Sharpen your elbows and expect crowds.
Think Dubai malls are busy on your average weekend? Well, wait until you see the crowds that turn up to the city’s mega shopping centres over the Eid weekend (when regional tourists flock in to experience a taste of Dubai, and all Dubai workers have the day off).
In fact, Dubai authorities are expecting that around 350,000 people a day will head to Downtown Dubai over the Eid Al Adha break.
This means that over the three days that the private sector has off (Thursday August 31 to Saturday September 2) the Downtown area will welcome around 1.05 million people.
So if you like a quiet, crowd-free stroll and need to get something from Dubai Mall this weekend, we recommend arriving at 10am on the dot and leaving before noon. Otherwise, stick to the city’s smaller malls, where the crowds may be more manageable.
DOWNTOWN TRAFFIC PLAN
The RTA has got a plan in place to help ease traffic gridlock over the busy period, with Maitha Bin Adai, the CEO of the Traffic and Roads Agency saying that 30 directional signs will be installed to guide drivers in several different directions (so that they don’t all take the same route).
The plan’s main objective is to ease traffic on Financial Centre Street, and it will suggest routes across many roads, including Oud Metha Street via Al Asayel Road, Zabeel’s Bridges via Happiness Street and Business Bay. Remember, Downtown Dubai actually has many entry points.
There will also be more bus and taxi pick up and drop off points at Dubai Mall, and 5% more taxis deployed to the Downtown area than were there last year during Eid Al Adha.
They will close some roads to boost traffic flow too (but alternative routes will be clearly marked):
— RTA (@RTA_Dubai) August 27, 2017
Meanwhile, RTA officers, the Dubai Police and Emaar will all be on the ground to try and help ease traffic flow. But basically, if you’re hitting the mall after sunset, expect a bit of traffic and a struggle to find a park.
The Dubai Metro will also be busy, and the operating hours have been extended, with the red line running from 5.30am to 2am (the next day) on some days. You can read a full list of bus, tram, water transport and metro timings here.