fascinating place for beach lovers to soak the sun and enjoy a huge array of dining options.  JBR offers numerous water sports such as para-sailing, squash, swimming, kayaking, banana boating, dragon boating, wind surfing, kite surfing, rowing and boot camps just to name a few. The Beach in JBR includes a soft running track which runs alongside the beach. Accompanying the track are some (average) training machines along the way if you feel the need to break up your run. A word of advice would be to avoid trying to go for a run in the evening when the track is overtaken by beach goers and strolling families – stick to the early morning runs at this track!

(G)  Atlantis, The Palm
A premiere 5 star resort in luxurious Dubai. This unique ocean-themed resort features a variety of marine attractions, entertainment destinations and culinary delights. Designed to exhilarate and destined to impress, huge gilded doors open to reveal unmatched luxury and sophistication, in the ultimate resort destination.The resort’s stunning beach invites guests to relax in the sunshine, whilst the spa promises complete rejuvenation. A place where an exotic marine landscape is combined with sumptuous guest rooms and suites, diverse restaurants and stylish boutiques.  Atlantis is a “must visit” destination in Dubai.

IMG_0003IMG_0028Atlantis hotel

  • Enjoy the thrilling slides at Aquaventure Waterpark and interact with the dolphins at Dolphin Bay.  As you wade into waist-high crystal clear waters you will enter the mesmerising and enjoyable world of dolphins, swimming and showing off their stunts and skills.  Our dolphin “Lisa” was such a delight to watch and play with {Marine & Water Park}


(H)  Dragon Mart
Be prepared to put on your most comfortable shoes if you plan on discovering the full 1.2 km dragon-shaped beast. From sports, fashion, interior decor and architectural accessories to electrical goods, medicines and garden accessories, Dragon Mart is a shopper’s delight, once you know where to go {Dragon Mart}.

(I)  Dubai Miracle Garden
This is a real oasis in the desert.  Miracle Garden is the world’s largest natural flower garden, well designed with an assortment of flowers, most of which are rare and seen for first time in the Middle East. As you step into a riot of colors, you will soon discover that no other name could be as apt as ‘Miracle’ for this botanical extravaganza {DMG}

Old Dubai route map – places of interest

(A)  Wafi Mall
Wafi Mall is an up-market Egyptian themed shopping centre at Wafi city.  It is home to more than 350 stores, a family entertainment centre and a good selection of restaurants.

(B)  Karama
A residential neighborhood known for its diverse community groups mainly from South Asia and The South East. You will find a lot of speciality restaurants offering local cuisines from different nations.  The Karama shopping centre is mostly frequented by locals living in the area.  There are some unique (and affordable) finds, from elaborate jewellery to modern gadgets, budget fashion buys.

(C)  Bastakia
The original town center of Dubai, now known for its restored wind towers which consists of cafes and art galleries including the Basta Art Café. The area was originally built by Persian merchants in late 1800’s and they named it after the town of Bastak in Iran (this where the persian merchants were from);  it is a 20 to 30 minute walk, but guaranteed you will not feel it (unless you chose to do it in the peak of summer), towards the later end of the walk there are couple of nice restaurants (the food here is really delicious and well priced).

(D)  Burjman Centre and Meena Bazaar

  • Wonder Bus Tour located in Burjuman Centre –  fun filled exciting tour where you get to see the scenes on land as well as on water {Wonderbus tour}
    • Sights include:
      • Shindagha heritage Village
      • Diving village
      • Old souq, Gold souq and Spice souq.
      • Water Transporations: Abra, yachts, cargo wooden ships etc
      • Floating restaurants
      • Twin towers
      • Dubai municipality and many more
    • Price (includes Arabia & English speaking Tour guides and free refreshments):
      • General:  Child – AED 120; Adult – AED 170
      • Early trips: Child – AED 105; Adult – AED 150
  • Meena Bazaar is always busy, packed with residents and travelers looking for a traditional shopping experience. The bazaar boasts clothing, fabrics, authentic (and imitation) jewellery, watch repair shops and a number of busy eateries. This market compares with an authentic Mumbai bazaar, for the large number of Indian clothing shops on its premises.

(E)  Heritage Village
The Heritage Village was built in 1997, at the Al Shindagha historic neighbourhood. The reason behind establishing it was to display the traditional life style in the emirate of Dubai, as well as a form of an introduction to the traditional customs, traditions, professions and local craftsmanship. The Heritage Village is considered as an attraction for the tourists interested in the local traditional life. The village witnesses the events of UAE National Day, Dubai Shopping Festival, Flag Day and others.

