25 Things to do in Dubai

things-to-do-in-dubai
Things to do in Dubai

Dubai is an amazing city full of contrasts. Despite not being its capital, it is one of the most spectacular places to see in the United Arab Emirates. It is curious to think about the change he has experienced. The city of today has nothing to do with that fishing port in the 60s, when the first oil field was found. From then on, if you have to put just one adjective, that would be extravagant. You will not be short of things to do in Dubai, where everything is bigger and more luxurious than necessary. In addition, only 10% of its population is Dubai, so it is also a multicultural city. Surely you will not get bored with these 25 things to see in Dubai.

25 THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI

1. Burj Khalifa, an impressive building to see in Dubai

This impressive building does not need an introduction, as it is the tallest in the world at 828 meters high. In fact, they say it can be seen from 100 kilometers away. We corroborate that at least from the plane it can be seen perfectly.

If seeing it from below is impressive, going up to the 148th floor in an ultra-fast elevator is a unique experience. There is the highest observatory in the world, located at 555 meters. It is open every day from 8:30 am to 1 am. The views are especially shocking because the Burj Khalifa is the only building this tall in a city surrounded by desert, unlike for example the Empire State, which is surrounded by buildings almost as tall.

It also has a lower viewpoint on the 124th floor, which is cheaper to access. Before going up to the Burj Khalifa, you must decide which viewpoint you want to visit, although we recommend buying tickets online to save queues at the ticket offices.

Reserve your ticket to the viewpoint on the 124th and 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa – € 40

Get your ticket to the highest viewpoint in the world at 555 meters high (124 and 125 floors included) – € 94

In addition to the observatory, the Burj Khalifa houses the Armani Hotel on the first 39 floors, luxury apartments up to the 123rd floor, and offices up to its top on the 163rd floor.

In addition to all this, the tallest building in the world breaks other records such as having the highest swimming pool and mosque in the world. If you are in the budget, you can also dine on the heights at the Atmosphere Restaurant.

burjkhalifa
Burj Khalifa

2. Dubai Fountains, an impressive sight to see in Dubai

To keep records, these dancing fountains at the foot of the Burj Khalifa are the largest in the world. Designed by the same company that created the fountains of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, they put on a daily show with water, lights and music from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The jets of water reach 275 meters in height, following the rhythm of contemporary Arabic music. It is an essential show to see in Dubai, it will leave you with your mouth open.

A lot of people gather around the fountains, so if you want to find a good place to see the show, come for a while before 6:00 p.m

3. The Dubai Mall, the biggest mall to see in Dubai

A shopping mall doesn’t seem like the best place to spend your holidays, but trust us, the Dubai Mall is so spectacular that it is worth a visit. It has 1200 shops and restaurants, galleries set like a souk, a children’s theme park, a spectacular indoor waterfall, an ice skating rink, an aquarium and even a medical center.

It has “only” 3 floors but so big that you don’t even finish them in a weekend. To give you an idea of its magnitude, in 2014 it had 80 million visitors, more than all of New York City, which received 56 million tourists! If you want to eat something with the best views of the Burj Khalifa, look for the terrace of Dean & Deluca and if you are a lover of sweets you have to go to Candylicious, the largest candy store in the world with 930 m².

4. Take an excursion to the desert, an essential thing to do in Dubai

The desert is a must-see in Dubai. It’s just outside the city, but the contrast is mind-boggling. Do not miss a 4 × 4 or quad trip through the dunes at full speed, and experience of pure adrenaline.

There are various packages of excursions to the desert, many of them with a guide:

How To Book Your Desert Safari Dubai

Following are the links to book your Dubai Desert Tour

sunset in Dubai Desert
Desert Safari Dubai
Desert Safari Dubai

Standard Deal
@
150 AED / Person

Pick up via 4x4. 45 Minutes Dune Bashing and more. All-inclusive.

Morning Desert Safari Dubai

Desert Safari + Quad Bike
@
300 AED / Person

Standard Package with 20 minutes of Quad biking self Drive. All-inclusive

Private Desert Safari Dubai

Private Desert Safari
@
900 AED up to 5 Persons

Standard Package Private Vehicle only for you family. All-inclusive

5. Mall of the Emirates, another sea of shops to see in Dubai

If you haven’t had enough with The Dubai Mall, this other mall doesn’t fall short either. With a more traditional and elegant style, it remains the same: shops, shops, and more shops.

