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Arts & Culture

Admire art on a walking tour of Dubai

Tue, April 6, 2021

Creativity and retail merge in this tour of the city's most creative districts.

Creativity and retail merge in this tour of the city's most creative districts.

1

Park life at Al Khazzan

al-khazzan-park

Start your day at Al Khazzan Park on the edge of Dubai’s bustling Satwa neighbourhood. The park is entirely powered by solar energy and is instantly recognisable by its towering 40m-high blue and white water tank.

For a creative spin on café culture, stop by Inn the Park. Order a coffee and cake at Dubai’s first solar-powered cafe as you browse through the fantastic selection of Arabian-themed books and magazines at the onsite open-air library. With a nod to Dubai’s maritime history, the eco-friendly spot also features walls carved from reclaimed native coral.

2

Bright lights of City Walk

Head southwest on 2nd December Street to Al Safa Street and wander over to City Walk. Surrounded by LED screens and bustling with activity at all hours of the day, the central plaza is the epicentre of one of the world’s most futuristic lifestyle districts.

City Walk seamlessly blends entertainment, shopping and dining, alongside boutique hotels and chic residential apartments. The area is also home to the Dubai Walls Project, where 15 of the world’s best-known urban artists have made their mark on the city’s eclectic art scene.

With striking architecture reminiscent of European streets, take a stroll and explore City Walk’s designer stores, such as Antonio Marras, Diane von Furstenberg and Ralph Lauren, while admiring the work of street artists from around the globe.

3

In the frame at Central Plaza

Walk towards City Walk’s central plaza and you'll find walls decorated with the work of American contemporary artist Ron English in his signature POPaganda style, competing for attention with Beau Stanton’s stunning shifting maritime mural also nearby.

Have your camera at the ready for a selfie next to the work of British graffiti artist, Nick Walker, titled ‘I Heart Dubai’ or New York artist Aiko’s colourful lady wearing a kimono. Continue your tour past works by Eelus, whose image of a girl with an umbrella under a rainbow rain shower is another top Instagram pick.

4

Fuel up with gourmet gems

Circle back to the central plaza and follow the twinkling lights down the path towards La Ville Hotel & Suites. Dine at Chival, a cosmopolitan restaurant with a carefully-curated menu that celebrates ‘global social’ cuisine or head upstairs to LookUp, a rooftop lounge with spectacular views of Burj Khalifa.

There are many other dining options nearby, such as The Square that features Toro + Ko, the home of spectacular Spanish cuisine, and Lima Dubai, the brainchild of celebrated chef Virgilio Martínez Véliz who presents a delicious twist on traditional Peruvian classics. The restaurants are also popular choices for Friday brunch.

5

Local art at 2nd December Street

Step outside the hotel and walk along Multaqa Street to admire the transformative calligraphy artwork by el Seed on the facade of The Green Planet, an impressive indoor rainforest in Dubai.

If you’re short on time, take a taxi to the 2nd December Street nearby or carry on walking to see the home of local graffiti-inspired art. The street presents a series of 12 large-scale building murals, woven around the theme of the UAE’s history and heritage, thanks to the Dubai Street Museum Project.

A 30-minute loop around both sides of the street showcases the talent of acclaimed international artists including photorealist pioneer Case Maclaim, who crafted a close-up of gahwa (Arabic coffee) and German artist 1010’s 3D mural, Hole in the Wall, that symbolises the country in shape and colour – yellow for sun and sand; blue for sea and sky.

Don’t miss the delectable food on offer at the street’s low-key eateries (see our picks here), including Al Mallah Restaurant before wrapping up the tour at the other end, close to the Etihad Museum. Come back another day to explore this complex by the Union House, where the United Arab Emirates was formally established as a country in 1971.

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