Is Dubai Worth Visiting?

Dubai is a gleaming and exciting 21 st century city which is rapidly emerging into a global business and tourist destination.  However, Dubai also remains true to its rich cultural heritage.

Yes, Dubai is worth visiting and exploring! Dubai is a safe city with a world-wide reputation for luxury shopping, innovative architectural buildings, and extravagant leisure experiences.  Thanks to its hot desert climate, Dubai also enjoys fantastic weather all year round.  So, what’s not to like?

To discover more about this fascinating destination, read our extensive guide that includes useful information about what you can expect to see and do in Dubai. This article includes things you can do to keep your kids entertained, plus suggestions about relaxing activities, places to visit for free and information about the best shopping malls, parks and beaches in Dubai.

  • Is Dubai Worth Visiting? Our 10 Reasons to Visit Dubai

Where is Dubai?

  • Things to Do in Dubai

Things to Do in Dubai With Kids

Relaxing things to do in dubai, places to visit in dubai for free, is dubai worth visiting our top 10 reasons to visit dubai.

Dubai has something for everyone and is the perfect choice for a mini break or longer stay.  Here are 10 convincing reasons why Dubai is worth visiting:

1. Dubai Enjoys Endless Sunshine All-Year Round!

If you love hot weather, Dubai is a great place to visit all year round.  The city benefits from a hot desert climate and most days are sunny throughout the year! 

is dubai worth visiting sarah camel

In Dubai, the hottest month of the year is August when temperatures reach an average of 40°C.  In the coolest month of January, temperatures hover around a pleasant 24°C.  During the hottest months, you will be glad of air-conditioned cars, shopping malls and indoor venues!

2. Dubai is an Undeniable Paradise for Shoppers!

Dubai is one of the most visited cities in the world and has a world-wide reputation for tax-free shopping.  You can literally shop until you drop in Dubai’s 65 seriously air-conditioned shopping malls. 

However, these are no ordinary shopping malls!  Watching customers and their shopping being chauffeur driven around The Dubai Mall in small luxury electric vehicles was definitely a first! 


Of course, Dubai is known for its luxury, opulence and extravagance.  You won’t believe the lavishness of the Dubai shopping malls until you experience them for yourself!  Not only are they overflowing with every conceivable global retail brand, they are magnificently designed and also house extravagant leisure activities! 

In addition to the modern shopping malls, you can also check out the authentic Dubai souks (markets) which are located on either side of Dubai Creek .  They trade in textiles, spices, gold and perfume, so grab yourself a bargain!

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3. Dubai has Unique Architecture and Record-Breaking Structures!

Dubai is an amazing city which has risen majestically out of the desert.  Construction is still ongoing, and the skyline of Dubai is unique.

The Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building (829.8m) and is seriously impressive whether you appreciate it from afar, from below or from within.  The view from the world’s highest observation deck (555m) on the 148 th level at the top of the Burj Khalifa is truly mesmerising! 


In fact, in Dubai over 21 buildings stretch more than 300m into the sky!  The Dubai Frame is also the world’s largest building in the shape of a picture frame!  Not forgetting The Dubai Mall which is also the largest shopping mall in the world at over 12 million square feet!

4. Dubai Offers Extraordinary Opportunities for Entertainment and Adventure!

Dubai is a city where anything and everything is possible.  For example, you can take a break from shopping and ski, toboggan or snowboard in the middle of the Mall of the Emirates .  Yes, you can actually take a chair lift up the ski slope in this desert city!

Ski slope in Dubai

You can also marvel at one of the world’s largest suspended aquariums through the viewing panel in the centre of The Dubai Mall!  Amongst other unique experiences, the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo even offers you the opportunity to dive or train for your PADI diving qualification in the 10-million-litre tank!

Once you’ve had enough of snow and water, there are plenty of desert adventures to be enjoyed including jeep and camel safaris, sandboarding and buggy rides.  You can even camp overnight in the desert.

5. Dubai Retains its Rich History and Traditional Arabic Culture!

Dubai is a city where ultra-modern living meets the past.  Part of the charm of Dubai is that in amongst the skyscrapers, you can still gain an insight into the history of the city and its traditional Arabic culture.

In addition to the historical Dubai souk districts, on the Bur Dubai side of the Dubai Creek is the Al Fahidi Historical District (or Al Bastakiya quarter).  This is the oldest standing residential area of Dubai and offers a maze of hidden treats for visitors. 

Dubai Souk District

Close to the Dubai Museum and Al Bastakiya area is the Al Seef District , a 1.8km stretch along the creek dotted with traditional wind-towers and sandstone buildings which contrast with the glitz and glamour of modern Dubai. 

6. Dubai is the Perfect Place to Relax, Unwind and Rejuvenate!

Dubai is the perfect place to relax, unwind and rejuvenate from the stresses of everyday life.  You can lounge at your leisure on the white sands of one of the many beautiful Dubai beaches .  Then, swim in the warm Arabian waters and relax under palm trees.

There are also plenty of opportunities for sporting activities in Dubai.  Kite Beach is the perfect spot for water sport lovers.  Here, you can experience kite surfing, windsurfing, parasailing, water skiing and paddle boarding.  If you want to stay dry, you can also enjoy many other beach sports on the sands.

The Arabian desert is also another great sandy place to relax.  You can have a desert picnic among the sand dunes and enjoy perfect stargazing by night.  If you are feeling adventurous, you can also float over the desert sand dunes in a hot air balloon.


Another way of relaxing is to take a different form of transport.  A traditional dhow cruise along the Dubai Creek is the perfect way to unwind and soak up the heritage of Dubai.  Alternatively, you can stroll around the magnificent floral displays in the Dubai Miracle Garden .  What better way to relax than with nature?

Finally, Dubai is full of luxury hotels which offer world-class spa experiences including steamy hammams.

7. Dubai has Awesome Free Things to See and Do!

Although Dubai is known for being a luxurious and expensive city, you may be surprised to know that there are many free things to see and do.  There are also many inexpensive options which will keep the budget under control and still enable you to enjoy what the city has to offer.

For example, it costs nothing to marvel at the Burj Khalifa from the ground and to explore its surrounding area. 

Dubai Fountain

Right beside the Burj Khalifa is The Dubai Mall with its record-breaking OLED screen and viewing panel into the Dubai Aquarium .  You can get a closeup view of underwater life from three floors of the shopping centre for free!  The spectacular Dubai Fountain sound and light show is also located right outside and is free to enjoy.

Dubai Fountain Show Time

8. Dubai is a Thriving Centre for Culture and the Arts!

Dubai is fast becoming a thriving international centre for culture and the arts.  The 2,000 seat Dubai Opera is the heart of culture and arts in Dubai and attracts world-class performers and artists.  Whatever your passion, Dubai Opera will allow you to indulge yourself in theatre, opera, ballet, orchestral performances, concerts, fashion shows, live entertainment, conferences, galleries and art exhibitions.


In addition, there are many superb art galleries in Dubai for art lovers including the XVA and the Lawrie Shabibi .  There are also plenty of museums to visit including the Dubai Museum , Museum of Illusions and the Pearl Museum to name a few.

9. Dubai has Delicious Food to Discover!

Dubai has an increasingly diverse population which is made up of approximately 200 different nationalities.  So, whilst you are in Dubai you will definitely be able to eat and enjoy quality international cuisine.

However, why not extend your palate and try local specialties during your visit to Dubai?  Look out for luqaimat which are hot crunchy sweet dumplings and knafeh which is a popular pastry dish made with cheese and sugar syrup.  Arabic coffee and dates are also another must-try along with camel ! 


Modern chefs are incorporating camel into many of their dishes including various curries, burgers and stews.  Camel milk is also something worth trying as well as camel milk ice cream in various flavours!

10. Dubai has Official Low Crime Rates!

According to a recent travel survey , Dubai ranks among the top 15 safest cities in the world.  Crime levels are very low owing to strict government rules and law enforcement which help visitors feel safe and secure.  However, Dubai is a city so always keep an eye on your personal belongings and be aware of your surroundings.

Of course, when visiting any country, visitors must respect and adhere to local law which could be considerably different to the law in your own country.  Dubai is an Islamic country, so it’s a good idea to educate yourself about Dubai customs and laws before you travel so that you can respect them and avoid any problems.


Dubai is the largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE ).  The UAE is a Gulf country which is located in the Middle East, bordering Saudi Arabia to the south and south-west and Oman to the south-east.

Many people mistake Dubai for being a country.  In fact, it is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai.  An Emirate is similar to a State which is ruled over by a Sheikh.  Since 1833, Dubai has been ruled by the Al Maktoum family.

Dubai is situated in the Arabian Desert on the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula on the coast of the Arabian or Persian Gulf.  Abu Dhabi (the capital of the UAE) is found approximately 140 km west of Dubai which is about an hour and a half by road.

The official language of Dubai is Arabic with English widely spoken as a second language.  The national currency of Dubai is the UAE Dirham.

Best Things to Do in Dubai

Hopefully, you’ve now been persuaded to visit the impressive city of Dubai.  To help you plan your visit, here are some of the best things to do in Dubai:

1. Dubai Malls – Shop Until You Drop

Dubai has been dubbed the “shopping capital of the Middle East” and is genuinely a shopper’s dream!  There are around 65 shopping malls in Dubai where you can find every global brand you can think of. 

However, Dubai shopping malls are so much more than shiny air-conditioned stores.  Within the shopping malls are dining facilities, entertainment and extravagant attractions and experiences.  Think ski slopes, ice rinks, waterfalls and aquariums!

Here is a selection of some of the shopping malls you can enjoy in Dubai:


The Dubai Mall – The Dubai Mall is situated in the heart of Downtown Dubai right next door to the Burj Khalifa.  This is the world’s largest shopping centre (5.9 million square meters) with over 1,300 retail outlets including two department stores (Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale’s) plus over 200 food and drink providers.

The Dubai Mall combines shopping with dining, entertainment and leisure attractions including the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo , a VR (Virtual Reality) Park a human waterfall and an Olympic-sized ice rink!

Mall of the Emirates – The Mall of the Emirates features over 630 brands and the largest Carrefour supermarket in Dubai.  In addition to its shopping experience, you will find the snowy slopes of Ski Dubai where you can ski, snowboard, toboggan, take a chairlift ride and meet penguins!


Dubai Festival City Mall – The Dubai Festival City Mall is a lively shopping mall located on the banks of Dubai Creek.  It houses over 500 brands and is home to IKEA.

City Walk – If you are looking for more of a street shopping feel, City Walk offers high-end international shopping in an indoor-outdoor space.

Dubai Marina Mall – The Dubai Marina Mall is a waterfront shopping mall with 140 outlets featuring international retailers and affordable high street fashion.

Mercato Mall – The Mercato Mall is located on the Jumeirah Beach Road and has a unique atmosphere.  It was designed as a community mall but attracts many tourists each year.  There are over 140 shops within this Italian style shopping mall complete with cobbled floors and piazzas!

Ibn Battuta Mall – The Ibn Battuta Mall is named after a famous scholar and explorer who travelled more widely than any other explorer in history.  Within this shopping mall are over 400 outlets in 6 courts inspired by Ibn Battuta’s travels: India Court, China Court, Persia Court, Egypt Court, Tunisia Court and Andalusia Court.  This is an elaborately themed shopping mall which is a sight to behold!

WAFI Mall – The WAFI Mall is a beautifully ornate and distinctive shopping mall which takes inspiration from ancient architecture.  The WAFI Mall offers a unique shopping experience with over 250 stores which include Middle Eastern fashion boutiques.


Dubai Outlet Mall – The Dubai outlet mall is located at Dubailand and is home to 240 stores which sell over 1,200 global fashion brands at massively discounted prices.  The Dubai Outlet Mall is a 40-minute drive from Downtown Dubai.

2. Dubai Souk – Barter and Shop in the Historical Souk District

If you are looking for a taste of the old traditional Dubai, head for the historical Dubai souk districts which are located on either side of the Dubai Creek .  These souks are markets which originate from Dubai’s history of sea trade.

On the left bank of the Dubai Creek ( Bur Dubai ), you will find the Textile Souk .  The Textile Souk in Bur Dubai became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013 . 

On the right bank of the Dubai Creek ( Deira ), you will find the Spice Souk , Perfume Souk and Gold Souk .  Dubai is referred to as “the city of gold” and in the Gold Souk you will find a maze of over 250 retail shops selling fabulous jewellery.


The Dubai Souks are a great way of immersing yourself in local culture, grabbing a bargain and enjoying views of Dubai.  This is a charmingly authentic area to lose yourself in for a few hours.  Crossing the Dubai Creek is easy by taking a small traditional abra boat which acts as a water taxi from one side to the other.


If you are nervous about exploring the Dubai Souks on your own, why not explore Old Dubai on an organised walking tour.  This great walking tour includes a traditional abra boat crossing between the Gold Souk and Spice Souk.  Another fantastic benefit of booking this tour is that your local guide will give you tips about prices and how to barter before your buy!  Locals always know best, so don’t miss out and book your tour with Get Your Guide here .

3. Dubai Architecture – Visit Record-Breaking and Innovative Buildings

Dubai is taking skyscraper building design and technology to new levels.  This city is leading the way in making the impossible possible.  Don’t miss out on visiting some of Dubai’s iconic architecture during your stay!

Burj Khalifa, Dubai

The Burj Khalifa dominates the Dubai skyline.  Whilst you are in Dubai, you must visit this elegant building which towers over this amazing city. 

At 829.8 m (2,722 ft), the Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building .  It opened in 2010 and its base has a unique triple lobed design which is an abstract representation of Hymenocallis, a desert flower native to the Dubai region.

You can choose from a variety of packages to visit the Burj Khalifa.  Prices are dependent on the level of the Burj Khalifa you choose to visit.  We figured this was a once in a lifetime experience, so we opted to go to the highest level open to the public (Level 148) and we were not disappointed.  It’s a mind-blowing experience to look down at the city’s other skyscrapers surrounding the Burj Khalifa.  They look like tiny monopoly pieces!

At the top of the Burj Khalifa is the world’s highest observation deck with an outdoor terrace at 555m!  In the indoor lounge, you will receive complimentary refreshments and have time to enjoy the unbelievable views at your leisure.


The Burj Khalifa is a major Dubai tourist attraction, so we highly recommend that you buy your tickets in advance.  To skip-the-line and avoid disappointment on the day, this excellent package gives you a 90-minute experience with stops at the 124 th , 125 th and 148 th floors.

You can enjoy unrivalled views from the indoor and outdoor observation decks during your visit.  This is a once in a lifetime experience, so don’t miss out and avoid queuing by booking your tickets here:

Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame is another prominent architectural landmark in Zabeel Park .  The Dubai Frame features two vertical towers each of which are 150 m high connected by a 100 square meter glass bridge.  This monument is referred to as “the biggest picture frame on the planet”.


From the viewing gallery at the top (Sky Deck Level), you can enjoy 360-degree views of old and new Dubai and its surroundings including the Arabian Gulf, the sand dunes of the Arabian Desert and Dubai Marina.   On the ground level, there is an interesting museum on the history of Dubai.

If you want to discover the Dubai Frame and see more of the city of Dubai, why not opt for this amazing half-day city tour which includes tickets to visit the Dubai Frame? 

This value-for-money guided tour will enable you to see many of the sights of the city including the Palm Jumeirah, the Souk Madinat Jumeirah and the Blue Mosque.  In addition, you will enjoy an abra ride across the Dubai Creek to visit the Gold and Spice Souks.  Your visit ends with a visit to the Dubai Frame and includes pick-ups to and from your hotel so book today!

Palm Jumeirah & Atlantis, The Palm Hotel, Dubai

The Palm Jumeirah in Dubai is an unbelievable artificial archipelago which was created by land reclamation in the shape of a palm tree.  It has 3-mile -long trunk and leaves (fronds) which are linked with luxury villas and hotels.

Palm Jumeirah

During your visit to Palm Jumeirah, you can visit the famous Atlantis, The Palm hotel which sits at the pinnacle of the archipelago.  Next to the hotel is its famous Aquaventure Waterpark with record-breaking waterslides and The Lost Chambers Aquarium .

To get a different perspective of the Palm Jumeirah and other Dubai landmarks, why not spoil yourself and take to the water?  On this amazing private luxury boat cruise for up to 10 people, you can sit back and enjoy the dramatic skyline of Dubai including the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel and Dubai Marina.

Burj Al Arab Hotel, Dubai

The Burj Al Arab is Dubai’s most luxurious hotel which is frequently referred to as “the world’s only 7-star [hotel]”.  The Burj Al Arab is one of the tallest hotels in the world and was designed to resemble the billowing spinnaker sail of a yacht.


Although the hotel is no open for non-residents, you could visit by booking afternoon tea (Sky Tea) in the Skyview Bar & Restaurant on the 27 th floor which is 200m high.  From here, you can enjoy amazing panoramic views of Dubai’s beaches, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah and the skyline of Downtown Dubai.

4. Dubai History – Immerse Yourself in Dubai’s Fascinating History and Culture

In addition to visiting the Historical Souk District on the banks of the Dubai Creek, make sure you visit these authentic areas of Dubai:

Al Fahidi Historic District or Al Bastakia (Old Dubai)

To experience what life was like in Dubai in the mid 19 th century, head to the Al Fahidi Historic District which is an important heritage site.  Al Fahidi is located on the Bur Dubai side of Dubai Creek and features well-preserved buildings from the 19 th century. 

Take time to wander through the winding streets and appreciate the former homes of wealthy Persian merchants and the traditional wind towers built as a cooling system.


Al Seef District

In the past, the Al Seef District was part of the pearl diving port.  Today, Al Seef is a 1.8 km stretch of coast located close to the Al Fahidi Historic District.  It has a unique blend of a heritage area and contemporary buildings. 

Al Seef features many traditional sandstone buildings and wind towers with picturesque passageways, a marina and an open-air floating market.  Al Seef also offers many interesting places to shop and eat and is a great place for a romantic dinner!

Dubai Museum – Al Fahidi Fort

If you want to learn more about the old history of Dubai, a visit to the Dubai Museum or Al Fahidi Fort is a must.  The Dubai Fort is located at the south of Dubai Creek and was built in 1787 to protect the area.


The Al Fahidi Fort is one of the city’s most well-known museums and is a popular tourist attraction.  A visit here provides great cultural insights through the displays of old maps, weapons, local musical instruments and artefacts.

Dubai Art Galleries

Another way of learning about the history and culture of Dubai is to visit some of its many art galleries situated in the Al Fahidi Historic Neighbourhood (Al Bastakia) including:

  • The Majlis Gallery
  • The XVA Gallery
  • The Alserkal Cultural Foundation


Even if you are not in Dubai with kids, there are many fabulous and exciting experiences in Dubai to keep you entertained during your visit.

1. Aquaventure Waterpark, Dubai


Next door to the Atlantis, The Palm hotel is Aquaventure , the Middle East’s largest waterpark .  A visit to Aquaventure is a thrilling experience which adults and kids alike will enjoy and remember. 

There are over 30 daring slides and attractions including The Leap of Faith, Poseidon’s and Poseidon’s Revenge, plus Dubai’s longest Lazy River which is 1.4 km long and a 500 m private beach.

Make sure you don’t miss out on this family favourite and book your tickets in advance

2. The Lost Chambers Aquarium, Dubai


Another must-visit in Dubai is the UAE’s largest aquarium , which is situated at Atlantis, The Palm.  The Lost Chambers Aquarium is themed around the legend of “The Lost City of Atlantis” and features 65,000 marine animals in its Ambassador Lagoon. 

There are 21 underwater exhibits to explore in The Lost Chambers.  Amazingly, you can also experience snorkelling, diving or walking underwater surrounded by sharks, rays and colourful fish. 

Kids will love being immersed in this underwater world and there are plenty of unique experiences to keep adults happy too!  To book your tickets for this unmissable Dubai attraction, click here .

3. Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo


Conveniently located in the middle of The Dubai Mall is the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo which has a 10 million litre tank!  This aquarium has the world’s largest acrylic viewing panel measuring 32.88 m wide by 8.3 m high and 75 cm thick.  Unbelievably, you can take a break from shopping at The Dubai Mall and watch life in the aquarium for free from the ground floor to level 2!

In the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, you will find thousands of different aquatic animals including over 400 sharks and rays.  There are also many animal encounters to choose from including crocodiles, penguins, otters, rays and sharks.  These are sure to please the kids and many adults too!

To incorporate this aquatic experience into your shopping day, avoid disappointment and book your tickets here .

4. Dubai Ice Rink

Another popular attraction within The Dubai Mall is the Dubai Ice Rink .  This Olympic-sized ice rink offers public sessions, skating in the snow and DJ nights!

5. Dubai Fountain – Burj Lake, Dubai

At the foot of the Burj Khalifa and right outside The Dubai Mall, is the 30-acre man-made Burj Lake .  From 6pm every evening, the Dubai Fountain comes to life in a sound and light extravaganza.  You can watch the performances close up for free from around the Dubai Fountain Boardwalk which is just 9 m from the fountains!


This breath-taking spectacle is the world’s largest performing fountain !  Over 6,000 lights, 25 colour projectors and 83,000 litres of water are choreographed to classic Arabian music and modern music tracks.  It really is something not to be missed whilst you are in Dubai!

Imagine watching this spectacular show from the water!  Well, anything is possible in Dubai and so why not book this 30-minute traditional abra boat cruise around the Burj Lake?   This is the closest you will get to this amazing spectacle and is a unique experience you and your kids will remember for ever!

6. Global Village, Dubai

Global Village is a Dubai attraction where you can explore many cultures and countries around the world.  There are different pavilions for each of the countries being showcased where you can discover different artisans, shop for regional handicrafts, eat local cuisine and enjoy authentic entertainment.  Popular pavilions include Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Europe.

This is an atmospheric place to visit at night and kids will love exploring and learning about the different cultures and traditions of each of the countries.

If you want to take a break from the bustle of the Dubai and its exciting experiences, here is a selection of relaxing things to do in Dubai .  Equally, if you are looking for calm things to do in Dubai with kids , these are suggestions that they will still enjoy!

1. Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden

The Dubai Miracle Garden is a beautiful flower garden in the desert, and you won’t be surprised to learn that it is the world’s largest flower garden !  This 72,000 square meter floral sanctuary is the perfect place to spend a few hours relaxing away from the heat of the city landscape during the winter months.  It features more than 50 million flowers and more than 70 species of flowering plants!

There are seasonal and permanent fixtures in the Dubai Miracle Garden including the floral A380 Emirates aeroplane .  It’s the world’s largest flower structure and is covered in more than 500,000 fresh flowers and living plants!  Look out for the big teddy bear, Mickey Mouse and the floral clock!  If you are looking for things to do in Dubai with kids, this is sure to be a winner!


The Dubai Miracle Garden is situated in Dubailand, approximately 25 mintues by road from Downtown Dubai.  To enjoy a fabulous day out, why not book this complete experience which includes return transfers from any hotel within the city limits of Dubai.  It includes tickets to the Dubai Miracle Garden and the Global Village mentioned above! Click here for ticket prices .

2. The Green Planet, Dubai

Another amazing and relaxing green space in the desert is The Green Planet in Dubai.  Within this bio-dome is an incredible indoor tropical rainforest with over 3,000 plants and animals.  In the centre is the world’s largest indoor man-made and life-sustaining tree! 


This is a great visit for any age group.  However, kids are sure to enjoy learning about the layers of the rainforest in this fabulous immersive experience.

3. Dubai Parks

Amongst the shiny skyscrapers of Dubai, there are many green spaces to enjoy individually, as a couple, with friends or with kids.  Dubai parks are beautifully manicured and maintained!

Al Barsha Park, Dubai

The Al Barsha Park is a 52-acre park which surrounds a large man-made pond.  Here you can relax in the park or be a little more energetic.  You can hire pedal or solar-powered boats, along with pedal go-karts, bikes and e-scooters.


Al Ittihad Park, Dubai (Palm Jumeirah Park)

The Al Ittihad Park is located on the trunk of the Palm Jumeirah and is also known as the Palm Jumeirah Park .  It is uniquely situated under a 3.2 km stretch of the Palm Monorail.

Al Khazzan Park, Dubai

The Al Khazzan Park is situated opposite Dubai’s City Walk .  Once you’ve finished shopping, it’s the perfect place to chill out and relax.

Mushrif Park, Dubai

Mushrif Park is one of the city’s oldest public parks.  Within the park, visitors can enjoy a barbecue or picnic, swimming, plus camel and horse-riding.  There is also a tree-top adventure course called Aventura .  Mushrif Park is also home to an international village which showcases different houses from around world. 

4. Love Lake Dubai, Al Qudra

Another quiet oasis to relax away from the city is the 550,000 square meter Love Lake which is also known as Al Qudra .  This hidden gem is situated in the desert, 45 minutes by road from Downtown Dubai.  This peaceful Dubai attraction is the perfect place to enjoy time with friends, family and loved ones. 

Around the Love Lake are tracks stretching over a 7 km distance which are ideal for walkers, joggers and cyclists.  This is a great place to enjoy a stunning sunset and be close to nature.   Within the park, there are over 16,000 trees and plants, plus many species of birds which enjoy the lake habitat. 

This is such a romantic spot as well!  There are heart symbols all over the park and trees have even been planted to spell out the word ‘love’!

5. Dubai Beaches

Another way of relaxing is to head to one of the fantastic Dubai beaches .  Dubai has a mixture of private and public beaches.  In addition to relaxing on the spotlessly clean fine sandy beaches, you can enjoy the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf.  Here is a selection of Dubai beaches to check out during your stay:


The Beach, Dubai

The Beach is located opposite JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residences) and is the biggest and perhaps the busiest beach in Dubai.  The Beach has many facilities including a lifeguard, showers and changing rooms, beach bed rentals and many places to buy food and drink.

Umm Suqeim Beach (Sunset Beach), Dubai

Umm Suqeim Beach is a great beach to relax on if you want to capture some fantastic pictures of the Burj Al Arab hotel.  It is one of the quieter beaches in Dubai and is a great spot to chill out and enjoy the sun, sand and sea.

Kite Beach, Dubai


Kite Beach is a wide beach found at the northern end of the Umm Suqeim beach.  It’s the perfect place to enjoy a wide range of water sports and is particularly popular for kite surfing. 

If you’re feeling energetic and want to exercise on land, there are also many other activities including skate parks and a 14 km running track.  Kite Beach is also known for its food trucks and food stalls which sell tasty dishes.

Al Mamzar Beach Park, Dubai

The Al Mamzar Beach is great for families and has 5 immaculate beaches manned by lifeguards which are perfect for a lazy day sunbathing and swimming.  In addition, there are three swimming pools, attractive barbecue areas, landscaped playgrounds and lagoons.

There is a small charge per person to enjoy the beach and park facilities at Al Mamzar Beach Park (AED5 per person or AED30 per car) and for the swimming pools (AED10 per adult and AED5 per child).

Black Palace Beach (Al Sufouh Beach)

To the right of the Black Palace Beach , you will see the famous Burj Al Arab hotel and to the left the Palm Jumeirah.  This is a quiet beach with shallow waters, but no facilities so make sure you bring what you need for your relaxing day on the sands away from the city!


