Dubai South (Dubai World Central) Area Guide 2023

Dictricts Dubai South (Dubai World Central) Area Guide 2023
~25 min


Dubai South is a prominent urban development project located in southern Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Designed as a master-planned city, Dubai South aims to be a dynamic and integrated metropolis that offers a wide range of residential, commercial, and industrial facilities. Spanning over 145 square kilometers, the development is strategically positioned near the Al Maktoum International Airport and the Expo 2020 site. Dubai South encompasses various key sectors, including aviation, logistics, real estate, and trade, with the vision of becoming a global hub for business, tourism, and innovation. The city is structured to provide a sustainable and futuristic living environment supported by advanced infrastructure, cutting-edge technologies, and world-class amenities. With its ambitious vision and strategic location, Dubai South holds immense potential as a significant contributor to the growth and diversification of Dubai's economy.

History of Dubai South Area

Dubai South, formerly known as Dubai World Central, has a rich history that dates back to the visionary plans of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE's Vice President and Prime Minister. The ambitious vision aimed to establish a self-sufficient district catering to various economic activities and serving as a strategic logistics hub.

The foundation for Dubai South was laid in 2006 with the unveiling of the Dubai Plan, a comprehensive roadmap for the emirate's development. One of the key milestones was the establishment of Al Maktoum International Airport, a state-of-the-art facility designed to handle millions of passenger flights and millions of tonnes of cargo.

Since its inception, Dubai South has undergone a remarkable transformation and has emerged as a vibrant and integrated community. The area has witnessed the development of residential projects, including apartment buildings and residential communities, offering a mix of mixed-use properties. The business park within Dubai South has attracted various related businesses, fostering a dynamic ecosystem.

Over time, Dubai South has evolved into a self-sufficient district, offering its residents and businesses a range of amenities and services. It boasts educational consultancy services, social services, sports facilities, and retail facilities, including shopping malls. The area has also become home to an international school catering to the community's educational needs.

Dubai South's significance in the aviation industry has grown exponentially with the establishment of Aviation City, a dedicated hub for the aerospace sector. Furthermore, the area has become renowned for hosting the Dubai Airshow, a premier event showcasing the latest aviation industry advancements.

Looking ahead, Dubai South continues to expand its infrastructure and offerings. With the future Etihad Rail network planned to have direct access to the area and the development of a logistics corridor and a joint venture with MBR Aerospace Hub, Dubai South aims to strengthen its position as a global logistics and business hub.

Dubai South has demonstrated its commitment to sustainable development through its master-planned city approach, providing a seamless blend of residential, commercial, and logistics services. With its strategic location and forward-thinking vision, Dubai South remains at the forefront of Dubai's growth and development, propelling the emirate towards a prosperous future.

Dubai South (Dubai World Central) Geography and Architecture

Geography and Architecture

Dubai South, located in Dubai, UAE, boasts a well-thought-out physical layout and distinctive architectural elements contributing to its unique character. The area encompasses various districts, each designed with meticulous planning and attention to detail.

The centerpiece of Dubai South is Al Maktoum International Airport, the world's largest airport by planned annual capacity. Its sprawling infrastructure includes passenger terminals, runways, and state-of-the-art facilities to accommodate millions of travelers and facilitate efficient air cargo operations.

The residential districts within Dubai South feature a variety of architectural styles and designs, ranging from modern high-rise apartment buildings to spacious residential communities. These structures are often characterized by sleek and contemporary designs, showcasing Dubai's commitment to innovative architecture.

The business park in Dubai South presents a combination of modern and functional buildings, providing flexible office spaces and office solutions to cater to diverse business needs. These structures often incorporate sustainable design elements, reflecting the commitment to environmental consciousness.

Dubai South stands out for integrating various elements that enhance its appeal and functionality. One unique aspect is the presence of a dedicated logistics corridor, offering seamless connectivity for efficient supply chain operations. This corridor facilitates the movement of goods and services, bolstering Dubai South's position as a prominent logistics hub.

Another distinctive feature is the presence of a free zone within Dubai South. The free zone provides a business-friendly environment, attracting companies from various industries to establish their presence and take advantage of numerous incentives and benefits. It catalyzes economic growth and fosters a thriving business ecosystem.

Dubai South's commitment to sustainability is evident in its architecture and design. The area incorporates green spaces, pedestrian-friendly pathways, and sustainable infrastructure. This focus on environmental conservation creates a harmonious blend of nature and urban development, promoting a high quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

Furthermore, Dubai South's master-planned city approach ensures that the physical layout and architectural elements are thoughtfully integrated with social amenities. The presence of shopping malls, educational institutions, sports facilities, and social services within the area contributes to a well-rounded community that caters to diverse needs.

