Al Seef Dubai Guide: A Fusion of Past and Present

Al Seef Dubai

Step into a world where the old soul meets the bright future, where the charm of Arabian streets intertwines with the modern allure of a fully operational marina. Al Seef beckons you with its enchanting Abra boats and luxurious yachts, inviting you to embark on a journey of cultural discovery and indulgence.

You’ll be transported to a world where haggling for the greatest deals is an art form as you meander around the vibrant market, which is decorated with oriental jewelry, traditional attire, and a variety of souvenirs. Al Seef is not only a marketplace, it also houses a plethora of museums that provide insights into the region’s rich history and culture. A dinner cruise around the bay is in store as the day draws to an end.

Come explore the mysteries of Al Seef Dubai with us, as we walk you through the museum’s wealth of cultural artifacts and explain everything from the price of abra tours to the delights of its food choices.

Facts about Al Seef in Dubai

  • Suggested Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Opening date: 2017
  • Facilities and services: restaurants, dinner cruise, info boards, 3 hotels, Al Seef Souk, water taxi and EZ Taxi, restrooms, parking, Smart Police Station
  • Best for: museum/history/architecture lovers, photo shooting, shopping

The genuine oriental essence of Dubai harmoniously combines with groundbreaking global accomplishments – this encapsulates the essence of the Al Seef district!

In late 2017, the Meraas company, renowned for its contributions such as La Mer beach, the man-made Bluewaters island, and the City Walk area, unveiled its latest creation – Al Seef. Situated near the historic Al Fahidi quarter in Dubai Creek, this district spans over 230 thousand square meters and extends nearly 2 km along the bay.

The Al Seef area was intentionally developed on the site of a former trading center that was crucial to the region’s pearl trade and fishing interests. The pedestrian zone is split into two sections: one is historic and has structures built in the ancient Arabic style, while the other is modern and features buildings from the 21st century. As a result, Al Seef captures both Dubai’s past and present, making a deep effect on each visitor with its nuanced depiction of the metropolis.

Presently, Al Seef boasts a market zone, three museums, dining options, and three stylish hotels, each offering opulent luxury apartments with breathtaking views of the scenic bay. Visitors to the city can stay in a room designed in either ancient Arabian style or modern high-tech aesthetics.

Opening Hours

You can visit the Al Seef district at any time as it is open 24/7, but do note that the dining and shopping venues have special timings. 

For retail (Al Seef Heritage Souk), the operating hours are from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM from Sunday to Wednesday and from 10:00 AM to midnight rom Thursday to Saturday. 

As for food and beverage outlets, they are open from 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM from Monday to Thursday, and from 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM on Friday to Sunday.

Things To Do

Al Seef Promenade

Al Seed Waterfront Promenade - Al Seef Dubai

With its perspective of the creek, the Al Seef Promenade makes a beautiful backdrop for a stroll. It’s especially magical in the evening when Deira glimmers across the water.

For those seeking romance and privacy, as well as a sense of the city’s “old” appeal, meandering along the winding alleyways of the Dubai Creek canal in the morning brings a serene emptiness, with only lone sentinels and sprouting cafes.

There will be spectacular and opulent light shows during the holiday season, including a 39-meter Christmas tree decked up in decorations, guaranteeing a festive mood till January 14, 2024.

Abra Tours

Abra Tours- Al Seef Dubai

Discover the wonders of Dubai Creek and access various attractions and points of interest from Al Seef.

Choose between the petrol heritage abra and traditional abra tours. A single trip on the petrol heritage abra costs 2 AED, and tickets can be purchased at the ticketing office in each abra station. We recommend purchasing tickets in advance via the RTA app or website if you have planned your travel in advance.

The petrol heritage abra from Al Seef offers two routes: to Baniyas and Dubai Old Souq, with a brief stop at Al Fahidi.

For a more exclusive experience, the abra can be chartered privately for a scenic cruise across the Creek at a rate of 120 AED per hour, as per RTA guidelines.

