THE EXPERT: KAT LEBRASSE
Born and raised in Melbourne to Mauritian parents, Kat Lebrasse moved to Dubai 14 years ago as a flight attendant with Emirates airlines. She is now a lifestyle blogger and co-owner of Sunday Social Media Agency, lebrasse.com
Even as a long-term resident of Dubai, I love venturing back to the Al Fahidi Cultural District to get acquainted with the old way of life in Dubai. The buildings are used for art exhibits, museums, ateliers and cultural centres as well as the Sikka Art Fair, Heritage Week, National Day events and religious celebrations. You'll find cute, traditional, cosy cafes and heritage-filled restaurants scattered all over, including the XVA Gallery cafe with its fresh vegetarian food. xvahotel.com
As a parent of two small children, my weekends are filled with any activity that will assist in keeping my kids entertained. This doesn't include play centres. It does, however, include OliOli, an interactive children's play museum – by far the best way to keep kids 3 to 10 years old happy for hours other than the beach! Also, Dubai's many fantastic yearly events include SOLE DXB, an annual footwear, music, art and lifestyle festival, and the relatively child-friendly Dubai Design Week. olioli.ae, soledxb.com, dubaidesignweek.ae
There is no shortage of phenomenal restaurants in Dubai: from budget to fine dining, all cuisines are covered. Ravi in Satwa always wins when it comes to a great, cheap, very casual Indian/Pakistani meal. Think plastic tables and chairs strewn out onto a busy street and locals honking their horns to have their orders run out to their cars. Its aloo paratha is an absolute must. The newest hotspot is Bluewaters Island, and you'll find all the movers and shakers in The London Project. I'm a Melbourne coffee snob, so I hit any of fellow Aussie Tom Arnel's many cafes including Common Grounds. facebook.com/RAVIRESTAURANT.ae/, bluewatersdubai.ae, thelondonproject.com, commongroundsdubai.com
Dubai is all about a ladies night. And by that, I mean the bars and restaurants put on a night with discounted, if not complimentary drinks for us gals and often fantastic meal deals, too. The Maine Oyster Bar & Grill's Ladies Night is Wednesdays from 8pm. I'm a big fan of oysters, so I also get my fill of AED 10 oysters at their "Shuck Fest" at 6pm before Ladies Night kicks in. themaine.ae
Avoid the built-up developments along the beach, namely The Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residences and La Mer on Jumeirah Beach, as they lack ambience and are mostly just big tourist traps filled with fast-food chain restaurants and souvenir shops. Being drunk and disorderly in the UAE is a big no-no, as is swearing.