5 Can’t Miss Experiences in Dubai’s Marsa Al Seef

Dubai is a city of superlatives. From cultural to historical locales to trendy hotspots, Dubai contextualizes its past and present through its many unique experiences. Marsa Al Seef, Dubai’s historic waterfront is a great example of this unique microcosm.

Located in Dubai’s heritage district, Al Seef is a recent development project. Officially opening its doors to the public in late 2017, Marsa Al Seef is a bustling waterfront promenade in the city’s cultural center.

Modern designs and contemporary shopping and dining experiences complement the district’s rich heritage. Visitors staying in hotels in Bur Dubai can experience some of the most popular tourist activities in Marsa Al Seef. This includes shopping, dining, and lifestyle experiences.

If this is your first time going to this historic waterfront, read further. Below are some highlights of why Marsa Al Seef should be on your travel list during your next visit to Dubai.

1.    Dining

Arguably, one of the hallmarks of Dubai is its culinary landscape. Dubai’s food scene is vast. Dubai’s culinary landscape covers everything — from casual eateries to romantic dinners and more.

Dubai has culinary specialties and authentic global fare that cannot be experienced elsewhere.

If you’re looking for dining establishments to indulge your inner-foodie, Marsa Al Seef will not disappoint. Everything — from European and Asian to Arabic food — is available across this bustling waterfront promenade.

The Cross Cultural Café & Bistro and the Chinese Dynasty Restaurant are two highlights of Al Seef’s treasure trove of dining experiences. Cross Cultural Café & Bistro, a unique dining experience, is a novel concept that promotes cross-cultural diversity through food and conversation.

2.    Cultural

Old world charm is definitely present in Al Seef. Throughout this cultural district, visitors can retrace the area’s rich history. The Dubai Creek showcases the area’s natural beauty and remnants of its storied past.

Visitors can find glimpses of Dubai’s maritime heritage through Al Seef. It’s seen from the district’s old world architecture to its continued use of traditional dhows (a traditional sailing vessel).

Other cultural experiences pay tribute to Dubai’s history. This includes an open air floating market, Creekside pontoons, cafes dedicated to local cuisine, and Emirati art spaces displaying exhibitions of local artistry. Each cultural experience offers an authentic flashback to the Arabia of old.

3.    Shopping

Those drawn to Dubai’s glitz and glamor will find plenty of it at Marsa Al Seef. Situated throughout Al Seef are unique retail haunts.

Many include contemporary shopping experiences and cultural, homegrown retail concepts. As a bustling retail hub, Marsa Al Seef boasts world-renowned fashion boutiques. The various exciting shops found in this district carry modern fashion brands as well. They also cater to traditional and local handicrafts. Many such retail treasures can be unveiled at the open-air floating market and souks of Old Dubai.

4.    Leisure

Visitors seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of dining and shopping throughout Marsa Al Seef will find plenty of leisurely activities available. Its pedestrian-friendly environment encourages exploration. A multimodal transport system makes Al Seef the ideal daycation from the rest of Dubai as well. Those in need of some much-needed R&R will find various wellness centers in Al Seef offering massages and spas.

5.    Festivities

Dubai’s desert climate makes it an ideal travel destination no matter what time of the year you visit. But those in Dubai at the right time will find various live events and festivities unfolding. Many of which take place at Marsa Al Seef.

The Dubai Shopping Festival, for example, is an annual city-wide event celebrating the city’s best retail experiences. For 39 days, show-stopping events such as fireworks, festivals, and concerts are on display throughout the city. Bargain hunters can trawl through the district’s retail outlets for fun activities and unmissable shopping offers.

The picturesque Dubai Creek is also the ideal location to partake in the festivities during UAE National Day. Every year on December 2, each of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates celebrates with decorative displays, cultural activities, and visual festivities, namely, spectacular fireworks displays.

Unforgettable memories await at Marsa Al Seef.

Like Palm Jumeirah and Atlantis before it, Marsa Al Seef represents a new chapter for the City of Gold. Despite being a relatively new development project for the city, Al Seef has already made key contributions to Dubai’s economy, standard of living, and cultural heritage.


Habib Khan is a seasoned Hotelier, currently the CEO of Planet Hospitality and General Manager of Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa. Khan has more than 30 years of diversified international experience in the hospitality industry. He is an expert in developing, transforming, and managing hotels, with an ability to analyze and solve problems in a challenging work environment.