Although Dubai has a reputation for being an expensive place to visit, the great thing about this city is that there are many places to visit in Dubai for free .  There are also experiences in Dubai which are inexpensive and won’t break the bank.

1. Dubai Fountain

Firstly, the famous Dubai Fountain show is free to watch.  You can enjoy the world’s largest performing fountain show from many vantage points on the Dubai Fountain Boardwalk .  You will be just 9 m from the fountains!

2. Dubai Beaches & Dubai Malls

Secondly, many of the fabulous Dubai beaches are free to visit and enjoy. When you have had enough of the beach, you can enjoy some relief in one of the 65 air-conditioned Dubai malls . 

Of course, Dubai malls are no ordinary shopping malls, and each have unique characteristics.  Take time to window shop and discover their hidden secrets for free!  From the halls of The Dubai Mall, you can enjoy watching sea animals without paying anything!

3. Dubai Creek


There are also many fantastic parks in Dubai where you can enjoy a picnic under a palm tree.  Creek Park is perfectly located on the edge of the Dubai Creek and is the second largest park in Dubai.

Once you’ve finished your picnic, you can explore the Dubai Souks on either side of the Dubai Creek in Bur Dubai and Deira.  For just AED1, you can enjoy a boat trip across the creek on a traditional abra or water taxi.

4. Dubai Love Lake

Finally, if you want to escape the bustle of Dubai, why not head to Al Qudra which is also known as the Love Lake ?  From above, the Love Lake looks like two interlocking hearts.  Al Qudra is an eco-friendly park which is a unique place to relax and enjoy nature, have a picnic and experience stunning sunsets in the desert! 

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Sarah de Winne

Sarah De Winne creates and edits content for the Off the Tourist Treadmill and Enjoy Retirement Life blogging websites and YouTube channels.  She has a professional background in education and is passionate about sharing quality and engaging information.  Sarah currently lives in the south-east of England in the UK.

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25 best things to do in Dubai

Jun 4, 2021 • 12 min read

Textile souk crowded with people at daytime, Bur Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Whether it's in a souk or a mall, shopping in Dubai is an essential experience © Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

If you're planning to visit Dubai, you'll find a stirring mix of profound traditions and futuristic vision wrapped into starkly evocative desert splendour.

You won't be short of things to do in the sci-fi-esque land of iconic skyscrapers, palm-shaped islands, city-sized malls and palatial beach resorts. Dubai embraces sunshine, innovation and cultural dynamism, and is known as a shopping haven with a vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene. Here are some great things to do to make the most from your trip.

Burj Khalifa

Dubai is famous for its dramatic skyscrapers, and above them all looms the Burj Khalifa , shaped like a deep-space rocket and, at 828m, the world's tallest building. It's a stunning feat of architecture and engineering, and a trip to the observation deck on the 124th floor (1483ft) is the most popular way to take in the amazing views it offers. You can also buy tickets for "At the Top Sky" on the 148th floor, which is the world's highest outdoor observation deck at 1820ft.

Footsteps in desert sand heading towards skyscrapers of the Dubai city skyline at daw

Clad in 28,000 glass panels, the Burj Khalifa also lays claim to several more superlatives, including the highest occupied floor and an elevator with the longest travel distance. On hazy days, it’s better to visit at night.

Al Fahidi Historic District

Wandering around this restored heritage area in Bur Dubai provides a tangible sense of historic Middle Eastern architecture and culture. Low-lying traditional courtyard buildings flank this quiet labyrinth of lanes in Al Fahidi Historic District , many of them featuring arabesque windows, decorative gypsum screens and wind towers.

Some contain craft shops, small heritage museums, art galleries, artsy guesthouses or cafés serving local fare, including Middle Eastern breakfasts and camel milk smoothies. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding leads guided tours of the quarter.

Dubai Miracle Garden

Covering some 2000 sq metres and touted as the largest natural flower garden in the world, there’s a sense of Alice in Wonderland–esque surrealism when entering Dubai Miracle Garden . Wander past quirky bloom-covered peacocks, clocks and castles, or alternatively, chill out in a cabana with billowing drapes and floor cushions.

Home to 100 million flowers, and adjacent to the enormous nine-dome Dubai Butterfly Garden, it is incredibly popular, attracting 55,000 visitors a week. There are food outlets on site as well as a souvenir shop and small trampoline park.

The Village of Flowers at Dubai Miracle Garden

Shop 'til you drop

Shopping malls represent an integral part of the culture and lifestyle in Dubai. Not merely places for maxing out your credit cards on fashion, electronics or gourmet foods, malls are also where locals go to socialize in cafés and restaurants, to catch a movie in a state-of-the-art multiplex or to get adrenaline kicks in an indoor theme park or game arcade. The best and biggest of the bunch is Dubai Mall, which features not only 1300 stores but also a giant aquarium, an indoor ice rink and a genuine dinosaur skeleton.

Serious shoppers can check out the Dubai Shopping Festival, which lures bargain-hunters from around the world. It takes place in January each year, and there are huge discounts in the souqs and malls. The city is abuzz with activities during the festival, ranging from live concerts to fashion shows and nightly fireworks.

Mushrif National Park

One of the oldest parks in Dubai, Mushrif National Park covers more than 5 sq km of natural ghaf forest. Mushrif is located around 15km east of the city centre, and is a haven for birds, including owls, Orphean warblers, hoopoes and black redstarts. Dating from 1974, the park has plenty of manmade attractions as well, including walking trails and bicycle tracks, a large children's playground, a swimming pool and barbecue pits.

Read more: The 9 best parks in Dubai

Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

On the outskirts of Sharjah , the 225 sq km Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve accounts for 5% of the Emirate of Dubai's total land. The reserve was established in 1999 and has been involved in projects to reintroduce mountain gazelles, sand gazelles and Arabian oryx.

It's possible to stay inside the reserve at Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa , which was designed for superluxe ecotourism. The reserve is divided into four zones, the third of which is only open to resort guests and the fourth to a small number of desert tour operators, including Arabian Adventures , offering a less costly admission than overnighting at the resort.

IMG Worlds of Adventure

In 2016, Dubai added four theme parks to its stable of attractions, including IMG Worlds of Adventure , the world's largest indoor theme park. Housed in an air-conditioned hangar the size of 28 football fields, the park is truly impressive, with more than 20 rides and attractions split across four themed zones – Marvel, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard. You won't go hungry as there are 28 dining outlets to choose from.

Etihad Museum

Opened in 2017, the striking Etihad Museum engagingly chronicles the birth of the United Arab Emirates in 1971, spurred by the discovery of oil in the 1950s and the withdrawal of the British in 1968.

Documentary films, photographs, artifacts, timelines and interactive displays zero in on historic milestones in the years leading up to and immediately following this momentous occasion, and they pay homage to the country's seven founding fathers. Free tours of the adjacent circular Union House are available, which is where the historic signing of the Constitution of the United Arab Emirates took place.

For a dose of Arabian Nights flair, head to Dubai's historic core and plunge headlong into its charmingly chaotic warren of markets. The famed headliner is the dazzling Gold Souq . Even if you don't have a thing for bling, a walk through here will feel like you've entered a giant Aladdin's Cave. It's fun to just watch the action, especially in the evening. If you're buying, sharpen your haggling skills, no matter whether shopping for teensy earrings, an engagement ring or a dowry-worthy necklace.

Deira Gold Souq gold market in Dubai

White Dubai

Dazzling rooftop bars, chill beachfront lounges, classic pubs, cool karaoke joints, speakeasy-style nightclubs, live-music venues – with such variety, finding a party location to suit your mood is hardly a tall order in Dubai. One of the biggest draws for nocturnal action is White Dubai. The mega-venue with its impressive light and sound systems sits smack dab on top of the grandstand of the Meydan Racecourse.

Desert escapes

The Arabian desert, with its weathered mountains, undulating sand dunes and wide open spaces, exudes a special mystique that can easily be savored on a day trip from urbanized Dubai. There are numerous tour operators to set you up with everything from camel treks to sandboarding or overnight safaris. The best ones offer an authentic look at local culture through encounters with Bedouins and traditional meals. Alternatively, consider hiring a 4WD and staying at a desert resort, so you can appreciate the magnificent scenery on your own schedule.

Read more: Top 9 day trips from Dubai

Arabic men drinking coffee inside a traditional Bedouin tent

Dubai Museum

Housed in Bur Dubai's Al Fahidi Fort, the city's oldest surviving structure, Dubai Museum, provides a well-laid-out introduction to the history of the emirate. Marvel at its turbo-evolution from simple desert settlement to futuristic metropolis in just a third of a century. Dioramas recreate traditional scenes in a market, at home and in the mosque, while other galleries focus on life at sea and in the desert. An archaeological exhibition illustrates the ancient history of the region with a display of items unearthed during excavations at local digs.

Dubai Design District

This hub for creatives lures visitors with its edgy architecture, contemporary restaurants, public art, galleries and calendar of cultural events. Visitors to Dubai Design District can tap into this laboratory of tastemakers by browsing showrooms and pop-ups, eavesdropping on bearded hipsters in sleek cafés, checking out art exhibits in building lobbies, or attending free screenings and workshops. The week-long Dubai Design Week is held there in November, with an extensive offering of talks, workshops, masterclasses and kids' activities.

Dubai Butterfly Garden

If you want to deepen your knowledge of these pretty flying insects, pop into the Dubai Butterfly Museum , located next to the Dubai Miracle Garden. Some 15,000 butterflies flutter around nine indoor domed gardens, and you can see for yourself how they begin as caterpillars and evolve into their flying adaptations. Don’t miss the Butterfly and Insect Museum, which features in-depth analysis and information about thousands of colorful butterfly species from around the world.

Dubai Butterfly Garden in the UAE

Museum of Illusions

It opened in 2018 and the Museum of Illusions in the Al Seef district is fast becoming a favorite for families and Instagram fans. Kids will love the 150-plus illusions, including the rooms of mirrors, distorted perspective and various other optical illusions, while parents can take memorably wacky photos. Avoid visiting at weekends if possible, as visitors are restricted by number and you may have to wait your turn.

Jumeirah Mosque

Snowy white and intricately detailed, Jumeirah is Dubai's most beautiful mosque and one of only a handful in the United Arab Emirates open to non-Muslims. It's particularly beautiful at dusk and visitors are allowed in six days a week. One-hour guided tours are operated by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding , and while modest dress is preferred, traditional clothing can be borrowed for free.

Dubai Fountain

The dancing Dubai Fountain is spectacularly set in the middle of a giant lake against the backdrop of the glittering Burj Khalifa. Water undulates as gracefully as a belly dancer, arcs like a dolphin and surges as high as 140m, all synced to stirring classical, Arabic and world music soundtracks played on speakers. There are plenty of great vantage points, including a 272m-long floating boardwalk, which takes you just 9m away from the fountain.

Other good viewing spots include some of the restaurants at Souk Al Bahar , the bridge linking Souk Al Bahar with Dubai Mall, the Dubai Mall waterfront terrace, or aboard a 25-minute Dubai Fountain Lake Ride on a traditional wooden abra boat.

People watching the display at the Dubai Fountain

Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

The long-running annual Emirates Airline Festival of Literature brings authors and thousands of book fans together to celebrate all things reading and writing. Held over nine days in March, the festival hosts talks, discussions, panels and a special program just for children, with many activities free to attend. It offers attendees a chance to meet local and world-famous authors, attend literary debates and workshops, participate in competitions and be inspired by their literary heroes.

Global Village

The carnival-like Global Village is a bit like a ‘world fair’ for shoppers, and you'll find it on Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (E311). Each of the 30-something pavilions showcases a specific nation’s culture and products. Aside from shopping, there's also lots of entertainment – from Chinese opera to Turkish whirling dervishes – as well as a funfair with dozens of rides from tame to terrifying.

Burj Al Arab

This landmark luxe hotel, with its dramatic design that mimics the billowing sail of a ship, floats on its own artificial island and has become the iconic symbol of Dubai’s boom years. The Burj Al Arab's interior is all about impact, drama and unapologetic bling, with dancing fountains, gold fittings, shiny marble and whirlpool baths your butler can fill with champagne if you so wish. If a stay exceeds your budget, you can still partake in the opulence by making reservations for cocktails, afternoon tea or dinner in the underwater restaurant.

Dubai Frame

A gigantic rectangular picture frame in the middle of a green park

Opened in January 2018, this 150m rectangular 'picture frame' sits in Zabeel Park , right between historic and modern Dubai, and provides grand views of both parts of the city. Galleries on the ground floor of Dubai Frame tell the story of Dubai (the past) before visitors are whisked up to a viewing platform at roof level (the present). The final stop is another gallery depicting a vision of Dubai 50 years from now (the future).

Al Qudra Lake

One for the nature lovers, Al Qudra Lake is a series of man-made lakes set amidst the rolling dunes of the Saih Al Salam desert on Dubai’s southern outskirts. Part of the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, the surrounding area is unspoiled. Swap skyscrapers for wide open dunes and oasis-like pools where you can spot plenty of free-roaming wildlife, more than 100 species of birds and several desert plants.

This long, pristine stretch of white sand, off Jumeirah Road and next to a mosque, is superclean and has lots of activities, including kitesurfing, beach tennis, beach volleyball and kayaking. There are showers, wi-fi, toilets and changing facilities on Kite Beach , plus lots of food trucks and cafés. It offers great views of the Burj Al Arab, and gets very busy on Friday and Saturday when a seaside market with crafts and gifts sets up.

A kite beach full of kite surfers in Jumeirah with the Burj Al Arab in the background.

Perfume Museum

The waterfront Perfume Museum is part of the Al Shindagha Museum restoration project and is the former home of a Dubai sheikha who loved all things perfume. The old building has been restored and its interactive exhibits are based around scent, smells and fragrance. Keep your entry ticket and you’ll get free access to the nearby Dubai Creek House .

Steps from the Deira Old Souk abra station, the sound of Arabic chatter bounces around the lanes of this covered market. Dubai's famous Spice Souk is filled with intoxicating sights and smells. Its vendors work hard to unload cardamom, saffron and other aromatic herbs photogenically stored in burlap sacks alongside nuts, incense burners, henna kits, shishas and dried limes. Away from the tourist-oriented main thoroughfare, tiny shops also sell groceries and other household goods.

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5 things you should know before visiting Dubai

Ben Smithson

I've flown through both Dubai (DXB) and Abu Dhabi (AUH) several times but never managed to stop properly and explore the area. Earlier this month, with the weather cooling down in the U.K., I jumped at the chance to spend some time in the United Arab Emirates where the sun was shining and the temperature was a pleasant 80 degrees each day. I did plenty of research before visiting and thought I knew a fair bit about Dubai already, but here are some things I only learned while there that you should know before visiting too.

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It's a huge, spread out city

While DXB Airport is close to the northern parts of the city like Deira, the city itself is enormous. I was surprised at just how spread out it was and this meant travelling great distances from one part to another.

I would classify the area around Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, as roughly the "centre" of Dubai, but the city spreads for many miles north and south of this area. If there's no traffic you can zip around fairly quickly but you can also be stuck in traffic jams for a long time. Trying to get out of Dubai Marina back to Sheik Zayed Road on a Saturday evening for example meant moving only 150 feet in 20 minutes and traffic was backed up in all directions. I ended up getting out of the car and just walking as it was quicker.

You may already know Dubai is not a particularly walkable city, but even in a car or taking the metro system, depending on where you are going you can still expect to spend quite a bit of time getting there because of the vast distances.

Top tip: The Dubai metro system is cheap, clean, air conditioned and efficient. Be aware that it has limited hours though -- for example the Mall of the Emirates Metro station closes before the mall does.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

Alcohol is available, but very expensive

While there aren't bars on every corner like in the U.S. and many cafes and restaurants will not serve alcohol due to Muslim traditions and local laws in the city, you can certainly find alcohol if you do wish to drink. You just need to look a bit harder for it. Venues serving alcohol in Dubai must be attached to hotels or private clubs and it's illegal to drink in public spaces.

If having a drink is a key part of your vacation, be prepared for some very high prices. The huge taxes on imported alcohol in the UAE are passed right on to the consumer and if you are combining that with the traditional mark-ups for high-end hotels and resorts you may gasp when you see the menu and convert the dirhams to dollars. You can easily expect to pay $12-plus for a beer (think Heineken) or a standard glass of wine.

I found spirits to be comparatively reasonable -- cocktails in beach bars were also around $12 each, which is not dissimilar to New York prices. Most bars and clubs will do happy hour from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. where cocktails will be 2-for-1, which is a great option if you want an affordable alcoholic drink.

If you are doing a month of not drinking, such as a 'Dry January' or a 'February Fast', but still want a sunny beach holiday, Dubai can be an excellent choice. I'm not drinking all this month and because the alcohol was largely hidden away from sight in Dubai I didn't miss the booze at all.

Out of sight, out of mind.

Top tip: If you want to drink affordably, consider stocking up on duty-free liquor when you land in Dubai. Alternatively, there are Ladies Nights virtually every night of the week at various bars and clubs where women can drink either free, or very cheaply.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

There's endless things to do

I had always thought of Dubai as a stopover city where you could stop, flop and recharge for a day or two before continuing your journey.

But you could easily spend a week in Dubai and not get bored. There is so much to do. I'm not a big shopper, so spending all day in a huge mall wandering aimlessly from shop to shop had little appeal to me. Fortunately there's plenty of other activities like water parks, beaches, indoor snow skiing, desert safaris, boat rides, old-fashioned souks, fountain shows, mosques and an enormous variety of restaurants and cafes from all over the world.

I can see why Dubai is so popular with American travelers, especially this time of year. It has consistently excellent weather, its very safe and easy to visit, everyone speaks English and there's plenty of activities no matter what your interests.

And if you somehow run out of activities, Abu Dhabi with its spectacular Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque is only an hour down the road.

Top tip: A dhow boat ride across Dubai Creek is an affordable and fun way to see old Dubai from a different perspective before visiting the souks for a spot of haggling.

Read more : Is Kuwait the world's most boring tourist destination? I went to find out

The Palm Jumeirah Island in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Skydive Dubai/Getty Images)

It's one of the most multicultural places in the world

Think New York is diverse? Around 90% of the population living in Dubai are expats from different countries. Combine that with millions of tourists visiting each year from all over the world thanks to Emirates and FlyDubai's huge route networks, and you have a rich mix of people and a truly global city.

As a tourist, I felt incredibly welcome and comfortable (a stark difference to my recent visit to Pakistan) as it felt like most people there were from a different country. This mix of people meant a fabulous influence on the shopping, dining and cultural activities in Dubai.

Top tip: Step out of your comfort zone and try some cuisine you might not have tried before. I dined one evening at a Syrian restaurant. I don't think I had ever eaten Syrian food -- it was delicious and a wonderful experience.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

The public beaches aren't a highlight

With hot sunshine each day I jumped at the chance to check out some of the local beaches. I learned that most beaches in Dubai are man made. Some of the five-star luxury resorts have beautiful beaches but as my hotel didn't, I tried out a couple of the public beaches.

The result? They weren't amazing.

The sand and the water itself was okay but in terms of views and ambience you can expect cranes, construction and man-made breakwaters. La Mer is a decent set-up because there's a huge number of cafes and restaurants nearby though the beach itself is very small and likely to be absolutely packed like it was when I visited. I liked the beach area five minutes south of the La Mer precinct -- while there was not much in the way of dining and shopping facilities it was quiet, peaceful and reasonably picturesque.

I was excited to visit Jumeirah Beach with the iconic view of the Burj Al-Arab hotel in the background. This proved to be a poor choice as it's a physically unattractive beach with lots of construction around. The iconic view of the hotel was marred by the trucks, rubbish and fencing in between the beach and the hotel.

Top tip: If the beaches aren't to your liking but you want to splash around there are some great waterparks in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi like the epic Atlantis Aquaventure at The Palm hotel or Wild Wadi located near the Burj Al Arab.

Read more : The Ultimate Guide to Emirates First Class

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

Bottom line

Dubai has something for everyone, and I can see why it's such a popular place for travelers, especially at this time of year. Given how spread out it is and how much there is to do, it's a good idea to do some homework before you so can have an idea of what you want to do, and how to get there.

Is Dubai Worth Visiting: 33 Reasons to Go to the Desert City

  • Post author: Naddya
  • Post category: City Travel
  • Post published: May 31, 2023

If you’ve been debating whether to add the City of Gold to your travel wish list, let us tell you this:

Dubai is worth visiting for its futuristic infrastructure, turbulent growth, luxury shopping, unparalleled museums, and fantastic beaches. You should travel to the Emirati city for the huge aquariums, the indoor ski slopes, the record-breaking Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Burj Al Arab, and The Palm.

In this article, you’ll discover the top 33 reasons to visit Dubai .

From the glitzy lodging to the traditional lifestyle, and from the jaw-dropping architecture to the adrenaline-pumping activities, discover why you should travel to Dubai.

Let’s dive in!

Start Planning Your Trip to Dubai with Our BEST Recommendations:

⭐ Top Tours in Dubai ⭐

📍 Burj Khalifa Dubai – see the city from the deck of the tallest building in the world.

📍 Dubai Helicopter Tour – experience the most exhilarating views of Dubai’s skyline.

⭐ Best Accommodations in Dubai ⭐

🏨 Armani Hotel – spoil yourself with a luxurious stay inside Burj Khalifa.

🏨 Gevora Hotel – if you love sweeping vistas, stay at the highest hotel in Dubai.

⭐ Easiest Transportation Options in Dubai ⭐

🚍 Dubai Hop-on Hop-off Bus – the best way to explore the city at your own pace.

🚍 Discover Cars – compare and find the best rates for car rentals in any destination.

Note : This article contains affiliate links . In case you purchase something through one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost for you. Thank you for helping us keep creating the free content on this website!

Visit Dubai for the Unparalleled Landmarks

The City of Gold boasts several record-breaking attractions . In the following section, discover the landmarks that make Dubai worth visiting.

  • Burj Khalifa . Holding multiple world records, Burj Khalifa is a true architectural masterpiece. It’s the tallest skyscraper, the tallest freestanding building, and the structure with the most floors on the planet. Burj Khalifa houses the luxurious Armani Hotel , the highest observation tower worldwide, and thousands of offices. To visit the observation deck and admire the staggering views of Dubai, book your ticket here . Best time to visit? An hour before sunset to watch the sun melt on the horizon.
  • Burj Al Arab . Luxury is one of the top things Dubai is famous for . No wonder its most deluxe hotel is a landmark on its own. The incredible design, the location on its own island, and the Rolls-Royce and helicopter shuttles make Burj Al Arab the definition of luxe. Don’t want to spend a fortune on sleeping there?  You can still marvel at the mind-bending hotel during this entertaining tour .
  • Dubai Frame . The largest frame in the world is a metaphorical bridge between the Emirate’s rich past and its magnificent present. Dubai Frame is an observatory, a museum, and a monument. Located in Zabeel Park, it “frames” New and Old Dubai. The observation deck spans the top of the frame. Through the glass floors, you can look down 492 ft. (150 m). Tickets are available via this link .
  • Palm Jumeirah . The manmade archipelago is Dubai’s most recognizable neighborhood. The authorities created the islands by reclaiming land from the sea. The coolest way to visit Palm Jumeirah is using the driverless, 3.4-mi (5.4-km) long monorail. It’s the first of its kind in the Middle East. On the tip of the palm-tree-shaped archipelago, you’ll see the stunning Atlantis Hotel . You can’t mistake its seashell-pink arches and imposing turrets. In the complex, an aquarium, a water park, and a private beach will pamper you.
  • The Dubai Fountain . Don’t miss the otherworldly performance at the Dubai Fountain . The music and light shows are one of the best things to do in Dubai . The spectacle takes place every day at 12:30 PM and from 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM. To secure a good viewing spot, arrive several minutes before the start. The spectacle is worth the wait. Illuminated by more than 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors, the fountains shoot water up to 500 ft. (152.4 m) into the air. The stunning choreography follows a mix of international, classical, and modern Arabic music pieces.
  • Dubai Miracle Garden . One of the craziest facts about Dubai is that the desert city hosts the largest natural flower garden on the planet. Dubai Miracle Garden boasts 50 million flowers and 250 million plants on an area of 780,000 sq. ft. (72,000 sq. m). Skillful landscape architects create new mind-boggling flower sculptures every season. So, even if you’ve already been to the Dubai Miracle Garden, make sure to include it on your next trip’s itinerary as well.
  • Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo . The aquarium’s 10-million-liter tank provides a home to more than 140 species. You can observe thousands of aquatic animals, among which 400+ sharks and rays, in Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo . If you’re brave enough, you can join the thrilling cage snorkeling or shark dives. Satiate your water sports cravings by grabbing your ticket online .

Travel to Dubai for the Fascinating Museums

Past and future co-exist in the city’s fantastic museums . Let’s find out which collections make Dubai worth exploring.

  • Museum of the Future . If you’re seeking a glimpse into the future of technology and design, you should pay the Museum of the Future a visit. Located in the Financial District, the museum consists of three main elements: a building, a green hill, and a void. The exhibitions explore the latest advancements in AI and biotechnology. The museum offers a chance to see cutting-edge robots and VR, making it a prime destination for tech enthusiasts. Whether you’re interested in the future or simply looking for a unique experience, the Museum of the Future won’t disappoint.
  • Dubai Museum . Situated in the Al Fahidi Fort, Dubai Museum is a fascinating historical landmark that dates back to 1787. As the oldest existing building in Dubai, the fort is a testament to the city’s rich history and heritage. The museum’s edifice is beautifully restored and air-conditioned. The exhibition space provides you with a comfortable and informative environment to explore the traditional way of life and the history of the Emirate of Dubai.
  • Coffee Museum . If you’re a coffee lover, you shouldn’t miss the Coffee Museum . Located in a gorgeous building, which blends regional and oriental architecture, the museum will welcome you with its chill atmosphere. After learning about the cultivation and production of the precious beverage, head to the cozy café. Choose your favorite sort of fragrant beans. Then, treat your taste buds to an Arabic, Ethiopian, or Japanese-style coffee. The best part about the Coffee Museum? It has free entrance.
  • House of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum . Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum al Maktoum, the former ruler of Dubai, resided in this building. Built in 1896, the house showcases the city’s marine history, pearl diving industry, and traditional way of life. Its beautiful courtyard features intricate Arabic designs and a water fountain. You can explore the lavish interior filled with antiques, photographs, and artifacts.
  • Heritage Village . The open-air Heritage Village museum displays traditional Arabian architecture and Bedouin life. You can observe craftsmen demonstrating their skills in weaving and pottery-making. You can also shop for souvenirs and local handicrafts at the on-site market. The village boasts a replica of a traditional souk and a mosque, as well as a museum that features archaeological artifacts and historical exhibits. The Heritage Village is a great place to learn about Dubai’s past and experience the city’s rich cultural heritage.
  • Etihad Museum . This museum is dedicated to the founding of the United Arab Emirates and represents the country’s cultural heritage. You can explore the immersive exhibitions and get a glimpse into the Emirati past through interactive displays, photographs, and artifacts. The Etihad Museum’s building itself is an architectural marvel. It features a unique design in the shape of a manuscript that signifies the signing of the U.A.E.’s constitution.
  • Dubai Pearl Museum . Most of the big merchant dynasties in the Gulf accumulated their fortunes from the pearling industry. It comes as no surprise that the Dubai Pearl Museum is home to one of the most exquisite pearl collections worldwide. Learn about the profitable trade through its pearl and coin collections. The entrance is free, but you should book your visit two days in advance via this link .

