So you are planning a trip to the world of exotic cars, gold vending machines, luxurious accommodations, and high-end shopping. Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is synonymous with glitz and glamour and excessive luxury, but there is a beautiful and authentic side of the city in the dessert that many fail to explore- and that surprisingly can be enjoyed with any budget!
Enjoy a 5 course Sit Down Buffet – That won’t set you back!
The United Arab Emirates is home to over 250 nationalities – and this diversity is reflected in the abundance of restaurants and cuisines scattered throughout the city. While shawarma shops and Arabic meats can be found on almost every corner, the city has some of the best and most authentic Indian/Pakistani food you can find. For a unique dining experience, Absolute BBQ will satisfy vegetarians and meat-eaters alike with their mix of sit-down BBQ meats and customized buffet options. When you first arrive you will notice the space for BBQ grills at each table- sit back and enjoy while tender BBQ meats and fish are brought to your table, accompanied by sides for days. BBQ corn, cauliflower, and mushrooms are just some of the vegetarian options, along with cheesy potatoes and fries. If that’s not enough, head to the customized station for some grilled duck, before heading to the large buffet of Arabic and South Asian favorites!
Check out Dubai’s Hipster Scene
Art galleries and museums are probably not the first things to come to your mind when you think about Dubai. However, the Al Quoz area is fast becoming a neighborhood full of hidden gems to be discovered. The entire area is dedicated to art galleries and performance spaces. The Green Art Gallery focuses on local talent and other artists across the Middle East. The Dubai Antique Museum, on the other hand, is a large market where you can find all the traditional souvenirs and traditional handicrafts to bring back for your friends. The neighborhood is also home to the Junction Dubai, which hosts locally produced plays as well as more internationally known features. If the art scene isn’t really your thing, you can still be entertained by improv shows, trampoline parks, escape rooms and board game cafes- all within walking distance or a quick and cheap cab ride!
Relax At A Beach And Waterpark
There are no shortages of public beaches in Dubai. Kite beach is famous for its family-friendly vibe and views of the Burj Al Arab. The beaches are pristine, clean and calm, and with temperatures that can generally be enjoyed all year round, Dubai’s beaches are a must-stop on any trip. For a unique experience, the recently opened entertainment venue of La Mer provides tourists with a one-stop shop for shopping, eating, relaxing and playing. The beach is beautiful, with water hammocks throughout, cabanas available for rent, and a large inflatable trampoline area for children. La Mer is also home to the Laguna Waterpark which features the region’s first 180-degree surf park, a lazy river, and an infinity pool. If that’s not enough to keep you entertained, you can choose to enjoy a meal at one of the over 40 restaurants and cafes- from authentic Turkish kebabs, to P.F. Chang’s and Pinkberry- you will find something for every palette.
Experience Dubai’s Infamous Brunches
If you are visiting Dubai for the first time, you may be unfamiliar with the almost religious culture of brunching every weekend in the city. These brunches, however, are not your typical waffles and eggs type of brunch with an occasional mimosa thrown in. Dubai is known to host elaborate buffet brunches that are essentially a massive 3-4 hour long party- every weekend (night brunches are even a thing here). While there are many family-friendly options at most of the resorts and hotels that offer games and activities for children alongside massive spreads, why not spend a day at the beautiful Anantara Palm Dubai Resort, lounging on the beach and enjoying access to the pool, before enjoying the Australian-themed ‘lazy lunch’ package. This brunch includes live music, beach and pool access, views of majestic over-water villas, and of course, unlimited food and (alcoholic) drinks, all for around $130 USD. What are you waiting for?
With so much to see in this magical city, it is impossible to capture it all in a weekend. We have left out the obvious attractions that everyone associates with Dubai, as there is truly so much more to explore! For a cheap and memorable experience, be sure to check out the Abra rides in Dubai Creek which will take you into old Dubai to visit spice souks and gold souks- all for about 0.30! Have you discovered a different side to the city? Let us know!