The epicentre of Dubai’s cosmopolitan side, what can you expect visiting & staying in the Dubai Marina area of the city?
If you’d asked me just 15 years ago about staying in Dubai Marina, I probably would have laughed that it’s a bit far from the airport and a bit of a concrete jungle…
Well, times have changed, and yes, Dubai Marina IS some distance away from DXB (about 30 minutes in a taxi – no traffic); however, no longer a soulless concrete jungle, it has taken on a heart and soul of its own and is the perfect spot to base yourself for a longer vacation stay in Dubai, or if you simply like hanging out around amazing urban scenery and nightlife.
Where to Find Dubai Marina & How to Get Around
Dubai Marina sits on the Arabian Gulf coast to the west of Palm Jumeirah. It is 33kms away from DXB Airport, about 30 minutes off-peak along Sheikh Zayed Road E11, but it can take longer if there’s heavy traffic.
Dubai Marina Metro
You can get to Dubai Marina by Careem/Taxi, or it’s possible to access Dubai Marina from the Red Line Metro. The two most convenient stops are DMCC Station 1 and DAMAC Properties Metro, which also connect with the Dubai Tram.
Dubai Marina Tram
The Dubai Tram services the whole of the Dubai Marina area in a circular loop and then continues onward to Dubai Media City area and Knowledge Village. It can be a quick and convenient way to get from A to B – assuming it’s heading in the direction you need!
Otherwise, sometimes it can be quicker to tackle distances on foot; along the waterfront, you can avoid the traffic lights that the trams need to stop at.
The Dubai Tram is a convenient way to connect with the Palm Monorail, though note the Palm Monorail is privately operated by Nakheel, not part of the Dubai RTA transport system that uses Nol card, so separate (quite hefty) fees are applicable.
Where to Stay in Dubai Marina / JBR
The terms Dubai Marina and JBR area of the city might be used quite interchangeably, though there are some subtle differences. Dubai Marina refers to the area as a whole, whereas JBR – Jumeirah Beach Residence – is a series of buildings that sit between the marina and the beach. On the northern side of the Marina, you are in JBR.
Map of Dubai Marina
You can check out our detailed map of Dubai Marina here to get your bearings.
Dubai Marina Apartments
The Dubai Marina area is best known for its offering of apart-hotels and Airbnb options which gives travellers a little more room and flexibility with kitchenettes and laundry facilities frequently on offer.
- You can find our complete guide here to the best hotels and aparthotels in Dubai Marina
- Or our guide to the best Airbnb’s in Dubai Marina – from family-friendly duplex to simply unbelievable highrise apartments
Dubai Marina Beach Resorts
If you are looking for something more along the lines of a resort, pop over to our complete guide to JBR/Jumeirah Beach hotels taking you from the high-rise hotels on The Walk all the way through to the sprawling resorts with private beach frontage at the eastern end of JBR.
The resort hotels generally have a much higher price tag than staying in Dubai Marina.
Where to Eat & Drink in Dubai Marina
The great thing about staying in Dubai Marina is the huge range of dining and nightlife options on hand, both around the marina and in the surrounding neighbourhoods.
- We pick out our top 10 Bars in Dubai Marina here.
- Looking for a rooftop drink? Many of the best al fresco venues and rooftop dining and drinks in Dubai can be found in the Dubai Marina area.
More on our favourite Dubai Marina Walk restaurants coming soon!
Fun Things to Do in Dubai Marina
So, on to the fun stuff! Whether you’ve chosen to stay in Dubai Marina or simply want to enjoy what’s on offer for a day or the evening, here are some Dubai Marina attractions and activities to seek out:
Dubai Marina Cruise
One of the main reasons tourists head to Dubai Marina is as a departure point for cruises onto the Arabian Gulf waters. There is a wide variety of companies offering cruise services, so you need to think about:
- How long do you want to be out on the water for?
- Size and speed of the craft (speed boat or a more sedate luxury cruise)
- How many people will be in your tour group?
- How far you want to go, some stay pretty close to the marina and the Palm, while others will make a much longer loop up to Burj Al Arab and further east along Jumeirah Beach.
Here’s a selection of different ideas to get you started:
Although there are many cruise providers, we recommend booking through a reputable ticketing agent such as Get Your Guide who has a money-back guarantee, should your travel plans be changed it’s excellent to have this flexibility.
Dubai Marina Mall
Much of the activity of Dubai Marina revolves around the Dubai Marina Mall—relatively small in Dubai terms, but a beautifully set-out shopping experience. You’ll find everything from your favourite beachwear brands to a big supermarket (ideal for grabbing a little gourmet picnic along the waterfront).
Dubai Marina Zipline
Fancy taking on XLine Dubai? The world’s longest urban zip line will see you soaring from Amwaj Towers back to Dubai Marina Mall at speeds up to 80km/hr. The tandem lines mean you can even race your friends and family for some of the city’s most incredible urban views.
The Walk & The Beach
Closely connected to Dubai Marina is the famous Dubai location of The Walk and The Beach. The Walk is a retail promenade with plenty of dining, shopping and entertainment options.
The Beach is the public beachfront for JBR, to stroll along the beach and pull up a towel is completely free. If you wish to take advantage of any of the dozens of leisure attractions along here, from Flying Cup sky-high dining (pictured) to the inflated obstacle course Aqua Fun, these come at an additional fee – as do the beach chairs with parasol.
Bluewaters is situated close to Dubai Marina, though not directly connected. You can access Bluewaters on foot if you head to the very end of The Beach; there is a pedestrian walkway across the water to Bluewaters.
Alternatively, you can access Bluewaters by water taxi from Dubai Marina.
Bluewaters is home to a brand new dining and entertainment district as well as Ain Dubai – the largest observation wheel in the world – it’s a really fun new place to hand out with an ever-improving lineup of fun casual to fine dining choices.
Bluewaters is also home to Cove Beach, so if you’re staying in an apartment but would prefer to enjoy some private beachfront action away from the public crowds on The Beach, this is a top spot to head.
Should you include Dubai Marina on your Dubai Vacation?
Whether you plan to visit for a day or make Dubai Marina the base point of your Dubai vacation experience, you won’t be disappointed – it’s definitely worth the extra travel time to come to a newer part of the city.
Do make sure you make time to get beyond the city too, experience a day or evening trip into the desert, pop down to neighbouring Abu Dhabi and you’ll get a great all-round Dubai experience in the heart of the tourist action.
If you are not big into skyrises and urban lifestyle – that’s OK; we know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea – Dubai Marina may not be the best choice for you. Perhaps look into one of the city’s larger and more sprawling tropical beach resorts or check out accommodation in the older parts of Dubai around Bur Dubai and Dubai Creek.
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack, and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws, and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass from iVenture or a Go City Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.Dubai Travel Planner