Sleep can be a wonderful thing. Provided you actually get it. But if you find yourself not getting any shut-eye until dawn or waking up before the birds, we suggest you at least spend those hours wisely. There are more productive things to do in this city at 3.14am than mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed in bed. Get up and get a milkshake, sweat it out in the sauna – whatever. Here are 24 places open 24 hours, so you can use those sleepless nights far more productively.
Book in for an Ayurvedic treatment at the 24-hour Softouch Spa
This 24-hour spa specialises in Ayurvedic treatments. If you’ve had a stressful day, book a full-body mud wrap that will leave you feeling nourished from more than 350 natural vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
Full-body mud wrap: Dhs455 (60 minutes). Kempinski Mall of the Emirates (04 409 5909).
Burn calories at 24 Fitness Dubai
If you’ve been making excuses all day about not being able to go to the gym, lucky for you there’s 24 Fitness Dubai. Rock up at 2am if you like, for a sprint or just a stretch session.
Dhs50 (day pass), Dhs500 (monthly). Warehouse 34, Al Tayer Compound, Al Quoz 1 (04 338 3389).
Bite into manakish at Al Reef Lebanese Bakery
Known for baking some of the best stuffed manakish in town, this is the perfect spot to satisfy those midnight cravings. If your palate wants something sweet, order the haloumi cheese and honey manakish, and enjoy it in the authentic setting of the bakery.
From Dhs5. Al Wasl Road (04 394 5200).
Buy some late-night groceries from Zoom
All branches of Zoom offer 24-hour delivery service across Dubai. So if you’re short of time during regular waking hours to do your grocery shop (or pay your DEWA bill), punch in a late-night order from the comfort of your couch and have your weekly shop delivered to your door.
Various locations including Tiffany Tower, Cluster W, JLT (056 502 5398).
Devour your cheat meal at Chowking
If Szechuan chicken with fried rice is your 3am cheat meal, Chowking needs to be your Chinese of choice. Balance the greasy meal with an arguably healthy side order of avocado milkshake. The Karama branch is open 24 hours, and has a great al fresco dining area.
Various locations including Al Attar Centre, Karama (600 560 031).
Drink a Slurpee from 7-Eleven
The biggest gift this international convenience store chain has given to the world is the Slurpee. The frozen carbonated beverage is exclusive to 7-Eleven stores worldwide, and is now available at all Dubai outposts. The Business Bay branch is open 24 hours. Sugar rush anyone?
From Dhs5. Bay Square, Business Bay (04 453 3042).
Eat gourmet food at Milk & Honey
Come midnight, hipsters, unite at this grocery and café on Palm Jumeirah. Milk & Honey is home to gourmet coffee brand RAW, sells chocolate treats and organic beauty buys, too.
Shoreline Apartments Building 10, Palm Jumeirah (04 432 8686).
Place an order with Uber Eats
With no minimum order, the app works like the regular Uber app, as it detects your location first and then suggests where to summon your late-night nibbles from. After you’ve placed the order, you can watch your food drive around Dubai before it arrives on your doorstep. This service stops at 5am, but we’re certain you’ll be well fed by then.
Quieten your mind at Al Ittihad Park
This 3.2km jogging path on the Palm is picturesquely lined with palm trees and landscaped with 60 varieties of indigenous plants. The scenery includes the odd water feature and a frog statue, and it’s the ideal spot to get some fresh air. There’s gym equipment scattered around, too, if midnight pull-ups are on your mind.
Palm Jumeirah (no number).
SPend Date night at Maison Mathis
There is a couple’s special set menu at this 24-hour eatery, which includes an avocado and prawn tart, corn-fed baby chicken with mustard, herbs and lemon, aubergine with goat’s cheese and French toast and waffles for dessert. Treat your better half to a three-course meal at Maison Mathis at any hour.
Dhs150 per person (including two house beverages). Dusit Thani Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 335 7769).
Enjoy milkshakes and pancakes at Denny’s
Burning the midnight oil? Get your brain-food at the always-open, quintessentially American diner on Sheikh Zayed Road. Order the chocolate milkshake, served in an old-fashioned ice cream soda glass and topped with copious amounts of whipped cream. Or you could tuck into the after-hours special: butternut pancakes drizzled with maple syrup and honey.
Dhs21 (milkshake), Dhs36 (pancakes). Sheikh Zayed Road (04 321 2100).
