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16 Best Things To Do in Dubai

Built in the middle of the desert, Dubai has a lot to offer its visitors: culture, beach, desert, shopping, luxury, gastronomy and adventure. Want a taste of what awaits you on your trip? Read on!

Ana C.R.

Ana C.R.

9 min read

16 Best Things To Do in Dubai

Dubai Skyline | ©Nathan John

Dubai offers a glimpse of the future from the top of its skyscrapers, but you can also travel back in time through its markets and squares and explore the desert. To make sure you don't miss a thing, here's a list of the must-sees on your trip to Dubai:

1. Climb to the top of the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa disappearing into the blue sky.| ©Travel Sourced
The Burj Khalifa disappearing 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 will allow you to see the luxury of Dubai from above, plus a water and light show at the foot of the building and wonderful aerial views of the desert stretching beyond the city.

To climb the Burj Khalifa, my recommendation is to buy your tickets for the Burj Khalifa online in advance and choose the option you like best to see the Burj Khalifa inside, as it has two viewing platforms and several options depending on whether you want to make a general visit, a luxury experience or want to climb the Burj Khalifa at night.

I leave you with information on ticket prices for the Burj Khalifa observatories and how to get to the Burj Khalifa from different parts of the city, although the latter will be easy as this imposing building does not go unnoticed.

Buy tickets to the Burj Khalifa

2. Discover Dubai and its contrasts on a guided tour

Tradition and modernity in Dubai| ©Fredrik Öhlander
Tradition and modernity in Dubai| ©Fredrik Öhlander

Dubai is one of those cities that is best discovered in the company of a local guide who will reveal all the secrets of its streets, mosques and souks. Being a city with so many contrasts, it is easy to get lost among so many attractions for the eye, so I recommend you to read about the best tours and excursions from Dubai and choose a tour that will certainly change the way you experience Dubai.

Book a guided tour of Dubai

3. Take an excursion to the majestic Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Mosque| ©Mohammed Bukar
Sheikh Zayed Mosque| ©Mohammed Bukar

It is hard to explain how impressive the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is, which you can visit on a day trip from Dubai. It is one of the best mosques in Abu Dhabi, one of the largest in the world and is imposing both inside and out, incorporating designs and decorations from different Islamic cultures.

To visit the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, it is best to hire an organized tour from Dubai because, in addition to not having to worry about how to get there and how to enter, you will enjoy a narration by an expert guide who will give you the historical context of the place and help you understand the rules that you must respect throughout your visit. If you want to know other mosques in Dubai visit our post on 10 Best mosques in Dubai.

Book a tour to Sheikh Zayed Mosque

4. Have a great time at Ferrari World

Aerial view of Ferrari World| ©Aziz J.Hayat
Aerial view of Ferrari World| ©Aziz J.Hayat

If you have wondered before traveling which city is better, Dubai or Abu Dhabi, my clear advice is to visit the latter from the former on an organized tour or on your own. And taking advantage of your trip to Abu Dhabi, you can visit the only amusement park dedicated to the Ferrari team. Getting to Ferrari World from Dubai is easy and there you will find roller coasters, car races, shuttles and virtual reality experiences to have a great time, inspired by iconic Ferrari cars. You can visit the park from Dubai with this tour to Abu Dhabi and Ferrari World.

Book a tour to Ferrari World from Dubai

5. Get lost in the ancient streets of the Deira district

Golden Souk of Deria| ©neekoh.fi
Golden Souk of Deria| ©neekoh.fi

In Deira, one of Dubai's most famous neighborhoods, you will find the old part of the city, and you can walk through the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk, immersing yourself in the authentic essence of Dubai. Among the things to do in Deira you can also go to Al Mamzar beach and relax in its green areas.

Book a street food tour of Dubai

6. Get to know the old Dubai by touring Al Fahidi

Al Fahidi| ©Francisco Anzola
Al Fahidi| ©Francisco Anzola

Today's Al Fahidi neighborhood is a reconstruction of a traditional area of Dubai where you can see what life was like in the 19th century in the city. Walking through its streets, you will see wind towers and public buildings, which in many cases retain their traditional infrastructure.

In addition to the Sheikh Mohammed Cultural Center, where you can learn 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 delve into the history and Arab culture and the past of Dubai.

Book a tour of Old and Modern Dubai

7. Visit the Jumeirah Mosque

Jumeirah Mosque| ©PhareannaH[berhabuk]
Jumeirah Mosque| ©PhareannaH[berhabuk]

Visiting the Jumeirah Mos que is possible as it is one of the few mosques in Dubai that accepts non-Muslim visitors, making it one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. Its beautiful white facade (which you'll recognize if you've seen a 500 dirham bill) is just as impressive as its interior, and its architecture is a tribute to the medieval Fatimid period.

Once inside you can marvel at the elegant blue and yellow décor and be inspired by its places for prayer and recollection.

