Does anybody actually live anywhere normal in Dubai? Or is it all super-tall skyscrapers?
Come join us friend, we’re going to the suburbs.
Dubai has suburbs?
Yes. We’re going to Mirdif, villas of all shapes and sizes, many with quirky facades and unusual designs are home to a wide mix of people. Two- and three-bedroom villas with private or shared compound pools are available to rent for less than Dhs100,000 a year, making it considerably cheaper than
One-bedrooms in more desirable parts of town cost the same.
It depends on how you define desirable. Mirdif residents are always the first to admit that they are further away from beaches, nightclubs and many of the best-known hotels in Dubai than they would like, but it does feel very normal and closer to a suburban lifestyle than more-or-less anywhere in the city.
So it’s just houses with nothing to do?
Not at all. The neighbourhood’s residents will tell you that Mirdif City Centre Mall is up there with the very best in Dubai. Families are well catered for and there is more emphasis on resident-pleasing than tourist-attracting. Sorry, that means no ski slopes or giant aquariums, but for a full day of activities, it’s hard to beat. There’s indoor skydiving at iFly Dubai, an aerial assault course and climbing wall at Magic Planet and educational play areas Little Explorers and Aquaplay.
So is Mirdif just an out-of-town mall with no outdoor attractions?
Wrong again. Two top outdoor locations give Mirdiffians (as nobody has ever called its residents) their outdoor fix. First up is the massive Mushrif Park, which is home to more than 100 species of bird, a model village, indigenous trees, horse riding, sports courts and ample picnic spots. Then there’s the “outdoor mall” Uptown Mirdif, which is a series of attractive shops and cafés attached to a modern housing complex – plenty to keep you busy.
Only in Mirdif
If you want the rush of free fall without having to actually throw yourself out of a plane, indoor skydive simulator iFly is a must. Wear the special suit and step into the enormous air-blasting jets and you will be blown into the air. More accomplished iFliers will be able to perform stunts and tricks while defying gravity.
From Dhs160. Sun-Wed 10am-11pm. Thu-Sat, 10am-midnight. Mirdif City Centre, www.theplaymania.com.