Dubai Design District

Downtown Dubai

Creative folks have a new HQ in Dubai. The fresh-off-the-drawing board Dubai Design District (d3) has drawn both regional and international talent and brands, including hot shots like Adidas and Foster + Partners. Visitors can tap into this laboratory of tastemakers by checking out the edgy architecture and public art, browsing showrooms and pop-ups, eavesdropping on bearded hipsters in sleek cafes, checking out art exhibits in building lobbies, or attending a free screening, workshop or other cultural event. The website has a schedule.

D3 is part of the Dubai's ambitious plan to become a major player in the global design world. Indeed, what you see today is merely phase 1 of a three-phase project that is expected to be finished by 2020. Phase 2 will add a vast 'Creative Community' section (to be designed by British architect Norman Foster) with more galleries and art spaces aimed at nurturing local talent. The final phase will bring hotels, shops and an outdoor events space to a 1.8km-long section paralleling Dubai Creek.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Downtown Dubai attractions

1. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary

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2. KidZania

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3. Dubai Dino

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4. Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

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Dubai Mall’s most mesmerising sight is this gargantuan aquarium where thousands of beasties flit and dart amid artificial coral. Sharks and rays are top…

5. Dubai Fountain

1.51 MILES

This dancing fountain is spectacularly set in the middle of a giant lake against the backdrop of the glittering Burj Khalifa. Water undulates as…

6. Burj Khalifa

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The Burj Khalifa is a stunning feat of architecture and engineering, with two observation decks on the 124th and 148th floors and a restaurant-bar on the…

7. Tabari Artspace

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8. Cuadro

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In a fabulous space taking up the entire ground floor of Gate Village’s Building 10, this highly regarded gallery shines the spotlight on midcareer and…