The city’s top four arts and culture hubs
Spearheaded by art festivals and a thriving community of local and regional talent, Dubai is an important destination for culture lovers. Many of the city's galleries can be found among four main art hubs, each with its own distinctive identity.
Industrial area Al Quoz has emerged as a trendy district, with a plethora of galleries, cafes and concept stores sprouting up within and around industrial warehouses.
Alserkal Avenue is the go-to address for all things arty in Dubai. It's home to galleries, studios and performance art venues that make the most of the generous minimalist spaces. Plus, with cultural hubs like The Fridge, restaurant pop-ups and an eclectic calendar of events in the area, it’s a definite stop for the cultural traveller. Don’t know where to start? Head to Carbon 12 and
Green Art Gallery.
Also in Al Quoz is The Courtyard, which houses some of the city’s coolest retail and cafe concepts.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
The upscale Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) houses a selection of high-end galleries and some of the city's finest restaurants – think La Petite Maison and Zuma – alongside the biggest banks and financial institutions.
A must-visit in DIFC is the Farjam Foundation, an initiative involving local and international organisations to give audiences a greater understanding of Islamic art and culture. Other great spots include Cuadro Fine Art Gallery, Opera Gallery and The Empty Quarter, a space dedicated to fine art photography. Keep an eye out for DIFC’s bi-annual ‘Art Nights’ – a free-to-attend event with incredible exhibitions, art installations and live music.
The district is also home to the regional outposts of Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses – adding weight to the district’s cultural credentials.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Take a walk down memory lane and discover artistic excellence in the midst of tradition and culture. Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, located by the charming Dubai Creek, houses respected art galleries within the rooms and courtyards of its historic houses.
One of the oldest galleries here is XVA, where you will find not only fine Middle Eastern art but a courtyard cafe and boutique hotel comprising rooms with locally-inspired decor. You can walk a bit further to Majlis Gallery, which plays host to varied exhibitions, from photography to sculpture. The neighbourhood is also where the annual community-led Sikka Art Fair is hosted.
Dubai Design District
Dedicated to the city’s design industry, Dubai Design District (d3) is touted as an ecosystem for emerging talent and creative thinkers. It’s also a hub for fashion labels, a popular shopping and dining promenade, and a sprawling venue for prominent design events such as Dubai Design Week.
d3 houses an eclectic range of art galleries that add to its creative and cultural mix, such as the Sconci Art Gallery. The reputed gallery from Rome – founded by artistic director Dr. Stefano Sconci – entered the growing Dubai art scene in 2015, bringing Italian cultural tradition to the city. Other notable galleries here include Art Hub, Citizen E, Sinyar and East Wing.
Dubai hosts world-class art events and exhibitions throughout the year, so stay up to date with Dubai Calendar.