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The Dubai skyline over the Dubai Creek
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Where to stay in Dubai

Last updated 6 June 2021

A startlingly modern oasis in the middle of the desert, Dubai is a destination for all. Whether you’re here for its stunning sites, jaw-dropping extravagance, or extraordinary leisure attractions, Dubai offers a multitude of options in every category. And, if you’re wondering where to stay in Dubai to make the most of your trip, we have some ideas to get you started – no matter what your tastes and interests are.

Downtown Dubai

Record-breaking sights and high-end shopping

There is no better way to soak up the sights, sounds and unequaled fervor of this contemporary city than staying in downtown Dubai. This is the heart of modern Dubai and this is where you’ll get to see the city’s many claims to fame.

  • Location: The man-made archipelago juts into the Arabian Gulf and is a part of a massive development that comprises Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira.

  • Nearest Metro Station: Burj Khalifa/The Dubai Mall Station

  • Distance from Dubai International Airport: Approximately 20 Minutes

The Dubai Fountain Show on Burj Lake.

The Dubai Fountain Show on Burj Lake. Photo by Phil, CC BY-SA 4.0

Best attractions and experiences in downtown Dubai

Some of the most famous sites in Dubai are are crammed into this remarkable part of the city.

Burj Khalifa

Right in the center of downtown Dubai is Burj Khalifa! At a height of 828 meters, it’s the world’s tallest building. Besides several accommodation and dining choices, it hosts two breathtaking observation decks on its 124th and 148th levels.

The Dubai Mall

One of the world’s biggest malls, the Dubai Mall is located next to Burj Khalifa. It is leisure-seekers’ paradise, ashopaholic's favorite, and of course, a dream spot for foodies. After all, it boasts of 1200+ outlets, over 200 dining choices, and loads of amusement and entertainment options including the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, KidZania Duba and VR Park Dubai.

The Dubai Fountain Show

A must-see for all age groups, this fountain show on Burj Lake outside of Dubai Mall will take your breath away with its intricate harmony of water, light and music. It’s a free attraction unless you choose to watch it from a premium vantage point like Dubai Fountain Boardwalk, Burj Lake Abra Ride or a restaurant facing the fountain.

Palm Jumeirah

Marvels of engineering and extraordinary sights

Want to experience Dubai’s unequalled modernity with a distinct, laidback-appeal? If so, head to its legendary Palm Jumeirah. This man-made island is famous for its unique palm tree design topped off by a crescent. Staying here, you'll also be close to some of the region’s stunning sights which make Dubai world-famous.

  • Location: At the Interchange 5 of Sheik Zayed Road, between Dubai Internet City and Jebel Ali Port.

  • Nearest Metro Station: Dubai Internet City

  • Distance from Dubai International Airport: Approximately 30 Minutes

The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.

The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai. Photo by giggel, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Best attractions and experiences in Palm Jumeirah

If you decide to stay in this area, here are some attractions and experiences you won't want to miss:

Atlantis, The Palm

This five-star resort on the island’s crescent part is an epicenter of fantastic accommodation, sumptuous dining and remarkable leisure attractions. It's also the site of the Aquaventure Water Park, Lost Chambers Aquarium and Dolphin Bay, among others.

Palm Fountain Show

The recently launched attraction at Palm Jumeirah’s Pointe is the world’s largest fountain show where the perfect synchronization of water, light and music result in a spectacle like no other. It is also the region’s first colored show.

The view from Palm Tower

Did you know that an aerial experience like sky diving or a helicopter ride used to be the only way to take in the exact shape and structure of Palm Jumeirah? But not anymore! The brand-new observation deck inside Palm Tower allows you to admire this island in its true grandeur - while keeping your feet on (relatively) solid ground.

Deira

Affordable shopping and local culinary delights

For budget-conscious visitors traveling to Dubai, this neighborhood is an absolute treat. This area is rife with traditional bazaars that are locally called souks, along with tonnes of cafes, restaurants etc serving the most scrumptious and authentic local delicacies such as shawarma, falafels and kunafah.

  • Location: Deira is a part of Old Dubai which also encompasses Bur Dubai and Dubai Creek areas.

  • Nearest Metro Station: Union, Deira City Centre and Gold Souk Metro Station

  • Distance from Dubai International Airport: Approximately 15 Minutes

    The Spice Souk in Deira, Dubai

    The Spice Souk in Deira, Dubai Syedphotography, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Best Attractions and Experiences

From traditional markets to authentic restaurants, Deira's attractions give you a peek into another side of Dubai.

Gold Souk

This traditional market has hundreds of thousands of shops all dedicated to selling gold jewelry. Even if you don’t plans for shopping here, be sure to check out this souk completely clad in unmatched shine and glitter.

Spice Souk

It’s difficult for the connoisseurs of tastes to leave out this bazaar in Dubai. From the rarest and most aromatic to most exceptional quality, you’ll find here all types of spices at super reasonable rates.

Al Ahmadiya School

This modest sand-colored structure holds the credit of being the region’s first public school.

Dubai Dolphinarium

Located inside one of Dubai’s oldest and largest parks, its main highlight is 45 minutes dolphin and seal show which is a hit among grown-ups and kids alike.

Deira City Centre

This is one of the absolute places for shopping, dining and entertainment in the neighbourhood.

Al Fahidi

Best neighbourhood for culture and history

There are many quintessential experiences such as Desert Safari Dubai that allow you for a genuine look at the region’s ancient culture and lifestyle. But for those who wish to feel the real spirit and allure of old Arabia or Dubai, the Al Fahidi neighbourhood in Bur Dubai is the ideal place to stay. Delightfully detached from modern Dubai, you'll find quaint narrow streets and modest dwellings throughout the 19th century Al Bastakiya Quarter (officially Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood).

