Remember Dubai before the ski slope?

Time Out Dubai looks back on some of the biggest changes in its 500 issues

The Knowledge
Big hellos...

Burj Khalifa
It’s kind of a big deal. ‘Big’, geddit? It’s obvious to say but the thing about having the world’s tallest building right in the middle of the city is that it gives you something to look at. Like having a TV in your living room to point furniture at.

Dubai Jazz Festival

The first Jazz Festival happened shortly after our first issue, and the annual music fiesta is still going strong today. In a city where trends come and go faster than Media City taxis, the longevity is testament to the annual brilliance of the artists and the organisation (even if the sound has become as much pop music as jazz along the way).

Dubai Metro and Tram

Even if there were no trains on the tracks, we would still love the Metro for the alien pod-like stations dotted around the city. It’s more than just a funky design though, with a Dhs14 all-day pass allowing you full unlimited movement across the city being one of the best bargains in Dubai. The Tram might trundle along too slowly for many people’s liking but we’re sure when the summer comes it will be a life – or at least sweat – saver.

Emirates
The then 16-year-old Emirates Airline was already pretty big when Time Out took flight but over the past 14 years it has gone stratospheric. Billions of dollars’ worth of planes, millions of happy customers, dozens of smart international sponsorships and, of course, those cool showers on A380 flights have made it one of the most recognisable brands to come out of Dubai.

Meydan Racecourse
Nad Al Sheba (that’s the old racecourse, to younger fillies) was as much a part of Dubai as Jumeirah Beach Road and hot summers, and it was difficult to imagine what life without it would be. Thankfully, the arrival of Meydan Racecourse didn’t lose any of its predecessor’s charm and added true five-star service and an exhaustingly long grandstand to the mix.

Palm Jumeirah
When it was announced that a palm tree-shaped island with thousands of private villas and a handful of luxury hotels would be built off the city’s coast it sounded like an April Fool’s Day hoax. Only when we started spotting boats out to sea dredging up sand did we realise this was real and start looking forward to the wonders that were to come.

Super club brands arrive
Long-term expats will tell you nightlife is not like it used to be. While we admit to a bit of misty-eyed reminiscing ourselves once in a while, we tend to do it while lounging in the comfort of one of the city’s many big name party imports such as Pacha, Mahiki, Provocateur or more of the other fantastically run and regularly impressive outlets in the city these days.

SkyDive Dubai
Find old copies of this magazine and you will see us rhapsodising over views from the 51st floor. Skyscrapers have come a long way since then and thrill-seekers have had to go that bit further too. These days extreme views mean throwing yourself out of a plane at 13,000ft and taking selfies strapped to a stranger’s chest, above the fast-approaching beach.

The Beach
For a long time, that stretch of sand between Al Sufouh and Jebel Ali was a no man’s land of beaches and occasional private residences, and then Jumeirah Beach Residence popped up and the sands in front became one of the best free beaches in the city. Then it was announced a new shopping and dining destination would be built and we were disappointed. Did the city really need more of that? When The Beach was unveiled at JBR, however, all doubts were put aside and we now regard it as possibly the city’s coolest new dining district. (No mean feat.)

The Dubai Fountain
If it was so easy to put on a show like this, everybody with a hosepipe and portable iPod speakers would be having a go. But they would lack the magical factor that has jaws dropping and cameras flashing by the Dubai Fountains
every night of the week.

7he Sevens Stadium
The annual Rugby Sevens is an institution like no other. The legendary event went global in 2006 when the games, and the fancy dress, moved down the road to the brand new 32,000-capacity Sevens Stadium in Al Awir.

Time Out Kids joins the stable
With all those brunches and nightclubs it seems inevitable that Time Out Kids would come along before too long. Now nine years old it is walking all by itself and providing the ever-growing number of families in the city with loads of ideas on activities, schools and parenting.

Salik
Sure, certain neighbourhoods can get blocked up still (we’re looking at you JBR and Dubai Marina) but the hours-long jams that were once part of daily life in the city are not as bad as they once were. Certainly the Sheikh Zayed Road rush hour into Bur Dubai does not seem the epic journey it once was and that’s thanks in no small part to traffic calming measures such as the magic little Salik (it actually means ‘open’, or ‘clear’) toll tags that started appearing on car windscreens around 2007.

Ski Dubai
Nearly ten years on, a ski slope in the desert seems passé – but it should not. For many visitors to the newly opened Mall of the Emirates, this was the first-ever glimpse of snow, never mind the first chance to build snowmen, spy penguins or engage in snowball fights with strangers. And, frankly speaking, Dubai is all the better for it. If you haven’t stopped for a hot chocolate at Avalanche Café, you haven’t lived.

We won the Expo!
We’re not EXACTLY sure what the Expo is and what will be happening but we do know it is a chance to showcase how far we’ve come and what incredible things are happening in Dubai. We’ve now got 2020 vision and can’t wait for issue number 755 to see what is happening here in five years’ time.

...and goodbyes

Time Out’s first-ever Restaurant of the Year, Verre by Gordon Ramsay

In a time when celebrity chefs with Michelin stars are dished out like bread baskets in Dubai, it is hard to imagine the impact the arrival of a Gordon Ramsay restaurant had on the city. What we do know is that Verre, at the Hilton Dubai Creek, walked away with the first two Time Out Dubai Restaurant of the Year awards. The creamy truffle mashed potato we fell in love with in the first couple of issues of Time Out is
a distant memory. Come back soon, Gordon!

The old Hard Rock Café with the giant guitars
We couldn’t help but smile at the public outcry when it was announced the two giant guitars that marked the entrance to the original Hard Rock Café were demolished. They had only stood in place, along Sheikh Zayed Road, for a little over 15 years but
they were a much loved icon that we said farewell to in 2013.

Trump Tower
Most of the announced buildings we really wanted to see are now Dubai landmarks, but one that never made it beyond the planning stage was a Palm Jumeirah skyscraper inspired by none other than Donald Trump himself. The New York Real Estate magnate has since returned with a sportier venture (among rumoured others) in the shape of Trump International Golf Club.

The Red Lion Pub
As with many loves, you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. The Metropolitan Hotel was never setting any records for luxury or modern glamour, but as a watering hole for homesick Brits its flagship pub, The Red Lion, was open for more than 30 years before finally giving way to progress in the shape of the new Dhs3.6billion tourism complex now under construction.

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