Go to Dubai for the Unparalleled Shopping Opportunities

Besides great deals, the shopping arcades in the City of Gold offer unparalleled entertainment as well. Explore the shopping malls and souks Dubai is worth traveling below.

  • Dubai Mall . Another record-breaking edifice, which makes Dubai worth visiting, is the world’s largest shopping mall. Dubai Mall houses the Dubai Aquarium, an Olympic-size ice rink, a 150 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton, one of the largest bookshops in the world, tons of fast-food and high-end restaurants, and a whopping 1,200+ stores. The shopping center is also one of the best places to observe the magnificent shows of the Dubai Fountain.
  • Mall of the Emirates . The most famous feature of the Mall of the Emirates is its net of ski slopes. No, we’re not joking. In Dubai, you can go skiing in the middle of the desert. The ski slopes are open all year round, even when the outside temperatures are over 100° F (38° C). If you’re not a ski fan, more than 600 stores will surely satiate your shopping appetite.
  • Dubai Gold Souk . Don’t miss this bustling bazaar if you enjoy the sight of intricate golden jewels. An elegant wooden arch marks the entrance to the Dubai Gold Souk . In its alleys, you can browse through over 380 stores selling sparkling jewelry. The souk is in the district of Deira, which is one of the best areas to stay in Dubai .
  • Dubai Spice Souk . Looking for an exhilarating experience for your senses? Then, head to the Old Souk also known as Dubai Spice Souk . Walking around the mountains of fragrant herbs and spices is a colorful, aromatic, and sensory adventure. Stroll around the diverse stalls and chat with the vendors. They’ll give you indispensable ideas on how to incorporate exotic flavors in your kitchen. To save money, buy the spices in bulk.
  • Al Seef . Along the charming Dubai Creek, you’ll find a lively open-air shopping arcade. Al Seef spans more than 1.1 mi (1.8 km). Its Heritage Souk offers an endless choice of traditional handicrafts, souvenirs, and jewelry by regional craftsmen. Al Seef is great for enjoying the captivating allure of Old Dubai while shopping, dining, or appreciating the typical Emirati architecture.
  • BurJuman Centre . Although not as famous and shiny as Dubai Mall or the Mall of the Emirates, BurJuman Centre has its unique charm. Located in Bur Dubai, it’s one of the oldest shopping arcades in the city. The mall boasts luxury outlets, international brands, fitness, a VOX cinema, and an array of international cuisine restaurants.
  • Dubai Festival City Mall . This mall is popular for its spectacular light shows. Dubai Festival City Mall features 400+ stores, including international fashion brands, home furnishing stores, electronics outlets, and a variety of dining options. The shopping center is also home to several entertainment venues, including a 12-screen cinema, an indoor theme park, and a large outdoor waterfront area with a musical fountain. Inside the mall, you’ll discover the Sugar Factory. Visit it for some of Dubai’s most Insta-worthy desserts.
  • City Centre Deira . As one of the oldest shopping arcades in Dubai, City Centre Deira has a loyal fanbase. Popular fashion brands, electronics outlets, an extensive food court, and a fitness studio entertain visitors. Many locals and tourists love the mall for its awesome discount shops. Apart from that, City Centre Deira is known for its modern and stylish design. The large central atrium features a stunning domed skylight.

Discover Dubai for its Delectable Treats

Grab a napkin and let’s dive into the most finger-licking dishes you should sample when visiting Dubai.

  • Dates . The delicious fruits are a traditional part of Emirati culture. U.A.E. is among the top date producers in the world. 96% of the country’s fruits are grown in Dubai. You’ll find countless offers in supermarkets, cafés, and souks. From fresh dates to fruits filled with gourmet ingredients, you should try dates at least once on your trip to Dubai. Our recommendation is the chocolate-dipped dates, sprinkled with pistachios.
  • Camel products . Camels play a huge part in the Bedouin culture. Apart from work animals, they’re also farmed for their lean meat and healthy milk. You can purchase camel milk in most Dubai supermarkets. Try the flavored one as pure camel milk has a distinctive taste that might not be to your liking. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try the decadent camel milk ice cream, camel meat burgers, and camel milk chocolate.
  • Baklava . You can try baklava all over the Middle East. That shouldn’t stop you from ordering it in Dubai as well. Arabian baklava is smaller, drier, and different in taste from the Turkish one. It’s not as drenched in sugar syrup as other sorts, making it lighter and easier to digest.
  • Margoogat . This iconic dish from Dubai is a meaty, tomato-based stew. In margoogat , lamb or chicken meat joins forces with baby marrow, potatoes, and herbs. The meat simmers slowly in the tomato-based broth until it becomes tender and flavorful.
  • Gahwa . If you’re looking to explore traditional drinks in Dubai, the first beverage you should try is gahwa . It’s basically Arabic coffee and is considered the Emirati’s welcome drink. If you visit a household in the U.A.E., you’ll be greeted with a cup of gahwa. Some hotels also offer the drink for free in their lobbies. Pair it with some dates or baklava for the ultimate seduction.
  • Carob juice . One of the healthiest and most unusual beverages you can sample in Dubai’s cafés and restaurants is carob juice . It not only tastes amazing. Carob juice also boasts a ton of vitamins and minerals, which will make your body feel fantastic in the desert heat.

Vacation in Dubai for the Incredible Extreme Activities

The extreme activities in the city make Dubai a great place to vacation for any thrill-seeker out there. Learn where to pump your adrenaline in the section below.

  • Helicopter flight . You haven’t truly seen Dubai until you have discovered it from a birds-eye perspective. Take a helicopter flight to marvel at the jaw-dropping Palm Jumeirah, fly over Dubai Canal and Jumeirah Beach, and get a closer look at the record-breakers Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab. To enjoy this unparalleled experience, book your seat here .
  • Diving . Wanna put your body to the ultimate diving test? Deep Dive Dubai has the deepest pool in the world. In the record-breaking facility, you dive into another dimension. The 197-ft. (60 m) deep pool gives you a chance to discover the depth of your diving potential. Whether you like to try scuba diving, snorkeling, or freediving, explore a world full of wonder by booking your dive in advance here .
  • Dune bashing . The favorite adventure of the Emirati is dune bashing . Join a tour, which will take you outside of Dubai. There, you’ll conquer the iconic red dunes of the Lehbab Desert. The exhilarating safari tour also includes riding or feeding a camel, smoking shisha, and enjoying a delectable BBQ. Belly dancers and dervishes will entertain you while you devour the finger-licking dishes. Become a part of this unforgettable feast by booking here .
  • Ziplining . Dubai’s imposing skyline is the perfect décor for ziplining. Dubai XLine offers two locations – one in Downtown and one in Dubai Marina . The line in Dubai Marina is the longest urban zipline in the world. Hang in tight and “fly” to the other side of the line.
  • Skydiving . The City of Gold is renowned for its extreme air sports, and Skydive Dubai is among the most popular. Their adrenaline-fueled activity involves training, jumping out of a plane, and enjoying the breathtaking views of Dubai. On top of that, you’ll receive photos and a video of the jump to remember this exhilarating experience. If you’re ready to get your heart racing, you can book your once-in-a-lifetime skydiving adventure through this link .

Now You Know Why Dubai Is Worth Visiting

There you have it – the best 33 reasons to visit Dubai .

Now you get what makes Dubai worth visiting.

With its unbelievable museums, private beaches, open-air markets, and adrenaline-infused adventures, the Emirati city will steal your heart.

Now, we’re curious:

What do you think is the best reason to visit Dubai?

Tell us in the comments below.

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Naddya , You’ve written great content. Dubai is famous for wealth, being expensive, and being a popular luxury travel destination, but Dubai is also famous for its souks such us gold souq, the Dubai Creek, some history and culture, camel riding, dune bashing and worker exploitation.

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Thank you for your kind words, Usman! I’m glad you enjoyed our Dubai article 🙂 Cheers and happy travels!

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Is Dubai worth visiting? Pros and Cons of visiting Dubai

Wondering if is Dubai worth visiting? In this detailed guide we have listed all the pros and cons of visiting Dubai, the perfect guide to your trip to Dubai.

Last Update: May 24, 2024

  • Destinations

Dubai is a city that epitomises opulence and grandeur, making it a sought-after travel destination. We are a clear example that it’s worth visiting. The city offers extraordinary architecture, cultural richness, and an array of unforgettable experiences. 

You may wonder if is Dubai worth visiting, and in this comprehensive guide, we will delve into why it is a must-visit destination. We will offer a glimpse into its vibrant culture, top attractions, culinary delights, natural wonders, and practical information to plan an unforgettable trip. 

By following our footsteps, you will have the best vacation in Dubai, collecting lifetime memories. Even if you think Dubai is expensive, we have some tips to make this trip affordable. Dubai is worth visiting , even if just for a few days.

This guide will help you balance the pros and cons of visiting Dubai. We are a clear example that  Dubai is worth visiting.  Dubai, a city epitomising opulence and grandeur, has emerged as a sought-after travel destination. It beckons travellers with its extraordinary architecture, cultural richness, and unforgettable experiences. 

Dubai Marina skyline - Is Dubai worth visiting

Is worth Going to Dubai? 10 quick reasons we think it is!

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  • Modern Architecture
  • Incredible layover
  • Shopping is cheaper
  • Visit the tallest building in the world
  • Worldwide cuisine
  • The view from Palm Jumeirah
  • Spectacular fountains
  • Best Desert Safari
  • Streets are spotless

Pros of visiting Dubai: A World of Extravagance and Marvels

Dubai is worth visiting , especially for its futuristic appeal. Although we cannot say if other cities will adopt the modern look of Dubai, it seems very likely to be similar to what we have seen in some movies.

Dubai exudes an incredible modern style with towering skyscrapers, impressive malls, and unique attractions located within central buildings. What surprised us the most while exploring Dubai is that everything perfectly blends with the local culture and way of life while respecting cultural diversity.

It is a place where one can enjoy a holiday period without worrying about expenses. Additionally, it accommodates any traveller, whether stopping in Dubai or indulging in a few days of extravagance.

This post may contain affiliate links or Sponsored Links ( read our Cookie Policy ), and useful experiences that we love to suggest to you. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are really grateful) at no extra cost to you. Click on it will help us run this website for you, for FREE, funding our project and continuing to travel, informing curious explorers.

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Museum of Future in Dubai - Things to do in Dubai

On our first day in Dubai, we were captivated by the towering skyscrapers. While we’re not usually a fan of concrete and metal, Dubai’s architecture is simply breathtaking. The skyline is filled with stunning buildings, including the iconic Burj Khalifa , which towers over 800 meters above the ground as the world’s tallest building.

The city’s modern design and advanced infrastructure are truly impressive. Our hotel was situated right across from the Museum of the Future, which is a marvel of engineering in and of itself.

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Best Luxury Hotels and Resorts

Certainly, Dubai takes luxury to the next level. We have never experienced anything like it before. The attention to detail and customer service is exceptional and rare to find in Europe, to be honest. Get ready to be treated like royalty in opulent hotels and resorts that cater to your every need.

From the world-famous Burj Al Arab to the exquisite Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai knows how to pamper its tourists. If you’re looking for a hotel experience beyond the ordinary, the 25Hours Hotel in Dubai is the place for you. With its trendy aesthetics, a beautiful pool with a view, and friendly staff, this luxury hotel offers a unique take on what Dubai offers. Check out our Instagram Reel and see for yourself just how cool this hotel is!

The location is perfect, staying only  3 stops away from the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall.  The price is extremely affordable with double rooms, with breakfast starting at a staggering  £85 per night (€98 | $110) .  Check here if the hotel is the right one for you.

Where to stay in Dubai - 25hours hotel Dubai

Discover a unique cultural melting pot in Dubai, where traditions, art, and cuisine worldwide collide. With people from all corners of the world calling it home, you’ll find a rich fusion of traditions, art, and tantalizing cuisine from diverse regions. Immerse yourself in this unique blend and discover the world within this city.

Shopping Paradise

Dubai is a paradise for shopaholics, offering extravagant malls and traditional souks where you can find everything from high-end fashion brands to traditional spices and textiles. From the moment we stepped foot in Dubai Mall, we bought a new drone! So be prepared to spend money!

Top attractions in Dubai you need to visit

Dubai offers many exciting activities, from thrilling desert safaris and dune bashing to water parks, indoor skiing, and spectacular fountain shows at the Dubai Fountain.

Best views of Dubai from the Sky Deck with the view of Burj Khalifa - Is Dubai worth visiting

The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world, standing at over 280 meters above the ground with more than 160 stories. We were fortunate to receive an invitation from Dubai Tourism to visit the top deck and enjoy the magnificent view. It is one of the top attractions to experience during a stopover in Dubai.

Located in the heart of Dubai , the Burj Khalifa is surrounded by a shopping mall, the sky deck view, and the famous fountains, which you can learn more about in the following paragraphs. We recommend booking your ticket in advance for the Burj Khalifa as it can get crowded and often sells out, especially during the high season. Please check availability beforehand.

The Burj Khalifa is in the central stage of Dubai, within the shopping mall, the sky deck view and the famous fountains, which you will find more information about in the following paragraphs.

As you continue your trip through Dubai, you can’t miss visiting the world’s largest mall. Exiting the metro, you’ll be surrounded by shopping bags in no time. The Dubai Mall offers an unparalleled shopping experience, housing over 1,200 stores with various luxury brands, international fashion, and unique local boutiques.

Embark on a shopping spree and explore a world of fashion, accessories, and more. This retail paradise is a testament to Dubai’s status as a global shopping destination.

I recommend spending your afternoon in the Dubai Mall area and watching the famous water fountain show. As the sun sets over the city, you will be mesmerised by the performances of the Dubai Fountain .

The choreographed water and light show is a true spectacle, set against the stunning backdrop of the Burj Khalifa . The synchronised music and dancing water jets create a symphony of sights and sounds to inspire you. It’s an unforgettable experience that reaffirms Dubai’s worthiness of a visit.

Palm Jumeira best luxury hotels in Dubai

It’s amazing to see a land where there was once only water. Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island shaped like a palm tree and one of the top attractions in Dubai . Even if you only have a layover of a few hours, riding the metro for about 20 minutes from the airport to see the Palm is worth it. Dubai is definitely worth visiting. The view from the iconic building in the centre of the oasis is breathtaking.

Dubai guides

Looking for photospots in Dubai? We have the right guide!

Visiting the incredible Maya Bay - Toti and Ale walking on the beach

Dubai Creek is a place where you can witness the seamless coexistence of Dubai’s past and present. Take a traditional dhow cruise along the historic waterway and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Dubai’s heritage .

You can also enjoy waterfront dining, visit cultural sites and experience the bustling souks. This cultural enclave is a testament to Dubai’s roots and adds depth to the city’s worth as a travel destination.

Dubai Creek view - Toti and Ale hugging and enjoying the view of Dubai - Most instagrammable places in Dubai

Situated on the border of the old town, the Dubai Frame marks the boundary between the original city and the new developments. It signifies modern Dubai and is often mistaken as a frame around the old city to remind people of the past.

You can ascend to the top of the frame to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city and observe the striking differences in architecture and style.


Dubai is known as a relaxed and culturally open city in the UAE. Women can enjoy wearing bikinis in Dubai on the beaches , which are often busy, especially during sunset when the heat is more bearable.

Remember that the Persian Gulf is quite warm, so it may not offer the refreshing experience you might expect. Our recommendation for the best beaches in Dubai is either Jumeira Beach or Marina Beach. However, you can also check out the other top beaches in Dubai from the list below:

  • Jumeirah Beach
  • Marina Beach
  • Sunset Beach
  • White Beach

Dubai Safari desert tour with Premium Heritage

We had an amazing experience with Platinum Heritage , the most popular company offering desert tours and safaris in a nature reserve located beyond the outskirts of Dubai.

The company has perfectly blended the cultural heritage of the Bedouin tradition with modern amenities for tourists through a desert safari, where you can explore the dunes, witness daily wildlife roaming and experience the local way of life in a camp.

If you’re looking for an adventure-filled afternoon, we highly recommend checking out this tour , which has received a 4.7-star rating on GYG . However, since the tour takes place in a nature reserve with limited access, it has limited seats. Therefore, check availability in advance here to avoid disappointment. It’s the best way to create unforgettable memories while in Dubai.

Yes, Dubai is very safe. My experience with Emirates was great. The people there are friendly and aware that safety is important for travellers to enjoy their trip, which is why the country is one of the most visited places in the world.

They treated us with utmost care and made us feel safe throughout our trip. Dubai is a melting pot of cultures, with workers worldwide. It was interesting to witness the coexistence of different cultures.

However, it must be noted that while Dubai is tourist-friendly , the surrounding area is still developing regarding cultural movement. If you are travelling solo, join fellow travellers to share experiences.

We were impressed with the cleanliness of Dubai. The city was designed to impress us everywhere we went. The streets were tidy, the roads were spotless, and we hardly ever saw any litter. Overall, Dubai’s cleanliness measures deserve a big thumbs up from us.

Dubai public transport map

During our visit to Dubai, we mainly relied on public transportation, except for the last day when the 25hours hotel provided us with a Mini Cooper for free . Dubai has an efficient urban transport system, with Metro, Buses, Trams and monorails available and synchronised.

The metro is particularly affordable, with a one-way trip to the boundaries from the city centre costing just about 5 Dirhams (£1 | €1.10 | $1.20) . The only mode of transportation we found quite expensive was the monorail, but it is worth the price for the fantastic trip on a train that passes through Palm Jumeirah in auto mode without the driver.

If you think that navigating Dubai is expensive, you should clear this from your mind. Dubai has a remarkably efficient public transport system, including the Dubai Metro and buses, making it convenient to explore various attractions.

Cons of Visiting Dubai

Dubai stands out from other places in the UAE with its unique charm. Tourist hospitality in Dubai is notably different from that in Abu Dhabi . Compared to other destinations in the region, Dubai is relatively liberal. However, respecting local customs and traditions is crucial, especially when dressing modestly in public areas or visiting mosques.

To enjoy a fantastic trip to Dubai, planning and purchasing entrance tickets and skip-the-line vouchers is essential. It is equally important to embrace the local culture, enjoy the cuisine, carry water, and respect local customs. These tips are some of the main sections of our Dubai guide, and they are impossible to miss.

Dubai skyline skyscrapers

If you’re worried about hot weather, it’s best not to visit Dubai in July and August. We had the opportunity to explore the stunning city while returning to Europe from Asia. Although the ticket price was half compared to a direct flight, we found the weather to be quite hot.

Dubai’s climate can be quite harsh, and with the current climate change, it can be harmful, especially if you’re at risk. This is why it’s best to avoid outdoor activities during peak hours. However, you can find relief from the heat in indoor attractions and malls.

My recent trip to Dubai was amazing, and we are already planning our next visit. One of the main reasons for our enjoyable experience was that everything was well-planned, from hotel accommodation to transportation and daily visits to the main attractions.

Despite missing out on some sightseeing opportunities, we could do everything important to us, thanks to detailed planning, online ticket bookings, and skip-the-line passes.

I recommend researching and planning your itinerary to maximise your time in Dubai . This way, you can ensure you don’t miss out on any must-see destinations and attractions.

As previously mentioned, it is important to consider the local culture when travelling to a new country. Embracing a different culture, which can vastly differ from what you are used to, is crucial. In Dubai, it is particularly important to respect and appreciate the rich culture and traditions by dressing modestly in public places and refraining from public displays of affection.

Dubai is often associated with glitz, glamour, luxury, and modernity. However, this city has much more than just popular tourist attractions and landmarks. In addition to the new developments and tourist hotspots , several historic sites are significant to the locals.

To explore the real Dubai, consider venturing off the beaten path and visiting the old town. Here, you’ll experience what Dubai was like in the past and get a taste of its rich culture and heritage.

Check some of the best tours in Dubai:

Trying the local Emirati Food during our desert safari

During our trip to Dubai, we enjoyed exploring different restaurants. However, one of the most memorable experiences was the Dubai Safari. We took a charming excursion through the natural reserve surrounding the city , and it was a breathtaking experience.

The trip’s highlight was the Bedouin camp, where we relished a traditional four-course meal. Thanks to Platinum Heritage, we also enjoyed a mesmerising show, stargazing, and dance performance. Overall, it was a delightful and unforgettable experience.

As previously mentioned, Dubai gets hotter every year. Staying hydrated is the best suggestion everyone gives.  So carry on your reusable water bottle and stay hydrated. Around Dubai, you can find water stations to refill your bottle and help reduce plastic waste.

Public transport in Dubai is affordable and efficient. We paid only 5 Dirhams to travel from the city centre to the outskirts, which is more convenient than London’s public transport.

Drive a vintage Land Rover in Dubai

We had an amazing time on a desert safari adventure during our trip to Dubai. Our guide took us on a thrilling ride through the Arabian desert in a vintage Land Rover , skillfully avoiding the wild animals and gliding over the dunes. It was an exhilarating experience that left us all feeling invigorated.

We ended the journey at a beautiful Bedouin camp in the heart of the desert, where we were treated to a delicious four-course meal and local drinks.

The staff at Platinum Heritage went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and like honoured guests. The highlight of the evening was the heritage show, which was a mesmerising display of culture and tradition. I highly recommend checking out their tour and booking in advance , as it’s a popular attraction that fills up fast.

If you plan on visiting Dubai during Ramadan, respecting those fasting by not eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours is important. Dubai is an amazing vacation destination that blends contemporary luxury with a rich cultural heritage. Its unique charm attracts people worldwide, creating unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

As you embark on your Dubai adventure , remember to be respectful, embrace the diversity, and enjoy the city’s numerous attractions. Whether you’re seeking luxury, adventure, or cultural enrichment, Dubai has something magical for everyone.

Dubai gondola around Dubai Mall

At the end of this fantastic post about Dubai, we would like to provide a clear example of why we decided to explore this city despite it not being on our travel list. Some might be deterred by the artificiality of parts of the city, but Dubai has everything that makes it a worthwhile destination. Its efficiency, clean cities, and various activities make you feel welcome in a world that’s different from what you may be used to.

If you’re travelling between Europe and Asia , consider visiting Dubai. Breaking up your flights and spending some time in the UAE can be a cheaper alternative to a long, direct flight or one with multiple layovers. During our stopover in Dubai , we enjoyed the best activities and returned home safely and relaxed after our 9-month trip in Asia .

Abu Dhabi, UAE : Spend a day in the UAE’s capital and immerse yourself in its rich culture. Visit the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque , witness the futuristic architecture of Yas Island, and learn about the region’s heritage at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Al Ain, UAE: Known as the “Garden City” of the UAE, Al Ain boasts lush oases, the historic Al Jahili Fort, and the Al Ain Zoo. Take a scenic drive through the desert and experience the city’s fascinating history.

Hatta, UAE: Just a short drive from Dubai, Hatta offers a peaceful escape into the Hajar Mountains. Explore the Hatta Dam , take a kayak on its serene waters, and visit the Hatta Heritage Village to glimpse the region’s history.

Fujairah, UAE: Head to the UAE’s east coast and discover pristine beaches, historical sites like the Fujairah Fort, and the rugged Hajar Mountains for adventure and relaxation.

Muscat, Oman: Take a short flight from Dubai or a longer 6-hour bus ride to explore the beautiful city of Muscat. Visit the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Royal Opera House, and the vibrant Mutrah Souq . Don’t miss the stunning Al Jalali and Al Mirani forts overlooking the sea.

How many days in Dubai is enough?

If you want to explore Dubai quickly, 2 days in the city might be enough. However, you may miss out on some attractions. On the other hand, if you prefer a more relaxed pace and want to spend more time at each attraction, then consider extending your stay to 3 or 4 days. We spent a fantastic stopover in Dubai , exploring the best of the city for four days.

Is Dubai a good place to take a vacation?

Dubai is a must-visit destination if you’re looking for an unforgettable travel experience. It offers many exciting attractions and unique experiences that are unique. While Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE, Dubai is the largest city in the country , with a bigger population and airport, making it a convenient hub for travellers. Whether you prefer a fast-paced or leisurely itinerary, there is something for everyone in Dubai. Moreover, the city has an excellent public transportation system that allows you to explore and discover all its offerings easily.

What is so special about Dubai?

Dubai offers much more than just luxurious travel experiences. You can explore the historic souks, admire the beauty of Dubai Creek, and discover the rich culture and history of the region. Those seeking adventure can indulge in a fantastic desert safari and dune bashing.

Is Dubai cheap or expensive?

Visiting Dubai can be expensive , but it is possible to experience the city on a budget. You can take advantage of discounts by booking accommodations and attractions in advance. Local public transport is affordable, and trying local cuisine can be a great way to save money. If you are willing to endure the extreme heat, visiting Dubai during the hot season can offer luxurious accommodations at a lower cost.

What is the best month to go to Dubai?

For the best travel experience in Dubai, we recommend planning your trip between November and April. The weather is cooler during this time as the summer heat fades away. Although there may be occasional light rain showers from December to March, they are usually brief and unlikely to disrupt your plans.

Is it worth going to Dubai?

Dubai is worth visiting as it exceeds high expectations and offers a unique experience that cannot be found anywhere in the world. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, a workation, beach time, or shopping, Dubai has it all.

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We're Toti and Ale, avid travellers, award-winning writers, and photographers  living life one stamp at a time. It's more than five years since we hit the road in search of the perfect place to explore, dive into the local culture, eat tasty exotic food, and discover every corner. We have been in more than 35 countries, hand in hand, offering inspiring guides on Passport and Stamps and other award-winning travel blogs. We are London-based, but we travel the world as Digital Nomads with a purpose: to help you travel more and better in a sustainable way. You can find us here, offering tips for backpackers, itineraries or guides to cross countries and get on the most insane adventures. We are committed to sharing insights, providing valuable information, and inspiring responsible and meaningful travel. Join us as we explore off-the-beaten-path destinations, savour the beauty of slow travel, and make a positive impact on the places we visit.

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17+ TOP Dubai Sights & Tourist Attractions (+Map & Tips)

By Author Jurga

Posted on Last updated: April 15, 2024

17+ TOP Dubai Sights & Tourist Attractions (+Map & Tips)

Looking for the  best things to do in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates,  and feeling overwhelmed? Deciding which of the most popular Dubai attractions to visit is indeed not easy, especially if you are visiting the city for the first time and have limited time, not even to mention the budget.

From gleaming skyscrapers and modern landmarks to the desert and historic souks, Dubai has something for everyone. But it’s also a rapidly growing city with countless new tourist attractions springing up like mushrooms and choosing which places to visit and which ones to skip might look like a daunting task…

So to help you figure out where to go and what to see in Dubai, in this guide we share the  VERY BEST sights and TOP tourist attractions in Dubai that are worth your time the most . In addition, we also include a few fun experiences for those looking to experience Dubai beyond the ‘musts’.