But its star venue is Ski Dubai, a ski slope in the middle of the desert! If only out of curiosity, it is something to see in Dubai because it leaves you with your mouth open. It has the capacity for 1,500 skiers who can do 5 routes of different difficulties, go sledding or slide down an ice slide. As if all this were not enough, they have penguins in the enclosure that they use to put on children’s shows.

6. Burj al Arab, the most luxurious hotel to see in Dubai (and around the world)

The Burj Al-Arab is the tallest hotel in the world, at 321 meters high. Its design is reminiscent of the sail of the dhow, the typical Arab ship. In addition, it has a 7-star rating and is therefore also the most luxurious. It is located on its own artificial island, which can only be accessed if you are a hotel customer paying around € 1500 per night.

But don’t worry, if you can’t wait to get in, you can do it for a lot less by reserving a meal at their restaurant.

You can also have tea at the Skyview Bar 200 meters high. If you don’t have a credit card limit, you can dine watching marine life as if you were in an aquarium at the Al-Mahara restaurant.

Burj-al-arab-dubai
Burj Al Arab Dubai

7. Al Fahidi historical district, a very interesting visit to do in Dubai

Dubai is not only modernity, the most traditional part of the city is beautiful and, if you have not been to any other country in the Persian Gulf, you will be very surprised. This neighborhood was built at the end of the 19th century and the Persian merchants who traded in pearls and fabrics lived there.

They had money and they moved to Dubai because there were no taxes and they had access to Dubai Creek, the nerve center of commerce in the area. The Arabic-style plaster and coral buildings are perfectly preserved and it is a pleasure to walk through its alleys. You can enter most houses, which today are home to ceramic and furniture galleries. There are also some small museums dedicated to the country’s coins, for example, and the XVA Gallery of contemporary art.

Al Fahedi Dubai
Al Fahidi historical district

8. Dubai Creek, a historical place to see in Dubai

This river was key in the growth of the city since the first settlers settled in the area because they did business with pearls and fish. The Dubai Creek separates the city into two parts: Deira to the north and Bur Dubai to the south, but it is very easy to cross it aboard an “abra”, traditional wooden boats, for only 1 dirham. There are also the typical Arab ships called dhows. You can book a sightseeing tour on a dhow, a typical thing to do in Dubai.

Even today it is a small commercial enclave of the Persian Gulf, you can see loading and unloading dhows that travel to Kuwait, Iran, Oman, or even India. It is fascinating to walk along the shore of this bustling and authentic place and think that within half an hour walk there is a different world full of modern skyscrapers.

Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek

9. Dubai Museum, an interesting place to see in Dubai to learn about the city

The Dubai museum is in the Al-Fahidi Fort, built-in 1787 to defend the Dubai Creek. The construction is made with typical materials such as plaster, clay, coral, and wood and, although it was restored in 1971, it preserves its essence.

At the entrance of the museum, there is a spectacular display of maps to see the evolution of Dubai and the Emirates after oil was discovered in the region. In the central courtyard, there are several typical Dubai boats and in the remaining rooms you can see weapons, musical instruments, and even tombs from 4000 years ago found in the archaeological excavations of Al Qusais.

Schedule:

Saturday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Friday: 14: 30h-20: 30h

Prices:

Adults: 3AED (€ 0.75 approx.)

Children: 1AED (€ 0.25 approx.)

10. Souks of gold and spices, a fascinating place to see in Dubai

Although now the Dubai economy has switched from gold to black gold, there is still a space to buy both traditional and modern jewelry. In the Deira neighborhood, there is also the spice souk, where cumin, saffron, paprika, and incense are mixed to create a very special smell.

And if you want to pretend to be a local, go to the fabric stores to buy a traditional costume of the country for about € 20. Then go shopping at the fish market, where there are hardly any tourists. In all these places there are still the smells of a lifetime, weighing scales and calculators that fumes while buyers’ bargain, don’t be afraid to lower the price!

