Skyscrapers, world-class restaurants, massive shopping malls and unbelievable entertainment, Dubai is an otherworldly destination. It’s a playground for travellers, foodies, culture vultures and history buffs, alike.

But a trip to Dubai doesn’t come cheap, which is why we put together this no-stress guide for where to stay in Dubai.

Written exclusively for The Broke Backpacker, this guide looks at the five best neighbourhoods in Dubai and breaks them down by interest and budget. So whether you’re looking to ball at the top clubs, explore Dubai’s rich history, or find the cheapest bed in town, you’ve come to the right place!

Here are our top recommendations for where to stay in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Dubai

  • Where to stay in Dubai first time – Jumeirah
  • Where to stay in Dubai on a budget – Deira
  • Best area to stay in Dubai for nightlife – The Marina
  • Coolest place to stay in Dubai – Al Quoz
  • Best neighbourhood in Dubai for families – Downtown Dubai

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

FIRST TIME IN DUBAI

Jumeirah

Stretching along the stunning shores of the Persian Gulf is the Jumeirah neighbourhood. One of the most popular neighbourhoods in the city, Jumeirah is home to a diverse population. It’s also where you’ll find a good selection of attractions and activities, including pristine beaches, water sports, world-class restaurants and high-end shopping.

PLACES TO VISIT:
  • Take a stroll along La Mer, a world-class beachfront
  • Visit the Jumeirah Mosque, the largest mosque in the UAE
  • Dine on delicious food at Turkish Village Restaurant & Café

Where to Stay in Dubai

Backpacking Dubai and looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Dubai.

One thing you have to keep in mind while visiting the UAE is that Dubai is quite expensive. So don’t expect your accommodation costs to be super low like in South East Asia. However, travelling on a budget in Dubai is possible, you just need to follow our tips and tricks!

Best Hostel in Dubai: The Solo Traveler

The Solo Traveler is a charming and cozy hostel. It is located at the heart of the city and offers easy access throughout Dubai. It has comfortable and clean dorm rooms and a terrace that has unparalleled views of Burj Khalifa. All of this combined makes it our pick for the best hostel in Dubai.

If you love hostels, you should check out our list of the coolest hostels in Dubai!

Best Airbnb in Dubai: Bright Room in Shared Villa

Enjoy staying just outside of the hustle and bustle at this villa near the beach! It’s just footsteps from the sea and provides beach towels during your stay. Hang out in the large living space right outside your bedroom door that is decked out with large comfy sofas, coffee tables, books, board games and a massive TV with both cable and Netflix. Perfect for couples looking to have a lazy weekend stay.

Best Hotel in Dubai: Al Ghurair Hotel Managed by AccorHotels

This opulent hotel is our pick for the best hotel in Dubai. It is centrally located in Deira and is close to the Gold and Spice Souks, public transit, restaurants and shops. It has 428 comfortable rooms with modern amenities. There’s also a sauna, swimming pool, and fitness centre on-site.

Dubai Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN DUBAI
Jumeirah Neighborhood, Dubai
FIRST TIME IN DUBAI

Jumeirah

Stretching along the stunning shores of the Persian Gulf is the Jumeirah neighbourhood. One of the most popular neighbourhoods in the city, Jumeirah is home to a diverse population. It’s also where you’ll find a good selection of attractions and activities, including pristine beaches, water sports, world-class restaurants and high-end shopping.

ON A BUDGET
Deira Neighborhood, Dubai
ON A BUDGET

Deira

Deira is the historic and cultural heart of the city. Located just north of Jumeirah and downtown Dubai, Deira is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. It is a labyrinth of stone streets packed with old buildings and coffee shops, bustling souks and enchanting spice markets.

NIGHTLIFE
The Marina Neighborhood, Dubai
NIGHTLIFE

The Marina

The Dubai Marina is a lively and vibrant neighbourhood. South of Jumeirah and next to the Palm, this Dubai district is a bustling tourist centre packed with trendy restaurants, stunning views and upscale shopping and entertainment.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Al Quoz Neighborhood, Dubai
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Al Quoz

Al Quoz is one of the most surprising neighbourhoods in Dubai. A former warehouse district, Al Quoz used to be characterized by its rundown factories, dirty warehouses and the construction trucks that were ever-present on its streets.