(F)  Deira Gold and Spice Souk
This is a must do if you want to experience old Dubai. Both are located in  Deira district and you can  walk from one to the other, the best sequence would be start at the Naif  souk and move to gold souk and finish off at the spice souk.

(G)  Dubai Festival City
Situated on the banks of the historic Dubai creek overlooking a stunning natural waterway, the mall is a waterfront shopping and leisure destination.

(H) Mirdiff City Centre (MCC)

  • Large shopping mall located in the Mirdif area of Dubai. MCC boasts the Playnation – a large leisure and entertainment area such as:
    • iFly Dubai (skydive indoors) – AED 195 per person (adults and kids)
    • Soccer Circus Dubai: Training Academy session – AED 70 per person
  • Aquaplay and Little Explorers (2 to 7 yrs)
  • Magic Planet for electronic games
  •  Timings
    • Sunday to Wednesday 10 am to 11 pm
    • Thurs 10 am to 12 midnight
    • Friday 9 am to 12 midnight
    • Saturday 9 am to 11 pm

Use this link for discount offers at some of the main attractions in Dubai

Other interesting things to do:

  • Desert Safari
  • Dubai Autodrome
  • Brainscape Dubai
  • Wadi Adventure in Al Ain
  • Cycling at Nad Al Sheba and Al Qudra track

Parks in Dubai

Al Barsha Pond Park
One of Dubai’s newest parks and part of the greening of Dubai Pond Parks project is Al Barsha Pond Park which is proving to be very popular with local residents. The park is large and has giant ponds with loads of places for kids to play and also areas for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. It has tennis courts, volleyball courts, football pitches, basketball courts and fitness machines, so a really great park to keep fit in.  Ripe Night Market was launched at the park last year and takes place every Saturday from 4 pm to 9 pm.  The market has stalls of food, arts, crafts, fashion and jewellery vendors and live music, all wrapped up in a relaxed, community market setting. Al Barsha’s Pond Park also features a soft running track that encircles a pond and is marked every 100m, so it’s great for doing sprints too!
Entry Fee: TBA
Timings: 8am-10pm daily
Location: Al Barsha Pond Park Bicycle Path, Next to Al Barsha Mall, behind Al Mawakeb School, Dubai.  There is only one entrance to the park (near Emirates NBD Bank on 316 Street, the main road running from TECOM to Al Quoz through Barsha) and plenty of parking in front of the park entrance.
+971 50 2525565

Umm Sequiem Park
This small park is situated near Jumeirah Beach Hotel and is a lovely green space to spend time during the cooler months. It is a family park and only women and children are allowed in the park during the week. Men are allowed with their families at weekends though. There is a small beach, a small café and children’s play areas. Not a whole day park but good for a few hours getaway in the morning or afternoon.
Entry Fee: TBA
Timings: Sun-Thu 8am – 11pm
Umm Suqeim, near Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai. Located on the shore just before you get to the open beach that leads to the Burj Al Arab.

Tel: +971 4 3484554

Safa Park 2
Not to be confused with Safa Park, Safa Park 2 is a much smaller and quieter park. It has lovely green spaces and a great play area for the kiddies.  Women and children only  on weekdays, no restrictions on weekends.
Entry Fee: TBA
Timings: Sun-Thu 8am-11pm, Fri and Sat 8am-11.30pm, public holidays 8am-midnight, Direction: Take Al Manara (West) off Sheikh Zayed Road. Turn right onto Al Wasl Road then first right, continue straight for a while then the park is on the left.

Zabeel Park
One of the largest parks in Dubai, Zabeel Park is located in between Karama and the Zabeel area. The park is very busy during weekends due to its proximity to residential areas. The park is cut in two by Sheikh Zayed Road but has road bridges connecting the two halves. One half of the park contains wide open spaces, an adventure playground, play areas, a lake with boat rides, sculptures including a giant chess inspired Rubik’s cube type structure, a large amphitheatre area, covered areas for barbeques and picnics and some amazing flora.  On the other side of the park is Dubai Garden Glow theme park (entrance from Area B Gates 6 & 7).  With plenty of parking, Zabeel Park offers a nice running track laid on the outer perimeter which is approximately 2km in distance.
Entry Fee: AED 5
Timings: 8 am – 11 pm (for the park); 4 pm – 11 pm (for Dubai Garden Glow which will remain open only until 31st April 2016)
Location: Between Al Karama and World Trade Centre at Zabeel Square, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai

Tel: +971 4 3986888

Creekside Park / Dubai Creek Park
Dubai Creek Park is in the heart of the old city on the shores of Dubai Creek. It is one of the oldest parks in Dubai and is still as popular today as it was then… families fill the park at the weekends and the evenings. The park has the benefit of being in the cool breeze from the creek and also has loads of plants and greenery along with mazes and a nature trail. There are barbeque areas and childrens’ play areas dotted throughout the park as well as the Children City Centre and Dubai Dolphinarium.  You can ride the cable car, ride the miniature train, rent bikes (AED 20 for small bicycle and AED 30 for the ordinary bicycle per one hour) and visit the small but adequate café.  You can also bring your own food for a picnic or a barbeque. There is a paved walk all along the shore of the creek which is great for roller skating, as is a large stone ampitheatre area.  There is a nominal entry fee that has to be paid to enter the park and you have to pay this even if you have tickets to Dubai Dolphinarium or are planning to go Children’s City, but it’s a small price to pay to spend time in this amazing park with great views over Dubai Creek and the old Dubai skyline. The park also has a running track which is approximately 4km long.
Entry fee: AED 5 per person
Timings: 8 am to 10 pm (weekdays); 9 am to 11 pm (weekends); Wednesday – Ladies Day  with children
Between Al Maktoum and Al Garhoud Bridge, Dubai

Tel: +971 4 3367633

Al Rashidiya Park
Al Rashidiya Park is a small family park that is quite close to Dubai International Airport and is next to Rashidiya Metro Station on Dubai Airport Road. It is a quiet less hectic park than some and is great for a family outing. There are lots of well equipped playground areas for the kids and plenty of seating in the shade for the grown- ups.
Entry fee: TBA
Timings: 8 am – 11 pm (daily);  Sat and Wed for ladies and children only
Location: near Dubai International Airport, Rashidiya area
Tel: +971 4 2851208

Mushrif Park Mirdiff
The park has acres of woodland as it was originally a ghaf forest so you need to drive around carefully.  There is a small zoo with goats and you can ride a camel or ponies there, train rides and a swimming pool (paid service).  It also has a Small World replica house area featuring mini houses from all around the world! This is a great place for family picnics as well as strolls under shady trees and barbeque areas. On the inside perimeter of Mushrif Park there is a cycle track which stretches 4.5km. It is used more by runners than cyclists and also has some hills.
Entry fee: AED 5 per person or AED 30 per car
Timings: 8 am to 11 pm
Location: Al Khawaneej Road, Dubai
Tel: +971 4 2883624

Mamzar Beach Park
A massive park with acres of open grassland and 5 beaches as well as a huge outdoor swimming pool. Perfect for barbeques and picnics. It has great facilities including small cafes, small grocery stores, wash facilities, changing rooms, childrens play areas, bikes for hire and amazing views over the Sharjah Lagoons. It is a little way out being on the way to Sharjah but it is so worth the trip! There is a small fee to get in- 5 dhs per person if you are walking in and 40 Dhs per car if you are driving in. The pool charges a nominal fee for entry too- approx 10 Dhs. You can also hire chalets for the day which is great if there is a large group of you but the chalets are booked months in advance so you need to plan accordingly (details below).
Entry fee: AED 5 per person or AED 30 per car
Timings: 8 am to 10 pm (weekdays); 8 am to 11 pm (weekends)
Location: Al Mamzar,Near Century Mall – Dubai
Tel: +971 4 2966201

Al Mamzar Park Chalets
Renting Chalets is valid for the whole day during the week as follows:

  1. (Sunday to Wednesday ) from 9 am to 9 pm
  2. (Thursday to Saturday & public holidays) from 9 am to 10 pm
  3. During Ramadan from 9 am to 10 pm
  4. Chalet rental fees does not include park entry fee

Fees Category: Big chalet for 12 persons – Service Fees: 200 AED/ Day
Fees Category: Small Chalet for 8 persons – Service Fees: 150 AED/ Day

Some of my favorite restaurants in Dubai:


  1. Asado at The Palace Downtown – As part of our group training in the private room of Asado, we had organized a cooking class with the Argentinian Chef Gabriel Stivala who taught us the secret for the perfect asado: from selecting the meat, salting the meat, distributing the coals to cooking the meat in the right order.  We also learnt to make “Chimichurri” – a super simple traditional green sauce made with herbs, garlic, tangy vinegar and is just delicious.  The Chef informed us that this sauce is always served with grilled meat in Argentina.  We then had an outdoor table set up to enjoy the feast prepared by us including some delicious dessert which was prepared in front of us.



