City breaks in Dubai
Book a short stay or weekend break in the UAE's largest city
Dubai is truly a city unlike any other, a futuristic weekend getaway where everything is larger than life. A glittering metropolis of towering skyscrapers, it bursts out of the desert where the sands meet the warm, turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf, a startling oasis of glamor and glitz in a breath-taking landscape.
A city break in Dubai is often a whirlwind of spectacular views, world-class shopping and international cuisine – or, you can sit back and unwind on a pristine white beach, savoring a cocktail or sheesha pipe as the sun sets on this fascinating city. There's something here to appeal to every taste – from historic mosques and exotic markets, to trendy nightclubs, bars and designer boutiques. Whether you're planning a romantic break for 2, or a fun-filled family weekend in the sun, Dubai is designed to let you experience life to the utmost.
By staying at a hotel in the city center, close to attractions, shopping malls and public transport links, you can save time and money on getting around and spend your short break immersing yourself in Dubai's unbridled optimism. The Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek is nestled in the atmospheric old town, while the Radisson Blu Residence, Dubai Marina and the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City are both near to shopping, dining and urban attractions – putting you squarely at the heart of Dubai's boundless energy.
Our top 3 Dubai attractions
- Burj Khalifa
- Jumeirah Mosque
- Al Fahidi Historic District
Our top 3 foods to try in Dubai
- Ryoog yerana
Our top 3 museums in Dubai
- Dubai Museum
- Heritage House
- Etihad Museum
Use our Dubai map to see our pick of the top attractions
Locations and Neighborhoods
Location and neighborhoods
Discover some of Dubai's top areas to visit
Best for shopping and skyscrapers: Downtown Dubai
For many, this area represents the quintessential Dubai – glittering skyscrapers, pristine shopping malls and futuristic vistas. Right at the heart of the modern city, this central zone includes major attractions such as the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain, as well as popular shopping hubs such as the Dubai Mall.
Best for sand and surf: Jumeirah Beach
Dubai is of course also a fantastic beach destination, and this area is known for its long expanse of beautiful white sand. Here you'll also find pedestrianized, outdoor shopping malls (including the JBR Walk) lined with high-end designer boutiques and souvenir shops, as well as outstanding restaurants, cafés and family attractions such as a water park.
Best for waterside glamor: Dubai Marina
Situated next to Jebel Ali, the largest manmade port in the world, this swanky waterfront development is a great destination for stylish dining and nightlife. Take your pick of al fresco restaurants with a view of the glossy boats along the marina, or grab a drink at a late-night bar after a day of shopping at the Dubai Marina Mall. The Radisson Blu Residence, Dubai Marina is conveniently close to it all.
Best for exotic souks: Deira
Tucked alongside Dubai Creek, this area was once part of Dubai's city center before the modern developments took hold. Here you'll find a number of souks, colorful marketplaces selling everything from gold and perfume to food and textiles, and the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek. It's also a great place to view dhows – traditional wooden boats – plying the waters of the Creek.
Best for historic architecture: Bur Dubai
Just across Dubai Creek from Deira is another of Dubai's oldest neighborhoods. Bur Dubai is home to many heritage buildings, mosques and museums, including those in the Al Bastakia area (now the Al Fahidi Historic District) and Shindagha (now the Heritage Village). Come here for a taste of what Dubai was like before it was heavily modernized.
Best for a ritzy day out: The Palm Jumeirah
The largest manmade island in the world (part of an artificial archipelago shaped like a palm frond) is home to luxury resorts, restaurants and spas, as well as some exclusive beach clubs boasting fabulous views across the water. Definitely worth a visit to check out the beaches, architecture and facilities.
Best for movers and shakers: Media City
Located near Dubai Marina, this trendy area is the main hub for media operations in the city, from broadcasting to publishing. As a switched-on, creative kind of neighborhood, Media City is also packed with excellent and diverse restaurants, cafés and other eateries, and hosts many major music festivals, concerts and other events. Stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City for easy access to the action.
Best for art lovers: Al Quoz
This rather unremarkable-looking industrial suburb is quickly emerging as an up-and-coming arts quarter in Dubai, packed with contemporary art galleries and edgy performance spaces. If you want to place a finger on the cultural pulse of young and modern Dubai, this area has an incredible vibe.
