16 best things to do in Dubai

Located in the middle of the desert, Dubai has a lot to offer its visitors: Culture, beach, desert, shopping, luxury, gastronomy and adventure. Want to get a taste of what to expect on your trip?

16 best things to do in dubai

Skyline of Dubai| ©Nathan John

From the tops of the skyscrapers you can get a glimpse of the future, but you can also travel back in time in the markets and squares and explore the desert. To make sure you don’t miss anything, here is a list of must-see attractions on your trip to Dubai:

1. Climb to the top of the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa disappears into the blue sky| ©Travel Sourced

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest skyscraper in the world, and climbing to its observation deck is an experience that lets you see the luxury of Dubai from above, as well as a water and light show at the base of the building and amazing views of the desert that stretches behind the city.

To climb the Burj Khalifa, I recommend you buy your Burj Khalifa tickets online in advance and choose the option you like best to see the inside of the Burj Khalifa because there are two observation decks and several options depending on whether you want a general tour, a luxury experience, or a night climb of the Burj Khalifa.

Here is some information about the entrance fees to the Burj Khalifa observatories and about how to reach the Burj Khalifa from different parts of the city, the latter being easy as this imposing building does not go unnoticed.

2. Discover Dubai and its contrasts on a guided tour

Tradition and modernity in Dubai| ©Fredrik ohlander

Dubai is one of those cities that is best discovered in the company of a local guide who will tell you all the secrets of the streets, mosques and souks. In a city with so many contrasts, it’s easy to get lost with so many sights to see. That’s why I recommend you to check out the best tours and excursions from Dubai and choose a tour that will definitely change your Dubai experience.

3. Visit the majestic Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Mosque| ©Mohammed Bukar

It’s hard to describe how impressive the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is, which you can visit on a day trip from Dubai. It is one of the most beautiful mosques in Dubai and one of the largest in the world. It is impressive both inside and outside and contains designs and decorations from different Islamic cultures.

To visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, it is best to book an organized tour from Dubai, because then not only will you not have to worry about how to get there and how to get inside, but you will also enjoy a guided tour by an expert guide who will explain the historical context of the site and help you understand the rules you need to follow during your visit.

4. Have fun at Ferrari World

Aerial view of Ferrari World| ©Aziz J.Hayat

If you were wondering before your trip which city is better, Dubai or Abu Dhabi, I clearly advise you to visit the latter from the former as part of an organized tour or on your own. And if you’re in Abu Dhabi, you can visit the only amusement park dedicated to the Ferrari team. Ferrari World is within easy reach of Dubai. There you’ll find roller coasters, car races, shuttles and virtual reality experiences inspired by the iconic Ferrari cars for your enjoyment. You can visit the park from Dubai with this tour to Abu Dhabi and Ferrari World.

5. Lose yourself in the old streets of the Deira neighborhood

In Deira, one of the most famous neighborhoods of Dubai, you will find the old town and you can stroll through the gold souk and the spice souk and immerse yourself in the true essence of Dubai. Other activities in Deira include a visit to Al Mamzar Beach and relaxing in the countryside.

6. Experience the old Dubai with a tour of Al Fahidi

Al Fahidi| ©Francisco Anzola

Today’s Al Fahidi neighborhood is a reconstruction of a traditional Dubai neighborhood, where you can see how life was in 19th century Dubai. Walking through the streets you will see wind towers and public buildings, many of which have retained their traditional infrastructure.

In addition to the Sheikh Mohammed Cultural Centre, where you can learn more about the historical context that will enrich your visit, you can visit the Mint Museum, the House of Calligraphy and the City Hall, places where you can immerse yourself in Arab history and culture and Dubai’s past.

7. Visit the Jumeirah Mosque

Jumeirah Mosque| ©PhareannaH[berhabuk]

AVisit to the Jumeirah Mosque is possible as it is one of the few mosques in Dubai that allows non-Muslim visitors, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Its beautiful white facade (which you’ll recognize if you’ve seen a 500 dirham bill) is as impressive as its interior, and its architecture pays homage to the medieval Fatimid era.

Inside you can admire the elegant blue and yellow furnishings and be inspired by the prayer and meditation places.

8. Experience a sunset in the desert

Sunset in the Dubai desert| ©Kent Tupas

A must-do on your trip to Dubai is a trip to the Dubai desert. Desert tours come in all price ranges, and you can participate in all kinds of activities, e.g. Camel trekking, sandboarding (like snowboarding but on sand), dune bashing, which involves sliding down dunes in a four-wheel drive vehicle, quad biking, buggy tours, falconry shows, and traditional dining at an open-air dinner under the desert’s stars followed by sleeping in the Dubai desert. Here are some tips for visiting the Dubai desert to make your experience perfect, no matter what you decide to do.

