Last weekend in Dubai, I found myself lounging on the grass two mornings in a row. The fact that I traveled over 2000 km just to be lazy under the sun listening to podcasts was a tad frustrating. I was in what is commonly referred to as a desert, and yet, it seemed like they had better public green spaces than our own “lush” Lebanon. In a country like ours, with weather like ours…why don’t we have parks EVERYWHERE? The last time I hung out on the grass like that, I was still an AUB student sprawled out on the Green Oval.
Safa Park, Wasl Road Gate
Although partially closed off due to the construction of a water canal, Safa Park is very charming and chill. With a spectacular view of Downtown Dubai and plenty of mini playgrounds surrounding a little lake, there are shady spots scattered around where you can just set up camp and hang out. I was there on a workday so it was pretty vacant. Schoolchildren were there on a field trip; their teacher was teaching them about greenery and plant life. “This is a BROWN leaf. What’s that mean?”, she asks the little people. “IT’S DEAD!” they all shout. And then she told them to cross it off their checklist-clipboards. It was all very amusing to see kids that enchanted with the natural world.
Zabeel Park, Gate 1 (Friday Mornings)
Home to Ripe Market, the organic farmer’s market of the UAE, Zabeel was pretty impressive. Not only were there people from all over and of every age group, there was also a big variety when it came to the actual stands present. Mini pancakes, Lebanese street food, Raw Coffee, crafts, and products. And when you’re done perusing through the market, you can go find a spot under a tree. Although Dubai is nicknamed “the city of Malls,” I found it ironic that they have their farmer’s market in a park and we have ours in a shopping district (Beirut Souks).
Entrance was 5 dhs (~$1.37)
BONUS: Both parks have jogging tracks that run around their perimeter (padded asphalt, stretching stations, distance marks, the works).