Leisure & Lifestyle In Dubai

Glitz and glamour - the two Dubai lifestyle essentials. Discover what it's like living the lifestyle of Dubai residents.

The one thing you won’t hear expats complaining about is the lifestyle in Dubai. 

The emirate as a whole has developed a strong tourism-based economy. As a result, the attractions and amenities on offer in Dubai are inimitable, and naturally, all residents can benefit.

From a range of theme parks to private beach clubs, from incredibly opulent shopping malls to cinema complexes and an abundance of restaurants, Dubai really does have it all.

Getting your liquor licence is no longer required

Here is the good news: in 2020, the UAE introduced new legislation stating that drinking alcohol without a licence is no longer illegal in the United Arab Emirates.

Dubai Lifestyle
New Year fireworks display in Dubai Marina, UAE

However, it’s best not to be carried away.

Alcohol prices in Dubai are high because alcohol is taxed at about 30%.  There is literally zero tolerance for drink-driving – so don’t think you can get away with just a quick half before getting on the road. 

If you’re stopped and caught out, the penalties are high.  You’re not even supposed to transport alcohol in a taxi or on public transport.

Shopping is integral to the lifestyle in Dubai

Beyond drinking, there is plenty more to do in Dubai.

Shopping is a big part of the lifestyle in Dubai. If you like shopping, there’s the annual Dubai Shopping Festival with incredible events, competitions and prizes.  It takes place at the start of the year and includes all sorts of additional attractions, such as impressive fireworks displays.

For the rest of the year you can visit the malls – and whilst the shopping options in Dubai aren’t particularly exceptional (they’re the same products you can buy anywhere in the world), the malls are worth visiting as many of them are attractions in their own right.

Take the Mall of the Emirates, for example; it has its own indoor ski slope.  Or how about Souk Madinat Jumeirah with its waterways?

Dubai Marina Mall is pretty amazing, too, with over 200 retail stores, restaurants, bars and cafes; there’s also a cinema, ice rink and indoor sky diving. The mall also features various entertainment options, such as live music performances, art exhibitions, comedy nights and more.

There are over 40 malls in Dubai, most of them vibrant entertainment centres where it is quite possible to spend a whole day shopping, dining and having a great day out.

Dining out

Having shopped ‘til you’ve dropped, perhaps you’d like to have something to eat? 

There are so many different restaurants in Dubai that you can eat out at a different establishment every night of the year!  Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver and Gary Rhodes all have restaurants in the emirate if you fancy something a celebrity chef has allegedly created.

Alternatively, pick a nation’s cuisine and Google it followed by the suffix ‘in Dubai’; chances are you’ll find a restaurant catering to your tastes.

Time Out Dubai is probably the best place to start when looking for a restaurant – and it’s an excellent place to find out what’s going on day to day in the emirate.

Dubai theme parks

With so many options on offer, your chances of getting bored in Dubai are virtually zero.

Dubai amusement parks offer you a fun and exciting way to spend a day. From thrilling rides at IMG Worlds of Adventure to family-friendly fun at Legoland Dubai, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled day out or a more relaxed outing with loved ones, you can find it in this vibrant destination.

IMG Worlds of Adventure is one of the largest indoor theme parks in Dubai, offering an array of thrilling rides and attractions for all ages. With over 20 themed rides, shows, attractions and interactive experiences spread across four epic zones – Cartoon Network, Marvel, Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard – you will be spoilt.

Legoland Dubai tickets can be bought online or at the entrance. If you buy them online, they will come at a discounted price. You can also find special deals and offers that are posted on the website from time to time. It is advisable to book in advance as this helps avoid long queues and gives you more time to explore all the attractions inside the park.

Motiongate Dubai is a paradise destination for all Hollywood fans. It is a part of Dubai Parks and Resorts and features 27 rides and attractions from some of Hollywood’s biggest movie franchises such as DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Studios, Lionsgate, and Marvel. With thrilling roller coasters, enchanting live shows and interactive experiences for all ages – Motiongate Dubai is the perfect destination for family fun.

Not far from Motiongate, there’s another incredible theme park – Bollywood Parks Dubai, renowned for its fun, vibrant and interactive rides designed to provide an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. The park features some of Bollywood’s most iconic characters, thrilling rollercoasters and world-class attractions such as 4D cinema experiences and virtual reality tunnels.

Dubai beach clubs and gyms

Dubai beach clubs and gym memberships make it easy to stay active when living in Dubai. Many beach clubs offer a range of equipment, from water sports to running tracks and outdoor gyms, so there are plenty of ways to keep fit without joining an expensive gym.

The city also offers many jogging trails for those who prefer open-air exercise, as well as a large number of sporting and leisure facilities. Whether it’s swimming, tennis, football or yoga, Dubai has something for everyone – making it the perfect place to stay healthy and active.

Dubai lifestyle – summary

For expats living in Dubai, the one thing that becomes quite important after the initial euphoria of your new life experience has waned is establishing community and companionship.  The good news is that there is no end to clubs and societies you can join, and plenty of small groups and friendly fellowships to connect with.

From mother and baby groups to a rugby club, from the Working Mothers Club to the Dubai Irish society.  Once again, you name it and it probably exists in Dubai.  Naturally enough, most expats are really welcoming to new members because they can easily remember what it was like to be newly arrived and a bit lost in the big city.

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