Dubai was born of the creek, where today old-school dhows are lined up next to luxury yachts, succinctly reflecting the city’s past and present. Nothing beats the charm of walking through the souks in Deira, bargaining for textiles in Bur Dubai or having a cup of Arabic coffee in Bastakiya. We’ve been waiting a long time for Dubai Metro’s Green Line to open, not just because it will make it that much easier to get around the often traffic-congested areas, but also because it offers those people who have never ventured to Dubai’s ‘other side’ (including visitors) the chance to discover it in comfort. Sixteen of the Green Line’s stations will open on Friday September 9 (with the Jadaf and Creek stations to come at a later, as yet unconfirmed, date) – that’s 16 new areas to explore. Let Time Out reveal what you may have been missing…
The start of the Green line is located along Al Nahda Street in Al Qusais.
Area highlight: Al Nahda Pond Park, 15 minutes’ walk. This massive park has a 2km jogging track, kids’ play areas and basketball courts where you can get your game on.
Free entry. Al Nahda Road, Al Qusais 3, www.dm.gov.ae (800 900).
Situated near the building of the Ministry of Education and Al Twar Centre.
Area highlight: Darts Pub, five minutes’ walk. Grab a pint and settle in somewhere new. Darts Pub’s happy hour runs daily from noon until 4pm and while (ironically) there are no darts boards, you can play pool instead.
Open daily 7pm-midnight. Licensed. Fortune Plaza Hotel, Al Nahda Road (04 263 5500).
Airport Free Zone
Serves Terminal 2 of Dubai International Airport and Dubai Airport Free Zone.
Area highlight: Bilad Al Sham restaurant, 15 minutes’ walk. The kebabs and grills are all good, but one bite of the shawarma and you’ll be in love. At Dhs5 a pop, you can eat your fill for less than the price of your metro fare.
Average price of a meal for two: Dhs50. Unlicensed. Open daily noon-1am. After Union Cooperative Society, Al Nahda Road (04 261 3332).
Near Ministry of Public Works, Emirates Driving Institute and Dubai National School.
Area highlight: Al Bustan Centre, 10 minutes’ walk. This sleepy centre has a range of textile and embroidery stores. You can pick up luxury fabrics at reasonable prices throughout the entire mall, and there’s also a Paris Gallery.
Open daily Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Fri 4pm-11pm; Sat and Thu 10am-11pm. Al Nahda Road, www.al-bustan.com (04 263 0000).
Near Al Ahli Club and Dubai Youth Hostel.
Area highlight: Al Ahli Club, five minutes’ walk. Aside from watching the local league’s football matches for free, this sports club houses a pool, gym and café for members. Al Ahli Horse Riding Club is also open to non-members.
From Dhs150 for a 45-minute horse ride. Behind Al Mulla Plaza shopping mall, www.alahliclub.com. Horse riding (04 298 8408); football (04 298 8222).
Near Dubai Police general headquarters. An air-conditioned walkway links it to Al Mamzar Centre on Al Ittihad Road.
Area highlight: Al Mamzar Centre, 10 minutes’ walk. There are several gift and home stores here. If you feel peckish, try the Anatolia Turkish restaurant, which serves delicious grills.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri 4pm-10pm. Al Ittihad Road, Deira (04 297 6666).
Area highlight: Al Mulla Plaza, five minutes’ walk.
The small mall caters mostly to Arabic fashion, but the jewellery stores are more mainstream and Peshawar Furniture offers quirky, old-looking furniture.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri 4.30pm-11pm. Al Ittihad Road, Deira (04 298 8999).
Close to Abu Hail Centre and Safiya Colony.
Area highlight: Sana Fashions, two minutes’ walk. There are a lot of clothes from the Zeus brand at this fashion store, plus the odd Guess and Bershka item, as well as independent labels.
Open daily 9am-1pm; 4pm-10pm. Abu Hail Road, Hor Al Anz (04 266 2919).
Area highlight: Silla, two minutes walk
This low-key Korean restaurant is quite a find – expect charming authenticity and all the bap (rice) and guksu (noodle) favourites, as well as the ubiquitous kimchi.
Average price of a meal for two Dhs200-Dhs300. Licensed. Open daily 11am-3pm; 6pm-11pm. Abu Hail Road, www.ramadacontinental.com (04 266 2666)
Area highlight: Eri Restaurant, seven minutes’ walk.
One of the best Ethiopian restaurants in the city. Expect platters of meat and vegetables.
Average price of a meal for two: Dhs100-200. Unlicensed. Open daily 10am-midnight. Abu Hail Road, near Ramada Continental (04 220 8477).
Abu Bakr Al Siddiq
Close to Hamarain Centre and a number of hotels including the new Mövenpick Deira.