Key Attractions

  1. Dubai South Free Zone. A significant draw for businesses, the Dubai South Free Zone offers a thriving ecosystem for companies across various industries. Explore the opportunities available and learn about the benefits of operating within this dynamic business environment.

  2. Dubai South Business Park. The business park within Dubai South provides flexible office spaces and office solutions for entrepreneurs and corporations. Discover the state-of-the-art facilities and modern architectural designs that make this area attractive for business ventures.

  3. Aviation District. As part of Dubai South, Aviation City is a hub for the aviation industry. It houses aviation-related businesses, training institutes, and support services. Visitors can explore this unique aviation ecosystem and learn about the advancements in the industry.

If you are planning a visit to Dubai South, here are some helpful tips to ensure you have an enjoyable and memorable experience:

  • Best time to visit. The best time to visit Dubai South is during the cooler months, from November to March, when the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities and exploration.

  • Ticket information. Admission to most attractions in Dubai South, such as the airport and business park, is free. However, specific attractions like Dubai Marina Mall may have individual ticket prices for certain activities or events. It is advisable to check the official websites or contact the respective attractions for the latest ticket information.

  • Transportation. Dubai South is well-connected by road networks, and public transportation options are available to reach the area. Consider utilizing taxis, ride-sharing services, or public buses for convenient access.

  • Dress code. While there are no specific dress code requirements for most attractions, it is recommended to dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting religious sites or educational institutions.

  • Plan ahead. To make the most of your visit, plan your itinerary in advance, considering the attractions you wish to visit and the activities you would like to engage in. Check the opening hours of each attraction and allocate sufficient time for exploration.

Dubai South (Dubai World Central) Culture and Lifestyle

Culture and Lifestyle

Dubai South embraces a diverse and vibrant culture that reflects the cosmopolitan nature of Dubai as a whole. The area welcomes people from various nationalities, creating a multicultural environment where traditions from around the world intermingle with local Emirati customs.

A blend of modernity and traditional values characterizes the local culture in Dubai South. While the area is known for its bustling business activities and innovative infrastructure, there is also a deep-rooted appreciation for Emirati heritage and traditions.

The lifestyle in Dubai South embodies the city's commitment to providing residents with a high standard of living. The area offers a mix of residential communities and apartment buildings, catering to different preferences and needs. These communities often incorporate modern amenities and recreational facilities, fostering a sense of community and well-being.

One noteworthy local custom in Dubai South, as well as in the wider UAE, is the emphasis on hospitality and generosity. Visitors can expect to be warmly welcomed and treated with the utmost respect. It is customary for locals to offer dates and Arabic coffee, symbolizing hospitality and friendship, to guests.

The traditional Emirati dress, known as the "kandura" for men and the "abaya" for women, is often seen in Dubai South. While the area accommodates various cultures and styles, it is not uncommon to witness Emirati nationals proudly donning their traditional attire during formal occasions or national celebrations.

Islam plays a significant role in the cultural fabric of Dubai South, as it does throughout the UAE. Visitors may notice the call to prayer echoing from the Al Maktoum Airport Mosque, inviting Muslims to perform their daily prayers. It is important to respect local customs and traditions, such as dressing modestly when entering religious sites.

Dubai South celebrates cultural diversity through various events and festivals. These occasions provide an opportunity for residents and visitors to immerse themselves in different cultures, traditions and cuisines. From international food festivals to cultural performances, Dubai South embraces a spirit of inclusivity and openness.

In summary, Dubai South showcases a rich blend of cultural influences and a lifestyle that balances modernity with traditional values. The area embraces diversity and provides a welcoming environment for people from all walks of life. By respecting local customs and traditions, visitors can fully appreciate the unique culture and way of life in Dubai South.

Culinary Scene

  1. Machbous. This traditional Emirati dish consists of spiced rice cooked with tender meat (usually lamb or chicken) and a blend of aromatic spices. It is often garnished with fried onions and served with a side of yogurt.

  2. Shawarma. A Middle Eastern favorite, shawarma features marinated meat (usually chicken or lamb) that is roasted on a vertical spit and thinly sliced. It is typically served in warm pita bread with garlic sauce, tahini, vegetables, and pickles.

