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Top 10 areas to live in Dubai

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You are relocating to Dubai!

Exciting times are ahead, but there’s just one thing… where do you want to live?

If you are still very much up in the air regarding locations, hearing mixed reviews or have just been too busy packing to research, here’s our quick guide to the best places for rental prices, amenities, hobbies, transport and more.

Before we start:

- Rent is payable annually/biannually/quarterly and monthly.

- Upfront rental fee deposit of 2-5% (if going through agency) plus 5% security deposit (as with most areas in Dubai)

-2000 AED refundable security deposit for DEWA (Dubai Water and Electricity Authority).

​(In no particular order)


A firm favourite at Discovered HQ for convenience purposes. JLT boasts skyscrapers complete with beautiful lake views and great dining options.

Enough said? End of carousel!

No, but really, the location is very central, off Sheikh Zayed Road (the main road running through Dubai) and for most a 10-15 min walk to the metro station and a further 5-minute walk across to Marina. You can taxi across from one end of JLT to the other in 10 minutes, but a lot of people like to use a scooter or cycle around the lake to commute. If you choose to cycle expect to pay 20 dirhams per day ($5) or 75 for a month ($20).

A few things to know:

- Rent (let’s look at a one-bedroom throughout this guide) starting from approx 65K AED per year to 80+K AED. Most buildings will have swimming pool and gym facilities.

- JLT is a pet-friendly area.

- Multiple parks and basketball courts, dance studios & fitness centres.

- Emirates Golf club is a 5 min drive complete with Top Golf and padel courts.

- Lots of cuisine options and places to dine from breakfast to casual, sports bar to stylish cocktail rooms and much more. Some of the best schools nearby approx. 1.5-3Km.


Dubai Marina? Where modern design meets top-tier luxury. If you’ve never seen it before, it’s impressive. We are talking sleek skyscrapers, cool dining spots and plenty of shops and activities around. It's more than just an area; it’s a vibe! Situated around the water with yachts almost on every corner, the marina is a great place to take a stroll, sit in a cool café and watch the world go by, enjoy dinner on the beach or in a high-rise hotel – the marina world really is your oyster!

Things to know:

- Rental prices for one bedroom apartment are not too dissimilar to JLT starting from approx 67K AED to 80K+AED

- Looks incredible at night all lit up.

- Thousands of cafes bars and restaurants to choose from with an enormous variety of cuisines.

- Plenty of amenities including salons, hairdressers, state-of-the-art gyms, cinemas, parks, beaches and more.

- You will find more tourists in the Marina than other areas of Dubai.

- 10-15 min walking distance to JBR (another popular area with a beach, hotels and entertainment)

- You can cross the bridge over to Bluewaters Island – the perfect place to walk around and take beautiful sunset pictures or the ultimate date night spot with extravagant fine dining or Mcdonalds (depending on what you fancy).

- A popular place to live if you are new to Dubai and want to fully immerse yourself in the fun lifestyle.


An upcoming area with affordable rental options, JVC is certainly on many expats radar. Quieter than Marina and JLT but is currently undergoing a makeover with brand new apartments and villas popping up constantly in and around the area. JVC is a great place for families or couples that prefer to live outside of the hustle and bustle but still need to commute into the centre within 20 minutes. You will also find many school teachers residing here.

Things to know:

- A one-bedroom apartment will cost you between 47-60K AED. These apartments are usually spacious and modern.

- Plenty of schools in the area.

- Lots of parks and greenery.

- Circle Mall in JVC has plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants. You will find a Spinneys and a Nesto supermarket aswell as McCafferty’s famous Irish pub. There’s also the biggest gym in Dubai – Wellfit with classes suitable for all ages starting from ages 3 up.

- Hotels with restaurants, bars and discount pool access on particular days of the week.

Silicon Oasis

​Dubai Silicon Oasis is a very family-friendly location with several international schools including GEMS Wellington, Vernus International and The Indian International school. DSO is also home to universities, research centres and tech start-ups making it a great area for professionals with families. You will also find that a lot of Cabin Crew reside there as its 15 minutes from the airport and very affordable. ​

Things to know:

- Studios go for 32K AED whilst a one bedroom will range from 40-55K AED per year.

- Many choices of rental including gated communities, apartments, townhouses and villa communities.

- Many parks, cafes and restaurants.

- Quieter than city centre.

- A few malls, hotel, salons and banks in the area.

- 20-30 min drive to reach downtown area.

- Most people who live here drive as the closest metro is 15 mins away.

Business Bay

Where opulence blends with value. Business Bay stands out as a vibrant hub for those with a taste for the finer things in life. Here, you'll find premium dining, elite hotels, captivating entertainment and shopping amidst towering skyscrapers and a scenic canal. If you want a place where you can work, dine and entertain, Business Bay is the place for you!

Things to know:

- One-bedroom apartments start from approx 70-85K AED on average with studios a little cheaper at 62K AED per year.

- Nursery options but schools are in neighbouring areas, not Business Bay itself.

- 5 minutes from the famous Dubai Mall, Downtown/Burj Khalifa & Souk Al Bahar.

- 15 mins from Dubai International airport

- DAMAC Towers building offers a combo of Hollywood glamour and LA cool with incredible dining, shopping and residential in the heart of Business Bay.

- Great for young professionals seeking a fast-paced lifestyle.

- Lots of opportunities to exercise.

Damac Hills

This is a haven for families! With abundant green spaces, an expansive golf course and plenty outdoor amenities, Damac Hills offers value-packed community living. Though situated a little out of the way, it has all of the essentials—from schools and supermarkets to hospitals, clinics and a variety of restaurants. This may be the perfect hidden gem.