Area highlight: Wok In, five minutes’ walk. Pun aside, this restaurant (not to be confused with Karama’s Wok Inn) manages to entice with its array of spicy Asian offerings.
Average price of a meal for two: Dhs200-Dhs300. Licensed. Open daily noon-midnight. Mövenpick Hotel Deira, www.moevenpick-hotels.com (04 444 0111).
Area highlight: Al Kabayl Discount Centre, 15 minutes’ walk.
Whether you’re looking for gifts, perfumes or so-bad-it’s-good souvenir tat, you’ll find it at this mammoth store.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-3am; Fri 3pm-3am. Abu Baker Al Siddique Road, Deira (04 269 6255).
Close to Al Ghurair and Reef Mall.
Area highlight: Handi, 10 minutes’ walk. Head here for high-end north Indian fare that is a consistent contender for the Time Out Eating Out Awards. Set menus and thalis won’t cross the Dhs200 mark.
Average price for a meal for two: Dhs400-Dhs500. Licensed. Open daily noon-3pm, 7pm-11.30pm. Taj Palace Hotel, Deira (04 211 3020).
Area highlight: Al Riqqa Street, 15 minutes’ walk.
This street, and the parallel Muraqqabat Road, is a haven for foodies. Try Bait Al Mandi for Yemeni fare or Lebanese favourites and shisha at Al Safadi. The streets come alive during Dubai Shopping Festival.
Bait al Mandi, average price of a meal for two Dhs100. Unlicensed. Open daily noon-1am (04 262 9139). Al Safadi, average price of a meal for two Dhs150-Dhs250. Unlicensed. Open daily 8am-3am (04 227 9922).
The world’s largest underground metro station connects the Red and Green Line along Al Maktoum Street.
Area highlight: Kisaku restaurant, 15 minutes’ walk. Packed with Japanese expats on any given night of the week (always a good sign), the menu is extensive and authentic. Let the chef create a specialised sushi platter for you.
Average price of a meal for two: Dhs200-350. Open daily noon-3pm, 6.30pm-midnight. Al Khaleej Palace Hotel, Deira, www.alkhaleejhotels.com (04 223 1000).
Close to Baniyas Square, this station is your best bet for souk shopping.
Area highlight: Danial Restaurant, three minutes walk
Housed in the Deira Twin Towers (where you’ll also find some great rugs) this hidden gem offers a fantastic all-you-can-scoff Iranian buffet for Dhs55, complemented by Creek views.
Open daily 12:30pm-12:30am. Deira Twin Towers, Baniyas Road (04 227 7669)
Area highlight: Naif Souk, 20 minutes’ walk. Take a stroll to this modern-day Arabian bazaar, which reopened last year after being gutted by a fire in 2008. The souk offers a variety of stores selling everything from leather to souvenirs – the wares are similar to those in the Karama shopping area.
Open Sat-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri 4.30pm-11pm (times may vary). Al Sabkha Road (no number).
Close to the Creek and Hyatt Regency hotel (and will one day connect you to Dubai’s biggest Palm).
Area highlight: Galleria Ice Rink, five minutes walk
With reasonable rates (ranging from Dhs15 to Dhs45 a session), the Hyatt ice rink is always filled with gliders.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-1.30pm, 2pm-5.30pm, 6pm-9pm; Thu-Sat 10am-12.30pm, 1pm-3.30pm, 4pm-6.30pm, 7pm-10pm. Galleria Shopping Mall, Hyatt Regency, Deira, http://dubai.regency.hyatt.com (04 209 1234)
Area highlight: Gold Souk, 20 minutes’ walk. The area houses Dubai’s famous gold souk, widely considered the largest gold bazaar in Arabia. Be prepared to haggle for a bargain.
Open Sat-Thu 9am-1pm; Fri 4pm-10pm (timings of individual stores vary). Sikkat al-Khail Street, near Hyatt Regency (no number).
Looking for history? Head here to discover the old business centre of Dubai, as well as old heritage and cultural buildings.
Area highlight: Al Ahmadiya School, five minutes’ walk. Established in 1912, Al Ahmadiya School was the first school in Dubai and followed a religious curriculum.
Free. Open Sat-Thu 8am-7.30pm; Fri 2.30pm-7.30pm. Al Ras Road (04 226 0286).
Head to the busy district of Al Bastakiya and Shindagha to discover the bustling side of Dubai.
Area highlight: Heritage and Diving Village, about 15 minutes’ walk. With a focus on the country’s maritime past, you can browse the displays and pick up handicrafts. There are camel and donkey rides for kids, and folk dances and musical nights on special occasions.