Where to Stay
Book a Radisson Blu hotel in Dubai
City breaks can be full of surprises. Book your stay with Radisson Blu and look forward to exploring everything Dubai has to offer.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek
With an ideal location close to the city's most popular business and cultural destinations, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek is perfect for business and leisure travelers alike. A total of 276 opulent rooms and suites and 16 on-site restaurants comprise this iconic accommodation, which dates back to 1975. Embark on a dinner cruise aboard our floating restaurant, or employ one of our 12 conference rooms for a one-of-a-kind meeting or event.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City
This exceptional hotel houses travelers in comfortable splendor and offers easy access to Dubai’s many exciting attractions, including Internet City and Knowledge Village. Relax in one of 246 rooms and suites, and take advantage of thoughtful amenities including Free high-speed, wireless Internet. On-site dining options include the award-winning Certo restaurant, and relaxation outlets are found at the Senso Wellness Center. The flexible meeting facilities are perfect for both business and personal events.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Waterfront
With 432 inviting rooms and suites, Radisson Blu Hotel Dubai Waterfront offers superior comfort within the largest waterfront development of Business Bay, the new business district. On-site amenitites include an all-day dining restaurant, bar with breathtaking views of the Burj Khalifa, and 2 prayer rooms for men and women. Event planners have access to over 1,000 square meters of versatile event facilities.
The Radisson Blu Residence, Dubai Marina
Walk to Jumeirah Beach or the Marina Mall from this well-located accommodation. Our 152 hotel apartments in Dubai, meticulously designed by Matteo Nunziati, are available in studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom configurations. Overlook the city and the Marina from your private balcony, and enjoy the convenience of on-site dining at our two restaurants. You can also employ our elegant meeting space for a variety of events.
Things to do in Dubai
Must-sees, must-eats and must-dos
Landmarks and attractions
Use our Dubai map to see our choice of top attractions.
- Burj Khalifa: At over 800 meters (2,625 feet) high, this glittering, needle-like tower is the tallest in the world. Head to the 124th or 148th floor for spectacular views from the observatory. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: Take the metro to the Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall station – it's about a 10-minute walk from there.
- Jumeirah Mosque: The largest mosque in the city is also one of the few in the UAE that allows non-Muslims to visit. Join one of the guided tours offered by the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding to view the striking calligraphy and other adornments in the mosque's interior.
Directions: Take the metro to the Mahboubi Clinic 1 stop – the mosque is 10 minutes' walk from there.
- Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo: Marvel at the thousands of colorful fish, sharks, rays and other aquatic critters at this immense aquarium in the Dubai Mall. Dive in an underwater viewing cage, meet the resident otters and get up close to King Croc, a hefty 5-meter long Australian crocodile. Book tickets on official site.
Directions: Located within the Dubai Mall, at the base of the Burj Khalifa.
- Al Fahidi Historic District: Get a glimpse of Dubai's past at this beautifully restored historic quarter. Formerly known as Bastakia, many of the buildings date from the early 19th century and now house museums, galleries, cafés and exhibits. Check out the clever wind towers on the roofs, which funnel a breeze into the buildings to help them cool in the heat of the day.
Directions: Just across Dubai Creek from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek. Take bus C07, or the Deira Old Souk – Bur Dubai ferry.
- Jumeirah Beach: Take advantage of Dubai's fabulous sunshine at one of the city's most popular beaches. Relax on the golden sand and take a dip in the Persian Gulf, or explore the neighboring restaurants, cafés and stores.
Directions: Several buses pass near the beach, including the number 8 (from the Gold Souk area) and the F16 (from the Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall area).
- Dubai Fountain: Each afternoon and evening you can enjoy this fountain's enchanting display, as arcs and streams of water shoot 130 meters into the air and play across the surface of a vast lake in time to music.
Directions: The fountain is just in front of the Burj Khalifa.
- Emirates Golf Club: Golf fans can play a round at the Middle East's first all-grass championship course. This world-class golf club hosts events such as the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and Ladies Masters, and offers 2 beautifully landscaped par 72 courses to choose from. Book on official site.
