Sheikh Zayed Road is a String of Record Breaking Attractions!

One of the major attractions that makes the United Arab Emirates one of the best holiday destinations to visit is simply a road, believe it or not!! Yes…….Winding its way through the Emirates, E 11 Road is the longest road in the entire nation. Making its way from Al-Silah in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and ending in Ras al-Khaimah at the border of Oman, E 11 makes up the major passageway through many of the nation’s major cities, including Dubai, where it is known as The Sheikh Zayed Road, and it’s the perfect way to get from one hot spot to the next.

Sheikh Zayed Road in 1990

Sheikh Zayed Road in 1990

The E 11 runs parallel, more or less, to the United Arab Emirates coastline from Trade Centre Roundabout to the border of Abu Dhabi, about fifty five kilometers or thirty four miles away in the region of Jebel Ali. It makes its way along the Perisan Gulf zipping in and out of urban areas where it takes on new personas. While in Dubai, the E 11 assumes the identity of The Sheikh Zayed Road. In Abu Dhabi, it’s known as Sheikh Maktoum Road. In Ras al-Khaimah E 11 becomes Sheikh Muhammad bin Salem Road. When you’re traveling Sheikh Zayed Road, you’ll witness the majority of Dubai’s skyscrapers passing you by, including the Emirates Towers. Sheikh Zayed Road also joins the Dubai Marina with other new developments such as the Palm Jumeirah into the major transportation network, with most of the Red Line of Dubai Metro traveling right along beside all seven to eight lanes of the Sheikh Zayed Road going in each direction.


Sheikh Zayed Road did not exist mere decades ago, which is hard to imagine when you see it today in all its glory. Instead of the multiple lanes of super fast traffic weaving through what looks like a futuristic scene from Blade Runner, vehicles that made their way between cities used to have to follow sand tracks along the coast with the ubiquitous danger of losing their way or becoming stuck in the sand. With no help for miles, no nearby place to rest, no cell phones to call for a tow, and no street lights to light the way, breaking down meant one would have to remain with their stalled or stuck vehicle and hope that someone would eventually come along the same route and be able to help. Generally, the majority of travellers relied on taxis to get them from point A to point B, and the taxi drivers quickly became familiar with these sand tracks and knew how to avoid sticky situations. In the 1970s, traveling between Dubai and Jebel Ali was a feat of endurance, driving hours upon hours along a pot-holed stretch of roadway lined with the remains of old, sun-scorched broken down cars left to rust.

Sheikh Zayed Road was constructed over the next decade and was formerly known as Defence Road. Later on, between 1993 and 1998, 30 kilometers or about 19 miles of the road was expanded. Accompanying this construction came a change in the name. Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai during this time, changed the name of the road to honour the president of the United Arab Emirates at the time, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.


Sights to See along the Northwest Side of Sheikh Zayed Road:
The Etisalat Tower 2
The Monarch Office Tower
The Monarch Hotel
The Holiday Inn Dubai – Al Barsha
The Sama Tower
The Fairmont Dubai
The API World Tower
Park Place
The Acico Office Tower (Nassima Tower)
Nikko Hotel Dubai
The White Crown Tower
The Saeed Tower 1 and the Saeed Tower 2
The Grosvenor House Commercial Tower
The Latifa Tower
THe HHHR Tower
Crowne Plaza Apartment Tower, the Crowne Plaza Hotel Tower and the Crowne Plaza Office Tower
The Al Durrah Tower
City Tower 2 and City Tower 1
The Al Wasl Tower
Khalid Al Attar Tower and Khalid Al Attar Tower 2
AThe l Safa Tower
Zabeel Tower
The Al Moosa Tower 1 and the Al Moosa Tower 2
Sahara Tower
Al Rostamani Tower B and Al Rostamani Tower A
Four Points by Sheraton
Union Tower
The Al Sondos Tower
Towers Rotana Hotel
Sheikh Marwan Tower
Al Hawai Tower
Chelsea Tower
The Sheikh Essa Tower
Number One Tower Suites
Ahmad Abdulrahim Ahmad Al Attar Tower
Dr. Khalifa Tower
The Sheikh Ahmed Tower
Al Meraikhi Tower
Shangri-La Hotel
The Al Manara Tower
The Al Kharbash Tower

The first stretch of the highway starting at the Trade Center Roundabout and Interchange 2 is where you will see the majority of Dubai’s skyscrapers, including the intriguing Emirates Towers and the world famous Burj Dubai.

Sights to See Along the Southeast Side of Sheikh Zayed Road:
The World Trade Centre, The World Trade Centre Residence, World Trade Centre Apartments 1, World Trade Centre Apartments 2 and World Trade Centre Apartments 3
Emirates Office Tower
Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

Sheikh Zayed Road at night

Sheikh Zayed Road at night

The Tower
The Al Yaquob Tower
Capricorn Tower
The Maze Tower
Al Ghadier Tower
Al Attar Business Tower
Jumeira Tower
Sky Tower
The Al Attar Tower
Ahmed Abdul Rahim Al Attar Tower
The Ghaya Residence
The Rose Tower
The Oasis Tower
21st Century Tower
The Rolex Tower
Angsana Suites Tower
Angsana Hotel Tower
Al Kawakeb 1, Al Kawakeb 2, Al Kawakeb 3, Al Kawakeb 4 and Al Kawakeb 5
The Dusit Dubai
The Millennium Tower
Al Tayer Tower
The Falcon Tower
Dubai Tower
Nuaimi Tower