FOR FAMILIES
Downtown Dubai Neighborhood, Dubai
FOR FAMILIES

Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai is the most iconic neighbourhood in the city. This stylish and cosmopolitan district is where you’ll find world-renown landmarks and attractions including Burj Khalifa and the massive Dubai Mall.

Dubai is a massive and sprawling city in the United Arab Emirates. One of the seven emirates that make up the country, Dubai is a modern and progressive city bursting with world-class shopping, world-renowned architecture, stunning landmarks and many incredible attractions. So many, that fitting everything into a short stay might seem impossible. Coming up with a Dubai itinerary is almost a must for a successful trip in this awesome city.

Home to more than 3.1 million people, Dubai is the largest city in the UAE. It welcomes more than 15 million tourists each year to enjoy and experience this unparalleled city that seamlessly combines history, culture, technology and opulence.

Dubai is divided into several distinct districts. To get a good feel for the city, we recommend you explore at least two or three neighbourhoods.

Deira is the historic and cultural heart of Dubai. The oldest neighbourhood in the city, Deira is where you can find colourful and bustling souks, history museums and charming cafes.

Head south-west to Jumeirah. One of the most popular neighbourhoods in the city, Jumeirah is a buzzing and diverse district that has entertainment and leisure in mind.

Travel away from the water to Downtown Dubai. A stylish and cosmopolitan neighbourhood, Downtown Dubai is home to world-famous landmarks and attractions including the skyscraping Burj Khalifa. It’s also where you’ll find a great variety of kid- and family-friendly fun.

Continue south from here to Al Quoz. A former industrial area, Al Quoz is today one of the trendiest hotspots in Dubai packed with galleries and restaurants, cafes and shops.

And finally, travel southwest to the shores of the Persian Gulf to The Marina. A vibrant and lively district, The Marina is where you’ll find great options for dining, drinking and partying all night long.

Still not sure where to stay in Dubai? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

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Nomatic 30L Travel Bag

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Dubai’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

In this next section, we’re going to take a look, in more detail, at the five best neighbourhoods to stay in Dubai. Each caters to different travel needs, styles and budgets, so make sure you pick the neighbourhood that’s the right fit for you.

1. Jumeirah – Where to stay in Dubai first time

Stretching along the stunning shores of the Persian Gulf is the Jumeirah neighbourhood. One of the most popular neighbourhoods in the city, Jumeirah is home to a diverse population. It’s also where you’ll find a good selection of attractions and activities, including pristine beaches, water sports, world-class restaurants and high-end shopping.

Jumeirah gets our vote for where to stay in Dubai for first timers thanks to its central location. Situated near the heart of the city, Jumeirah allows for easy access to other neighbourhoods throughout the city including historic Deira and ultra-modern Downtown. Whether you’re heading uptown or down, east or west, Jumeirah is the perfect base from where to explore Dubai.

Jumeirah Neighborhood, Dubai

Things to See and Do in Jumeirah

– Take a stroll along La Mer, a world-class beachfront.

– Enjoy a stunning view out over Dubai from Pier 7.

– Spend a day enjoying the golden sands of Kite Beach, one of the best beaches in Dubai.

– Visit the Jumeirah Mosque, the largest mosque in the UAE.

– Explore the grounds of Jumeirah Beach.

– Shop until you drop at Mercato Shopping Mall.

– Satisfy your sweet tooth at Dum Dum Donutterie.

– Listen to great music and watch burlesque dancer perform at Frame.

– Dance the night away at A Club.

– Eat amazing Japanese and seafood dishes at 3 Fils.

– Dine on delicious food at Turkish Village Restaurant & Café.

– Savour middle eastern delicacies at Samad Al Iraqi.

Best Airbnb in Jumeirah: Bright Room in Shared Villa

Enjoy staying just outside of the hustle and bustle at this villa near the beach! It’s just footsteps from the sea and provides beach towels during your stay. Hang out in the large living space right outside your bedroom door that is decked out with large comfy sofas, coffee tables, books, board games and a massive TV with both cable and Netflix. Perfect for couples looking to have a lazy weekend stay.

