Dubai is a fascinating chequerboard that sets chic blocks of gravity-defying skyscrapers alongside charming historic neighbourhoods harking back to the metropolis’ mercantile history. Both contribute to Dubai’s rich and unique identity. From where to shop—take your pick from slick designer malls or vibrant souks—to how to uncover the city’s varied range of entertainment, allow us to introduce the best districts in Dubai.
No visit to Dubai is complete without taking in its state-of-the-art skyscrapers. You’ll find plenty in the Downtown Dubai district. The city’s sky-piercing landmark and tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa is a fine example. It stands at a staggering height of 2,722ft and contains 160 floors of apartments, restaurants, a swimming pool, a health club and numerous viewing platforms. Meanwhile, shoppers can lose themselves in The Dubai Mall. Another record-breaker, it is the largest shopping and leisure centre in the world. Families will love the colourful aquatic displays at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, as well as the colossal aquatic jets launched into the air by The Dubai Fountain.
A broad expanse of idyllic sandy shoreline, Jumeirah Beach is Dubai’s golden mile. Overlooked by the lofty sail of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, it’s an ideal place to stretch out in the sun or enjoy some of Dubai’s prime water sports. Thrill-seekers can breeze out into the Gulf on a jet ski or try their hand at windsurfing, while younger swimmers will tap into hours of fun on the water slides at Wild Wadi Waterpark.
Previously a residential zone for the city’s industrious work force, the Al Quoz district in central Dubai is now a magnet for trendsetters and hipsters. Head directly to the hub of it all: Alserkal Avenue. This sprawling warehouse complex throngs with art spaces, concept stores and fitness studios. Music concerts, film screenings and contemporary theatre performances are frequently included in the programme, as are exhibitions by the most cutting-edge of artists. Al Quoz’s slick cafés match its hip environs—the chic, bright Tom & Serg has an excellent selection of Dubai-grown teas.
Dubai Old Town
For a glimpse of Dubai during the 19th century, take a turn down Al Fahidi’s charming alleyways and sand-swept streets. Discover a tight maze of shops and residences rustically hewn from traditional materials—a glimpse of Dubai’s historic culture. For more, cross Dubai Creek to bustling Deira, where its vibrant souks hum with a constant flow of shoppers seeking fresh produce, fragrant spices and dazzling goldware.
The Palm Jumeirah
A striking man-made island that fans out into the Gulf in the shape of a palm tree, the Palm Jumeirah is one of Dubai’s icons. It’s home to a luxurious portfolio of hotels, including the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, alongside some seriously indulgent spas, world-class restaurants and smart residential towers. Elite beach clubs are set against glimmering vistas of the ocean, making this an ideal location to unwind and enjoy Dubai’s highlife.
Explore the best districts in Dubai while staying at one of Jumeirah’s luxury hotels.