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Best Places to Live in Dubai for Expats

From hyper luxurious apartments in Palm Jumeirah to homely villas in the suburbs of Emirate Hills, picking the right place to live in Dubai can be hard, so here is a list of some of the best places that are right for expats!

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In this Pacific Prime Dubai article, we break down some of the best places to live in Dubai for expats, weighing the pros and cons to help you find the place best suited for you. This list focuses on places suitable for single and expat couples.

You can also check out our list for expat families to find more family friendly districts to live in!

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6 Best Places for Expats in Dubai


Sky view of Downtown Dubai at night with Burj Khalifa in the background

As one of the most iconic districts in Dubai, Downtown is the perfect place for expats who want convenience and an exciting nightlight. Whilst it might not be sunshine and beaches, Downtown offers ample dining options alongside the hottest bars and clubs in Dubai.

Downtown is the district most featured on TV shows and movies, home to the iconic Burj Khalifa landmark, it is exactly what you’d expect Dubai to look like if you’ve never been before. The district may come at a higher cost of living, but it has everything you’ll ever need.

Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)

Best Places to Live in Dubai JBR

Breathtaking open beach, luxury malls and apartments, Jumeirah Beach Residence is like a beach lover’s dream realized. Just a stroll down The Walk alone, will give you a myriad of restaurants, cafés, bars, and lounges to choose from. 

JBR sits on the Sheikh Zayed Road, making it convenient for expats who drive to work. Residents of JBR can also take the metro at the DMCC Metro Station and the Dubai Marina Metro Station as an alternative to avoid the peak hour traffic.

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina nightscape

Sitting just on the other side of JBR, Dubai Marina is a breathtaking seaside district of Dubai with luxurious high rise apartments with a mesmerizing view of the man-made marina. The area offers a great selection of dining options and upscale rooftop bars for a healthy nightlife.

For expats who love being under the sun, Dubai Marina is the perfect place to stay as the marina district has access to its own beach, the Marina Beach. From exciting water sports to relaxing strolls down the mesmerizing promenade scenery, the marina definitely won’t let you down.

Al Barsha

Best Places to Live in Dubai

Offering the perfect balance between city and suburb, Al Barsha is a residential district sitting off the Sheikh Zayed Road. The district offers villas and apartments that feels homely, perfect for expats who like to keep a clear definition between the bustling city life and private life.

For expats who drive, the district has ample parking spots. Expats who wish to avoid the rush hour traffic can take the metro from one of the two main stations in the district, the Mall of Emirates Metro Station and the Mashreq Metro Station.

Business Bay

Best Places to Live in Dubai Business Bay

If you want to stay in the hearts of the business hub, then Business Bay is the perfect option for you. Quite literally one of the main business centers of Dubai, Business Bay keeps you close to the action. Sleek modern apartments and constant new developments, Business Bay is the district for everyday hustle.

Despite being a business hub, the district also offers residents a variety of lifestyle options from restaurants and cafes to grocery stores and gyms. One of the pros of being in the business center is that you’re conveniently connected to other districts for when you need to wind down!

Palm Jumeirah

Best Places to Live in Dubai Palm Jumeirah

Luxury high rise apartments, malls, and even its own monorail, the Palm Jumeirah is one of the most convenient places to live in comfort in Dubai. But as you may suspect, the cost of living in Palm Jumeirah is amongst some of the highest in Dubai. For expats with a budget, this is the place for you!

Palm Jumeirah is an archipelago of artificial islands filled with all the best things Dubai has to offer. The islands offer some of the most luxurious shopping malls with fine dining options. If you’re feeling a little extra, you can even swim with dolphins at the Atlantis Resort!

Picking the Right Place for You

When trying to find the best place for you when you relocate to Dubai, one important factor to consider is how convenient that location is for you. You don’t want to spend hours a day just commuting, but at the same time, you don’t want to be too far from your livelihood outside of work.

Another factor to consider is the community. Picking a community that agrees with your lifestyle is important to help you keep a healthy mental wellbeing. If you’re that kind of person who likes to take walks to wind down, then living in the city or downtown area may add to your stress. 

The perfect place for you is a balance between convenience, community, and cost of living. Ultimately, you want to find a place that agrees with your lifestyle and is at an acceptable distance to where you will be working whilst still being within your budget.

Staying Insured in Dubai

Health insurance is mandatory in Dubai. However, foreigners who wish to use public medical facilities will also have to apply for a health card at the Dubai Department of Health (DHA). There are pros and cons to both private and public healthcare.

Therefore, we recommend that you apply for the health card and get another health insurance outside of the one offered by your employer to guarantee that you are insured in the case of medical emergencies and accidents.

Need help finding the right insurance in the UAE, Pacific Prime Dubai can help you do the heavy lifting and narrow down some of the best options for you. With over two decades of experience in the insurance industry, Pacific Prime has the know-how and connections to ensure you choose the ideal plan for your needs and budget.

Contact us today to receive impartial advice or an obligation-free plan comparison or a quotation today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the best place for single expats in Dubai?

For single expats, the Downtown area is the perfect place to live because of its vibrant nightlife. The district is home to Dubai’s world famous attractions like the Burj Khalifa and features some of the hottest bars and clubs in Dubai. 

Which places are popular to expats in Dubai?

Palm Jumeirah, Barsha Heights, and Jumeirah Lake Tower (JLT) are all areas with a dynamic nightlife popular with expats. 

Is driving a necessity in Dubai?

Thanks to the Emirate’s extensive public transport system, it is entirely possible to live in Dubai and not own or rent a car.

Can I get around Dubai with just English?

Yes. Dubai is amongst some of the world’s top countries with the most expats. As such, English is commonly spoken in Dubai as a common language.

Content Creator at Pacific Prime
Vista is a content creator at Pacific Prime. With over 8 years of writing experience for online platforms on various topics such as luxury lifestyle and digital entertainment. He enjoys diving into complex and otherwise confusing topics, and creating easy-to-understand content for the readers to help them navigate through the topic - something that’s perfectly aligned with Pacific Prime’s motto of ‘simplifying insurance’.

Born and raised in the cultural melting pot that is Hong Kong, and having studied at an international school, Vista has developed a multicultural perspective that he uses in his writing and strives to connect to people of different backgrounds.

In his free time, Vista enjoys immersing himself in different worlds, from video games to light novels and movies. His hobbies help him expand his writing style by putting himself in the point-of-view of different people and characters.
Vista Nip