One of my favorite things about traveling is eating. I love trying new foods and new restaurants. It’s even more fun to wander around a new place find that special little place where the food is fantastic and the staff is friendly.
Over the years we’ve found many great restaurants in many of the places we’ve visited, and Dubai is no exception. There are many great restaurants in this city, from simple fast food to opulent fine dining you’ll find it there. You don’t have to spend a month’s salary on a great meal, although in this city I’m sure you won’t have to look too hard to find a fine dining restaurant where you can!
You’ll find many of your favorite chains in Dubai as well as others from around the world. Here are some of our favorites.
on Al Dhiyafha Road in the Satwa District serves good Lebanese street food at very reasonable prices.
They serve sandwiches and plates of shawarma, kebobs, falafel, hummus, and more.
A plate of Shish Tawook (chicken kebob) complete with french fries, hummus, pita, and salad costs about $9.
It’s a great place for a quick snack, lunch, or a casual dinner.
They have 2 other locations in the city:
Mamzar next to Al Mamzar Mosque on Al Khaleej Road
Qusais Al Tawar 1 opposite Free Zone Metro station
Located near Al Fahidi Street this quirky cafe has a nice courtyard where you can sip mint iced tea and munch on a fresh salad or date and walnut cake served with plain yogurt under the shade of an old tree.
Prices start at $13
You can enjoy cocktails in either the indoor or outdoor lounges where they serve an assortment of tapas reasonably priced from $11 – $20.
The ala carte menu in the main dining room ranges from $25 for an order of vegetable gnocchi to $70 for a whole lobster Thermidor or a Wagyu fillet. In a city where fine dining at one of the luxury hotels is usually over-priced, the fine cuisine at Celebrities
is a good value. The restaurant is open for breakfast daily and for dinner everyday except Saturday. Children over 8 are welcome.
Kan Zaman in the Heritage Village area in Bur Dubai serves Lebanese cuisine. Out door seating is right on the creek and offers wonderful views of the abras crossing back and forth.
They have an extensive menu of Lebanese dishes from soups, tapas, sandwiches and entrees and a very small kids’ menu. They dabble in European specialties including Chicken Cordon Blue, Chicken Escalope, and pizzas, but I’d stick to the Arabic mixed grills, tapas, pastries and other Lebanese specialties.
They also have a large drink menu that offers fresh fruit juices, milkshakes, and an assortment of teas and coffees. You can relax after dinner and enjoy the creekside view with a shisha pipe.
Shawarma sandwiches start at $4. Main entrees start at $8 for a chicken shawarma plate and go up to $65 for the Royal Seafood Stand that includes lobster, fish, prawn, and calamari. Or you can work your way thru their tapas menu and enjoy a fine assortment of dips, fried bites, and meat and veggie pastries.
in the Al Qasr Hotel, Madinat Jumeirah
is a unique Dubai hotspot. It’s located on the Al Qasr Hotel property and is accessed from the beach at the end of a long wooden pier. There are 2 pods along the way to the restaurant, the Chic Bar and Chic Lounge.
This restaurant is over the water and offers exquisite views of the Burj Al Arab, the Gulf, Jumeirah Beach, and Palm Jumeirah. It’s a high end eatery specializing in seafood including lobster, oysters, salmon, and more.
It is very trendy and the place to be seen. Entrees start at $31 for a salmon dish to $245 for a Hot Seafood Platter for Two.
in The One & Only Royal Mirage
features Moroccan Cuisine in a sumptuous setting complete with lanterns and oriental rugs. There’s also live music provided by a Moroccan Duo.
They offer a variety of Moroccan specialties including Couscous, Tagines, and grilled kebobs which are prepared with different types of meats and vegetables. Tagine dishes are $29, Couscous dishes are $27, and kebobs are $26.
If you have a hankering for meat then the Meat Co. on the sea front of Souk Madinat Jumeirah is the best place to go.
Serving lunch and dinner they serve burgers, steaks, and seafood. Outdoor seating is right on the water and has views of the Burj Al Arab.
Burgers start at $20 and steaks at $42 for a Rump steak from New Zealand.
AL HADHEERAH tucked away in the desert dunes in the Bab Al Shams Resort & Spa serves a buffet of traditional Arabic food in a desert fort atmosphere. Guests are entertained by dance performances and other cultural activities.
