Ever since watching Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Orange County” a few years back and hearing how much the ladies loved the shopping scene there, let’s just say that my curiosity wasn’t necessarily peaked about heading to Dubai. I love fashion as an art form but moving as much as I have in the last two years will make you think twice about collecting too many material possessions. That said, here’s how I’d likely spend my trip.
1) Gallery Hop
The Al-Quoz strip is quickly becoming the heart of the art world in Dubai, especially with the younger generation. The Lawrie Shabibi Gallery features contemporary art from the Middle East and other regions and the Ayyam Gallery, Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde and Flying House are a few others that I’m interested in seeing. This part of Dubai is far grittier than the typical Dubai glamour, which should be a refreshing change.
2) Haggle at the Souk
We all know I love a good haggle and I’m guessing Dubai has plenty of opportunity for me to put my bargaining skills to the test. I rarely buy anything besides a souvenir here or there but my main thrill comes from interacting with the locals and starting up conversations when appropriate. Dubai’s Gold Souk is a must for anyone remotely interested in diamonds of every size, shape and color.
3) Drink tea at the Burj Al Arab
This is considered the only seven star hotel in the world so I’m guessing that a tea is all I can realistically afford. The hotel, which ranks as the fourth tallest in the world, has an aquarium on either side of the elevators and seafood restaurant built underwater. Architecturally, the hotel is designed to look like the sail of a ship and is actually located on its own little island.
4) Search for Street Art
I read an article this past spring about how a creative group of street artists are adding color, both literally and figuratively, to the streets of streets of Al-Quoz, the same area where the local art scene thrives. Currently, the area is mainly comprised of factories and warehouses but like many neighborhoods before it, a revamp is on the horizon. I hope this initiative does come to life, as it would surely add a unique layer of intrigue to the city.
5) Indulge in a Champagne Brunch
This might not be the most cultural thing to do in Dubai, but nightlife and partying have become alluring aspects of the city. Despite being a Muslim state, there’s never any shortage of alcohol in Dubai. I’m also not really a night owl myself but living in New York has made me a brunch fanatic. For unlimited champagne, head to Spectrum on One (Fairmont) or Le Meridien’s (Yalumba) and for a great view, 360 Degrees does the trick.
Photo credit: www.finedininglovers . com.
Megan Eileen McDonough is writer, blogger and social media specialist based in New York City. She also runs Bohemian Trails, a lifestyle blog designed for the savvy and stylish traveler. Bohemian Trails aims to feature must-see places around the world, covering everything from revamped neighborhoods and vibrant street art to innovative tech hubs and everything in between. Her cultural escapades have taken her to Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Megan is also a freelance writer and social media specialist based in New York City. She contributes to various online and print publications in the travel and fashion industries and is an international correspondent for both Jetsetter and Northstar Travel Media.