Dubai Festival City Area Guide 2023

Dictricts Dubai Festival City Area Guide 2023
~22 min


Nestled within the vibrant city of Dubai, Dubai Festival City (DFC) exudes an irresistible charm that resonates with residents and tourists. This thriving area is a dynamic blend of modernity and tradition, with the Dubai Creek gracefully flowing along. The Festival Bay area, with its breathtaking views of the iconic Dubai skyline, serves as a captivating backdrop to the magnificence of Dubai Festival City.

At the center of this urban oasis lies the Dubai Festival City Mall, an expansive shopping haven that boasts a plethora of renowned fashion brands and world-class amenities. The area is a haven for those seeking a shopping paradise and many dining and entertainment choices, including the much-celebrated Imagine Fountain shows.

Dubai Festival City offers various hotels for those seeking respite and relaxation, including the luxurious InterContinental Dubai Festival City and the splendid Crowne Plaza. Amidst this bustling cityscape, one can find tranquility along the serene waters, making it a perfect spot for special occasions or strolls.

Dubai Festival City's prominence extends beyond its borders, as it stands as a global attraction and a testament to Dubai's unparalleled progress. With its easy access to public transport, including the Creek Metro Station, and its proximity to Dubai International Airport, the city welcomes visitors worldwide with open arms.

History of Dubai Festival City

The story of Dubai Festival City began with a visionary concept to create a modern, integrated community that would serve as a hub of commerce and entertainment and contribute to Dubai's ever-evolving skyline. The journey commenced with meticulous planning and ambitious aspirations, driven by the renowned Al-Futtaim Group, a conglomerate known for its dedication to excellence.

In the early 2000s, Dubai Festival City emerged as a groundbreaking project, reflecting Dubai's commitment to innovation and progress. One of the most notable milestones in its history was the inauguration of the InterContinental Dubai Festival City, marking the introduction of luxurious accommodations within the development. This event not only added a touch of sophistication to the area but also emphasized its commitment to world-class amenities and experiences.

As the years unfolded, Dubai Festival City evolved from a mere concept into a thriving metropolis that seamlessly blended residential, commercial, and entertainment elements. The iconic Dubai Creek, a historic waterway that has been a lifeline for the city, played a pivotal role in shaping the development's layout and character. With its awe-inspiring views of the Dubai skyline, Festival Bay became a focal point for leisure and festivities.

The Dubai Festival City Mall, an integral part of the development, rose to prominence as a major shopping destination, boasting an array of retail outlets, dining establishments, and entertainment venues. This evolution was marked by the continuous addition of renowned fashion brands, international restaurants, and a spectacular food court, which solidified its reputation as a hub for retail and gastronomic experiences.

Over time, Dubai Festival City has undergone various phases of expansion and enhancement, with the introduction of the Imagine shows, mesmerizing displays that blend water, light, and sound to create enchanting spectacles along the serene waters of Dubai Creek.

Geography and Architecture of Dubai Festival City

Geography and Architecture

Dubai Festival City district covers an area of about 3.8 square km, harmoniously combining distinctive Arabian architectural elements, modernity, and innovation. Situated along the banks of the historic Dubai Creek, the development encompasses a vast expanse that includes commercial spaces, residential areas, entertainment zones, and more. With its modern design and strategic location, the Creek Metro Station and Emirates Metro Station are gateways to this bustling hub within 10 minutes by car. A distinctive feature of the neighborhood is its proximity to Dubai Airport (DXB), which can be reached in just 10 minutes.

At the heart of Dubai Festival City lies Festival Bay, an expansive waterfront area that serves as a gathering point for leisure, entertainment, and festivities. This bay offers breathtaking views of the iconic Dubai skyline, a testament to the city's architectural prowess.

The architecture of Dubai Festival City is defined by its fusion of contemporary design and regional aesthetics, creating an iconic skyline that's instantly recognizable. One of the most remarkable features is the Festival Tower, a striking high-rise that graces the skyline 33-storey high-rise office building that attracts attention with its modern facade and elegant lines.

With its distinct architectural design, the Dubai Festival City Mall is a shopping haven that seamlessly marries retail and entertainment. Its spacious corridors, grand atriums, and thoughtful layout create an inviting atmosphere for visitors to indulge in a world of shopping, dining, and leisure. The mall's architecture mirrors the development's commitment to creating functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces.

