A Dubai holiday mostly revolves around sightseeing and making the most of its shopping, dining and leisure attractions. But, interestingly, there are also some cool deviations to these; you can take an atmospheric cruise, take the path less traveled and even enjoy affordable shopping, among others. Want to dig more into the topic? Just continue reading this post on top things to do in Dubai!
Take a sightseeing tour
This tops the list for the convenience and flexibility it offers, although the rest of the things mentioned below are not in any particular order. Being inclusive of roundtrip hotel transfers and joined by a knowledgeable guide, a city tour is especially great for first timers and of course those with time constraints. From the trendiest, newest and recent attractions like City Walk, Bluewaters Island etc to the hidden and time-worn gems, a city tour mostly covers all.
Moreover, you can expect to see all iconic landmarks such as Burj Al Arab (the world’s only seven-star hotel), the palm-tree-shaped Palm Jumeirah Island, the imperial style Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai Marina and more. Dependent on your preference, you can pick from half day, modern Dubai tour, and exclusive night sightseeing tour. Whichever you choose, make sure that you take your guided excursion through an experienced service provider.
Discover old Dubai on a walking tour
The parts of Old Dubai, particularly across Al Bastakiya or Al Fahidi Historical neighborhood, are one of the region’s best-kept secrets. A relaxed stroll through its quaint alleys, sand-colored structures and rustic old-world appeal will transport you to the ancient Emirati glory. Also, don’t miss some of the charming art cafes and museums that dot this beautifully preserved neighborhood, mainly Dubai Museum which quietly sits behind the walls of the region’s oldest of its kind Al Fahidi Fort.
Get the best views from Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa is undoubtedly the most recognized or renowned symbol of modern Dubai, being the tallest building ever built on the planet. Located in the heart of chic Downtown Dubai, it will easily grab your attention for its piercing height (of 828 meters), shiny architectural details, and unmatched vastness, among others. A selfie or a click against its background is a must, but you can take this to next level by ascending to its observation deck on 124th or 148th level. This welcomes you to absorb the city skyline views from a vantage point like no other. The high-speed elevator ride and a multimedia display on Dubai’s past are the added perks of your Burj Khalifa visit.
Wander across the Dubai Mall
When it comes to a shopping spree in Dubai, it’s unimaginable to skip the biggest of its kind Dubai Mall with over 1200 outlets. But, the reality is that it’s much more than a place for retail therapy. Yes, you can visit here and spend a whole day without doing any shopping. After all, it has many other attractions to keep you busy. Discover Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, enjoy a twirl around the chilling Dubai Ice Rink, take to the best rides and gaming attractions at VR Park, and check out its free attractions like the 155-million-year-old Dubai Dino skeleton and Human Waterfalls.
Watch the Dubai fountain show
After your Burj Khalifa tour or shopping at Dubai Mall, gather around Burj Lake to see this fantastic spectacle of light and water which is artistically set to the music of popular Hollywood or Bollywood classics. It’s the world’s highest fountain show, so be amazed as the water jets out to a height of over 500 feet during the performance. And the best part is that it doesn’t cost a dime to watch it!
Go on a desert safari
Want to get away from all glitz and crowd of the city at least for a few hours? It’s possible and the best thing is that you don’t have to drive any far for this. Just take a desert safari which introduces you to the part of Dubai which is surprisingly protected from any kind of development. Surrounded by colossal sand dunes, it journeys you to the middle of the desert on a heart-racing 4X4 dune bash. For an absolute cultural experience, go on an evening desert safari complete with Bedouin-inspired activities (such as henna painting, Shisha smoking, falconry etc), BBQ buffet dining, and traditional shows (like belly dance and Tanura show.
Be awed by the Floral Wonders at Dubai Miracle Garden
There is no shortage of lush green parks in the city, but this one is truly special. It’s a real oasis of stunning floral selections in the middle of the world. Not to mention, it’s the world’s largest natural garden where millions of indigenous, rare and unique flowers occupy its 72,000-square-meter space. As a seasonal attraction open only during winter attraction, you can look forward to see its best version when it returns with refreshing ideas every year. So don’t miss this on your upcoming holiday even if you’ve already visited this garden.