We also created a  map of all the top places that should help you plan your Dubai sightseeing itinerary. You can find it at the bottom of this article. In addition, for every place featured in this guide, we include some practical tips that will help you make the most of your visit. Take a look!

Good to know:   We list the must-see places and experiences first, followed by some additional tips for things to do in Dubai further down the list.

If you are short on time, concentrate on the top sights indicated as ‘must-see’ first. In addition, see if you can also fit in some of the ‘highly recommended’ experiences listed further down.

But if you have more time and are looking for even more ideas for places to visit and interesting tourist attractions beyond the most popular sights, be sure to check the complete list.

TIP: If you are not sure how to plan your trip, on our blog, you can also find sample itineraries for first-time visitors: a Dubai stopover itinerary (from 6 hours to 1-2 days) and a detailed Dubai itinerary for up to one week .

Best things to do in Dubai and top places to visit

Here are the main landmarks, best sights, and top tourist attractions in Dubai:

1. Burj Khalifa

If there is one place you have to see in Dubai, it’s Burj Khalifa , the tallest building in the world. This iconic skyscraper is the most visited landmark in Dubai.

While you will see Burj Khalifa from all over the city, it’s most impressive when seen from the bottom. So don’t miss that!

In addition, no trip to Dubai would be complete without ascending to the 124th and 125th floors for breathtaking views of the city skyline, coastline, and desert. For an extra price, you can also visit the SKY Level on the 148th floor.

Good to know: Standard tickets include timed-entry access to 124-125th floors. However, even with a dedicated time slot, be prepared to queue for a long time. The SKY Level 124,125, and 148th floors ticket is more expensive, but includes skip-the-line access for the security check and elevator. It also includes access to the lounge with snacks and drinks.

PRO TIP: Whatever option you choose, be sure to book your tickets online in advance or you may not be able to visit at all. If you want to catch the sunset at the top, be sure to book a time slot at least 1.5 hours before the sunset time (just beware that those time slots are also more expensive).

Burj Khalifa - must see in Dubai

2. Dubai Mall

You might be wondering why in the world we list a shopping mall as one of the must-see places in Dubai… Well, the Dubai Mall is not just a shopping paradise, but a destination in itself. Plus, it’s located right at the Burj Khalifa so you’ll come here anyway.

The largest shopping mall in the world, Dubai Mall has over 1,200 shops, including high-end designer stores and flagship fashion brands. In addition, you can choose from more than 200 restaurants and food outlets. But it’s worth coming here even if you are not interested in shopping and dining.

You can’t miss the gigantic Dubai Aquarium – the centerpiece of the Mall, or you can get a ticket and visit inside. There are also huge waterfalls, a 155 million-year-old dinosaur skeleton, an Olympic-size ice skating rink, a mini-city for kids KidZania , and countless other attractions. You could literally spend several days in here and still not see it all…

TIP: If you want to visit the aquarium, opt for a combo ticket that includes Burj Khalifa + Dubai Aquarium. Otherwise, the aquarium price is really steep for what it is.

Waterfalls inside the Dubai Mall - top places to visit in Dubai

3. Dubai Fountain Show

The captivating Dubai Fountain Show can be seen on the Burj Lake right outside the Dubai Mall, at the foot of Burj Khalifa. It’s a mesmerizing water, music, and light show that takes place multiple times a day and is FREE to watch.

The world’s tallest performing fountain, it dances for a few minutes to a selection of different melodies ranging from popular hits to traditional Arabic and classical music.

Good to know: The Dubai Fountain shows run every half an hour from 6 PM to 11 PM. There is also a performance at 1.30 PM, plus at 1 PM on weekdays and 2 PM on weekends.

PRO TIP: If you are looking for something nice to do in Dubai, book a boat ride on Burj Lake during a fountain show . It takes just 30 minutes and is not expensive (definitely for Dubai standards). Everyone in our family really enjoyed it.

Dubai Fountain Show - top things to do in Dubai

4. Old Dubai & Traditional Souks

Dubai has more to offer than its modern landmarks and one of the best places to experience the authentic side of Dubai is its Old Town .

Be sure to visit the historic neighborhood of Al Fahidi (formerly known as Bastakiya), cross Dubai Creek on a traditional  Abra boat , and don’t miss the best traditional markets in Dubai – the Gold Souk and Spice Souk .

To be completely honest, the Al Fahidi neighborhood is not that authentic, but has the feel of an overly nicely restored open-air museum. You can wander through a few picturesque narrow alleyways lined with wind-tower houses, art galleries, and quaint cafes. There are also several tiny museums and some traditional shops selling souvenirs to tourists.

Nevertheless, it’s the best place to catch a glimpse of old Dubai and get a better understanding of the fascinating journey of the fascinating expansion of the UAE in just a few decades. The transformation of a few tiny fishing villages in the desert to the global metropolises of the 21st century is nothing short of remarkable.

PRO TIP:  Visit the old town  with a local guide ! That way, you can be sure to see all the musts but also learn more about the history of Dubai. The tours are very affordable and some also include local food and drinks. We visited the Dubai old town and traditional markets on different occasions, most recently with this highly-rated tour and I can highly recommend it as one of the top experiences in Dubai.

Dubai Spice Souk in the old town - top places in Dubai

5. Dubai Marina

Surrounded by towering skyscrapers and filled with luxury yachts, Dubai Marina is one of the must-see places where you can experience the glitz and glamour of Dubai.

The best way to explore the area is by taking a leisurely stroll along the promenade known as Marina Walk. It’s almost 3 kilometers long and is lined with upscale restaurants, trendy cafes, and luxury boutiques. If you don’t want to walk the entire length, focus on the area close to Marina Mall or join a guided  e-scooter tour .

For a unique perspective, hop on a luxury yacht cruise – it’s a great and very relaxing way to see some of the most impressive skylines. If you are looking for a more traditional experience, you can also opt for a dhow dinner cruise to admire the dazzling skyline illuminated against the night sky.

There is so much more to do at the Dubai Marina than just enjoy the scenery! You can go  jet skiing , parasailing , zip line across the Marina , or even dine in the sky .

Dubai Marina at night - best things to do in Dubai

6. Dubai Desert

Dubai has grown into a huge ultra-modern metropolis, but its roots are still in the desert. So no trip would be complete without seeing the Dubai desert. Even if just for the contrast and to get a better understanding of how remarkable the journey of the UAE has been.

Let me be very honest with you – the desert around Dubai is not that impressive, especially if we compare it to places like e.g. Sossusvlei in Namibia or Death Valley in the USA. However, there are many exhilarating desert safari experiences, such as dune bashing in a 4×4 , quad rides , camel riding , hot-air balloon flights , etc. and these are well worth your time.

In addition, most Dubai safari tours include a visit to a desert camp, built in a traditional Bedouin style. Here, you can indulge in Arabian BBQ dinner and taste all kinds of local food, see the national bird of the UAE – the falcon, or get a henna tattoo. In the evenings, you can also see all kinds of traditional performances such as Tanoura dance, belly dancing, or fire shows.

Good to know: There are  many desert tour options and most of them last 4 to 7 hours. The desert camp experience is similar on all evening tours, but be sure to read the tour description to choose the main activity (jeep, quad, camel, etc.) that best aligns with your interests. For example, most desert tours include a very short camel ride (for a picture), but only a few offer a longer camel ride experience.

Our experience:  We have been on two desert tours in Dubai (on different trips) and really enjoyed them both. One of them included dune bashing in a jeep and the other one – camel riding . They both included dinner and other desert camp experiences.

READ ALSO: Best Tours in Dubai

Camels in Dubai desert - best things to do in Dubai

7. Dubai Museum Of The Future


The Museum of the Future is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dubai. The remarkable building is a must-see, but the museum itself is quite interesting and well worth a few hours of your time.

The museum is very interactive and showcases Dubai’s vision of the future and what it will look like some 50 years from now. They cover all kinds of topics like space travel, artificial intelligence, and robotics, but also climate change, healthcare, spirituality, etc.

PRO TIP:   Reserve tickets for the museum at least a few weeks before your trip. When we traveled, they were sold out for almost 3 weeks, not even to mention being able to pick a time slot that fits your itinerary. Also, if you can, book the first time slot in the morning so that you can enjoy the interactive exhibits before it gets too crowded.

Dubai Museum of the Future - top tourist attractions in Dubai UAE

8. Sky Views Observatory & Sky Edge Walk

Sky Views Observatory  offers a great view of Dubai’s Downtown. It’s also one of the best places to admire the iconic Burj Khalifa from a higher angle at a rather close distance.

In addition, you can also walk over a glass-bottom walkway, slide down a transparent tube at the side of the building, or – for an additional fee – do the Sky Edge Walk on an open-air platform on the 52nd floor.

Good to know:  Regular tickets are very affordable and much cheaper than the Burj Khalifa tickets. But if you are not afraid of heights and have some extra time, we highly recommend a ticket that also includes the Edge Walk – it’s one of the most unique things to do in Dubai!

Sky View Observatory - best things to do in Dubai

9. Global Village

Global Village Dubai  is one of the most popular attractions in Dubai, popular with locals as well as international visitors. Just as the name suggests, it’s a place where you can experience a wide variety of cultures from all over the world.

With over 90 countries represented, it’s a unique opportunity to get acquainted with different countries, sample traditional foods, or purchase some interesting souvenirs. There are also cultural shows and live performances.

It’s a bit like a big country fair, but very unique because of its global character.

Good to know:  A visit to Global Village is very affordable and  entry tickets  cost just around $6. However, you’ll have to pay extra for most of the rides and attractions inside.

PRO TIP:  Avoid weekends and try to arrive around the opening time (usually around 4 pm, but during Ramadan around 6 pm). Friday and Saturday evenings are the busiest.

Global Village Dubai - most popular attractions in Dubai UAE

10. Palm Jumeirah

The Palm Jumeirah  is a man-made palm-tree-shaped island in the Arabian Gulf and connected to the city via tunnels and bridges and tunnels. The Palm is home to upscale residences, luxury hotels, and beachfront resorts, including the famous Atlantis, The Palm .

There are several places of interest to see at the Palm including the best water park in Dubai, Atlantis Aquaventure and Dolphin Bay, Lost Chambers Aquarium, and several luxurious sky pool experiences.

If you just want to catch a glimpse of this remarkable feat of engineering, visit The View at The Palm Observatory . From here, you can enjoy 360° views of the city and the Arabian Gulf, including an elevated view of this unique palm island.

PRO TIP: For the best aerial views and to fully appreciate The Palm, opt for a  sightseeing helicopter tour .

Palm Jumeirah - top places to see in Dubai

11. Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab  is one of the most recognizable symbols of Dubai. The sail-shaped luxury hotel was opened in December 1999 and was the first one in a series of Dubai’s most remarkable landmarks that were built in the 21st century.

One of the world’s most luxurious and most expensive hotels, Burj Al Arab is not only impressive from the outside. Inside, you can admire its lavish interiors and find some extravagant experiences such as its world-famous gold cappuccino.

Good to know: A stay at this hotel will quickly cost you over $1,500 per night. But a tour of the interior is much more affordable. For an additional fee, you can upgrade to the luxury tour to include a visit to the 25th floor (where the Royal Suites are located) and a sip of the gold cappuccino.

Burj Al Arab - top sights in Dubai

12. Souk Madinat Jumeirah


Located just near the Burj Al Arab,  Souk Madinat Jumeirah  is a bustling indoor market that combines traditional Arabian architecture and Middle Eastern charm with modern-day comforts such as air conditioning and meticulously clean facilities.

You will find an array of little shops here selling all kinds of traditional merchandise and souvenirs. There are also bakeries, cafes, and a variety of restaurants.

With small rivers, little bridges, and traditional Arabian architecture, the area feels like a charming little town. You can walk around or take a boat on the picturesque waterways offering nice views of the Burj Al Arab.

Good to know: You can easily combine a visit to the Souk with that of Burj Al Arab. Boat rides can just be booked and paid at the spot.

Souk Madinat Jumeirah - top places in Dubai

13. Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame  is another remarkable landmark that you have to see in Dubai. This colossal picture frame is visible from afar so you can’t really miss it. But it’s also possible to visit it inside.

The 150-meter-high observation deck has a glass-bottomed walkway and also offers panoramic 360° views of both old and new Dubai.

The views are quite nice, but not nearly comparable to those from Burj Khalifa, Sky Views, or the View at The Palm. On the other hand, the structure is absolutely unique and we personally found it worth a visit.

Good to know:  Depending on the season and time of day, it can be very busy here. Be sure to  book tickets online  and if you can, try to visit either early in the morning or in the evening.

Dubai Frame - one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dubai

14. Miracle Garden

Miracle Garden  is a must-see in Dubai for everyone who loves flowers, colors, and all kinds of quirky displays. From cartoon characters like the Smurfs to gigantic swans and from colorful castles to a life-size A380 Airbus plane – everything here is covered in flowers.

The world’s largest natural flower garden, Dubai Miracle Garden features over 150 million flowers. However, don’t expect a big variety of flowers here. There are not many plants that do well in such a hot and dry climate, so the majority of floral displays are created using petunias.

Good to know:  Buy skip-the-line tickets online and plan an hour or two for a visit. It’s quietest in the morning. However, many people combine a visit here to that of the nearby Global Village, and the latter only opens late in the afternoon, so keep that in mind if you want to visit both attractions on the same day.

Miracle Garden - best things to do in Dubai

15. Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark & Lost Chambers Aquarium

NICE TO SEE (MUST DO if visiting with kids)

Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark is the biggest water park in the world and by far the best one in Dubai. Featuring over 100 water rides and attractions from splash pools to adrenaline-rushing water slides, Aquaventure is great for all ages.

In addition, you can also meet sea lions or swim with dolphins, and enjoy all kinds of water sports. You can visit the Lost Chambers Aquarium which is located at the same place.

This is a must-do if you are visiting Dubai with kids (especially teenagers!), but it’s definitely not just for families.

PRO TIP:  Atlantis Aquaventure tickets are cheaper if booked online, and you can save a bit more if you book at least a week in advance. We recommend  a combo ticket  that includes entry to the Lost Chambers Aquarium. Here you can find more ticket options , including dolphin experiences.

LEARN MORE:  Tips & Tricks for Visiting Atlantis Aquaventure

Lost Chambers Aquarium - top places in Dubai

16. AYA Universe

AYA Universe  is one of our family’s favorite places to visit in Dubai. It’s not a must-do, but it’s also a very unique experience that will leave you speechless.

A visit to AYA is like stepping into a series of different fairytale-like worlds, with colorful light displays and captivating high-tech experiences. Some of the rooms reminded us of the beautiful dreamy universe created in Avatar films .

We visited AYA Universe with our teens who are hard to impress, and they loved it. We spent much more time than expected here, wandering through different rooms and simply sitting down and enjoying the moment. It’s such a nice and positive experience. We loved it!

Good to know:  Book your  tickets online and count about 45-60 minutes for a visit. If you want to enjoy it without too many people around, we recommend booking the earliest time slot.

Interesting places to visit in Dubai - AYA Universe

17. Dubai Beaches

Dubai has many beaches and since the temperatures are suitable for swimming the whole year round, you may want to plan to spend some time at the beach. By far the best way to do this is by choosing a hotel that has its own private beach or is located near one of the public beaches.

One of the nicest public beaches in Dubai is Marina Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residence. There is a very nice waterfront area here with tons of cafes and restaurants and lots of hotels. Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach is one of the most popular options here.

We once stayed at Doubletree by Hilton JBR Beach nearby which has its own private beach, but we walked to this area all the time because it was so nice. We had most of our lunches and dinners at Marina Beach unless we were away sightseeing.

Jumeirah Public Beach is another beautiful Dubai beach that is well worth visiting. In addition to white sands and swimming, here you can also enjoy a view of the iconic Burj Al Arab which makes a great backdrop for your vacation pictures. Jumeirah Beach Hotel is a very nice place to stay in this area and all guests enjoy free access to the adjacent Wild Wadi Waterpark.

La Mer Beach further north and closer to the city center is also worth checking out. This area is still developing but already has a nice hip feel. We recently stayed at the Rove La Mer Beach Hotel and really enjoyed it. The location is also great for sightseeing since it’s so close to the downtown area.

Dubai Marina Beach JBR

More Ideas for Things to Do in Dubai

There is SO MUCH to see and do in Dubai that it’s impossible to cover all those experiences in one article (or visit in one trip). Nevertheless, I want to highlight some additional places and attractions that I think are certainly worth it.

So here are some additional recommendations for fun things to do in Dubai:

  • La Perle by Dragone is the #1 show in Dubai. This is a mind-blowing acrobatic show in, on, and above water and in the air. If you enjoy Cirque de Soleil shows, you’ll love this one!
  • The Green Planet   is an indoor rainforest with a wide variety of tropical plants, birds, and animals such as sloths, squirrel monkeys, etc. It’s great for families but is enjoyable for all age groups.
  • Dubai Butterfly Garden is a great place to see all kinds of colorful butterflies from all over the world. It’s located just next to the earlier-mentioned Miracle Garden so you can easily visit both.
  • iFly Dubai is an indoor skydiving center. If you ever wanted to try skydiving but didn’t dare, this is your chance to give it a try in a safe and controlled environment. Our kids loved this!
  • Skydiving . If you rather try the real thing, there are quite a few possibilities to go skydiving in Dubai. The views are amazing!
  • Skiing and snow experiences . If you want to experience winter in the desert, you can go skiing in Dubai. But that’s not it! They have other snow experiences as well such as a Giant Ball, Bobsled, Tubing Run, and Bump Car to mention a few.
  • Water sports , jet skiing , parasailing , etc.
  • Theme parks and water parks. There is no shortage of all kinds of theme parks in Dubai. Some of the best include IMG Worlds of Adventure and LEGOLAND Dubai (this one also has a water park). If you are looking for more water parks, check out Wild Wadi as well – it’s a lot smaller than Aquaventure if you want to avoid the big crowds.
  • Day trips to the other Emirates. The most popular are day trips to Abu-Dhabi , but you can also visit Al Ain ‘Garden City’ or go on a snorkeling day trip to Fujairah .

READ ALSO: Best Abu Dhabi Day Tour from Dubai

Traditional Arabic lamps in Dubai UAE

Map of Top Dubai Attractions

To help you get a better idea of where all the main Dubai attractions are located, we created a  map  indicating all the main points of interest and top sights mentioned in this article.

This should help you plan your time in Dubai. However, please keep in mind that distances between places are big and traffic is very busy. Even with the skip-the-line tickets, you’ll often need several hours for the main attractions and can only visit a few of them per day. So plan your time well!

In addition, remember that Dubai can get scorching hot, and not just during the summer months. So dress appropriately, stay hydrated, and plan outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.

TIP:  For more information and helpful tips, please also see our guide with top travel tips and things we wish we had known before visiting Dubai via the link below. It’s an essential read when planning a first trip!

READ ALSO: Dubai Travel Tips

How to use this map:  Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the top left corner for the index. Click the star next to the map’s title to add it to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’. If you want to print the map or see it in a bigger window, click on ‘View larger map’ in the top right corner.

So, this is our guide to the very best things to do in Dubai. I hope it gives you a better idea of what to expect and helps you plan an unforgettable trip.

If you are still wondering whether Dubai is worth a trip… Yes, it is! Even though it feels quite artificial and polished, it’s also a very unique destination that will impress even the biggest skeptics. It’s well worth seeing (and experiencing), at least once!

More tips for visiting Dubai:

  • What to Wear in Dubai
  • How Expensive is Dubai
  • Public Transport in Dubai
  • What It’s Like to Visit Dubai in February
  • Best Things to Do in Dubai with Kids
  • Best Free & Cheap Things to Do in Dubai
  • 1-2 Days in Dubai
  • Dubai Itinerary for up to 7 Days
  • Fun read: Interesting Facts About Dubai

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Top places to visit and tourist attractions in Dubai UAE

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I'm an American who visited Dubai for the first time. Here are 11 things I wish I knew before I went.

  • When I visited Dubai for the first time, there were some things I wish I knew beforehand.
  • The weather during my stay was amazing so I think the winter season is definitely the time to visit.
  • The city is bigger than I expected so I'd recommend hiring a guide to see as much as possible.

Insider Today

I visited Dubai for the first time and loved my time there. However, there were a few things I wish I had known before I went on the trip .

Here are a few things I would've wanted to know before I went to Dubai.

Now I know the winter season is the best time to visit, mostly because of the pleasant weather.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

Dubai has year-round sunshine but I now know the best time to visit the city is during the winter, which, according to US News , spans from November to early March.

When I went in January 2022, the temperature ranged from 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit without any humidity. It was warm enough to enjoy touring and being out and about.

The temperature was also perfect when I stayed in the city and went to the desert. There was a slight breeze by the sea and marina, but nothing that required a jacket during the day. The sundresses and lightweight dresses I packed worked perfectly, but I advise bringing a jacket or long-sleeve shirts since it can get a bit chilly in the evening.

There are so many activities, you likely won't be able to do them all.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

I didn't realize just how big Dubai was until I visited . There is an endless amount of activities, so I would suggest trying to identify your priorities before landing in the city.

Based on my experience, I recommend visiting the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world), going on the Ain Dubai, wandering the souks, and strolling along the Jumeirah Beach Residence Walk.

At night, it's worth snagging tickets to see the La Perle show and walking around the Dubai Mall to see the fountain show and lights around the Burj Khalifa.

Dubai is filled with record-breaking attractions but also tons of history and culture.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

Though the world's tallest building and highest observation wheel were worth seeing , don't skip the historical part of the city. Visiting Al Seef, the souks, and taking an abra (a boat) across the river were definitely highlights of the trip.

Parts of the city are extremely innovative and new but older areas showcase its history and culture. Seeing both allowed me to appreciate how the city has evolved over time.

Abu Dhabi is definitely worth a day trip and is only about an hour and a half away.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

Though I originally planned on visiting only one of the seven emirates, the emirate of Dubai , my friends told me I had to incorporate a day trip to Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and is located in the eponymous emirate. We hired a tour guide to take us on the hour-and-a-half drive to Abu Dhabi and around the main sites.

Dubai isn't the only city with gorgeous sites and history — there are incredible places to visit nearby.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

In Abu Dhabi, we visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Qasr Al Watan ( a working Presidential palace ), and Heritage Village.

I loved the emirate so much that I'd love to go back just to see more of it.

In addition to offering traditional Middle-Eastern food, Dubai seemed to have every other cuisine imaginable.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

I'm allergic to sesame, so I was worried about what I'd eat on this trip, since Middle-Eastern food and Emirati cuisine use this ingredient quite often.

However, Dubai had every cuisine I could imagine. Everything from Italian food to Chinese options was available, so my choices were not limited.

Though everything we tried was delicious, the food could be pricey.

Palm Jumeirah and Dubai International Financial Centre are closer to the main attractions than some other popular areas where visitors stay.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

Since Dubai is such a large city, I think it's best to stay close to its attractions . I selected the Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre because it was only a two-minute drive (or a 20-minute walk) to the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall and close to restaurants and shops.

Since it was in the center of the city, grabbing taxis and finding transportation was easy.

Many visitors also opt to stay in Palm Jumeirah, which has waterfront hotels with larger properties and private beaches. It's still close to the city but has some privacy.

Hiring a tour guide ended up being the best decision I made on my trip — and it was quite affordable.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

I hired tour guides to maximize my time in Dubai , which was one of the best decisions I made. 

We hired guides to take us around the city on our first day, as well as on our day trip to Abu Dhabi, the desert, and a nightlife tour. We made the most of our time in the city and we saw a ton.

We booked most of the guides through the hotel or by recommendations from friends and family who have visited. Each guide was relatively affordable and was accompanied by a driver.

You must bring appropriate attire for mosques and other holy sites.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

The holy sites we visited had a dress code . Men should wear a shirt with sleeves that are at least elbow length with long trousers. In mosques, women need to wear an abaya and shayla, which covers their body and hair.

You can purchase an abaya and shayla at many tourist sites or borrow them ahead of entering. I didn't realize the mosques had a dress code, but I would have planned my outfit beforehand if I had.

Don't let your worries about sand and heat cause you to pass up a trip to the desert.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

I typically stay away from deserts, but dune bashing — driving at varying speeds over sand dunes — in Dubai was one of my favorite activities on the trip . It was almost like riding a roller coaster on the sand and we got to see a beautiful sunset before heading back to the city. 

Don't miss dune bashing if you take a trip to the emirate.

Souks are some of the best places to buy souvenirs or spices.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

You can grab souvenirs from just about any attraction in Dubai, but I think you'll get the best prices and selection at the souks, or marketplaces.

Dubai has a multitude of open-air souks, ranging from one for gold to a market for spices, and they each sell a wide variety of items. I purchased spices, jewelry, and souvenirs from different souks and strongly believe they're worth checking out.

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

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Our mission is to serve the 50+ traveler who's ready to cross a few items off their bucket list.

The 17 Best Things To Do In Dubai

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

  • Destinations
  • Middle East
  • United Arab Emirates

is dubai a good place to visit reddit

Only 80 years ago, people might have asked: “Dubai? Where is that?” Not anymore. The glittering city located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a desert town to becoming a world-famous center of incredible riches, towering buildings, artificial and natural islands, and plenty of gold. Yes, everything that glitters in Dubai is indeed gold, including such a thing as ATMs that distribute gold coins and ingots instead of cash. But only a few miles away, the desert is still there in all its glory. 

What I like so much about Dubai that makes me return time and again is the contrast and the many possibilities this place offers. From shopping and sightseeing to adventures and indoor skiing, these things to do in Dubai will ensure a wide variety of fun and entertainment. Then, leave the glitz and glamour behind for a while and venture into the desert with one of the many tours that are on offer. One of the best is a tour that combines camel riding, falconry, and sandboarding. You will never have a dull moment in Dubai. Follow me to take your pick of the best things to do.

Burj Khalifa building view in Dubai

1. Rise In The Sky At Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is probably the most famous landmark in Dubai. At 2,720 feet, it’s the world’s tallest building and has a very distinctive design. Rise into the sky by going up to the 124th and 125th floors for an unparalleled view of the city. Even better is to make your way to the Sky Lounge and observation terrace on the 148th floor. You need tickets to visit, so buy your Burj Khalifa tickets here to avoid long lines.

Dubai place to visit: Dubai Zoo and Underwater Aquarium

2. Get Close And Personal With The Fish At Dubai Aquarium And Underwater Zoo

Water plays a big role in many things to do in Dubai. The Dubai Aquarium features a massive tank that holds 2,641,721 gallons of water and is home to 30,000 species of fish. You can wander along and look, but for an extra thrill, you can dive with the sharks in a cage or just don an oxygenated helmet and get in the water. There is, of course, an instructor who will film you if you wish, and you can buy the card for a lasting memory.

3. Ride A Hot Air Balloon Over The Desert

There is hardly a more fascinating view than to drift silently in a hot air balloon over the vast, orange desert at sunrise. The ride includes transport and a breakfast at a desert camp, and you might even spot camels and gazelles.

