TOP 20 THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI
Whether you visit Dubai as a tourist for a short time or you are an expat who calls this fancy city the second home, the city has so much to offer to everyone. It’s sometimes difficult to choose in a limited time to include and exclude certain attractions.
While most people think Dubai is a luxurious city offering excellent infrastructure. It is not wrong that the city is indeed very fascinating and has everything grand. Dubai is the most sort after tourist destination today as there are more things to do than any other country. The city’s fan base is drastically growing and it is on most people’s travel bucket list and it’s easy to see why……
I have also mentioned the entree ticket prices for some attractions to check the exact amount please refer to XE Currency converter.
Here’s a list of my favorite 20 amazing things to do in the fast paced modern city. Lets have a look at top 20 things which should be on your Dubai itinerary
1. DESERT SAFARI
One of the best activities to do in Dubai is to go on a desert safari.
There are many different types of desert safari tours offered in Dubai. However a general desert safari is the one that includes 4×4 wheel drive to do dune bashing followed by a BBQ dinner and a belly dance (a show that happens only in Desert safari).
Dubai being a family friendly destination also provides an option where one can directly go for the desert camp for dinner and belly dancing show. This option is suitable for middle aged people or tourists with young children. Do check with the tour operator for booking a desert safari without dune bashing.
If you wish to book the desert safari yourself check groupon.ae for discounted vouchers. You need to pay online and have a printout for availing the discounted rates while visiting.
Desert safari is a great thing to experience in Dubai. It is definitely in my top recommendations. Don’t miss to try some hand on Photography as the desert sunset is so picturesque.
2. DUBAI MARINA DINNER CRUISE
Boat cruises are one of the must do things if you are a couple. One can spot amazing skyline of Dubai while walking in Dubai Marina. To have a beautiful city views in the night go on a Marina Cruise tour. If you love food with a view, boat cruises is your thing in Dubai. There is some live entertainment and buffet dinner on a boat. It is definitely an ideal way to spend a relaxing evening. Again you can avail discounts on the cruise through buying it online in advance.
3. DUBAI MARINA WALK
Dubai Marina is the most vibrant part of Dubai with all the cafes, beautiful skyscrapers and waterfront restaurants. In a good weather it is one of the best places for evening strolls. Some kid’s activities occasionally happen here to keep them busy. There are some fountains and Sheesha joints around this place if you wish to smoke. Overall it’s a good place to explore based on one’s liking.
One can reach Dubai Marina by Taxi, metro or tram. The stations are conveniently located around this area. One can also pre book the taxi through Dubaitaxi.ae
4. AT THE TOP OF BURJ KHALIFA
Another top thing to do in Dubai is to visit Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world. It is one of the most famous attractions in Dubai.
I recommend you try to book a slot around Dusk. Where you can have day time view and partial night view of Dubai (though such slots gets booked very quickly). Plan in some time to see the water show from above, it looks mesmerizing.One can refer to the official website of Burj Khalifa for booking tickets in advance.
It costs around AED 120 (around 32 $)
The entrance of this attraction is from Dubai Mall so you can club it with the visit to Dubai Mall.
Tip: The queue takes really long time to actually reach Burj Khalifa. Probably a VIP ticket is the better choice for the people who don’t mind spending.
5. SHOPPING AT DUBAI MALL
Dubai Mall is the biggest mall in the world. It feels more like a colony with sells everything one fancies to buy. A crazy place for shopaholics. Seriously, the mall is Huge with 3 floors and it would be easy to spend few days in Dubai Mall to see every store. From luxury fashion brands, kids outlets, beauty stores, supermarket to electronic showrooms there is everything you can ask from a shopping mall.
Also it has such a big food court with a variety of cuisine to choose from. Everything in Dubai mall is not for all pockets. With so many things it is great mall to do some window shopping. It has an aquarium, underwater zoo and a candy store which is so lovely to visit with kids.
The best attraction is a musical fountain show for the visitors without an entrance fee. It takes place every evening a few times. A must watch!
