Hidden Gems in Dubai | ExpatWoman.com

Best Places to Visit in Dubai Off the Tourist Route

Look no further, here's our guide to some of Dubai's best-kept secret places

Posted on

11 July 2019

Last updated on 14 January 2020
Clarice Awa at ExpatWoman
by Clarice Awa
Best Places to Visit in Dubai Off the Tourist Route

Feel like exploring Dubai without a tourist-y itinerary? Read on to find the city's best-kept secrets...

Being an ultra-modern city that mixes traditions with the future, has world record-breaking attractions, and big events practically every day, it's almost impossible to run out of places to visit in Dubai. But if you don't feel like hopping onto a tour bus or following a group of sightseers, if you're looking for something a little more undiscovered that'll have you feeling like a real insider, then look no further.

SEE ALSO: Tourists Can Now Get SIM Cards When Landing in Dubai

We've compiled a list of exciting places that aren't yet widely known or are only beginning to make it into the Dubai tourism big leagues. Pop these places up on your Instagram and watch as people wonder - wait, that's really in Dubai?

From hidden eating spots to secret hiking trails in the outskirts of the city, here are some places to visit in Dubai that are off the tourist route.

Alserkal Avenue

Location: Al Quoz, Dubai

Alserkal Avenue is home to some of the best hidden gems in Dubai for art, music, culture, food, photography, and filmmaking. The district features limited-time galleries from regional and international artists, artisan tea and coffee, stunning performing arts sessions, and projects from prize-winning architectures. The place is also pet-friendly!

Banan Beach

Location: Near Jebel Ali beach, Dubai

Located by turquoise waters and beautiful white sands, this beachside resort offers a unique camping experience. They have colourful tents that look like you're camping at an old-school 1970s music festival, rustic Miami-esque chalets, a variety of beach sports and restaurant options, and Instagrammable sea swings and beach hammocks. Plus, people are welcome to bring their pets on Mondays!

Wadi Shawka

Location: Hatta, Dubai

For mountain and outdoor lovers who want a rest from the hustle and bustle of the city, take a day trip to Wadi Shawka, located just north of Hatta. Less crowded, less tourists, but with more natural pools, more cycle paths, and exciting hiking trails.

Meydan Horce Racing

Location: Al Meydan Road - Nad Al Sheba, Dubai

The UAE has some of the most prized Arabian horses in the world, and they are also some of the best for racing. Horses are a key part of the country's culture as a symbol of nobility and chivalry. Don't miss out on seeing these beautiful steeds in person at the horse racing shows at Meydan racing stadium. You can watch the horse races during its annual seasons from November to April, with weekly Thursday shows after 6:30 PM.

The Farm

Location: Al Barari, Dubai

Treat yourself to this picturesque restaurant with a mixed Thai and international menu. All locally grown and organic, too! The Farm is a luscious, breathtaking place that'll give any gardener and home-owner serious decorating envy. With its glimmering lakes, cascading streams, babbling brooks, over 30 themed gardens, and more than 4 million plants - no need to pinch yourself because it's not a mirage, it's an actual oasis in the desert.

The Majlis Café - Jumeirah Mosque

Location: Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai

Adjacent to Jumeirah mosque, Majlis Café claims it's the "first and finest" camel milk cafe in Dubai. Their menu consists of camel milk products, like milkshakes, ice cream, cheeses and creams, camel-lattes, camel-chinos, etc. With an Arabesque vibe and the mosque nearby, it's a lovely little spot to enjoy lunch.

Al Qudra Lakes

Location: Al Qudra, Dubai

Wondering how to reach this beautiful man-made lake? It's only a 30-minute drive from Arabian Ranches with a few minutes of off-road driving.

Once there, you'll enjoy a spectacular stretch of lakes with geese, elegant swans, and ducks roaming about. Children and adults are free to wade in the calm waters that are practically beckoning you to take a dip. You're also allowed to camp overnight, so pitch up a tent, start a bonfire, bust out the tunes, and enjoy a rare sight of an uninterrupted night sky.

XVA Art Hotel

Location: Al Fahidi, Dubai

Nestled in the heart of Old Dubai, XVA Art Hotel is an art gallery and boutique hotel in one, with art talks, limited-time displays, and gorgeous rooms - you'll never want to check out.

Psst... Gordon Ramsay said the cafe in the hotel is his favourite in the city.



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