9. Sailing Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina| ©Enrico Strocchi

Seeing the Dubai skyline at night while crossing the city’s main canal is an impressive sight. This is one of the activities I highly recommend if you are traveling to Dubai as a couple. The . link|text=Dubai Marina Boat Tours|element=element=Dubai Marina Boat Tours
Dubai Marina|element=sc-132-934. usually last about two hours and are a great way to experience this part of the city in a different way. There is much more to do in Dubai Marina, and I highly recommend exploring the area.

10. See the sights from the comfort of a sightseeing bus

Dubai Sightseeing Bus| ©Alan & Flora Botting

Dubai is one of the cities for which it is definitely worth buying a ticket for a hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus, as walking around the city can be exhausting most of the year due to the heat. That’s why I recommend hopping on a sightseeing bus and exploring all of Dubai from the comfort of your seat (and in the coolness of the air conditioning).

11. Shopping in the Dubai Mall

Dubai Shopping Mall| ©mostafa meraji

It wouldn’t be a trip to Dubai without a morning or afternoon dedicated to shopping. In Dubai, luxury and opulence are two constants, and this is reflected in the shopping malls where you will find almost every brand you can imagine.

Since you will most likely pass by the Dubai Mall, one of the most famous shopping centers in the city, you can buy souvenirs there or indulge yourself in one of the numerous stores. There are also a number of restaurants that offer all kinds of gastronomic delights.

12. Discover the underwater world of Atlantis Aquaventure

Atlantis Aquaventure Dubai| ©Jeremy Thompson

The Atlantis Hotel in Dubai is one of the most famous hotels in the city for its leisure facilities, which include a water park, a dolphin and marine animal zoo, and a reconstruction of the seabed for a scuba diving experience.

Atlantis Aquaventure is one of the places where you can spend the day with the kids without running out of fun. I highly recommend a visit if you are traveling to Dubai with your family.

13. Build your own adventure at Legoland Dubai

Legoland Dubai| ©Jeremy Thompson

Whether with the family or to relive the beautiful moments of childhood, Legoland Dubai brings the iconic bricks to life, as the entire park is built with Lego bricks (almost 60 million Legos) to create six worlds where you can lose yourself and let your imagination run wild.

14. Culture at the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi| ©Matthias Ripp

A trip to Abu Dhabi is the most convenient way to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, and if you choose to visit the Louvre Museum, an extension of the Louvre Museum in Paris dedicated to Middle Eastern art, but whose collection also houses some key works of painting from the rest of the world, with paintings by Vermeer, Leonardo Da Vinci and Van Gogh. I think part of the interest of this visit is the architecture of the museum itself, housed in a Jean Nouvel building that is a symbiosis between the Western and Eastern worlds.

15. Test yourself at Skydive Dubai

If you’ve ever wanted to experience a free fall at 200 kilometers per hour, Dubai is the best place to do it: the view you’ll have during the fall is spectacular (if your adrenaline level allows it, of course). For this unique experience, Skydive Dubai is the most popular company among tourists and locals alike. Of course, this experience isn’t for everyone’s budget, but it’s sure to be one you’ll remember forever.

16. Enjoy brunch at the Jumeirah Al Qasr Hotel

Detail of Spanish cheese tasting at brunch at Jumeirah Al Qasr Hotel| ©Krista

Dubai is a very modern city, and its bars and cafes have made brunch an institution. The best, according to critics, is served at the Jumeirah Al Qasr Hotel, both for the quality of the tasting and for the opulent and luxurious ambience in which you can enjoy a huge brunch – over 300 dishes from up to thirty-five different cuisines to choose from. Of course, during your visit you have to try some of the best restaurants in Dubai to get to know the gastronomy of the country.

When to travel to Dubai?

Before your trip, you’re probably wondering what to pack, what to wear in Dubai, how to get around the city, how much budget you need for your trip, and most importantly, when is the ideal time to visit Dubai. The city can be explored at any time, being a major capital city there is plenty to do all year round. Here is a list of things you should not miss depending on the month you visit:

Another thing you might find useful during your trip is to have an itinerary tailored to the number of days you will spend in the city:

After these tips for visiting Dubai, all you have to do is book your transfer from the airport to the city center and enjoy everything the city has to offer once you arrive. I assure you, there is a lot to see and do.

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