  3. Falafel. These deep-fried balls made from ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices are a popular vegetarian option. They are often served in wraps or as part of a mezze platter with hummus, tahini, and fresh vegetables.

  4. Harees. A hearty and traditional Emirati dish, harees is made from a blend of wheat and meat (usually chicken or lamb) cooked until it reaches a porridge-like consistency. It is commonly enjoyed during Ramadan and special occasions.

In Dubai South and close to it, you'll find a variety of notable restaurants, cafes, and food markets catering to diverse culinary preferences:

  1. Al Fanar Restaurant. Known for its traditional Emirati cuisine, Al Fanar Restaurant offers an authentic dining experience. From machbous to luqaimat (sweet dumplings), visitors can savor the rich flavors of Emirati gastronomy in a charming and nostalgic setting.

  2. Mama'esh. This popular Lebanese bakery in Dubai South serves freshly baked flatbreads topped with various flavorful ingredients such as cheese, za'atar (herb blend) and minced meat. It is a favorite spot for quick and delicious bites.

  3. Al Hadeerah. Located in a desert resort within Dubai South, Al Hadeerah offers a unique dining experience under the stars. Guests can indulge in a lavish buffet featuring traditional Arabic dishes, live cooking stations, and captivating cultural performances.

Shopping Experience Dubai South (Dubai World Central)

Shopping Experience

  1. Retail Outlets. Dubai South has several retail outlets and shopping centers catering to different preferences. From luxury brands to affordable fashion, you'll find a wide range of shops to explore. One of the popular shopping destinations is The Outlet Village, which offers discounted prices on high-end fashion, accessories, and lifestyle brands. It provides a premium shopping experience with a picturesque Italian-themed setting.

  2. Global Village. Located nearby, Global Village is a cultural extravaganza that showcases pavilions from different countries, each representing their distinctive arts, crafts and products. This vibrant open-air market offers a diverse shopping experience where you can browse and purchase items such as traditional clothing, handicrafts, home decor, and international souvenirs.

  3. Convenience Store. Dubai South has a selection of convenience stores and supermarkets within easy reach for everyday shopping needs. These stores stock a variety of groceries, household essentials, and personal care items, ensuring you have easy access to necessities during your visit.

  4. Future Developments. As Dubai South continues to grow, there are plans to introduce additional retail spaces and entertainment hubs in the future. Keep an eye out for upcoming projects that will enhance the shopping experience and provide even more options for visitors.

  5. Dubai's Malls. While not within immediate proximity to Dubai South, the city is renowned for its extravagant malls, such as the Mall of the Emirates and The Dubai Mall. These malls are easily accessible by car or public transportation, and they offer an unparalleled shopping experience with a vast array of international brands, department stores, entertainment options, and dining establishments.

When it comes to haggling and navigating the markets in Dubai South, here are some tips to help you make the most of your shopping experience:

  1. Master the art of haggling. Bargaining is a common practice in many markets in Dubai. Don't be afraid to negotiate prices with the vendors. Start by offering a lower price, and be prepared to meet somewhere in the middle. Polite and respectful haggling can often result in getting a good deal.

  2. Do your research. Before visiting the markets, research the average prices of the items you want. This will give you an idea of what to expect and help you negotiate better.

  3. Be respectful. While haggling is encouraged, remember to be respectful to the vendors. Maintain a friendly and polite demeanor throughout the bargaining process.

  4. Compare prices. Don't settle for the first stall you encounter. Take the time to explore multiple shops and compare prices. This will better understand the market rates and ensure you get the best value for your money.

  5. Keep an eye on quality. While searching for a good deal, also pay attention to the quality of the products. Examine items carefully, especially when purchasing jewelry or textiles, to ensure they meet your expectations.

  6. Stay hydrated. Dubai South experiences hot weather, especially during the summer months. Stay hydrated by carrying a bottle of water with you while exploring the markets.

Accommodation Options

  1. Luxury Hotels and Resorts. Dubai South boasts several luxurious hotels and resorts that provide exceptional amenities and services. These establishments offer a premium experience, with features like world-class spas, fine dining restaurants, and breathtaking views.

  2. Business Hotels. For those traveling on business, Dubai South has a selection of business hotels catering to business travelers' needs. These hotels typically offer well-equipped meeting rooms, business centers, and convenient access to transportation hubs.

  3. Budget-Friendly Hotels. Travelers on a budget can find affordable hotels in Dubai South that provide comfortable accommodation without breaking the bank. These hotels offer basic amenities and are a good option for those looking to save on accommodation costs.

