NYC Vs. Dubai: Which City Reigns Supreme in 2023?

When it comes down to choosing a city to visit, in the United States, you have the option of New York City, and in the United Arab Emirates, there’s Dubai. They both have numerous opportunities and have a lot to offer when it comes to tourist attractions and other options, cost of living withstanding.

You can compare NYC to the “heart of the world” with its mix of ethnic diversity; eclectic population made up of professionals and visitors, making it an economic powerhouse. Dubai attracts young median individuals to the opportunities with little to no tax and low gas prices making it slightly more affordable than NYC.

Dubai is an ambitious city in the middle east that is fast growing with an influx of professionals from different parts of the world. Residents of Dubai enjoy an income-free tax which, as New Yorkers, we don’t.

Still, we have numerous growth opportunities which extend to immigrants as well.

Overall the nightlife is the same, with Dubai offering extravagant hotels and luxury clubs and New York leaning on the classic types.

How do these two cities compare?

This article delves deep into what each city offers, guiding you on the most appropriate one, whether you want to visit or live in.

Differences Between NYC and Dubai

Dubai has world-class malls and department stores that carry some of the best luxury brands.

Even though the number of malls in NYC can’t match that of Dubai, you can still find places to shop in Times Square and Fifth Avenue.

Both cities have climate weather conditions that are extreme at their peak; Dubai becomes extremely hot and humid during the summer but has amazing winters in comparison to NYC. On the other hand, New York gets too cold during winter but bearable during different seasons.

Dubai has impressive luxurious apartments and villas that are cheaper than the tiny, costly apartments in New York. However, it recognizes that the villas also come at a not-so-cheap cost.

NYC vs. Dubai Size

Regarding the land size, Dubai is larger than NYC at over 620 square miles, and NYC measures 300.46 square miles.

However, NYC remains one of the most populous cities in the world, making it more populated than Dubai.

Population in NYC Vs. Dubai

NYC has a population of over 8 million people, while Dubai, though larger in land mass, is less populated, with just 3 million residents.

The People in NYC

As a New Yorker who has lived in the city his entire life, the assumption that we are extremely rude and pushy to outsiders and newcomers is something I’ve heard repeatedly.

This is far from the truth.

The truth is that this attitude has nothing to do with you personally but, instead, has to do with the busy and fast-moving city.

The People in Dubai

The people in Dubai are warm, welcoming, and understanding.

Like any other country with its laws, regulations, and expectations, Dubai, a Muslim country, has cultural norms that residents or visitors should understand and respect.

Dubai Crime Rate vs. NYC

The crime rate in Dubai is almost non-existent, making it one of the safest cities in the world. You are pretty much guaranteed safety and security even late into the night.

This is the complete opposite in NYC, where crime occurs throughout the city.

Some neighborhoods such as the South Bronx, Harlem, East New York and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn have higher crime rates.

However, the touristic areas of NYC like Times Square and Midtown Manhattan are relatively safe.

Cost of Living Comparison in NYC Vs. Dubai

Both cities are expensive; however, in addition to high taxes, NYC is the more expensive metropolis.

Rent and education in Dubai are expensive, but residents get some relief due to not having to pay taxes.

If you are visiting, a hotel in NYC will still cost you more than a hotel in Dubai.

Cost of Food in Dubai vs. New York

Like in all major cities, the average cost of food is higher if you eat and dine out in high-end restaurants or prefer buying ready-cooked meals, which applies to NYC and Dubai.

It is always cheaper and better to cook for yourself with ingredients and groceries bought from cheaper supermarkets.

Getting Around in NYC vs. Dubai

NYC has an excellent public transportation system that is great for getting around the city, in addition to buses and taxis, which are equally convenient. 

As a city that never sleeps, you can get around the city at any time of day or night using the subway.

Dubai is great for personal car or taxi use as the roads are more expansive, and considered one of the most advanced infrastructural networks in the world. 

The fact that there are no taxes and the fuel is cheaper makes moving around the city by private transport the best bet even with the availability of a city’s public transport system.

chart on vehicle population in dubai
Data Source:
chart of vehicle population in nyc
Data Source:

Attractions in NYC vs. Dubai

Dubai has the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, and the Fountain of Dubai mall, and it still boasts of having the world’s best waterparks, theme parks, and malls. 

As for NYC, the usual always make it to the list, Times Square, the Empire State Building, museums, lovely stretches of numerous parks, and broadway.

Fun Things to do in Dubai

The nightlife in Dubai is very vibrant, especially during the summer when movement during the day is limited. You can go clubbing and dancing in dance bars, on desert safaris, and enjoy riding the dunes on camels.

You can go to the beach, or if you’d prefer some water fun that does not include sand, the water parks offer great options.

Fun Things to do in NYC

NYC offers both classic and modern entertainment options. You can visit museums or watch broadway shows and musicals. You can also immerse yourself in the food scene by trying out the food sold in food trucks, giving you a complete New York experience.

Food Scene in NYC vs. Dubai

Assortment of arabic foods on table in restaurant in dubai
Assortment of Arabic Foods

Thanks to a food scene that has been around since the 1970s, NYC offers many more options influenced by the diverse cultures of individuals worldwide. 

The city has excellent restaurants, including Michelin Star rated ones, that you can explore for fine dining options offering various cuisines.

Dubai has been gaining in speed and momentum, joining other cities featuring among top culinary destinations offering more options other than Lebanese and Indian cuisines, which they are best known for.

Final Thoughts

Both cities are multi-culturally wealthy and cosmopolitan, offering great things and areas for tourists to explore while offering numerous professional opportunities. Though relatively liberal, Dubai is still conservative in some ways compared to NYC; it all comes down to preference and what one is looking to gain from each city.

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