How is Living in Dubai Different from Living in Abu Dhabi

  • May 5 2024
How is Living in Dubai Different from Living in Abu Dhabi

As the name suggests, United Arab Emirates (UAE) constitutes seven emirates or cities. Although Dubai is the most well-known city, Abu Dhabi is the country’s capital.  

If you plan to move to the UAE in the near future, you may have to decide between moving to Abu Dhabi or the country’s commercial capital, Dubai.

Let’s discuss the details of residing in Dubai versus Abu Dhabi with a focus on housing options and rental properties.  

Dubai Vs. Abu Dhabi: A Detailed Comparison 

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are well-known for their tall skyscrapers, vibrant lifestyle, and wide range of cultural experiences.  

Let’s see how living in Dubai is different from living in Abu Dhabi.  

Dubai vs Abu Dhabi: Lifestyle and Social Dynamics


Jumeirah beach Dubai

We all know that Dubai is a popular global hub for shopping and entertainment. It is also known for its fancy nightlife, luxury shopping centers and fine dining options. 

For individuals looking for a dynamic and fast-paced way of life, the city is ideal for them! 

Read also: Best Places to Invest in Rental Property in Dubai, UAE

Abu Dhabi
On the other hand, Abu Dhabi emphasizes a setting that is more family-oriented. It's a great alternative to a more relaxed lifestyle as it focuses on cultural and educational activities over shopping and entertainment. 


Out of all the UAE’s population, Dubai has the largest number of inhabitants. The bulk of the population consists of young individuals (ages 23 to 35). Without a doubt, Dubai is regarded as a young community.  

Dubai Population: More Than 3.5 Million.

Abu Dhabi

tourists in Abu Dhabi

By comparison, the population of Abu Dhabi is almost half the size of Dubai. such a contrasting difference in population size may have an impact on the city’s environment.  

For example, Abu Dhabi is significantly less crowded and hectic than Dubai. 
Abu Dhabi Population: Around 1.5 Million.

Read also: How Is Living in Dubai Different from Living in Sharjah?

Accommodation & Properties for Rent

The accommodation choices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are tailored to suit the preferences and lifestyles of each emirate.  

Known for its skyline, Dubai presents an array of upscale housing options. The city boasts high-rise apartments with views and modern amenities, offering residents a taste of opulence. 

Ahmad Creek Residence

If you're in search of living options in Dubai, consider exploring properties like Ahmad Creek Residence or Ali Moosa Abdulrahman Building for apartments, or Al Rashidya Villas and Jumeira Seven Villas for spacious villas. 

Moreover, Dubai features villas in communities that provide privacy and a lavish lifestyle. However, such accommodations come with a price tag reflecting the city’s reputation for luxury living.  

Abu Dhabi
In contrast, Abu Dhabi offers budget-friendly housing—making it an appealing choice for those conscious of their finances. The city provides a variety of apartments for rent according to personal preferences. 

While not as extravagant as Dubai, Abu Dhabi’s apartment offerings include flats to units that offer comfortable living spaces. 

Renting villas in Abu Dhabi offers a budget option compared to those in Dubai, with a welcoming atmosphere for families.  

Both emirates cater to preferences in the real estate sector, enabling residents to select homes that match their way of living and financial circumstances. 

Whether you prefer the high-rise buildings of Dubai or the villas in Abu Dhabi, there are suitable accommodation options available in these lively and distinct cities. 

The Top Tourist Attractions Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi

Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi offer many popular tourist attractions with a wide range of activities to do.  


Museum of Future Dubai

Dubai is well-known for its modern architecture, retail centers and exciting nightlife.  

Dubai is frequently regarded as the most well-liked travel destination. Dubai outperforms Abu Dhabi in the tourism sector for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Modern urban vibe: Dubai is a popular travel destination for foreigners due to its vibrant lifestyle. 
  • Shopping: The Annual Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai's premium malls are well-known and draw large crowds of shopping enthusiasts.
  • Economy: Dubai is a well-liked travel destination due to its more diverse economy, which focuses on real estate, banking, and tourism.

Abu Dhabi

Mosque Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi provides a more traditional and moderate experience, emphasizing outdoor recreation, culture and history.  

Depending on the tourist attractions you visit, your vacation should consist of different kinds of adventures.  

If you want to escape the unbearable crowds in Dubai, Abu Dhabi is the perfect destination because it is less visited by tourists.  

Transportation in Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi

Dubai places a high priority on ease of transportation, offering a world-class metro system, taxis and vast road networks.  

The layout of the city is such that residents can commute easily and spend less time traveling. 

Abu Dhabi
Although Abu Dhabi has a well-developed network of roads, its public transport system might not be as advanced as Dubai’s. There are many initiatives taken by the movement to improve traveling routes between the two emirates. 

Read also: Top 10 Areas to Live in Dubai

Dubai vs Abu Dhabi Cost of Living

Renowned as a hub of luxury, Dubai comes with a cost of living especially when it comes to accommodation, dining out and entertainment. The city’s lavish lifestyle and iconic landmarks contribute to expenses attracting those in search of an upscale living environment.  

A single person’s monthly expenses in Dubai are estimated to be around AED 3500. It is important to note that rent is not included in this figure.  

