I must admit writing this is making me feel quite homesick, and I’m definitely experiencing some major #FOMO. After spending almost 20 years in this beautiful desert haven, I’ve carefully curated three categories that I think are applicable to the Dubai lifestyle: bougie, touristy, and low-key. If you’re ever in Dubai, make sure to check out these hotspots with your vina!
#BOUGIE: BRUNCH AT PIERCHIC
While technically Pierchic is considered to be the restaurant of ‘lurrrrrvvveee’ a.k.a The Most Romantic Restaurant in Dubai, it also does a super duper ‘chic’ brunch. I’ve been there with my vina for life (a.k.a my mum) 💘 and it was definitely worth the $$$ price tag. If you and your vina are big on seafood this is THE place to be. The fresh water Omani lobster and Norwegian prawns and grilled king scallops have always been my go to and favorite. You’re also surrounded by the most beautiful shades of turquoise and blue sea water as well as get a glimpse of the Burj Al Arab dubbed as the only 7-star hotel in the world.
#TOURISTY: DESERT SAFARIS (CLICHE BUT SO MUCH FUN!!)
If you have the BLESSED opportunity to visit Dubai between Oct to March, make sure to experience a desert safari. Whenever anyone I know visits for the first time, I make sure to schedule this all-day-fun activity for them. A full day adventure normally consists of dune bashing, crazy driving stunts by professional drivers, camel rides, a henna artist at the base camp, really, really good middle-eastern food, entertainment in the form of belly dancing, and the chance to experience the beautiful desert during night time. (Phew! I’m out of breath after all that!)
#LOW-KEY: AN ABRA TOUR OF THE CITY
Dubai has its own version of the famous Venice gondolas called Abra. Located by the Dubai Creek, these abras or traditional boats are a nice contrast to the modern visuals of the city that you come across. A popular mode of transport in the past, and present; for less that 30 cents you can cross the beautiful Dubai Creek from Old Souk Deira to Bur Dubai.
#BOUGIE: TURNT TUESDAYS
Some might say Dubai has a better nightlife than New York and London, and experiencing the nightlife Dubai has to offer is definitely worth checking out with your vina. My favorite clubs are Mo*vida & Cirque Le Soir. Mo*vida always has the best DJs & Urban artists playing (fun fact: I once met Drake here). Cirque Le Soir, a franchise of the famous London club, is definitely a place to be if you want to include theatrics into your clubbing experience!
A tip to remember, Dubai follows its ‘Dress to Impress’ to the T, so make sure to primp up for the night out. Also Dubai is big on Ladies nights and most clubs & bars have some sort of free drink system for girls on certain days of the week 👯🍻!
#TOURISTY: SNOW DAY WITH PENGUINS
If you’ve decided to visit this amazingly beautiful city in the summer in the boiling heat and are now regretting not taking that holiday to London or making a quick pit stop to the Alps – we’ve got you covered. Did you know Dubai is home to the World’s First Indoor Ski Resort? If an indoor ski resort with a 10-foot ramp, tube slides, and sightseeing chairlift doesn’t impress you, Ski Dubai also offers a once in a life time experience to meet their resident PENGUINS 🐧 !!!! This is definitely a tourist activity, but I did visit a second time when they introduced the penguins!
#LOW-KEY: HIDDEN GEMS OF DUBAI
One of Dubai’s best kept secrets is the cafeteria called Bu Qtair. Originally a shack with a parking lot space designated seating area, the new Bu Qtair- still a no frills set up – does have seating arrangements. Serving the ‘fresh catch of the day’ in fish and shrimps, the menu is limited, but that’s part of the charm. In one of the most affluent neighborhoods of Dubai, Jumeirah, coming across this budget friendly is a nice juxtaposition. Also the location which is in a harbor dock like area has a nice ambience to it, i’ve enjoyed a sunset or two while eating some 🌶🐟 spicy fried fish and paratha (Indian layered bread). Expect an hour to two hour long wait – you have been warned!
I could possibly suggest 10-20 other place within these categories, but chose my top 6 experiences. Dubai is an interesting mix of local, international, indoor, and outdoor activities. I would suggest planning a 10 day trip which would cover all of Dubai and possibly another Emirate or two. Keeping an open budget is also key, so plan with your vina accordingly.
(Feature Image: @stefaniegiesinger)