6. FAMILY FUN AT ZABEEL PARK
For those who think of Dubai is all sand and nothing green Zabeel Park proves them wrong. It offers great outdoors for a small entrance fee which is AED 5 (about 1.5 $). One can visit Zabeel Park and relax in the lush and green park with lovely views of Sheikh Zayed road’s skyline and Dubai Frame (located inside the park but can be visited through different entrance). Zabeel park does have around 6 entrance gates leading to different areas and attractions in the parks.
It’s a great attraction for kids as there are many play areas and slides all included in entrance fee. It also offers mobile charging stations to keep you connected while you chill in the beautiful park. (one needs to bring the cable to recharge their phone). Lots of families come here for picnics while bringing their food with them.
Here’s a link to local cuisine with prices that you can find around the city.
7. VISIT AL BASTAKIYA
Al Bastakiya is one of the oldest districts. Located at Dubai creek with passages through narrow streets representing architecture and heritage in the past. It shows you another side of Dubai – definitely a nice break from the modernity of Dubai Downtown – this is also a more off-the-beaten place in Dubai. It has so many traditional restaurants and Sheesha places which gets crowded by the evening.
8. THE GOLD AND SPICE SOUKS IN DEIRA
A must-see place in the United Arab Emirates are the souks in the old part of the city. Visiting the Gold and Spice Souk in Dubai should be on your list it is very close to Al Bastakiya. This part is different to the rest of Dubai and though it is very busy it has some traditional charm.
One can buy spices, dry fruits and dates here. Apart from spices and dry fruits you will also find traditional clothes for a cheaper price. Be ready to do some bargain with the venders – never accept any price immediately and if you are lucky you can expect 50% discounts as well. For women I suggest not to wear the most revealing clothes and dress modestly.
In this area there is gold souk with a lot of gold. If you like to buy gold check the gold rate online and do not forget to bargain on the making charges.
9. DO AN ABRA RIDE
Abra ride on Dubai Creek is a good way to see the modern and traditional side of Dubai. Abra station is close to the Gold and Spice Souk.
To get from the Spice Souk to Bur Dubai you only pay about AED 1 Dirham (.27$). If you are with a group and like to have the whole Abra for yourself you can get it for AED 20 (about 5$).
10. VISIT A MUSEUM IN DUBAI
Dubai Museum is one of the best ones to visit. It is near Al Bastakiya and very popular amongst UAE tourists. Apparently, Dubai is an ultra-modern city but if you visit one of the museums in Dubai you´ll learn more about Dubai’s culture in the past.
It might be quite busy during high season but it is still worth it. Entree fee is just about 1$ and for that you get a good glimpse of past in Dubai which is so different than what it is today.
11. LA MER
La Mer is one of the newest hots pots in Dubai located in Jumeirah. A classy development by Meraas offering beach facing multi cuisine restaurants to have a great evening in good weather.
One can spend a full day at the beach. Have an evening stroll at the beachfront or check out the street art. Chill at one of the very cool restaurants or cafes– La Mer is a beautiful place and should be on every Dubai.
There is no metro in this area but one can reach La Mer by buses, hotel shuttle (if you stay in one of the hotels nearby offering this service) or taxi.
12. RELAX AT JUMEIRAH BEACH
One of the most famous getaways for residents on weekends. Not all beaches are free open to public as most actually belong to luxury hotels. If you are a beach baby than you can chill for free at the Jumeirah Beach also known as kite beach and enjoy great views of Burj Al-Arab.
It has a nice cycling and walking track with some food joints around the beach serving local and international snacks.
How to reach Jumeirah Beach/ Kite beach?
Government and Hop on / hop off buses have a stop there. One can also use the taxi to get to the Jumeirah beach. If you like quieter areas with views of Burj al-Arab then this is your beach. The water is clean, it’s not very crowded, the view is amazing and the good news is it’s a free activity in Dubai.
13. BURJ AL-ARAB HOTEL
Being only 7* hotel in the world entry to Burj al-Arab isn’t easily accessible by tourists. There are certain ways if you wish to visit the attraction from inside.
One has to stay overnight in one of the rooms. You need a written booking reservation for one of their restaurants. It could be a reservation for breakfast, lunch, dinner or Hi Tea.
Having an afternoon tea at Burj Al-Arab is a good option and probably the cheapest way to get inside (reservation needed in advance). It is not a bargain but probably an amazing experience.