Experience reasonable shopping
With more than 70 colossal malls scattered over the city, visitors to Dubai often overlook the traditional Arabian bazaars or souks, tucked away in the Old Dubai. From Textile Souk and Perfume Souk to Spice, they fascinatingly unfold before you a part of Dubai that is both authentic and unique. Apart from this, it’s very likely that you’ll find some real treasures at unbelievable low rates. Now if you don’t have time to visit all, be sure to visit at least Gold Souk where an entire bazaar overflows with shops selling jewellery made of gold and other precious metals.
Get active at parks and resorts
There is no better way to bask in theme park amusement and thrill than with a trip to Dubai Parks and Resorts. It’s the Middle East’s first integrated resort where you can stay in one of its three amazing hotels, enjoy complimentary access to its dedicated retail and dining section (Riverland Dubai), and mostly, discover its four distinct theme parks. Hollywood fanatics would be delighted to visit Motiongate Dubai with an array of rides and attractions themed around Hotel Transylvania, Kung Fu Panda, Ghostbusters, Shrek, Zombieland, and more. Its Bollywood inspired park and LEGOLAND Dubai plus LEGOLAND Water Park are equally worth a trip.
Enjoy a traditional dhow cruise
There is nothing quite like taking in the unrivaled skyline of Dubai from water on a dhow cruise. It sails you down the sophisticated Dubai Marina or the charming Dubai Creek aboard a traditional Arabian vessel. Relax in its antiquated settings, savour multi-course buffet dinner, and watch traditional entertainment. The cruise usually begins once the sun sets in and lasts for approximately two hours.
Where to stay
Dubai offers a plethora of options; from super high-end to more reasonably priced. When booking, be smart about the location and check if your preferred hotel offers transportation.
Dubai is the UAE’s most popular and distinct emirates and for all genuine reasons. It’s a land of wonderful juxtapositions; from the stylish urban landscapes and quaint historic quarters to franticly packed landmarks and untouched desert sands, you’ll find it all here. In fact, this beautiful Arabian city has plenty to offer in every category. So whether you’re here to go back in time or go ahead of time, a Dubai holiday will never let your imaginations down.
Have some more time and want to explore more of the UAE? Abu Dhabi is very close and is a bustling city with loads to do as well.
This guest post was written by Neha, a keen wanderer and a foodie. She believes music, long nature walks and making new friends is the best way to live life completely.
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I didn’t realise there was so much to see and do in Dubai. Thanks for sharing.
Many folks with you I suppose! Thank you 🙂
Very informative, Dubai has been on my top 10 list of cool places to travel so this was good to read, so many amazing activities and places to see
I have been to Dubai but I have not done half of these things. I guess this means I have to go back and do the things on this list. Thanks for sharing!
Same goes for us 😉
woow…thanks for this detailed guide for Dubai, saved it as my travel reference. cheers, siennylovesdrawing
This is pretty informative and interesting!
You did a great job with the details. It would be nice to go on a desert safari in Dubai and experience Henna painting firsthand.
your suggestions are very valid and I must agree. While Burj Khalifa is definitely something to marvel upon as you bought out but then parts of Old Dubai Al Fahidi Historical neighbourhood are very valid points to see.
I know Dubai only from stopovers on my way to Asia. I always thought it was a bit too artificial for me, but after your post, I seriously consider visiting 😀
Totally get that, I had the same 🙂
really amazed with this middle east nation,,,,the diversity of its people the opportunities for everyone,a must on my bucket list…love the places too with nice beach..
I’ve always thought Dubai was just skyscrapers and shopping. It’s great to see all the other options there. The cruise and desert safari sound like fun!
I still haven’t been to Dubai but would love to go on a desert safari! Great list you’ve put together here.
These suggestions look great. I would want to visit Dubai simply because it’s so different to anything that I have experienced before, and I can see that in your amazing photos!
I have a weird outlook on Dubai! It is not really a bucket list destination for me but the more I read about it, the more it may actually climbs up my list. I think the Burj Khalifa is definitely a highlight and I would love to see the water show for sure! But exploring the old town would be a really neat experience as well!
Dubai is already on my travel list because of the world expo 2021 ~ Thanks a lot for the tips and I can’t wait to visit there soon! – Knycx Journeying
Thank you for the great tips!
Dubai is definitely on my travel bucket list. This list you provided sounds like it could make for an amazing trip to have.
Thanks for sharing! Im planning a surprise visit for the BF when its safe again with covid 🙂
O yay, that’s an awesome surprise!