8. Experience a sunset in the desert

Sunset in the desert of Dubai| ©Kent Tupas
Sunset in the desert of Dubai| ©Kent Tupas

Undoubtedly, one of the experiences you have to live in your trip to Dubai is to make an excursion to the desert of Dubai. You have excursions to the desert of all kinds of prices and you can do all kinds of activities, such as camel riding, sandboarding (like snowboarding, but on the sand), dune bashing, which is basically to ride an SUV and slide down the dunes, quad biking, buggy tour, watch falconry shows and taste the traditional food in an outdoor dinner under the desert stars and then sleep in the desert of Dubai. I leave you with these tips for visiting the Dubai desert so that, whatever you choose, your experience will be perfect.

Book a tour to the Dubai desert

9. Sail the Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina| ©Enrico Strocchi
Dubai Marina| ©Enrico Strocchi

Seeing the Dubai skyline at night as you cruise the city's main canal is quite a sight, so this is one of the activities I especially recommend if you're traveling to Dubai as a couple. Boat rides in the Dubai Marina usually last around two hours, and it is a perfect way to get to know this area of the city in an alternative way. Plus, there's plenty more to do in the Dubai Marina, so I highly recommend checking out the area.

Book a cruise in the Dubai Marina

10. Enjoy the view from the comfortable tour bus

Dubai Sightseeing Bus| ©Alan & Flora Botting
Dubai Sightseeing Bus| ©Alan & Flora Botting

Dubai is one of the cities that is definitely worth buying a ticket for a tour bus with stops, as during most of the year it can be exhausting to walk around due to the heat. That's why I recommend hopping on a sightseeing bus and seeing the whole city of Dubai from the comfort of your seat (and the coolness of the air conditioning).

Book a seat on the Dubai sightseeing bus

11. Go shopping at the Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall| ©mostafa meraji
Dubai 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 its shopping malls where you will find almost any brand you can imagine.

Taking advantage of the fact that you will almost certainly pass through Dubai Mall, one of the most famous malls in the city, you can go in and buy souvenirs or indulge yourself in one of its many stores. You can also find a good number of restaurants of all kinds of gastronomic offerings.

12. Discover the underwater world of Atlantis Aquaventure

Atlantis Aquaventure Dubai| ©Jeremy Thompson
Atlantis Aquaventure Dubai| ©Jeremy Thompson

The Atlantis hotel in Dubai is one of the most famous in the city for its leisure offer, which includes a water park, a dolphin zoo and other marine animals, and a reconstruction of the seabed in which to live a diving experience.

Atlantis Aquaventure is one of the places to go to spend the day with children and do not run out of fun, so I especially recommend the visit if you are traveling to Dubai with your family.

Reserve your ticket to Atlantis Aquaventure

13. Build your own adventure at Legoland Dubai

Legoland Dubai| ©Jeremy Thompson
Legoland Dubai| ©Jeremy Thompson

Whether as a family or to relive the beautiful moments of childhood, at Legoland Dubai the iconic block-shaped toys come to life. The entire park is built with Lego pieces (nearly 60 million Legos) to create six worlds in which to get lost and let your imagination run wild.

Reserve your ticket for Legoland

14. Get cultured in the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi| ©Matthias Ripp
Louvre Abu Dhabi| ©Matthias Ripp

An excursion to Abu Dhabi is the most comfortable way to get from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, if you decide you should not miss the Louvre Museum, an extension of the Louvre Museum in Paris dedicated to the art of the Middle East but whose collection also houses some key works of painting from the rest of the world, with paintings by Vermeer, Leonardo Da Vinci, or Van Gogh. In my opinion, part of what makes this visit very interesting is the architecture of the Museum itself, housed inside a Jean Nouvel building in a symbiosis between the Western and Eastern worlds.

Book an excursion to Abu Dhabi

15. Test yourself at Skydive Dubai

Skydive Dubai| ©Alan Wilson
Skydive Dubai| ©Alan Wilson

If you have always wanted to free fall at 200 kilometers per hour, Dubai is the best place to do it: the views you will have during the fall will be spectacular (if the adrenaline allows you to enjoy them, of course). To live this unique experience, Skydive Dubai is the most famous company among tourists and locals. Of course, this is not an experience for all budgets, but it will certainly be something you will remember forever.

Book a skydiving session in Dubai

16. Enjoy brunch at Jumeirah Al Qasr

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

Dubai is a very modern city adapted to Western tastes, and its bars and cafes have made brunch an institution. The best, according to all the critics, is served at the Jumeirah Al Qasr hotel, both for the quality of the tasting and for the opulent and luxurious surroundings in which you will enjoy an immense brunch: more than 300 dishes to choose from up to thirty-five different cuisines. Of course, during your visit, you must try some of the best restaurants in Dubai to get to know its gastronomy.

When to travel to Dubai?

Surely, before your trip you will ask yourself some questions such as what to bring in your suitcase, how to dress in Dubai, how to move around the city, how much budget you need on your trip and, above all, what is the ideal time to visit Dubai. Any time is a good time to get to know the city; being a big capital, there are things to do all year round. In this list you will find what you should not miss depending on the month in which you go:

Another thing that can be useful during your trip is an itinerary adapted to the days you are going to spend in the city:

After these tips to visit Dubai, you just have to book your transfer from Dubai airport to the city center and, once you arrive, enjoy everything the city has to offer. I assure you that it is not little.