Free. Open Sat-Thu 8am-10pm; Fri 8am-11am; 4pm-10pm. Creekside, Shindagha (04 282 1111).
Area highlight: Golden Cinema, five minutes’ walk
If you’re tired of the usual popcorn fare, head to Golden (which is not actually made of the shiny stuff) and watch the latest Indian release. It’ll definitely be a ‘different’ Dubai experience. (Our tip: go with someone who speaks Hindi or Tamil!)
Dhs25.30. Open 10am-1.30am. Al Ghubaiba Road, Bur Dubai (04 393 3393)
Al Fahidi Station
At the intersection of Khalid Bin Al Waleed Street and Al Musalla/Al Mankhool streets.
Area highlight: Computer Street, two minutes’ walk. This is the place to go for a souped-up PC or laptop. Computer Plaza in Al Ain Centre has some of the best deals from mostly reliable vendors – just be sure to shop around and ascertain that the goods are genuine.
Opening times of shops vary. Between York Hotel and Royal Ascot Hotel, Bur Dubai, www.thecomputerplaza.com (04 352 6663).
Area highlight: The Music Room, five minutes walk
The popular venue for live music hosts great community music nights. There are pool tables and drink deals too – essentials for a memorable night out.
Open daily 6pm-3am. Majestic Hotel Tower, Bur Dubai, Mankhool Road, www.dubaimajestic.com (04 501 2534). See page xx for this weekend’s listings.
Area highlight: Meena Bazaar, about 15 minutes’ walk.
This ‘little India’ textile market is located near Al Fahidi Street in Bur Dubai. You’ll find hundreds of stores selling the latest Indian fashion and fabrics, jewellery and a few eateries. Try Rangoli for top Gujarati food.
Meena Bazaar: open daily 10am-1pm, 4pm-10pm, near Khalid Bin Al Waleed Street (no number). Rangoli: average price of a meal for two: Dhs50-Dhs100. Unlicensed. Open Sat-Thu 8.30am-11.30pm; Fri 8.30am-11am; 1pm-11.30pm. Mina Bazaar (04 351 5873).
Near the Al Nasr Club and Dubai Media Incorporated office
Area highlight: Iranian Club, about five minutes’ walk. This venue’s popularity among Iranians is testament to its quality – try the Persian spiced kebabs. Ladies must wear a headscarf.
Average price of a meal for two: Dhs100-Dhs200. Unlicensed. Open daily 12.30pm-3.30pm, 8pm-10pm. Oud Metha Road (04 336 7700).
Area highlight: Flamingo Billiards, five minutes walk
Expect a lot of tabletop action at this popular haunt, which goes on well into the night.
Open Mon-Wed 11am-2am, Thurs 11am-4am, Fri 2pm-4am, Sat-Sun 11am-2am. Al Nasr Plaza, Oud Metha Road (056 170 0988)
Area highlight: Al Nasr Leisureland, 10 minutes’ walk.
This 480,000 sq m site is home to tennis courts and an ice rink, and is also a bonafied nightlife hotspot thanks to recently renovated mega-club Chi@The Lodge, as well as a licensed bowling alley. Game on!
Al Nasr Leisureland Bowling Alley, open daily 9am-midnight (04 337 1234). Chi@The Lodge, open daily 9am-3am. Licensed. Al Nasr Leisureland, Oud Metha (04 337 9470).
Dubai Healthcare City
Close to Healthcare City, as well as Wafi and the Grand Hyatt hotel.
Area highlight: Emly & Chilly restaurant, 10 minutes’ walk. If you’re craving Pakistani fast food, Emly & Chilly will sort you out. The bun kababs and paratha rolls are worth a try if you’re game for spicy fare in non-pretentious surroundings.
Average price of a meal for two: Dhs50. Unlicensed. Open Sat-Wed noon-midnight; Thu-Fri noon-1am. Oud Metha, near Lamcy Plaza (04 334 4554).
Area highlight: Wafi, 10 minutes’ walk.
This Egyptian-themed mall attracts fashion-conscious shoppers keen to keep up with the latest trends. There is a range of one-off boutiques for shopping (we love Malene Birger), and the licensed restaurants such as homely Italian venue Medzo are worth a visit.
Medzo: average price of a meal for two Dhs400-Dhs500. Licensed. Open daily 12.30pm-3pm,7.30pm-midnight (04 324 4100). Wafi: open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Oud Metha Road, www.wafi.com (04 324 4555).
Area highlight: Lemongrass, 20 minutes walk
Still plating up bowls of quality Thai fare, this charming independent restaurant is sure to see much higher footfall now that there’s a Metro station nearby.
Open daily noon-11.30pm. Oud Metha, next to Lamcy Plaza, www.lemongrassrestaurants.com (04 334 2325)