Posted May 27th, 2023
Where is the Best Place to Live in Dubai? Consider These Top 17 Picks
What time is it when an expat arrives at DXB? It’s time to find a good place to stay – but where is the best place to live in Dubai?
Tens of thousands relocate to our great city yearly, and the norm for fresh arrivals is to ask about the best places to live in Dubai. Not just that, talking about the rental deals are always on top of mind whenever expats gather in Dubai and discuss the cost of living.
Despite being known as a city of luxury skyscrapers in the desert, not everyone can afford high-cost living from day one.
What are considered the “best” residential communities is also controversial because finding the perfect balance between costs and reasonable living conditions is tough, especially with limited budgets.
In this article, we’ll spotlight the top 17 best places to live in Dubai as well as all the details you need to decide on one.
Moreover, we’ve added a few pieces of EXPERT ADVICE to maximise what you can get out of our list.
[Regardless of what residential community you choose, money transfers back home can always be one click away with the help of mobile applications. Hubpay provides free and easy international money transfers with multiple additional services such as bill payments and airtime recharge. You can join for free on Apple and Google Play.]
1. Al Furjan
Located between Sheikh Zayed Road and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, the excellent infrastructure of Al Furjan makes it one of the best communities to live in Dubai.
The fact that it sits next to a perfect road network offers residents easy access to all the parts of Dubai, such as Dubai Marina, City Centre, and the Dubai International Airport. Additionally, it has its metro station, AL Furjan Station, and a direct link to the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Al Furjan is a gated community with four sub-communities sharing intersected pathways and amenities; it consists of townhouses, villas, and some residential buildings. As a gated community, many leisure and fitness facilities are available in the area, including public parks, sports, gyms, and playing grounds.
AlyaDe Leon, the previously mentioned People and Operations Associate at HubPay, also lived in Al Furjan for 6 months, “Al Furjan is a not crowded and quiet area. You get to sit down when you ride the metro, family- and pet-friendly areas, cheap rent for a really good place, near the metro, and near big shopping malls Ibn Battuta for Al Furjan.”
2. Discovery Gardens
Discovery Gardens are 6 kilometres of lush green, European-style neighbourhoods in Dubai. They are well connected to public transportation, and the nearest station within walking distance is Ibn Battuta Station. Also, the location in Jebel Ali provides easy access to Sheikh Zayed Road and Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, making it a preferable option for those who don’t own a car.
Being in Dubai for 25 years and having lived in Discovery Gardens for a year, Chelsea Fernandes, a Fraud Analyst at Hubpay, says, “Discovery Gardens – a family and pet-friendly area – seems like a small snippet of Dubai that’s NOT skyscrapers. Full of greenery, game courts, swimming pools, and very close to one of the most beautiful malls in terms of architecture - Ibn Battuta Mall; if you want birds chirping every morning, great sunlight, and a wholesome family community, DG is the best place to live!”
The Discovery Gardens have the most affordable apartments and a variety of facilities and amenities such as good schools, nurseries, grocery stores, restaurants, gyms, clinics, and salons. Therefore, they are a reasonable community for expat families, professionals, singles, and students.
Discovery Gardens apartments are especially popular among single professionals and students looking to save money on rent. According to current Bayut listings, rent for Discovery Gardens apartments start at an average price of AED 33,900 yearly. However, the number of surrounding amenities makes it the perfect destination compared to other residential areas.
3. Arabian Ranches
Located on the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, at the outskirts of Dubai, Arabian Ranches provide an escape from the city’s hustle and allow residents to enjoy spacious homes and natural surroundings.
The Arabian Ranches consist of 3 areas: Arabian Ranches 1, Arabian Ranches 2, and Arabian Ranches 3. All of them have the same style of standalone villas and townhouses with Arabian and Spanish themes.
The suburb’s luxury amenities include the Ranches Souk, golf course, bike trails, parks, skate park, basketball, tennis courts, and high-quality English-speaking international schools such as Jumeirah English Speaking School and Ranches Primary School. This makes the area one of the most sought-after posh places in Dubai, where residents find luxury, family-friendly, peaceful communities they can quickly call home.