Directions: Only a 15-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City.
- Burj Al-Arab: Designed to resemble a billowing ship's sail, this graceful structure is one of the most distinctive features on Dubai's skyline – be sure to get a photo.
Directions: Just to the south of Jumeirah Beach.
- Shindagha Heritage Village: Located in the historic Shindagha district by Dubai Creek, once home to the city's elite, this carefully reconstructed village features a variety of traditional buildings where you can watch potters, blacksmiths, jewelers and people of other professions demonstrate their skills. You can even buy some handcrafts to bring home yourself.
Directions: Take the metro to Al Ghubaiba station – it's less than 10 minutes' walk from there.
- Dubai Camel Racing Club: Experience the exciting "sport of sheikhs" with a day out at the camel races. This traditional Emirati sport is still a popular pastime for locals, and watching the thrilling races unfold at the Al Marmoum Camel Racetrack is a great way to soak up some local sports culture. Note the robot jockeys – traditionally small children used to race the camels, but this modern innovation is a safer option!
Directions: About a 35 to 45-minute drive southeast of the city center, depending on traffic.
- Ski Dubai: Escape the heat at Dubai's indoor ski hill, located inside the Mall of the Emirates. With a 60-meter (196-foot) drop, 5 runs and a Freestyle Zone for those who want to take on some jumps, the hill is fun for beginners and more experienced skiers. There's also space for sledding and tubing, and even some resident penguins. Buy passes on official site.
Directions: Take the metro to the Mall of the Emirates stop.
Food to try in Dubai
Dubai is a diverse, cosmopolitan city, which means that virtually every cuisine under the sun is available here in a wide range of restaurants, cafés, bistros, diners and other eateries. However, you should take the opportunity to sample some traditional Middle Eastern dishes during your stay:
- Al harees: A kind of savory, porridge-style dish, this simple but filling food is often served during festivals and other special occasions. Wheat and meat are boiled in salted water and allowed to simmer for hours, before being strained, seasoned and sometimes baked in a clay pot for a firmer consistency.
- Ryoog yerana: An Emirati specialty, this popular sweet-and-savory breakfast food resembles a fluffy omelet stuffed with chopped dates.
- Shawarma: A popular street food in Dubai, shawarma is made of thin strips of chicken, lamb or other meats grilled on a spit, then served in a wrap with tomato, cucumber, hummus, tabbouleh and other toppings.
- Ghuzi: A delicious, hearty meal of roast lamb served on top of rice mixed with vegetables, nuts and seasoning.
- Mehalabiya: A delicate rice pudding made with milk, sugar and spices, then sprinkled with rose water and pistachios, this is a favorite choice for dessert in Dubai.
In Dubai, shopping is practically a national sport. There's even an annual Dubai Shopping Festival held in January and February, complete with promotions, sales, live entertainment, street food, fireworks and cultural performances.
The city is known for its glossy, ultramodern shopping malls, which pack in everything from designer boutiques and department stores to cinemas, spas, bowling alleys, aquariums and even a ski hill, but it's also worth visiting some local souks for a more traditional Dubai shopping experience.
- Dubai Mall: Located in the base of the Burj Khalifa, the world's largest shopping mall truly has something for everyone – from high-end designer brands, to popular international chain stores and local favorites. Tired of shopping? There's also an ice rink, cinema, SEGA game arcade and the vast Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
Directions: Get off the metro at the Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall stop.
- Gold Souk: Bling lovers will be fascinated by this colorful market overflowing with jewelry and other fine metalwork. It's a great place to shop for bargains on beautiful trinkets – try your hand at haggling to get the best price.
Directions: About a 20-minute walk from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, or take the metro to the Al Ras stop. There are several bus stops nearby, too.
- The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR): For shopping with a sea view, the JBR Walk is the place to be. Browse fashion boutiques, elegant craft shops and food stalls along this palm-lined waterfront boulevard, then enjoy dining al fresco at a stylish café or restaurant.
Directions: Take the metro to the Dubai Marina (near the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Media City) or Jumeirah Lakes Towers stop, then connect to the tram.