Museums

Museum of Illusions - Al Seef Dubai

Museum Of Illusions

The Museum of Illusions offers a sleek, contemporary setting with brilliant neon lights and perfect lighting for taking original pictures to post on social networks. Discover an inverted room, engage with immersive environments showcasing optical illusions and holograms, 3-D artwork and visuals, and explore a glass-enclosed room with breathtaking panoramic views — all while immersing guests in an interactive space. In total, the museum has about sixty exhibition areas and art shows.

  • Entry fee: 90 AED per adult 16+ y.o., 65 AED per kid 3-15 y.o.,75 AED per senior 60+ y.o., 40 AED per POD
  • Timings: Monday to Thursday 10:00 AM-10:00 PM, Friday to Sunday 10:00 AM-11:00 PM
  • Location: Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood – Al Seef – Dubai Creek – Dubai – Al Seef St – Al Hamriya – Dubai

Dubai Museum

Different parts of the Dubai Museum represent various facets of the region’s rich history:

  • The Heritage Wing showcases weaponry, daggers, household items, jewelry, and pearls, providing insights into the historical significance of the area.
  • The Dubai Gallery presents replicas and exhibits that depict the city’s evolution through the endeavors of its inhabitants, emphasizing creativity and perseverance.
  • The 1950s Bazaars area offers an authentic portrayal of the trading ambiance from the previous century, featuring lifelike sculptures of merchants and customers in a traditional souk environment.

The museum also features sections devoted to musical instruments, pearl diving, marine and desert wonders, and the development of interior design and home building. Of particular interest to tourists are the life-like outdoor dhow and bamboo house reproductions.

  • Entry fee: 3 AED per adult, 1 AED per kid under 6 y.o.
  • Timings: Temporarily closed (under renovation)
  • Location: Al Fahidi Fort – Al Fahidi – Dubai

Coffee Museum

Step into the captivating Coffee Museum, where you’ll embark on a sensory journey through the rich history and diverse roasting techniques of coffee. Delve into the cultural significance of this beloved beverage in Egypt, the UAE, and Ethiopia, and discover the wide array of coffee varieties on display.

As you wander through the museum’s shop, you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of coffee brewing possibilities. From sleek pitchers to precision tampers, stylish holders to essential jiggers, and everything in between, you’ll have the chance to equip yourself with all the tools needed to craft the perfect cup of coffee.

Venture into the museum’s second charming destination, where a world of coffee literature and captivating documentaries beckon enthusiasts to expand their knowledge and passion for the beloved bean. After your exploration, unwind in the inviting lounge, where you can savor a delectable snack and indulge in a fragrant cup of coffee.

  • Entry fee: 10 AED
  • Timings: Saturday to Thursday 9:00 AM-7:00 PM
  • Location: Historical Neighborhood, Bastakiya, Villa 44 – Al Hisn St – Al Fahidi – Dubai

Coins Museum Bur Dubai

With a remarkable assemblage of over 470 coins spanning from ancient times to the present day, there is an abundance of awe-inspiring pieces for passionate coin collectors. With its intriguing gateway to the past and enticing peek into history, the oldest coin among these jewels dates back to the seventh century.

Immerse yourself in the intricate details of each coin as you utilize state-of-the-art magnification screens and specialized display cabinets, allowing you to unravel the stories and artistry encapsulated within these historical artifacts.

  • Entry fee: Free
  • Timings: Monday to Thursday 8:00 AM-3:00 PM, Friday 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
  • Location: Bur Dubai – Dubai Heritage Village – Dubai

Learn more about museums in Dubai.

Shopping (Al Seef Heritage Souk)

Al Seef Heritage Souk

Al Seef features a unique open-air marketplace. Visitors can explore a wide range of offerings, including exclusive luxury fragrances from House of Niche Boutique, one-of-a-kind handcrafted presents and stylish attire from Kashmir Emporium, elegant packaging for various products, gifts, and blooms from Zahrat Al Karez, as well as beautiful scarves and both casual and evening Muslim outfits from Oud sandal.

