Top 15 Things To Do In Dubai
Want to know where to go, where to eat and what to do? Look no further than our list of top 15 things to do in Dubai. Famed for its incredible attractions, skyscrapers and ever-sunny beaches, the dazzling city is an intoxicating mix of luxury hotels, vast shopping malls, elegant spas, fabulous restaurants, thrilling water parks and world-class family resorts.
While extraordinary structures including the Palm Jumeirah Island, the iconic Burj Khalifa skyscraper and the beautiful Burj Al Arab hotel have put this premier destination on the map, you can pick from thousands of Dubai holidays suited to every budget. With a jaw-dropping range of hotels, family resorts and all-inclusive hotels, you can be assured first-rate hospitality, golden sands and 5-star service all year round.
If you haven't got long in this exciting city, don't worry, we've got everything you need to know so you can explore Dubai in three days.
SIGHTSEEING – PLACES TO SEE IN DUBAI
JUMEIRAH BEACH – KICK BACK IN STYLE
Exploring around and expressing yourselves at the famous Jumeirah Beach is always listed among the best things to do in Dubai. Don a snorkel and flippers to explore the underwater world or hire a paddle board and cruise along one of the most famous beaches around! It’d be a wasted opportunity if you didn’t spend at least one sunny afternoon topping up your tan on the beautiful 14km-long champagne-coloured sandy Jumeirah Beach. Plus, with the beautiful Burj Al Arab in the background, you’ll be perfectly positioned to snap a photo of this iconic hotel - when you’re not soaking up the sun and paddling in the turquoise waters. Dubai's beaches offer amazing winter and summer sun, and with your choice of Dubai's amazing all-inclusive resorts, you will be just footsteps from powder-soft sands wherever you stay.
BURJ KHALIFA –SEE DUBAI CITY FROM DIZZYING HEIGHTS
Located on the 124th floor, the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa (the tallest structure in the world) will certainly allow you to see the city from a different viewpoint – one that’s head-spinningly high up! Whether you venture up into the skies during the daytime or after sundown, the panoramic views of Dubai are breathtaking. The high-speed elevator ride to the top is an exhilarating experience alone and the thrills don't stop there! Among the best places to visit in Dubai, the Burj Khalifa also facilitates advance bookings and if you can get one, you save on the cost of entry..
If you want to learn more about this amazing city, here's 13 things you didn't know about Dubai.
THE DUBAI FOUNTAIN SHOW – WATCH THE JETS SPILL MAGIC
Set on the 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake, the Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system - it even rivals (if not surpasses) the famous Bellagio Fountain display in Las Vegas. We told you they have to go one bigger and better here! Book a table at one of the mall restaurants that border the fountain before 6pm, and like clockwork, the jets will begin their magical, musical water show. It’s guaranteed to be a meal to remember!
THE PALM – EXPLORE THE MAN MADE PENINSULA
This world-famous manmade peninsula is another fun place to visit in Dubai during your summer holidays. With some of the best hotels located here, you're sure to soak up a mixture of serenity and splendour throughout your stay. Sitting on the eastern crescent of the Palm Jumeirah is an archipelago of islands connected to the mainland, which are well worth a visit. Besides the gorgeous beaches, you'll find world-class waterparks, malls and marinas to marvel over.
THE DUBAI AQUARIUM –TRY FINDING NEMO IN DUBAI
If you’re a fan of Finding Nemo, a trip to the spectacular Dubai Aquarium is a must. Located on the ground floor of Dubai mall, this huge suspended aquarium is home to 140 colourful species of marine life and if you’re feeling brave, you can hop in the water with them! View it for free from the mall, or wander through the tunnels that make up the Underwater Zoo. If you want a closer look you can take a glass bottom boat tour on top of the tank, or bite the bullet and tick off a bucket list item by cage snorkelling or shark diving!
BASTAKIA OLD TOWN – GET LOST AMIDST THE CHARMS OF OLD DUBAI
There isn’t much of old Dubai left, but the city’s old town, the 19th century Bastakia Quarter, will transport you back to a time when today’s modern architectural wonders didn’t exist. In Bastakia you’ll see some of the more traditional Arabian stonework, including wind towers that were used to air-condition Arabic homes. Enjoy exploring this mini-maze on a journey back in time and seek out a traditional café for a refreshing mint and lime juice. There are also a couple of great galleries to peruse too, including contemporary XVA Gallery and the Majlis Gallery, where you can catch a glimpse of authentic Middle Eastern art - perfect for catching some culture while on your couples holidays.