Dubai place to see: Wall of Old Dubai in the Al Fahidi neighborhood

4. Experience The Past In The Al Fahidi Neighborhood

Get a glimpse of what life was like before the Emirates were formed in 1971. A labyrinth of lanes is lined with traditional buildings made from stone, palm wood, gypsum, and teak. It feels like you have come to a secluded village. Not a skyscraper in sight! The district of Al Fahidi is located at Dubai Creek and hosts some seasonal cultural events.

Burj Al Arab, a building to see in Dubai

5. Whizz Around Palm Jumeira In A Speedboat

You can’t miss a view of the Dubai skyline from the water, and an exciting way to do so is going on a speed boat ride. Departing from the marina, the boat, complete with an English-speaking guide and safety equipment, takes you around the world’s most iconic man-made islands, Palm Jumeira, with the Burj Al Arab and other landmarks in the distance.

6. Eat To Your Heart’s Content On A Dubai Food Tour

With all the activities awaiting in Dubai, you must not forget to look after your taste buds. There’s no better way to sample the delicious Middle East cuisine than on foot on an approximately 4-hour tour guided by a local insider who knows all the best places and plenty of backstories. Don’t forget to try ouzi, the national dish of the UAE. It’s slow-cooked lamb served with nuts and raisins over rice.

view of the Dubai Mall at night, one of the best things to do in Dubai

7. Shop Till You Drop In The Dubai Mall

Still the world’s largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall downtown offers more than 1,300 retail outlets and 300 dining places and cafes. The shops mostly sell luxurious brands, and there are branches of Galeries Lafayette and Bloomingdale’s. The AC makes for a pleasant change from the heat outside, and if you still feel like cooling down further, there is also an Olympic-sized ice rink.

8. Hang Tight And Fly XLine Dubai Marina

Another thrill and adventure is flying down one of the world’s longest, steepest, and fastest urban zip lines. With a helmet and harness on and your belly down, off you go across the panorama of Dubai that you can now see from a bird’s-eye view. XLine starts at the Marina , but there is another one called the XLine Dubai Fountain that is a bit shorter and slower, but equally exciting. It starts in front of the Burj Khalifa. The fountain is the largest in the world and several water shows are scheduled every day.

9. Explore Dubai Creek

The creek is a saltwater inlet that splits Dubai into two halves: the Deira and the Bur Dubai. They are connected by several bridges, the oldest being the Al Maktoum Bridge. Many important hotels and banks line the banks of the creek, as do cafes. It’s a pleasure to walk the creek (provided the temperature isn’t too high) and to visit Zabeel Park and the famous Dubai Frame , a structure shaped like a massive picture frame that’s actually a bridge with a glass-bottom floor. On the Deira side of the creek, you find the gold and spice souk in case you want to do some more shopping.

background landscape Street of amazing colorful houses of flowers in the Miracle Garden park, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

10. Take The Best Selfies At Miracle Garden

Dubai’s Miracle Garden must be one of the most photogenic places in the city. Imagine the color and scent of 50 million flowers and 250 million plants, all arranged to form natural, giant sculptures. It’s the world’s largest natural garden. There are buildings, a heart-shaped tunnel of love, and even an entire Emirates Boeing made from flowers. You can spend hours there.

11. Enjoy Culture From Around The World At Global Village

A mixture of entertainment, education, shopping, shows, and an amusement park, Global Village , located on the outskirts of Dubai, is a venue to be enjoyed by the whole family. 78 cultures from around the world are represented in presentations and country pavilions. See the pyramids, the Kremlin, and much more while mingling with tourists and locals alike.

Aerial view of sunset over the dunes in Dubai

12. Bash The Dunes On An Evening Safari

Hopefully, you have already seen the sunrise on your balloon ride; now you can see a glorious sunset over the desert on an evening tour in a 4×4. But it gets more exciting on this tour than just watching the sun set over the dunes. You actually get to bash down them at full speed and then you can experience shows by local dancers and a sumptuous dinner.

13. Take A Day Trip To Al Ain

If you wish to venture further into the desert and are more interested in history than dune bashing, take a day trip to the ancient town of Al Ain . You’ll have a chance to see the Sheik Zayed Palace Museum, the old fort, the Al Ain Oasis, and a colorful camel market. Jebel Hafeet is a nearby mountain that rises out of the desert.

14. Sniff The Air At Al Shindagha Museum Perfume House

If you visit just one museum, why not the one dedicated to the age-old Arabian tradition of perfume making? Located at the Dubai Creek, the Al Shindagah museum takes you on a journey to explore and understand the art of perfume making, especially local scents like oud, saffron, and roses. You can see the techniques used and also learn about the region’s perfume trade routes. It is, quite literally, a sweet experience.

Legoland in Dubai

15. Be A Kid Again At Legoland

Despite the marketing saying that this is an attraction for kids from 2-12, Legoland Dubai is a ton of fun for the whole family. You can play around all day on 60 interactive Lego-themed rides, a water park, and run around among 15,000 Lego sculptures. If you feel the inner architect in you, you can buy building material on your way out.

16. Roll In The Snow At Ski Dubai

Yes, you can ski and play in the snow in Dubai! Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort located within the Mall of the Emirates. It consists of an artificial mountain with 5 slopes. Lifts take skiers up. Next to it is a snow play area for snowboarding or just making snowballs. You don’t need to bring any equipment; skis and jackets are provided with your ticket. They also have penguins that are released from their enclosure several times a day.

17. Be Respectful At Jumeira Mosque

The beautiful Jumeira Mosque located on the Jumeira Beach Road is the only mosque that allows non-Muslim visitors every day of the week except Fridays. Carved entirely out of white stone in the medieval Fatimid style, the mosque is a much-loved landmark. Guides are available for explanations. Don’t forget to adhere to the dress code and be sure to take your shoes off. If you aren’t totally covered, appropriate clothing for both sexes is provided at the entrance. It should go without saying that you should neither disturb nor take photos of people who are worshipping.

Image of Inka Piegsa Quischotte

For the past eleven years, blogger and traveler Inka Piegsa Quischotte has been documenting her adventures over at her blog GlamourGranny Travels . Inka loves to write about luxury and solo travel, mostly to places where the sun shines. She has lived in London, Miami, and Istanbul for several years, and now makes her home in Spain's Costa Blanca.

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  • Middle East
  • United Arab Emirates
  • 8 Reasons Why You Should...

8 Reasons Why You Should Visit Dubai at Least Once in Your Lifetime


Dubai is undoubtedly one of the most unique cities in the world. For those with an untreatable case of wanderlust, this city is a traveler’s dream. Dubai has historic sights , futuristic architecture, active night life and out-of-this-world attractions.

See the desert.

Before the skyscrapers and luxurious automobiles, Dubai was only sand. Although the city has long evolved from the days of Bedouin villages, the desert is still a sight to see. When visiting Dubai , go on a desert safari and eat a traditional Arabic barbecue, go dune bashing, watch belly dancing and ride camels. Tours pick visitors up from hotels and take them to a camp in the middle of the desert, surrounded by sand dunes. This is an ideal way to better understand what life was like before the city boomed.

The desert of Dubai

Cultural Diversity

Cities like New York and London are known for their cultural diversity, but Dubai takes diversity to a whole new level. Approximately 85% of Dubai’s population are expats. This brings a level of cultural interaction that is rarely seen anywhere else in the world. Traveling to Dubai is one of the greatest anthropological experiences one can have, as it is allows visitors to travel the entire world from one place.

Unique Architecture

Dubai is known worldwide for its architecture. It’s hard to believe that only four decades ago, the city did not have a single building. Now, the Dubai skyline is full of unique skyscrapers designed by some of the best architects in the world. A drive down one of UAE’s main roads, Sheikh Zayed Road, will leave anyone in awe. Buildings come in all shapes, sizes and styles. Anything Dubai does, it does in style, so even the metro stations are architectural wonders.

Dubai’s skyline

The Palm Jumeirah

For those looking for an island holiday, Dubai offers unique artificial islands. While most are still under construction, The Palm Jumeirah has been around for over a decade and offers beaches, hotels and restaurants. Inspired by Dubai’s traditional tree, this island is shaped like a massive palm tree spreading into the ocean. Even better than visiting the Palm Jumeirah is to take a helicopter tour and see it from above.

The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, and making a trip to the top is a memorable experience. From the beach to the desert, the whole of Dubai can be seen from up there. The building is over 800 meters tall and has 163 floors. The Burj Khalifa is home to numerous hotels and restaurants, and is an ideal place to watch the sunset.

The Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Dubai’s Nightlife

For those who like to party, this city is all about its nightclubs and bars, open every night of the week. With some household names such as White Dubai , Blue Marlin and Cirque Le Soir , this city doesn’t take a single night off. Bars are also open every night and come in different themes and styles.

Gardens in the Desert

Considering Dubai’s climate and geography, it’s hard to believe that it would have any greenery. However, the artificial gardens will leave anyone amazed. In winter, when flowers bloom, driving around Dubai will allow visitors to see colorful and impressive gardens in the middle of the city. For those who love nature, Dubai Miracle Garden is a must visit, known for its sculptures made solely of flowers that mimic castles, airplanes and even the Burj Khalifa.

The Dubai Miracle Garden

The Gold Souk

Dubai is widely known for its amazing Gold Souk, which offers dozens of jewelry stores selling gold, silver and precious stones. Check out the world’s largest gold ring, weighing almost 64 kilograms. The gold souk is located in old Dubai, and is a real contrast to the newer side of the city. The traditional market looks simple until one starts window shopping and sees some of the most astonishing jewelry designs. The most impressive part? None of the stores have security guards protecting the priceless jewelry. Dubai is largely a safe city, and theft is not a concern in the Gold Souk.

The Gold Souk, Dubai

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips , led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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Is Dubai Worth Visiting? Pros, cons and tips for having the best time in Dubai on vacation

Is Dubai worth visiting? Explore the unforgettable charm of Dubai, its top attractions, cultural experiences, culinary delights, and tips for travellers.

Last Update: March 28, 2024

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We are a clear example that Dubai is worth visiting. Dubai, a city epitomising opulence and grandeur, has emerged as a sought-after travel destination. It beckons travellers with its extraordinary architecture, cultural richness, and an array of unforgettable experiences. But is Dubai worth visiting? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the reasons that make Dubai a must-visit destination, offering a glimpse into its vibrant culture, top attractions, culinary delights, natural wonders, and practical information to plan an unforgettable trip.

Following our footsteps, you will have the best vacation in Dubai, collecting lifetime memories. Even though you think Dubai is expensive, we have some tips to make this trip affordable. Dubai is worth visiting even just for a few days, and this guide will help you balance the pros and cons of visiting Dubai.

Dubai Marina skyline - Reasons why is Dubai worth visiting

Pros of visiting Dubai: A World of Extravagance and Marvels

Dubai is worth visiting, even just for its futuristic appeal. We don’t know if the modern look of Dubai will shape the projects for tomorrow’s cities, but it seems very likely to be close to what we have seen in some movies.

Dubai boosts an incredible modern style with skyscrapers, all-in malls and unique attractions within centric buildings. What surprised us a lot while exploring Dubai is that everything is perfectly mixed with local culture, way of life, still respecting cultural diversity. It’s indeed a place to enjoy a holiday period without looking at your wallet. Still, it is working on welcoming any kind of traveller, making a stopover in Dubai or a few days’ extravaganzas reasonable.

Modern architectural marvels

I spent most of my first day in Dubai staring at the glass windows of these immense skyscrapers. Yes, I have never been fun of malts and concrete, but Dubai is insane. Dubai boasts an awe-inspiring skyline filled with architectural wonders, including the iconic Burj Khalifa , the tallest building in the world, spanning over 800 metres above the ground. The city’s futuristic design and cutting-edge infrastructure are sure to leave you in awe. Our hotel was right in front of the Museum of the Future, and the building itself is an engineering beauty.

This post may contain affiliate links or Sponsored Links ( read our Cookie Policy ), and useful experiences that we love to suggest to you. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are really grateful) at no extra cost to you . Click on it will help us run this website for you, for FREE, funding our project and continuing to travel, informing curious explorers.

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This post may contain affiliate links or Sponsored Links ( read our Cookie Policy ), and useful experiences that we love to suggest to you. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are really grateful) at no extra cost to you. Click on it will help us run this website for you, for FREE, funding our project and continuing to travel, informing curious explorers.

Best hotel in Dubai - 25hours hotel Dubai city centre - View of the museum of the future from Dubai hotel - Is Dubai worth visiting?

Luxury Hotels and Resorts

Yes, of course, Dubai pumps lux to the next level. We have never experienced something like that. The fine details and attention to the customers is something we have rarely seen in Europe, to be honest. 

Prepare to be pampered in the lap of luxury with an abundance of opulent hotels and resorts that cater to your every whim. From the renowned Burj Al Arab to the exquisite Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai knows how to indulge its visitors.

If you’re looking for a unique hotel experience that goes beyond the ordinary, 25Hours Hotel in Dubai is the right place for you. A luxury hotel with cool aesthetics, a lovely pool with a view and a friendly staff, everything combined to offer a new version of what Dubai has to offer. Check our Instagram Reel and see how cool this hotel is! The location is perfect, staying only 3 stops away from the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. The price is extremely affordable with double rooms, with breakfast starting at a staggering £85 per night (€98 | $110) . Check here if the hotel is the right one for you.

Cultural Diversity

Experience a unique blend of cultures as Dubai is home to people from all around the world. Immerse yourself in the rich traditions, art, and cuisine from different corners of the globe.

World-Class Shopping

Shopaholics rejoice! Dubai is a shopper’s paradise with its extravagant malls and traditional souks. From high-end fashion brands to traditional spices and textiles, you’ll find everything your heart desires.

Adventure and Entertainment

Dubai offers an array of thrilling activities, from desert safaris and dune bashing to water parks, indoor skiing, and mesmerising fountain shows at the Dubai Fountain.

Top attractions in Dubai

Stopover in Dubai on top of the Burj Khalifa the highest buildings in the world

Burj Khalifa: A Sky-High Marvel

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, with over 160 stories spanning 280 metres above the ground. We were lucky enough to be invited by Dubai Tourism to enjoy the view from the top deck. It is clearly one of the best attractions to enjoy while on a stopover in Dubai .

The Burj Khalifa is in the central stage of Dubai, within the shopping mall, the sky deck view and the famous fountains, which you will find more information about in the following paragraphs.

We invite you to book your ticket in advance for the Burj Khalifa as it gets crowded and practically sold out, especially in high season. Check the availability.

Dubai Mall: A Shopper’s Paradise

Continuing your trip through Dubai, you can’t miss the biggest mall in the world. We got out of the metro and were already with shopping bags in our hands. Dubai Mall presents an unparalleled shopping extravaganza. With over 1,200 stores, it offers an abundance of luxury brands, international fashion, and unique local boutiques. Indulge in a shopping spree and discover a world of fashion, accessories, and more. This retail paradise is a testament to Dubai’s status as a global shopping destination.

The Dubai Fountain: A Dazzling Display

Stay around the Dubai Mall area in the afternoon and attend the famous water fountain show. I highly recommend taking in the mesmerising performances of the Dubai Fountain as the sun sets over the city. The choreographed water and light show is a true spectacle set against the stunning backdrop of Burj Khalifa. The synchronised music and dancing water jets create a symphony of sights and sounds that will leave you awe-inspired. It’s truly an experience that reaffirms Dubai’s worthiness of a visit.

Palm Jumeira shaped in a perfect palm housing over 5 thousand people

The view of the Palm Jumeirah

What is more, creating a piece of land where there is just water. Palm Jumeirah is a man-made island in a palm shape, which is one of the best attractions in Dubai . I mean, even if you have just a few hours as a layover, it is worth it to ride the metro for about 20 minutes from the airport and enjoy the view of the Palm. Yes, for us, Dubai is worth visiting , even just for the view from the iconic building in the centre of the oasis.

Dubai Creek: Where Tradition Meets Modernity

At Dubai Creek , you’ll witness the harmonious coexistence of the city’s past and present. Embark on a traditional dhow cruise along the historic waterway, immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of Dubai’s heritage. Indulge in waterfront dining, visit cultural sites, and witness the bustling souks. This cultural enclave serves as a reminder of Dubai’s roots and adds depth to the city’s worth as a travel destination.

Dubai Frame

Set at the border of the old town, it signs the boundary between what once was Dubai and the city’s new developments . Dubai Frame is a symbol of modernised Dubai, and many people assume it is the old city framed to remind people of the past. You can get up to the top to enjoy the fantastic view of the city and spot the huge differences in architecture and style.


Dubai Beaches

Compared to the rest of the UAE, Dubai is more relaxed and culturally open. In fact, you can enjoy the beaches, and for women, Bikini is fine. If you want to sunbathe, you will have the best time, even though beaches are very busy, especially around sunset time when the heat is mild. Remember that the Persian Gulf is quite warm, so if you think it might be refreshing, don’t get disappointed if not. Our personal choice of Dubai best beaches is definitely one between Jumeira Beach and Marina Beach . However, check down the list of the best beaches in Dubai:

  • Jumeirah Beach
  • Marina Beach
  • Sunset Beach
  • White Beach

Toti on a vintage Jeep in the Desert - Best desert safari in Dubai

Desert Safari

We had the best time with Platinum Heritage , the best and most popular company offering a Desert tour and safari in a nature reserve behind the boundaries of Dubai.

This company was able to perfectly mix up cultural heritage from the bedouin tradition to modern attention to tourists through a desert safari, exploring the dunes, witnessing daily wildlife roaming and local way of life in a camp. If you plan to spend an afternoon embracing an adventure, we highly suggest checking out this tour ( Platinum Heritage has a 4.7 stars review on GYG ), as it is the best way to collect memories while in Dubai. Check availability in advance here , as it has limited seats because it is a nature reserve with limited access.

Dubai is safe

Emirates people are friendly and conscious that travellers need to feel safe to enjoy the trip and make the country one of the most visited places in the world. They treated us so well that we felt safe all the time. Also, visiting Dubai, you might understand that local culture is very mixed with workers coming from all around the world, making the place an interesting melting pot. However, we must be honest and say that while Dubai is very friendly because it is used more to tourists, all around is still in development as a cultural movement. If you travel solo, join fellow travellers to share experiences.

A sparkling clean city

Everything in the city seems made to impress guests. The streets are neat, the roads are always clean, and you will rarely find garbage in the corners. Honestly, it is one of the cleanest cities we have visited recently. Big thumbs up for Dubai measures.

Dubai public transport map

Efficient public transportation

Apart from the last day of our visit to Dubai , when the 25hours hotel offered a Mini Cooper free of charge included in our stay ( The 25hours hotel offered you a mini included check this offer ), we basically went all around using just public transport. Dubai has efficient urban transport with Metro, Buses, Trams and monorails available and synchronised.

Also, we found the metro very affordable, as a one-way trip to the boundaries from the city centre cost just about 5 Dirhams (£1 | €1.10 | $1.20). The only transportation method that we found quite expensive was the mono-rail; however, it is worth the price just for the view and the fantastic trip on a train that passes on Palm Jumeirah in auto mode without the driver. If you think that navigating Dubai is expensive, this is one of the first things you might have to clear from your mind. Dubai is worth visiting just for its remarkably efficient public transport.

The city’s well-developed public transportation system, including the Dubai Metro and buses, makes it convenient to explore various attractions.

Cons of Visiting Dubai | Understanding the Challenges

Dubai gondola at Dubai Mall - Is Dubai worth visiting? Discover all the reasons why visit Dubai

Extreme heat

Don’t visit Dubai in July and August if your concern is weather and high temperature. We had the pleasure of exploring the magnificent city while on our way back to Europe from Asia. However, it was worth it because the ticket cost was half compared to the direct flight. Dubai can boost your body temperature to the limits, and with the current climate change and difficulties, it might be harmful if you are a subject at risk.

Dubai’s climate can be quite harsh, with scorching summers, making outdoor activities challenging during peak hours. However, indoor attractions and malls offer respite from the heat.

Cultural Sensitivities

Dubai is not like the rest of the UAE. Let’s say we have seen a huge difference between Dubai and Abu Dhabi regarding tourist hospitality. In fact, Dubai is relatively liberal compared to other destinations in the region. However, it is essential to respect local customs and traditions, especially when it comes to dressing modestly in public areas or visiting Mosques.

Best photos from Dubai the fantastic museum of future

Tips for enjoying a fantastic vacation in Dubai

This is one of the main sections of our Dubai guide ; impossible to miss these insights, as embracing the culture and getting prepared for your trip is essential, from planning ahead through purchasing entrance tickets and skip-the-line vouchers to respecting local culture, enjoying cuisine and carrying water.

Check out all our tips to make your trip to Dubai memorable.

We had the best time in Dubai and are already planning our next visit. One of the main reasons was that everything was planned, from hotel accommodation, transport and even daily visits to the main attractions. Despite missing many sightseeing, we did everything that was important to us, mostly thanks to detailed planning, online tickets and skip-the-line bookings.

Research and p lan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your time in Dubai .

Respect local culture

Already mentioned local culture, but we will reiterate that. As you visit a new country, you must embrace a different culture, which is often very different and distant from your daily life. Embrace Dubai’s rich culture and traditions by dressing modestly in public places and refraining from public displays of affection.

Explore beyond the glitz

It Isn’t true that Dubai is only glamorous, luxury and modern style. Behind the well-known spots and the popular locations, there is a lot of Dubai you might not know yet. From historic sites with intrinsic importance for locals to new buildings and attractions opening up every week. If you want to explore Dubai behind the usual spots, go off the beaten path, and go to the old town, which looks like what Dubai was once upon a time.

Sample local cuisine

Apart from our restaurant hopping while getting around Dubai, we had one of the most pleasant experiences on the Dubai Safari. At night, after a fantastic trip through the dunes of the natural reserve surrounding the futuristic city, we sat at the Bedouin camp and enjoyed a fantastic traditional four-course meal. Yes, it was included in our tour with Platinum Heritage, with a show, stargazing night and dance show.

Stay hydrated

As previously mentioned, Dubai gets hotter every year. Staying hydrated is the best suggestion everyone gives.  So carry on your reusable water bottle and stay hydrated. Around Dubai, you can find water stations to refill your bottle and help reduce plastic waste.

Use Public Transport

Getting around Dubai using public transport is easy, efficient, and budget-friendly. We spent about 5 Dirhams to get from Dubai city centre to the boundaries, which is more convenient than public transport in London.

Drive a vintage car in the desert in Dubai

Experience the Desert

During our trip to Dubai, we had a fantastic time on a desert safari adventure. Our guide took us on a thrilling ride through the Arabian desert in a vintage Land Rover , dodging wild animals and gliding over the dunes. It was an exhilarating experience that left us all feeling alive. The journey ended at a beautiful bedouin camp in the heart of the desert, where we were treated to a delicious 4-course meal and local drinks.

The staff at Platinum Heritage went above and beyond to make us feel welcome and like honoured guests. The highlight of the evening was the heritage show, which was a mesmerising display of culture and tradition. I highly recommend checking out their tour and booking in advance , as it’s a popular attraction that fills up fast.

Observe Ramadan Etiquette

If you happen to visit during Ramadan, be respectful of those fasting by not eating, drinking, or smoking in public during daylight hours.

Dubai truly offers an extraordinary vacation experience, blending contemporary extravagance with rich cultural heritage. Its uniqueness and allure draw travellers from across the globe, creating cherished memories for a lifetime.

As you embark on your Dubai adventure, remember to be respectful, embrace the diversity, and enjoy the city’s myriad of offerings. Whether you seek luxury, adventure, or cultural exploration, Dubai has something magical in store for everyone.

Dubai Safari with Premium Heritage at sunset

Why should I visit Dubai?

Well, right at the end of this incredible post about Dubai, we want to give you a clear example of why we explored Dubai, even though it wasn’t on our travel list. The city seems so artificial that we guess it might take off some travellers from it. However, even though some parts of it are built from scratch, it has everything that attracts Dubai. Some of the reasons to visit Dubai is definitely because of efficiency. Their public transport, clean cities, and nice activities make you feel welcome in what we call a different world.

Also, you might consider Dubai worth visiting if you are travelling to Europe from Asia or vice versa. It was pleasant on our journey from Bangkok to Rome to break the flights and spend some time in UAE. Actually, it did work out cheaper than a long straight flight or even one with a few changes in between. While on a stopover in Dubai, we were able to do the best activities and get back home from our 9 months trip in Asia safe and sound and quite relaxed.

FAQ | Is Dubai worth visiting

How many days in dubai is enough.

If you’re the type of person who likes to see as much as possible in a short amount of time, then 2 days in Dubai might be enough for you. However, you might see nothing of the city. In fact, if you prefer a more relaxed pace and want to spend more time at each attraction, then you might want to consider extending your stay to 3 or 4 days. We spent a fantastic stopover in Dubai , spending four days exploring the best of the city.

Is Dubai a good place to take a vacation?

If you’re seeking an unforgettable travel experience, Dubai should be at the top of your list. With numerous exciting attractions and unique experiences, it’s truly one of a kind. It’s important to note that while Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE, Dubai is the largest city in the country with a bigger population and airport, making it a convenient hub for travellers.

Whether you prefer a fast-paced or leisurely itinerary, there’s something for everyone in Dubai. Not to mention, their public transportation system is an excellent way to explore and discover all the city has to offer.

What is so special about Dubai?

Dubai is much more than just a luxurious travel experiences. Exploring the historic souks, admiring the beauty of Dubai Creek , and discovering the region’s rich culture and history are just some of the possibilities. Those seeking adventure can indulge in a fantastic desert safari and dune bashing.

However, it’s important to note that there have been concerns about worker exploitation in Dubai. Therefore, it is crucial to conduct thorough research and make informed decisions when planning a trip to the city.

Is Dubai cheap or expensive?

Dubai can be very expensive; however, we have visited the city as budget travellers without losing any opportunity. If you book in advance, you might get discounts for accommodations and even attractions. Take advantage of local public transport and eat locals to stay on a budget. Visiting Dubai in the hot season might help you stay in luxury accommodation for half of the price. However, you might have to deal with extreme heat.

What is the best month to go to Dubai?

To have the best travel experience in Dubai , we suggest planning your trip between November and April. During this time, the weather is cooler as the summer heat fades away. Although there might be occasional light rain showers from December to March, they are usually brief and are unlikely to disrupt your plans.

Best trips from Dubai

Abu Dhabi, UAE:  Visit the UAE’s capital for a day of cultural enrichment. Explore the magnificent  Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque , witness the futuristic architecture of Yas Island, and experience the cultural heritage at the  Louvre Abu Dhabi .

Al Ain, UAE:  Known as the  “Garden City” of the UAE , Al Ain boasts lush oases, the Al Jahili Fort, and the Al Ain Zoo. Enjoy a scenic drive through the desert and immerse yourself in the city’s rich history.

Hatta, UAE:  Just a short drive from Dubai, Hatta offers a tranquil escape into the  Hajar Mountains . Explore the Hatta Dam, take a kayak on its serene waters, and visit the  Hatta Heritage Village  to glimpse the region’s history.

Fujairah, UAE:  Head to the  UAE’s east coast  and discover the pristine beaches, historical sites like the  Fujairah Fort , and the rugged Hajar Mountains for a day of adventure and relaxation.

