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Arts & Travel

Sunsets and skyscrapers: 16 creative ways to explore and experience Dubai

Yes, we know — Dubai is on everyone’s bucket list at the moment. But there is more to the Emirati city than the iconic Burj Khalifa and the trademark dunes. Here are some of the travel hotspots and options to consider when you visit, either as a first timer or a returning tourist.

Boasting breathtaking natural beauty offset by ultra-modern skyscrapers and architectural marvels, beautiful Dubai is home to some of the most photographed landmarks in the world.

The city teems with incredibly unique indoor and outdoor photogenic locations that offer the perfect backdrop for memorable photographs. Ranging from the Burj Khalifa views to sunsets, neighbourhoods, quirky cafes and ‘Instragammable’ dishes, Nigerians who like to take lovely pictures will find Dubai the perfect place to be.

And to get the best shot of the Burj Khalifa, the skyscraper that defines the skyline of the city and its surrounding areas, fun-seekers can visit the restaurant of Souk Al Bahar which offers a prime location to take a close-up picture of the iconic tower, framed by the Dubai Fountain.

You can also capture images of the glittering Burj towering above the skyline of Downtown Dubai from the terraces of restaurants in Business Bay, including Morimoto at Renaissance Downtown Hotel Dubai, Treehouse at Taj Dubai, and The Backyard at Steigenberger Hotel Business Bay Dubai. The observation deck of the stunning Dubai Frame also provides a great view of Burj Khalifa amidst the skyline of Downtown Dubai.

Sunsets in Dubai boast a magical blend of hues of warm orange, royal purple and romantic pink – and there is a plethora of great venues and locations across the city to enjoy that perfect Arabian sky. With their westerly outlook, Dubai’s gorgeous beaches, including Kite Beach and Sunset Beach, are the ideal location for a beautiful shot of the sunset over the clear waters of the Arabian Gulf.

For a great sunset shot of the Burj Al Arab, head to any of the terraces of the restaurants at Madinat Jumeirah to snap that envy-inducing picture while enjoying a delicious drink.

No visit to Dubai is complete without the quintessential shot of the dunes, so make your way to Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve and spot some local wildlife while touring through the desert, then stop by Al Qudra Lakes for a picturesque view of a desert oasis during sunset. One of Dubai’s most iconic attractions, Ain Dubai, makes for a fantastic sunset shot.

Dubai’s outdoor lifestyle destinations also offer truly photogenic settings to eat, play and unwind. You can enjoy the best of sun, sea and outdoor fun at the eclectic beachfront La Mer and explore wide open spaces and bustling back streets, along with some exceedingly Instagrammable graffiti arts.

Street Art enthusiasts should also head to City Walk to snap creations by well-known global graffiti artists while you can discover Old Dubai as you walk through the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and take a snapshot of the traditional buildings and wind towers that would have formed the cityscape during the mid-19th century.

If your own disposition is to take photographs by the water, simply grab your sunglasses as you set sail on a private yacht and capture the perfect unobstructed shot as you cruise around iconic Dubai landmarks including Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeirah and Atlantis, The Palm Dubai.  You can step onto a traditional Abra when in Old Dubai and take an iconic shot of the Dubai Creek. It is also the perfect vantage point to see the juxtaposition of old and new Dubai – the resident seagulls also make for a great picture! The beautiful mountains of Hatta can be snapped up close as you kayak through the emerald green lake formed by the Hatta Dam.

For quirky cafes and Instragammable dishes, visit The London Project where you are transported to a lush greenhouse. If Indian food is your choice and you want to get the perfect Boomerang of molecular gastronomy delights, visit the colourful Carnival by Tresind or the quirky Farzi Café. Or make your way to Bombay Bungalow or the character-led Little Miss India to enjoy meals in a beautiful Colonial Indian-inspired setting.

For a perfect shot around food trucks, head to any of the Last Exit food stops in the city – choose from several settings including 1950s America, an equestrian theme and a post-apocalyptic “Mad Max” theme.

There are also many hotels to choose from if that’s your choice. The funky and modern Rove Hotels offer plenty of Instagrammable moments, with artistic décor that takes inspiration from both Dubai’s heritage, the neighbourhood each individual establishment is located in, and the city’s remarkable leaps of achievement.

The lobby of FIVE Palm Jumeirah features a stunningly beautiful golden geometric structure that is sure to make a stir on your Instagram feed, while also providing a perfect frame for a shot of the sea. For the ultimate holiday profile picture shot, complete with a background of Arabic-inspired architecture, be sure to visit the Palace Downtown Dubai, One&Only Royal Mirage, or Jumeirah Al Qasr.

No family holiday would be complete without a photo album full of memories of the trip. Some of the top venues in Dubai to document the family fun are the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo where you can get up close to marine life.  The Lost Chambers Aquarium, located in Atlantis – The Palm, takes visitors on a remarkable and immersive underwater journey through glass tunnels into a lost underwater civilisation of shipwrecks and ruins. You can become part of the Marvel Universe at IMG Worlds of Adventure and step on to a Bollywood movie set in Bollywood Parks.

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