4. Dubai Marina
When considering the best place to live in Dubai, Dubai Marina must be on the list. The largest artificial marina worldwide, Dubai Marina is built around a waterway and extends over 3 kilometres. It is considered among the most prestigious communities in Dubai and offers a combination of commercial and residential properties.
Dubai Marina is loaded with luxurious hotels, cafes, restaurants, bars, and other modern-style facilities that give Dubai’s seafront a contemporary look and feel.
“DM is close to water and the beach, and it's great for fitness, cycling and running. You get to escape the hustle of DIFC / DWTC”, said Punit Ghumra, Vice President of Finance at Hubpay. “I stayed in DM for 3 years and I would definitely recommend it as it’s a really good hub of people in the area who have been there for some time.”
The properties are typically skyscrapers and villas, and it’s the home of the iconic twisted building, Cayan Tower. The prime location of Dubai Marina makes it easy to reach other attractions in Dubai, such as Dubai Downtown.
Additionally, it’s well connected to public transport thanks to the tram and the metro stations.
The mixed variant community that offers a spectacular sea view from the high-rise residence with an active yet healthy lifestyle makes Dubai Marina one of the best communities to live in Dubai. Furthermore, it's the perfect destination for western expats and businessmen looking for the western lifestyle in Dubai – modern amenities, swimming pools, and a luxury vibe all around.
5. Downtown Dubai
Tucked between the old and new Dubai, Downtown Dubai provides the best of the culturally rich old town and the cosmopolitan, rapidly progressive new town. Living in the centre of the city is a thrilling experience as all the hustle and bustle goes on there.
The city’s top landmarks like Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall are the area’s main sights, alongside high-end shops, cafes, and restaurants. For foodies, Dubai Downtown restaurants will take them on a journey of culinary delights from every corner of the world.
The infrastructure here is outstanding, with seamless public transportation through the Dubai Metro connecting the downtown to the rest of the city. The area has an array of stellar views for residents, from apartments to villas, in addition to easy access to Dubai’s international airport and several unique attractions, such as Dubai Fountains, the Ice Rink, and Underwater Zoo.
The residential area in MIRDIF is one of the most popular places to live in Dubai for families. It is located east of Dubai’s international airport and away from the major tourist hubs. Also, it’s close to places such as Dubai Festival City, Academic City, and Deira City Centre.
Ghoroob, Shurooq, Uptown MIRDIF, MIRDIF Hills, MIRDIF City Centre and MIRDIF Tulip are just a few of the neighbourhoods that make up the area. This premium location next to Mushrif Park boasts first-rate conveniences and services.
The residential neighbourhood is home to many schools, nurseries, and dining facilities, making it a safe, affordable, and good place for families with kids. MIRDIF provides reasonably priced residential apartments and villas.
7. Business Bay
The urban mix with residential, commercial, and tourist attractions makes the Business Bay area one of the best places to live in Dubai for urban lifestyle lovers. The area is a short metro ride away to Dubai’s main trade centres, such as the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Dubai World Trade Centre. Furthermore, it provides all the amenities anyone could ask for right on the doorstep.
The vibrant mix of 240 residential and commercial buildings turns Business Bay into a living urban jungle with a fast-track lifestyle, making it a perfect option for those who love the experience of living in luxury high-rise apartments with all the city hustle going on around.
Still wondering where is the best place to live in Dubai? Following our expert advice to help crush the numbers.
According to Bayut, It’s possible to rent a studio apartment less than 500 metres away from the Business Bay Metro Station for AED 57,000 yearly (AED 4,750 monthly). Apartments at Manazel Al Safa, Falcon Tower, and residential towers in the Grand Executive Towers complex are some of the most sought-after in the Business Bay Metro Station area.
8. DUBAI SPORTS CITY
Affordable but upscale, Dubai Sports City offers an energetic lifestyle and quick access to gyms, sports clubs, stadiums, and academies. For families with kids inclined to sports, this would be among the good places to live in Dubai.
