Dubai isn’t like other world cities. Hardly a century old, it’s a dizzying mix of ancient traditions and futuristic architecture set against the ever-present desert backdrop. You’ll find city-sized malls next to traditional spice markets. And that’s without mentioning the world’s biggest:
- Dive pool
- Shopping mall
- Picture frame
- Observation wheel
Whether it’s the blistering desert or the towering skyline, Dubai doesn’t do subtle. But, as one of the world’s best tourist cities, there’s an endless choice of activities. Here are the top twenty:
- Dubai Desert Safari
- Burj Khalifa
- Dubai Miracle Garden
- Sandboarding in Dubai
- Al Fahidi Historic District
- Falcon Show in Dubai
- Golden Souq
- IMG Worlds of Adventure
- Etihad Museum
- Buggy Ride
- White Dubai
- Palm Jumeirah
- Dubai Creek
- Dubai Butterfly Garden
- Museum of Illusions
- Dubai Fountain
- Global Village
- Kite Beach
- Spice Souk
- Dubai Frame
Nowhere is more unforgettable than the vast deserts that surround Dubai. Numerous tour companies operate trips into the desert, running activities, including camel rides, starlit meals, and traditional Bedouin entertainment.
Learn more about Dubai’s desert safaris at Go Trips DXB.
No trip to Dubai is complete without visiting the world’s tallest building. Standing at a colossal 828m, it’s a mesmerizing feat of architecture and engineering visible from almost everywhere in the city. You can take a trip up to the observation deck on the 124th floor and see for miles in every direction. There’s also the “At the Top Sky” on the 148th floor – the world’s highest outdoor observation deck.
You don’t usually expect 100 million flowers in a desert. But then, this is Dubai. The Dubai Miracle Garden is like a scene from a children’s story. Covering 200 sq meters, you’ll find clocks, castles, and houses ornately decorated in stunning floral displays.
Think snowboarding without the snow. Usually offered as part of a desert safari, sandboarding in Dubai involves surfing down the majestic dunes that meander through the desert. It’s simple to try – whether you’re a beginner or a pro. And there’s little risk of injury to newcomers.
Try a slice of traditional Arabic culture among the courtyard buildings and cool streets of the Al Fahidi Historic District. It preserves Old Dubai’s architectural styles and feel as it existed from the mid-19th century until the 1970s.
Look out for the arabesque windows, wind towers, and decorative gypsum screens.
Falconry is an old part of Emirati culture. These birds of prey are revered for their hunting prowess and grace, helping falconers find food in the harsh desert. Today, you can see a spectacular show discovering the grace, beauty, and strength of one of nature’s marvels. Try a falcon show in Dubai – included as part of a Dubai desert safari.
Consisting of over 380 retailers, the golden souq is a warren of gold and jewelry traders located in the Deira district. Have fun bartering for a piece of bling. Or just enjoy a stroll through this scene straight out of Arabian Nights.
Going to a theme park anywhere else means standing out in the sun. Not in Dubai – you’ll find an entire theme park under a single roof. Inside a hanger the size of 28 football fields, there are five “Epic Zones,” including Marvel, Cartoon Network, IMG Boulevard, the Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure, and Novo Cinema.
Discover the history of Dubai’s meteoric rise, from the early discovery of oil, the British withdrawal, and the remarkable progress of the past 50 years. The museum includes photographs, artifacts, and interactive displays as you journey through the decades.
Bouncing over dunes is the ultimate thrill-seekers’ day out as you turn the desert into your personal playground. There’s nothing quite like blazing at rail through the sand in one long, action-packed joy drive. Like other desert adventures, the dune buggy ride is commonly included as part of a desert safari.
Dubai’s eclectic nightlife features everything from serene beach lounges to energetic karaoke bars. However, White Dubai is the prime nocturnal attraction. Located atop the Meydan Racecourse’s grandstand, this mega-venue dazzles visitors with cutting-edge light and sound displays, ensuring a night to remember.
Palm Jumeirah, a magnificent manmade island, stands as a testament to human creativity. This architectural marvel houses some of the finest hotels, including the Waldorf Astoria and Atlantis. The island’s efficient monorail system, linked to the mainland’s tram, makes it easily accessible for tourists and locals alike.
Not everything in Dubai is ultra-modern. Located in the heart of the city, Dubai Creek is a remnant of the recent past. It’s the site where the Bani Yas tribe first established a settlement, and just on shore are the labyrinthine alleyways of the gold, textile, and spice souks.
Adjacent to the iconic Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall is not just a shopping destination but an experience in itself. With a vast expanse covering over 1 million sq meters, it boasts 1,200 retail outlets and 150 gourmet restaurants. Beyond shopping, its excess of attractions ensures visitors are constantly entertained.
Museum of Illusions
Situated in the scenic Al Seef district, the Museum of Illusions, founded in 2018, rapidly became a family favorite. Its collection of over 150 intriguing illusions offers both kids and adults a delightful experience. Whether seeking quirky photographs or engaging exhibits, this museum is a must-visit. Just stick to weekdays for a less busy experience.
Forget the world’s tallest building – this is the spectacular largest fountain. Set against the majestic Burj Khalifa and spanning a vast lake, the fountain dances to rousing rhythms of classical, Arabic, and world music. For the best views, visitors can choose from locations like the 272-m floating boardwalk or the fabulous restaurants at Souk Al Bahar.
Did you know that 85% of Dubai’s population are expatriates? You can explore these cultures at the Global Village, which combines the cultures of 90 countries around the world. Explore the food, shopping, and customs of Oman, Korea, Russia, and India all under one roof.
Kite Beach, off Jumeirah Road, is a pristine stretch of white sands and fun activities like kitesurfing and beach volleyball. You’ll find plenty of amenities, like showers, Wi-Fi, and numerous food options, as well as an unparalleled view of the Burj Al Arab.
Close to Deira’s old station, the Spice Souk is filled with chatter and the pungent scent of hundreds of spices. You’ll see vendors selling stuff like cardamom and saffron out of burlap sacks. But there are also incense burners, henna kits, and other goodies that make perfect souvenirs.
The 150m-tall Dubai Frame, inaugurated in 2018, stands in Zabeel Park, bridging historic and contemporary Dubai. Its base galleries tell the story of Dubai’s evolution, while the rooftop offers panoramic city views. It also includes an exhibition envisioning how Dubai’s landscape will evolve over the next half-century.