UAE Area Guides: Dubai

Dubai International City Area Guide

Nothing is impossible
“We, in the UAE, have no such word as “impossible”; it does not exist in our lexicon. Such a word is used by the lazy and the weak, who fear challenges and progress. When one doubts his potential and capabilities as well as his confidence, he will lose the compass that leads him to success and excellence, thus failing to achieve his goal. I require you, youth, to insist on number one.”
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE
Dubai International City
Dubai, UAE
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As a residential area International City is known as one of Dubai's most affordable options. It can be little scruffy, but it's also now a fairly self community with retail and food and beverage outlets found on every corner, and often at the foot of each building.

Nakheel is the master developer, so it's a highly commercial operation, that is you'll get what you pay for. In the case of International City, in relative terms, that's very little, so expect, relatively, less - this is not a luxury gated community

The district is laid out in repeating patterns of so-called clusters, each of which is named after a different country and is designed using faux architectural styles from that country: England, Emirates, Russia, Italy, Spain, France, Persia, Greece, Morocco and China. These clusters surround The Central Business District and a site modelled on Beijing’s Forbidden City.

Given this is an affordable option, it follows that accommodation is dense, which in turn means traffic. The problem can be particularly acute getting in and out of Dubai International City during peak periods. Assuming traffic is good, it takes about 20 minutes to drive to Dubai International Airport, 25 to Mall of the Emirates, 20 to Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, and an hour and a half to Abu Dhabi.

If you want to know what to do in the community, the answer is shopping.  Dragon Mart mall is 1.2 km long, with 3,950 shops, and, at the time of writing, is largest trading centre for Chinese products outside mainland China, selling everything from home essentials and furnishings to office equipment, electronics, building materials, machinery and fashion. 

In 2016 a new 93,000 sq m extension, Dragon Mart 2, opened adding nearly 1,000 more shops, restaurants and entertainment outlets. More of a mall, and less of a market, it is not as popular as the original Dragon Mart. The anchor store is a 100,000 sq ft Géant Hypermarket, and the anchor entertainment a 12-screen Novo Cinema complex. There is a 251-room Ibis Styles hotel is connected directly to the mall.

Dubai Internet City is also close to Dubai Safari Park, and Dubai Silicon Oasis and Academic City.

Given accommodation consists largely of studios and one bedroom apartments, it is perhaps unsurprising there is no school in the community itself. There are however nurseries, such as Kids World Nursery. For school itself, you will need to drive to Nad al Sheba or Al Warqa for the nearest options. 

Dubai International City Ratings





Family Friendly


Transport Links


Dubai International City Pros & Cons


Very affordable
Dragon Mart, retail


No schools
Not really designed for families

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