Key Attractions

  1. Dubai Festival City Mall. This sprawling shopping center is a retail paradise that houses a diverse range of shops, boutiques, and international brands. It's not just a shopping destination; it's an experience encompassing everything from high-end fashion to electronics.

  2. Imagine Fountain shows. A highlight of Dubai Festival City, the Imagine shows are a mesmerizing blend of water, light, and sound that create captivating spectacles along the serene waters of Dubai Creek. These nightly displays are a must-see, offering a unique and enchanting entertainment experience.

  3. InterContinental Dubai Festival City. This luxurious hotel is a landmark, offering opulent accommodations, fine dining, and world-class amenities. It's the perfect place to unwind in style and enjoy breathtaking views of the Dubai skyline.

  4. Festival Bay. The Festival Bay area is a hub for gatherings, events, and leisure activities. With its stunning views of Dubai Creek and the city's iconic skyline, it's an ideal spot for relaxation and enjoying the beauty of the waterfront.

  5. Festival Tower is a striking 33-storey high-rise office building that attracts attention with its modern facade and elegant lines. The tower symbolizes the developer's commitment to architectural innovation and is designed to offer 360° views of the Festival City area and Dubai.

  6. The Festival Arena is a dynamic event venue in Dubai Festival City, UAE. It hosts diverse events like concerts, exhibitions, and conferences. Equipped with modern technology, it offers a versatile space for both large and small gatherings, contributing to Dubai's vibrant entertainment and business scene.

Before visiting this neighborhood, consider these tips:

  • Best Time to Visit. Dubai Festival City is bustling year-round, but the cooler months from October to April are generally more pleasant for outdoor activities. The Imagine shows are particularly magical during the evening hours.

  • Ticket Information. Most attractions at Dubai Festival City, including the Imagine shows, are often free for visitors. However, certain events or experiences might require tickets, so checking the official website or inquiring locally for specific details is advisable.

  • Public Transport. Dubai Festival City is conveniently accessible via Creek Metro Station and Emirates Metro Station, from which the area can be reached by bus or taxi in 10 minutes.

  • Shopping and Dining. When exploring the Dubai Festival City Mall, take advantage of the vast dining options and diverse shops. There's something for everyone, from high-end brands to local boutiques and international cuisines.

  • Evening Delights. The Imagine shows come alive at night, casting a magical spell on the waterfront. Arriving early can help you secure a good viewing spot for these captivating displays.

Culture and Lifestyle in Dubai Festival City

Culture and Lifestyle

Dubai Festival City reflects the vibrant tapestry of Dubai's culture, blending modernity with cherished traditions. The local culture is a dynamic fusion of diverse influences, shaped by the city's history as a trading hub and its rapid development into a global metropolis.

Traditional Emirati culture is evident in the city's architecture, events, and lifestyle. While the development symbolizes modern innovation, it pays homage to local aesthetics with elements like Dubai Creek and Festival Bay, celebrating the city's maritime heritage. The InterContinental Dubai Festival City, a haven of luxury, mirrors the Emirati commitment to hospitality and opulence.

Noteworthy local customs or practices include:

  • Hospitality. Emiratis are renowned for their warm hospitality. It's common to be invited into homes and enjoy traditional meals, an experience that offers insights into local customs and daily life.

  • Islamic Practices. Dubai Festival City, like the rest of Dubai, respects Islamic practices. Visitors are encouraged to dress modestly, especially in public areas, out of respect for local customs.

  • Friday and Prayer Times. Fridays are considered a holy day for Muslims, with Friday prayers being a significant event. It's advised to be mindful of prayer times and the potential impact on businesses and services during these periods.

  • Ramadan. During the holy month of Ramadan, Dubai Festival City and the wider city adhere to fasting regulations from dawn until sunset. Visitors must respect these practices and refrain from eating or drinking in public during daylight hours.

  • Cultural Sensitivity. While Dubai is cosmopolitan, it's important to be culturally sensitive. Avoid public displays of affection; a respectful and polite demeanor is appreciated when interacting with locals.

Culinary Scene

The culinary scene at Dubai Festival City reflects the city's cosmopolitan nature, offering a delightful fusion of traditional Emirati flavors and international cuisines. Dubai's diverse population has led to a rich tapestry of dining options, ensuring that visitors to Dubai Festival City can embark on a global culinary journey.

Local Emirati cuisine, deeply rooted in Bedouin traditions and maritime influences, is a highlight. Dishes like Al Harees, a slow-cooked blend of meat and wheat, and Al Machboos, a fragrant rice dish with either chicken or fish, provide a taste of authentic Emirati flavors. Additionally, indulging in Arabic sweets like Luqaimat, deep-fried dough balls soaked in date syrup, is a must.

