Dubai City Guide

Dubai is a dazzling city of contrasts; a glistening metropolis powerhouse, surrounded by the never-ending Arabian desert. You’ll find local women and men floating in and around the city in their traditional abayas and kanduras, set against a backdrop of the tallest building in the world, uber chic cafes, and cosmopolitan venues. It is ever evolving and expanding but here are a few mainstays that will give you a well rounded experience of this unique destination:

What to Pack:

  • One of the most frequently asked questions I receive about my trips to Dubai is “what did you wear?” There is a lot of uncertainty around what is acceptable when it comes to dressing in this city. Truthfully, it has come a long way since my first visit in 2010 (when it was still considered risqué to wear a skirt that fell above the knee in the Dubai mall). I’ve returned a few times since and have always felt comfortable in maxi dresses, off-the-shoulder tops paired with linen pants, cropped jeans with cute tees and handcrafted slides from the souks. When it comes to dressing at night, I wear the same outfits and heels that I would when going out in NYC – a pair of Stuart Weitzman heels and an IRO cocktail dress. With the expat scene being so pervasive, and the local woman really interested in fashion, almost anything goes when it comes to dressing. Just as long as you steer away from overtly sexy, sheer garments, you’ll fit in just fine.

Where to Stay:

  • On my most recent visit to Dubai I was able to experience the brand new property, Renaissance Downtown Dubai, and absolutely loved it! Though certain restaurants were still under construction, I was blown away by the quality of food at their in-house venues and the unparalleled views of the Burj Khalifa and creek.

What to See:

  • Alserkal Avenue – super modern arts hub in Dubai
  • Bastakia – old district with unique cafes and art galleries
  • Dubai Creek – makes you feel like you are back in time
  • Abra Ride – this will take you across the mainland to the souks
  • Souks – be prepared to bargain and pick-up spices, slippers, and gold
  • Dubai City Walk – a perfect way to get a glimpse of life in Dubai
  • Miracle Garden – a bit cheesy but with a little editing, great pic opportunities
  • Madinat Jumeirah – a great view of the Burj and manmade creek
  • Desert Safari (Platinum Heritage) – this is a must! Driving through the desert in Dubai is so special

What to Eat:

  • La Serre Bistro – very chic and perfect for breakfast
  • XVA Cafe – eclectic art style cafe
  • Comptoir 102 – really chic, french spot with cool indoor store
  • Flamingo Room by Tashas – glimmering and glamourous
  • La Cantine du Faubourg – perfect for an outdoor dinner
  • Zuma – amazing sushi

Where to Shop:

  • Dubai Mall – the largest mall in the world
  • Souks – again don’t miss the spice, slippers, gold, and perfume
  • Sauce – really unique local store
  • BHV Le Marais – a lot of local, highend designers
  • City Walk – you’ll find your big brands mixed in with locals

Where to Play:

  • 40 Kong – perfect rooftop bar with great tunes
  • Miss Lily’s – a fun Jamaican style restaurant/club
  • Chiringuito

What to See Outside the City:

  • Abu Dhabi day trip to see Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Louvre, and Saadiyat Beach Club – this is worth the investment to pay a driver to take you around
  • The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah Al Wadi Desert
  • Oman Musandam Dhow Cruise day trip

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