The city is one of the themed cities in Dubai, consisting of Canal Residence, Victory Heights, and Gallery Villas. Located on Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, the three districts are well built and offer affordable residential units from villas to apartments and townhouses.
9. Dubai International City
Dubai International City is located in the Al Warsan area and extends over 8 million square metres. The city is dedicated to residential purposes only and tops the list of affordable good places to live in Dubai.
It provides a well-appointed residential complex that includes studios and one-bedroom apartments. The key feature of the city is that it’s divided into 10 residential blocks; each block follows a different style of architecture from around the world, such as in China, France, Greece, Spain, and Italy.
So, for French-style lovers or those who love Chinese food – or both – the Dubai International City would be the best place to live in Dubai to enjoy multiple international experiences in one area. Also, the city is served by public transportation and has excellent transport links with several bus stations.
10. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)
One of the superior characteristics of Dubai is its central geographical location between different time zones, making it the perfect destination for international businesses and representation offices to operate. At the heart of it, between the iconic Burj Khalifa and Emirates Towers, is the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which is split into three districts: commercial, residential, and retail.
Covering 110 hectares, DIFC is recognized as Dubai’s business and trade hub, connecting to global markets around the world.
When asked about the best place to live in Dubai, Chelsea Fernandes, Analyst at Hubpay, being in Dubai for 25 years, recommends DIFC and says, “DIFC is close to a lot of offices, Dubai Mall, a lot of food options, and has very well maintained buildings. If you want to live in a place that FEELS like Dubai, this is the best area to be in! If you prefer living close to offices and restaurants and don’t mind a very active nightlife, DIFC is great for someone new in Dubai.”
The fascinating mixed community provides a location for the office building and companies and a residential option in high-rise buildings, alongside amenities and recreational facilities, from well-equipped modern spaces to world-class shopping and dining options.
DIFC is a live-work-play community ideal for workaholics. It’s well connected to the Dubai metro with not only one but three metro stations: Emirates Tower, World Trade Centre, and the Dubai International Financial Centre metro station.
11. BUR DUBAI
Bur Dubai is a historic district in the city of Dubai, located west of Dubai Creek. The community is one of the best places to live in Dubai. The neighbourhood is divided into sub-districts, including hustle and quiet family-friendly communities.
Due to the area’s strategic location on Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road, residents have easy access to Downtown Dubai, DIFC, Deira, and Dubai International Airport.
The interesting mix of cultures, as well as the availability of multi-sized stores, restaurants, supermarkets, hospitals, and very good schools gives the Bur community an additional advantage. Accommodation, including rooms, apartments, and studios, is available at reasonable prices. For all the stated reasons, Bur Dubai is a great destination for singles and families, especially parents with school-going kids.
12. Dubai Motor City
Dubai Motor City is the home of the Dubai Autodrome, the region’s first fully-integrated motorsports facility. As the name suggests, the whole city is themed around automobiles, and it’s a top attraction for motorsports lovers.
If foreigners were asked about the best place to live in Dubai, they might not consider Dubai Motor City because its name suggests that it is a noisy non-residential community. However, it might sound surprising, but the city is a serene and peaceful community with excellent infrastructure and a variety of amenities such as cafes, shops, schools, and restaurants, making it a real family-friendly neighbourhood.
Motor City offers vast property choices from studios to apartments at a reasonable price, making it preferable not only for families but also for singles. For those who are looking for an escape from the fast-paced lifestyle of the hustle and bustle areas such as Downtown Dubai, Motor City provides a calmer alternative.
13. Palm Jumeirah
When thinking about where is the best place to live in Dubai, The Palm Jumeirah must be mentioned regardless of the cost of living there. The Palm is the largest artificial island, famous worldwide for its unique shape. It is also one of the most iconic developments in Dubai.
The artificial island has a unique community and contains luxury villas, townhouses, and apartment buildings with sea views. The “sea theme” dominates at the Palm, and the most entertaining activities are visiting the Atlantis resort and swimming with dolphins.
The prestigious community is the home of monorail, schools, restaurants, and malls. The Palm Jumeirah combines luxury, convenience, family friendliness, and is one of the most posh places in Dubai.
14. Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)
The relatively new neighbourhood of Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) is situated on the fringe of the pristine Jumeirah Beach. The waterfront community includes identical towers, pools, green areas, and other entertainment facilities.
JBR is one of the most westernised districts in Dubai and the most walkable part of it. However, the main attraction remains the beach. Although it might seem like an entertainment community, JBR is family-friendly, with many high-quality schools, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and other recreational spots.
15. Dubai Media City (DMC)
The centre of the creative industry in Dubai, Dubai Media City (DMC) was established in 2000 and became a regional hub for media companies. DMC is a business-oriented area; most buildings are offices and commercial floors offered for rent.
However, there are also rental residences in the state-of-the-art skyscrapers and high-rise residential towers. And most buildings are equipped with dedicated parking spaces, a maintenance team, and 24-hour security. Whether living or working in DMC, transportation won’t be a problem with the presence of all types of public transportation, including metro, bus, and tram lines.
Dubai is one of the most attractive locations to live in worldwide because of its welcoming and highly diverse community and growing economy. An area like DMC exemplifies a vibrant city with endless business opportunities for everyone to catch.
16. Dubai Mall
The world's second-largest mall, Dubai Mall measures over 13 million square feet, equivalent in size to more than 50 football fields. The mega mall is situated in between the iconic Burj Khalifa and Dubai Marina, an area that could be considered the heart of Dubai. It has more than 1,200 retail outlets, including two major department stores, Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale's, and many entertainment and leisure attractions for families, like Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, VR Park Dubai, and Dubai Ice Rink.
Living next to the mall is a dream for shopping lovers, and there are many residential areas around it; the most famous is Address Dubai Mall Hotel. It's almost 190 metres tall and has 41 floors, with about 370 comfortable rooms. It is also connected to Dubai Mall so residents can enjoy the shopping a few steps away.
17. Al Barsha
What was once a desert is now one of Dubai’s most popular residential areas. Al Barsha is located behind the Mall of Emirates and continues all the way to the Emirates Hills, providing easy access to all the main areas of Dubai.
The premium location is a 25 minutes drive from the airport, and it’s connected to a network of roads and public transportation facilities like bus stations and the Dubai metro. This makes it a perfect residential choice for those who work in nearby places such as Media City, InterCity, and Emaar Business Park.
“I still recommend it, especially for people new to Dubai. It’s not too overwhelming,” said Alya de Leon, a People and Operations Associate at Hubpay who lived in Al Barsha for 7 months. “You’ll never go hungry ’coz there are so many restos in the area, family- and pet-friendly areas, cheap rent for a really good place, near the metro, near big shopping malls MOE for Al Barsha.”
The most common properties in Al Barsha are generally semi-detached villas as well as apartments. The area is well served with shops, cafes, supermarkets, and restaurants. Additionally, it’s close to the famous Mall of Emirates, the home of Ski Dubai, and the Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre.
According to statistics from Bayut, a leading real estate platform in the UAE, a studio apartment in Al Barsha, less than 500 metres from the metro, is available for an average price of AED 34,000 yearly (AED 2,833/month). Although it’s not that cheap, Al Barsha is considered affordable and even cheaper than other posh places in Dubai, such as Dubai Marina. Therefore, it’s a reasonable option for those wondering about the best place to live in Dubai.
[Finding a good deal on a rental in Dubai means you'll have more money saved in your bank account to send home. Whenever you need to send money abroad, download the Hubpay app for free on Apple or Google Play stores to enjoy low-cost international money transfers, as well as international bill payments and mobile recharges.]
Finding a place to live in Dubai can be challenging with many places seeming unaffordable. However, there is an area of the city for every need, whether for singles or families.
Residential areas in Dubai range from luxury to reasonably priced zones, and the one common feature among them is the availability of modernised themed cities, transport and amenities.
Regardless of your lifestyle, you can always find a place in Dubai where you'll enjoy doing what you like the most.
Searching for the best place to live in Dubai might take some time because you need to check various options and review your financial status before making a decision.