Some notable restaurants, cafes, and food markets are:

  • Hard Rock Cafe. Known worldwide for its rock 'n' roll ambiance and American-style cuisine, Hard Rock Cafe at Dubai Festival City offers a lively dining experience. Its iconic memorabilia and classic American dishes make it a go-to spot for music enthusiasts and those craving comfort food.

  • The Cheesecake Factory. A true indulgence for dessert lovers and foodies alike, The Cheesecake Factory serves up a delectable array of cheesecakes and a diverse menu of American dishes. The opulent decor and extensive menu make it a must-visit for a satisfying meal or a sweet treat.

  • PF Chang’s. This renowned restaurant brings the flavors of Asian cuisine to Dubai Festival City. With its modern twist on traditional Asian dishes, PF Chang's offers a culinary journey through China's diverse regions. It's stylish ambiance and flavorful dishes make it a popular choice for those seeking an Asian-inspired dining experience.

  • Paul Bakery & Restaurant. Paul is a haven for lovers of French cuisine. With its charming ambiance and a delectable selection of pastries, bread, and savory dishes, it transports diners to the heart of France. From croissants to quiches, Paul captures the essence of French culinary traditions.

Shopping Experience in Dubai Festival City Mall

Shopping Experience

  1. Dubai Festival City Mall. The waterfront leisure and shopping destination, Dubai Festival Mall, is located in the neighborhood. The shopping center has over 500 retail stores and features renowned brands like Toys R Us, Zara, Marks & Spencer, Nike, Forever 21, and more. The complex also features an upgraded entertainment facility, including an 18-screen Novo Cinemas with 4D IMAX, a sprawling 70,000 sq. ft. family entertainment centre called Fabyland, and the pioneering BounceX trampoline park. DFC is also home to the first IKEA store in Dubai, the largest ACE Hardware store outside North America, and a flagship store of the famous Singapore-based department store Robinsons.

  2. Beauty Centers. Dubai Festival City caters to beauty and grooming needs as well. With various spas and salons within the community, both men and women can indulge in self-care without leaving the area. Popular options such as Tips and Toes, NBar, The Barber Room, and M&J Gents Salon provide top-notch services, ensuring that residents and visitors can pamper themselves conveniently.

  3. Bin Sougat Centre. While not located within Dubai Festival City, Bin Sougat Centre is a nearby shopping destination. This center offers a range of retail stores and services, providing another option for residents and visitors to explore and shop nearby.

  4. City Centre Deira. Another nearby shopping haven, City Centre Deira, is a renowned mall offering a mix of high-end brands, fashion outlets, electronics stores, and dining options. Its central location and diverse offerings make it a popular choice for locals and tourists looking for a comprehensive shopping and entertainment experience.

Here are some for haggling and navigating the markets:

  • Polite Negotiation. Haggling is a common practice in the souks. Approach it with a smile and a friendly attitude. Engage in a polite back-and-forth while negotiating prices, always maintaining respect for the seller.

  • Research and Compare. Before you start bargaining, explore different stalls to get an idea of the range of prices. This will help you make informed decisions and recognize a fair deal.

  • Start Low. Begin with a price significantly lower than what you're willing to pay. This leaves room for negotiation and increases the chances of securing a better deal.

  • Be Patient. Haggling is an art that requires patience. If negotiations stall, don't be afraid to walk away. Often, the seller might offer a better price to entice you back.

  • Set a Limit. Decide on your maximum budget for the item and stick to it. Remember that the goal is to find a mutually satisfying price.

  • Cash is King. Souks usually prefer cash transactions. Carry small denominations of local currency for smoother transactions.

Accommodation Options

Dubai Festival City presents a diverse range of accommodation choices, catering to various preferences and needs. With over 20,000 residential units, the community can comfortably house over 50,000 residents. These accommodations are divided into three districts: Al Badia Residences, Al Badia Hillside Village, and Marsa Plaza. Each district offers a unique living experience, accommodating different lifestyles.

  1. Al Badia Residences

    • Apartments. Offering 1, 2, and 3-bedroom options, these apartments are nestled amidst landscaped gardens, providing residents with serene surroundings and captivating views of Dubai Creek and the city skyline. Shared amenities include children’s play areas, swimming pools, gyms, and more.