  1. Chamas Churrascaria, Crowne Plaza Sh Zayed Road. 


  1. Hakkasan, Jumeirah Emirates Tower
  2. P F Chang
  3. Royal China, DIFC

Fine Fast Food

  1. Slider Station, Galleria Mall


  1. La Petite Maison, DIFC (french and italian cuisine)


  1. Eat Greek, Mall of Emirates


  1. Amal, Armani
  2. Claypot, Citymax Hotel
  3. Delhi Darbar, Karama
  4. Gazebo, Al Mankhool
  5. Mint Leaf of London
  6. Rasoi Ghar, Karama
  7. Ravi’s, Karama
  8. Signature by Sanjeev Kapoor, Melia Hotel


  1. Cheesecake Factory
  2. Imperium, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
  3. Karma Cafe, Souk Al Bahar
  4. La Cantine, Jumeirah Emirates Towers


  1. Hashi,  Armani
  2. Nobu,  Atlantis
  3. Okku, H Hotel
  4. Sho Cho, Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa
  5. Wagamama, Crowne Plaza Sh Zayed Road
  6. Zuma, DIFC


  1. Abd El Wahab, Souk Al Bahar
  2. Al Nafoorah, Jumeirah Emirates Tower
  3. Karam Beirut, Mall of the Emirates
  4. Mandaloun, DIFC
  5. Zaatar Zeit, JBR


  1. Boardwalk, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
  2. The Beach House, Anantara The Palm
  3. Tagine, Madinat Jumeirah
  4. Villa Beach, Jumeirah Beach Hotel


  1. Bu Qtair, Umm Suqeim
  2. Pier Chic, Al Qasr Madinat Jumeirah


  1. Casa de Tapas, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club
  2. Seville’s, Wafi


  1. Lemongrass, Oud Metha
  2. Little Bangkok
  3. Mango Tree, Souk Al Bahar
  4. Pai Thai, Madinat Jumeirah
  5. Tipthara, The Palace Downtown
  6. Mekong, Anantara The Palm –


  • Yalla Momos, Karama

Art & Culture in Dubai

1×1 Art Gallery
Specialises in art from the subcontinent.
Open Sat-Thu 11am-8.30pm. Warehouse no. 4, Plot 364-22 Al Marabea Street, Al Quoz, (04 341 1287).

4 Walls Art Gallery

Offers a tumult of Middle Eastern contemporary art.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-8pm. Behind Gargash Used Cars, opposite Knotica, (04 338 8892).
Arsh Art Gallery
Displays contemporary Middle Eastern and international art, and runs creative workshops for adults and kids.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-6pm. Indigo Icon Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, (04 420 3471).
Art Couture Gallery
Hosts art shows, events and original works.Open daily 10am-10pm.
Al Badia Golf Club, Festival City, (050 598 8206).


A space featuring works by various local, regional and international artists.
Open daily 10am-7pm. The Gallery, first floor, Mövenpick Hotel Bur Dubai (04 336 6000).
Art Sawa
Shows work from the Middle East and North Africa region.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-7pm. Road 323, Al Quoz, opposite Shirawi Equipment (04 340 8660). Other location: DIFC (04 386 2366).

Ayyam Gallery

This Syrian gallery offers contemporary art collections, with a focus on Damascus.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-6pm. Podium Level, Gate Village 3, DIFC, (04 323 6242). Other location: Ayyam Art Centre, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 323 6242)

Capsule Arts

Exhibits and sells limited-edition prints by regional and international artists.
Warehouse A2, Street 4, Al Quoz 3, (04 388 1799)
Carbon 12
Shows a range of artists with a European focus.
Open Sat-Thu 11.30am-7pm. Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, (04 340 6016)
Cartoon Art Gallery
Specialises in animation, cartoonists and illustrators.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-6pm. 4B Street, Al Quoz 1, (04 346 6467)
Courtyard Gallery
Features a rich mix of international art.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-6pm. Off Sheikh Zayed Road, interchange 3, Al Quoz, (04 347 9090)
Gallery with a focus on international art.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-8pm, Sat noon-6pm. Gate Village 10, 312th Road, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 425 0400)

FN Designs
This creative space hosts seminars and exhibitions.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-6pm. Unit 26, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1,

Gallery 76
This gallery is part of Dubai International Art Centre.
Open Sat-Wed 9am-1pm, Thu 9am-4pm. Villa 27, Street 75b, off Beach Road, Jumeirah (04 344 4398).

