Dubai is a fun, vibrant city with many attractions and delightful activities in store for visitors. It’s not easy to cull out the 10 best things to do in Dubai, but we’ll do our best. The thing about Dubai is that every experience is enjoyable – be it a big bus tour, a dhow cruise, a desert safari, or walking around the narrow streets of Old Dubai. It’s a city with a rich past, with its roots embedded into the ancient culture. We recommend that you take in the cultural aspects along with the touristy aspects to round off your Dubai experience. Here are our curated 10 top things to do in Dubai.
What to do in Dubai: Activities in Dubai
1. Book an evening Dubai Dhow Cruise
One of the coolest things to do in Dubai is to take a dhow cruise. You can sign up for a cruise on the Dubai Canal, the Dubai Creek or the waters of the Dubai Marina. The dhow cruise comes with scintillating onboard entertainment; watch belly dancers gyrate and Tanura dancers swirl like dervishes. Hand over your hands and feet to the henna tattoo artists to decorate. Lounge back on silk cushions, pulling on your shisha pipe, feeling like royalty. A fabulous Emirati and continental buffet dinner end your dhow cruise experience. A dhow cruise is undeniably one of the best things to do in Dubai at night. There are a number of cruises to choose from but this Evening Dhow cruise is what I recommend as it comes with dinner and you also get to enjoy the views of Dubai Creek aboard a traditional Arabian dhow.
2. Experience the Dubai Desert Safari
When you visit Dubai, you simply must go on a desert safari. The desert is Dubai’s core element and one of the fun things to do in Dubai – no matter which glam building you’re in, remember that the desert is never far away. At the desert, you’ll enjoy desert sports such as camel riding, dune bashing, sandboarding, and quad biking. If you sign up for an evening or overnight desert safari, you’ll enjoy a fabulous barbecue dinner along with cultural entertainment in the Welcome Tent. While on the desert safari, you’ll forget who you are and where you come from. You’ll feel like Bedouin royalty. You can either book this Heritage desert safari to explore the amazing Dubai desert on a 1950’s Land Rover or this Dubai desert safari to experience the amazing Arabian dunes. Whichever tour you opt for, you’re guaranteed an amazing time experiencing the Dubai desert – an experience like no other.
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3. Visit the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Take an afternoon to learn something about Dubai’s culture and its intriguing past. The Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood is Dubai’s oldest area. The neighborhood is full of narrow cobbled streets, shady and cool, surrounded by tall walls of black coral. The high air towers called Barajeel have been built out of teak, sand wood, stone, gypsum, palm fronds, and palm wood. Narrow pathways open up to public squares where you’ll find quaint art galleries, specialized museums, cafés, restaurants, and motels.
4. Explore Dubai Creek, Bur Dubai, and Deira
The Dubai Creek served as the main route to the Arabian Gulf for trading. Today, the Dubai Creek is a major transport waterway, with a dhow harbor. The creek divides Dubai into Bur Dubai and Deira, with Bur Dubai being the older region where the Bani Yas tribe first settled. You can explore the creek on the small traditional vessel called the Abra, for a small charge.
Explore the spice markets of Bur Dubai, and bargain to your heart’s content for rich and fragrant cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, turmeric, cloves, nutmeg and scores of others. At Deira, enjoy traipsing through the brilliant gold souqs which display ostentatious pieces at their windows. In fact, the biggest ring in the world is on display at a store in Deira- this is something you shouldn’t miss. Also check out the amazing textile souq at Deira, where you can find some of the world’s best pashmina shawls, carpets, and leather jackets.
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5.Visit IMG Worlds of Adventure
IMG Worlds Dubai is the world’s biggest indoor theme park and one of the best things to see in Dubai. Dubai’s first mega-themed entertainment destination, IMG Worlds has five zones. Cartoon Network and Marvel are branded zones, while the Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure zone and IMG Boulevard are the IMG Group’s original concepts. The fifty zone is Novo Cinema, where you can watch some amazing movies.
