There’s plenty to do that’s off the beaten track.
Unfortunately, many of us choose to ignore other avenues altogether when traveling. But when you’re traveling and hoping to get to know the place as the locals do, it’s helpful to skip the tourist attractions.
In Dubai, that daring leap pays off if you opt not to be a typical tourist. Read on for tips on alternative things to see and do that show you another side to Dubai.
1. Getting Around
You can start off experiencing the city differently by how you travel. For a completely different experience of getting from A to B, try an abra, a small, motorized water taxi that plies its trade across the Dubai Creek. It’s cheap, and as they hold up to twenty people, you could make some new friends, too.
There is, however, no shame in striving for comfort. If you are trying to experience Dubai like a local but you aren’t familiar with the city, then it can be helpful to hire someone who is. Hiring a local taxi service, such as a comfort driver from Comfort Drive, means you will meet experienced, punctual chauffeurs who know the city inside out so. Your driver can help you find the wonders of the city as well as its best-kept gems.
2. Be a Culture Vulture
If art and culture are your thing, head to Alserkal Avenue. This small block in a former industrial area called Al Quoz is home to art galleries, a theater, and cool cafes. A year-long program of events features markets, play performances, and concerts.
Another great place to visit is BOX PARK, on Al Wasl Road. This outdoor mall has trendy restaurants and boutique shops to sample, all constructed out of shipping containers. After dark, the containers are illuminated vivid colors of pink, purple and blue.
3. Go Sky Diving
It’s not for everyone, but if free-falling from 13,000 feet above The Palm Jumeirah at 120 miles an hour is what gets you going, then book your slot with Skydive Dubai. Plump for a tandem skydive, and you’re harnessed to one of their experienced instructors.
There’s a choice of two locations, the Palm or the Desert Dropzone, above Dubai’s sandy dunes. You can also pay to receive an Instagram-friendly video of you hurtling through the air, as a souvenir of the trip.
4. Explore the Souks
For a glimpse of the Old Dubai, make tracks for the souks, or traditional Arab markets. Crowded alleyways and tiny shops teem with a visual feast of gold, spices, hand-woven textiles, and organic fruit and vegetables. Take your time wandering around, and you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Don’t be shy when it comes to haggling. If you’re after gold, silver, and other gems, the Gold Souk is probably the best in the world for designer jewelry or everyday wear. The gold, spice, and perfume souks are all within walking distance of each other on the Deira side of Dubai Creek.
5. Time for Brunch
There are plentiful ways to indulge your inner foodie, and Dubai is renowned for its brunch scene. The best days to go are on Fridays and sometimes Saturdays, when restaurants offer all-you-can-eat brunches. Visit Ewaan at the Palace Downtown, Nobu at Atlantis in the Palm Jumeirah, or Coya at the Four Seasons in Jumeirah for a truly rich and varied spread.
6. Visit the Opera
In a place full of jaw-dropping architecture, the Dubai Opera building is pretty awe-inspiring. Since its opening in 2016, this 2,000-seat, multi-format performance venue has been home to some of the world’s most popular operas and musicals, including CATS, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and La Boheme. It also plays host to classics, such as Puccini’s Turandot, and dance performances from visiting companies such as Shanghai Opera House Dance Ensemble.
7. Check Out the Falcon Hospital
The falcon plays an important part in Emirati culture, and this hospital in Abu Dhabi receives thousands of beaked patients and their owners for check-ups and surgery. Book a hospital tour to interact with the birds.
With a wide variety of activities on offer, you won’t regret your Dubai experience no matter how far off the beaten track you go.
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