One of the things that makes Dubai so unique is how each area of the city basically provides everything you could possibly need. Take for instance the highly coveted Marina; residents there can find everything they need without having to leave the area. From entertainment to groceries to activities to fitness - you name it. The Marina is privy to all that and more.
All areas in Dubai are pretty much of the same schematic. My theory is that it is to alleviate the stress on Dubai traffic. Because if you have everything you need in your respective area, you don't need to get on the highway. Talk about efficient.
That said, each address in Dubai is home to a particular archetype of a specific resident.
So what does the area you stay in say about you?
As mentioned above, the Marina is one of the busiest areas in Dubai. It is a little city on its own, with its own busy streets and too many skyscrapers to count. People who live in this area are those who like to feel that metropolitan life - that New York City life- where everything and everyone keeps moving and streets keep buzzing.
There is also a sense of exclusivity as nearly every hotspot, be it nightlife or fine dining restos, are within close range. Marina folks are the buzzing bees of the Dubai scene, always on the go only, resting only in the late hours of the night or during the early hours of work the next day.
2. Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT)
On the opposite side of the Marina you will find the skyscraper jungle of JLT and though those two are just a hop, skip and very complicated bridge away, they couldn't be more different. There is a lot more breathing room in JLT, the long road gives way to various clusters of mainly residential areas and a few hidden gem restaurants and thriving businesses.
JLT is home to the Dubai resident who likes to live the high life, but who also strives for some down time as the space allows for more privacy and more seclusion.
Mirdif is one of oldest areas in Dubai, and is commonly referred to as the suburbia of the city. Far away from the busy streets and the exciting night scene, Mirdif is home to pottery barn catalogue perfect villas with families and dozens of kids. Think Desperate Housewives’ Wisteria Lane without all the drama and death – just peaceful co-existence.
Mirdif is home to the family-centered Dubai resident who doesn’t really care for the night scene or the hotspots as everything they need is right there including the Mirdif City Center for all their shopping needs and leisure activities.
4. The Greens
If Mirdif is suburbia then think of The Greens as suburbia on steroids. Lush greenery gives way to beautiful grand villas, mansions in some cases (I’ve been to a house there that had its own elevator!)
Dubai residents who live in The Greens are those who have made it – they are the big spenders and those who definitely went after that lap of luxury that Dubai has to offer.
They have the big backyards, the glitz and the glamour, the whole nine yards.
Satwa is considered to be the less desirable part of Dubai. People generally avoid the Satwa roads because they are cluttered and congested but there is actually a plus side to living there. The apartment rates are super low in Satwa and it actually is home to many hidden restaurants and cafes that won't disappoint. You'll also find many utility shops that provide items we all need.
I bought my shower head from a random shop there called Cool Water to save the environment – thank you Satwa, Mother Earth thanks you too. The Satwa resident would be the Dubai resident who may have financial strains or might want to be saving up for something else, like a fancy car or a house in The Greens (not likely).
6. Jumeirah Beach Road (JBR)
JBR lies behind the Marina but is like a world of its own. People who live in this area generally do not ever leave because it is home to everything they could possibly need. The street is lined with literally hundreds of the best restaurants in town, from fine-dining to casual meals. The beach is opposite the street so just grab a towel and head on down.
JBR residents are usually those people who will spend one weekend tanning and the next weekend out on the town in a white ensemble to show off their bronzed skin. They certainly live the high life but are not out partying every weekend because the area they live in is filled to the brim with things to do.
7. Dubai International Financial Centre
You know the Dubai resident who lives in The Greens? Well he or she probably started out living in an apartment in DIFC. DIFC inhabitants are business-minded, and while they do like to go out, their life is mainly about their families (if they have one) and their careers (not necessarily in that order).
DIFC is also home to The Village, which houses some of the most extravagant fine dining bars and restos in Dubai.
8. Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai, previously known as Downtown Burj Dubai, is a large-scale, mixed-use complex. It is home to some of the city's largest landmarks including Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, and Dubai Fountain. Residents of this luxurious area are people who enjoy casual nights out at the Dubai Mall with the kids and low-key dining experiences.
For a change of atmosphere, the boulevard is a mere 20 minutes away from the night scene district. Getting there shouldn't be a problem, unless there's traffic. Beware of traffic, seriously, because it's a problem all Dubai residents face.