- Mall of the Emirates: The most opulent of Dubai's shopping malls is a must-visit for some luxury retail therapy – or simply to enjoy the air-conditioning on a hot day. Highlights include a branch of Harvey Nichols, an Apple store, a selection of elegant restaurants and bars and Ski Dubai, the indoor ski slope.
Directions: Get off the metro at the Mall of the Emirates stop.
- Spice Souk: Savor the colors, flavors and intense aromas in this traditional covered spice market. Browse stalls filled with saffron, cardamom and other fragrant spices, as well as frankincense, henna and incense.
Directions: Near the Gold Souk – walk 20 minutes from the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, or get the metro to Al Ras station.
- Ibn Battuta Mall: Named after the famous Moroccan explorer, this dazzling themed mall has 6 separate shopping courts – China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia and Andalusia – inspired by his travels and decorated in each region's traditional style. Perfect for those who want a bit of global adventure alongside their retail experience.
Directions: Take the metro to Ibn Battuta station.
- Bur Dubai Souk: This popular souk is known for its brightly colored and inexpensive fabrics and textiles, which you can have tailored to your specifications at a nearby shop. Shopping here can be a chaotic but memorable experience, and the lively atmosphere is certainly enjoyable.
Directions: From the Radisson Blu Hotel, Dubai Deira Creek, get the Diera Old Souk – Bur Dubai ferry, or the metro to the Al Ghubaiba Metro Station 1 stop.
- Wafi Mall: Smaller and quieter than many of Dubai's malls, this is a good place to find local brands and products alongside international labels. Check out the Souk Khan Murjan for quality crafts and souvenirs in an atmospheric setting, and Wafi Gourmet deli counter for a mouth-watering selection of Middle Eastern snacks, pastries, produce and artisan foods.
Directions: A number of buses service the Wafi City 1 stop, which is a 7-minute walk from the mall.
- Dubai Museum: Set in Dubai's oldest building, the impressive Al Fahidi Fort, this excellent museum charts the evolution of the city from sleepy fishing village to the global metropolis it is today. Explore recreations of traditional Arab house interiors, souks, date farms, mosques and more, and learn about the area's natural history, geology and archaeological discoveries.
Directions: Get off the metro at the Al Fahidi stop – the museum is a 10-minute walk from there.
- Heritage House: Take a peek inside the home of a prosperous pearl merchant in the early 20th century at this well-preserved courtyard house, and learn about daily life in Dubai in times past through audiovisual exhibits, artifacts and more.
Directions: Take the metro to the Al Ras stop – the museum is just 2 minutes away.
- Camel Museum: Camels have long played an essential role in Middle Eastern life, and this museum explores their history, importance and value in local culture, from transport and food source to camel racing.
Directions: Get the metro or bus to the Al Ghubaiba stop.
- Etihad Museum: Discover the story behind the creation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971 at this interactive museum located next to Union House, where the declaration that brought the country into existence was signed.
Directions: Take the metro to the Dhiyafa 1 or Hudheiba 1 stop – the museum is just a short walk away from both.
- Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House: The former home of the current Dubai sheikh's grandfather, this elegant courtyard home is a lovely example of local architecture and houses a fascinating collection of early photographs, documents, stamps and coins that chart the history of the emirate.
Directions: Take the bus or metro to the Al Ghubaiba stop.
Travel in Dubai
All you need to know about the city’s transport
Dubai is not the easiest city to walk around, with its hot climate, busy roads and limited sidewalks. Fortunately, it does have an excellent public transport network which is clean, quick and efficient. All 3 of our Radisson Blu hotels in Dubai are located close to many major attractions, as well as to bus and metro stops, so you can easily make your way around the city. Our concierge teams will be happy to help you arrange taxis and rental cars, as well.
Here’s everything you need to know about getting around Dubai so you can make the most of your short break:
Arriving in Dubai
Most travelers arrive at Dubai International Airport. The easiest way to get to the city center is by taxi or on the metro Red Line, which has stops at terminals 1 and 3. All 3 of our Radisson Blu hotels in Dubai are near a metro stop.
Note that there is a AED25 surcharge for flagging a taxi at the airport – our hotel staff would be happy to order a taxi in advance to meet you after your flight.
