16 things you must do in Dubai

Note: All travel is subject to frequently changing government restrictions; please check federal, state and local advisories before planning trips.

From world record-breaking architecture to futuristic wonders, Dubai is a city on the move, offering cultural heritage attractions that reflect its days as a fishing village. If you’ve always been interested in seeing it for yourself, now might be a good time. Dubai was scheduled to host Expo 2020, the world’s fair originally scheduled to begin in October 2020, but due to the pandemic, it is now being held until March. Instead, in 2022 Whether you’re heading out to explore new offerings like the World’s Fair, or delving into the city’s past on a souk or river cruise, use this list to help tick off all your top things to do in Dubai.

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Explore the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall

Flickr CC: Srikanth Sekar

The Dubai Mall offers top fashion and culinary brands as well as attractions that are worth your time and money. A memorable experience will be At The Top – Burj Khalifa. This entry point to Dubai’s tallest skyscraper leads visitors to its 124th-floor open-air terrace, as well as the Sky Lounge one floor above. Also at the Dubai Mall, skate on an indoor Olympic ice rink or check out the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.

Can you ride?

These small, motorized water taxis ply the Dubai River between Deira, the oldest part of Dubai and the eastern side of the river, and Bur Dubai, home to many hotels, shops and restaurants, and the western side. There are four stations, two in Deira and two in Bur Dubai. Along the waterway, stop to visit Dubai’s Spice and Gold shops and enjoy the fresh air.

Shop the stores

No visit to Dubai would be complete without visiting one of the city’s shops or markets. In Deira, The Gold Souk has jewelery traders and designers offering simple or different pieces. The Spice Market is for, you guessed it, spices, as well as dried fruits and herbs like saffron, frankincense, dates and cinnamon. Get a scent at the perfume market oud, woody and musky oil. The Textile Souk in Bur Dubai offers silk and other fabrics. Explore shopping options at The Souk at The Dubai Mall and Souk Al Bahar.

Go to Dubai Circle

Flickr CC: Ashwin Kumar

This shiny golden rectangle in Zabel Park metaphorically connects the city’s past and present. Walk a trail that traces the timeline of early events, including visuals of sukkahs and the now-retired tradition of pearl diving. Take the elevator to the top of the Circle Bridge to see the Burj Khalifa, Dubai International Financial Center, Dubai Mall and other sights. Step back and discover the future of Dubai, including its technological and scientific advances.

Get lost in the Dubai Fountain

Flickr CC: Christian Van Elven

Las Vegas has the Bellagio, but Dubai also has a choreographed fountain system. Along Burj Khalifa Lake in downtown Dubai, this dancing water show sparkles with colorful and luminous jets that release more than 22,000 gallons of H2O to the sounds of contemporary Arabic and world music. Performances take place twice a day, except on Fridays, with evening shows starting at sunset and running half an hour earlier until 11pm.

These man-made islands are among the most popular attractions in Dubai. The palm-shaped Palm Jumeirah archipelago has a monorail connecting it to the mainland tram system. Explore theme parks, Aquaventure Waterpark, Lost Chambers Aquarium, celebrity-run restaurants and even high-end hotels, including the famous Atlantis, The Palm.

Enjoy the city with sand and sea

Want to see Dubai from a different perspective? On a HERO OdySea cruise, take a safety lesson before self-driving a speedboat along the Arabian Gulf and sailing to Burj Al Arab and Atlantis mega-resort, The Palm. Meanwhile, Platinum Heritage Safaris takes 1950s Land Rovers to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve with stops to demonstrate the Bedouin falconry tradition. guests will also experience a traditional Bedouin camp.

Enjoy the beach time!

Dubai offers plenty of beaches, but leave the booze and skimpy clothes at home. Kite Beach in Jumeirah attracts kite surfers and SUPs as well as volleyball players with its white sand. Non-sports activities range from a jungle gym, a children’s water park, and food trucks and cafes. Surfers flock to Sunset Beach with the Burj Al Arab and Umm Suqeim Park as a backdrop. Jumeriah Beach Residences or JBR Beach is quite a hot spot thanks to the playgrounds for adults and children. It also connects to Bluewaters Island, a hub of activity.

Taste Emirati cuisine

Influenced by the Bedouin tribes, Emirati cuisine uses dates, chickpeas, saffron, cardamom and other ingredients in carbohydrate, meat and dairy-based dishes such as meat and wheat-based rabbit or a sweet dumpling known as lukaimat. Arabian Tea House Restaurant & Café offers traditional outdoor dining service. The Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding hosts culinary education events, while Al Fanar Restaurant & Café reflects the ambience of a merchant’s courtyard.

Listen to opera music

Flickr CC: Francisco Anzola

Creating an “Opera District” in the center of Dubai, the Dubai Opera itself is an eye-catcher. After the Arab dhow ships, the layout of this building can be changed from a concert hall to an ordinary hall with a flat floor. It also hosts a range of performances including theatre, ballet, concerts and art exhibitions.

Discover Dubai’s past

Near Dubai Creek, the historic neighborhood of Al Fahid reflects the mid-19th century, home to converted buildings that now house artistic and cultural venues, including the Coffee Museum. The Etihad Museum in Jumeirah recalls the UAE’s formative years, while the Dubai Museum at Al Fahidi Fort in Bur Dubai explores everyday city life before the discovery of oil in the 1960s.

Hit the slopes!

Flickr CC: Timo Tervo

Yes, you can participate in this winter sport all year round in Dubai, despite summer temperatures in the 100s. Head straight to Ski Dubai, an indoor winter wonderland inside the Mall of the Emirates that takes winter sports to another level with a bobsleigh, sliding hill, slopes, playground and ski school. The Penguin Encounter is home to creatures such as Gentoo and King Penguins.

Support creative spaces

Alserkal Avenue is both a storefront and a development hub for creative industries and non-profit organizations in the UAE. Located in the Al Quoz industrial area, this complex contains galleries, community spaces, cafes and boutiques such as The Good Life, a high-end designer. a sneaker store and Mirzam Chocolate Makers, which produces beautifully packaged bars at its on-site factory.

See La Perle by Dragone

Similar to a Cirque du Soleil show, La Perle by Dragone features acrobatics and aerial stunts in its storyline. Based at The Atrium in Al Habtoor, the show’s custom-built water stage takes center stage as the cast dives or dives into its waters.

Learn about Islam

The Muslim call to prayer, known as the Adhan, occurs five times a day. It is common to hear this reminder while in Dubai. Noted as one of only two mosques in the UAE that non-Muslims can visit, the Jumeirah Mosque offers an opportunity to learn more about Islam. Tours of the Jumeirah Mosque are arranged through the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding and take place twice a day, except Fridays.

Take a garden

Flickr CC: Oiva Eskola:

Visit seasonally blooming attractions. Dubai’s Miracle Garden, open from mid-November to mid-May, presents a world of floral fantasy. The world’s largest natural flower garden reveals a mix of themed and colorful constructions of everything from summer houses to castles to various characters. The garden also has a butterfly garden. Not bad for an oasis in the desert.

Tagged: Middle East, United Arab Emirates

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