Do you want to know what are the best things to do in Dubai? Here are the various Dubai attractions and places to visit for a great cosmopolitan city tour.
Dubai – The most modern and progressive emirate in the UAE. Dubai is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is located along the eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, at the southwest corner of the Arabian Gulf.
It is the second largest by area, coming second only to Abu Dhabi. With the continuous superb infrastructures and attractions, you will never run out of places to visit in Dubai.
- What to do in Dubai?
- Some frequently asked questions when visiting Dubai.
Here are my recommended best things to do in Dubai for the first-time visitor
- 1. Burj Khalifa
- 2. Burj Al Arab
- 3. Dubai Museum
- 4. Dubai Frame
- 5. Dubai Parks & Resorts
- 6. IMG World of Adventure
- 7. Global Village
- 8. Souk Madinat
- 9. XVA Gallery
- 10. Atlantis/ Aquaventure
- 11. Hatta Wadi Hub
- 12. Al Seef
- 13. Dubai Opera
- 14. Mall of the Emirates
- 15. The Farm
- 16. Dubai Mall
- 17. Dubai Miracle Garden
- 18. La Perle
- 19. La Mer Beach
- 20. Dubai Garden Glow
- Suggested Dubai Tours and Sightseeing
What to do in Dubai?
Well, to be honest, there are always exciting things to do in Dubai. Whether you are a backpacker, newlywed, with kids or a group of friends, Dubai city is the city that makes you wonder more. The places to visit in Dubai is as vast as its golden dunes- endless.
Some frequently asked questions when visiting Dubai.
- Can you drink alcohol in Dubai?
Yes! As a visitor. You can drink alcohol in designated licensed areas only. Public places even beaches, alcohol is strictly prohibited. Dubai is a city of tolerance but public drunkenness or driving under the influence of alcohol is a big na-ah!
- Is Dubai safe for Women?
Generally speaking, Yes! Dubai is one of the safest places to visit in the world, with a 24/7 police patrolling in every street, worry-free from crimes you may think of. Female travellers are advised to stay in a group or pairs when the night falls, for personal safety as well.
- Can you hold hands in public in Dubai?
Holding hands while walking? Well-tolerated for married couple only. Public display of affection such as kissing and hugging are highly not acceptable. Once caught and discovered you are not married legal action may take place. Be cautious.
- What are the suitable clothes to wear in Dubai as a woman?
Dubai is considered a fashionable, upbeat cosmopolitan city. Some locals of Dubai uses abaya (black robe for women) and kandora (white robe for men) with pride and honour (that is how patriotic they are!). Women, specifically, should avoid using garments exposing too much skin (booty shorts, plunging necklines, micro-mini skirts, transparent leggings and sheer tops where lingerie is all visible).
You can still use your bikinis in beaches (only there or hotel pools). Some places to visit in Dubai have dress codes, covering knees and shoulders, so make sure you abide to avoid legal actions from the authorities. When dressing in Dubai, dress appropriately in a way you are not offending the local culture, make an effort to dress to blend in. My million dollar tip when travelling in Dubai — have a roll of thin dark coloured maxi scarf on your bag, as you can use it on any occasion, in any place and in any style.
Read More: How to Get Dubai Tourist Visa for Filipinos
Here are my recommended best things to do in Dubai for the first-time visitor
1. Burj Khalifa
Standing tall at 828 metres, tallest man-made structure in the world. This is one of the most visited attractions in Dubai. This highly-known tower is one of the most prominent attractions in all of the Middle-East.
It is called the Jewel of Dubai, it displays exceptional work of art. Critiques around the globe believe that Burj Khalifa is the perfect blend of different aesthetic senses from different cultures and races. Inside this famous tower, the second highest outdoor observation deck in the world- At The Top. This is one of the best ways to begin your Dubai sightseeing.
2. Burj Al Arab
Burj Al Arab is one of the best places in Dubai, that caters those who love living life large. This 7-star hotel is an architectural and engineering marvel and is unmatched by any other building in the world.
