1. Villa 515

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Immerse in the world of aromas and learn about the craftsmanship behind bespoke perfumery. The unconventionally styled Arab Villa 515 is a simple perfume store with a spotless reputation for offering authentic varieties of original perfume brands. It also serves as a salon for perfume consultation and a behind-the-scenes laboratory where the perfume is designed for customisation.

2. Cinema Akil:

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The Cinema Akil in A4 Space at the Alserkal Avenue, Dubai. Photo: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

The independent cinema platform brings you all the films that don’t normally get a slot at your local theatre. Though now housed at their permanent home in Alserkal Avenue, they regularly conduct pop-up events around the UAE. Film screenings are usually followed by panel discussions attended by the film’s cast and directors.

3. General 3am Dubai

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A creative public space, cafe and concept store in D3. The brainchild of Emirati artist and entrepreneur Rami Farook, General 3am, divided between a curated concept store and a laid-back cafe, proudly supports many UAE-born brands including Gasah Studio, Karrouhat, Broke Club Official, AZRA and more.

4. Dubai Coffee Museum

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Mr Khalid Al Mulla, founded this project for his pure passion for all things coffee. Discover a one-time Emirati home that has been converted into a museum for a better understanding of the origins of coffee, an impressive antique collection, and tastings in the must-visit cafe upstairs.


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The Shaikh Mohammad Centre for Culture and Understanding will give you an insight into Emirati traditions through Emiratis themselves. Tour the old Al Bastakiya neighbourhood of the Al Fahidi Historic District and visit the Al Farooq Mosque. Guests then return to the SMCCU house for a Q&A session with their Emirati guides.

6. Al Marmoom Bedouin Experience

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Traverse the desert on a traditional camel caravan, enjoy sunset Bedouin falcon and Saluki dog demonstration, take part in a traditional dinner and discover nomadic life at the Bedouin village. The Bedouin experience takes you on a cultural and historical adventure into a bygone era and gives you the chance to live a day in the life of a Bedouin in the Dubai desert. The Bedouin camp is situated in the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, the largest unfenced Desert Reserve in the UAE.

7. Seven Fortunes

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Tucked away in Al Quoz, this local coffee roastery can be found in their unique craftsmanship when it comes to producing the highest quality of speciality coffee. They offer a carefully curated selection of hand-picked coffee beans sourced from all across the world, resulting in an explosion of unique flavours.

8. Courtyard Playhouse

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Enjoy this hidden gem of a theatre dedicated to staging live improvisational comedy performances. This warm and friendly, family owned 60-seat auditorium is nested in the creative heart of Dubai, Al Quoz. Courtyard Playhouse offers workshops in acting and improvisation for all ages, three improv and comedy showcases per week, vintage film screenings and many more.

— Cleatus George is the ‘Lead Navigator’ at Renaissance Downtown Hotel in Dubai. He leads the hotel’s Discover This Way experience, curating little-known gems from across the city.