Muscat, Oman:  Just a  short flight from Dubai  or a longer 6-hour journey by bus to Muscat. Explore the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Royal Opera House, and the  vibrant Mutrah Souq . Don’t miss the stunning  Al Jalali and Al Mirani  forts overlooking the sea.

Is it worth going to Dubai?

Yes. It is worth going to Dubai as it set high expectations and meets it like no other location in the world. Dubai has it everything to fill your taste for adventure, chill and relaxation, workation, beach time, shopaholic and more.

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Home » Middle East » Places to Visit

27 BEST Places to Visit in Dubai (2024)

Famous for glamorous shopping, towering buildings, modernity, and sheer excess, Dubai United Arab Emirates is one of the hottest spots in the Middle East right now. Surrounded by sandy desert with a long stretch of Persian coastline, there are plenty of opportunities for relaxation and adventure too. From sunbathing and swimming to diving and dune bugging, you’ll never have a dull moment in Dubai!

However, Dubai’s reputation for exclusivity can put many people off visiting.

There’s no need to swerve Dubai completely though; not only are there some excellent activities that won’t break the bank you can also hit many of the highlights in just a couple of days, meaning that your overall stay doesn’t need to be for too long. Our expert team of travel writers have compiled this list of the best places to visit in Dubai so you can make the most of your trip without blowing your budget.

Spoiler alert: Some of the best places to visit in Dubai are sure to blow you away!

Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Dubai:

These are the best places to visit in dubai, faq on the best places to visit in dubai, final thoughts on the coolest places to visit in dubai.

Jumeirah Neighborhood, Dubai

Jumeirah Beach

Why it’s awesome: Fine white sands meet the sparkling blue waters of the Persian Gulf at Jumeirah Beach. There is no charge to enjoy the public beach and you’ll find various vendors and facilities close to hand. Located on Dubai Marina, you'll find luxury like no other in this neighborhood.

  • Take a stroll along La Mer, a world-class beachfront
  • Visit the Jumeirah Mosque, the largest mosque in the UAE
  • Dine on delicious food at Turkish Village Restaurant & Café
  • Shop until you drop for luxury fashion at Dubai Marina Mall

If Jumeirah Beach isn’t quite your cup of tea, check out where to stay in Dubai before you scroll on down into the main Dubai attractions.

There are LOADS of areas just waiting to be explored, some of which have accommodation options too. If in doubt, I recommend staying on Sheikh Zayed Road, which is the longest road in Dubai and connects you to all the main tourist attractions.

Now, buckle your seatbelts, it’s time to look at the best places to visit in Dubai. This is gonna be fun!

Still deciding where you go? Have a look at our Dubai vs Qatar post to settle it.

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#1 – Burj Khalifa – Possibly one of the most important places to visit in Dubai

Burj Khalifa

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  • Tallest building in the world
  • Incredible views
  • Splendid modern architecture
  • Iconic Dubai landmark

Why it’s awesome: The Burj Khalifa , open since 2010 and built in just five years, is the tallest building in the world. Standing at 828 metres (2,717 feet) tall, it’s certainly an imposing sight! The building is that tall that people on the highest floors can still see the sun several minutes after it has set for those at ground level!

Sleek metal and gleaming glass rise high into the sky, with fountains and a pretty tree- and bench-filled park at the bottom. It has several observation decks from where you can enjoy terrific views over Dubai, and there are places inside to eat, drink, and sleep.

Also across from the Burj Khalifa, you will find Dubai’s hottest attraction, Sky Views Dubai . This adrenaline-packed activity that opened in November 2021 at the Sky Views Hotel allows visitors to slide down a complete glass slide from the 53rd floor to the 52nd floor. If you’re not afraid of heights, this attraction is for you.

What to do there: Stroll through the park at the bottom of the tower and perch on a bench to enjoy the vibe and views. Snap plenty of pictures of the towering beauty before riding the high-speed elevators up to the viewing points. (It is advised to book tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment.) On Level 124 you can enjoy stunning views of the world at your feet, seeing even further afield thanks to the super-strength telescopes. One of the best places in Dubai.

Level 125 has a beautiful Arabian-style lounge with panoramic views. Dare to step out onto the interactive glass floor—it seems to splinter right beneath your feet, all while standing 456 metres (1,496 feet) above the ground.

You can also take a virtual tour to the very pinnacle of the tower and enjoy a virtual flight over the city. To really feel fancy, book one of the drinks packages, such as afternoon tea, a champagne sundowner, or nighttime cocktails.

#2 – Wild Wadi Waterpark – Easily one of the most fun places to check out in Dubai

Wild Wadi Waterpark

  • Cool down in the sun
  • Enjoy various water rides
  • Ideal for a fun family day out
  • Watch the large waterfall cascading at regular intervals

Why it’s awesome: Wild Wadi Waterpark is one of the best places in Dubai to beat the heat and cool down while having heaps of fun. The large outdoor water park has some 30 rides and attractions for people of all ages and it is themed around the story of Juha, an Arabian folklore figure.

There are several pools and places where you can take it easy and bask in the sunshine, and you’ll also find great spots to grab refreshments and meals. Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten any of the essentials as there’s also a shop on site that sells bathing suits, goggles, towels, and anything else that you’d need for a great day. You can also buy a range of merchandise.

What to do there: Take a refreshing dip in one of the pools and relax around the park. Why not spoil yourself and rent a private cabana for your day at the water park?

Lazily drift along Juha’s Journey, a mellow and laid-back lazy river, grab a ring to hurtle down the ring slides, bob in the turbulent waves of Flood River, and try to keep your head above water in Breaker’s Bay, the biggest wave pool in the Middle East. This place is a great spot to spend some time on the weekend in Dubai , just make sure you bring your sunscreen!

Get your body-boarding and surfing game on at the Wipeout and Riptide Flowriders, one of just four such water attractions in the world. Feel an adrenaline surge at Tantrum Alley and Burj Surj, and climb the 32-metre (105-foot) tower of Jumeirah Sceirah to hurtle down the long and exhilarating slide at a breath-taking 80 km/h (50mph).

Watch as your kids have heaps of fun and giggles at Juha’s Dhow and Lagoon, with tamer slides, water cannons, fountains, shallow pools, and more, all with a cool theme. Pick up souvenirs, enjoy a tasty meal, and have a great day to remember.

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#3 – The Dubai Mall – A great place in Dubai if you love to shop!

The Dubai Mall

  • One of the world’s biggest shopping malls
  • Home to more than 1,000 shops
  • Air of luxury, exclusivity, and glamour
  • Various leisure and entertainment options

Why it’s awesome: The best place in Dubai to spend money, the elegant and huge Dubai Mall is perhaps the most famous shopping centre in the UAE, if not the Middle East. With more than 1,000 shops and a variety of entertainment and dining options, you should plan to spend a good few hours there.

Open since 2008, it is now one of the most-visited places across the entire world! You’ll find men’s, women’s, and children’s fashions, fragrances and cosmetics, toys, electronics and gadgets, homewares, and more. Oh, its also amongst the best places to go in Dubai for some free AC and the top place to visit in Dubai for free toilets.

If you’re visiting in December and January, you’ll be visiting around the Dubai Shopping Festival, which is where you can witness live music displays, light installations, daily fireworks d even a DSF Drone Light Show – that’s how it’s done in Dubai!

What to do there: Escape the heat and step into air-conditioned comfort to enjoy some high-class window shopping and retail therapy. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything it’s still well worth visiting the Dubai Mall to admire the sumptuous surroundings and fancy shop displays. Stores include Chanel, Chloe, La Perla, Aldo, Apple, Tiffany and Co, Clinique, Prada, Mac, Dior, Bose, Lego, Fendi, Gap, DKNY, Puma, Gap, Rolex, and many, many more.

Visiting with kids? No worries! Take them to Kidzania where they can have fun with other youngsters in various cool roleplay settings in a mini world designed just for children.

Catch a film at the 22-screen cinema, grab a bite to eat in one of the many restaurants, cafes, and concession stands, go ice skating, see the replica of the Dubai Creek Tower in the Atrium, explore the underwater world at Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo , and feel a shiver down your spine in the haunted house of Hysteria. There really is so much to enjoy at the Dubai Mall in addition to shopping.

#4 – Ski Dubai – One of the more unique places to visit in Dubai!

Ski Dubai, Dubai

  • The first indoor ski resort in the Middle East
  • Home to cute colonies of penguins
  • Lessons available for all levels of skiers
  • Experience winter in the desert

Why it’s awesome: What could be more unusual than skiing and enjoying diverse snow sports while surrounded by desert?! That’s exactly what Ski Dubai offers—heaps of wintery fun! The large facility can be found in the Mall of the Emirates and was the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort.

A top way to get some respite from the heat, temperatures are kept at around -1 to 2 degrees Celsius (30 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit) at all times. It offers tons of fun for people of ages, so whether you’re travelling with friends, family, or your love interest you’ll have a great time there. You can book your full-day-ski-pass here.

What to do there: Don your warm clothes and practice your skiing techniques on the five slopes. If snowboarding is more your thing don’t worry—you can do that too. Have a go at bobsledding, tobogganing, snow tubing, and zorbing, tackle the climbing wall. And ride in a snow plough.

Have a blast in the snow, building snowmen, making snow angels, or simply enjoying a good old snowball fight. Don’t miss seeing the penguins too. The facility is home to both king penguins and Gentoo penguins. There’s a cool penguin parade each day, which is sure to enchant visitors old and young alike. Of all the Dubai place to see, this is the only one I can think of that involves snow.

#5 – The Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve – Dubai’s first national park!

The Arabian Desert

  • riding on the back of a camel
  • sand surfing on the dunes
  • BBQ to finish the day

Why it’s awesome: Its camels, romance and surfing down the sand – it just doesn’t get any more awesome than exploring the Dubai Desert Conversation Reserve, Dubai’s first national park! This tour will take you roughly 60 km from the city centre, right into the red dunes. This is THE place to go in Dubai to get away from Dubai…

What to do there: With this EPIC 4×4 desert tour , you’ll be exploring the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve on the back of a camel, have a breathtaking view over the red sand and test your surfing skills down the dunes. The tour ends with a BBQ and, of course, traditional shisha for everyone. The desert is amongst the best places in Dubai to visit – do not miss this if you have the time.

#6 – Dubai Fountain – One of the most incredible free places to go to in Dubai

Dubai Fountain

  • Stunning show that combines water, music, and lights
  • Free to watch
  • Biggest choreographed fountain in the world
  • Boat rides available

Why it’s awesome: Located outside of the famous Dubai Mall on the large Burj Khalifa Lake, the marvellous Dubai Fountain is the world’s biggest choreographed fountain. Created by the same company that designed the famous fountain show at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, shows take place at the Dubai Fountain at various times throughout the day.

There are many spots where you can watch the spectacular sound, light, and fountain show for absolutely free. This is a very popular place to go in Dubai so try to get here early though to secure a great spot.

What to do there: Be in awe of the stunning fountain show, set to traditional Arabian music, classical sounds, and contemporary tunes. Marvel at the exquisitely designed show, which incorporates perfectly synchronised jets of water, colourful lights, and music. Gasp as jets of water shoot up to 152 metres (500 feet) into the air and be blown away by the overall beauty and grace of the stunning fountain show.

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#7 – Jumeirah Beach – A perfect place to visit in Dubai if you are on a budget!

Jumeirah Beach

  • Gorgeous white sand beach
  • Stunning views
  • Varied water activities
  • Free to enjoy

Why it’s awesome: Fine white sands meet the sparkling blue waters of the Persian Gulf at Jumeirah Beach. There is no charge to enjoy the public beach and you’ll find various vendors and facilities close to hand, so it’s perfect if you’re visiting Dubai on budget .

Water sports are available at the beach, along with a variety of fun beach sports and activities, or you can simply relax and soak up the sun or bury your nose in a good book. The popular beach also offers great views of the ocean and city skyscrapers.

What to do there: Stroll along the white sandy shore and admire the ocean vistas and views of the city’s skyscrapers, including the iconic Burj al Arab. Spread your towel on the sands to soak up some sun or pay a small amount to rent a lounger and parasol. Paddle and swim in the sea (though do be sure to be cautious of undercurrents and rip tides and make sure that children, especially, do not go far from your reach).

Get some morning or evening exercise by walking, jogging, cycling, or skating along the long beach boulevard, pick up some refreshments from one of the beach vendors, and enjoy a day at the seaside in Dubai.

#8 – Dubai Miracle Garden – A beautiful and scenic place to check out in Dubai

Miracle Garden

  • Romantic and scenic destination
  • One of the biggest natural flower gardens across the globe
  • Eco-friendly initiatives
  • Certain elements in the Guinness Book of World Records
  • One of the top places to visit in Dubai

Why it’s awesome: The stunning Dubai Miracle Garden is an award-winning attraction. Among the biggest flower gardens in the world, it contains many large and beautiful floral displays that are photogenic and impressive. The garden boasts around 50 million flowers in a wide array of hues and 250 million plants.

Opened on Valentine’s Day, it is a great destination for lovers with much natural beauty to admire. Some of the garden’s features appear in the Guinness Book of World Records. The garden featured in a Bollywood movie, with the director eager to show a different side to Dubai than simply towering buildings and high-tech elements.

What to do there: Wander through the pretty gardens, admiring the rich array of flora and inhaling the enticing scents. The aromatic garden is especially alluring. See the gigantic floral clock, observe the peacocks that roam the grounds, marvel at the huge Mickey Mouse topiary, and be awed by the gigantic Airbus A360 floral display (entered in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the biggest flower-created structure in the world).

Visit the world’s biggest indoor Butterfly Garden, home to around 15,000 attractive butterflies. Other great features include a castle made from millions of flowers, a passageway of umbrellas, a kids’ trampoline park, a walkway of hearts, a hill of flowers, a towering floral teddy bear, a shimmering lake, and a giant tortoise.

You’ll find various places to eat and drink throughout the gardens too, and there are plentiful opportunities to relax and simply enjoy being outdoors and away from the city’s hustle and bustle.

#9 – Dubai Museum – A fascinating educational place to visit in Dubai

Dubai Museum

  • Housed in Dubai’s oldest existing building
  • Wide assortment of artefacts from the Gulf states and beyond
  • Interesting dioramas at the Dubai Museum
  • Travel back through the ages

Why it’s awesome: Dubai Museum is located within the 1787 Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest remaining building in Dubai present on every backpacking Dubai travel guide (as it should be!). The mighty building exudes a sense of strength and history, having been used as a weapons storage facility, a defensive fortress, a prison, and a royal home in times gone by.

Providing insights into the Dubai of old, from a time before oil made the country rich and the modern buildings sprang up in the desert terrain, there are heaps of fascinating displays and exhibits. Open since the early 1970s, the museum seeks to preserve the traditional way of life and culture of Dubai. The museum is one of the best places to see in Dubai for those who want some historical context.

What to do there: Enter the mighty coral-built fortress through the cannon-flanked main entrance to appreciate the structure’s grandeur and strength. Gaze up at the old tower, which dates back to the 1780s, see the reconstructed city walls, and admire the traditional boat (known as a dhow) in the main courtyard.

Make your way around the diverse galleries and halls, seeing exhibitions of musical instruments, weapons, furniture, drawings, pottery, tombstones, and more.

Look into the various replica buildings, including mosques, souks complete with an ironmonger, tailor, carpenter, and other tradesmen, homes, a Bedouin tent, and farms, see how Dubai has changed over the years at the large dioramas, and learn more about the area’s traditional pearl-diving activities. There’s also an onsite gift shop.

#10 – Hatta – A very cool place in Dubai to go for a day

Hatta, Dubai

  • Mountain landscapes
  • Adventure activities
  • One of the oldest preserved heritage areas in the country
  • An hour away from the heart of Dubai

Why it’s awesome: Hatta is a gorgeous location in the Hajar Mountains. Scenic views and a sense of history make for a fantastic day out away from the skyscrapers and modern way of life. The mountain enclave has a cultural town with desert farms and a fortress and Hatta Heritage Village is a great place to see a way of life long since passed.

There are incredible viewpoints and the deep blues of the sparkling lake contrast with the reddish-grey rocks and arid terrain. Of all the places to go in Dubai for nature, Hatta is one of the best.

What to do there: Feast your eyes on natural splendour as you drive through the craggy mountains to Hatta. Inhale deliciously fresh air and try a variety of outdoor adventures—enjoy thrilling mountain biking and hiking, go kayaking on the shimmering lake, and spot a variety of nature.

Admire the vistas from Hatta Dam and learn more about the country’s past at Hatta Library. The Heritage Village is a must, with its ancient fort and recreated huts and houses. History is really brought to life.

#11 – Dubai Frame – A great place to see in Dubai if you love architecture

Dubai Frame

  • Biggest frame in the world
  • Set in pretty parkland
  • Unusual structure
  • Fabulous views
  • One of the Dubai must see places

Why it’s awesome: Dubai Frame, open since early 2018, is one of Dubai’s most incredible landmarks. Standing at 150 metres (492 feet) tall, the large frame is 105 metres (345 feet) wide. Located in Zabeel Park, the structure is surrounded by grass, palm trees, and various other natural features.

Diverse leisure options are available in the park too. Not only is the frame itself a beautiful piece of architecture, made from aluminium, steel, glass, and concrete, but the whole point of the huge frame is to provide cool views of the city’s magnificent skyline and architectural marvels.

What to do there: Stand one side of the frame and see Dubai’s modern skyscrapers as if in a picture, and then move to the other side for a framed perspective of Old Dubai. Depending on your position you can compare and contrast the old and new parts of the city.

Take plenty of pictures of the Dubai Frame and the views through the massive structure. Aside from admiring the structure and getting your Insta-fix, the frame is a great spot to meet up and hang out. Locals and visitors use the area for jogging, skating, picnicking and simply hanging.

Pssst! Heading to Dubai United Arab Emirates just for a couple of days? Check out our in-depth Insider Dubai Itinerary !

#12 – Burj al Arab – One of the most amazing places in Dubai!

Burj al Arab

  • Iconic landmark
  • World’s fanciest hotel
  • Striking architecture
  • Located on an artificial island

Why it’s awesome: The stunning Burj al Arab is one of the most famous hotels in the world. Coined as the world’s only six-star hotel, it offers unrivalled luxury and pampering. You don’t have to be staying at the magnificent hotel to enjoy its splendour however; many people visit simply to admire the iconic structure from outside, marvelling at the sail-like form and gleaming profile.

Standing on an artificial island, the sea provides a gorgeous backdrop to the maritime-inspired building. The hotel has featured in several films and TV shows and diverse high-profile events have taken place at the lofty helipad, including Tiger Woods playing gold, David Coulthard driving an F1 racing car, and a tennis match between Andre Agassi and Roger Federer.

What to do there: If you really want to splash the cash and spoil yourself, book to stay in the world’s most lavish hotel and enjoy star-quality pampering. Guests can enjoy all trapping like the decadent spa, inviting swimming pools, modern fitness centre, and chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce. For a cheaper (though not cheap) experience you can also dine in one of the hotel’s world-class restaurants or indulge in afternoon tea or cocktails. Alternatively, admire the elegant building from the outside and snap plenty of pictures of the striking hotel.

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#13 – Palm Jueirah – Dubai’s collection of palm islands!

The Palm Jumeirah Dubai

Why it’s awesome: The Palm Islands are a collection of three man-made islands that make up the shape of a palm. Palm Jumeirah is lined with luxury hotels with private beaches, making it the ideal place to stay if you want to be pampered and have a totally luxurious experience.

However, it is also a place best-seen from above. If you don’t have a drone, then you can sky dive and view the structure in all its glory.

What to do here: Take a stroll around the streets of the Palm Jumeirah or bathe on the private beach of one of the luxury hotels (if you’re staying there of course). To be honest, there isn’t much to see here from the ground, it’s more about having a luxury experience at one of the hotels.

#14 – Motiongate Dubai – Awesome place to visit in Dubai with kids!

Motiongate Dubai, Dubai

  • Fun theme park inspired by Hollywood
  • Rides and attractions for people of all ages
  • Fantastic family-friendly day out
  • Live entertainment

Why it’s awesome: Motiongate Dubai, open since late 2016, has various cool areas with different Hollywood-inspired themes. There are diverse rides, attractions, and shows, with something to suit old and young alike. A popular place for a family outing, there are indoor and outdoor activities and attractions. The themed areas include Studio Central, Smurfs’ Village, DreamWorks, Lionsgate, and Colombia Pictures. Enter the world of film and the big screen and meet many well-known characters. There are places to eat and shop too.

What to do there: Get set for an active and fun day out at Motiongate Dubai. Discover the different enchanting areas and enjoy the cool rides. Enter the world of animation at DreamWorks, themed around movies like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar, and enjoy the whimsical world of Smurfs’ Village. In Columbia Pictures you’ll find attractions based around Sony Picture productions, including Ghostbusters, The Green Hornet, and Hotel Transylvania.

Feel the rush on adrenaline-inducing rides like Blast Off, High Speed Chase, and Capitol Bullet Train, let your kids have a whale of a time in play areas like Flint’s Imagination Lab, Woodland Play Park, and the Smurfberry Factory, and have an interactive adventure at Underworld 4D and Unstoppable Awesomeness. Tap your feet at shows like King Julien’s Side Show Stop and Operation Penguin Shake, and make many magical memories.

#15 – Safa Park – A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Dubai

Safa Park, Dubai

  • Enjoy being outdoors
  • Escape the crowded streets
  • Sporting and leisure facilities
  • Lots of flora and fauna

Why it’s awesome: Popular with locals and tourists alike, Safa Park is a pleasant place to unwind outdoors in Dubai. It’s easy to find a quiet place to relax and chill with a good book. Children can enjoy the play areas and there are facilities for jogging, cycling, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and football. The park’s landscapes include three lakes, a waterfall, and a small forest, and you can spot an array of wildlife. Each month Safa Park hosts a large flea market—visit on the first Saturday of the month for some bargain hunting.

What to do there: Choose a shaded spot to sit and relax and soak up the peaceful air, or get active and partake in some exercise. You can walk or run around the jogging track or grab your friends for a game of volleyball, tennis, or football. Stroll around the shimmering lakes and look out for the many bird species that call the park home. You’ll also likely spot butterflies, small mammals, and small reptiles too. Enjoy the great views of downtown Dubai, cook up a meaty feast at the BBQs, and enjoy an outdoor lunch at the picnic areas.

#16 – Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood – One of Dubai’s coolest historical sites!

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Dubai

  • Experience a traditional way of life
  • Step back in time
  • Set next to the Dubai Creek
  • Various cultural activities

Why it’s awesome: Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood (also referred to as Al Bastakiya) offers a charming glimpse into Emirati life of times gone by. Sitting alongside the atmospheric Dubai Creek, the neighbourhood has much of its original streets and buildings.

Narrow alleyways wind through the olde-worlde buildings and the overall vibe is steeped in history and heritage. The way of life is peaceful and unhurried. There are vendors selling traditional foods and you’ll find a wealth of cultural establishments and small stores. A variety of events take place here throughout the year, including the Sikka Art Fair.

What to do there: Take a leisurely stroll through the winding streets and narrow lanes, absorbing the nostalgic energy and atmosphere. See buildings of old, a stark contrast to the more modern parts of Dubai. Hear whispers from the past as you walk past old homes and towers, imagining a life long since passed.

Learn how the people of yesteryear lived, before oil and wealth drastically changed the city. Travel back to the middle of the 19 th century and uncover past times at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Browse in the quaint art galleries and soak up the creative air and pause for a break and to watch the world go by in a cosy cafe.

One of my favorite things to do here is to visit an old Arabian tea house and enjoy a delicious lunch meal and some exquisite tea.

#17 – Dubai Garden Glow – Quite the quirky place in Dubai!

Dubai Garden Glow, Dubai

  • Whimsical, colourful, and imaginative
  • Perfect destination for families
  • Blend of art, technology, and nature
  • Environmentally-aware attraction that teaches people about global warming

What it’s awesome: Dubai Garden Glow is an enchanting and amazing evening destination in the large Zabeel Park. Old and young alike are sure to be mesmerised by the stunning lights and displays. While attractive during the day, watch as the park goes through a magical transformation as darkness descends, with many colourful illuminated features. Split into different areas, the park also has a terrific zone dedicated to recycling and eco-awareness. There are street entertainers to add to the carnival-like air and you’ll find various shows and places to eat and drink.

What to do there: Plan to spend at least a couple of hours exploring Dubai Garden Glow and try to time your visit to enjoy the garden both during the daylight and during the dark. Little ones can run and play in the wide open spaces and younger members of the family are all but guaranteed to be transfixed in the large Dinosaur Park. Home to around 120 huge animatronic dinosaurs, it’s certainly exciting!

Appreciate the eco-friendly Art Park, with its striking displays made of empty bottles, old ceramics, CDs, and other recycled items. Marvel at the exquisite ice sculptures in the Ice Park and be dazzled by the beautiful lights of Glow Park. There are lanterns, landmarks, flowers, and animals, all made from lights. Call into the food pavilion if you feel peckish.

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#18 – Dubai Opera – A great place to visit in Dubai at night

Dubai Opera, Dubai

  • Large performing arts venue
  • See various types of shows and performances
  • Designed to resemble a traditional sailing vessel
  • Major cultural attraction

Why it’s awesome: Dubai Opera is a modern and eye-catching building that was built to look like a dhow, or traditional boat. It was the first purpose-built multi-arts venue in Dubai. The large venue can seat around 2,000 people at any given time and it hosts a variety of shows and events. The program includes musicals, plays, ballets, operatic performances, comedy shows, fashion shows, and more. The interiors are lavish and opulent and the building also has a restaurant and a beautiful sky garden.

What to do there: Check the listings and book tickets to see an event at the Dubai Opera. It’s definitely a great way to inject a little more culture into your stay. Admire the elegant building from the outside and inside and go up to the sky garden to see sweeping views across the city. The great views include the iconic Burj Khalifa and the sublime Dubai Fountain. Dine on delectable gourmet cuisine in the high-class restaurant too. This the best place to visit in Dubai for a blast of Wagner or Puccini although the idea of an opera in the desert is a bit Fitzcaraldo.

#19 – Grand Mosque – One of the most religious places to see in Dubai

Grand Mosque

  • Large Islamic place of worship
  • Hear the call to prayer five times per day from the soaring minaret
  • One of the city’s most important religious buildings
  • Beautiful architecture

Why it’s awesome: Dubai’s Grand Mosque is at the heart of local religious and spiritual life, and it’s also a major place for Islamic culture and social events. The original mosque was built at the start of the 20 th century, though it has been rebuilt several times since with the present mosque dating back to 1998. The towering minaret is one of the tallest in the country. Resembling a lighthouse, it’s an impressive piece of architecture. There are many fine details around the main body of the mosque, including glorious domes, stained glass, and Quranic calligraphy. Of all the Dubai must see places this is the most classical beautiful.

What to do there: Be sure to dress modestly to visit Dubai’s Grand Mosque (or any other place of worship for that matter). Walk around the courtyard and admire the building from the outside and watch as the faithful come to pray. Non-Muslims aren’t permitted in the main mosque, but you can look at the beautiful minaret. Standing at 70 metres (230 feet) tall, the lighthouse-like tower is the tallest in Dubai and one of the tallest in the UAE. Soak up the spiritual air in the heart of the old city. Come back to see the mosque at night time too when it is beautifully lit up.

