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Key Info

Al Fahidi Street

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Free, Neighborhood/Area, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Amid the towering skyscrapers of downtown Dubai lies the Bastakiya Quarter, the city's historic district. This former fishing village earned its name from the numerous Bastak (Iranian) traders that settled here in the 19th century. The charming little neighborhood houses the popular outdoor café, the Arabian Tea House, and several art galleries that feature the work of local and international artists, among others. Some of the restored buildings also include wind towers, which was an early form of air conditioning. The Dubai Museum is also located here. 

Recent visitors found the Bastakiya Quarter to be a nice respite from the glitz and glam of downtown Dubai, and enjoyed seeing what the city looked like before all of its developments came to fruition. Some recommend taking a quick and affordable abra (boat) ride across the Dubai Creek to a market, where trying the street vendor's ice cream and purchasing Arabic perfume are musts. 

You'll find the Bastakiya Quarter near the Dubai Museum along the south bank of Dubai Creek in the Bur Dubai district. You can reach the area by waterbus from the Dubai Old Souk dock or by metro from the Al Fahidi station; to learn more, visit our guide to Getting Around Dubai. You can explore the Bastakiya Quarter at any time of day, free of charge. Keep in mind that temperatures are at their highest in the afternoon, so consider stopping by during the evening to save yourself from a sunburn. 

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#1 Burj Al Arab

Overlooking the Persian Gulf from its perch between Jumeirah Beach and the Palm Islands, this stunning building has wowed architecture buffs since it opened in 1999. Its curved glass façade – modeled after the sails that have graced Dubai's waterways all these years – shelters a world-class, über-luxurious hotel located on its own man-made island. The hotel not only houses the tallest atrium in the world at nearly 600 feet high, but it is one of the tallest hotels in the world. Architecture aside, amenities include revolving beds in some suites, as well as a helipad, in case you thought arriving via a complimentary Rolls-Royce was too pedestrian. 

But you don't have to stay at the Burj Al Arab to enjoy it (and let's face it, most can't). Those who aren't crashing at the hotel can gain entry by grabbing a bite at one of the on-site restaurants. Among them are Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara, which features floor-to-ceiling windows guarding a massive fish tank, and the sky-high Al Muntaha, located on the scenic 27th floor of the building.  

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