Best Budget Hotel in Jumeirah: Villa Rotana – Dubai

Enjoy a luxurious stay in central Dubai without an outrageous price tag thanks to Villa Rotana. Located at the heart of Jumeirah, this hotel offers a limo service, a rooftop pool, a sauna, a Jacuzzi, and free wifi throughout. Rooms are outfitted with premium features and comfortable beds.

Best Hotel in Jumeirah: Park Regis Boutique Hotel

Thanks to its great location and splendid rooms, the Park Regis is our recommendation for where to stay in Jumeirah. A short drive to the city’s top attractions, this hotel is close to restaurants, shops and plenty of fun. It has 21 great rooms with modern amenities.

Best Hotel in Jumeirah: Beach Hotel Apartment Dubai

This three-star property comes complete with a rooftop pool, luxurious amenities and a terrace with stunning sea views. Located in Jumeirah, this property has plenty of eateries, cafes, and boutiques nearby. It offers valet parking, an airport shuttle and a pool just for kids.

2. Deira – Where to stay in Dubai on a budget

Deira is the historic and cultural heart of the city. Located just north of Jumeirah and downtown Dubai, Deira is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. It is a labyrinth of stone streets packed with old buildings and coffee shops, bustling souks and enchanting spice markets.

This is also where you’ll find Dubai’s best budget accommodations, since this is one of the cheaper Dubai areas. From backpacker hostels to vacation apartments and boutique hotels, this historic district is bursting with affordable options for all travel styles.

Love to eat? Deira is a great neighbourhood to satisfy your appetite. Whether you grab a seat in a restaurant or simply snack from a souk stall, this charming neighbourhood is packed with flavourful and tasty options that won’t break the bank.

Deira Neighborhood, Dubai

Things to See and Do in Deira

– Marvel at the exquisite Grand Mosque.

– Take a traditional wooden boat ride along the scenic waters of Dubai Creek.

– Be amazed by the detail and scale of the dioramas used to depict everyday life at the Dubai Museum.

– Explore the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood.

– Visit the Coffee Museum to learn about and sample this delicious beverage.

– Browse the shops and stalls of Meena Bazaar.

– Wander the hallowed halls of the Old Souk.

– Excite your sense at Dubai Spice Souk.

– Eat incredible Indian cuisine at Karachi Darbar.

– Enjoy fresh and delicious juice from Mumbai Masti Juice Centre.

– Grab a pint at George & Dragon Pub.

Best Hostel in Deira: Royal Plaza Apartments Dubai

Clean, comfortable and a central location, its no wonder this is our favourite hostel in Deira. It is comprised of seven bedrooms with spacious bathrooms. There are also two kitchens, a living room and delightful balconies. You’ll find public transit, grocery stores and restaurants just a few steps away.

Best Airbnb in Deira: Sweet Space in Old Dubai

This space is perfect for the minimalist. Just because you’re paying less doesn’t mean you have to give up luxuries. You still get to chill in the pool and hit the weights at the gym. This location is less than a minute from the metro.—That’s right, NO cab fees! If you feel inclined to cook there’s a cute little kitchen, not huge but hey, it gets the job done.

Best Hotel in Deira: Al Ghurair Hotel Managed by AccorHotels

This opulent hotel is our pick for where to stay in Deira. It is centrally located and is close to the Gold and Spice Souks, public transit, restaurants and shops. It has 428 comfortable rooms with modern amenities. There’s also a sauna, swimming pool, and fitness centre on-site.

Best Hotel in Deira: Hyatt Regency Dubai

A great location and fantastic selection of features make this hotel an excellent choice for your time in Dubai. It has luxurious and glamorous rooms, perfect for unwinding after a long day. It has a relaxing spa, an outdoor pool, and a delicious on-site restaurant.

Wonder how to spend a weekend in Dubai? Head over to our insider’s Weekend in Dubai guide!

3. The Marina – Best area to stay in Dubai for nightlife

The Dubai Marina is a lively and vibrant neighbourhood. South of Jumeirah and next to the Palm, this Dubai district is a bustling tourist centre packed with trendy restaurants, stunning views and upscale shopping and entertainment. It’s the perfect place to spend a day or night lounging on the beach, wandering the streets or taking in the spectacular skyline views.

