Discover Dubai’s Old Town
Uncover history, heritage and great food

A window into the vibrant day-to-day life of the city’s locals, Dubai’s Old Town is home to traditional markets, authentic meals and cultural experiences. Take a look at some of the city’s most iconic spots and learn something new.

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al fahidi metro station
  • For a taste of Emirati cuisine, head to Arabian Tea House in the neighbourhood

    Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

Arabian artistry

Transport yourself to old Arabia, and walk among the wind towers of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood where gypsum and coral buildings have been painstakingly restored to their original glory. A number of art galleries dot the area displaying everything from calligraphy to modern art.

But if you crave more than just culture, go to XVA, the unique art gallery that is also a hotel and café. If you have time to spare, stop by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, where visitors can learn more about Arabic culture, beliefs and lifestyles, and take part in a family style dining experience with traditional Emirati dishes.

dubai creek

    Cross the Creek on a traditional abra for just AED1 (one-way)

  • Al Seef, Dubai Creek
  • +971 4 317 3999

Crossing the Creek

Once the entryway to the Gulf’s most successful pearl-diving port, the Creek’s legendary presence is still felt today, with fishermen and merchants criss-crossing the calm waters in their traditional dhows. Visitors can also journey along the 3.2km long waterway that now winds its way from the Creek through to Business Bay thanks to the landmark urban development, Dubai Water Canal.

With an irresistible combination of heritage and hospitality, home-grown concepts and world-renowned brands, the Dubai Creek’s latest attraction – Al Seef – reveals another side to the city. A new cultural hub for discovering the area’s fascinating Bedouin roots and traditions, the district offers an authentic flash-back to the lifestyles of past generations. Stretching for 1.8kms of the Dubai Creek shoreline, the pedestrian-friendly Al Seef development includes a fully-operational marina, family-friendly dining boulevard and souk-inspired shopping.

spice souk

    Explore the city's original trading hubs

  • Bur Dubai / Deira, Dubai Creek

Market day

Is there a more iconic emblem of Arabia than Dubai’s famous souks? Since the city’s early days, merchants from neighbouring countries would sail in to peddle their wares here. Gold, perfumes and textiles are all on offer in these markets today.

The greatest sensory overload comes from the Spice Souk, which is alive with vibrant colours and aromas of some of the world’s most prized spices. Here, stalls are heaped high with celebrated spices, herbs and seasonings. Be sure to purchase a packet of zaatar – the region’s popular thyme-based herb mix used to flavour breads and meats – and don’t leave without a platter of Dubai’s famous dates.


    Local souks tend to close for a long lunch break, so it’s best to visit early evening or late afternoon.

dubai museum

    Entrance is AED3 for adults and AED1 for children under 6

  • Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai
  • +971 4 353 1862

Exhibits, A to Z

You’ll find Dubai Museum inside the city’s oldest intact building, Al Fahidi Fort. Originally built in 1781, the carefully-preserved historic building is filled with exhibits featuring impressive audio-video installations and life-sized dioramas.

The museum also houses galleries that recreate historic Arab houses, mosques, souks and date farms. Those keen to know more about the Dubai’s pearl diving roots can pour over the in-house exhibit on the trade, with sets of pearl merchant weights, scales and sieves on display. You can view artefacts from Africa and Asia, as well as local finds from several archaeological digs that date back to 3 BC.