Dubai now has a thriving expat community. People come from all over the world to work in trade, finance and a range of other industries, drawn by now only great job opportunities, but also the fantastic lifestyle in this cutting-edge city. However, we can’t work all the time and it is import to take some time for R&R on the weekend. On that note, what activities and attractions are available for some much-needed downtime in Dubai? Let’s take a look at the city’s best weekend activities.
Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa
When you live in a city you can sometimes forget to visit its tourist attractions, however these spots, like the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa are worth checking out, even if you now consider yourself a local. There is a reason why visitors flock in their thousands to see the Dubai Mall. The second largest mall in the world, this complex is truly impressive, with 1,200 shops, 22 cinema screens and countless restaurants and cafes. And how many malls have aquariums and ski slopes inside them?
While you’re here, why not check out the world’s tallest building? The views from the top of the Burj Khalifa are truly spectacular. The building is 160 storeys tall and tops out at 829.8m. You can buy tickets to the “At the Top” observation deck which is 452m off the ground and allows you to take in all of Dubai and the landscapes beyond.
Go to The Beach
What better way to cool of in the harsh UAE sun than by going to the beach? There are a few options for beaches in and around Dubai, but Jumeirah is a perennial favourite. Officially called “The Beach by JBR”, this stretch of sand is opposite The Walk promenade at Jumeirah Beach residences. Here you can relax on the sand, take a dip or enjoy the range of juice bars and burger restaurants on the beachfront. There is also some great shopping to be had here, as well as activities such as water sports and camel rides.
Another great beach, particularly for those who like to keep active, is Kite Beach. This spot is a centre for kite surfing, as the name suggests, but also offers other water sports such as stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. There are some great activities on shore here too: you’ll find a skate park, play area and outdoor trampoline. For a quieter option and a lazy day by the sea, you can also try La Mer.
It is easy to get caught up in the hyper-modern glamour of Dubai and forget that this city also has a rich history. Weekends are a great time to check out some of the sites in Dubai Creek and get to know more about Dubai’s fascinating historic routes. Dubai Creek is the historic centre of the city and many say it will always be its heart. Many centuries ago the Bani Yas tribe settled on the banks of this saltwater estuary and thrived thanks to pearl diving and fishing.
You can learn more at the Dubai Museum, which covers many aspects of the history of the city and the lives of the people who lived here over the centuries. Another activity not to be missed is visiting the old gold, spice and textile souks located in this part of town, and get lost in the labyrinth of alleyways here. For a real experience you can even ride across Dubai water in a traditional abra vessel, which at a cost of just AED1 per person has to be one of the best value activities in town!
A little further afield, but easily manageable in a weekend trip is Fujairah. This spot is around a three hour drive from Dubai, so makes a nice weekend getaway. It is situated to the east of Dubai along the Arabian Gulf, in a beautiful location in the shadow of the mountains, which makes a nice change from the very flat desert around Dubai! Activities and attractions in Fujairah include Wadi Wurayah, the “Grand Canyon of the UAE”, a place of great natural beauty where you can go hiking and mountain climbing, and where you’ll find tranquil waterfalls and streams for swimming. The area also has some fascinating historical sites such as the oldest mosque in the UAE, the Al Badiyah Mosque.
Whether enjoying the decadence of modern Dubai, delving in the history of the city of old, relaxing on the beach, or heading a few hours out of town to discover spectacular new landscapes, there is plenty to keep you entertained on the weekend in Dubai!