Weekday dinner buffet/show cost $115 per person
Thursday & Friday nights are $135 per person
Kids 5-12 are discounted 50%
Kids 4 and under are free
|Courtesy of Budget Places
Dubai is the epitome of luxury and excess.
The city is home to the world’s tallest building, The Burj Khalifa, the world’s largest mall, The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest sweet shop, Candylicious, and the world’s only 7 Star Hotel, The Burj Al Arab.
The hotels and resorts in Dubai compete to be the most luxurious, most family friendly, and pretty much the most of everything. They entice guests with gold ipads to use during their stay, free admission to their waterparks, underwater suites, and much more. There’s no doubt these luxury hotels scream opulence with their decor and provide impeccable service; but of course all this luxury comes with a steep price tag.
It may seem that a visitor to Dubai needs the purse of an oil sheik, and you do if you plan to stay at the Burj Al Arab’s Royal Suite at $20,000+ a night, but there are many budget friendly hotels in the city. They may not be on the beach or on prestigious Palm Island, nor will they have fabulous views, they will more likely be in the older section of the city; but they will be clean and comfortable, and have courteous staff. Here’s a list of budget friendly hotels in the city.
*Clicking on hotel name/photo will take you to an affiliate link.
The Marco Polo Hotel in Deira is efficient and comfortable. Rooms have a coffee maker and free Wi-Fi.
Rooms start at $45/night
The Grand Midwest Tower Hotel Apartments in Media City have studio, one bedroom, and 2 bedroom apartments. All units are equipped with kitchens and Wi-Fi. There a pool, and gym with sauna and steamroom. It’s next door to Burjuman Mall in the heart of the city.
Rooms start at $54/night
This hotel chain has more hotels around the city for about the same price
The Rose Garden Hotel Apartments in Al Barsha has Studios, 1 and 2 bedroom units. All apartments are equipped with kitchen and Wi-Fi and they have a pool and a gym.
Rooms start at $45/night
Mercure Gold Hotel Al Mina Road is a 4 star hotel is located in the city just 5 minutes away from Jumeirah Beach. The hotel has Wi-Fi for a fee, swimming pool, gym, and spa.
Rooms start at $68/night
Ibis Deira City Centre Hotel is located in the heart of the historic old city. All rooms have internet access and Wi-Fi in the lobby.
Rooms start at $76/night
The Winchester Deluxe Hotel Apartments in Bur Dubai has studio and 1 bedroom apartments. They have a pool and a gym.
Guests receive complimentary internet and airport transfers.
Rooms start at $67/night
The Burj Al Arab has become the modern symbol of Dubai. Whenever Dubai is mentioned this beautiful iconic building is almost always the first thing that comes to mind.
Dubai has a lot of fun things to do for kids; water parks, theme parks, skiing, and more; but admission and tickets to these places add up fast, making a Dubai vacation pretty costly.
Here is a list of things you can do with kids in Dubai that are free or cheap, combining them with some paid attractions will help stretch your vacation dollars and make your vacation all the more memorable.
A visit to Dubai is not complete without at least seeing this building which is home to what is billed the world’s only 7 star hotel. The nightly cost to stay at this hotel starts at around $2000, but you don’t have to stay there to see it, at least from the outside.
You are welcome to enjoy a meal or snack at one of its restaurants or bars, but it will be expensive. We had lunch at the Al Iwan, the Arabic buffet restaurant on the first floor, a couple of years ago. We paid a over $400 for 3 adults; the price for a lunch buffet is 505AED ($138US) per person. Children 3-12 is 50% off, under 3 is free.
There are other restaurants, bars, and lounges in the hotel, expect to pay high prices and you must have reservations to get on hotel property; you’re name is checked off at the gate; no reservation, no entry.
If you don’t want to actually go inside the building you can see it as you walk along the shore of Jumeirah Beach. If you’re not staying in one of the hotels along this stretch of sand you can spend the day at Jumeirah Beach Park, entrance to the Park is 5AED ($1.36US), a considerably cheaper option than staying or dining at the hotel! Great views of the building can also been seen if you’re on Jumeirah Beach Road.
Superb views of the Burj can also been seen from Kite Beach, entrance is free. Kite Beach is on the shore opposite the Al Manara Road junction
Safa Park in Dubai is a large green space in the middle of the the city’s modern high rise buildings.
The park has 3 lakes, a waterfall, and a fountain. Park facilities include boat and bike rentals, barbecue area, sports fields and courts, snack bars, and stores.
