Where to Live in The United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Where to Live in The United Arab Emirates

Whether you are single or relocating to the UAE with your family, certain areas continue to attract ex-pats in their droves. This helpful guide provides the following information:

  • The most popular ex-pat cities
  • Where to live as a family in the UAE
  • Living in Dubai as a family
  • Living in Abu Dhabi as a family
  • Where to live in the UAE when you retire
  • Retiring in Abu Dhabi
  • Retiring in Dubai
  • Where to live in the UAE if you are single
  • Single life in Abu Dhabi
  • Where to live in the UAE on a budget
  • Dubai on a budget
  • Living cheap in Abu Dhabi
  • Places to avoid in the UAE
  • Useful resources

Capital city Abu Dhabi and its neighbour Dubai are the hotspots of the UAE for ex-pat activity. Skyscrapers, a thriving hospitality industry, and inner-city beaches are attractive places to reside.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and the second-largest city after Dubai. If you choose to live here, there are ample options, but one of the decisions you have to make is whether you prefer to live in a villa-style house or an apartment; generally in one of the high-rise buildings.

Each year the Formula 1 Grand Prix brings racing fans from all over the world to Abu Dhabi. Those visiting may also enjoy new attractions, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Louvre Abi Dhabi.


Dubai may not be the capital of the UAE, but it’s the largest and most populated city in the country. Much like Abu Dhabi, accommodation choices are apartments and villas.

In 2020, Dubai Expo 2020 is to be held in the city, attracting people globally. The main site of the expo is the Dubai Trade Center Jebel Ali, which is located halfway between Dubai and the neighbouring city Abu Dhabi.

Shopping is one of the biggest reasons that people come to Dubai. Dubai Mall is the largest shopping centre incentreorld. Atlantis, The Palm hotel also draws locals and tourists to the city. Other attractions you might come to visit are the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Creek Park, and arguably the best nightlife in the Gulf.

The drawbacks to the city are similar to Abu Dhabi and other cities of its size. Traffic congestion is an issue, and prices may seem high compared with home nations.

Where to Live As a Family in The UAE

Top of the list for many families moving to a new location is quality schooling, and the UAE provides high-quality education all around. Many nations have schools for their ex-pats, and sex-parts are plenty of international schools to choose from.

Closeness to facilities such as recreational areas is also important. There are many areas to choose from in both cities, depending on what your family needs are. Not all residential areas are in high-rise buildings, but this might best suit you and your family.

Living in Dubai as a Family


This community tops all the lists of families lifamiliesith excellent schools (including GEMS Royal Dubai School and Star International School), Al Mushrif park, and recreational facilities that feature volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts. Located close to the city centre, centres, being reasonably priced, are among the favourite ex-pats.

For shopping needs, Mirdif City Center and Uptown Mirdif have got you covered. For tiny tots, Small Steps Nursery provides some of the best care in the city.

Emirates Living

Emirates Living encompasses other communities such as the Emirates Hills, The Lakes, and The Springs, providing residences for families regardless of their budget. The gated community of Emirates Hills is at the higher end of the price-caprice scale idea a secure place for families. These areas are close to other big school names, including Dubai International Academy and Dubai British School. In addition, member clubs within the community offer services to all signed up. Emirates Living provides a family-friendly atmosphere for those looking to settle in a villa-style neighbour neighbourhood.

Motor City

This area is popular with ex-pats, and as-families who are better suited to apartment living will be pleased to know that Motor City has catered to many in the past. Its vibrant town centre hacentrethe amenities you could need at your fingertips and spacious apartments are aplenty.

Green Community

If you want to find a traffic-free haven, then the family-friendly Green Community is ideal. Located within the Dubai Investments Park, the area is easily accessed by all main roads and offers much for children to do. This includes children’s pools and nurseries, Greenfield Community School, and the Children’s Garden Nursery.

Palm Jumeirah

One of the most well-known areas of Dubai, Palm Jumeirah is the residential area for ex-pat fame-pat who value convenience and activities galore. With Cirque du Soleil close by, children always have something to amuse them. The area has its school even its minor making it perfect for convenient family living.

Living in Abu Dhabi as a Family

Generally speaking, housing is newer off-island, and this has seen an increase in the number of amenities to support residents. But don’t let that put you off living on the island, as this area is rife with facilities for all.

Al Reem Island

The apartments in this area lie along the waterfront. Walkways meander through the surrounding high-rise buildings that are decked out with modern apartments, which are perfect for family living. Well, know well-knowns such as Mosaic Nursery and Repton are also located here.

Al Reem Island is popular among families and young professionals; primarily those who prefer apartments over a traditional villa setting.

Khalifa City

Originally consisting of Khalifa City A and Khalifa City B, the residential areas are commonly known these days as Khalifa City and Shakhbout City. These are popular choices due to the number of top schools and also because the city is home to what is locally known as pink shops; where you can find supermarkets and other amenities. Schools are close by, so parents don’t need to worry that they are adding much time to their commute, and there are kids’ play areas close to many of the pink shops.

Al Karamah

Located centrally in Abu Dhabi, Al Karamah is ideal for families who want to be in the middle of the action. Close by, Al Wahda Mall boasts shops, restaurants, and other activities to keep the family busy. For shorter commutes, Al Karamah is a great option, and there are many schools and nurseries to choose from here.

Al Mushrif

Al Mushrif is Abu Dhabi’s suburbia, making it ideal for young families. Living here, you would never know that the high-rise buildings are so close. Amenities are plentiful too; and for outdoor recreation, Umm Al Emarat Park has got you covered. Al Mushrif is quieter than other residential areas, which is ideal for raising children, and you will find top schools here, too.

Al Khalidyah

Schools in Al Khalidyah include Al Mashreq Private School and the American Community School of Abu Dhabi. The area boasts some of the best apartment living for families. Here, everything is close by, and residents enjoy all aspects of city living. Apartments come with superb waterfront views, and beach lovers will no doubt enjoy relaxing at Al Sahil Beach.

Where to Live in The UAE When You Retire

With the UAE introducing a new five-year visa for over 55-year-olds, the country is an excellent prospect for retirees. Those applying have to meet certain criteria, but it will allow pensioners greater options throughout the Emirates.

For those retiring, access to facilities is paramount; along with being able to dine out well and enjoy all their hobbies while having their home nearby. Easy access to healthcare is another important factor to consider.

Retiring in Abu Dhabi

Hidd Al Saadiyat

No home in Hidd Al Saadiyat is more than 300 meters away from the sea, with Saadiyat Beach on one side and a lagoon beach on the other. The villas were built along a narrow peninsula, and within the community are a pool, gym, and yacht club, as well as shopping centres, centresants, and cafés.

Azure (Al Reem Island)

Azure on Al Reem Island is located minutes from Reem Mall and The Galleria Al Maryah Island. The complex boasts a large infinity pool with views of the Louvre, and residents will find no shortage of activities within the development. There are barbecue areas and outdoor seating, and residents can enjoy seafront views from the one or two-bedroom flats.

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