Where to eat, drink and be entertained in Downtown Dubai, whether you fancy some social or alone time
1 See the Dubai Fountain Made by the same folks who brought us the famous Bellagio Fountain in Las Vegas, is uninterrupted views of The Dubai Fountain. Throngs of people, smartphones held aloft, line the edges of the water outside The Dubai Mall to record a segment of the performance (which takes place every 30 minutes in the evenings). But you won’t have to elbow your way through the crowds to find your table, or stand on a chair to see the action if you pick a great restaurant nearby to take in the phenomenal scene. Try Mango Tree, Rivington Grill or Tolosa Bodega. Alternative take an abra ride in the Fountain for Dhs65 anytime from 5.45pm to 11.30pm.
2 Cool down on the Ice Rink Check out The Dubai Mall’s Olympic-sized skating rink. Skate hire and a 2-hour session is Dhs50. Kids will be able to move around, have fun and sharpen their skating skills on Dubai’s most popular ice rink. It’s also a great chance for them to shake the dust off their winter woolies! Two kids below 100cm can enjoy two hours of skating for Dhs25 each. An adult must accompany them (Dhs55 per adult for public skating sessions). www.dubaiicerink.com (04 448 5111)
3 Ride the Dubai trolley for free Downtown Dubai is full of many attractions to tourists and residents; the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall, The Dubai Fountain… And now there’s way to see it all in one sitting thanks to the Dubai Trolley, a red tram which transports people around to the various locations plus more. Travelling at 10 km/hour, Dubai Trolley offers easy access to The Dubai Mall, Souk Al Bahar and three landmark hotels in Downtown Dubai. The zero-emission hop-on hop-off transit system is the first-of-its-kind. Operational from 4pm to midnight on weekdays and from 3pm to 11pm on weekends, the double-decker trolley tram - bright red with aesthetic gold pin-stripes and green trim colours, featuring Arabesque design elements - can carry 50 passengers and will eventually span 7 km across the entire breadth of Downtown Dubai.
4 Take in the sights At The Top Fancy yourself as a steady hand with a camera? See how steady you are at more than 1,400ft. The observation deck on the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa, referred to as At The Top, is the world’s highest outdoor sightseeing platform. Amazing shots of the Dubai Fountain and the Burj Khalifa Park await you – after you have taken the longest elevator ride in the world, naturally. Dhs100 for adults aged over 13, Dhs75 for children aged 4-12; free for children aged 3 and under. Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Downtown Burj Khalifa, Dubai (04 888 8888).
5 Hang with marine life at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo This huge attraction features a 270-degree walk-through tunnel, an Underwater Zoo - located on Level 2 above the main aquarium tank - and presents the bio-diversity in different ecological zones including Rainforest, Rocky Shore and Living Ocean. It makes for a fun time for all the family and it won’t fail to amaze you with presentations and tours on offer. Tickets start at Dhs55 for children and Dhs70 for adults For further information: visit www.thedubaiaquarium.com or call: 04 448 5200.
6 Get your game on at Sega Republic Enjoy arcade games and theme park rides at the first development of its kind in the Middle East. Rides such as the Giant Slider or Sonic Hopper are Dhs15-30 each and games like Guitar Hero or Stinky Feet are Dhs8-25 each. Find it inside The Dubai Mall open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Telephone 04 448 8484 or visit www.segarepublic.com for more information.
7 Have some alone time at Emaar Pavilion A unique non-commercial cultural hub with two galleries and a café. It’s a cosy place for people hoping to get business done comfortably. There’s a free Wi-Fi connection and a reading area for those hoping to brush up on their architecture, design, construction and engineering knowledge. The space is open daily 10am-midnight. You can contact them on 04 447 7025 or visit www.Pavilion.ae.
8 Take the children to KidZania ‘Let’s pretend’ as you’ve never seen before, fighting fires, performing on stage and piloting a plane is all in a days work for Kidzania residents. Teach your brood about all kinds of career options at this indoor town for children. Once you’ve entered the town through the mini airport entrance, kids can try their hand at being a policeman, a rally driver, a hairdresser, and all sorts of other cool grown-up jobs. Dhs125 ages four-15 years, Dhs95 ages two-three, Dhs90 for accompanying adults, infants free. Dhs130 (kids aged four to 16); Dhs95 (kids aged two to three); Dhs90 (adults); free for kids under two. Open daily 10am-midnight. The Dubai Mall, www.kidzania.ae (04 448 5222).
9 Sprawl out in Burj Park A strip of perfectly manicured grass nestled in a pitch-perfect position overlooking the Burj Khalifa, what you get here is an interrupted, full-on vista of the world’s tallest building in all its glory. This expanse of greenery would be perfect for a picnic while gazing up at that view. Or you can opt for a cycle ride as there are bikes for hire by the park entrance. Pets aren’t allowed and it’s a cool place for bird-watching. Telephone (04 366 1688).