The theme park has the capacity of holding 20,000 guests a day. Kids and grownups can enjoy thrill rides, roller coasters, and several other attractions based on Marvel Comics and Cartoon Network characters. There are animatronic dinosaurs in Lost Valley that add to the charm. IMG Boulevard contains plenty of shopping and dining options for the whole family.
6. Dine at At. Mosphere restaurant at the Burj Khalifa.
Dubai’s Burj Khalifa stands majestic at 829 meters making it one of Dubai’s top attractions. One of the best ways to enjoy this building is to dine at the world’s highest restaurant, At. Mosphere, atop Burj Khalifa- a dinner experience that spells luxury like nowhere else. Partake of stunning dishes while enjoying the stunning Dubai skyline through the floor to ceiling windows.
The Hotel At. Mosphere is located at Level 122 of the Burj Khalifa, that’s 442 meters from the ground. Here you can sample the gastronomical wonders of the UAE and some exotic fusion cuisine. Sample the world’s best lobsters, oysters, caviar and other exotic foods here. Witness breathtaking and panoramic views over Dubai from the world’s tallest building of Burj Khalifa by booking your ticket from here on getyourguide. This will help you skip the line and not waste time queuing but instead use that extra time to take in all the views from this famous and iconic building.
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7. Enjoy Dubai Shopping at the Dubai Mall.
You cannot travel to Dubai without shopping at its fantabulous malls! The Dubai Mall alone has more than 1200 retail outlets, 150 plus eateries, a 22-cinema multiplex, an ice rink, the Dubai Aquarium, Underwater Zoo and much more. It’s more than a mall – it’s a lifestyle and entertainment destination. Don’t forget to shop at the Emirates Mall, Marina Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, and several others when you get the chance.
8. Visit Motiongate Dubai
Motiongate is a fantasy world that brings Hollywood blockbusters such as Smurfs, Madagascar, and others to life via immersive rides, shows, and rich experiences. Motiongate is situated in Dubai’s famous Dubai Parks and Resorts theme park. The Smurfs Zone consists of various rides, including the Village Express to the Smurfberry Factory.
The DreamWorks studio zone is all about animated worlds, where you can enjoy rides with Kung Fu Panda and Cloudy with A Chance of Meatballs! The Lionsgate zone lets you enter to experience the Hunger Games, Underworld and more- making it one of the must-visit places in Dubai. Enjoy the Middle East’s largest Hollywood inspired park at Motiongate by booking your ticket from here. The ticket is valid for one day and it gives you access to a variety of rides and cinematic adventures.
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9. Visit The Lost World, Hotel Atlantis, and Dolphin Bay.
The palatial, stunning Hotel Atlantis sits on one of the arms of the Palm Jumeirah Islands. If you’re an animal lover, you can get up close to see lions and dolphins at Dolphin Bay. If you love mystery and adventure, do yourself a favor by exploring the Lost World of Atlantis, a fabulous underwater marine zoo. A little away is the famous Aquaventure Waterpark, one of the most amazing waterparks in the entire UAE. The Lost world, Hotel Atlantis, and Dolphin Bay are some of the Dubai attractions not to miss on your trip to the UAE. Have an encounter with the Dolphins by booking your ticket here.
10. Explore Dubai Miracle Garden
The Dubai Miracle Garden is a lush paradise in the middle of the desert and also one of Dubai’s point of interest. Flowering trees and plants have been grown into shapes that are designed to resemble airbuses, heart-shaped arches, huge teddy bears, castles, landmarks and much more. Every year, newer designs are created, adding to the Miracle Garden’s rich natural tapestry. Don’t miss a visit to this amazing and fragrant garden by booking your tour from here.
So these are our 10 best place to visit in Dubai – a bit of something for everybody. Some of the destinations such as Motiongate Theme Park and Hotel Atlantis have several attractions within themselves. If you have the time, be sure to explore the Love Lake, Dubai Garden Glow, and Dubai Frame as well.
Neha Singh is an avid reader, and traveler whose love for life and travel made her transition into a full-time blogger. Like many travelers, Neha’s goal is to travel the entire world. She writes and showcases everything about Dubai at Dubai Wikia.
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