Bus route C1 also runs 24 hours a day from outside terminals 1 and 3, with stops at Deira, Bur Dubai and Satwa.
Dubai's public transportation system is run by the Dubai Road Transport Authority (RTA) and includes the metro, buses, tram, water buses and water taxis (abras).
You should purchase a Nol card – a refillable smart travel card that can be used on all forms of transport. There are different types of Nol card based on how much you expect to use it.
Metro, tram and bus
There are 2 metro lines, the Red Line (Dubai International Airport to Jebel Ali) and the Green Line (Dubai Airport Free Zone to Dubai Healthcare City). Trains run approximately every 10 minutes, with services between 6am and 11pm from Saturday to Thursday, and 1pm to midnight on Friday.
There is also a tram line that serves the Dubai Marina area, as well as Jumeirah Beach, between 6:30am (9am on Fridays) and approximately 1:30am.
On both metro trains and trams, there is always a carriage reserved for women only, as well as a Gold Class car for first-class passengers.
Buses are good for reaching areas not serviced by the metro. Note that on buses, the first few rows of seats are reserved for women alone or with children.
To get across Dubai Creek, there are 4 water bus routes, with crossings every 15 to 30 minutes from 6am to 11pm. You can also take an abra, a traditional wooden water taxi (now motorized), which carry around 20 passengers. There are 2 abra routes, with boats leaving once they're full.
Finally, Dubai's newest transport option is the Water Canal, which allows you to take ferries between Deira and Dubai Marina. For information on using the various services, routes, fares and more, visit the official RTA website.
Taxis are the quickest way to get around Dubai and are reasonably priced. As Dubai has no official system of street addresses, usually you will specify the nearest landmark to your destination, rather than giving the driver exact directions. Our Radisson Blu staff can help you order taxis and provide directions to where you're going.
Note that at popular destinations – such as major shopping malls, bus and water taxi stations – it can be difficult to find a taxi during peak times (usually weekday evenings and Friday afternoons).
If you don't mind cycling in the heat, Nextbike operates a self-service bike rental scheme in Dubai. Simply register with the company online, then pick up your bike at one of the stations in Downtown Dubai or the Marina area.
Facts and Useful phrases
Language, costs, useful phrases and more
Top 10 Arabic phrases:
Dubai is an extremely multicultural destination, and English is widely spoken, particularly by those in the tourism industry. However, it's always useful to know a few basic phrases in Arabic, Dubai's official language.
|Hello / Welcome||Márhaba|
|Peace be with you (greeting)||As-salám aláykum|
|And to you peace (reply)||Waláykum as-salám|
|Do you speak English?||Btíhki inglízi? / Teh ki ingleezi?|
|Please||Min fádlak (to a man) / Min fádlik (to a woman)|
|Excuse me / Sorry||Afwan|
|Yes / No||Náam or áiwa / La|
|I don't understand||Ma báfham|
Population: 2,870,000 (2016)
Currency: Dirham (AED)
Average cost of travel: AED20 (1-day pass on Red Nol Card)
Most defining feature: The futuristic skyscrapers
Average cost of a pint: AED35
Top 5 facts and tips about Dubai:
- Dubai is actually a city-state called an emirate. It is 1 of 7 emirates which make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
- Native Emiratis only account for around 10 to 15% of Dubai's population – the rest are expatriates (or descendants of expatriates) from all over the world.
- Many behaviors that are seen as normal in Western countries are illegal in Dubai and can lead to deportation or even jail. These include romantic kissing in public, drinking in public (outside of a licensed bar, hotel or restaurant) and making aggressive hand gestures or swearing.
- The Dubai police have a Ferrari, a Lamborghini and a Bentley in their fleet of police cruisers to help them chase down super-speeders on the highways.
- While Western-style clothing is acceptable within hotels and resorts, elsewhere in the city modest dress is encouraged.
- Weather: Dubai has a hot, arid sub-tropical climate, with consistent sunshine throughout the year. Summer is very hot and extremely humid, with highs of around 43°C between June and September. Winter (November to March) is cooler but still very pleasant, with highs around 25°C. This makes Dubai a great beach destination year-round!