Entrance fee is 5AED for adults ($1.36US)
Za’abeel Park in the more residential area of Dubai is another large municipal park in the city that holdsthe distinction of being the first technology driven park in the Middle East.
The park has children play areas, lake with boat rentals, an ice skating rink, mini golf and cricket, 3D cinema, picnic and barbecue areas, cafes, and more.
It is also home to Stargate Dubai a futuristic indoor space themed educational and entertainment center.
Park entrance is 5AED ($1.36US) for adults. Entrance to Stargate is free. All park attractions are priced separately.
If you time your visit on Friday mornings you can wander around the Ripe Food & Craft Market in the park. It’s Dubai’s largest open market featuring food at very reasonable prices and local crafts as well.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Al-Mamzar Beach Park located close to Hamriya Port is one of the best beaches in Dubai. It has 5 coves along the coast, green space, swimming pools, a park train, play areas, rollerskating rink, bike rentals, barbecue areas, chalet rentals, restaurants, and more.
Park entrance is 5AED ($1.36US) per person.
Air-conditioned chalets can be rented daily for 150AED ($41US) for a small that fits 4 people and 200AED ($54US) for a large that fits 6. All activities and attractions including pools require separate fees.
Mondays and Wednesdays are ladies day, meaning the park is open only to women and their children (male children up to a certain age only)
Russian Beach, on the lower end of Beach Road on the opposite side of the Burj Al Arab is an open free beach.
There are some showers and restrooms, but the facilities are limited. However the shops and restaurants along Beach Road are close by.[spacer height=”-20px”]
JBR Beach is another free beach. It’s located next door to the Jumeirah Beach Resort. It has clean facilities including restrooms and showers and a bit of green space. There are also many ocean view restaurants around where you can enjoy a nice lunch or snack.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Take a ride on the Metro. It’s not so much the destination, it’s the ride on this state of the art driverless automated train that kids love! You can start at Dubai Mall to Dubai Marina and back again.
Fares are 2-6AED (.50 – 1.50US) depending on the length of the ride.
The kids will love the space age looking stations! My grandsons thought they were cool, they look straight out of s sci-fic movie!
The Dubai Miracle Garden is a refreshing break from all the buildings, although they do have a floral version of the Burj Khalife.
There are kid’s play areas, , and floral displays.
Admission is 30AED ($8.25US) per person
Kids 3 and under are free[spacer height=”-20px”]
Take a wooden boat across the creek, (an Abra found along the creek in Bur Dubai), to the Gold Souk in Deira. You can just wander along the alleys for a bit of window shopping.
The amount of “Bling” in the shop windows is amazing. You don’t have to buy anything, assuming you can resist the temptation of different shades of gold just calling your name. I can never resist and end up spending way too much, next time I’m leaving the credit cards locked in the hotel safe!
You’ll find these abras along the creek in Bur Dubai ferrying people across the creek. It’s the best way to get to the Gold Souk in Diera to avoid the problem of finding parking.
The kids will love bobbing along this wooden boat that have been modernized with the addition of diesel engines. You’ll get a different perspective of the Dubai skyline.
The cost of an abra ride is 1AED, .27 cents US![spacer height=”-20px”]
Take a day trip to the Emirate of S
harjah and search for bargains at the Blue Souk.
The tile on the outside is worth the trip! The inside is filled with shops selling everything from electronics to antiques. There are several snack bars inside as well.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Built in 1787 the Al Fahidi Fort is the oldest building in the city. It houses the Dubai Museum where you can learn about the region’s history. They have various exhibits of historic books, traditional dress, and dhows (wooden boats).
The Museum is located in Bur Dubai.
Admission tickets cost 3AED (.80US) for adults and half price for children.
Built in the late 19th. Century along the Creek at Shindagha is the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House. Once the seat of the local government and the official residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, the grandfather of the current ruler, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, this imposing building has been converted into a museum that showcases the progression of Dubai from Bedouin tents lining the creek to the amazing buildings we see today.
The ancient wind towers served to cool the building and is a testament to Arab architectural ingenuity. For those interested in architecture this museum is a must see! Admission cost is 2AED, (.54US)
Located behind the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House
is the Camel Museum. The museum will probably tell you everything and more that you want to know about camels. This museum is a testament to the Emiratis’ passion for their beloved animals and explains why they they gained such prominence in Arab history.
