6 Offbeat Places To Visit On Your Dubai Tour

From little-known beaches wetlands, historic neighbourhoods, and hip cultural spaces, follow these recommendations to enjoy a lesser known side to Dubai, far from its towering skyscrapers
Flamingoes in the Morning Mist at Al Qudra Lake in Dubai
Flamingoes in the Morning Mist at Al Qudra Lake in Dubai Jude Vincy/Shutterstock

Dubai entices travellers with its towering skyscrapers, lively marketplaces, dynamic vistas, and exceptional culinary offerings. Dubai may be famous for its towering futuristic skyscrapers and ultra-modern skyline, but the city also harbours a treasure trove of historic landmarks, art and culture spaces, and stunning natural landscapes. Here is a look at some off-the-beaten-track things you can do in Dubai.

Immerse In Nature At Al Qudra Lake

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Al Qudra Lake, nestled within Dubai's Al Qudra Desert Conservation Reserve on the outskirts of Dubai. Spanning over 10 hectares, this artificial oasis is surrounded by picturesque sandy dunes, offering an ideal setting for picnics and nature enthusiasts. Discover a haven for migratory birds, perfect for birdwatching, and enjoy the unique blend of nature and recreation with its scenic cycling tracks.

Admire The Architecture Of Burj Nahar

Burj Nahar is constructed from coral and mortar
Burj Nahar is constructed from coral and mortargordontour/Flickr

Discover the captivating Burj Nahar, a historic watchtower nestled amidst vibrant green gardens and a surrounding moat, adding to its enchanting appeal. This architectural gem showcases intricate design and colourful tiles, epitomizing classic Arabic architecture and standing as a prominent attraction in Dubai. Erected in the late 19th century, these towers have left an indelible mark on the city's history. Similar to other watchtowers in Dubai, Burj Nahar exudes traditional charm, boasting a round tower constructed from coral and mortar, commonly utilised in historical Emirati architecture. Marked by narrow windows and a modest entrance, characteristic of defensive structures of its era, the tower was initially erected as a defense against invaders. Today, it hosts a museum that offers a captivating journey through Dubai's rich history and culture. A visit to Burj Nahar is a must for anyone seeking to delve into the heritage of Dubai.

Timings: Open 24/7

Address: Omar Bin Al-Khattab Road, in Deira district, Dubai

Spot Flamingos At Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary

Dubai Ras al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
Dubai Ras al Khor Wildlife SanctuaryOma Photography/Shutterstock

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai is a renowned wetland reserve that attracts large numbers of migratory birds, offering an unexpected natural oasis close to the city. This expansive reserve serves as a breeding ground for crustaceans, mammals, and fish, with flamingos stealing the show in winter. Among the mass of pink feathers, visitors can spot grey herons, great egrets, reef herons, cormorants, black-winged stilts, and more colourful species of birds. The wetland features salt flats, intertidal mudflats, mangroves, and lagoons as nests and habitats for the birds. It is open from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm during the winter season, and from 6 am to 6 pm between April and September. It's recommended to set aside about an hour for your visit to immerse yourself in the flora and fauna of the area.

Explore History At Al Fahidi

An old wooden dhow in front of the Al Fahidi Fort
An old wooden dhow in front of the Al Fahidi Forttrabantos/Shutterstock

The fort, dating back to 1787 during the reign of Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, a prominent ruler of Dubai, is the current home of the Dubai Museum. As you step into the museum, you embark on a captivating journey into the traditional Bedouin way of life, the era of pearl diving, and the historic trade routes that have played a pivotal role in shaping the city's evolution into a global metropolis. Nestled within the Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest existing building in Dubai, this museum offers a comprehensive portrayal of Dubai's traditional lifestyle, showcasing dioramas, local antiques, and artefacts that vividly depict desert and marine life, providing visitors with an enlightening glimpse into the region's pre-oil history.

Dusk at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood along Dubai Creek
Dusk at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood along Dubai CreekEmad Aljumah/Shutterstock

Experience the essence of life in Old Dubai during the mid-19th century at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood. Situated along the Dubai Creek, this district stands as a significant heritage site, with much of the original infrastructure preserved and intact. The traditional wind towers, crafted from sandstone, teak, gypsum, palm wood, and sandalwood, serve as a mere fragment of Al Fahidi's rich history. Each alley, winding pathway, and breezy tower narrates a story of a life that thrived before the formation of the seven emirates.

Timings: 8:30 am to 8:30 pm every day except Fridays

Discover Art And Culture At Alserkal Avenue

Alserkal Avenue, situated in the Al Quoz industrial zone of Dubai, is not just an industrial compound but a thriving arts and culture district. It provides residencies for local and global artists, independent businesses, and various galleries, facilities, and platforms. This unique space in Dubai is a hub for avant-garde arts and culture, constantly evolving with temporary art installations and hosting diverse activities, from arts festivals to outdoor fitness events. It's home to the region's finest contemporary art galleries and a cultural district that features some of the most daring businesses.

Address: 17th St - Al Quoz - Al Quoz Industrial Area 1 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Hang Out At Black Palace Beach

Dubai's massive coastline means no two beaches are alike. There are vibrant beaches which are most popular among tourists but the little-known Black Palace Beach is a change from the crowds. Though it is a public beach along the Al Sufouh Street, wedged between the Dubai Marina and the Burj Al Arab, it's not as popular despite being a prime location. Swim in the blue waters and enjoy magnificent sunset views over Palm Jumeirah.

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