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Everyone knows about Dubai’s awe-inspiring contemporary structures, vast shopping malls, and unequaled man-made islands. Some unfortunately believe that this Arabian city is all about these. But, the truth is that Dubai is a destination which enthralls, excites, and inspires all levels of people, so much so that one doesn’t want to leave the city once here. So if you’re looking for more amazing things to do when in Dubai, you’re in the right place; just read on. And for your convenience, we’ve categorized this list into Sightseeing, Amusement & Adventure, Culture & History, Shopping, and Dining.
Things to do when in Dubai
1. Take a City Tour
If you have only limited time or hours in Dubai, taking a city tour is the quickest and most convenient way to glimpse into Dubai’s blend of iconic landmarks, stylish neighborhoods, and historical quarters. There will be a knowledgeable guide in tow to enlighten you about each Dubai attraction covered in your tour itinerary. But make sure that you get this exclusive tour done through an experienced tour service provider.
2. See the whole of Dubai from Burj Khalifa
Downtown Dubai is the heart and soul of modern Dubai. And Burj Khalifa is one of the most prestigious attractions that occupy this 500-acre development. It’s the tallest structure ever built on the planet and has two observation decks (on 124th and 148th levels), among other attractions. Pre-confirm your tickets to avoid any hassle; it not only gives you the best vantage point to absorb city skyline views, but also includes a super rapid elevator ride and a compelling presentation on Dubai’s transformation from a humble fishing village to a globally recognized city.
3. Go on a helicopter tour
A helicopter tour is another sure-fire option to admire more of Dubai in a short period. The bonus is that you’ll get to appreciate all of Dubai’s sights in its real splendor from air. So be ready to be in awe as you enjoy Dubai’s icons like Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis, The Palm (resort), the World Islands, Burj Al Arab, and Jumeirah coastline all in its true form without any hindrance.
4. Get enthralled with Wonder Bus Tour
Joined by your family or little ones? This astonishing tour aboard an amphibious vehicle should be on your Dubai checklist. Yes, it’s a tour like no other as you’ll see Dubai both from land and water. Don’t miss it; your kids would delight in this sightseeing experience to the core.
5. Enjoy a Dhow Cruise
A dinner cruise in a traditional Arabian dhow offers an alternative sightseeing experience. Choose from your ideal location at uber classy Dubai Marina or the bustling Dubai Creek. It allows you to take in the Dubai’s supremely illumed night skyline from water. Awe-inspiring views complemented by a vast array of culinary choices and live entertainment (like Tanura) make this two-hour cruise unforgettable.
Amusement and Adventure
6. Discover Dubai’s Theme Parks
Want to freak out with the unmatched theme park rides and attractions? Dubai puts at your disposal several options. Visit IMG Worlds of Adventure to make the most of fun-filled and exhilarating rides spread over its four themed zones. For those who want to take their theme park adventure to next level, it’s worth spending a full day at Dubai Parks and Resorts – the region’s first integrated park. Besides multiple accommodation choices and a dedicated dining and retail section, it has three theme parks (Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai and LEGOLAND Dubai) and a water park (LEGOLAND Water Park) to promise you the ultimate in theme park entertainment.
7. Check out the Dubai Mall
With over 1200 outlets, this is primarily a shopping mall, and also the biggest of its kind in the world. But, it deserves a spot under this category for its endless array of leisure options. Yes, it’s the venue of Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo with over 33,000 marine species in its gigantic aquarium. Kids from 2 to 12 years would love its KidZania, while people of all age groups would adore its attractions like Dubai Ice Rink, VR Park and Hysteria Dubai Mall.
8. Watch Dubai Fountain Show
Before you leave Downtown Dubai, be sure to watch the captivating Dubai Fountain show set on Burj Lake which can be seen outside Dubai Mall and next to Burj Khalifa. This magnificently choreographed spectacle of water and light is the world’s highest fountain show. The best thing is that it’s a free attraction.
9. Cool down at Ski Dubai
Summer months are harsh, while winter in Dubai is cool and pleasant. But, there is one attraction in Dubai which offers a chilling ambience throughout the year. So be it scorching summer or wild winter, visit Ski Dubai for a dose of amusement and entertainment against the falling snow. Yes, this is one of the world’s largest indoor ski resorts where you can participate in all your favorite snow or winter activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, sledding etc.
10. Enjoy Dubai’s Newest Water Park
If you’ve already been to Dubai’s classic Wild Wadi and Aquaventure water parks, this time pay a trip to Laguna Water Park in one of Dubai’s newest neighborhood, La Mer. There are many thrilling rides and innovative water slides. But unmissable of all is WaveOz 180 FloRider; it’s the region’s ultimate surfing attraction and also just three of its kind in the whole world.
