The cooler months of the year in Dubai really are a great time to enjoy the outside spaces, most especially the greenery of Dubai’s Municipal Parks. By cooler months, I mean from about the beginning of November until the end of February.
Hardier souls may well extend that time frame back into September and October and add March and April. Try these by all means, and you’ll soon find out your personal level of climatic tolerance.
I mentioned greenery above, and by any standards, these attractively landscaped parks are lushly endowed with swaths of well-manicured lawns, trees, and shrubs. The cost of maintaining all this greenery year-round in a climatic environment where, by rights, none of this stuff should actually grow, must be considerable.
This park is conveniently located on an almost fifty hectare block of land, quite close to such familiar “older Dubai” landmarks as World Trade Centre Roundabout and Lamcy Plaza, and adjacent to Sheikh Zayed Road.
Getting there is quite simple, but at times (like Friday afternoon), all the available parking, both official and unofficial (on as yet undeveloped building lots) can fill up pretty quickly. Taxis are cheap in Dubai and you can also use the Dubai Metro – Al Jafiliya Station 1, on the Red Line.
Just recently, a Friday morning market has started up at Zabeel Park, and this is proving extremely popular. There’s a good supply of pretty much everything you would expect: foodstalls, hand-crafted items, organic vegetables, plants for the garden, imported small goods for niche markets that you might not see in the malls, and amusement activities for the young and young at heart.
Like many of the parks I will mention here, there is a small entrance fee of AED 5 per person. Married couples and families with children will have no trouble gaining entrance, but large groups of single males might find they are refused entry.
Read more about what others have to say about Zabeel Park and its attractions here.
Dubai Creek Park
Another attractive, green, and beautifully landscaped park – which, as its name implies, follows the Bur Dubai side of Dubai’s Creek, opposite Deira. It’s a long, relatively narrow park, and parking can really be at a premium on Friday, especially after midday and into the evening.
One tip is that most people will be reasonably tolerant if you park over them, thus blocking their way out, as long as you display your phone number on your windscreen and come at a run when called. I know this sounds very unconventional, but it works this way in Dubai and even the police know the system.
From Oud Metha Metro Station, it’s about a twenty-minute walk – no hardship in the cooler months, but perhaps a bit of a trial when the temperatures are approaching 40°C – and it is no fun if you are carrying picnic foods and drinks.
It’s a great place to take a picnic lunch, or even a small portable barbeque, but barbecuing on the grass is a no-no. Luckily there are specific concreted areas provided for this.
There are other attractions for the adventurous, but nothing too hair-raising. You can rent a bicycle, or one of the bigger four-person, open-framed pedal cars. There’s also a little “train” which shuttles around the park on the paths, not on tracks.
Probably the most spectacular is the aerial cable car, universally known in Dubai as the “Tellyfreek” (I didn’t get it for a long time either, until I found out that the system was provided by Teleferico Benalmádena, a Spanish manufacturer).
Like Zabeel, there is an AED 5 entry fee, and Wednesday is designated as a “Ladies Only” day.
You can learn more about Dubai Creek Park here.
Al Mamzar Beach Park
You’re right on Dubai’s northern border with the neighboring emirate of Sharjah, and there isn’t really a convenient way of accessing this very attractive park unless you have your own vehicle or take a taxi.
Unlike the first two parks, this one is for swimming as well as having a picnic. The beach is groomed daily and is really very attractive. Like the parks I have mentioned previously, there’s an AED 5 per person entrance fee, but you can pay an AED 30 fee and take your car inside the confines of the park to the parking areas.
This is, of course, dependent on how full the car parks get, and as always, Fridays and most evenings are the peak times.
In addition to swimming in the sea, you can also use a fresh water pool. There are also kids’ playgrounds, bicycle rentals, and even air-conditioned beach cabins that you can rent for the day.
More information on Al Mamzar Beach Park here.
Al Safa Park
This is another central Dubai Park, located between Sheikh Zayed Road and Jumeirah Beach Road. It’s easily accessible by car, and Business Bay Metro station is about an 800-metre walk from one of the park’s four entrances. You can always take a taxi!
Safa Park has all the usual features of the previously described parks, but one major feature that distinguishes it: it has three artificial lakes.
Be aware that at present (early 2016), some quite large sections of the park are closed due the construction of the artificial canal way that will link Dubai Creek to the Arabian Gulf at Jumeirah Beach.
Safa Park hosts Dubai’s only Flea market on the first Saturday of each month from October to May. It attracts lots of people in search of a bargain, so be warned.
Read more about Safa Park here.
Mushrif Park might be just a bit beyond the short-term visitor’s range, being out on the Khawaneej Road, past Mirdif in the direction of the E611 highway. Also, don’t confuse it with the much smaller Mushrif Central Park, which is in Abu Dhabi.
Dubai’s Mushrif Park is over 500 hectares in area. You can take your car right in for AED 10, and there’s also an AED 10 fee to use the swimming pool (children, AED 5).
Read what others have to say about Mushrif Park here.
Umm Suqeim Beach Park
This is another park that gives beach access from Jumeirah Beach Road. It’s a very attractive spot, and handy to a very “buzzy” part of Dubai. It also gets very crowded.
More details here.
Small, central city family parks
The advantage of these is that they don’t attract the crowds, because apart from grass, bushes and trees, they don’t offer a lot more – and that might be just what you want: a quiet spot to have a picnic with the family.
Try Safa 2 Park 1 (find it on Google Maps – don’t confuse with the big Safa Park; this one is further down Sheikh Zayed, or Al Wasl Roads towards Umm Suqeim).
You could also have a look at Al Rashidiya Park. OK – you’re going to get some noise from Dubai International Airport, but it’s not too bad. You can use the free parking at Al Rashidiya Metro parking building, and the Bin Sougat Centre is close, if it all gets too much.
Also check out Satwa Park and Umm Suqeim Park. The former is tucked away behind Al Moosa Towers on Sheikh Zayed Road, and the latter very close to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.