Reclining across a prime stretch of the Persian Gulf’s shoreline, the main thrust of Dubai Marina is a glittering waterway that’s lined with broad promenades, al-fresco restaurants and, beyond them, a glittering edifice of glass and steel. This is Dubai’s most prestigious neighbourhood, where the city’s elite reside and play. From admiring the superyachts along Dubai Marina Walk to shopping the city’s glamorous retail emporiums, here are the best things to do in Dubai Marina.
Situated upon Marina Beach is The Beach, a busy precinct of chic pop-up stalls, al-fresco cafés, children’s activity stations and a spool of international brand boutiques. Its proximity to the ocean lends it a fresh, laid-back feel, with local families clustering here at sunset to enjoy the cooler temperatures. It’s not all retail therapy and lattes at The Beach, though. The shore itself is beautiful, with fine chalky sands dipping into bright turquoise waters. Roll out a towel and flop beneath the shade of a cabana, ducking out for occasional freshly-pressed pomegranate juices from the nearby stalls.
The marina’s main waterway is flanked by beautiful promenades offering a scenic foray into the well-heeled neighbourhood. Join Dubai’s health-conscious inhabitants for an early morning run or saunter out for an evening stroll to admire the evening skies. At midday, the walkways are at their quietest – and hottest. For a cooler way to explore, hire a Segway or bicycle and breeze along the artificial canal on two wheels, admiring the superyachts gleaming in the sun along the way.
One of Dubai’s draws is its shopping, and at the leading edge of the locals’ leisure activity of choice is Dubai Marina Mall. Its sparkling palm-lined circumference houses a cornucopia of luxury fashion houses, designer beauty brands, coveted fine jewellers and a generous pack of global cafés and restaurants, including, of course, the ubiquitous Starbucks.
Undoubtedly the best thing to do in Dubai Marina is a post-sunset cruise along its tranquil central artery. As the sun sinks over the Emirate, its skyline is beautifully silhouetted against a cocktail-coloured sky, with later cruises set against the glittering sight of Dubai Marina at night. There’s a strong hand of luxury cruise operators in the area, offering everything from a refreshing sundowner on deck to fine dining and an evening of entertainment aboard a dhow.
If not from aboard a cruise, admire the brilliantly lit nightscape from one of Dubai Marina’s many rooftop bars. This is a city that has perfected hospitality, and it all comes with spectacular views. Pier 7 is a hedonistic hub of restaurants and bars, and tops the list of things to do after sunset in Dubai Marina. Ascend to the seventh floor to Atelier M. A Gatsbyesque nod to sybaritic abandon, the restaurant-cum-club hides an elevator at the rear of the bar, which delivers the best view of them all from the roof terrace.