Additionally, the marketplace boasts an impressive selection of carpets displayed as an art gallery, exquisite silverware, and various other jewelry items (be sure to check out the pearl earrings at the renowned Al Masroor, a market fixture for 25 years), aromatic spices, tea, coffee, valuable antiques, paintings, lamps, and decorative camels.

For those in need of additional luggage space, there are options to acquire a new suitcase or stock up on bags, leather goods, or textile accessories at Zeneve.

Check out the list of the best souks in Dubai.

Dining

Dining at Al Seef Dubai

Wokyo Noodle Bar 

Wokyo Noodle Bar allows the guests to craft their own satisfying Asian dishes: wok-prepared with a choice of rice, various noodle varieties, or an assortment of vegetables, chicken, beef, shrimp, salmon, or tofu. The ambiance is a delightful blend of cozy and modern, featuring traditional Japanese floor seating where guests can comfortably remove their shoes and savor their meal, as well as Japanese sports programming on television. Additionally, guests have the option to indulge in Asian cuisine on the outdoor terrace.

The menu includes Sapporo Ramen priced at 59 AED, Mochi Mochi at 15 AED, and an array of sides such as K-Pop fried chicken, spring rolls, chicken gyoza, or edamame, each priced at 25 AED per dish.

Furthermore, a kids’ meal is available for 25 AED, offering a choice of egg/udon noodles or steamed rice with vegetables, or chicken with Teriyaki Sauce.

  • Cuisines: Chinese, Japanese, Thai
  • Price: Cheap
  • Opening Hours: 11:00 AM-10:45 PM
  • Tripadvisor: 4.5 (7 reviews)
  • Google Maps: 4.8 (603 reviews) 
  • Location: Al Hamriya, Al Seef, Heritage Village, P3, Shop 381 – Dubai

Al Fanar Seafood Restaurant – Al Seef

For those looking for a Michelin-starred Emirati dining experience, Al Fanar Seafood Restaurant presents a particularly alluring seafood-focused menu.

The restaurant boasts an authentic ambiance, providing guests with a splendid view of Dubai’s historic creek from its outdoor terrace. The extensive seafood menu is attractively priced, featuring dishes such as Seafood Soup for 36 AED, Seabass Tanoor for 76 AED, and Grilled Shrimps for 94 AED.

  • Cuisines: Seafood, Middle Eastern, Arabic
  • Price: Cheap
  • Opening Hours: 10:00 AM-11:00 PM
  • Tripadvisor: 4.5 (124 reviews)
  • Google Maps: 4.4 (2,182 reviews) 
  • Location: Al Seef St – Al Hamriya – Dubai

Sabaa Restaurant & Cafe

At Sabaa Restaurant & Cafe, guests can immerse themselves in the rich flavors of Arabian cuisine within a setting adorned with sandy-wooden interiors and a spacious buffet area. The expansive halls are divided by grand columns and adorned with a collection of antique items, iron bags, and stands.

The menu features a selection of Lebanese culinary classics, including Lentil Soup for 40 AED, Tabbouleh for 35 AED, Mix Grill Mashawi for 120 AED, and Baked Pistachio Baklava for 35 AED.

In addition, Sabaa Cafe offers “Arabian Nights” every Saturday that includes a live oud musician and a 140 AED buffet.

  • Cuisines: Lebanese, International
  • Price: Moderate
  • Opening Hours: 7:00 AM-10:00 PM
  • Tripadvisor: 4.5 (33 reviews)
  • Google Maps: 4.5 (147 reviews) 
  • Location: Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton – Al Seef St – Umm Hurair 1 – Dubai

Sul Fiume Al Seef

Sul Fiume Al Seef, a delightful dining establishment, presents a fusion of traditional dishes, featuring an array of delectable pasta and pizza, as well as Mediterranean specialties. Indulge in the savory Manakish starting at 35 AED, or savor the Tomato and Beef Pan Breakfast for 39 AED. For those with a penchant for grilled delights, the Grilled Kefta Kabab is available for 55 AED, while the Shrimp Risotto offers a tantalizing option at 71 AED. Meanwhile, the classic favorite, Spaghetti Bolognese, can be enjoyed for 63 AED.

