Bastakiya Quarter picture1 of 3
Bastakiya Quarter2 of 3
Westend61/Getty Images

Key Info

Al Fahidi Street

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.4scorecard
  • 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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More Best Things To Do in Dubai

Dubai Mall1 of 13
Burj Al Arab2 of 13
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Dubai Mall

Skirting the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai is every shopper's paradise. The massive Dubai Mall is one of the largest shopping centers in the world and houses more than 1,300 stores. Even if you aren't interested in buying anything, a visit to this immense retail center is a must: The Dubai Mall also contains numerous entertainment facilities, such as an ice rink, a movie theater and several kid-friendly attractions, including an aquarium that houses thousands of underwater creatures. If you happen to be around at night, stop by the Dubai Fountain outside of the mall. Created by the team who designed the Bellagio's famous dancing fountains, the fountain features nightly shows set to a mix of western and eastern music. 

Visitors were taken by how much was at the mall – everything you could possibly need can be found inside its sprawling square footage. A few visitors were keen to point out that you might not want to shop here after all. Because so much is imported, some reviewers found prices to be higher in comparison to what they've seen at home. Still, many said that shouldn't stop you from popping in for a visit. Of course, if you're on the hunt for a taste of Middle Eastern culture, this isn't the place to experience it. It is, however, a great escape from the heat, according to travelers. 

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