11. Desert Safari
A Dubai desert safari can effortlessly fill your evening with the most memorable adventurous, cultural and dining experiences. It takes place at Dubai’s beautifully protected untouched desert landscape where activities like 4X4 dune bash, camel ride, quad bike, and sandboarding will blow you away. You’ll also get to revel in traditional entertainment (such as Tanura and belly dance) and further experience Shisha smoking, henna tattooing etc. But if you’ve time constraints, opt for morning desert safari which is relatively short though pulse-racing.
History and Culture
12. Stroll down Al Bastakiya Quarter
While most sightseeing tours stick to Dubai’s modern side, a walking tour of Al Bastakiya Quarter is a treat for history and culture buffs. Tucked away in Bur Dubai region, this remarkably preserved ethnic quarter is also known as Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. It’s quaint, peaceful and lets you walk into the modest majesty of a long-forgotten era. Stroll through its ancient structures and narrow lanes where every aspect of this tranquil area is intriguing and charming.
13. Visit Dubai Museum
This is another must-visit spot for those curious about Dubai’s past. You’ll find this inside the city’s oldest fort at Al Fahidi Fort. Moreover, there are many fascinating arts and artifacts which allow you to relive the Dubai’s lifestyle before the discovery of oil. The entry fee here is just AED 3 per person.
14. Get Cultured at SMCUU
If you wish to have a more authentic or first-hand experience of the Islamic religion and Emirati culture, you should certainly book a trip to Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCUU). Conveniently placed in Al Bastakiya Quarter, it allows you for an open discussion wherein a well-conversant Emirati will clear all your doubts about the region’s culture, history and spiritual heritage.
15. Take in Jumeirah Mosque
Placed along the picturesque Jumeirah Beach Road, it’s one of the region’s most alluring and oldest mosques. It’s easily recognizable for its striking white stone frontage enhanced by long minarets and tranquil interiors. It’s also one of the country’s few Islamic places of worship that is open to non-Muslims.
Each of Dubai’s shopping destinations in charming and distinct in its own right. So it’s easy for you to pick a spot as per your distinct shopping preferences.
16. For a shopping spree like no other
Each of Dubai’s over 70 malls offers complete justice when it comes to a high-end shopping experience. Be it Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Battuta Mall, or Wafi Mall, they all host the stores of most premium and renowned brands from across the world.
17. For unbelievable deals
In this regard, you can rely on Karama Shopping Centre, Dubai Outlet Mall, or even Dubai Flea Market which is the city’s biggest market for pre-used merchandise.
18. For bargain shopping with a dose of history and culture
Nothing comes closer to the effervescence and magnificence of souks if you’re looking for a retail experience enriched by a dash of culture and heritage. These traditional bazaars are scattered across the bustling Bur Dubai and Deira regions, thus allowing you to experience Dubai’s authentic trade scene prevalent since age-old times. Most popular among them is Gold Souk whose entire streets and shops are dedicated for the display and sale of pure gold jewelry.
19. For a dreamy romantic venue
From Burj Al Arab’s imposing dining choices to Dubai’s only rooftop restaurant at Al Dawaar within Hyatt Regency, there are tons of incredible spots for quality dining in the city. But, if you don’t want to pay through the nose for a culinary session, take to one of these hidden gems at Secret Garden Café (City Walk), Meat Me There (Al Souk Mall), or Bhukkad Café. They all promise you a scrumptious yet reasonable dining experience within an impressive ambience.
20. For dine with entertainment
Dubai graciously serves as a second home to expats from over 200 countries. So whatever flavor or entertainment you wish to add in your culinary adventure, it’s possible here. Dine at the palatial style Antique Bazaar; it’s not only the place to savor bonafide Indian cuisines but also revel in some energetic traditional performances. Likewise, visit Boracay to enjoy Filipino specialties while watching Las Vegas style cabaret show. Then there is Rock Bottom Café which stands out for its exciting dance and dine theme.
21. For dine on the go
Whether you want to skip posh dining venues or just looking to cut down on culinary expenses, the city is sure to delight you with its unending amount of street foods (like Shawarma, falafel etc) as well as budget dining choices at food courts inside Dubai’s shopping centers.
When are flights to Dubai cheapest?
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Hotel stay in Dubai
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Car rental in Dubai
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The things to do when in Dubai are so infinite that the above list is by no means the ultimate one! However, we’re sure that these top suggestions would enable you to craft a more resourceful travel program that goes with your unique travel requirements and priorities. After all, it covers everything to help you achieve the right equation and balance on your upcoming Dubai holiday. ~ Neha Singh of dubaiwikia.com
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