Read more: Cost of Living in Dubai 

Abu Dhabi
In contrast to Dubai, Abu Dhabi provides a lot of budget-friendly options. Accommodation costs, dining expenses and everyday necessities are generally more economical here, making it an appealing option for individuals and families looking to experience life in the UAE without breaking the bank. 

Abu Dhabi’s affordability coupled with its heritage make it an attractive prospect for those who value a balanced and cost-conscious way of life.  

A single person’s monthly expenses in Abu Dhabi are estimated to be around AED 3000, without rental expenses.

Cultural Atmosphere 


Dubai Marina

Dubai is a global hub for expats, drawing them from all over the world. The city lives on diversity and offers a wide range of cultural events, global cuisines, and a way of life that combines modern and traditional lifestyles. 

Read also: 10 Reasons to Live in Dubai: It’s Not What You Think It Is! 

Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi places a high value on maintaining its customs and history.  

With so many art galleries, museums and cultural festivals, the city has a more traditional and relaxed vibe than its more glamorous neighboring city—Dubai. 

Security & Infrastructure Dubai vs. Abu Dhabi

Dubai is renowned for having first-rate infrastructure. The buildings, roads, and facilities are on par with some of the world’s greatest cities.  

Other than that, Dubai has a good ranking in the global safety index when it comes to safety. Dubai ranked 4th with 83.8 safety index in 2024.  

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi infrastructure

Abu Dhabi isn’t any less important in terms of infrastructure. Given how highly developed both cities are, there isn’t much to distinguish them in this regard.  

Moreover, Abu Dhabi is marginally better than Dubai. Abu Dhabi ranked #1 with 87.1 safety index, making it the world's safest city in 2024.



Is it better to live in Dubai or Abu Dhabi?

When it comes to choosing between living in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it all boils down to preferences. Dubai offers a lifestyle filled with a mix of cultures and the hustle and bustle of city living.  

On the other hand, Abu Dhabi provides a family-oriented setting that values culture, tradition and a more relaxed way of life. To make your decision consider factors like job opportunities, cost of living, amenities and what aligns best with your preferences.

Is there salary difference between Abu Dhabi and Dubai?

The salary difference between Abu Dhabi and Dubai can vary depending on factors such as industry, job location, qualifications and work experience. Generally speaking, both cities provide good salary packages. However, Dubai might offer higher average salaries owing to its large expat community and thriving industries. Well, individual circumstances and negotiations heavily influence the salary gaps between these two cities.

Which is more developed, Dubai or Abu Dhabi?

skyline Abu Dhabi

Dubai and Abu Dhabi stand out as advanced cities within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) each with its own focus areas. Dubai shines for its cutting-edge infrastructure, skyscrapers, tourism appeal and diverse economy driven by sectors like finance, trade and real estate.

Abu Dhabi, being the capital, puts an emphasis on development, preserving culture and investment prospects in industries such as oil, gas and renewable energy. Both cities offer great conveniences that position them as big players in the region’s progress.

Are rents cheaper in Abu Dhabi than Dubai?

Typically, rental rates in Abu Dhabi are more budget-friendly than those in Dubai. While both cities present a variety of housing options, Abu Dhabi generally offers more affordable options due to factors like lower demand and a higher availability of properties.  

However, actual rental costs can differ based on variables such as location, property type, facilities provided and market conditions. It is recommended to do thorough research and compare prices between the two cities before making a decision. for more information on rental rates in Dubai, get in touch with our real estate experts today.   

Is Dubai or Abu Dhabi better for families?

Both cities offer good options for families. The decision depends on individual preferences. Dubai presents a multicultural setting with an array of family attractions, entertainment choices and international schooling options.  

On the contrary, Abu Dhabi offers a laid back and traditional environment that values family connections, cultural immersion opportunities and spacious residential areas. Families should take into account factors like lifestyle inclinations, educational offerings, healthcare services, accessibility and employment prospects in making their choice between these two cities.

Which city of UAE is best to live in?

UAE flag

Determining the best city to reside in within the UAE depends on individual preferences and priorities. Dubai showcases a lifestyle with diverse cultures and offers bustling urban living and abundant job opportunities.  

However, Abu Dhabi provides a tranquil setting favorable for families emphasizing culture and heritage preservation. Sharjah stands out for its affordability along with its legacy, while Ajman offers a peaceful environment tailored for families.

Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah boast natural beauty and a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy. Ultimately, the ideal city choice varies depending on one’s lifestyle, career aspirations and personal preferences.

Summing It Up

Dubai and Abu Dhabi both provide living experiences personalized to your preferences and priorities.  

Dubai shines with its city life and finest facilities, drawing in a crowd looking for an energetic lifestyle.

On the other hand, Abu Dhabi’s depth and more budget-friendly living options make it an attractive choice for those who appreciate heritage and a tight-knit community.  

Ultimately, deciding between the two emirates is highly based on your taste, financial circumstances and preferred pace of life. 

If you are searching for rental properties in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, contact our experienced agents. We offer well-maintained commercial and residential properties to meet your needs at 0% commission on rent. 

Our agents are committed to helping you locate the ideal location, guaranteeing a smooth and fulfilling experience.  

Feel free to explore a variety of options at our website and let our knowledgeable agent guide you to the perfect property.