    • Villas. Mediterranean-style architecture characterizes the spacious villas, providing ample living space and a touch of luxury.

  2. Al Badia Hillside Village

    • This district boasts buildings with Mediterranean and Arabic architectural designs.

    • Apartments. Ranging from 1 to 3 bedrooms and spanning 1,109 sq. ft. to 3,154 sq.ft., the apartments offer comfort and style, making Al Badia Hillside Village a compelling choice.

  3. Marsa Plaza

    • An upscale residential tower offering direct views of Dubai Creek and the city.

    • Apartments. Ranging from 1, 2, and 3-bedroom flats to 3 and 4-bedroom duplex units, Marsa Plaza stands out with its distinctive curved shape.

Internationally Acclaimed Hotels

  1. InterContinental Dubai Festival City

    • Offers direct access to DFC Mall and the Festival Arena event space.

    • Features the Club InterContinental Lounge, an outdoor pool, and the award-winning Spa InterContinental.

    • Dining options include Pierre’s Bistro and Bar, Choix Patisserie and Restaurant, Anise, and Vista Restaurant & Terrace.

  2. Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City

    • Directly connected to Dubai Festival City Mall.

    • Facilities include a gym, a spa, an outdoor swimming pool, and meeting rooms.

    • Dining options feature Belgian Cafe, Zaytoun, and Skyline Lounge.

  3. Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City

    • A 4-star hotel with a range of amenities, including three swimming pools, a fitness center, and more.

    • Meeting rooms and the spacious Al Badia Ballroom.

    • Dining options include Zeste Kitchen, Joe’s Backyard, and Sirocco.

  4. InterContinental Residence Suites Dubai Festival City

    • Offers rooms, suites, and serviced hotel apartments.

    • Features amenities such as a minimart, a hair salon, and an ATM.

    • Dining options include Mezzaluna and The Deli Cafe.

Getting Around

Dubai Festival City offers a range of convenient public transportation options, making it easy to navigate the area and explore the city:

  1. Dubai Metro. The Creek Metro Station is conveniently located near Dubai Festival City, providing easy access to the Dubai Metro network. This efficient and modern mode of transportation connects various key destinations across the city, making it a popular choice for residents and visitors.

  2. Bus Services. The area is well-served by local bus services, providing additional connectivity to different parts of Dubai. Bus stops are strategically located, ensuring accessibility to important destinations within and beyond Dubai Festival City.

  3. Boat Service. Dubai Creek offers a unique mode of transportation with boat services, allowing you to enjoy a scenic ride along the water and explore nearby attractions. This provides a refreshing way to travel and enjoy the area's picturesque views.

Consider these tips for navigating the area:

  1. Dubai Metro Navigators. Familiarize yourself with the Dubai Metro map and schedule to plan your journeys within the city efficiently. The Creek Metro Station serves as a convenient starting point for your explorations.

  2. Bus Routes and Schedules. Research local bus routes and schedules to effectively reach your desired destinations. Dubai's well-connected bus network can be a cost-effective and comfortable travel method.

  3. Waterway Excursions. Consider taking a boat service along Dubai Creek for a unique travel experience. This offers a delightful way to reach certain attractions and enjoy the serene waters.

  4. Ride-Hailing Services. Apps for ride-hailing services like Uber and Careem are widely used in Dubai and provide a convenient option for on-demand transportation to and from Dubai Festival City.

  5. Walking and Cycling. Dubai Festival City is designed with pedestrian-friendly pathways and cycling lanes. Exploring the area on foot or by bike allows you to enjoy the surroundings at your own pace.

  6. Metro and Bus Cards. Purchase a Nol card, Dubai's smart card for public transportation, to easily access the metro and buses. This card can also be used for waterway transportation.

  7. Local Maps and Apps. Utilize navigation apps and local maps to plan routes, find nearby attractions, and navigate the area efficiently.

Special Events

While Dubai Festival City is renowned for its tranquil and family-friendly ambiance, the community remains vibrant and dynamic, with various events and celebrations occurring throughout the year. From captivating performances to dazzling fireworks displays, there's always something special happening in this bustling neighborhood.

  1. Festival Bay Concerts and Performances. Festival Bay, a scenic waterfront area, comes alive with concerts, shows, and live performances on various occasions. This adds a lively atmosphere to the community and offers residents and visitors a chance to enjoy diverse entertainment.