10 Hold an event at Burj Plaza Burj Plaza is a more intimate outdoor venue, set by Burj Park and featuring direct views of The Dubai Fountain. Sprawling over an area of 36,920 square feet, Burj Plaza can be customised to host anything from a corporate gala to a product launch, to a birthday party your guests won't soon forget. The outdoor courtyard at Burj Plaza is a real hidden gem for eager sightseers. Not only does it sit within a perfect view of the Burj Khalifa, but it also offers clear views of the fountains, without vying with others for space. Burj Plaza (04 457 2411).
11 Shop at The Dubai Mall It’s the largest shopping centre in the world so you know you’ll never be stuck for choice as far as spending your hard-earned cash is concerned. Whether you want to revamp your wardrobe, relieve childhood memories and purchase masses of sweets at Candylicious or stock up on beauty products at Crabtree and Evelyn, there’s so much on off at The Dubai Mall.
12 Check out The Souk for handicrafts This place is ideal for when you need a reminder that you’re in Dubai. Take a stroll through to see the gifts and crafts you can give to friends and family as souvenirs or get inspiration for the home with all the unique carpets and antiques available. Along the Arabic corridors you’ll also find some cool art pieces to take home.
13 Watch a movie at Reel Cinemas Sometimes seeing a film on the small screen just doesn’t quite cut it. And you can ramp up your experience with a concierge service at Reel in Downtown. For an additional Dhs30 per person only you could enjoy delivery of your food and beverages, while relaxing with a pillow and blanket. Like having the silver screen in your own home. Find it at Dubai Mall.
14 Visit the Armani Spa Sometime you just need to escape the hustle and bustle of Downtown. This way you can without actually leaving the area. We recommend enjoying a 50-minute rose petal body polish treatment at Armani/Spa. Using a delicately balanced combination of real rose petals and a choice of signature body scrub, your skin will be left glowing and feeling super soft. A floral-infused deep heat back treatment will follow, with a quick spritz of Giorgio Armani’s latest fragrances to end – Si Intense for her and Eau D’Aromes for him. Armani/Spa, Armani Hotel Dubai, Third floor, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3888).
15 Visit Vida Relax at a chilled-out al fresco brunch with 3in1’s Urban Picnic. Guests pick up a picnic basket on their way in and then choose a grassy spot around the pool or in the cabanas from where to enjoy the brunch. Chill out to tunes from the resident DJ from 1pm to 5pm. Dhs225 (with soft drinks), Dhs295 (with selected beverages), Dhs495 (with bubbly), additional Dhs100 per guest when booking cabana by the pool. Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown, www.vida-hotels.com (04 888 3444).
16 Relax at Sofitel Sofitel Dubai Downtown has a handful of exciting places for guests to kick back and relax after a hectic day. From high-end happy hours at Above to some serious r&r in SO Spa. Alternatively there’s High-Tea a la Francaise, available for one, two, four, six or eight guests. Discover La Patisserie in the lobby. Enjoy from an assortment of light bites and a ‘Plateau de Parisiennes’ pastries including Scones with White cream and strawberry preserves, French pastries, mini-éclairs, and macaroons all prepared by their five-star French pastry chefs. Telephone (04 503 6666).
17 Dine at At.Mosphere On the 122nd floor of the world’s tallest building is the world’s highest restaurant from ground level. In At.mosphere’s lounge you can marvel at the view of Dubai while sipping on unlimited teas, coffees and mocktails, and dining on a stunning selection of treats. Service is impeccable and the stylish lounge is formal. Armani Hotel Dubai, BurjKhalifa, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3444).
18 Have brunch at The Palace Downtown Dubai The Chef Jean-Luc Morcellet brunch At Ewaan’s spread consists of international cuisine with views overlooking the pool, while during the cooler months there is an outdoor brunch with views of the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Lake. Try Arabic specialities and continental cuisine with live cooking stations, plus a selection of international and traditional pastries along with house beverages. Dhs325 (with soft drinks), Dhs450 (with house beverages), Dhs695 (with bubbly). Friday 12.30pm-4pm. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, www.theaddress.com/en/hotels/the-palace-downtown-dubai, email@example.com (04 428 7888).
19 Hop on a bike When it gets too hot to take your wheels on the road, check out Flywheel Sports for some indoor cycling. Flywheel is open seven days a week and offers the fitness enthusiast and the serious cyclist the ideal workout. Featuring stadium-style cycling, 45 state-of-the-art custom Flywheel bikes, inspiring instructors, music curated by a DJ, performance-tracking technology... plus complimentary towels and cycling shoes, you’ve got all you need under one roof. Dhs120 (for one ride). Class timings vary, see website for full schedule. Burj Views, Downtown Dubai, dubai.flywheelsports.com (04 423 2544). Fitness classes available, Personal training available.
20 Take the kids to koffee Running every day, children can indulge in sweet treats from the menu, such as S’Mores, mini cakes, and the ‘Kiddicino’, let off some steam in the dedicated kids’ play area or try their hand at cookie decorating, and all for the pocket-friendly price of Dhs25! Dhs25 per child which includes one drink, one food item and a cookie decorating session. Koffeecake Kids Club runs daily, 8am-11pm on weekdays and 8am-12am on weekends. Rashid Boulevard, Downtown (04 432 1835).