Fill up your car at the petrol station
You might laugh, but you certainly aren't during daylight hours while queuing for 30 minutes just to get fuel. Most Emarat Gas Stations, including the one on Al Thanya Street, stay open all night, and while some go to refuel their cars, others go for a sneaky McDonald’s (also a 24-hour spot). Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone about the latter…
Emarat Gas Station, Al Thanya Street, opposite Emirates International School (04 348 2815).
Order a cake from La Farine café and bakery
Just remembered, at midnight, to buy that birthday cake for your mum? Head down to La Farine in JW Marriott Marquis Dubai and take home a bespoke box of pastries. If you give a day’s notice to the cake artist, this French bakery can create customised cakes with photos, cartoon characters and edible flowers.
From Dhs185 per kg. JW Marriott Marquis Dubai, Business Bay (04 414 3000).
Get your Food truck fix at Last Exit
Having survived peak summer, this cool new food truck park between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is going to be a hot spot in the coming weeks. A total of 12 trucks are permanently parked in this space, serving gourmet street food at every hour of the day. Take the last exit on the E11 towards Abu Dhabi and get your taco fix.
Sheikh Zayed Road (no number).
Stroll along Jumeirah Beach
While we don't recommend a dip in the sea after dark, the public beach along Jumeirah is open all day and night, and with the cooler weather coming in, why not head down for a post-dinner stroll under the stars, and enjoy the blissful serenity of a crowd-free beach.
Free. Jumeirah Public Beach (no number).
Take a late-night sauna at the Sheraton Gym
You don’t have to check into Sheraton Mall of the Emirates to enjoy its health and fitness facilities. Stop by for a sauna and steam. The indoor pool closes at 10pm, but the gym, relaxation and stretching rooms stay open throughout the night.
Dhs900 per month (non-hotel guests). Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates (04 377 2000).
Take in the architecture at Burj Park
As beautiful and impressive as the architecture is Downtown, the area can be hectic during the day. Burj Park circles around the Burj Khalifa and Burj Lake, loops beside The Dubai Mall and then comes back to Dubai Opera. Take this walk. It’s picturesque and even more glorious without the crowds. Plus the nearby Downtown Slide is open until 1am.
Burj Park, Downtown Dubai.
Grab a cheap bite at Zaroob
This quirky, cool restaurant on Sheikh Zayed Road is particularly popular among design- and art-lovers in town, thanks to its warehouse vibe and papier mâché decorations. The Levantine street food joint serves shawarmas for just Dhs10, so leave those credit cards at home.
Jumeirah Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road (800 927 662).
Have shisha at Piccolo Mondo Bay
Offering the perfect indoor and outdoor setting, Piccolo Mondo Bay is where you need to hang for late-night shisha with your mates. Overlooking the glittering skyline, it’s the perfect place for 2am banter with friends who also can’t sleep.
Shisha Dhs120. Marina Tower, Dubai Marina (04 447 5449).
Hitch an Abra ride
These tiny boats are still voted as the preferred mode of transport for many Dubaians. But can we tell you a little secret? They are best-enjoyed after dark. While heritage abra rides stop at midnight, the trip between Sakbha abra station, which is near Baniyas Square, and Dubai Old Souk abra station runs all day and all night.
Dhs1 per trip. Dubai Creek, www.rta.ae.
Instagram your food at Zaatar W Zeit
Another Lebanese favourite on the list, this chain is always bustling at any hour of the day or night. Its urban décor is popular among the Instagrammers of town. Get involved.
From Dhs30. Sheikh Zayed Road (600 522 231).
Organise your study at Desco
If your OCD is at its prime at 3am and you have the itch to organise your home office, get some assistance at the 24-hour printing press desk at Desco in both JLT and on Sheikh Zayed Road. The two outlets offer the entire spectrum of printing services, so you won’t have to wait until the next morning to get the job done. Result.
HDS Tower, Cluster F, JLT (04 433 7505); near Mazaya Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 343 3699).
Window shop at Dubai Duty Free
Being in a city that never sleeps with an airport that doesn’t close, shopping at one of the world’s largest airport duty free operators deserves a mention on this list. If you happen to have a flight out of Dubai at any given hour of the day, shop the many retail outlets for perfumes, textiles, luxury accessories and books. Or just walk around spraying 20 varieties of perfumes on your wrist…