  2. Imagine Shows. Imagine the spectacular multimedia show at Dubai Festival City, commemorating special days with captivating lighting shows and breathtaking fireworks displays. These events draw crowds and create memorable moments for the community to cherish.

  3. Dubai Shopping Festival. The Dubai Shopping Festival, a major city-wide event, also impacts Dubai Festival City. During this annual extravaganza, the Dubai Festival City Mall becomes a hub of activity, attracting a large crowd of bargain hunters seeking fantastic deals and discounts.

  4. Local and Seasonal Celebrations. Dubai Festival City embraces various local and international celebrations, including religious holidays, cultural festivals, and other significant events. These occasions bring a sense of unity and diversity to the community, fostering a rich tapestry of traditions.

Practical Information

  1. Currency. The official currency in Dubai is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). Currency exchange services are available at Dubai Festival City Mall and various exchange bureaus in the city.

  2. Language. Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas and commercial establishments.

  3. Time Zone. Dubai operates on Gulf Standard Time (GST), UTC+4.

  4. Electricity. The standard voltage is 220-240V, and the power plugs commonly used are Type G.

  5. ATMs and Banking. ATMs throughout Dubai Festival City offer cash withdrawals in multiple currencies. Major credit and debit cards are widely accepted.

Here are some safety considerations and emergency contact information:

  1. General Safety. Dubai is known for its safety, but it's important to exercise caution, particularly in crowded areas, and keep an eye on your belongings.

  2. Emergency Services. In emergencies, dial 999 for police, ambulance, or fire services. Dubai has a responsive emergency system.

  3. Healthcare. Dubai offers excellent medical facilities and hospitals. Dubai Healthcare City is a major medical complex providing comprehensive healthcare services.

  4. Tourist Helpline. For tourism-related inquiries or assistance, you can call the toll-free tourist helpline 800 900 (within UAE) or +971 600 555 559 (outside UAE).

  5. Important Contacts:

    • Police Emergency: 999

    • Ambulance and Medical Emergency: 999

    • Fire Emergency: 999

    • Tourist Police: 800 4438 (800 44 Dubai)

    • Dubai Tourism Contact Center: 600 55 55 59

  6. Weather and Clothing. Dubai has a desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. Light and comfortable clothing is suitable for most of the year, but modest attire is recommended when visiting religious sites.

  7. Cultural Sensitivity. While Dubai is relatively cosmopolitan, respecting local customs and traditions is important, especially during religious events and in public spaces.


Dubai Festival City is a captivating blend of modern luxury, cultural richness, and vibrant living. This remarkable community showcases a harmonious coexistence of world-class amenities, stunning architecture, and an inviting lifestyle. From its iconic skyline to the tranquil waters of Dubai Creek, every corner of Dubai Festival City exudes a distinct charm that resonates with residents and visitors.

As you've journeyed through the facets of Dubai Festival City – its entertainment hubs, major shopping destinations, family entertainment center, and serene waters – it's evident that this thriving community encapsulates the essence of contemporary Dubai. The fusion of renowned fashion brands, internationally acclaimed hotels, and immersive entertainment options creates an atmosphere of grandeur and excitement that can be felt by all who step foot in this remarkable space.

Apart from festivals, shows, and great shopping, Festival City has educational institutions such as Deira International School, Universal American School, and other international schools.

As Dubai cements its global hub, Dubai Festival City remains a cornerstone of this vision, offering a glimpse into the city's aspirations for the future. Its unique blend of urban sophistication and serene waters creates an environment that genuinely captures the essence of the Middle East. Local cuisine, restaurants, scenic landscapes, cultural entertainment, amazing shows, the best shopping, and a unique atmosphere await you in the Dubai Festival City area.



  • 1.

    How much is the entry fee for Dubai Festival City Mall?

    Entry inside the Dubai Festival City Mall is free for the public. You can visit with family or friends and enjoy a delightful shopping and dining experience.

  • 2.

    Which metro station is near Dubai Festival City?

    The Creek Metro Station and Emirates Metro Station are conveniently located near Dubai Festival City, providing easy access to the Dubai Metro network.

  • 3.

    In which months is Dubai Shopping Festival?

    The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) usually occurs in winter, typically from late December to early February. It is one of the most anticipated shopping events in Dubai and offers a wide range of discounts, promotions, entertainment, and cultural activities for both residents and tourists. The exact dates of the festival may vary from year to year, so it's recommended to check the official Dubai Shopping Festival website or local event listings for the most up-to-date information on the festival dates.

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Update date: 04/11/2024