Sponsored Content: Dubai’s newest suburb is full of hidden gems. From rainforests to retro games and Michelin-pedigree chefs to world-class street art. Here are 11 things to do next time you head down there…
1. Play Pac-Man at Hub Zero
Hub Zero is a great place for families, spread over two floors and 18,000 square metres. The ground floor has 18 attractions ranging from a laser maze to a children’s playground, while the mezzanine floor has four huge zones and some seriously cool retro games – including the classic Pac-Man. A perfect re-re-wind experience for the young at heart. Both floors are pay as you play. Visitors can also purchase a Master Pass that provides them with unlimited access to all ground floor attractions for Dhs160 or opt for a Hacker Pass to skip the queues for Dhs195.
Next to Roxy Cinemas, City Walk, Dubai. 10am to 10pm Sun to Weds, 10am to midnight Thurs to Sat. More info on website.
2. Eat at a Michelin-pedigree restaurant
Berlin-born chef Tim Raue has managed to win two Michelin stars for the kitchens he helms – and his first restaurant outside of Germany, Dragonfly, has just opened along the new area’s Boulevard. What can we expect of the food? “Japanese product quality, French technique, Thai flavours and Chinese spices,” says head chef Christian Singer.
We’ve been there, it was truly delicious.
Building 5, Al Mustaqbal Street, City Walk, 12pm to midnight Sunday to Wednesday, 12pm to 1am, Thursday to Saturday. More info on website.
3. Shop at a classic British store (and a French one)
Anyone from the UK will have heard of Whistles, a workwear favourite for London’s office set. The good news? There’s now one in Dubai at City Walk. The designs are classic and simple but made in quality fabrics – think cashmere, Romanian linen, leather etc – so the pieces last (even their plain jersey tees).
City Walk, 10am to 10pm, daily. Tel: (04) 342 7873. More info on website.
Whistles isn’t the only brand you’ll find new to Dubai here – step out to the outdoor shopping area and you’ll find American Vintage. This super-chic French brand specialises in quality linen and cotton T-shirts in a range of hues – the kinds of things that are at once ‘this old thing?’ but also impossibly chic.
Outside shopping area at City Walk, 10am to 10pm, daily. Tel: (04) 294 3583. More info on website.
4. Eat the most Instagram-friendly meal you’ll ever have
It’s only been open about a month, but Walnut Grove is already running a queue for Friday and Saturday breakfast. Why?
Well, maybe because their breakfasts look like this:
And the cakes look like this:
If you’re South African you’ve probably heard of Walnut Grove (word is the late, great Nelson Mandela was even a fan). The Jo’burg spot is worth going just to look at their opulent cake stand (each muffin sits in its own little glass case).
City Walk, 8am to 1am, daily. Tel: (04) 344 4441. More info on website.
5. Buy limited-edition chocolate
Inside the luxury shopping area that’s part of City Walk you’ll find one of the most grandiose chocolate shops you’ve ever seen – Boutique Le Chocolat is home to the delicious ‘artworks’ of 28 master chocolatiers from all around the world. We bought a 78 per cent bar from Florence there recently that was so exclusive it was numbered, it was bar 71 of 90 ever made, apparently. The taste? Delicious. There’s even a little cafe that’s part of the shop where you can sip on an artisanal hot chocolate.
Inside City Walk, 10am to 10pm, Sunday to Thursday and 10am to midnight Friday to Saturday. Tel: (04) 590 5075. More info on website.
6. Eat a starter, main and dessert (all with chocolate in them)
Your chocolate flight needn’t end when you step out of Boutique Le Chocolat either, as just around the corner you’ll find Cocoa Kitchen – a home-grown restaurant at which every dish – from starters to mains to desserts – has cocoa in it. The shakshouka for breakfast is sprinkled with cocoa nibs, the seared foie gras comes with dark chocolate and the venison carpaccio stars white chocolate horseradish.
City Walk, 8am to midnight, Sunday to Thursday, 8am to 1am Friday and Saturday. Tel: (04) 343 2506. More info on website.
7. Meet a sloth
There’s an actual bio dome here (well, it’s more of a bio rectangle) called The Green Planet that’s home to over 3,000 plants and animals.
The humidity inside the huge ‘dome’ is kept at 70 per cent so that the environment is perfect for rainforest animals and plants to flourish, and as you wander through you’ll find a sloth chilling – as they do – on one of the trees. Pretty magical stuff.
The Green Planet, Dubai, Al Madina Street, City Walk. 10am to 10pm, weekdays, 10am to midnight on weekends. Tickets Dhs95, Dhs70 for children aged two to 12. More info on website.
8. Stumble upon world-class street art
The Dubai Walls project saw a bunch of globally renowned artists etch their art on public spaces all across City Walk, so it’s now a hub of street art in Dubai. Stroll around the entire area and you’ll see work from Blek Le Rat, D*Face, Ron English and more. For a full guide to and map of the works, head here.
9. Feel like you’re in Covent Garden
The multiple-block shopping and dining destination features cute little lanes and boulevards, with the buildings looking more London High Street than Jumeirah Side Street. It all makes for a nice morning stroll with a cup of coffee in hand (we also love the flat whites from % Arabica on Al Mustaqbal Street).
10. Get a health check up
There’s now actually a health and wellness centre here called Valiant Clinic: they offer wellness plans, health check-ups, diagnostic services and more. A handy new spot for anyone who lives in the area.
13th Street, City Walk, 9am to 7pm, Saturday to Thursday. Tel: (800) VALIANT. More info on website.
11. Live there
And, of course, don’t forget that there are luxury apartments in the new pedestrian-friendly destination, too. All 34 residential buildings are low-rise, there are 1,496 apartments, many of which have floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views of the Burj Khalifa: they range from one to four bedrooms, and the apartment sizes range from 1,000 to 7,500 square feet.
The best bit about living here is that you’ll have direct access to City Walk’s Al Mustaqbal Street, which is lined with plenty of shops and restaurants, so there will always be lots to do.
OTHER THINGS TO CHECK OUT: Sikka Cafe for Emirati comfort food, Physique 57 for glute-quivering workouts, Spinney’s for a spot of supermarket shopping and the new Roxy Cinemas for a trip to the movies without the hassle of parking in a mega-mall.