Think you know everything about Dubai? Think again
A trailblazing museum, stunning theme parks, groundbreaking leisure developments and a fashion-obsessed lifestyle district… discover the surprising side of Dubai.
Dubai’s hip crowd has been flocking to La Mer, an urban beachfront destination combining sun and sand with shopping and style. With turquoise waters, white sands and funky murals, this destination brings a splash of colour to the upscale Jumeirah neighbourhood. Take a stroll across the strip’s two main spaces, La Mer South and La Mer North, where you can enjoy the laidback vibes at over 130 shops, cafes, restaurants and beach activities.
Take a plunge at the adventurous Laguna Waterpark and an all-ages surf park, as well as more entertainment and leisure facilities. Visitors can also soak up the sunshine along the redeveloped beaches, with sun-loungers and cabanas available to rent (for an especially chilled out afternoon, hop on to the shoreside hammock).
Dubai Parks and Resorts
A surprisingly short drive from Downtown, Dubai Parks and Resorts is a collection of theme parks with a difference. First up is Legoland Dubai, with more than 40 themed rides, shows, Lego-building experiences and attractions, and a mix of fun splash pads and heart-pumping slides at Legoland Water Park. Next door is Bollywood Parks Dubai, the first theme park of its kind in the world, which brings to life the magic and talents of the most popular Bollywood stars through dazzling stage shows and exciting rides.
Combining the star power of three of Hollywood’s biggest studios – DreamWorks Animation, Columbia Pictures and Lionsgate – is the Motiongate Dubai theme park, home of your favourite animated and live-action films, including Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and The Hunger Games. Add a visit to your Dubai trip itinerary and be immersed in Dubai’s playful side.
A short drive from Burj Khalifa, you’ll find City Walk, an expansive retail and entertainment development, which is the perfect outdoor spot on a winter evening. Inside, find thriving greenery and a European-styled boulevard of shops and restaurants. Dining options are vast and include coffee at Brass Cafe, Indian gastronomy at Farzi Café and New York-style fare at Sarabeth's. The prestige retail strip includes Whistles, Georg Jensen, Dinh Van Paris, Karl Lagerfeld, Barbara Bui, Weekend Max Mara, Rag & Bone, Gucci and more.
Shopping aside, you can watch a movie at Roxy Cinemas, or explore a rainforest at Green Planet – a state-of-art bio dome.
Dubai Design District
Dubai's style set put their best foot forward at Dubai Design District, known also as d3. This urban development is dedicated to the fashion industry as well as other types of professional design, attracting major labels looking to make an impact, as well as local and Arab designers after a chic space to showcase their styles.
While d3 is the spot for fashionistas, another major draw is the hip cafes and restaurants. Try the signature tarte tartines at Chez Charles, Mediterranean fare at The Lighthouse or enjoy a modern spin on French cuisine at Molecule, where you can rub shoulders with the city’s creative set.
Part of a series of cultural developments that's transforming Dubai's historical district of Al Shindagha, the Perfume House is a significant new opening in the city. Embark on an aromatic journey at what was once the former home of Sheikha Sheikha bint Saeed bin Maktoum, an avid perfumer herself. Designed to celebrate ancient Emirati techniques for making scented oils and perfumes that date back centuries, visitors can learn about exotic ingredients, priceless artefacts and the role perfumery plays in society.
Afterwards, explore the 'Dubai Creek: Birth of a City' – a state-of-the-art multimedia experience at Al Shindagha Museum that guides visitors through the city's dramatic development over centuries in a tour that uses interactive videos, touch displays and historic photographs to bring history to life.