Everyone loves Instagram, but Dubai residents are obsessed with it. It’s not hard to become addicted to the app when there are epic photo opportunities on every corner. Dubai is a hotpot of influencers – people who will do just about anything “for the ‘Gram”. This group of people is happy to wake up at 5am in order to get a sunrise photo next to the Burj Al Arab and are often seen talking to their phone – or followers – as they walk down the street, eat a meal or do just about anything.
The Brunch Club
Dubai has a very big brunch scene. This might be the most important meal of the day for the Western expat community of Dubai, because it normally involves a free flow of bubbly. Although people can find a good brunch to go to almost every day of the week, Friday is the day that people go in packs to do brunch. Although the venue may change every week, the people are always the same; and so is the all you can eat and drink buffet.
To better understand this group of people, one must understand the background of Jumeirah. Jumeirah is an area of Dubai which is quite residential. This is where all the big houses, with green lawns and swimming pools are – the equivalent of the American ‘picket fence’ suburban residence. This area tends to be inhabited by schools and families, ultimately being filled by Jumeirah Janes, which really is the Dubai synonym of soccer mom. These are the mothers who drop their kids in school every morning, go to pilates, followed by a trip to the grocery store, then take tea with friends before picking their kids back up and dropping them at horse-riding.
Although Dubai may be best known for posh restaurants and luxurious hotels, there is a significant chunk of its residents who are trying to get away from the ‘Dubai lifestyle’ symbolized by work, brunch, repeat. These are the ones on the lookout for adventure and constantly trying to find something to make them feel more alive. This is the kind of person who when asked what their weekend plans are, will often respond with talk of skydiving or camping in Oman.
The main thing that draws people to move to Dubai is work. The city has plenty of jobs on offer, many times with salaries that won’t be found in other countries – not to mention that the UAE doesn’t have income tax. The Suits are the people who come to Dubai solely to work. They seem to be happy with doing 12-hour days if this means getting as much money as possible and moving back to their home country in a couple of years, when they’re more financially stable.
This is a new group that has been surfacing around Dubai. The younger generation, mostly formed by young adults who grew up in Dubai, moved away for university and returned as hipsters. They are trendy, check out art galleries and music events. Dubai hipsters can often be spotted in their natural habitat, Alserkal Avenue, sipping on cold pressed juice as they walk through on of the venues various art galleries.
The fitness scene in Dubai has seen a drastic growth in the past couple of years. The city is buzzing with fitness events, covering everything from beach yoga classes to marathons. With working out turning into something trendy, there is an increasing number of fitness fanatics in town. These are the people who get up at sunrise for a 10km (6.2 mile) run and won’t join in for afterwork drinks because they are training for a triathlon.
Super Rich Kids
A large chunk of the Dubai population is very well-off financially. However, there’s a small segment the city’s residents that are just rich beyond belief. These are the 18 year-old kids who drive Ferraris, the people who fly first-class in Emirates wherever they go and are draped in designer garments from head to toe. This group of people are the ones who made Dubai famous worldwide as a city of millionaires. For the super rich kids, money is no object.
The Silent Majority
As a contrast of the previously mentioned group, there’s the silent majority. These are the people who are everywhere, but often go unnoticed. They are the store keepers, construction workers, drivers and others who contribute to making Dubai the beautiful city it is. They have roles in almost every industry and will often be found smiling at visitors when they check into their hotels or go shopping in stores.
So Many Tourists
Dubai is not complete without its tourists. They are the ones who keep the city pumping and serve as motivation for all the epic landmarks and record-breaking venues that the city is always building. The tourists bring energy to Dubai and they are absolutely everywhere. There’s not one public space in Dubai where tourists are not present, easily spotted as they take selfies with every step they move. They are as crucial a part of Dubai as its residents.