Things to know:

- One-bedroom apartments approx 50-65K AED per year with studios as little as 38K AED.

- If you enjoy golfing this area is for you! Home to Trump International Golf Club which offers various entertainment options for the family.

- A lot calmer than city centre living.

- 30 minutes’ drive from most popular attractions including Dubai Marina and the Mall of Emirates.

- Dubai Internet Metro Station is a few minutes’ drive away.

- Expect to find football pitches, badminton, tennis courts, skate parks, ponds, swimming pools, a dog park and more.

The Palm Jumeriah

If you are looking for the WOW factor, look no further than The Palm. The Palm is the cream of the crop. Radiating a relaxing year-round vacation vibe with its beachfront setting, abundant outdoor adventures and exquisite dining choices in opulent hotels or waterfronts, this location stands out as the pinnacle of excellence. It's a serene yet rewarding place for professionals, families, young duos and groups of friends.

Things to know:

​- One bedroom will set you back approx 140-180K AED per year.

- Surrounded by luxury hotels such as The Royal Atlantis, Sofitel, Anantara, W Dubai and more you will never run out of options for beach days, stay cays and delicious dining options.

- 15 minutes from Marina, 35-45 from the airport depending on traffic.

- Everything is on your doorstep. Gyms, salons, hospitals, schools, waterpark, aquarium, malls and parks – you name it, The Palm has got it!

- Palm West Beach is the ideal place to eat, swim, sip and relax on the beach with multiple bars, restaurants and amazing music.

- Club Vista Mare is a popular destination for both residents and tourists offering restaurants with indoor and outdoor terrace seating.

- Nakheel Mall is a plush shopping and dining experience complete with state-of-the-art cinema screens and a rooftop bar.

Arabian Ranches

A suburban way of living, Arabian Ranches stands out as a prime choice for families. This welcoming community, teeming with villas and townhouses, offers a diverse array of amenities catering to every family member. The area likes to host events and activities such as organic markets, sport activities and more on a weekly/monthly basis to bring families and friends together. Pets are very welcome in the area with vets and pet parks close by and lots of space in gardens for a free roam.

Things to know:

- Gated community living style townhouses start from approx 130K AED per year for a two-bedroom.

- Offers an array of schools, community pools, tennis, volleyball courts, playgrounds and more.

- 40-minute drive from the airport and 30 mins to JBR/ The Palm.

- Visit the polo/equestrian club.

- Take a trip out to The Ranches souk and The Arabian Ranches Retail Centre.

Dubai Sports City

Sports City is literally what it says on the tin.

Living in Dubai Sports City is an energetic and lively experience, brimming with plenty of sports, leisure and entertainment options. The community is a melting pot, home to residents from different countries and cultures, enhancing the global ambience of the district. Here, sports and well-being take centre stage. The area boasts top-notch sports venues, featuring cricket, football and hockey stadiums, among others.

Things to know:

- One-bedroom apartments on average are approx 45-55K AED per year.

- The Els Club is a golf course located within the area and is home to one of the best golf courses in Dubai alongside padel courts, bar and grill restaurants and more.

- Dubai International Airport is a 30-min drive.

- Plenty of schools and nurseries including GEMS United School Sports City, IDEA Early Learning Centre and The Wonder Years.

- FitRepubliK is also an exceptional gym located in Sports City for all ages. If you are not much of a gym go-er there are also lots of walking, cyle paths and several parks to chose from.

Emirates Living

This comprises of gated communities named The Lakes, Springs, Meadows and last but definitely not least – the sought-after, prestigious Emirates Hills.

These areas that are developed by EMAAR properties and are extremely popular with families.

Emirates Hills is a renowned gated community, nestled around the undulating landscapes of the Montgomerie Golf Club Dubai and its adjacent driving range. Beautiful villas and exclusive mansions are equipped with pools down tree-lined avenues. Think Beverley Hills meets Dubai.

Whilst the area boasts incredible landscapes and state-of-the-art amenities, the communities are also home to children's play zones, educational institutions and sporting facilities.

​Things to know:

​- Properties are usually 2–3-bedroom townhouses or 3-6/7 bedroom villas. A 2/3 bedroom townhouse will start from 150K-250K AED per year.

- On average 3-bedroom villas in Emirates Hills start from 350K AED per year.

- The area’s central location is handy for Sheikh Zayed Road, with Dubai Marina, Media City, Mall of the Emirates and many other places just a short drive away.

- 15 minutes from Dubai Marina and Mall of the Emirates.

- You can spend the day relaxing at The Address Montgomerie or enjoying a Sunday Roast at Reform Social & Grill.

- Facilities include golf courses, big swimming pools, fine/casual dining, private gardens and more.

- These locations are also equipped with BBQ areas, community playgrounds and very pleasant surroundings.

Brush up on your Arabic?

Here are some key phrases that you may here in an around Dubai (written how are pronounced):

Hello/Goodbye/Peace be upon you – Marhaba / As-Salaam-Alaikum

How are you – Kaif halak

Let’s go – Yalla

Please/Thank you – Min fadlik (f) /fadlak (m) & Shukran

Hopefully/ If God wills – Inshallah​

Congratulations – Mahbrook

Yes/No – Na’am / laa

Finish/ Done – Khalaas

Our team boasts years of expertise in moving to various locations in and around Dubai. If you need assistance deciding on a living location or simply seek some guidance and suggestions, please reach out to us at

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