Gallery Etemad
Contemporary venue with a wide roster of artists from across the region.
Open Sat noon-5pm, Sun-Thu 10am-6pm. The Courtyard Gallery, Al Quoz, (04 346 8649).

Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde
Has a wide portfolio, including prominent up and coming Iranian artists.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-7pm. Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, (04 323 5052).

Gallery of Light
A mall-based gallery for local and international artists.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-10pm, Fri 2pm-10pm. Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, (04 341 4777).

Gallery One
A vast collection of photography by international artists, with a regional focus.
Open Sun-Wed 9am-10pm, Thu-Sat 9am-12pm. Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha (04 341 4488). Other locations: The Dubai Mall (04 434 1252); The Walk, JBR (04 423 1987); Souk Al Bahar (04 420 3619); Souk Madinat Jumeirah (04 368 6055).

Green Art Gallery
Head here for contemporary Middle Eastern art.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-7pm. Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, (04 346 9305).

Grey Noise
Represents work from South Asia, Middle East and Europe.
Open Mon-Thu & Sat 11am-7pm, Fri & Sun closed. Unit 24, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, (04 379 0764).

Gulf Photo Plus
The heart of the photography community. Holds workshops, events and exhibitions, and sells books and all sorts of camera accessories.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-6pm. Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1 (04 380 8545).

J+A Gallery
Features rare European vintage furniture and old-school industrial-style relics.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-7pm. Street 4A, Al Quoz, (055 395 0495).

Kenza Art Gallery
Showcases contemporary art, with a focus on the local.
Open daily 10am-11pm. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, (04 368 6603).

Kobo Art
An online gallery showcasing art from new and upcoming UAE-based artists. (050 625 4577).

La Galerie Nationale
Displays delightful vintage furniture from designers such as Warren Platner.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-9pm. Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, (04 380 4652).

Meem Gallery
Middle Eastern art, plus a well-stocked library.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-7pm. Al Quoz, make a U-turn at the third set of traffic lights next to Marina Interior Design and it’s halfway down the main road, next to Pressotto, (04 347 7883).

Mojo Gallery
Focuses on fine art and design.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-7pm. Unit 33, Alserkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz, (04 347 7388).

Mottahedan Projects
Displays art from emerging and established artists from the US and the Middle East.
Open Sun-Thu 11am-6pm. Al Joud Center, Showroom 17, Al Quoz 1, (04 380 5525).

Muse Artz
Sells affordable fine art prints, photography and original art by emerging artists.
Open Sat-Wed 9.30am-10pm, Thu-Fri 9.30am-midnight. Times Square Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 388 1516).

Mussawir Art Gallery
Contemporary art from Pakistan and beyond.
Open Sat-Thu 11am-7pm. Al Marabea Street, Unit 2, Al Quoz 1, (04 388 1663).

New Masters Gallery
This Bur Dubai gallery focuses on exhibitions of works by both emerging and established locally-based artists.
Open daily 10am-7pm. First Floor, Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai (04 359 8888).

Opera Gallery
Houses works by 50 masters, plus contemporary greats from China and more.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri 4.30pm-11pm, Sat noon-11pm. Gate Village 3, DIFC, (04 323 0909).

ProArt Gallery
Masters, lithographs and serigraphs of 50 artists from 15 countries.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-9pm, Fri 2pm-8pm. Palm Strip Mall, Jumeirah, (04 345 0900).

RIRA Gallery
A DIFC gallery with a focus on Iranian artists.
Open Sun–Thu 10am-8pm, Sat noon-6pm. Gate Village 3, DIFC, (04 369 9339).

Showcase Gallery
Shows African and Middle Eastern art, antiques, tribal jewellery and frames.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-6pm. Unit 35, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz 1, (04 379 0940).

A local studio and exhibition space that caters for up-and-coming UAE-based artists.
Open Sun-Thu 8am-10pm. Near Nad Al Sheba Police Station, (04 336 3313). Other location: Al Fahidi.

