As most of my readers are from Saudi Arabia and I know how much you guys love Dubai. Here are some recommendations from the gorgeous Abbie! You can check out more on her life in Dubai through her blog www.kidgnarly.me
When you think of Dubai, you think “Skyscrapers”, “City Life”, and my personal favorite, “The Future” – because it is (bless this City). What I love most, is that it still sticks to its roots. You can feel and see the pride of the locals, knowing that they are progressing as a Country, but not turning their backs on who they are, most importantly, their culture. There’s a trace of Dubai everywhere. Does that make sense?
I first came to Dubai in 2012. Growing up in Saudi Arabia, I thought I had it all figured out, I thought the only change would be was that I wasn’t really required to be covered anymore, but boy was I wrong. I had a very weird feeling during my first two days here, and not in a bad way (weird doesn’t always mean “bad”), but I couldn’t really put a finger on it. I later realized that it was because I knew I was in the Middle East, but it felt like I wasn’t.
Fast forward to July 2017, and I am now few months shy of turning a year since I sorted 20 years worth of boxes and belongings, packed my bags and moved here — and still so much of this place to see!
There are a handful of websites that would tell you about Dubai’s Hidden Gems. Lucky for me, I have friends who were born and raised here, and one of them has already taken me to several of my favourite places in the City. One of my most favourite things about Dubai is that it’s such a pedestrian-friendly City! With the help of the metro, you could make the rest of your trip basically by foot after hopping off of the station.
There are surely TONS more to go to, but here’s a peek of what I’ve seen so far :
One of my MOST favourite places to ever go to is AL SERKAL AVENUE. I love it so much, I wrote an entire Blog Entry about it. It’s located in Al Quoz, one of the Industrial Parts of Dubai. The team behind Al Serkal turned several Warehouses in a “compound” into Art Galleries, and is home to several Vegan/Organic Cafes. I go there to unwind and stare at art for HOURS on end. Wild and The Moon is one of my favourite Vegan restaurants, and I AM NOT EVEN VEGAN. That says a lot.
Since I brought up Art in Dubai, there’s an Annual Art Festival called SIKKA ART FAIR. It’s hosted in one of Dubai’s oldest neighbourhoods, Al Fahidi — rich in Culture and History, it’s definitely the PERFECT venue to hold exhibits with art done by locals and Middle Eastern talent. There’s a stage in the centre of the venue where songs, poetries and spoken words are performed. The XVA Art Hotel and Cafe is also located here, and I would definitely recommend for people to check in there for a taste of Old Dubai.
Of course, being a Musical/Broadway geek, you know I wouldn’t wouldn’t wouldn’t miss out on shows held at the DUBAI OPERA. I saw Les Mis thrice, no kidding. I grew up watching it and there was no way I was going to watch it once.
My Husband and I are foodies so we like going to Food Truck “Festivals”, several of them held by Truckers Dubai by the Marina and Burj Park.
One of our favourite restaurants are Serendipity. There are several of them around Dubai, but this one’s at City Walk, also one of our favourite places to go to because of all the walking we get to do (if you want to explore Dubai, best to do it by foot!).
We spent New Year in Abu Dhabi to watch Coldplay, so we made sure we passed by the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. We rented a room through AirBnB which is awesome because we get so many tips on how to get around the City!
I owe a lot to my friend Tin, who introduced me to GuavaPass (she took me to Al Serkal too), as well as some of my favourite work out places in Dubai (Round 10, A-Tone to name a few). She took me to Life N One in Jumeirah for Yoga one morning, and had breakfast at the Restaurant downstairs — it was like we were in our own little Oasis, and the food was GOOD (and healthy!!!).
A visit AT THE TOP is a must, definitely, but instead of catching the Sunset, why not try the Sunrise?
I haven’t had the chance to go back to Zabeel Park yet, but I definitely imagine laying down on a mat under one of those trees and falling asleep after tearing through a few pages of my current read. I usually imagine this while I lie in bed on weekends, feeling too lazy to get out.
I’m not quite fond of the IBN BATTUTA MALL, but I do adore adore adore the outdoor Food Court. This was taken when we had dinner at Zaroob, a local restaurant. It’s got some of the best Shawarmas EVER.
My friend Muha took me to Zero Gravity recently, and I do plan to return. However, since I’m mostly on a budget, Kite Beach and JBR’s fine by me. Not to mention, my love for Salt’s Breakfast Burger!
At the end of the day, I try to look at the sun setting as much as I can, and just take it all in. The struggles, and the beauty of living in Dubai. It really is everything you’d hope (and heard) it would be!