In the evening, guests are treated to a breathtaking view of the creek and its bustling ferries from the vantage point of the rooftop. The establishment also offers a hookah menu, making it an ideal setting for a romantic dinner.

  • Cuisines: Italian, Middle Eastern
  • Price: Moderate
  • Opening Hours: 12:00 PM-12:00 AM
  • Tripadvisor: 4.5 (23 reviews)
  • Google Maps: 4.3 (640 reviews) 
  • Location: Al Seef – Dubai

Doors Freestyle Grill – Steakhouse

Doors Freestyle Grill – Steakhouse is a haven for connoisseurs of top-tier steaks and barbecue delicacies, offering an exquisite panorama of Dubai Creek’s stately shoreline.

Among the sought-after culinary creations are the sumptuous Lamb neck priced at 390 AED, Beef Asado at 650 AED, and Red Gem Salad at 75 AED. Additionally, patrons can relish the delectable Beef Butterfall Steak for 340 AED, Beef Sushi at 145 AED, and Treliche at 50 AED.

Moreover, the establishment provides a selection of shisha flavors at 119 AED, including sweet, mint, and fruit varieties, as well as the enticing Roasted Cappuccino option at 129 AED.

  • Cuisines: Steakhouse, Seafood, International
  • Price: Fine-Dining
  • Opening Hours: 1:00 PM-12:00 AM
  • Tripadvisor: 5 (2,327 reviews)
  • Google Maps: 4.6 (2,254 reviews) 
  • Location: Palace of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed the Emir of Qatar – 8/5 – 314 Al Seef St – Bur Dubai – Umm Hurair 1 – Dubai

Hotels

Al Seef Heritage Hotel - Al Seef Dubai
Al Seef Heritage Hotel

Al Seef Heritage Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton

The Al Seef Heritage Hotel stands as an idyllic retreat for travelers seeking an authentic Emirates experience. Nestled in Dubai’s Heritage District and commanding a picturesque view of the ancient port, this hotel provides a captivating journey into the cultural marvels of old Dubai. Set amidst the labyrinthine rooftops and courtyards of the vibrant souks, this 4-star establishment encompasses 10 traditional Arabic homes, known as bytes, each showcasing timeless artisanal craftsmanship.

Accommodations for two are available in various configurations, including rooms with two spacious beds, double rooms, and specially equipped rooms for POD. Guests can choose from rooms offering views of the market, bay, or creek, with the added luxury of a balcony.

  • Best For: couples, adults
  • Features: free WIFI, 2 restaurants, outdoor pool
  • Price: from 390 AED/night
  • Tripadvisor: 4.5 (723 reviews)
  • Booking: 8.3 (2,794 reviews)
  • Google Maps: 4.3 (1,684 reviews)

Canopy by Hilton Dubai Al Seef

The Canopy by Hilton Dubai Al Seef, a distinguished 4-star establishment, boasts a total of 200 rooms, each thoughtfully furnished with SMART TVs, well-appointed bathrooms, a minibar, and efficient air conditioning. Every guest is invited to enjoy access to the exquisite rooftop infinity pool.

For the comfort of taller individuals, select double rooms feature extra-long beds, exceeding 2 meters in length, ensuring a restful stay for all guests.

Furthermore, patrons have the option to utilize the well-equipped gym facilities or indulge in a rejuvenating massage session, providing a perfect opportunity to unwind and revitalize during their stay.

Additionally, the hotel presents 5 versatile meeting rooms of varying capacities, each equipped with cutting-edge technology to accommodate diverse business needs.

  • Best For: couples, families with kids
  • Features: free WIFI, infinity pool, 5 meeting rooms, fitness center, 4 restaurants and bar
  • Price:  from 373 AED/night
  • Tripadvisor: 4.5 (785 reviews)
  • Booking: 8.1 (1,392 reviews)
  • Google Maps: 4.4 (1,675 reviews)

Learn more about rooftop infinity pools in Dubai.

