So you landed a new gig in Dubai and are gearing up for the big move to the glitz and glam of the UAE. Between the skyscrapers, luxury resorts, and year-round sun, Dubai seems like an expat paradise. But where exactly should you set up your new home base? Here are the best areas for expats to live in Dubai.
As a city of neighborhoods, choosing where to live in Dubai can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, we’ve got the insider scoop on the top areas for ex-pats.
Whether you want to be close to the beach, surrounded by nightlife, or nestled near family-friendly amenities, these five neighborhoods should be at the top of your list.
Get ready to find the best areas to live in Dubai for expats. The Dubai you’ve always dreamed of awaits!
Dubai Marina is one of the best area to live in Dubai for expats. This vibrant neighborhood along Dubai Creek has an amazing array of amenities that make living there a breeze.
You’ll never run out of things to do in Dubai Marina. It boasts over 200 cafes, restaurants, and bars along the waterfront promenade alone. Fancy a stroll? The marina walk is a great spot for an evening walk along the water with stunning views. Need to grab a few essentials? There are also loads of shops, supermarkets, and gyms within walking distance.
If you have a family, the neighborhood is also home to some of the best schools in Dubai, like Gems World Academy and Emirates International School. Parks, playgrounds, and kids’ clubs mean little ones will never be bored.
For entertainment, check out the famous Pier 7 building, with its variety of nightlife options all in one spot. Or catch a flick at the Marina Mall Vox Cinema. When temperatures rise, cool off at the Zero Gravity beach club or the fancy new beachfront leisure spot, La Mer.
You really can’t beat the location of Dubai Marina. It’s situated between Dubai Media City, Palm Jumeirah, and Jumeirah Beach Residence, with easy access to Sheik Zayed Road. The Dubai Metro and tram make getting around a breeze.
Living in Dubai Marina means you get the live-work-play lifestyle in one of the most prestigious areas of Dubai. The stunning skyscrapers, beach clubs, dining, and nightlife give it a Miami South Beach vibe like no other neighborhood in the city. Everything you could want is right at your doorstep.
2. Arabian Ranches
If you’re moving to Dubai with family, Arabian Ranches should be at the top of your list. This large residential community is perfect for expat families with spacious villas, lots of amenities, and a quiet, residential feel.
Arabian Ranches covers over 2,000 acres of manicured greenery, walking trails, and parks located just outside the city center. Over 2,500 villas offer 3 to 6 bedrooms with private yards, pools, and lots of living space for families. The community has top schools like Ranches Primary School and Dubai British School within its gates.
For entertainment, Arabian Ranches has everything families need like pools, sports courts, playgrounds, and an equestrian center. The community center hosts events, courses, and kids’ activities year-round. With 24-hour security, low crime, and lots of like-minded expats, you’ll feel completely at ease raising children here.
Shopping and dining options like the Ranches Souk, Spinneys, and Cho Gao restaurant mean you don’t have to go far for essentials or a night out. And with major roads right outside the gates, the rest of Dubai is within easy reach when you want to venture out.
If a spacious home, yard, top-notch amenities, and a built-in community are what you’re after in Dubai, look no further than Arabian Ranches. This family haven has everything you need to settle into expat life in the UAE with peace of mind.
3. Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai is the vibrant heart of this global city. Centered on the Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, and Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, it’s a hub for shopping, dining, entertainment, and culture.
The Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is one of the world’s largest shopping malls. With over 1,200 stores, an indoor aquarium, an ice rink, and a massive movie theater, you’ll never run out of things to do. Shop for luxury brands, grab a bite at one of the 200 restaurants, or just people-watch.
The Dubai Fountain
Right outside the Dubai Mall, The Dubai Fountain features the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. Water dances and spins up to 500 feet in the air, all set to classical or contemporary music. The shows run every 30 minutes from 6 pm to 11 pm and are free to watch.
No trip to Dubai is complete without visiting the Burj Khalifa. At 828 meters tall, the views from the observation decks on the 124th and 148th floors are jaw-dropping. Buy tickets in advance to skip the queue. Go at sunset for the best photos of the Dubai skyline.
