We live near Satwa, one of the original areas within Dubai, and like anyone who has lived in this neck of the woods at some point in their time in Dubai – we love it!!!!
There are local eateries like Ravi’s (for amazing Pakistani food) and you know you are pretty much guaranteed to find anything you are looking for in the clusters of hardware, DIY and textile stores that line Satwa Road – some are such treasure troves that I just enjoy having a nosey to see what they have.
We use the main thouroughfare, 2nd December Street (which used to be called Dhiyafah Street), almost daily and have watched the boring walls of the apartment and office buildings disappear at the end of last year giving way to Dubai Street Museum’s large scale artworks that speak about Dubai in one way or another.
We have been saying for ages that we need to go for a walk so we can take our time to really look at the art rather than just having a quick glance while sitting at the traffic lights so with the long weekend we planned that we would get out of the house early on Sunday, beating the heat and take the kids down there to explore, and since a lot of people don’t come down our way very often I thought I would share the best way to do it.
When to go – as we are getting closer to summer I can highly recommend visiting during the morning or evening to avoid the mid day sun. Weekends are quieter but one of the things that is nice about Satwa is the hustle and bustle so anyday is great really.
How to get there – best bet is to head along Sheikh Zayed Road and take the exit at the World Trade Centre roundabout, follow the signage to Satwa and you will end up at Satwa round-about. Drive straight through the roundabout and this is 2nd December street.
Where to park – your best bet is to park in the Al Ghazal Mall (which is on the corner of 2nd December Street and Al Wasl Road). It is free parking and has some really handy stores like Choithrams and Brands for Less that you can visit afterwards.
Best route – all 12 artworks are along 2nd December Street so when you leave Al Ghazal Mall head left towards Satwa Roundabout. The first artwork is about half way along this side down a side road. Carry on up to Satwa Roundabout cross over to the Civil Defence Station and then walk back along 2nd December Street where the last artwork is on the last building before you get to Al Wasl Road (opposite Al Ghazal Mall). A quick walk to the crossing at Al Wasl Road and you will be back at the mall and some air conditioning.
What to take with you – hats, sunblock, an ice block (that you put in your cool bags) to slip into pushchairs to keep little ones cool and some water.
Where to eat – hands down the best place to grab a fresh juice and something to eat is Al Mallah which is about 3/4 of the way through the route I described above (so on the return leg along 2nd December Street). You won’t miss it as they have taken over the footpath and filled it with hedging, bright coloured seating and umbrellas. The juices are a must try – they have over 20 options and our eldest loved her first-ever banana shake while I was excited to have an avocado smoothy topped with cream, almonds and honey (something I lived on when I used to go to Qatar for work). They serve all the traditional Arabic/Lebanese food that you would expect and given we were there in the morning we feasted on a cheese and zaatar manakeesh, which were perfectly light and tasty. Fridays they don’t open until 10.30am, all other days they open at 6am.
Most importantly, don’t miss them – look alongside buildings, look up, every so often look behind you, check out the reflections in other buildings and always look to the other side of the road. There are even a few that are so integrated into the building design that you will be wondering if that building was always like that.
The Dubai Street Museum is one of the many initiatives of Brand Dubai, which is the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office. They are working with Dubai Municipality and developers throughout Dubai to introduce art into our landscape along with a stream of new initiatives to encourage creativity in our community. You might not know the agency by name but you will know their work – #DubaiCanvas and the National Day flags on Kite Beach are just another couple of their successes.
Hope this inspires you to visit Satwa’s Dubai Street Museum and keep an eye out for other events as they really are quite fantastic and are bringing another side of Dubai to life.