17 stunning photos that show how Dubai has become the ‘Manhattan of the Middle East’

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A view of Dubai from the Persian Gulf.
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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Just 16 years ago, Dubai was a sparse desert outpost. Today, it’s home to the 2,716-foot Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world – as well as the 1,358-foot Princess Tower and more than 150 other towering skyscrapers. Multimillion-dollar apartments and a bustling tourist scene have put Dubai on the radar of the ultra-wealthy.

Some are even calling Dubai “the Manhattan of the Middle East,” but its year-round sunshine and warm weather is an advantage that even New York City can’t beat. Trendy restaurants and bars, water sports, and other attractions keep both the locals and foreigners happy, and its skyline is a new level of urban beauty.

Ahead, see 17 photos of what life is like in the United Arab Emirates’ biggest city.


The skyscrapers of the Marina and Jumeirah Lake Towers districts have been described as having “Manhattan-style” architecture and amenities.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Always advancing, the city is aiming for 25% of its cars to be driverless by 2030.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Source: Business Insider


Apartment complexes in the Marina generally have luxurious accommodations with skyline pools and concierge services.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

The 50-million-square-foot waterfront neighborhood has more than 150 high-rise buildings.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Many of the skyscrapers have been built by migrant workers from India.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

According to the AP, foreigners far outnumber the locals in Dubai.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Source: AP


Temperatures rarely drop below 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Swimming is always an option.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Jet skis and motorboats are often seen off the coast.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Tourists can stay at luxurious hotels like the Burj Al Arab, which is located right off the coast.

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Jumana El Heloueh/Reuters

This gym overlooking the city doesn’t have a bad view either.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Before dinner, you can take a sunset cruise around the Marina with fellow tourists.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Dubai is rumored to be the first city in the Middle East to be awarded a Michelin star, though it’s not yet known which restaurant might receive the honor.

Source: CNN


“Dintertainment” has become a popular trend in the city. Restaurants that provide not only food, but also entertainment like cabaret shows and karaoke, have increased.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Thanks to the wide range of cultures that have flocked to Dubai, an enormous array of food can be found in the city.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Dubai is kid-friendly, too, with fun activities like the Dubai Aquarium and a recently opened 1,200-square-foot trampoline park inside the Mall of the Emirates.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP

Dubai’s Department of Tourism has reportedly set a goal of 7% to 9% annual growth in tourism, aiming for 20 million tourists by 2020. Given the stunning skyline, numerous nightlife options, and incredible food, that shouldn’t be an issue.

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Kamran Jebreili/AP