Looking for what to do at night in Dubai? Read our selection of top tips to find shopping malls which are open late at night and where to have a tipple with a soaring night view of the city.
When it comes to eating options you are spoilt for in Dubai, whatever your budget. If you’ve got cash to burn, the city offers a superb spread of top-quality restaurants (including an ever-increasing number of places run under the auspices of various international celebrity chefs), with gourmet food served up in some of its most magical locations. There are also plenty of good economical eats to be had too, from cheap and cheerful curry houses ( Antique Bazaar is a great Indian restaurant) to the plentiful shawarma stands and kebab cafés. Dubai is a particularly fine place to sample the many different types of Middle Eastern (aka “Lebanese”) cuisine, with restaurants across the city offering varying takes on the classic dishes of the region, usually featuring a big range of classic meze and succulent grilled meats, sometimes with a good selection of shisha (water pipes) on the side. Ahmedia Heritage Guest House Café and Al Nafoorah are certain crowd pleasers.
For an authentic Arabian alternative to the pub, club or bar, nothing beats a visit to one of Dubai’s shisha cafés. These are the places where local Emiratis and expat Arabs tend to head when they want to kick back, lounging around over endless cups of coffee while puffing away on a shisha (also known as a water pipe), filling the air with aromatic clouds of perfumed smoke - far more fragrant than your average smoke-filled pub. Many of Dubai’s Arabian restaurants also do a good line in shisha, and the best places will have twenty or more varieties to choose from, with all sorts of fruit-scented flavours, plus a house special or two. Smoky Beach and Courtyard are firm favourites in Dubai.
You won’t go thirsty in Dubai, and there is a huge number of drinking holes tucked away all over the city. The best bars encapsulate Dubai at its most beguiling and opulent, whether your taste is for lounging on cushions in alfresco Arabian-themed venues or sipping champagne in cool, contemporary cocktail bars. Superlative views are often thrown in for good measure, whether from a perch atop one of the city’s tallest skyscrapers or at one of its many waterfront venues, some of which offer sweeping coastal or creekside panoramas. Most larger hotels also have English-style pubs, with obligatory faux-wooden decor and banks of TVs showing the latest sporting events - a lot less stylish than the city’s bars, but usually a bit cheaper. Skyview Bar is a top choice for excellent views of the city while Bahri Bar is great for an Arabian-style outdoor terrace. Enjoying a cocktail or two is definitely one of the top things to do at night in Dubai.
One of the top things to do in Dubai is to shop and it never seems to stop in Dubai! Open until 10pm, head to Ibn Battuta Mall if you’ve got some late-night shopping cravings. Situated way down along Sheikh Zayed Road and south of the marina, the outlandish, mile-long Ibn Battuta Mall is worth the trip out to the furthest reaches of the city suburbs to sample what is undoubtedly Dubai’s wackiest shopping experience (which is saying something). The mall is themed in six different sections after some of the places - Egypt, Andalusia, Tunisia, Persia, India and China - visited by the famous Arab traveller Ibn Battuta, with all the architectural kitsch and caprice you’d expect. Highlights include a life-size elephant complete with mechanical mahout (rider) and a twilit Tunisian village. In addition, the walk from one end of the elongated mall to the other is one of the most pleasant strolls you can have in Dubai’s pedestrian hating suburbs, especially in the heat of summer.
The best way to see the Palm is from the Palm Monorail, whose driverless trains shuttle along an elevated track between Atlantis and Gateway station on the mainland, taking around ten minutes to complete the trip - a fine ride offering sweeping views over the Palm and the long chain of high-rises behind. The monorail connects to Palm Jumeirah station on the Dubai Tram network (it’s a five-minute walk between the monorail and tram stations, clearly signed through a multi-storey car park). There are also three intermediate stations on the monorail between Atlantis, Gateway and Al Ittihad Park. It’s a lovely way to see the city lit up at night.