Best Areas To Stay In Dubai For Tourists (With Map!)


Are you coming to Dubai and thinking about which area of the city you should stay in? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

I hear you. You are planning your trip to Dubai, where so many beautiful hotels are spread out over the city. But which one to choose? Which one is best for me?

As Dubai is quite a large city and to move from one area to another you need some form of transportation, it is important to choose the area where you will stay wisely.

I visited Dubai 8 times, so I can recommend which area is suitable for sightseeing, beach, family or couples, luxury or more on budget.

Best Areas To Stay In Dubai

There are 7 best areas for tourists to stay when visiting Dubai. These areas are:

  • Dubai Downtown-best for sightseeing, couples, and luxury stay
  • Dubai Marina-best for couples and nightlife
  • JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence)-best for a beach vacation, families but also couples, and friends
  • Palm Jumeirah– best for those seeking luxury, relaxation, and beach vacation. Good for families too.
  • Al Barsha-best for shopping
  • Bur Dubai-best for history lovers and those looking for a cheaper stay
  • Deira-best for budget travelers

Dubai Downtown-best for sightseeing, and luxury stay

Dubai Downtown is just about in the middle of the city. It is like the city center. It is halfway from the airport and halfway to Dubai Marina.

Downtown is the area where the most iconic, tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa is located.

Next to Burj Khalifa is Dubai Mall, one of the largest malls in the world, with over 1,200 retail outlets, dining experiences, and a lot of entertainment.

You can find here one of the largest aquariums in the world, an ice rink, a cinema, and many entertainment centers for little ones and the older ones too.

Outside of the mall is the Dubai Fountain which shows can be enjoyed every evening.

Downtown Dubai-Burj Khalifa Lake and Souk Al Bahar

There are many restaurants, bars, and nightclubs in Dubai Downtown, therefore it is a great area to stay for couples and friends.

Moreover, Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Metro station can be entered through Dubai Mall, so you have a great transportation service here, which is important in Dubai.

Many of the important sights are relatively close, therefore, this location is great for first-timers and those who want to see the most of Dubai.

This is not an area for a beach vacation. To go to the beach you would need to take a taxi.

Also, bear in mind that hotels in this area are some of the top and most luxurious, so to stay here you have to count on higher prices.

Hotels to stay in Downtown

Dubai Marina-Best for couples and nightlife

Dubai Marina together with JBR is my favourite area in Dubai. I stayed in Marina several times during my visit.

Dubai Marina has a beautiful promenade stretching to 7 km around the water where you can see luxurious yachts parking here.

It is surrounded by skyscrapers, so the evening walk around the Marina with all the lights is so beautiful.

Dubai Marina at night

There are restaurants, and cafes all around the Marina where you can enjoy your lunch, dinner, drink or shisha. For the best view visit Pier 7 where several restaurants are located.

There is also Marina Mall, a very small mall compared to Dubai Mall, but you can find some shops, restaurants, and a grocery shop here.

Depending on which part you are staying in, you may have a walking distance to JBR beach to enjoy a beach day.

There is a Dubai Marina Mall Metro station so you can easily commute to other areas in Dubai. Moreover, there is also a tram running in Dubai Marina and JBR.

From here you can go for a dhow cruise and luxury yacht cruise.

For those looking for great nightlife, there are nightclubs and rooftop bars with amazing views.

Hotels to stay in Dubai Marina

JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence)-best for a beach vacation, families and couples

Jumeirah Beach Residence or shortly JBR is close to the beach with many hotels located right at the beach. JBR is also a residential area with blocks of flats.

It is the perfect area for families or couples who are looking for a beach vacation. We stayed in JBR during our last visit and we loved it.

A view of Ain Dubai from JBR Beach

There are places where you can rent sunbeds and umbrellas, and order drinks on the beach. From the beach, you can see Ain Dubai, the world’s largest observation wheel, which is more spectacular in the evening as it is lightened up with colorful lights.

This area together with Dubai Marina is popular with Westerners. Whether expats living here or tourists staying here during their vacation.

There is the so-called “Walk” street with shops and restaurants where you can enjoy your day or evening.