11. Go on an excursion to Abu Dhabi

It would be a shame to be so close to Abu Dhabi and miss out on visiting the city. Its main attraction is the Sheikh Zayed Great Mosque, one of the most spectacular buildings we have ever seen.

The most comfortable way to visit Abu Dhabi in one day is to book an excursion in Spanish that includes transportation, a guide, and a visit to the city’s attractions. If you are interested in art, you can take an excursion with a visit to the mosque and the Louvre museum in Abu Dhabi.

In case you want to go on your own, we tell you all the transport options to go from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi City Tour

Standard Deal
@
150 AED / Person

Pick up 6 to 7 hours Abu Dhabi Sightseeing Tour. Grand Mosque, Date/Carpet Market and much more. All-inclusive.

Abu Dhabi City Tour

Abu Dhabi Tour + Ferrari World
@
350 AED / Person

Standard Package with General Entry Tickets of Ferrari World .
All-inclusive

Abu Dhabi City Tour

Private Abu Dhabi City Tour
@
1200 AED up to 5 Persons

Standard Package Private Vehicle only for you family.

All-inclusive

12. Bastakiya Mosque, a beautiful building to see in Dubai

Although it is not the largest or most spectacular mosque in the United Arab Emirates, it has a special charm. It is in the traditional Al Fahidi neighborhood, where its beautiful white facade blends seamlessly with the rest of the buildings. Its decorative engravings and latticework with geometric shapes create the most photogenic shadows.

13. Sheikh Syed Al Maktoum obsession

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum was the emir of Dubai until 1958 and the grandfather of the current emir. His original house was on the banks of Dubai Creek so he could see the commercial activity from the balcony. The building has been rebuilt as a museum to showcase Arab architecture: doors carved with floral shapes and wooden lattices are the stars. The house has 30 rooms around a central courtyard and within each of them are exhibits of photographs and historical documents from the Dubai Museum.

A good way to discover the Dubai of the middle of the last century with photos of fishermen, boat builders, and pearl seekers, as well as letters, stamps, and coins that are key to the development of the emirate.

Price:

Adults: 3AED (€ 0.75 approx.)

Children: 1AED (€ 0.25 approx.)

Schedule:

Saturday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Friday: 15h-20: 30h

14. Dubai Marina, an essential place to see in Dubai

Luxury accompanies most corners of Dubai, and this could not be less. It is the largest marina in the world after Marina del Rey in California and is surrounded by more than 200 skyscrapers. The Dubai Marina Walk is something to see in Dubai if you spend several days in the city and want to surround yourself with luxurious yachts and apartments.

To see the skyscrapers in all their glory, you can book a Dubai Marina sunset cruise. It is also possible to dine on board the boat while you contemplate the illuminated city.

15. Miracle Garden, a beautiful place to see in Dubai

It is surprising to find this large colorful garden in the middle of the desert. Although there is not a huge variety of flowers because not too many types would withstand the heat of Dubai well without wilting, the combination of colors and shapes makes the Miracle Gardens an essential place to see in Dubai. You’ll find everything imaginable covered in flowers: castles, floats, and even a mini Burj Khalifa!

Schedule:

Sunday-Thursday: 9 am-9pm

Friday and Saturday: 9 am-11pm

Price: 30AED (€ 7 approx.)

16. Jumeirah Beach

Dubai lacks nothing, not even beach. Jumeirah Beach is the most central and crowded, although the vast majority of bathers are tourists. With 7 kilometers of sand, crystal clear waters and a unique environment, it is a perfect place to relax. In addition, it has all the necessary facilities: bathrooms, sun loungers and umbrellas rental, restaurants, bike lanes and even water sports operators that offer their services.

Wednesdays and Sundays are exclusive days for women and children. Even all the workers are women.

17. Jumeirah Mosque

This mosque next to the most popular beach in the city is for most the most beautiful to see in Dubai. It is an exact copy of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, although the original is eight times larger. This delicacy of Arab architecture is especially beautiful when it is lit up at dusk.