Click here to book your dining experience at Burj al Arab.
14. VISIT MIRACLE GARDEN
Miracle garden is one of the most beautiful gardens I have ever visited. It is so picturesque that one can have more than 10000 of pictures at Miracle Garden.
This is a piece of art that comes from more than 40,000 varieties of flowers. Though it is crowded in winter season as it opens for a limited time, it is worth a visit. Though there are food stalls inside serving some arabic food but do carry some snacks if you are visiting with kids. Entry ticket can be bought on the spot for about 15$.
There is no metro connectivity so take a bus/cab and plan at least few hours for this attraction. If you are visiting during Dubai shopping festival it is close to Global Village. It is an efficient way to see both places in one day ( only if you don’t mind walking that much).
15. VISIT GLOBAL VILLAGE
Global village is an international fair where different countries book their pavilions to sell their goods. Another popular sightseeing place in Dubai that happens for a limited time. so check out the Global Village and enjoy a ride in one of the 50 rides in the Fantasy Island theme park.
Entrée fee is AED 15 which is about 4$. Which gives you access to all pavilions and food court. Other theme park inside rides cost extra – a cool thing to do in Dubai with kids (or for the people young at heart).
The best way to reach here is by taking a bus or a Taxi. Timings are from 4:00 pm to midnight.
16. BOAT/ YACHT CRUISE – DUBAI MARINA AND BURJ AL-ARAB
Boat cruises are one of my favorite activities in Dubai. With all the stunning buildings in Dubai boat cruises are pretty amazing – and there is something for every taste. Whether you like to book a yacht, have dinner on board, or just sailing along Burj al-Arab, I am sure you will find the perfect cruise for yourself.
17. SPEND A DAY AT IMG WORLDS OF ADVENTURE
Dubai has many theme parks and it likes to go grand when doing things like this. The IMG Worlds of Adventure is a fun place for kids and adults. It has most rides rides based on your favorite characters from cartoon network.
I am sure your kids will really enjoy visiting here. Plan a full day for this giant theme park that offers a lot of rides including thrilling roller coaster rides. The best thing is it’s indoors so it is a good option besides malls if you are visiting with family in summer season.
18. DO A HOT-AIR BALLOON RIDE
Another top tourist attraction in Dubai is hot air balloon ride. One need to get up by 4:00 am in the morning to do this. You are normally being picked up from the hotel – and it is worth to wake up early to have such a unique experience. Do a hot-air balloon ride in Dubai´s desert and enjoy watching the sunrise from above. Definitely a fun activity to add to your Dubai itinerary.
19. ENJOY A WEEKEND BRUNCH
Dubai is known for awesome brunches, so experience an infamous Friday or a Saturday Brunch in one of hotels or restaurants in Dubai. I tried out the Friday brunch at the fancy Hilton in JBR and was great. There are other options available for brunches in Dubai from AED 100 per person. One can find some deals for brunches on groupon.ae
It is probably not advisable to look forward to it if you travel to Dubai during Ramadan (the Muslim month of fasting). As most of the restaurants are closed for dine in during the day and open only in the evening this month.
20. VISIT A WATER PARK
I love water parks and Dubai has some amazing ones. My favorites are Wild wadi ( next to Burj Al Arab) and the Aqua venture Water park (located in Atlantis). we enjoyed both the days at the water park as a family– though, I felt they were very crowded and surely overpriced.
It is easy to spend a full day at one of the biggest and safest water parks, with all the different slides, kid friendly pools, and cafes at the water park.
If you visit as a family, I think about $ 50-70 for a day at the water park is a kind of a rip-off. Make note that if its busy you have to pay extra for cabanas and lockers etc.
Tip: If you book your stay in one of the above-mentioned hotels, you will have free access to the water parks.
If you are looking for a more affordable water park, then check out Laguna Water park at La Mer. It is located in my new favorite area and it is about half the prices of the other two water parks. Not a bad option at all for families with young kids. Get the price for the Laguna Waterpark at La Mer.
Hope you enjoyed reading my blog the same way i enjoyed writing it for you. Do share your feedback and suggestions if you want me to write more about Dubai.