Burj Al Arab is the most luxurious and stylish hotel in Dubai, located on the coast of the vivacious Persian Gulf. There are several ranges of rooms you can choose from or you could avail a day tour wherein you can explore the bars and restaurants in this world-famous hotel. Would you be surprised to know that your cappuccino will be served with gold dust?
3. Dubai Museum
Dubai Museum is the main museum in Dubai it is located at Al Fahidi Fort, built in 1787. It displays the historical story of life before oil was discovered in the Emirates. It is known to be the oldest existing building in Dubai.
There are a number of galleries which portray the rich culture of the land. Many ancient instruments, wardrobes and handcrafted weapons are displayed in glass cases. This museum is one of the popular attraction in Dubai. A look inside the museum and it will take you back in time to a more vintage Dubai with artefacts on display.
4. Dubai Frame
“The biggest picture frame on the planet” – according to The Guardian Newspaper. The frame stands at 150 m and 93 m wide. This Dubai tourist attraction has a state-of-the-art clear glass bridge, connecting the two parallel vertical towers.
The Dubai Frame has a unique concept to its structure, Dubai’s historic district can be seen to the north while the south provides breathtaking vistas of the city’s modern skyline. Viewing the old/new Dubai, crossing a 150m visible drop, glass bridge is one of the best part of your Dubai tour. Fear nothing! As the clear glass is completely crack-proof!
5. Dubai Parks & Resorts
Looking for activities in Dubai, for the whole family? Check out the biggest theme park in the Middle East, Dubai Parks and Resorts. Motiongate Dubai (this park is inspired by Hollywood), Legoland Dubai, Legoland Waterpark Dubai (another incredible water park in Dubai, with different kinds of slides to enjoy), Riverland Dubai (the retail and dining spot of the whole park) and Bollywood Parks Dubai (the first ever theme park in the world dedicated to Bollywood).
Is it worth going to four different attractions in one massive area? Perfectly yes! great for adults and kids alike! It really provides world-class entertainment.
Dubai Parks and Resorts is a great place, there’s something to keep everyone happy. It is the largest theme park complex in the Middle East. The theme parks are Motiongate Dubai, LEGOLAND Dubai which is LEGO and Bollywood Parks Dubai which is the first theme park in the world dedicated to Bollywood. LEGOLAND Waterpark is the most incredible waterpark for younger children with 20 slides.
6. IMG World of Adventure
If you are a fan of the indoor amusement park, IMG World Adventure is a fun thing to do in Dubai with kids and kids at heart! With its four epic adventure zone in one location this theme park host global brands like Cartoon Network and Marvel Super Heroes. It has the capacity to welcome more than 20,000 guests a day.
The ideal place to open your creative energy and have a ton of fun more than ever. Make sure that this is in your must do in Dubai- visiting the IMG world of Adventure, the world’s ideal and biggest indoor amusement park.
7. Global Village
Another interesting place which is a must visit in Dubai is the Dubai Global Village. Dubai’s leading family entertainment and cultural attraction that offers a unique shopping experience through its 30+ pavilions, each representing a different country across the globe.
It offers various dining options, entertainment, shopping, and thrilling rides for children at Fantasy Island. It is the district’s first social, amusement, family and shopping goal. There are numerous items accessible in Global Village. African products, Middle-Eastern handicrafts, Oriental foods and a lot more! Visitors will have every minute packed with entertainment, astounding stunts and cultural shows around the globe.
8. Souk Madinat
For your Dubai vacation, there will be a lot of places that you would want to visit but you should not miss Souk Madinat. This place joins traditional Middle Eastern shopping society of stands, barrows with a blend of boutique brands this will definitely blow your mind away.
It furnishes vacationers with different amazing activities, from show-stopping exhibitions at the Madinat Theater, to Abra Tours (water taxi) of the staggering water waterways and energising nightlife. With Souk Madinat’s winding alleyways, quaint boutiques and a view out of the ever majestic Burj Al Arab, it is perfect for a weekend visit in Dubai.
9. XVA Gallery
XVA- one of the leading galleries in the Middle East that specializes in contemporary art from the Arab world, Iran and the Subcontinent. XVA is a combination of an art hotel, art gallery and vegetarian restaurant. It’s located in Al Bastakiya which is part of the Al Fahidi community.