The museum blends history with technology with their camel race simulator. Visitors can virtually ride a camel in a race.
Admission is free.
Take a breakfast picnic to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary . The sanctuary has 3 hides, head to the Hide 2 at the junction of the Al Wasl and Oud Metha roads, that’s by the flamingo roost. If you’re there at high tide the kids will love watching the big pink birds.
Admission is free, just register in the visitor’s logbook.
Check out the Dubai Dino. This is an almost complete skeleton of a dinosaur called
Amphicoelias brontodiplodocus. It was discovered in 2008 in Wyoming, USA and transported to its new home at the Dubai Mall.
Talk to the Dubai Dino Team, they’re armed with some interesting facts.
Best of all it’s free!
While you’re at The Dubai Mall have a look at the Dubai Aquarium. The gigantic aquarium is the Centerpiece of The Dubai Mall. You can view the aquarium inhabitants from the mall viewing panels for free, but if you want to walk thru the tunnel for a more up close and personal look you must purchase a ticket. Tickets include a walk thru the tunnel and a visit to the Underwater Zoo.
Directly across the Dubai Aquarium is Candylicious one of the world’s largest candy stores. It’s also the home to Spun Candy where candy confectioners make handmade candy on site. You can even design your own candy and watch them make it for you.
A visit to the store is free, but what you fill your basket with is totally up to you and your budget.
If you’re at The Dubai Mall, wander around, window shop, and enjoy the fountain and store fronts, some of them are pretty cool. My grandkids loved the kiosk selling Camel Milk Candy, there’s a large golden camel at the front!
If you’re hungry wander over to the huge food court or one of the many restaurants throughout the mall. Better yet grab an outdoor table at one of the eateries along The Dubai Fountain and watch the show. The fountains shoot up to 500 ft. and dance to all types of music. There are daily afternoon shows (except Fridays) at 1:00 and 1:30, and evening shows every day every half hour from 6:00 to 11:00.
This area also offers wonderful views of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
Let the kids splash around in the fountain at Marina Walk, it’s fun and it’s free! Just bring a change of clothes for them.
You can grab a cup of java from the Starbucks next to the fountain and keep an eye on the kids from the outdoor tables.
Catch a ride on the Marina Water Bus. This air conditioned boat shuttles between Marina Walk, Marina Mall, and Marina Promenade. The cost is 2AED (.54US) each way, kids ride free.
Feed the ducks in the lake located in the Dubai Media City Park, it’s a bit of green space with a couple of cafes near by. Along with the ducks you may see some office working having lunch or just taking a break. There are no facilities, and no admission fees.
Head a bit out of town to the Mirdif area to Mushrif Park. It’s the largest park in Dubai. The park has pools, gardens, playgrounds, camel and horse rides, train rides, bike and walking paths, but the best attraction is the International Village. The village has 13 child-size houses from around the world, perfect for tots filled with imagination.
Admission is 3AED (less than $1US)
The Burj Park is a man made island between the Burj Khalifa lakes. It offers an excellent view of the Burj as well at The Dubai Fountain show nearby; best of all you can enjoy the Burj and the fountain away from the jostling crowds at the mall.
There are no shops or cafes here, but the mall is steps away, you can grab a drink or snack from there and have a picnic in this small green space in the middle of downtown Dubai.
Admission is free and it’s open 24 hours.
Creek Park along the Dubai Creek in the heart of the old city is one of the oldest parks in the city. It’s home to the Children’s City, Dubai Dolphinarium, and Wonderland Theme & Water Parks.
There are barbecue and picnic areas through out the park as well as play areas and walking paths. You can also ride the cable car for views of the city.
Park admission is 5AED ($1.30US) per person and must be paid even if you have tickets to the attractions inside. Cable car tickets can be purchased separately.
Children’s City in Creek Park is an interactive museum geared towards kids from 2-15 years old. They have fun displays to teach kids about the world we live in.
They have a toddler’s section for little ones to climb and play, a human body section, a planetarium, and more.
Last time we were there children went it free and adults were 5AED ($1.30US). It’s a great place to spend a hot summer afternoon. It’s air conditioned and there’s a small snack bar where you can purchase lunch or snacks, or you can bring your own and eat it there.
For more info on Children’s City click here!
Address: Creekside Park, Gate 1, Umm Hurair.
Open: Saturday to Thursday 09:00 to 21:30; Friday 15:00 to 21:30
For more things to see and do in Dubai click here!