  4. Serviced Apartments. Dubai South also offers serviced apartments for those seeking a more independent and home-like experience. These apartments have fully equipped kitchens, living areas, and other amenities, making them suitable for longer stays or travelers who prefer self-catering options.

  5. Guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts. For a more intimate and cozy experience, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts are available in the surrounding areas of Dubai South. These accommodations often provide personalized service, home-cooked meals, and a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture.

Getting Around

Dubai South offers a range of public transportation options that make it easy for visitors and residents to navigate the area and explore the city. The well-developed transportation infrastructure ensures convenient access to various destinations within and outside Dubai South.

One of the primary modes of public transportation is the Dubai Metro. The metro system connects Dubai South to other major city areas and offers a fast and efficient way to travel. The nearest metro station to Dubai South is the Expo 2020 Station, which provides direct access to the area.

Additionally, Dubai South is served by an extensive network of buses. The buses are operated by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and offer affordable transportation options for getting around the area. They connect Dubai South with other parts of Dubai, including popular tourist attractions and residential areas.

For those looking for more flexibility, taxis are widely available in Dubai South. Taxis can be hailed on the street or booked through ride-hailing apps. They provide a convenient and comfortable means of transportation, especially for shorter distances or when traveling with luggage.

Here are some useful tips to help you navigate the area:

  • Plan your routes. Before heading out, familiarize yourself with the locations you want to visit and plan your routes accordingly. Consider using online maps or transportation apps to find the best routes and estimate travel times.

  • Use public transportation apps. Download and use apps that provide real-time information about public transportation schedules, routes, and fares. This will help you stay updated and make informed decisions when using buses or the metro.

  • Carry a transportation card. Obtain a Nol Card, which is a rechargeable card used for public transportation in Dubai. It can be used for metro rides, bus fares, and even for payment in some retail outlets. Having a Nol Card saves time and avoids the need for purchasing individual tickets for each trip.

  • Consider peak hours. Remember that peak hours, typically during morning and evening rush times, may result in heavier traffic and more crowded public transportation. If possible, plan your travels to avoid these peak hours for a more comfortable experience.

Special Events

Dubai South hosts various special events, festivals, and celebrations throughout the year, offering visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture and vibrant atmosphere. These events showcase the diverse traditions, art, music, and flavors of Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.

One of the most prominent events in Dubai South is the Dubai Airshow, a biennial aerospace exhibition that attracts aviation industry professionals worldwide. It features impressive aerial displays, showcases cutting-edge technology, and serves as a platform for business networking and industry collaboration.

Another significant event is the World Expo, a global exhibition held every five years in different host cities. In 2020, the World Expo was scheduled to take place in Dubai, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed to 2021. The Expo attracted millions of visitors from around the world, showcasing innovative technologies, cultural exhibits, and providing a platform for different countries to share their achievements and visions for the future.

Dubai South also celebrates various cultural festivals, such as Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, which mark the end of Ramadan and the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. The city comes alive during these festivals with vibrant decorations, traditional music, dance performances and delicious feasts.

The Dubai Airshow is usually held in November, while the World Expo occurred from October 2021 to March 2022. However, it's essential to check the official websites or local event calendars for the most up-to-date information on specific dates and schedules, as they may vary from year to year.

Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha follow the Islamic lunar calendar and are observed on different yearly dates. They typically occur after the completion of the holy month of Ramadan and the Hajj pilgrimage.

Besides these major events, Dubai South hosts various other cultural, sports, and entertainment events throughout the year. These can include live music concerts, art exhibitions, international sports competitions, and more. It's recommended to check the local event listings or contact the Dubai South authorities to stay informed about upcoming events and festivities.

Attending these special events in Dubai South allows visitors to experience the city's vibrant energy, immerse themselves in its rich cultural heritage, and create lasting memories of their time in this dynamic destination.

Practical Information

  1. Currency. The local currency in Dubai is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED). It's advisable to carry some cash in dirhams for small purchases and have a credit or debit card for larger transactions. Currency exchange services are available at airports, banks, and exchange offices.

  2. Language. The official language of Dubai is Arabic, but English is widely spoken and understood, especially in tourist areas, hotels, and businesses. This makes it convenient for travelers to communicate and navigate the city.

  3. Weather. Dubai South experiences a desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. Summers (June to September) can be extremely hot, with temperatures often exceeding 40°C (104°F). Winters (November to March) are more pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F). It's advisable to wear lightweight and breathable clothing during summer months and carry a light jacket or sweater during winter evenings.