The Marina is also where you’ll find some of the best nightlife in the city. Dotted throughout the neighbourhood are establishments offering all types of nightlife and entertainment. From world-class clubs featuring international DJs to boisterous bars and laid-back lounges, no matter your taste or style, there’s something for everyone in the Dubai Marina.

The Marina Neighborhood, Dubai

Things to See and Do in The Marina

– Dance the night away at Zero Gravity.

– Sip great cocktails and enjoy an amazing view at Bice Sky Bar.

– Enjoy a glass of champagne at chic and sophisticated Bar 44.

– Party all night long at Stereo Arcade.

– Relax in the sun with a drink at Bliss Lounge.

– Listen to live music at laid-back Lock, Stock & Barrel JBR The Walk.

– Spend an unforgettable night at Inner City Zoo.

– Take a stroll along the Walk at JBR.

– Give your credit card a workout at Dubai Marina Mall.

– Dine on delicious food at Azure Beach.

– Eat incredible Lebanese cuisine at Amaseena.

Best Hostel in The Marina: At The Top Hostel

Set on the 66th floor, At The Top Hostel overlooks the incredible city of Dubai. Located near the Marina, this hostel is in close proximity to beaches, bars, clubs, cafes and shops. It has comfortable rooms, clean linens, and a small kitchenette for guests. You’ll also enjoy super fast wifi throughout your stay.

Best Airbnb in The Marina: Quirky Apartment in the City

This room has an interesting choice of furniture, kind of a mix between 70s beachy vibe with a hint of modern that may leave you wondering what era they were going for. Nonetheless worth staying at. It has an epic view from the rooftop pool. And if you want to play some games, shoot some pool downstairs near the lobby.

Best Hotel in The Marina: Movenpick Hotel Jumeirah Beach

This amazing five-star hotel is our recommendation for where to stay in Dubai Marina. It is close to shops and restaurants as well as the city’s top bars. You’ll have access to a swimming pool, a sauna, a rooftop terrace and a modern gym at this exclusive Dubai hotel.

Best Hotel in The Marina: Jannah Marina Bay Suites

The Jannah Marine Bay Suites hotel comes complete with a gym, swimming pool and a sauna. It offers air-conditioned rooms with luxury linens, cosy slippers, flat-screen TVs, and floor to ceiling windows so you can enjoy the epic views of the city. There’s also a delicious on-site restaurant.

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4. Al Quoz – Coolest place to stay in Dubai

Al Quoz is one of the most surprising neighbourhoods in Dubai. A former warehouse district, Al Quoz used to be characterized by its rundown factories, dirty warehouses and the construction trucks that were ever-present on its streets.

But, over the last few years, this industrial district has been completely transformed. Instead of heavy machinery, dirt and grime, today you’ll find trendy galleries and ultra cool hangouts. Which is why Al Quoz gets our votes for the coolest neighbourhood in Dubai.

Home to a variety of hip eateries and innovative cafes, Al Quoz is a neighbourhood where you can eat very well. From Middle Eastern to American fare, your taste buds will love going on culinary adventures in Al Quoz.

Al Quoz Neighborhood, Dubai
source: Varun Shiv Kapur (Flickr)

Things to See and Do in Al Quoz

– Explore the trendy Alserkal Avenue Arts District.

– See an incredible performance at The Junction.

– View exquisite works of art at Ayyam Gallery.

– Browse the displays of kinetic art at MB&F M.A.D Gallery.

– Cool down at The Chillout Ice Lounge, the Middle East’s first sub-zero bar and lounge, decorated exclusively with ice.

– Kickstart your day with an amazing breakfast at Tom & Serg.

– Eat healthy and delicious fare at Wild And The Moon.

– Enjoy great food and cool décor at moto.

– Satisfy your appetite at HAPI.

– Savour irresistible dishes and wines at The Meat Co.

Best Airbnb in Al Quoz: Small Studio outside of Madness

Make yourself at home during your stay here, you get the whole place to yourself! Take the bus and within a couple of minutes, you will be near the Antique Museum and the Community Art Space. It’s a cozy studio that perfect for single travelers and couples when your main goal is to check the city out.