ADVENTURE –BEST THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI
HIT THE SLOPES AT SKI DUBAI
Anything is possible in this spectacular city – even skiing on real snow in the height of summer, in the middle of the desert! Found in the colossal Mall of the Emirates and running at a constant -4 Celsius, Ski Dubai comes complete with spiralling tube slides, a sightseeing chairlift and of course, snow penguins! Kids will love this wintery park, where they can drift across the soft snow on inflated inner tubes, whizz down ramps and take to the piste on their own two feet. Hop over to the penguin enclosure and say hello after you’ve finished perfecting your snowplough and round off the day with a tasty hot chocolate.
MAKE A SPLASH AT ATLANTIS AQUAVENTURE
If you’re after some wet and wild thrills and spills, head for Aquaventure – a high-octane waterpark located in the Atlantis The Palm hotel on the manmade Palm Jumeirah Island. Here you can befriend dolphins, ride the Tower of Poseidon, plunge down the Tower of Neptune and brave the Leap of Faith slide. A day visitor pass includes same day access to the stunning private beach, plus entry to the Lost World aquarium inside the Atlantis hotel - a great day out combining luxury and fun for the whole family.
HOP ON A HOT AIR BALLOON
If the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa isn’t high enough for you, take your trip to the next level and hop on a hot air balloon! Take in birds-eye views of Dubai and beyond as you float through the cloudless sky. Watch the sun rise or set over the Gulf Sea and witness the splendour of the city and the rolling sand dunes of the desert below. If you fancy more desert adventures, take an open top jeep safari across the sand dunes before enjoying an evening in traditional Arabic style. Camel rides are also part of the safari – bumpy, but an essential Dubai experience!
SAIL ACROSS DUBAI CREEK
Dubai Creek splits this vibrant city into two towns, Deira and Bur Dubai, and sailing across the waters on a tourist-converted dhow boat is a must if you wish to explore both sides of the river. There’s also the abra, a small wooden ferry that can take you between two of the distinct areas. Check out our all inclusive holidays in Dubai and indulge in fine dining at your hotel, giving you more time to explore the spectacular surroundings and city sights!
DINING AND SHOPPING IN DUBAI – MALLS AND MARKETS TO SPILL SOME CASH
HAGGLE IN DEIRA'S SOUKS FOR THAT PERFECT SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Haggling is the name of the game in Dubai’s colourful markets, many of which are located in the authentic Deira area. The main draw here is the dazzling Gold Souk (one of the largest gold bazaars in the world) where you can pick up some high quality bling for bargain prices. If you’re looking for something with Arabian flavour, the Textile Souk houses spectacular fabrics and soft furnishings, which make gorgeous unusual gifts. Add a little Eastern promise to your seasonal cooking and stop by the Spice Souk, where you can pick up spices including Saffron for superb prices.
If sweet-smelling souks and bustling bazaars are yout thing, you might want to check out our guide to holidays in Turkey.
FLASH THE CASH AT THE MALLS
DUBAI MARINA – DINE ALONG THE WATERFRONTS
If you’re looking for luxury, a stroll around magnificent Dubai Marina is sure to tick your boxes. This artificial canal city is built along a two-mile stretch of Persian Gulf shoreline and has made its name as one of the best-established modern districts in town. You’ll find plenty of delightful diversions along the waterfront here, from world-class restaurants and bars to designer boutiques and boat trips.
DINE OUT AT THE AL-MAHARA RESTAURANT
The Burj Al Arab hotel is the tallest hotel in the world and also one of the most expensive. Even if you’re not a closet millionaire, you can still experience this jewel of a building by dining in its super-swish Al-Mahara Restaurant, which is surrounded by an aquarium that will make you feel like you’re dining underwater! Alternatively, if you have a head for heights, pop upstairs for a refreshing cocktail at the Skyview Bar on the 27th floor.
AND IF YOU HAVE GOT YOUNG FAMILY ALONG, TAKE THE KIDS TO CHILDREN'S CITY
We all know that travelling with kids can be hard work if there’s not enough going on to keep their boredom at bay. If your young holidaymakers start to tire of the sightseeing, shopping and sunbathing, take them to Children’s City for the day, where they’ll be met with so many fun-filled activities that they won’t know where to go first! From a planetarium to a theatre and play areas aplenty, the last thing you’re likely to hear is ‘I’m Bored!’ – but if that’s not enough to buy you more time on the beach, the Wonderland Amusement Park, which combines themepark and waterpark, is just next door!