#10 – Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve – An unknown (but awesome!) place to see in Dubai!

Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, Dubai

  • Off-the-beaten-track destination
  • Desert landscapes and pretty artificial lakes
  • Diverse wildlife
  • Sustainable tourism initiatives

Why it’s awesome: Situated just around a 30-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of downtown Dubai, Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve is a great place to discover the surrounding desert areas. It’s easy to forget that the modern and gleaming city of Dubai is almost entirely surrounded by arid desert. The first unfenced nature reserve in the country, it is home to an interesting array of flora and fauna. The man-made lakes are picturesque and the area also has fascinating archaeological sites too. Many locals come here to enjoy the natural beauty, though it sees relatively few international visitors. It makes a pleasant change to the high-tech aura, frenetic activity, and tall buildings of Dubai.

What to do there: Visit the extensive network of artificial lakes, the Al Qudra Lakes and spot interesting wildlife, including some rare and endangered species. Look out for butterflies, birds, lizards, frogs, fish, and rodents, and see around 40 different species of plants. The observation platforms are some of the best places to see different native wildlife. If you can bear the heat you can enjoy long bike rides along the 84-kilometre (52-mile) track.

Visit the Saruq Al Hadid Archaeological Site, discovered in 2002, to see an assortment of artefacts from the past. Things like jewellery, pottery, weapons, and tools were unearthed here. If you visit in the late afternoon you can witness a striking sunset and then stay for a spot of stargazing. With almost no light pollution it’s a great place for astronomy fans.

#21 – Bollywood Parks – Cool place to see in Dubai with friends!

Bollywood Parks, Dubai

  • Unique theme park
  • Experience Indian culture without leaving the Middle East
  • Diverse rides, shows, and other attractions
  • Plenty of fun for people of all ages

Why it’s awesome: A great place for a fun day out with your family or friends, Bollywood Parks is a unique theme park in Dubai. Indeed, it’s the world’s first theme park to be dedicated to the Indian movie industry. Inspired by the colours, music, and energy of Bollywood, the vibrant amusement park is divided into several captivating zones. There are exciting rides, captivating shows, and cool attractions as well as delicious Indian cuisine, gift shops, and backstage experiences.

What to do there: Get into the Bollywood groove as you explore the five different zones, all full of passion, colour, joy, emotion, action, romance, and adventure. Wander the scintillating Bollywood Boulevard, a riot of colour with enticing eateries and spellbinding shows. Experience Mumbai Chowk with its flair, zest, cuisine, and adventures, and immerse yourself even further into Indian life in the picturesque Rustic Ravine. This is a good place in Dubai to visit for fans of Bollywood – and there are at least a billion of them.

The decadent Royal Plaza is sure to impress and you can step into the silver screen at the Bollywood Film Studios. Enjoy an immersive cricket match at Thrill of Victory, compete against your mates at the Hunt for Gabbar Singh, enter the virtual world at Unleashed, fly high through the skies on Hero’s Flight, travel back in time at Crossroads, and enjoy all the glitz and glam at Stars on Steps. Don’t forget to pick up themed merchandise and fabulous outfits before you leave.

Pssst! Haven’t packed yet? Check out our ultimate Dubai Packing List to know what to bring with you on your Dubai adventure!

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#22 – Dubai Creek – One of the most romantic places to visit in Dubai!

Dubai Creek

  • Scenic saltwater creek
  • Long history
  • Lined with interesting buildings
  • Romantic boat rides

Why it’s awesome: Dubai creek connects the desert with the seaport, and was once a major trading route. It was once at the heart of the pearl trade and was/is a major place for fishing. It’s still a hive of activity today, with vessels of all sizes bobbing along the waters. The creek used to divide the city into two parts: Deira and Bur Dubai.

The Bani Yas tribal group first settled along the edges of the water. Several interesting buildings sit alongside the creek, including Dubai Creek Tower, the National Bank, and Deira Twin Towers, and there’s a pleasant Dubai park close to hand. A nice place for a stroll with your beloved, there are also several activities to enjoy here too.

What to do here: Admire the waterside vistas and take a walk alongside the creek. Admire the attractive buildings at the water’s edge and relax in the large Dubai Creek Park. Get a taste of port life at the Dhow Wharfage, an area filled with traditional sailing boats and a thronging place of activity.

Wave to the friendly sailors and watch as they unload their hauls and cargo. If you’re lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of street performers next to the creek. One of the most romantic things to do at Dubai Creek is to charter a ride on a dhow and admire the city from the water. You can also watch a splendid sunset in the evening times.

#23 – Spice Souk – Certainly one of the most exotic places to see in Dubai!

Spice Souk

  • Aromatic and colourful
  • Pick up local gifts and souvenirs
  • Get a sense of the Dubai of old
  • Practice your haggling skills

Why it’s awesome: Part of the Old Souk, the spice souk specialises in fragrant spices from across the globe. You’ll also find a wealth of beautiful fragrances and perfumes too—it really is a place that appeals to the senses. Furthermore, there are also other goods for sale, including textiles, rugs, and souvenirs. The narrow twisty lanes are lined with open-air stalls and more traditional closed stores and the atmosphere is pretty old-fashioned. The spice souk is definitely a striking contrast to the modern malls and shopping centre in downtown Dubai. This is the Dubai place to go for a taste and smell of typical Arabic life.

What to do there: Get lost roaming the tiny alleyways and winding streets as you peruse a wide selection of spices and fragrances. You’ll find everything here from custom-made scents that smell like designer perfumes, teas, herbal remedies, culinary spices, and incense. Discover common spices used in local dishes and pick up items to take home with you. Don’t forget to haggle and negotiate if you do want to make a purchase. Inhale the rich aromas of things like cumin, saffron, pepper, garlic, turmeric, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. The heady Arabian atmosphere transports you back in time and really gives you a sense of the exotic.

#24 – Jumeirah Mosque – One of the nicer places in Dubai to sightsee!

Jumeirah Mosque, Dubai

  • Important place of Islamic worship
  • Open to non-Muslim visitors
  • Learn more about Islamic culture, traditions, life, and festivals

Why it’s awesome: Built in the late 1970s, Jumeirah Mosque has a traditional Fatimid style with elements from Egypt and Syria. The photogenic building is a popular place for tourists wishing to learn more about Islam. It is the only mosque in Dubai that permits entry to non-Muslims, though do be aware that you should be dressed modestly and that women are requested to cover their hair. (Items are available for visitors to borrow.) Informative, friendly, and educational tours are available for visitors.

What to do there: Admire the large pale building from the outside, taking in the visual beauty of the two minarets, domes, windows, and arches. Take a tour to learn more about the local way of life and beliefs, and feel free to ask questions and take photos. Listen for the harmonious call to prayer issued five times each day from the minarets. Try traditional snacks and drinks like coffee and dates. Try to visit the mosque in the evening too when it is splendidly illuminated.

#25 – Alserkal Avenue – One of the most underrated places to see in Dubai

Alserkal Avenue, Dubai

  • Hub for arts and culture
  • Creative vibe
  • Located in an old industrial area
  • Cool shopping and dining opportunities

Why it’s awesome: Wondering where to go in Dubai for a bit of art? Well cool, creative, hip, and trendy, Alserkal Avenue is an up-and-coming part of Dubai. Once little more than an edgy industrial area, today you’ll find a wealth of excellent art galleries and other creative spaces alongside workshops, studios, stores, and offbeat eateries. Most establishments are housed within former warehouses and factories. The area grew from one single gallery that moved here in 2008. Today, it’s one of the freshest emerging districts in the whole of the Middle East.

What to do there: See the converted industrial buildings and soak up the creative vibe in the many art spaces. With around 60 art- and design-focused venues there’s something to cater to all tastes. Admire a wide selection of artistic works by both local and international artists, learn more about local community projects, watch performing art demonstrations, attend diverse workshops, and purchase unique items to take home with you.

Galleries in the area include Ayyam, El Seed, Green Art Gallery, Carbon 12 Dubai, Jean Paul Najar Foundation , and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde. Check out the cultural events calendar and see what’s on when you’re visiting the city. Have a look in Salsali, the first private museum in Dubai, shop for hip fashions, gadgets, custom-made jewellery, and boutique lifestyle items, and stop for refreshments in one of the district’s cool cafes and restaurants.

#26 – Ras al Khor Bird Sanctuary – A nice quiet place to see in Dubai

Ras al Khor Bird Sanctuary, Dubai

  • Wild wetlands close to the city
  • Home to many bird species, reptiles, fish, and other creatures
  • Attracts migratory species
  • Top place for keen bird spotters and nature lovers

Why it’s awesome: Peaceful and quiet, it’s difficult to believe that the wetlands and wildlife of Ras al Khor Bird Sanctuary are just a stone’s throw from the urban sprawl of Dubai. The large sanctuary incorporates mudflats, lagoons, mangroves, and salt flats, with habitats suitable for many types of birds and other creatures.

There are fish, crustaceans, reptiles, and small mammals in the sanctuary too, with some species using the area as a breeding ground. It’s an absolute hidden gems in Dubai and one of the few places to get up close to nature near the modern desert-surrounded city.

What to do there: Admire the varied terrain and settle down in a hide to watch for a variety of wildlife. There are so many species of birds to look out for, including kingfishers, egrets, herons, ospreys, storks, peafowl, eagles, and wagtails. The sanctuary is especially known for its huge numbers of pretty pink flamingos in the winter months. You may also see fish, rodents, and other small creatures.

#27 – Kite Beach – An awesome place to visit in Dubai for half a day!

Kite Beach, Dubai

  • Clean and tidy sandy beach
  • Great water sports options
  • Family-friendly destination
  • Good seaside facilities

Why it’s awesome: Kite Beach is one of the best beaches in Dubai. It boasts white sands and a laid-back vibe. There are plenty of opportunities to be adventurous out on the waves too, with activities like surfing, kitesurfing, and stand-up paddle boarding. There’s also no shortage of beach games to watch or join in with, and you’ll find amenities like bathrooms and showers close to the beach. It’s free to visit the public beach. The food trucks and refreshment carts are ideal for keeping hunger and thirst at bay.

What to do there: If you’re after water sports, head to Kite Beach in the afternoon for the best conditions. There are rental stores close to the beach if you need equipment, then you’re good to go! Hit the waves and enjoy active watery adventures! Kayaking, kite surfing, and paddle boarding are just a few things you can do at Kite Beach. You can also relax in the sun, join in with a game of beach volleyball, build a sandcastle, paddle in the sea, and take a long walk along the coast. Lap up the views of the Burj al Arab and, if you visit on a Friday or Saturday, shop for trinkets and souvenirs in the seaside market.

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Find out what people want to know about the best places to visit in Dubai

What is the most romantic place to visit in Dubai?

Visiting the Arabian Desert at sunset is one of the most romantic places to visit in Dubai for couples.

What is the best place to visit in Dubai with the family?

Ski Dubai is an indoor ski slope and a great place to visit with the family.

What is a free place to visit in Dubai?

The Dubai Mall is free to walk around and is the largest mall in the world. It also has some pretty nice A/C.

What should I not miss in Dubai?

If you’re visiting Dubai for a short trip, you should not miss the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Work through these best places to visit in Dubai for a diverse, fascinating, and memorable trip to one of the coolest destinations in the Middle East. Covering shopping, iconic landmarks, culture, heritage, and nature, there’s definitely something to keep everyone happy.

You’ll find a good selection of budget-friendly attractions and some great hostels and activities in Dubai, so there’s no need to worry too much about making your bank manager angry! Have a great time discovering the city’s highlights and hitting up the very best places to visit in Dubai.

Insider Tip: If you have the money and don’t want to spend hours in the car, driving from one hot spot to the next, you should check out this helicopter tour. Instead of exploring the city from below, you can simply fly over Dubai and have an amazing adventure that not many people get to experience!

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Is Dubai Worth Visiting? Here Are 7 Reasons To Visit

is Dubai worth visiting?

Is Dubai worth visiting? Well that all depends if you’re impressed by UFO-like cities that rise from the heart of the Arabian Desert, if you like world-class shopping malls, soaring skyscrapers, some of the most cutting-edge haute cuisine in the world, and beaches that are virtually always bathed in sunshine.

We’re guessing that at least a part of the above intro tickled the wanderlust. To learn more about this incredible destination and the biggest city in the UAE, be sure to read on…

This guide delves deep into the metropolis, revealing seven reasons why we think it might deserve a place on the bucket list this year. We’ll focus in on the shimmering coastline, the ridiculously luxuriant hotels, the amazing desert adventures that await on the outskirts, plus a whole load more. So, without further ado…is Dubai worth visiting?

Table of Contents

To climb the tallest building in the world

Burj Khalifa Dubai

Ask 10 people what amazed them most about Dubai and something like nine will tell you it was the Burj Khalifa. The structure is part of a unique crew that includes the likes of the Empire State Building, the Petronas Towers, and the Great Pyramid of Giza. Like those before it, it’s reigned as the single tallest building on planet Earth, this one since its completion in 2010.

You really can’t miss it, folks. It strikes up through the city and the cloudless skies of the UAE to reach a whopping 828 meters. Inside, that equates to a vertigo-inducing 163 floors up, all connected by a web of 57 elevators and 8 escalators.

One thing to know is that the very pinnacle of the skyscraper isn’t actually open to the public. Instead, the highest it’s possible to go is to the observation decks that sit on floors 125 and 148. They are cloud-busting in their own right, offering sweeping views of the great metropolis and the Arabian Desert in the distance.

For the glorious beaches

Beaches in Dubai

Just look at where Dubai is on the map. The city sprawls across a long run of the Persian Gulf coast and fragments into the water in a series of manmade archipelagos. The upshot? There are beaches, beaches, and more beaches to get through. Combine that with virtually endless sunshine and temperatures in the 100s F for most months of the year and you start to see how this could be the perfect winter escape.

The bad news is that many of the best beaches in Dubai are privately owned and managed, either as the property of villas on the Palm Jumeirah or as part of luxury hotels up and down the mainland shoreline. But there are also plenty of public beach spaces to enjoy. The crème-de-la-crème of those includes…

  • JBR Open Beach – The most iconic run of sand in the whole UAE, JBR Open Beach, this one has soft sands and loads of amenities.
  • Umm Suqeim Beach – There’s a bit more swell off the Indian Ocean at Umm Suqeim Beach, which has wide sands and loads of space.
  • Al Mamzar Beach Park – Our pick for families would be the Al Mamzar Beach Park, which does cost about $2 to enter but has manicured sands and protected waters for all levels of swimmer.

For the luxurious hotels

Luxurious hotel in Dubai

There’s hardly a place on the planet with the same overload of high-class hotels as Dubai. If all you want is to be pampered from check-in to check-out, enjoy gorgeous spa facilities, infinity swimming pools, and suites with panoramic city views, this is surely the destination for you. To illustrate another way: Dubai is the ONLY city in the world with a certified seven-star hotel, at the Burj Al Arab!

Here are a few of the other top-class stays that we can recommend to luxury lovers hitting this desert megalopolis…

  • Golden Sands-Dubai Creek ($$$) – One of the highest rated hotels in the city, the Golden Sands is opulent from tip to toe. Expect mirrored breakfast rooms, an infinity pool on the roof, and designer meeting spaces for corporate travelers.
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre ($$$) – This is a prime pick for business travelers heading to Dubai. It’s right in the heart of the city’s financial center and has plus suites, a spa, and outdoor pools to help balance out the stress of a working trip.
  • The St Regis Downtown Dubai ($$$) – Staying true to the St Regis name, this big chain hotel has a seriously lovely rooftop pool, a range of spacious suite types, and views across Dubai Water Canal.

For the shopping

Shopping mall in Dubai

Dubai has firmly established itself as one of the shopping havens of the Middle East. A series of some of the world’s largest malls make their home here, and there are always new projects in the pipeline to add to the range of high-street names and designer outlets. On top of all that, you also get the age-old souks and bazaars that have been here for centuries, which are great for buying everything from silks to spices to jewelry.

Perhaps the most famous shopping complex of the lot is the iconic Mall of the Emirates. It hosts over 630 individual shops across 2.5 million square foot of retail space. And it’s home to the audacious Ski Dubai slope – yep, a ski slope in the desert – IMAX cinema screens, and all manner of gastronomy.

The most dedicated shoppers out there should also know about The Dubai Mall, which is the second-largest of its kind on the planet, and the old spice souks of Al Sabkha, which showcase something a bit more authentic on the northern side of Dubai Creek.

The fine-dining

Fine dining restaurant in Dubai

It’s not just shopping and sleek hotels that have turned Dubai into a bit of a hub for high-class travelers. There’s also haute gastronomy here to excite even the most discerning of foodies. Hey, there aren’t that many cities that can count a mega 11 individual Michelin-star restaurants to their name.

Here’s a look at just a few of the very best places to eat while in the town:

  • Il Ristorante – Two Michelin stars help this one stand out from the crowd. Housed in a five-star hotel, it’s all about luxury Italian dining that still has its roots in the simple and earthy cooking of the boot.
  • 11 Woodfire – Meat eaters will be in heaven in this all-new cooking space, which focuses in on flame-grilled meats. It’s now got a Michelin star to its name.
  • Hōseki – Another of the top-class restaurants that comes courtesy of the Bulgari hotel chain, Hōseki serves up some of the best sushi in the world, courtesy of maestro Masahiro Sugiyama.

For the day trips into the desert

Dubai desert

Dubai isn’t just a bucket-list city in its own right. It’s also the gateway to the shifting sand dunes of the Arabian Desert and the wilds of the Arabian Peninsula. There are all sorts of unforgettable experiences to be had if you’re willing to venture away from the shadow of the skyscrapers for a spell, ranging from high-octane rides in 4X4s to ziplines through craggy canyons.

Here are just a few that we think stand out from the crowd…

  • A day in Abu Dhabi – If Dubai is the glitzy shopping and dining hub of the UAE, Abu Dhabi is its cultural heart. Be sure to plan a trip here to explore vast mosques and amazing museums.
  • Desert 4X4 rides – There’s no more exciting a way to see the undulating dunes of the deserts around Dubai than in a 4X4, totally offroad and accelerator to the ground.
  • Jebel Jais – Dubai isn’t all sand dunes. There are wild mountain ranges in the northern part of the country. They host the longest zipline in the world and have oodles of hardcore hiking paths to boot.

Because it’s a stepping stone to Asia

Dubai airport

Finally, we think it’s also worth noting how Dubai is now among the favored stopover destinations for the millions of travelers who hop east from Europe to Asia every year, and the other way around. It’s a major hub for both Emirates and the relatively new low-coster FlyDubai, which means it’s easier to get to than ever before and there are oodles of onward journeys to uber-exciting destinations to pick from.

Mhmm…flights out of Dubai International Airport (DXB) could be your ticket to all sorts of places. There are links to the bustling megacity of Hong Kong. There are hops to the sizzling street-food markets of Bangkok. There are connections that go to see the pandas of Chengdu, the surf breaks of Colombo, the chowks of Mumbai – the list goes on.

To put it another way, once you’re done exploring the towering skyscrapers and pearly beaches of Dubai itself, there are umpteen travel options on the menu.

Is Dubai worth visiting? Our conclusion

Is Dubai worth visiting? Uber-lux hotels, gleaming beaches on the bath-warm Persian Gulf, some of the biggest and best shopping malls in the world, and a whole array of Michelin-starred restaurants surely make the answer to that question a firm yes. We’d say that the city in the UAE deserts is a great place for travelers who like urban sights and luxury especially, but also a fantastic stopover destination on the way east or west.

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Reece is the creator and editor of Travel Snippet. He has visited more than 38 countries over a 10-year period. His travels have taken him through the majestic mountains of Italy, into the cities of central Europe, across the islands of Indonesia, and to the beaches of Thailand, where he is currently living. He is passionate about travel and shares his expertise by providing the best travel tips and tricks to help you plan your next adventure.

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The Dark Side of Dubai (Is it Worth Visiting?)

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Dubai’s dark secrets: Discovering a toxic culture and slavery. Is it worth visiting?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Dubai? Perhaps its sparkly skyscrapers that reach dizzying heights, flashy supercars driven by millionaires, and vast air-conditioned shopping malls that cater to your every taste and needs.

Though neighboring Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE, Dubai is the largest city in the country, as well as the most visited and more socially accommodating to Western standards.

There is more to Dubai than this stereotypical image, and though I was pleased to discover I could enjoy a week-long visit on a reasonable budget (which I initially thought was impossible), I made some shocking discoveries during my visit that left a bad taste in my mouth.

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It’s not a place I’d normally take an interest in, but the reasons we decided to visit were:

  • It’s halfway between myself (in the UK) and my partner Ariel who was in Hong Kong at the time
  • It was late December – we usually escape somewhere warm and sunny in the winter
  • With some of the best firework displays in the world, it seemed a good place to see in the New Year.

Before my trip to Dubai, I’d heard the bad press – rumors about modern slavery and the lack of authenticity of the place, but I wanted to see for myself, before passing judgement.

But, here’s the thing:

Not only did this trip confirm that all the bad stuff I heard prior is in fact, true, I also discovered it was much worse than I had anticipated.

What’s more, I found the place extremely overhyped, soulless and packed with some very sinister truths that I could not brush aside and pretend did not exist.

Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed many things during our trip and made some great memories, but I feel I have to give an honest account of the reality you can expect behind the shiny veneer of luxury and paradise.

⚠️ If you’re thinking of visiting Dubai, here’s a word of advice: 1. Avoid swimming in the sea if you don’t want an eye infection, or worse. (I will explain why below). 2. If you’re a woman or LGBTQ+ traveler – take caution during your visit (I will explain more below.)

The Dark Side: Should I Visit Dubai? (14 Reasons Not To)

Learn the shocking discoveries I made during my visit, and why is Dubai is overrated and depressing. Plus 14 reasons why I was disappointed:

1. Dubai isn’t a walkable city

Dubai is a city that is spread out along 30 miles of coastline, with many places of interest being long distances apart from each other.

Add to that the bad traffic on crowded highways, in fact – Dubai’s traffic jams are some of the worst in the world. I can attest to this because I rented a car for 7 days there, and I live next to the M6 in the UK – the busiest stretch of highway in Europe.

Also, Dubai is not a pedestrian-friendly city, and walking opportunities are limited due to the extreme heat.

This is one of those cities where public transport is not the best way to get around either, as buses sit in traffic jams. Aside from renting your own car, taxis are the next best alternative, and are relatively inexpensive.

2. Everything looks and feels fake in Dubai

This is one of the biggest letdowns. Wherever you go in Dubai – be it the endless shopping malls, the spotless streets, the eateries, even the beach – everything feels so artificial, empty, and soulless.

Seeing as the city was built in the middle of the desert some 50 years ago, there’s hardly any historic sites here. And it might explain why there’s such an aggressive expansion of tourist attractions popping up all over the city, some of which are lack-lustre, such as the Dubai Frame and the overrated water fountain at Burj Khalifa.

The Palm Jumeirah – the iconic, man-made island, is particularly underwhelming, as are the views of the Palm Atlantis and the Burj Al Arab – the alleged ‘only’ 7-star hotel in the world. And is it really necessary to have an indoor ski slope here in the desert?

atlantis the palm

Everything in Dubai has to be the biggest and the best, the highest and the glitziest of all the world. The Emiratis take pride in this, despite not actually contributing anything other than cash, due to the vast reserves of oil that happens to be beneath their feet.

Indeed, the pampered Emiratis don’t lift a finger at all – the endless construction that you see across the city is the blood, sweat and tears of migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines (and yes I mean literal blood sweat and tears – see point 9 below on modern slavery in Dubai).

Old Dubai (Deira) was the only place I could find a flicker of culture and history, at Dubai’s oldest fort Al Fahidi, and Dubai Creek, but even Old Dubai looks like a movie set.

The famous Gold and Spice souks look so modern it’s hard to tell they are a hundred years old, and they have sadly become over-commercialized, and they’re packed with aggressive merchants shoving overpriced souvenirs in your face.

With that said, you likely won’t meet an Emirati on your visit, after the immigration officer who stamps your passport. That’s because 90% of the population here is made up of foreigners who hold the city together – from the construction workers to the waiters, and the cleaners to the taxi drivers.

Artificial Tourist Traps of Dubai:

The following are several landmarks and locations in Dubai that were built with the sole aim of drawing in tourists and making profit.

If ever there was a definition of pure gentrification – ‘La Mer’, meaning the sea in French (how imaginative..!) was no doubt built for the sole purpose of milking profit.

la mer

Everything here is artificial AF . From the Mid-Western-themed streets with rustic buildings lined with fake, meaningless graffiti ‘art’ on the outside walls, to hipster restaurants and ‘chic’ cafes selling the most shockingly overpriced food and drink you’ll ever find on a beach. I spotted smoothie bowls selling for $20 (£15), I kid you not. I bought the cheapest drink available: a cold brew coffee for $8 (£5).

(Edit: this was December 2019. In 2023 you can expect prices to be higher).

The irony of La Mer is, it’s one of the most dreadful places in Dubai. You can tell the Emiratis went to great lengths in making this cash-cow project the ultimate hipster tourist attraction. But sometimes, you just can’t hide fakery and bullshit.

The saddest thing about this place, as with almost everywhere else in Downtown Dubai, is the laborers.

You’ll notice the Keralan and Filipino staff working in the scorching 50C heat.

The janitors often spend most of their 14+ hours work shifts standing inside the spotlessly-clean restrooms, forced to wear masks not because of the contents of the toilets (they clean the toilets after EVERY single usage), but because the restrooms are thick with toxic air fresheners.

la mer graffiti

If you peel your eyes away from the fantasy and see the reality, you’ll realize that these are human beings just like you and I, except they are suffering at our expense, and doing their best to hide the pain on their faces.

4. Marina Promenade

A day at the Marina Bay Promenade should be a highlight in any Dubai trip. For us though, it was a disappointment – just another artificial tourist trap.

Sure, the speedboat tour of the two famous landmarks (Burj Al Arab, Atlantis The Palm) wasn’t too bad for the price we paid (around $25 per person). It didn’t exactly blow us away though.

dubai marina

Strolling the Promenade you can see how spotlessly clean everything is. Again, the Marina Bay lacked any sign of culture. Instead, everything here was just overpriced, over-commercialized, international restaurant chains and malls. How many malls does a place need?

5. The Burj Khalifa

Conquering the world’s tallest building is without a doubt a bucket-list experience.

You’ll witness views atop a tower that you’ll never find anywhere else in the world (until they build a bigger tower of course).

To be fair, the Burj Khalifa is a highlight of any Dubai trip, though, you’ll need to book your tickets well in advance, and to get the best views – book the (slightly pricier) timeslots around 4pm, to ensure you make it to the top in time for sunset, and you can witness the stunning views during both daylight and nighttime, in one visit.


Something to bear in mind, is that the queues are incredibly long – we waited well over an hour when we visited, though if you pay more you could jump the queues. And once you’re up there, it’s packed to the rafters.

Getting back down to the ground is a different story though.

