Who wants to be a boring tourist, just doing all the things that everyone else does? Probably not you! If you are looking to go off the beaten track and genuinely get a deeper feel and understanding of Dubai, then read on for five not-to-miss, non-touristy stops for your Dubai itinerary.
1. Dubai Creek
While most tourists will opt to take a cruise along the Dubai Creek, you should also spend some time observing the local workers packing the shops that come in and out of the Dubai Creek for trade. These imports and exports are the most significant reminder of the city’s history.
Using the traditional wooden boats (dhows), the workers load the packages into the ships just as they have always done. What is fascinating about this packing system is that there is nothing modern or sophisticated about it, unlike the rest of Dubai.
If you genuinely want to get to the heart of the place, here is where you can witness it still steadily beating.
2. The Third Line
Art is an essential insight into every culture, and this remains true in Dubai where there is an abundance of art galleries and museums. However, The Third Line stands out because it concentrates mainly on contemporary Middle Eastern Art.
Founded in 2005, The Third Line has created a vibrant catalogue that examines the variety of creativity in the region and the greater diaspora.
By representing Middle Eastern artists, strengthening the awareness of their art overseas, and regenerating Dubai’s art scene, The Third Line has performed a notable role in the art world in the UAE.
If you are interested in art, then while you are in Dubai you certainly must visit The Third Line.
3. The Coffee Museum
Coffee is a drink that a large percentage of people around the world enjoy consuming on a regular basis, which is why the Coffee Museum in the Al Bastakiya Quarter is a hot-spot for those who are looking to increase their knowledge about the beverage.
Flavors differ from country to country, region to region, and this museum does a fantastic job of showing and explaining this, while also providing an opportunity for visitors to taste different coffees while appreciating the classical architecture.
In addition to getting your caffeine fix, you will also have the opportunity to browse through antique items and learn more about roasting and brewing local Arabic coffee.
Somewhat surprisingly, many tourists seem to forget that this museum exists in Dubai, so don’t make that same mistake! After drinking all the coffee, make sure to check out one of the many fabulous restaurants in Dubai.
4. Alserkal Avenue
To get a thorough view of the diversity of Dubai, you have to see the old areas, the new areas, and the hip areas. For trendy cafes, art galleries, farmers markets, and the like, you want to go to Alserkal Avenue.
Here, the young hipsters of Dubai gather and hang out in the formerly industrial area. You could easily spend a whole day visiting this part of town (especially if there is an event going on, as there often is) and it will give you another taste of the incredible city.
5. Souk MadinatJumeirah
Dubai is a shopping haven and is known around the globe thanks to The Dubai Mall, the biggest shopping mall in the world.
However, if you are looking to experience something slightly more authentic, then the souks (markets) are where you want to head. There is a camel souk, a carpet souk, a gold souk, a fabric souk, a spice souk, as well as the central souk where you can buy the best oriental carpets — to name a few!
If you are a fashion lover, Souk MadinatJumeirah is a must-see, as it is a modern twist on the traditional Arabic market. Imitating the style and design of a souk, here you can find an abundance of shops selling jewelry, clothes, and shoes from all around the Middle East.
You will even see views of the Burj Al Arab while you are spending! To ensure you have enough money to buy lots of souvenirs, make sure you opt for one of the best hotel deals in Dubai.
Have you ever traveled to Dubai? Would you like to go on a trip there soon? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!
Habib Khan is a seasoned Hotelier, currently the CEO of Planet Hospitality and General Manager of Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa. Khan has more than 30 years of diversified international experience in the hospitality industry. He is an expert in developing, transforming, and managing hotels, with an ability to analyze and solve problems in a challenging work environment.