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

  5. Electricity. The standard voltage in Dubai is 220-240 volts AC, with a frequency of 50 Hz. Type G three-pin plugs are commonly used, so bringing a universal adapter is advisable if your devices have different plug types.

  6. Visa Requirements. Check the visa requirements for your nationality before traveling to Dubai South. Visitors from many countries are eligible for visa-on-arrival or visa-free entry, while others may require a pre-approved visa. It's best to check with your home country's UAE embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information.

Safety considerations and emergency contact information

  1. Personal Belongings. Keep your valuables secure and be mindful of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas or on public transportation.

  2. Traffic Safety. Dubai has a well-developed road network, but traffic can sometimes be heavy. Observe traffic rules, use pedestrian crossings, and be cautious when crossing the road.

  3. Medical Emergencies. Call 999 for an ambulance or visit the nearest hospital in case of a medical emergency. Dubai South has medical facilities equipped to handle emergencies.

  4. Emergency Contacts. Save important phone numbers in your mobile phone, including the local police (999), ambulance (999), and the tourist police hotline (901).

  5. Respect for Local Customs. Dubai follows Islamic traditions and customs. Respect the local culture by dressing modestly in public places, particularly in religious sites, and avoid public displays of affection.


Dubai South Area offers a unique and dynamic experience that showcases the visionary development of Dubai. With its strategic location, world-class infrastructure, and diverse range of offerings, it has emerged as a thriving destination for business, aviation, and residential communities.

The area's remarkable growth and development are evident in its iconic landmarks, such as the Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai World Central, and the Dubai South Free Zone. The master-planned city provides a seamless blend of residential, commercial, and industrial spaces, creating a self-sufficient district that caters to various needs.

Beyond its infrastructure, Dubai South boasts a rich cultural heritage and vibrant lifestyle. Visitors can immerse themselves in local traditions, explore the culinary delights, and experience the warm hospitality of the Emirati people. The area's proximity to major attractions like Dubai Marina Mall, Jebel Ali, and Sheikh Zayed Road further enhances the overall experience.

As you navigate Dubai South, you'll find a well-connected transportation network that facilitates easy movement within the area and beyond. The presence of top-notch amenities, educational institutions, and healthcare facilities ensures a comfortable and convenient lifestyle for residents and visitors alike.

If you're seeking an extraordinary destination that seamlessly combines business, leisure, and cultural experiences, Dubai South Area is the place to be. Whether you're a business traveler, a leisure seeker, or a resident looking for a vibrant community, Dubai South offers many opportunities to explore.

Embrace the architectural marvels, indulge in the local cuisine, and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Emirati culture. Witness the grandeur of the world's largest airport, stroll through bustling markets, and appreciate the blend of modernity and tradition.

Dubai South Area invites you to embark on a remarkable journey where innovation meets heritage and dreams become a reality. So, pack your bags, embrace the spirit of adventure, and discover the wonders of Dubai South for yourself. It's an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your memory and ignite your sense of wonder.


  • 1.

    Under which authority is Dubai South?

    Dubai South falls under the authority of the Dubai Government. It is a key development project that is part of the vision of the government to diversify and expand the economy of Dubai.

  • 2.

    What is Dubai South free zone?

    Dubai South Free Zone is a specialized economic zone within Dubai South. It offers a business-friendly environment and a range of incentives to attract local and international companies. The free zone provides facilities and services for various sectors such as aviation, logistics, trade, and technology. Companies operating within the free zone enjoy benefits such as 100% foreign ownership, tax exemptions, and streamlined business processes.

  • 3.

    Who is the developer of Dubai South?

    Dubai South Properties, a subsidiary of Dubai South, develop Dubai South. The development is overseen by various government entities and organizations working together to bring the vision of Dubai South to life.

  • 4.

    What are the names of the South Dubai areas?

    The South Dubai areas within Dubai South include: Residential District, Logistics District, Business Park, Golf City, Exhibition District, Aviation City, Residential City.

    These areas offer a mix of residential, commercial, logistics, and recreational facilities, catering to the diverse needs of residents and businesses.

  • 5.

    Is Dubai South a government or private city?

    Dubai South is a government-led project and falls under the authority of the Dubai Government. It is developed per the government's vision to diversify the economy and create a sustainable and vibrant city. While private entities develop and operate various projects within Dubai South, the government carries out overall governance and oversight.

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Update date: 04/19/2024