Downtown Dubai has an energetic vibe and futuristic feel with its glittering skyscrapers and neon lights. By day or night, there’s always something going on. The area has efficient transport links, making it easy to get around car-free. With new hotels, restaurants, and attractions opening regularly, Downtown Dubai continues to evolve into a world-class destination for expats and visitors alike.
4. Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT)
Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) is one of the most popular areas for expats to live in Dubai. Located along Sheik Zayed Road, it’s a cluster of 87 residential towers featuring studios and one- to three-bedroom apartments.
Compared to other upscale areas of Dubai, the rent in JLT is quite reasonable. You can find a spacious one-bedroom for around 60,000 AED per year. The towers offer amenities like gyms, pools, playgrounds, and 24-hour security, all within an affordable budget.
JLT has become a lively hub for expats. On any given evening, you’ll find residents strolling around the lake promenade, dining al fresco at restaurants, or meeting for drinks at one of the many bars and pubs. There’s an active social scene with events like food festivals, movie nights, and fitness meet-ups bringing the community together.
One of the best aspects of living in JLT is its prime location. It’s located right next to the metro, so you can easily get into Downtown Dubai or Dubai Marina. You’re also just a 10-minute drive from Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, and Jebel Ali Free Zone. Within JLT itself, you have everything you need like grocery stores, salons, medical clinics, and kids’ play areas all within walking distance.
Overall, JLT offers a perfect blend of reasonable rent, community, and convenience that expats desire. The vibrant lifestyle and central location make it an ideal place to call home in Dubai. If you’re looking for an area with an active social scene and access to amenities that won’t break the bank, Jumeirah Lakes Towers should be at the top of your list.
5. Emirates Hills
Emirates Hills is one of the most prestigious communities in Dubai, home to many high-net-worth individuals, CEOs, and celebrities. Located in a prime spot nestled between Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Hills offers a scenic setting with winding roads, manicured greenery, and large private plots.
If budget isn’t a concern, Emirates Hills should be at the top of your list. Rent for a 4-bedroom villa typically starts around AED 500,000 per year, while purchasing a property can easily cost AED 10 million or more. However, you get what you pay for – unparalleled luxury, privacy, and amenities. Each massive villa comes with a private pool, landscaped garden, and 3-4 car garage.
Some of the main draws of Emirates Hills include:
Residents have access to a clubhouse, tennis courts, squash courts, gyms, playgrounds, and walking/jogging tracks. There’s also a community park and lake, perfect for an evening stroll.
Emirates Hills’ strategic location provides easy access to Dubai’s major roadways like Al Khail Road and Sheik Zayed Road, as well as Dubai Metro stations. It’s only a 10-15 minute drive to business hubs like Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City. Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Beach Residence, and Palm Jumeirah are also nearby.
The spacious villas, abundant green spaces, playgrounds, and community events make Emirates Hills an ideal place for families with children. Many reputable schools are within close proximity including Gems Wellington Academy and Dubai British School.
Safe and Secure
24-hour security patrols, CCTV monitoring, and gated access points help ensure the safety, security, and privacy of residents.
If lavish living in one of Dubai’s most prestigious, well-connected, and family-friendly communities sounds appealing, Emirates Hills should be at the top of your list when searching for expat accommodation in Dubai. The hefty price tag is worth it for many, especially for the unparalleled luxury, amenities, and lifestyle on offer.
So there you have it, the inside scoop on the top spots for expats to set up home in Dubai next year. Any of these five areas would make an ideal base for exploring all this glittering city has to offer.
Whether you’re after beachfront living, family-friendly neighborhoods, or being right in the heart of the action, Dubai has you covered.
The city is constantly reinventing itself, but one thing that never changes is the warm welcome it extends to people from all over the globe.
Wherever you choose to settle in Dubai, you’ll soon find yourself living the high life in a city that dreams big and makes the impossible possible. The future is bright – now go out there and make Dubai your new home!