Hotels to stay in JBR

Palm Jumeirah-best for those seeking luxury, relaxation, and beach vacation

Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island in the shape of a palm tree. It is the most luxurious area in Dubai.

At the top of the palm tree stands the Atlantis Hotel, called Atlantis The Palm. One of the most luxurious hotels in Dubai. Next to it is a newly built Atlantis the Royal.

Palm Jumeirah

Atlantis The Palm is great for a relaxing beach vacation as it sits directly on the private beach.

It is also great for families as there is Aquaventure Water Park, which is a park with the most slides in the world. For guests of the hotel, entrance is free.

Moreover, there is a dolphin bay where you can swim with dolphins and also a big aquarium called The Lost Chambers Aquarium.

As the Palm Jumeirah is a separate island, it is a little bit further from the city and other sights. It is connected by a straight road, so to get here you need a car, taxi, or Monorail which is public transportation.

Therefore, I don’t recommend this area if you want to go sightseeing as you would spend a lot of time traveling. Dubai roads are also many times blocked by traffic jams.

Hotels to stay in Palm Jumeirah

Al Barsha-best for shopping

Al Barsha is a good area for shopping. Also, if you stay in one of the hotels close to the Mall of the Emirates Metro station, then it is a great place to get to many important landmarks.

I stayed in Al Barsha in the Sheraton Mall of the Emirates Hotel, that time called Pullman Hotel, during my very first visit to Dubai.

This hotel is great because its lift will take you directly to the famous Mall of the Emirates. From this mall, you can also hop on the metro.

Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates

So if you love shopping, this area is great for you. Not only for shopping but also for entertainment. Also, hotels in this area are not as expensive as in other areas like Downtown or JBR.

Inside the Mall of the Emirates is a well-known indoor ski center with slopes, real snow, and a chairlift. For the little ones sliding is also available and they can enjoy penguins’ encounters as well.

Many dining options are available in the Mall too, together with the huge supermarket Carrefour.

However, to get to the beach, you will need to take a taxi or some of the hotels provide a free shuttle service.

Hotels to stay in Al Barsha

Bur Dubai-best for history lovers and those looking for a cheaper stay

Bur Dubai is partially in the new Dubai and partially in the Old Dubai. The Old Dubai is more traditional with a touch of history.

In the new part, you will find the Dubai Frame or Glow Garden.

In the old part, the most important places to visit are Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and Al Seef.

It is like traveling in time. The traditional Arabian architecture, the narrow alleys where you can taste the traditional food and have a cup of tea or coffee.

Old-style Starbucks cafe in Al Seef, Dubai

Several museums, galleries, and shops can be found here too.

You can walk along Dubai Creek and buy some souvenirs from the market. Moreover, hop on a traditional Abra boat to visit the next area of the Old Dubai, Deira.

Hotels to stay in Bur Dubai

Deira-best for budget travelers

Deira is also a part of Old Dubai. This area is popular with South Asian expats living here.

It is not so shiny and clean like the new Dubai. Here you will find all the traditional souks like gold souk, perfume, textile, or spice souks.

Therefore this area is good for those who prefer a more authentic atmosphere. And the good news is that this is the cheapest area in Dubai.

Not only the accommodation here is cheaper but also the restaurants and places to eat are more simple and won’t break your bank account.

Several metro stations are located here so you can use public transportation. Deira City Centre Mall with shops and restaurants can be also found here.

This area is the closest to the Dubai International Airport.

Hotels to stay in Deira

Best Areas In Dubai-Map

Click on the map to open and apply directions from your current location.

Map of Dubai with the best areas to stay in.

The Wrap-Up: Best Areas To Stay In Dubai

Here you have it. 7 best areas to stay in Dubai as a tourist. It is very important you read about these areas before you plan your trip.

Choosing the wrong place to stay can completely ruin your holiday. You will either be very tired from walking and commuting or you will spend more money than you expected, or you will not see everything you have planned.

Therefore, for sightseeing, choose Downtown, for family and beach vacation, JBR, or Palm Jumeirah if you looking for luxury. Marina is great for couples and nightlife.

Deira for budget travelers, Al Barsha for shopping, and Bur Dubai for history.

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