The queues for going down are just as long, but since there doesn’t appear to be any staff managing the queues, you’ll find selfish tourists scrambling and pushing aggressively to the front of the queues – causing anger and confrontation from others who now have to wait even longer .

dubai burj khalifa

So, I’m not suggesting the Burj Khalifa isn’t worth it, in fact we enjoyed the visit. It’s just that the experience didn’t quite exceed our expectations, and if you have a lot of patience, there’s no reason why you’ll not enjoy it too.

6. Mega Malls

Dubai is well-known for its numerous, vast, multi-storey shopping malls. If you’re a shopaholic, the malls would be a suitable experience.

For me, it wasn’t my cup of tea of course – as these malls are packed with the same Westernized stores you’d find in any metropolitan city. Starbucks, McDonalds, various global fashion outlets and household names everywhere, as well as an endless number of gold & jewelry outlets. The Dubai Shopping Mall is the world’s largest mall – spanning over 12 million square feet.

dubai mall

I suppose one positive I found from this, was that I could park our rental car at the car park all day for free, at the Marina Promenade, and at the Dubai Mall for our visit to the Burj Khalifa.

7. Overpriced, mediocre food

Savvy travelers will notice that while the price of food in Downtown Dubai is a bit on the costly side, the Middle-Eastern cuisine here is not as tasty as you’d expect.

In downtown Dubai you’ll find restaurants by world-famous chefs (think Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse, Jamie Oliver) everywhere, though these spots are merely commercial ‘cash cows’ for those celebrity chefs – the actual quality of the food doesn’t match the price tag of the meal, which costs an absolute fortune.

Another example is the Afternoon Tea at the Burj Al Arab – its marketed as one of the best in the world , but it’s nothing more than mediocre.

I highly recommend checking out the small cafes and restaurants in Old Dubai  – especially at the places frequented by the local expat communities, and you’ll see what I mean. You can even go on a food trail in Old Dubai here .

The only thing thats ‘better’ in the expensive restaurants are more staff on hand, and stylish, modern decor, but even then – you’ll never escape the artificial feel and pretentiousness that represents downtown Dubai.

8. Dubai is swelteringly hot and polluted

Its no secret that Dubai is very hot, even in winter. The heat and humidity makes it a challenge to stay outside longer than a few minutes without getting soaked in sweat (unless you’re here to sunbathe).


Indeed, just a few months before we visited, the mecury in Dubai rose to a record-breaking 50C (120F) for the first time, in July 2019.

But did you know that the UAE is also one of the most polluted countries in the world? Due to the extreme heat, humidity and pollution, the city gets quite hazy and the views are not quite as spectacular as you see on the photos.

Click here to read all about my WORST travel experiences – including missed flights, getting robbed, getting electrocuted, and that time my arm blew up!

9. In Dubai, construction at breakneck speed is everywhere

The explosion of tourism in Dubai is a result of the rapid expansion of the metropolis – you’ll see countless construction sites everywhere, as new skyscrapers are propping up around the city, each trying to outdo the other in height and glitz.

Add to this are yet more and more luxury apartments, infinity pools, and 5-star hotels, in fact, there are whopping 168 new hotel projects being planned in Dubai alone. Plus, more Michelin star restaurants, more shopping malls, and a series of pointless new attractions to lure in tourists, the latest being the Dubai Frame – an enormous, gold-plated literal rectangular frame built in Zabeel Park.

It was so unimpressive that we didn’t even bother going to check it out.

dubai frame

10. Modern Slavery of Dubai

Now we come to the biggest disappointment of Dubai.

There is no escaping the fact that the enormous expansion of the Dubai metropolis and all its glimmering splendour is down to the literal blood, sweat and tears of migrant workers trapped in Modern Slavery.

Are there slaves in Dubai?

Most people are blissfully unaware or ignorant of modern slavery in the UAE, and many people will even give awkward excuses at the mention of the word ‘slavery’, as if it was some dreadful thing of the past.

“The reality of Dubai is the complete opposite to what you see on TV and in magazines” – Ben Anderson, BBC undercover journalist

Lets get down to the facts: more than 88.5% of the population of the UAE are migrant workers, with South Asian immigrants making up 42.5% of the workforce.

These workers, mostly illiterate and impoverished villagers from rural communities in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, respond to work ads and are lured to the UAE with the promise of $300 monthly salaries plus food and accommodation, in return for working 9-5, five days a week. If this were the case, they would be able to work their contract then bring money home to their families.

Except this is far from the truth.

The reality is this – as soon as they land in the UAE, their passports are confiscated immediately, they are told to work 14-hour shifts for 6-7 days a week in scorching 50C (122F) heat, and are promised just $175 a month.

And things get worse.

The workers are forced to shack up in squalid, shanty towns on the edge of the desert, with 10 people to a room, and 45 men share ONE outdoor bathroom.

This is the definition of modern day slavery, and it continues, today, in the UAE.


How many slaves are there in Dubai? It’s impossible to know exactly how many slaves are in Dubai due to the absence of human rights and protections for people here, however, it is estimated that there are THREE MILLION slave laborers in the UAE alone. (Source: )

But it gets even worse than that.

If you thought things couldn’t get any worse, think again (and by the way, watch the video below to see for yourself just how horrid and graphic the conditions are for these workers).

Not only do they have to endure such disgusting and inhumane living conditions, but the agreed-upon wages are almost never honored . With the average construction worker’s wage totaling $175 a month (in stark contrast to the per-capita income of $2,106 a month), wages are often withheld for months on end to ensure the workers don’t ‘quit’.

These foreign workers suddenly face the stark realization that it will be years before they can even begin to start paying back the mounting debts to their recruiters, let alone start sending money to their families.

Human Rights Watch describes this bonded labour (combined with squalid living conditions) as being ‘less than humane’ .

Add to that the fact that these workers are forced to work in dangerous conditions without adequate safety equipment in the 50C heat, and with their passports confiscated, no way of returning home to their loved ones, this can only be described as modern slavery in Dubai.

Sources: Human Rights Watch , , Wikipedia .

Documenting Dubai’s Labor Exploitations

Statistics on migrant worker abuse in Dubai are jarring, but hearing firsthand stories crystallized the magnitude for me. I’ll never forget Amit, a young construction worker from Bangladesh I spoke to. He detailed crippling recruitment debt, passport seizure by bosses, cramped dorms with a dozen men, and no pay for months of toil in 120°F heat.

His desperation to provide for family back home made him cling to hope of finally getting meager wages owed. How many lavish malls, towers, and islands did Amit help build with calloused hands while denied his own basic rights? The cognitive dissonance gave me pause about who the Emirates’ “economic miracle” is actually serving.

So, is Dubai built on slavery? The simple answer is yes. It is impossible for the city to expand at such a fast pace in a short amount of time, in the middle of the desert, AND be able to maintain itself against the extremely hot and dry conditions of the desert, without an enormous slave labour force.

Below is a YouTube video that was recorded undercover in Dubai, documenting the forgotten slaves brought to the UAE from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Ben Anderson, the BBC journalist who recorded the video, risked getting huge fines by the authorities to bring to light the truth of what is happening here.

Addressing Human Rights Restrictions

Dubai’s glamorous facade often overshadows conversations around some of the emirate’s more controversial human rights policies. As an influential global destination, understanding realities on the ground can help travelers make informed decisions and properly set expectations.

During my visit, I witnessed systemic inequality and lack of basic rights protections that gave me pause. The kafala sponsorship system binds migrant workers to employers, enabling rampant exploitation. Speaking with construction workers from Southeast Asia, I heard first-hand accounts of passport confiscation, unpaid wages, unlivable crowded housing – echoing humanitarian groups’ slavery concerns.

Domestic workers fare little better under kafala. Most Emirati homes employ migrant maids who face no caps on working hours and high instances of physical abuse and harassment due to lax enforcement. The level of fear shared in interviews left me questioning if Dubai’s breakneck growth disregards basic dignities.

11. Dubai’s complex social contradictions

Beyond human rights controversies, Dubai contains complex social contradictions where ultra-conservative Islamic laws and cultural norms create a dizzying maze of “dos and don’ts” for visitors. Penalties for infractions from public drinking to acts of homosexuality to premarital sex can include fines, detention, deportation – even years-long imprisonment.

Yet the emirate also cunningly bills itself as a Westernized playground bursting with booze-flowing luxury resorts and nightclubs. This superficial permissiveness papers over pervasive intolerance towards more vulnerable groups. Learning how to safely navigate norms and avoid legal trouble added stressful mental load to my stay.

The glittering Dubai travel bloggers promise obscures a patchwork system riddled with injustices. Still I discovered kindness amongst individuals I connected with. My advice? Visit with eyes wide open by looking beyond surface-level appeals and doing part in supporting equitable change.

12: The biggest carbon footprint per person in the world

Yep – believe it or not, a resident of Dubai has the largest carbon footprint of any human being on earth – more than DOUBLE that of an American!

This is because Dubai is a city living beyond its ecological means. In other words, it’s trying to defy its desert environment, the most water-stressed place on the planet. The city was built in a place with no usable water – no surface water, very little aquifer, and the lowest rainfall in the world.

So Dubai drinks the sea. Water here is the most expensive in the world – costing more than petrol to produce, and the enormous desalination plants that prop up the metropolis belch out vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

13: Toxic beaches that make tourists SICK in Dubai

It’s no surprise these days that beaches at popular tourist spots have become very polluted and continue to do so, but wait until you hear the shocking experiences of tourists who swam at the beaches in Dubai.

jumeirah beach

A whistleblower working at one of the big hotels in Dubai had this to say:

“We received complaints from people using the beaches. The water looked and smelled odd, and they were starting to get sick after going into it. So I wrote to the ministers of health and tourism and expected to hear back immediately – but there was nothing. Silence. I hand-delivered the letters. Still nothing.”

The water quality got worse and worse. The guests started to spot raw sewage, condoms, and used sanitary towels floating in the sea. So the hotel ordered its own water analyses from a professional company. “They told us it was full of fecal matter and bacteria ‘too numerous to count’ .

Dubai had expanded so fast its sewage treatment facilities couldn’t keep up .

The sewage disposal trucks had to queue for three or four days at the treatment plants – so instead, they were simply drilling open the manholes and dumping the untreated sewage down them, so it flowed straight to the sea.

They said they would fine the truckers. But the water quality didn’t improve: it became black and stank. “It’s got chemicals in it. I don’t know what they are. But this stuff is toxic.”

Now the water is worse than ever. People are getting really sick. Eye infections, ear infections, stomach infections, rashes. Look at it!” There is feces floating on the beach, in the shadow of one of Dubai’s most famous hotels.

Source: Johann Hari, The Independent

dubai sewage trucks

14. Cautions for Women and LGBTQ+ Travelers

While female and LGBTQ+ travelers won’t likely endure harsh migrant worker extremes, they do face steep restrictions. Premarital sex, homosexuality, even getting pregnant from rape constitute crimes in Dubai. Mixed messages bombard women to dress modestly, or risk fines for cross-cultural “misunderstandings”.

Police actively entrap gay couples online. A trans friend described harrowing airport harassment. Stories of assault complaints backfiring on victims are common but rarely publicized. Before any marginalized visitors pack their bags, scrutinizing the patchwork system’s severe biases is essential.

Are there ANY good things about Dubai?

It’s not all doom and gloom as there were some good things I enjoyed in Dubai. Though I must point out that these were mostly in the Deira district (Old Dubai).

Though the gold and spice souks were a let down, the oldest fort in Dubai was somewhat interesting. The boat ride across the Dubai Creek was okay, and the Iranian Mosque looks impressive. The highlight for me was the Dubai Coffee Museum , definitely worth a visit. And the Arabian Tea House – though we didn’t go inside as all the tables were full and there was a long queue outside.

Plus, you get to see how the migrant communities of Filipinos, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis live – its refreshing to see them smiling and chatting amongst each other, because lets face it – working 14+ hour shifts in dirty or brutal conditions, in the 50C heat, on a pitiful wage, is nothing to smile about.

The Diverse Food Scene of Old Dubai

The food scene in Dubai is diverse, due to the huge expat population here. For authentic Philippine, Indian, Pakistani, and Arab cuisine at super affordable prices, the Deira district of Old Dubai is the place to be. Not only was the food a fraction fo the price of downtown Dubai, the portions were much bigger, and, believe it or not, the food was more flavoursome and delicious. This is one of the main reasons I loved Old Dubai more than the modern district down the highway.

dubai food

Meanwhile over in downtown Dubai  – you can expect mediocre food at high prices, as explained earlier in this post.

Dubai Travel Tips:

Use my top tips and advice below on how to travel around Dubai without breaking the bank:

Budget accommodation

Book your accommodation further away from the main tourist spots – consider Deira and Sharjah where we stayed, and you can find decent hotels at £20-30 per night (even on New Year’s Eve). Check out some great budget options on booking .

Eat tasty food at cheap spots

Consider dining where the locals eat, especially where the migrant communities (Filipinos, Indians, Pakistanis etc) live and eat, in places like Old Dubai and Sharjah. Trust me – the food is top quality, and super cheap!

Some of my favorites are the Pakistani restaurants in Sharjah where I had deliciously filling falafel wraps, with chips and salad, costing less than AED10 ($3). I also really enjoyed the South Indian food in Deira, which were very cheap, tasty and big portions.

Renting a car in Dubai

Renting a car is not expensive, and is the most convenient to get around – fuel is cheap, and some parking spots are free – including Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa. Street parking is also cheap – 2AED per hour (40p).

Haggle at the souks and shops

Seriously, always haggle when asking for prices on anything – from food, to clothing, to souvenirs. If you still feel it’s too high, walk away – they don’t like this, and will eventually come down to your price.

Word of advice: buy your SIM card immediately from the airport upon arrival. You can’t get a SIM at any shop like you can in most countries, and the waiting time is ridiculously long. Don’t make the mistake I made – waiting over an hour first thing in the morning for a SIM card at an official store on my first day.

Download your FREE 20-page Travel Planner Guide

And get access to all my best budget travel tips, checklists, additional freebies, and more.

Printable Travel Planner Guide

Dubai Travel: FAQs

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Dubai travel:

Does Dubai have strict laws?

Dubai strictly adheres to conservative Islamic laws. Violations related to drugs, harassment, relationships can mean jail and deportation. Visitors must research carefully.

What are the rules for couples in Dubai?

Unmarried couples cannot legally live together or show public affection. Having children out of wedlock and adultery are jailable offenses. Homosexuality is illegal. Hotels do permit some couples privileges.

Is Dubai a good place to live in?

Dubai offers tax-free salaries and lavish amenities many expats enjoy. However rights protections are weak, discrimination ubiquitous, and vague laws enable exploitation. Livability depends on your privileges.

Where do all the workers live in Dubai?

Majority of migrant construction workers live in cramped labor camp style dormitories on city outskirts to enable long work hours. Conditions are often unsanitary and inhumane but conveniently invisible.

What is the death penalty in Dubai?

Extreme sharia laws enable death sentences for offenses like consensual gay relations, adultery, and apostasy. However in practice, deportation and imprisonment are more common punishments than execution.

Can I bring a Bible to Dubai?

While proselytizing faiths outside Islam are prohibited, those practicing Abrahamic faiths may bring religious texts for personal use. Items are screened. Public evangelism risks fines or jail.

Can I kiss my girlfriend in Dubai?

Any unmarried couple interactions like kissing in public violate indecency standards. Though rarely enforced, fines, detention or deportation are legal. Restrain affection publicly and officially to avoid incidents.

Further Reading

  • North Bali Top 10 Things to See & Do
  • India Travel Guide for Beginners
  • How to Quickly Save $1000 for Travel (10 Easy Steps)
  • How to Find CHEAP Flights

📚 Books About Modern Slavery in Dubai and UAE:

  • The Dark Side of Dubai (by John Doglas and Karim Kanane) Amazon
  • I’m Not Your Slave (by Eric Reese) Amazon
  • Lost Riders (by Elizabeth Laird) Amazon

So there you have it – my 14 reasons why I was disappointed with Dubai.

Bottom line: I don’t mean to put anyone off visiting Dubai. I wrote this post with very frank and honest personal views based on my one-week experience there, and again, these are just the views of a traveller who is fascinated by history, and culture, as well as trying to be ethical and aware of injustice.

In regards to what I wrote about modern slavery – this is factual information and there are plenty of sources that verify this. So while it is sadly true – its the traveller’s choice whether they will be conscious of it, learn about it and share that knowledge, or, simply ignore it.

On a final note, you can head over to Quora here and read more, interesting personal experiences of expats who lived and worked in Dubai, all detailing their unique views on the dark and ugly side of Dubai.

If you enjoyed this post, share it on Pinterest so your followers can enjoy it too!

dubai 1

Billy Read is the owner and author of BRB Gone Somewhere Epic, a travel blog that helps travelers discover unique destinations and travel experiences on a budget. With more than 10 years of global travel filled with accidents, Billy aims to help readers avoid making the same mistakes as he did, and make the most of their epic trips.

17 Reasons Why Is Dubai So Popular: Reasons to Visit Dubai

Dubai Sunset Skyline

Dubai has never been more popular, welcoming around 14.6 billion visitors in a single day in 2022. This made Dubai the most popular destination in the world in 2022 , according to the Top 100 city destination index by Euromonitor.

The city also became the World’s No. 1 Tourism Destinations in TripAdvisor’s Traveller Choice Awards 2023 , the second city in history to claim this title the second time.

Known for its fondness for the exquisite, including the tallest skyscraper and the most expansive mall in the world, it’s no wonder that Dubai remains a favorite attraction and tourist spot for many traveling enthusiasts. But what makes Dubai so popular and irresistible?

Dive in to discover, as we have listed, a few things adding to Dubai’s popularity. 

Table of Contents

Why Is Dubai So Popular?

Here are 17 reasons Dubai demands attention and deserves to be among the world’s most famous cities. 

1: The Skylines Of The City

Tourists from all over the world find tall and grand structures eye-catching for anyone to pay a visit. It is also common to see images of tall buildings and skyscrapers on postcards from different nations, pasted as modern art as a country’s symbol. 


Hence, In Dubai’s Downtown area, you’ll find the Burj Khalifa, the highest human-made building on the planet. Additionally, Dubai’s Marina sports four of the world’s top five residential towers. Dubai offers stunning picture spots wherever you turn in due to its breathtaking skyline views.

2: The City Is A Food Haven

With approximately 88% of expats living in the UAE, having different cultures and traditions, Dubai is undoubtedly a food paradise, with thousands of varieties, offering an overwhelming amount of choices for everyone. 

1Oak Nightclub Dubai

From Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese, and Arabs to Filipinos, Americans, French, etc., people from different parts of the world can enjoy their favorite traditional cuisines all under one city, Dubai. 

3: It’s A Diverse Cultural Hub

Dubai is home to individuals from over 200 different nations. Although they come from different backgrounds, most consider Dubai their home. This rich and diverse cultural mix makes Dubai one of the world’s most multinational cities, attracting millions of visitors from all over the world.

Salalah Festival Oman

4: The Stunning Dubai Beaches

Most visitors are attracted to Dubai because of its gorgeous beaches, as they serve as one of the primary tourist spots of the city. It boasts about 1,000 km of shoreline and enjoys 300 sunny days annually, allowing visitors to bask in the sun nearly all year round. 

dubai beach with burj ul arab hotel in back

The city’s government ensures its beaches remain clean, implementing numerous guidelines for residents and tourists to follow that emphasize keeping their key tourist spots spotless and presentable!

5: It Is The Capital Of Modern Art And Design In The UAE

For many travelers worldwide, the primary preference for visiting a destination is to learn about its history and culture. Hence, many people like to visit museums and art galleries that represent the country’s culture through art and style!

This makes Dubai stand out as the Middle East’s central hub for Modern Art and Design. The city, with places like Alserkal Avenue and astounding galleries emerging from the Financial Centre, displays a rich artistic expression of the country’s culture. 


The recently inaugurated Dubai Design District is another proof of the city’s commitment to art, hosting festivals thoroughly enjoyed by global audiences.

6: Being Smart Is Dubai’s Ultimate Goal!

Dubai is recognized as one of the fastest-progressing cities in the world. A few years ago, it was a place for fishermen and pearl divers. But now it has become the most prominent cultural hub and an oil-based economy focusing only on the city’s well-being in tourism and business. 

The city’s landscape continually evolves with new infrastructures and ventures popping up overnight, thus proving Dubai’s dedication to progress and providing enriching experiences for all.

7: The Palm Dubai

One of the many reasons making Dubai the most popular destination in the world is Palm Jumeirah. Who doesn’t know of that? It is one of the world’s largest artificial islands , inaugurated in 2001.

The Palm Dubai

It is home to some of the wealthiest people across the globe, owning multi-million mega mansions and luxury hotels that are all five stars! The Palm Jumeirah is also home to the very famous Palm Atlantis.

8: No Language Barriers

Dubai’s official language is Arabic, of course. Still, due to the rich cultural diversity dwelling in the city, there are hundreds of different languages spoken throughout. However, English is the most commonly spoken, and most visitors know how to speak basic English. 

Hence, for most visitors, there is no such thing as a language problem when they visit Dubai!

9: Shopping And Dubai Go Hand-in-Hand

Talking about Dubai and shopping, doesn’t hop in? Impossible! The world’s largest mall in Dubai is called The Dubai Mall. It comprises hundreds of luxury retail outlets everywhere!

dubai mall

However, the mall is not just about commerce; it represents the diverse culture of Dubai. Moreover, Dubai celebrates a month-long shopping festival filled with giveaways and concerts, offering shoppers not only a chance to indulge but also to win extravagant prizes like cars and even gold. 

Among the most anticipated shopping events in the city are the Dubai Shopping Festival, Dubai Summer Surprises, and the GITEX Shopper Festival.

10: The Gold Souk

Contrary to the largest mall in Dubai, located in the Arabian Jewelry market is a traditional spot called the Gold Souk. This souk has been in business since the 1940s, welcoming tourists from all over the world to experience the old Dubai vibes and its gold wonders in the Gold Souk.

11: The Spectacular Fireworks

 In 2009, with the unveiling of the iconic Atlantis Hotel, Dubai displayed what most people enjoy: the fireworks! Over the years, the city has become renowned for hosting some of the most breathtaking fireworks events, especially during New Year’s Eve at the Burj Khalifa.

Fireworks in Dubai

These incredible fireworks, in fact, have become a key highlight in Dubai’s celebratory occasions.

12: Burj-ul-Arab

Dubai MallWith its distinctive skylines and architecture, Dubai boasts many lavish hotels that are globally recognized. The Burj Al Arab, inaugurated in 1999, is recognized as the city’s signature landmark and the only seven-star hotel in the world.  

Burj Ul Arab

Located on its artificial island off Jumeirah beach and linked to the mainland via a private bridge, this hotel offers elite amenities such as a fleet of Rolls Royce and a private helipad for guests who own helicopters.

13: Desert Safari

Contrary to what one might expect, Dubai features a ski slope right in its desert landscape. Extending to 22k square meters and reaching 85m in height, this indoor ski facility also brags about the globe’s first 400-meter indoor black run.

14: Largest Fountain In The World

The Dubai Fountain is truly an awe-inspiring tourist spot in the city. Built by the architectural minds behind Las Vegas’ iconic Bellagio Fountain, The Dubai Fountain shines bright with 6,600 lights and 25 colorful and vibrant projectors. 

The Dubai Fountain

Stretching nearly 1,000 ft in length, this largest fountain in the world propels water as high as 500 ft, synchronizing its jets with classical or contemporary tunes.

15: Premium Nightclubs And Bars

With miles and miles of Dubai’s extensive coastline, a lot of infrastructure has pooped up across the shore, including many lavish beachfront bars and nightclubs . Party enthusiasts from all across the globe flock to Dubai, fascinated by its immaculate beaches and their electrifying nightlife. 

As the night falls, you can indulge in performances by some of the world’s top DJs. For those visiting, renowned nightclubs include Pacha, Barasti, Coya, and Blue Marlin Ibiza.

16: Luxury Lifestyle And High Earnings

Dubai stands out for its well-paid job opportunities complemented by a life of luxury. One of the reasons it’s a top pick for expatriates is its incredibly low unemployment in the world. 

As a thriving business hub, Dubai constantly needs fresh talent throughout the country, with every firm offering competitive salaries to global professionals.

17: Globally Recognized Travel Gateway

Dubai International Airport (DXB) ranks as the world’s busiest airport in terms of international traffic, with over 70 million global travelers travelling through its terminals. 

Additionally, Emirates Airlines, the state carrier of Dubai, has grown to become one of the world’s leading airlines. Interestingly, more than two-thirds of the world’s population has access to a direct flight to Dubai, adding to the city’s reputation as the most popular travel junction worldwide.

Final Thoughts

Dubai’s rise as the most popular global destination is attributed to many factors. The city never fails to impress, from its awe-inspiring architectural marvels to its thriving and exciting nightlife. 

Its strategic position as a leading travel hub, supported by the bustling Dubai International Airport, encourages easy global connections. All these elements, combined with its rich cultural diversity and innovative spirit, strengthen Dubai’s reputation as an exclusive global tourist destination.

Photo of Umar Ali

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    The Heritage Village is a great place to learn about Dubai's past and experience the city's rich cultural heritage. ... There you have it - the best 33 reasons to visit Dubai. Now you get what makes Dubai worth visiting. With its unbelievable museums, private beaches, open-air markets, and adrenaline-infused adventures, the Emirati city ...

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    Yes, Dubai is very safe. My experience with Emirates was great. The people there are friendly and aware that safety is important for travellers to enjoy their trip, which is why the country is one of the most visited places in the world. They treated us with utmost care and made us feel safe throughout our trip.

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    Here are the main landmarks, best sights, and top tourist attractions in Dubai: 1. Burj Khalifa. MUST-SEE. If there is one place you have to see in Dubai, it's Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. This iconic skyscraper is the most visited landmark in Dubai. While you will see Burj Khalifa from all over the city, it's most ...

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    2. Get Close And Personal With The Fish At Dubai Aquarium And Underwater Zoo. Water plays a big role in many things to do in Dubai. The Dubai Aquarium features a massive tank that holds 2,641,721 gallons of water and is home to 30,000 species of fish. You can wander along and look, but for an extra thrill, you can dive with the sharks in a cage ...

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    The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, and making a trip to the top is a memorable experience. From the beach to the desert, the whole of Dubai can be seen from up there. The building is over 800 meters tall and has 163 floors. The Burj Khalifa is home to numerous hotels and restaurants, and is an ideal place to watch the sunset.

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    Dubai: Frame Tickets, Creek, Souks, & Blue Mosque Guided Tour - This tour goes to the most popular tourist attractions in Dubai. Dubai: Half-Day Street Food Tour - The best flavors of Dubai, Desert Safari from Dubai - One of the best things to do in Dubai. Dubai Marina Yacht Tour - An extremely popular tour.

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    Golden Sands-Dubai Creek ($$$) - One of the highest rated hotels in the city, the Golden Sands is opulent from tip to toe. Expect mirrored breakfast rooms, an infinity pool on the roof, and designer meeting spaces for corporate travelers. Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre ($$$) - This is a prime pick for business ...

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