Best Budget Option in Al Quoz: Park Inn by Radisson Dubai Motor City

At the Park Inn hotel, you can enjoy four-star quality and luxury at a fraction of the price. Set in central Dubai, this hotel is close to Dubai Creek, downtown and the Marina. It boasts a swimming pool and an on-site restaurant.

Best Hotel in Al Quoz: Canal Central Hotel

Located in Dubai’s Business Bay, this hotel is a short walk to trendy Al Quoz. It has a range of high-quality features including a swimming pool and a wellness spa. This hotel is home to a delicious on-site restaurant, perfect for enjoying a meal after a long day on the town.

Best Hotel in Al Quoz: V Hotel Dubai Curio Collection by Hilton

This stylish and luxurious hotel is set at the heart of the city. It boasts a myriad of modern features, including a spectacular outdoor swimming pool and an on-site nightclub. Its rooms are comfortable and spacious, which is why it’s our pick for where to stay in Al Quoz.

5. Downtown Dubai – Best neighbourhood in Dubai for families

Downtown Dubai is the most iconic neighbourhood in the city. This stylish and cosmopolitan district is where you’ll find world-renown landmarks and attractions including Burj Khalifa and the massive Dubai Mall. This neighbourhood is dedicated to entertainment and excitement and is a must-visit for anyone in Dubai.

This centrally located neighbourhood also gets our vote for where to stay in Dubai for families. Not only is it well connected to all other areas of the city, but this district is packed with action, adventure and activities that all members of your family will love. From great museums to exciting theme parks, you’ll make memories that will last a lifetime by staying in Downtown Dubai.

Downtown Dubai Neighborhood, Dubai

Things to See and Do in Downtown Dubai

– Watch the choreographed water show at Dubai Fountains.

– Shop or take a stroll through The Dubai Mall, the largest shopping and entertainment destination in the world.

– See majestic and marvellous sea creatures at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo.

– Make a daytrip out to Dubai Parks and Resorts for some theme park thrills

– Take in the view from the observation deck on the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa.

– Strap on your skates and go for a spin at Dubai Ice Rink.

– Browse the stalls at Souk Al Bahar.

– Enjoy an incredible meal at Ewaan.

– Dine on decadent Parisian fare at Entrecote Café de Paris.

Best Hostel in Downtown Dubai: The Solo Traveler

The Solo Traveler is a charming and cosy hostel. It is located at the heart of the city and offers easy access throughout Dubai. It has comfortable and clean dorm rooms with bed linens and personal lockers to keep your valuables safe. There’s also a terrace that has unparalleled views of Burj Khalifa.

Best Airbnb in Downtown Dubai: Luxurious Apartment in Downtown

Feel like a king staying in this apartment having the iconic view of Dubai. Plus you will have an assistant, access to the gym, pool, and sauna! This suite is great for couples or families who need a crib, highchair and dark shades for extra hours of sleep. Surprisingly, you get all of this for one of the lowest prices in the area. Stay here, and you will be just around the corner from the Opera and the random man-made lake (Burj Khalifa).

Best Hotel in Downtown Dubai: Welcome Hotel Apartment – 2

This three-star property is perfect for families visiting Dubai. It has free wifi, an outdoor pool and an on-site golf course. Each apartment comes complete with air-conditioning, a private balcony and a full kitchen. There’s also a delicious on-site restaurant and plenty of cafes and shops nearby.

Best Hotel in Downtown Dubai: M Hotel Downtown by Millennium

M Hotel Downtown is situated at the heart of Dubai. It boasts a swimming pool, a spa and a modern gym. This hotel is comprised of 242 rooms with luxurious amenities and sweeping city views. This is our pick for where to stay in Downtown Dubai.

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Dubai

Big, bold, modern and amazing; Dubai is safe a destination unlike any other. This massive Middle Eastern city is home to world-class shopping, world-renowned architecture, and some of the most beautiful beaches on the plenty. It’s no wonder that millions of people flock here every year to experience the luxury, opulence and magic of Dubai.

In this post, we’ve highlighted the best neighbourhoods to stay in Dubai. If you’re still not sure which is right for you, here’s a quick recap.

The Solo Traveler is our favourite hostel thanks to its comfortable accommodations, its central location and its stunning views of the city.

Al Ghurair Hotel Managed by AccorHotels is also a great option with its charming rooms and great wellness features.

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