The Ara Gallery
Focuses on emerging Arab artists with a give-back-to-the- community ethos.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-9pm, Fri 3pm-9pm, Sat noon-8pm. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, (04 454 2784).

The Empty Quarter
Dedicated to photography, boasting an alterable space and decent library.
Open Sat 2pm-8pm, Sun-Thu 10am-10pm. Gate Village, DIFC, (04 323 1210).

Contemporary art from local talent, plus offers pick-up-and-paint sessions.
Open Mon-Thu and Sat 10am-8pm, Fri 2pm-8pm. Street 4, Al Quoz 3, (04 341 7303).

The Majlis Gallery

Exhibitions of both local and international art.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-6pm. Al Fahidi, Bur Dubai, (04 353 6233).

The Third Line
Middle Eastern and international art.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-7pm. Near The Courtyard, between Marlin Furniture and Spinneys, Al Quoz, (04 341 1367).

Total Arts at The Courtyard
Two floors of art and design are offered here.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-6pm. Near Spinneys warehouse, Al Quoz, (04 347 5050).

XVA Gallery

Art by some key Middle Eastern artists is on show at this Bur Dubai stalwart, which also happens to be a hotel boasting a pleasant café.
Open daily 10am-6pm. Al Fahidi Neighbourhood, Bur Dubai, (04 353 5383).

Museums & sites of interest

Al Ahmadiya School & Heritage House
Established in 1912, this was the first ever school in Dubai and was renovated as a museum in 1995.
Free. Sat-Thu 7.30am-7.30pm, Fri 2pm-7.30pm. Near Gold House building, Al Khor Street, Al Ras, (04 226 0286).

Coin Museum

Boasts seven rooms displaying currency from the region, including the Levant, Turkey and Egypt.
Free. Open Sun-Thu 8am-2pm. Al Seef Street, Al Fahidi, Deira (04 353 9090, ext. 253).

Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort
The museum exhibits ancient artefacts from Dubai, including spears, knives and other items recovered from graves dating back to 1000BC. It’s housed inside a fort built in the 1800s as the former ruler’s residence. The area offers an interesting walking tour through Al Fahidi.
Dhs3. Open Sat-Thu 8.30am-8.30pm, Fri 2.30pm-8.30pm. Ali Bin Abi Taleb Street, Bur Dubai (04 353 1862).

Heritage Village
Walk through the lanes of this traditional-style village with different shops, galleries and historic display and exhibitions, such as a typical Arab courtyard and mock Bedouin camp. There’s also a guesthouse, so you can opt to stay in this traditional environment, plus several restaurant options.
Free entry. Open Sat-Thu 7.30am-8.30pm, Fri 3pm-10pm. Al Shindagha, near Dubai Creek, (04 393 7139).

Jumeirah Mosque
Arguably the most beautiful mosque in Dubai, the Jumeirah Mosque stands at the northern end of Jumeirah Beach Road. Non-Muslims are not normally allowed inside mosques, but the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) organises guided tours.
Sat-Thu 10am. Dhs10. Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, (04 353 6666).

Majlis Ghorfat Um Al Sheif
Built in traditional style from coral and stone, this two-storey majlis was used by the late ruler of the city, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the founder of modern Dubai.
Admission Dhs1 (adults and kids aged above six years). Open Sat-Thu 8.30am-8.30pm, Fri 2.30pm-8.30pm. Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 4, (04 394 6343).

Museum of Traditional Architecture
Displays traditional Arabic architecture and examples of Dubai’s historic buildings.
Free. Open Sun-Thu 8am-2pm. Al Shindagha, Bur Dubai (04 392 0093).

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House
Built in 1896 out of coral covered in lime and sand plaster, this house was the home of Dubai’s former ruler (grandfather of the present ruler) until his death in 1958.
Admission Dhs3 (adults), Dhs1 (children). Open Sat-Thu 8.30am-8.30pm, Fri 2.30pm-8.30pm. Al Shindagha, (04 393 7139).

Movie Theatres in Dubai

  1. Vox Cinemas {VOX}
  2. Novo Cinemas {NOVO}
  3. Reel Cinemas {REEL}




3 Comments Add yours

  1. Danny Sequeira says:

    Amen to that.


  2. Ruby Mathias says:

    Awesome blog! The author has captured the essence of every city travelled. A great guide to people who wish to explore cities without meandering aimlessly.

    Liked by 1 person

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