This is one of the best places to visit in Dubai if you want to see the other phase of Dubai beyond the skyscrapers and modern landscapes. Looking for a place that showcases the history of Dubai? How about booking a room here, to see and experience waking up in Old Dubai?
10. Atlantis/ Aquaventure
Your Dubai tour will be 101% complete once you have paid a visit to this hotel and explored the various luxuries over-flowing here. There are chances of you bumping into Hollywood stars, as this hotel is a favourite among the A-listers.
A lot of multi-cuisine restaurants serves traditional Arabic, continental and international cuisine. Another attraction is the Aquaventure, this Dubai water park open up a number of adventurous rides in water along with dolphin bays and diving spots. The near-vertical 27m drop water slide (Leap of Faith- three times the size of London bus.) is a must-try!
11. Hatta Wadi Hub
One of the famous sights in Dubai is now making the adventurous ones go gaga, Hatta Wadi Hub. You can rent mountain bikes to roam around, go rolling with giant orbs (Hatta Zorbing) or take a spot, pitch a tent at the spacious Hatta Caravan Park. You can also experience Asia’s first water jump park, Hatta Drop-in. Visit Dubai any time of the year and you won’t run out of outdoor activities.
Just an hour and a half drive from the mainland and you will enjoy the summer escape of UAE residents. Grab your tents and be ready for an awesome adventure.
This famous sight in Dubai, Hatta Wadi Hub, makes adventurous types go gaga. You can rent mountain bikes, go-karting, roam around the playground or roll in humongous orbs at Hatta Zorbing. It’s also home to Hatta Drop-in, which they call “Asia’s first water jump park”, with crazy slides, doughnuts and a lot more. The spacious area will let you pitch a tent at Hatta Campsite or take a spot at Hatta Caravan Park.
Only a 90 minute drive away from mainland Dubai, Hatta was traditionally the cooler summer escape for UAE dwellers. Now, you can visit all year round.
12. Al Seef
Al Seef area offers life elements of the old Dubai, rooted in their local culture and heritage, joined with the vibrancy of modern cafes and restaurants. This Dubai tourist attraction gains more and more visitors each month. Walking down Al Seef, one can retrace the steps of the fishermen, pearl-divers, weavers and tradesmen who once came to trade, as visitors wander through the sikkas and pedestrian streets.
You and your family can enjoy the modernity of this place while recalling the memories on how Dubai City progressed throughout the years, and the best time to visit is during the night.
13. Dubai Opera
Dubai Opera is located just across the world’s famous Dubai Fountain. It is the central area of the cultural scenario of Dubai City. The architectural design resembles a dhow, a traditional sailing vessel, popular during the early age of Dubai.
This Dubai tourist attraction can be converted to multiple platforms (traditional theatre, concert hall, exhibition hall and banquet space). 2000 people can seat and enjoy a full scope of live entertainment, performed by world-class artists from all over the globe.
Dubai trip is absolutely incomplete without visiting the Dubai Opera, which is considered one of the best place to visit in Dubai.
Situated in Downtown Dubai, Dubai Opera is the excellent focus of the cultural scenario of Dubai City. The architecture of the Dubai Opera sits gracefully close by the delightful Dubai Fountain ready to take off into a musical extravaganza. Around 2000 people can be seated at a time inside the opera house and enjoy the program of a full scope of live excitement. The Dubai Opera is a global destination for top quality productions and best performers from all over the world.
Your Dubai trip will be incomplete without visiting Dubai Opera which is another best place to visit in Dubai.
14. Mall of the Emirates
Mall of the Emirates is one of the most popular places to visit in Dubai. The second largest shopping centre in Dubai after The Dubai Mall. Considered as the world’s first resort shopping mall.
With 500+ high-end brands, a dozen theatre house, five-star hotels (Kempinski & Sheraton Hotel) and an indoor ski (Ski Dubai), and that definitely will take your breath away. This multi-level shopping mall is home of the famous indoor ski (Ski Dubai) of the world. Are you in need of retail therapy? Mall of the Emirates is the best place to treat yourself (while touring the Dubai city.