  • Location: Close to Dubai Creek, in Bur Dubai.

  • Nearest Metro Station: Al Fahidi Metro Station

  • Distance from Dubai International Airport: Approximately 20 Minutes

The Dubai Musuem in the historic Al Fahidi neighbourhood of Dubai.

The Dubai Musuem in the historic Al Fahidi neighbourhood of Dubai. Photo by أمين علوان, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Best attractions and experiences in Al Fahidi

Staying here, you'll have the opportunity to go beneath Dubai's glitzy exterior and discover more about its history and culture.

Dubai Museum

The museum is located inside Dubai’s oldest fort in Al Fahidi Fort. Its many inspiring arts and artifacts on display shed light on Dubai’s pre-oil phase and humble past.

Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding:

Whether you wish to know about the Emirati culture, history, religion or even cuisines, this is the most authentic spots to be in Dubai.

Textile Souk

This market is perfect for anyone who wants to return home with stunning Dubai souvenirs, striking clothing and cool jewelry at bargain rates.

Coffee Museum

Neither Dubai nor the UAE is be the birth place of coffee, but it certainly is indispensable to the region’s culture and history. This museum is a testament for this!

Jumeirah

Perfect for beach lovers or a romantic break

You don’t have to travel any far for a refreshing dose of seaside vibe in Dubai. With its smorgasbord of compelling sights, relaxed ambience, top-notch dining and eclectic amusement choices, this coastal neighborhood is a favorite of beach bums, fun-seekers and honeymooners.

  • Location: Jumeirah encompasses Jumeirah 1, Jumeirah 2 and Jumeirah 3 regions

  • Distance from Dubai International Airport: Approximately 20 Minutes

The Jumeirah Beach in Dubai.

The Jumeirah Beach in Dubai. Photo by pe-sa, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Best attractions and experiences in Jumeirah

There are enough exciting attractions in Jumeirah to keep you occupied for the length of your stay and more. Here are a few favourites to get you started.

Burj Al Arab

This sail-shaped structure, set on its own private island, is renowned as one of the world’s most luxurious hotels. You can choose to stay here or access its extravagant interiors on a culinary session or simply take a selfie against its majestic backdrop.

Jumeirah Mosque

One of the region’s oldest mosques, Jumeirah Mosque is renowned for its stunning medieval Fatimid architecture style.

La Mer

This vibrant hotspot in Jumeirah is especially famous for its chic ambience and attractionsincluding Laguna Water Park(with one of the world’s ultimate surfing attractions).

Kite Beach

This is more than a place to relax and enjoy invigorating sea breeze. It also provides superb facilities for activities like kite surfing, parasailing, windsurfing, skating etc.

Madinat Jumeirah

This is an Arabian style accommodation complex with four luxurious hotels and some 40 plus dining choices, complemented by world-class recreation and shopping attractions (such as Madinat Souk.)

Dubailand

Best for families, kids and the young-at-heart

Dubailand is a carefully planned neighborhood with a range of accommodations, cultural landmarks and attractions that are ideal for families with little ones.

  • Location: It lies off Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road.

  • Nearest Metro Station: Rashidiya Metro Station or First Gulf Bank

  • Distance from Dubai International Airport: Approximately 30 Minutes

Al Marmoom Heritage Village

Al Marmoom Heritage Village

Best attractions and experiences in Dubailand

From amusement parks to malls and camel races, there's plenty to do in this neighbourhood that will keep the whole family entertained.

IMG Worlds of Adventure

For those who don’t know, it’s the world’s largest indoor theme park. From IMG Boulevard and Lost Valley to the classic Marvel and Cartoon Network, it four zones across this 1.5 million square feet facility have something for all age groups.

Global Village

This amusement venue is where you can experience the cultures, cuisines and other specialties of about 80 countries under a single roof. Don’t miss it; but this is a seasonal attraction open only during winter months from October to April.

Al Marmoom Heritage Village

Al Marmoom is most popular being the venue of Dubai’s iconic camel race. More than that, it boasts of a Camel Hospital and a heritage market (open only in March – April.)

Dubai Marina

Exuberant nightlife and glamorous views

As the sun goes down, Dubai Marina is one of the best places to be in Dubai, especially if you wish to see the floodlit version of the city skyline in its entire splendor.

  • Location: At the interchange 5 of Sheik Zayed Road and is between Dubai Internet City and Jebel Ali Port.

  • Nearest Metro Station: Dubai Marina station

  • Distance from Dubai International Airport: Approximately 25 Minutes

    Dubai Marina at night.

    Dubai Marina at night. Photo by Iwona Rege, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Best attractions and experiences at the Dubai Marina

While there's a range of exciting nightlife options at the Dubai Marina, the best experiences are the ones that offer spectacular views of the city.

Dhow Cruise

You can go on a traditional dhow cruise which promises you a stunning vantage point of the region’s most iconic and classy attractions such as Cayan Tower.

XLine Dubai

It’s nothing but the world’s swiftest, steepest and longest urban zipline. And this is especially for our adventurists who wish to see the grandeur of Dubai Marina from a sky-high perspective.

Final thoughts

These are all great options

As you can see, you're spoiled for choice when choosing where you should stay in Dubai. Wherever you choose, you can be sure it will be safe, complete with multitude of accommodation, shopping, and dining choices.

Most neighbourhoods are also easily accessible with public transport only minutes away, so the glitz and glamour of this striking desert city are never far away.

About the author

Neha is a travel blogger who enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and learning about the local culture and food. She is always looking forward to visiting new places and likes to play tennis in her spare time. You can read more of her writing at DubaiWikia.com

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