Hampton by Hilton Dubai Al Seef

The Hampton by Hilton Dubai Al Seef presents an inviting 3-star retreat, featuring modern architecture and encompassing 150 well-appointed rooms that afford captivating views of the cityscape or the tranquil courtyard with swings.

Guests can delight in a refreshing experience at the hotel’s petite outdoor pool, complete with dedicated lifeguard service.

Conveniently located within walking distance are an enchanting embankment, a quaint market, a public transport stop, and a bustling shopping center.

Numerous patrons have expressed admiration for the innovative concept of a city map adorning the ceiling, as well as the vibrant and stylish design elements showcased through the use of bright, contemporary furniture.

  • Best For: couples, adults
  • Features: free WI-FI, outdoor pool, 3 restaurants, fitness center,
  • Price:  from 390 AED/night
  • Tripadvisor: 4.5 (493 reviews)
  • Booking: 8.2 (3,471 reviews)
  • Google Maps: 4.4 (1,534 reviews)

Al Fahidi Neighborhood 

Immerse yourself in the evocative aroma of spices, the labyrinthine alleyways, and the charming stone, teak, and plaster dwellings, all set against the backdrop of windmills and rare palm trees, within this historic enclave. This captivating locale offers a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of the local populace before the unification of the seven emirates.

There are almost fifty perfectly restored historic buildings in Al Fahidi that are currently used as museums and art galleries. The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) is a great place to start your investigation since it offers a wealth of knowledge that will help you comprehend Dubai’s diverse cultural landscape.

The Symposium House and Events House frequently host cultural heritage preservation events, including exhibitions featuring works by local artists. Meanwhile, the expansive showcase at the House of Arabic Calligraphy (Dar Al Khatt) presents a curated selection of exceptional Islamic fine art pieces. Additionally, the Al Fahidi area is graced by the presence of the Municipality House, a splendid exemplar of traditional Arabic architectural design.

Al Seef Dubai Location

Al Seef can be found nestled in the heart of Bur Dubai, situated near Dubai Creek.

How To Reach

  • By Metro: Accessing this destination involves a brief stroll from either the Al Fahidi or Burjuman station.
  • By Сar: Visitors arriving by car can avail themselves of the underground parking facilities, offering both self-service and valet parking options across more than 3000 parking spaces. The valet parking service is available at a rate of 20 AED per hour for the first 2 hours, with a subsequent charge of 15 AED for every additional hour or fraction thereof.
  • By Taxi: Use Careem, Uber, or the YanGo app to get there.
  • By Abra: Guests can opt for a serene journey aboard a water taxi or the traditional national Abra boat, ferrying them to the Al Seef Marine Transportation Station 1.

Tips

Some Useful Advice for Your Trip to Al Seef:

  • Engage in Bargaining: When exploring shopping opportunities, don’t hesitate to bargain for the best deals and prices.
  • Enjoy Waterside Dining: Indulge in a delightful meal at one of the charming waterfront restaurants, offering a serene and picturesque dining experience.
  • Day and Night Exploration: Experience the allure of Al Seef both during the day and at night, as the ambiance and attractions transform with the changing light.
  • Opt for Creek Views: For an enhanced Al Seef experience, consider requesting a room with stunning creek views to immerse yourself in the beauty of the surroundings.

Rules

Al Seef Dubai Rules

Reviews

Drawing from feedback on TripAdvisor, particularly centered on Al Seef Promenade and the shopping/dining boulevard, we have compiled the most commonly cited pros and cons of visiting Al Seef:

Pros:

  • Not crowded
  • The rich tapestry of Dubai’s culture
  • Clean and well-maintained restroom facilities
  • A variety of goods at competitive prices
  • Great for casual family meals as there are budget-friendly restaurants
  • Complimentary parking
  • Shaded zones

Cons:

  • Many stalls may not prominently display prices for their goods
  • Challenging Daytime Strolls because of the heat outdoors

Photos

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About The Author

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I am Anastasia, the author of this blog and a passionate and experienced traveler who resides in the UAE.

I have visited every Emirate, every popular sight, and every hidden gem.

I m here to help you make your trip to the UAE unforgettable.

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