15. The Farm
A botanical haven in the sandbox? Sounds ridiculous right? But this is Dubai, things here are undebatable! The restaurant’s atmosphere busy but relaxing.
Tourists and residents come to visit here when they want to see greenery. Chefs are well-experienced from major five star hotels in the U.A.E. and abroad. The Farm allows you to escape the busy city life and trade the concrete jungle for a truly magnificent tropical oasis.
If you are going during winter (best time to visit Dubai), then make a reservation around 4 pm (Dubai time) so you can catch the views before and after sunset.
16. Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall, the world’s largest and most-visited retail and entertainment destination. Home of the famous indoor Dubai Aquarium, Underwater Zoo featuring thousands of aquatic animals and a 270-degree walk-through tunnel and the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink.
The Dubai Fountain is known as a popular attraction in Dubai. There are more than 1200 shops, 2 dozen of cinemas with 10 cafes/ restaurants. The intricate interior design portrays the splendid lifestyle of Dubai. Dubai has managed to change the way the world shops.
It is not just only a mall. It is considered a glorious flag bearer of glamour.
17. Dubai Miracle Garden
Lush gardens are a treat to your senses leaving you a pleasant feeling. Paying a visit to the Dubai Miracle garden should be on the top priority of your “Dubai sightseeing list”.
The flowers used here are maintained by the re-use of wastewater irrigated through drip irrigation method and these flowers take 757,082 litres of water every day. This Dubai attraction is the worlds’ largest natural flower garden and what makes it more miraculous is that it happens to be located in the city of deserts. A visit to this garden can do miracles to your mood!
18. La Perle
Watching at La Perle Dubai (a permanent live theatre), is another fun thing to do in Dubai. Situated in the heart of Al Habtoor City, home of luxurious hotels and restaurants. The theatre has a state of the art technology, producing indoor waterfalls and rains that can drain less than a minute.
More than 60 world-class entertainers from 20 country performing mind-blowing acts. Shows run twice a day, five days a week, so you won’t be missing at all. The only live theatre in Dubai that you’re free to take photos and videos during the show (just don’t use flash).
This theatre has state-of-the-art technology that produces waterfalls, torrents and rain on a floor that floods and drains within seconds. Expect to see 65 world-class performers from 20+ countries performing breathtaking and extraordinary acts including acrobatics, contortion, flying, diving and even motorcycles defying gravity.
19. La Mer Beach
“La Mer” (English: “The Sea”), This beach waterfront is formerly known as the Jumeirah Public Beach. La Mer Dubai spans over 1.24 million square meters of space.
The local and abroad visitor has been steadily increasing each month since it’s opening (2017), and hundreds of restaurants, cafés and shops, plus a cinema and a waterpark are being built. This new Dubai beach district is a fine addition to the city’s urban stuff, the inspirational destination features wide open spaces with palm tree-lined pathways, art murals and laidback charm.
Dubai’s newest waterpark has a massive surf experience ride and some seriously awesome slides.
20. Dubai Garden Glow
The Dubai Garden Glow features some of the most enchanting light sculptures in the world. This famous sight in Dubai is the most visited park of all ages. Younger children have a dedicated area where they can play and learn, and there are also games and fun activities available to keep them engaged.
The aim of the Dubai Garden Glow project is to educate visitors about global warming by using recyclables so that future generations will still be able to enjoy nature. The design has been specifically created to draw attention to global sustainability and recycling and adds to Dubai’s booming tourism sector.
Suggested Dubai Tours and Sightseeing
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Everything ZanyDual Citizen Travel Blog
Everything Zany is a Dual Citizen Travel blog: where East meets West, showing the best of both worlds. Our travel media brand is founded by travel and hotel industry expert – Ryazan Tristram, a Dual Citizen (British – Filipina) based in Worcestershire, UK. Everything Zany is a reputable and award-winning travel blog. Our work and contributions have been featured in Huffington Post, CNBC, Discovery Channel, GMA, Readers Digest, and Lonely Planet. Our missions are to build a great travel community and resource of travel tips, visa and travel guides for travellers. Join us as we travel around the globe with a mission to share the best of the world.