If you are also interested in seeing it inside, the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Center for Cultural Understanding organizes guided tours every day at 10 am, except on Fridays. It is enough to be there at 9:45 a.m., dress appropriately to visit this religious building, and bring 10AED (just over € 2).

18. Heritage and Diving Village

Dubai’s cultural heritage related to the sea is exhibited in this area. There are several photographic exhibitions on the collection of pearls and the construction of the boats called dhows. The Bedouin lifestyle is also recreated, with traditional Persian houses, a small traditional cafeteria and a souk where potters and weavers put their skills to use. For an even more authentic atmosphere, visit it from October to April. Then there is live traditional music and dancing, and you can consult with traditional medicine professionals.

19. Artificial islands, something impressive to see in Dubai

As if its buildings were not enough, the city even has artificial islands. There are two sets: Palm Island and The World. The first is a pair of date-palms made up of small islands with hotels, luxury residences, and entertainment complexes.

The World is even more extravagant, it is a world map made up of islands that are sold for the modest price of 7 to 45 million dollars depending on their extension. Some of the privileged who owns an island is David Beckham or Rod Stewart. To build all these islands, millions of cubic meters of sand and stones from the seabed and the city’s port have been used.

20. Sheikh Zayed Road, a majestic road to see in Dubai

It is the eight-lane highway that runs through Dubai’s modern business district. If you rent a car, you will surely pass through here and apart from the skyscrapers, you will be surprised by the glass and steel plates that delimit the road. Around it, there are several points of interest, such as the Courtyard Gallery, with contemporary art by Arab artists, the viewpoint of the Dubai World Trade Center Tower, or the Gold and Diamond Museum, where the history of jewelry in Dubai is reviewed and you can buy some pieces.

21. Aquaventure water park, a children's dream to see in Dubai

If you want to have a good time and enjoy the glitz of Dubai, visiting the Aquaventure Water Park is a great idea. It is located in one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the Atlantis The Palm. However, its entrance is independent of the stay in the hotel, so if you do not stay there you can visit it. Although its one-day ticket is not cheap, it costs about € 60, visiting this park is well worth it. A great way to cool off from the oppressive heat in the city.

22. Gurunanak Darbar Sikh Temple

Although it is a bit out of the way and not on the lists of things to see in Dubai, it is well worth it. It is a perfect option to get closer to the Hindu culture in Dubai. Our recommendation is that you go on Friday, the day of prayers. It is very important to respect their culture and go covered and without shoes at all times. If you respect it, you will see that it is like a party and you will have a great time. A beauty inside and out.

23. Al Qudra Cycle Path, a unique place to see in Dubai

To finish this list of experiences and things to see in Dubai, if you want to enjoy an unforgettable bike ride through the desert, you already know where to go. As you can see, in Dubai everything is possible. The road is in perfect condition because the locals use it a lot.

Above all, it is important to note that you do not go at noon, since temperatures are usually extreme and can be harmful to health. It is best to go very early or when night falls. A must see and do in Dubai for bicycle and sports enthusiasts.

24. Dubai Ferry

And if to end your visit to Dubai you want to have unforgettable views, one of the best options is to take the Dubai Ferry at the Dubai Marina. We advise you to look at which one you take since there are other private companies that try to sell the same thing for an excessive price, what we recommend is another public transport service, like the metro.

The best option is to do the walk at night, but during the day it is also enjoyed. The cool breeze that is breathed in the sea along with those views makes it a memorable experience. It reminded us a bit (saving the distance) of the Staten Island ferry in New York. There are several types of seats, the Gold (a little more expensive) and the silver, starting at € 12, which allow you to seat inside the boat and permission to go out to the back to observe the views. Without a doubt, something that you cannot miss in Dubai.

25. Marina Beach

Apart from the already mentioned Jumeirah Beach, we did not want to leave this beach to see in Dubai. In this city there is everything: skyscrapers, shopping centers, and of course, a good beach cannot be missing either. You will have no problem wearing a swimsuit (in some you will not be able to because the United Arab Emirates is a Muslim country). A perfect option to cool off during your warm stay in Dubai. Enjoy the white sand and great views! It is not a beach like those of the Caribbean or the Maldives, but it is quite the hit, honestly.

View our other Things to do in Dubai

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