24 Hours in Dubai

Dubai is my second home. Having briefly lived there in 2014, I have gone back to this glamorous city thrice since. So, when I had to pick my favourite city to spend 24 hours in, I didn’t really need to think twice!

The only choice was on how to go about it. It happens ever so often, that you are in an exciting new city thanks to a half day meeting or an  8 hour layover but you have just that many hours to explore. What do you do then? “Check in” at the most popular tourist landmarks first or would you rather hit the ground running but take your time walking around, soaking in the feel of the city?

So, here is what I have decided to do. A vegetarian not too crazy about cooking, there have been months – while living away from home – when I have survived and thrived on coffee and muffins. Taking a cue from that, I have mapped out a Coffee & Cake Crawl to spend 24 Hours in My Favourite City, in a way that I do not miss out on doing either the typical touristy stuff or going back to those little known haunts that you only discover if you have lived there.


Kick Start with a Local Breakfast @ La Brioche, Mirdif City Centre, 8AM

Though located out of the way in Mirdif and not in the happening Downtown Dubai, La Brioche is one of my favourite places for Breakfast in the city. Known for their ability in using and bringing to life a traditional Arabic recipe in the modern French nouvelle cuisine, their Zaatar Croissant is delectable. Zaatar is the Arabic equivalent to the Italian Oregano, but made way more interesting using Middle Eastern herbs and it totally livens up any croissant! I absolutely love to start with a hot cup of cappuccino or chocolate and finish up with dessert after digging into the croissant, for their food is definitely delicious and I don’t mind the big breakfast for once.

Stop 1: Miracle & Butterfly Garden, 9:30AM

Yes, then Desserts

Ferrero Rocher and Mixed Berry Ice cream @Butterfly Garden

In The Neighbourhood

Burj Khalifa is old news. You say Dubai, and the first thing you remember is all those images of your friends with stunning backdrops flooding your social media news feed. That is Miracle Garden for you, created for showcasing extravagant floral structures. A garden that isn’t just a home to thousands of flowers but is more. Take a stroll through the adjoining Butterfly Garden, touted to be the world’s first Butterfly Museum and you will be surprised at how pleasurable a walk can be with butterflies of all colours and shapes fluttering around you with the chirping of tiny little birds in the background.

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Stop 2: Jumeirah, 12:30 PM

Yes, then Desserts + Lunch

Red Pepper Pizza Cracker Slices & Butterfly Pea Flower Blue Ice Tea @Life’n One

In The Neighbourhood

Jumeirah means ‘Beautiful’ in Arabic and this neighbourhood is truly so. Quiet, with low rise villas and buildings built in the regional style, a rarity in the fast paced skyscraper crazy Dubai, it is peppered with some unique upmarket cafes. Go mild on the caffeine for a quick change and grab lunch at Lifen’ One, a vegan cafe and wellness centre that serves must-try raw organic food. Even for someone like me who is forever binging on fast food, this style of healthy food in a setting like that made for a quiet an interesting dining experience. Also in the neighbourhood is the Mercato Mall, built in the distinctive architectural style of the Renaissance this relatively old and forgotten community mall is yet another unique experience. Every medieval Italian town during the Renaissance was built around a ‘Mercato’, Italian for market and window shopping along the cobbled streets and piazzas of this mall only adds to the quaint quotient of this stop on the map.

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Stop 3: Dubai Mall, 3PM

Yes, then Desserts

Red Velvet Cheesecake @Bloomingdales

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In The Neighbourhood + Dinner

Dubai has now achieved iconic status in terms of the scale of its constructions and any projects that it undertakes, be it even the fact that it is all set to beat its own record of the World’s Tallest Building. So, how can you not shop in the World’s Largest Mall and rest your legs as you have dinner under the starlight sky with a backdrop of the World’s Largest Choreographed Fountain?!

Stop 4: The Walk, JBR 10PM

Yes, then Desserts

Chocolate Mousse @La Pain Quotidien

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In The Neighbourhood

Pause. Watch the world go by. Stroll on the waterfront promenade. Sit down to coffee and cake at any of the al fresco cafes by The Beach.

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Call it a night with a Global Coffee @ Starbucks, Dubai Marina, 12AM

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Coffee & Cake Crawl Map, Dubai

Mirdif to Stop1, Butterfly & Miracle Garden: 30 Minutes
Stop1 to Stop2, Jumeirah: 30 Minutes
Stop2 to Stop3, Dubai Mall: 20 Minutes
Stop3 to Stop4, The Walk JBR: 45 Minutes
to Dubai Marina: 10 Minutes