With plenty of options on where to go and what to see, Dubai is a great stopover location for all budgets. Whether you are looking to explore with minimal spending, or want to treat yourself to some of the finer things in life, here are some itinerary options that will give you a small taste of the best the city has to offer.
For a cheap and cheerful, simple breakfast that will only set you back AED10-15 ($2.72-$4.08) head to Raju Omelet, an Indian cafeteria. This Dubai favourite serves a variety of Indian street food alongside delicious cups of tea in a cute café environment.
Well-loved Al Quoz haunt Tom & Serg has become something of a breakfast institution, with its ever-changing menu of healthy and wholesome dishes with a unique twist – offering up everything from smashed avocado on toast to Vietnamese breakfast baos. Couple this with stellar coffee and freshly-made baked goods lovingly crafted in-house and you’ll see why this place has become a fast favourite for locals and tourists alike.
With its beautiful light interiors, the rotation of fresh and flakey items churned out of their in-house bakery, and selection of high-quality, beautifully-presented breakfast items, starting your day at La Serre will make you feel as though you’ve been transported to a sun-drenched Paris in the summertime. It’s no wonder that it often has queues snaking out the door.
Take a little tour of the Dubai Creek via an Abra Crossing, where you can ride in a traditional boat that glides across the water for a mere AED 1 (27 Cents). Then head to the souks in the Al Fahidi area and take your time perusing the colourful offerings, or even snap up a bargain.
Check out The Dubai Frame, Dubai’s jaw-dropping new landmark that offers stunning views of both old and new Dubai in a building boasting spectacular architecture. It only costs AED50 ($13) to enter for adults and AED20 ($5.44) per child from 3-12 years old (children under three and the elderly enter for free). Don’t forget to check out the museum.
Make sure you are in full holiday relaxation mode, by treating yourself to a massage at one of the city’s many spas. From the Hammam Experience at Talise Spa at Zabeel Saray on the Palm Jumeirah, to the rose petal-infused massages at the Saray Spa at the JW Marriott, there’s plenty to choose from with the promise to leave you blissed-out by lunch.
Whether you are on a tight budget or you just want to grab a quick bite from somewhere that’s on the go, why not pick up a shawarma from one of the many Eat & Drink Restaurant outlets around town? The restaurant has been in the city for decades and is a familiar sight to many residents – even better, a tasty shawarma will only set you back AED5 ($1.36).
With such an idyllic atmosphere – the beautiful garden features swathes of white, gauzy drapery and
gorgeous blue benches that are reminiscent of lazy days in the Greek Cyclacic Islands – the Arabian Tea House is a hidden gem of the Al Fahidi district, offering food at a reasonable price and an excellent tea selection.
One of the most iconic restaurants in town, At.Mosphere at the Burj Khalifa also offers one of the city’s most stunning – and highest – views. While it’s great for dinner, why not consider it for a luxurious lunch? If you’re looking to make the most of lunch while treating yourself to a stellar view and high-end meal and budget isn’t a concern, this is the place for you!
Brush up on your history and knowledge of local culture by exploring what the Al Fahidi Historical District has to offer. There is plenty to see, learn and do at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, with the Coffee Museum and the Dubai Museum just down the road.
Beat the afternoon heat by heading to the new VR Park at The Dubai Mall, where you can enjoy 18 virtual reality experiences at different thrill levels, from dune bashing in the desert to encountering wild creatures (some that will leave your heart racing!) and even scaling a building. Entry to the park is free, and each experience costs AED15-45 ($4.08-$12.25), so you can pick and choose experiences pending what the wallet will allow.
Head to one of the UAE’s amazing amusement parks, such as IMG Worlds of Adventure, or Dubai Parks and Resorts featuring Motiongate, Bollywood Parks and Legoland (or why not visit all three of the last ones with a Dubai Parks and Resorts multi-pass!). Here, you’ll be transported into a fantasy land of fun and entertainment for the entire family.
One of Jumeirah’s longstanding seafood institutions, Bu Qtair restaurant is a must-try. It’s the very definition of cheap and cheerful – they only have two key options, but their fried fish and fried shrimp are simply epic – and hardly make a dent in the budget as well.
It’s not often that you’ll be able to enjoy a to-die-for steak dinner at around AED300 ($81.67) for two people, but that’s exactly what you’ll get at Le Relais de l’Entrecote at Downtown Dubai. Located on the beautiful Emaar Boulevard with the beauty of Downtown Dubai around you, this famous restaurant has been transported to the city straight from Paris and is famous for its delicious steak frites with secret sauce, for which you’ll get not one but two servings. Twice as nice.
Dubai has no shortage of fine dining options, but considering how many international awards it’s won, La Petite Maison is a must-visit – this French restaurant’s food is to-die-for, the service is impeccable, the beverage list is exceptional, and it makes for a beautiful evening in the DIFC art district.
Take a walk along Dubai Marina and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city (and some of its most beautiful evening views) entirely for free – and walk off your dinner while you’re at it! Bonus: It can be uniquely romantic, and if you’re inspired to, there are plenty of places to stop at and grab a night cap along the way.
If you’ve ever wanted to watch a movie in an environment that feels like a dinner theatre, why not catch one at the Guy Fieri Kitchen & Bar and Dine-In Cinema at Jebel Ali Recreation Club? It’s also a licensed venue so you can just enjoy a drink there if you have overindulged at dinner.
Dubai’s jaw-dropping original show, La Perle by Dragone, is an absolute must-see for both tourists and residents alike. The acrobatic feats of its performers, the original music, and the spectacular set design will leave you truly wowed.