Sheikh Zayed Road’s interchanges allow all traffic to enter on and exit off the highway, and these interchanges commonly lead traffic through roundabouts, also known as rotaries, in order to facilitate the exit or allow traffic to access the opposite side of the highway. There are of course many other exits coming off Sheikh Zayed Road, although they are not as well developed. The major interchanges include:

  • The World Trade Centre Roundabout: Going towards Union House, BurJuman, and Zabeel Park
  • Interchange 1: The Financial Centre Road Street interchange heading towards Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall
  • Interchange 2: Going in the direction of Hadiqa Rd, Safa Park and Jumeirah on the west side; and towards Meydan Rd towards Meydan on the east side.
  • Interchange 3: Heading towards Al Quoz through Manara Rd on east.
  • Interchange 4: Going towards Mall of the Emirates, Gold & Diamond Park, Madinat Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab, Wild Wadi Water Park, as well as Jumeoirah Beach Hotel through Umm Suqeim Rd.
  • Interchange 5: Going towards the Dubai Marina, Emirates Hills, Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City


Emirates Towers

Emirates Towers

The Emirates Towers are two of the most iconic buildings spotted along Sheikh Zayed Road. These towers are a Dubai building complex that feature the Emirates Office Tower as well as the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel. These two enormous towers, which rise to more than three hundred fifty meters ( that’s over eleven hundred feet) and almost three hundred and ten metres (over a thousand feet) respectively, are the 23rd and the 47th tallest buildings in the whole world. The two particular towers are connected by a 9,000 square meter (96,875 square foot) two storey retail complex called “The Boulevard”. You can easily spot the Emirates Towers complex while traveling down Sheikh Zayed Road, and they’re known to be a symbol of the city of Dubai. A unique part of the building design is that the towers have almost the same number of floors; the taller of the two, the office tower features 54 floors, while the hotel tower has 56 floors – despite their difference in height. This is due to the fact that each individual floor height of the office tower takes up greater space than that of the hotel. Upon visiting the Emirates Towers complex, you’ll be able to see more than 570,000 square metres (over 42 acres) of well kept gardens, as well as lakes, waterfalls and various public areas with available seating, as well as a parking space for up to one thousand eight hundred parked cars. A good spot for some post-retail relaxation is Vu’s Bar on the 51st floor of the smaller tower. This floor has quite the after-hours scene, and it’s recommended that you pay a visit at least once, and see the incredible view.


The Dubai International Financial Centre, which is one of the major art areas of the city and located just east of Sheikh Zayed Road. The ever changing DIFC is essentially Dubai’s equivalent of Wall Street, and it’s also known for being one of the city’s famous free trade zones operating independently of the municipality. When touring around the Sheikh Zayed Road area be on the look out out for the unique looking “Gate”, which has been designed in the style of a triumphal arch, featuring Dubai’s stock exchange. The Dubai International Financial Centre is currently the location where one of Dubai’s major new art areas is picking up speed, and you will be able to see a growing number of interesting galleries in the area. These galleries showcase rotating displays of different international and Middle Eastern art.

Burj Khalifa, which is the world’s tallest building, is practically impossible to miss. One of Dubai’s top attractions, “Burj” opened in 2010 and offers a luxury spa, boutique shops, rerstaurants, bars and a nightclub. Its Armani-decorated interior, boutique hotel accommodations and stunning views from the observatory decks will have your head reeling faster than you can say “world’s longest elevator!” By the way, it’s also the world’s fastest elevator. On 17 January 2009, the tower broke all records and maxed out at 818 metres (2,684 feet), officially becoming became the tallest freestanding structure in the entire world – beating out the CN Tower in Canada. The building itself makes up just a single part of the US $20-billion development nicknamed Downtown Dubai.

It’s possible to book a hotel room with a wonderful view up Sheikh Zayed Road, which is particularly stunning at night. If you’re looking to snap a great shot of the city of Dubai at night, try taking a longer exposure photo of Sheikh Zayed Road after the sun goes down, and catch a terrific photo opportunity.

Dusit Thani Dubai
Address: 133 Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
You can swing a number of really great views of the city from Dusit Thani Dubai, including Burj and Sheikh Zayed Road. The quality of service you will get here is impressive.

Chelsea Tower Hotel Apartments
Address: Sheikh Zayed Road Near Financial Metro Station, Dubai 118049, United Arab Emirates
Another terrific establishment with amazing views of Burj Khalifa, the tallest freestanding structure in the world, as well as the fascinating Sheikh Zayed Road which looks most impressive by night. You can even find the iconic Canadian coffee and donut shop Tim Horton’s here at Chelsea Tower Hotel Apartments.

Al Murooj Rotana
Address: Al Saffa St. Opposite to Dubai Mall, PO Box 117546, Dubai 117546, United Arab Emirates
These accommodations are very conveniently located and offer fabulous views of the city scape. It’s within easy walking distance of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa which is a huge bonus, as they are two of the biggest Dubai attractions. Relax, enjoy a great meal and take in the spectacular view.

Visit the Middle East destinations category to learn more about other tourism opportunities available in Middle East!