Lonely Planet names Dubai among best cities to visit in 2020

Seven reasons why we made the list
We’ve been named one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 cities to visit in 2020 – and we couldn’t agree more! Dubai has world-class attractions, offbeat activities, non-stop entertainment...and we’re just getting started. But take it from the experts. Here are some must-see sights and experiences, as picked by the leading travel guide publisher.
1

City of the future

Unparallelled experiences

City of the future

Unparallelled experiences

Best for: urban explorers

We’re gearing up to host the ‘world’s greatest show’, Expo 2020, from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021. Come experience what 190 participating countries envision the future to be, from flying cars to sustainable solutions. There’s plenty more to get excited about, with a string of high-profile openings such as the upcoming Museum of the Future, and the tallest and largest observation wheel, Ain Dubai at Bluewaters Island.

Lonely Planet says: “The future is now in Dubai as the superlative-craving emirate launches several boundary-pushing marquee projects in 2020. Top billing, of course, goes to the six-month-long World Expo 2020.”
Expo 2020, Dubai South, Jebel Ali
+971 800 3976

Museum of the Future, Sheikh Zayed Road
+971 4 516 6569

Ain Dubai, Bluewaters Island
+971 800 6372277

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World-famous attractions

Record-breaking hits

World-famous attractions

Record-breaking hits

Best for: first-time visitors

We are a city synonymous with achieving the impossible, so you will likely want to tick off a few record-breaking surprises on your trip. Go from admiring the views at Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, to spending the day at The Dubai Mall – the world’s largest and most-visited retail and entertainment destination. While there, soak in a Dubai Fountain show – the world's largest choreographed fountain system. Whether you want to shop in style, try new dining experiences or simply admire jaw-dropping architecture, you’ll find it in Dubai.

Lonely Planet says: “Conquer the Burj Khalifa, the world’s reigning tallest building, which kisses the clouds at 828m and also lays claim to other world records, such as most floors, highest outdoor observation deck, highest restaurant and longest elevator.”
Burj Khalifa, 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard
+971 800 2875

The Dubai Mall, Financial Centre Road, Downtown Dubai
+971 800 382246255

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Sea, sand, city

Beachside gems

Sea, sand, city

Beachside gems

Best for: sunshine seekers

With our endless pristine coastline, brilliant beachfront venues are aplenty in Dubai. Azure blue waters set the perfect backdrop to hip neighbourhoods complete with boutiques, restaurants and entertainment options. For some fun under the sun, head to La Mer where locally-inspired graffiti art, colourful cabanas and laidback vibes await. Kite Beach is another top spot that’s popular with the city’s surfing and watersports community, while The Beach at JBR comes alive in the evenings with pop-up events and gourmet delights for the family.

Lonely Planet says: “Spread your towel on hip Kite Beach with its food trucks, plenty of sports action and free Wi-Fi.”
La Mer, Jumeirah 1
+971 800 637 2277

Kite Beach, Jumeirah 3
+971 800 637 2277

The Beach at JBR, Dubai Marina
+971 4 317 3999

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Old meets new

A historic journey

Old meets new

A historic journey

Best for: curious culturists

To really know Dubai, you need to see where the city was born. In the 18th century, the Bani Yas tribe settled at the mouth of the Dubai Creek and established its presence as a fishing village. Today, visitors can step back in time by strolling beside the historic waters, as well as the restored Al Seef heritage area. This vibrant district is close to the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood where old windtowers house fascinating galleries and museums. While there, don’t miss the Dubai Museum in Al Fahidi Fort where insightful exhibits help visitors gain a better understanding of life in the early years.

Lonely Planet says: “Connect with life in Dubai before the discovery of oil at the Dubai Museum, housed in the 1787 Al Fahidi Fort, or the brand new Al Shindagha Museum.”
Al Seef Street, Dubai Creek Area
+971 800 637 2277

Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Fort, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
+971 4 353 1862

Al Shindagha Museum, Al Shindagha Historical District
+971 4 515 5336

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Art in focus

Creative hubs

Art in focus

Creative hubs

Best for: art aficionados

With its future forward vision, Dubai attracts the next generation of global creatives and avant-garde artists. If you’d like to experience the best in contemporary art from the region, head to Jameel Arts Centre at Jaddaf Waterfront where multiple gallery spaces are filled with inspiration. Alternatively, spend the afternoon experiencing the industrial-set magic of Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, which features exciting galleries, cafes and an arthouse cinema within converted warehouses. Alternatively, pay a visit to the sleek architectural spaces of Dubai Design District (d3), where you’ll find artist studios, innovative restaurants and independent boutiques.

Lonely Planet says: “You’ll also stumble upon such street-cred gems as an urban-gritty gallery district, buzzy indie boutiques and bold street art.”
 Jameel Arts Centre, Jaddaf Waterfront
+971 4 873 9800

Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz
+971 4 333 3464

Dubai Design District, near Ras Al Khor
+971 4 433 3000

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Secret treasures

Deira’s souks

Secret treasures

Deira’s souks

Best for: gem hunters

A living tribute to our trading history, the historic souks of Deira are a must-visit. Meander along winding paths, weaving in and out of courtyards, as you explore wares from around the world. The Gold Souk, for example, features glittering displays of jewellery and has, since the early 1900s, been the place to shop for, and design your own, coveted pieces. Meanwhile, the Spice Souk is a feast for the senses, with exotic ingredients piled high at storefronts as traders charm you into taking a closer look.

Lonely Planet says: “Soak up an Arabian Nights vibe in the Deira souks: a maze of lanes where you can stock up on cardamom and saffron in the Spice Souk, shiny baubles in the Gold Souk and heady scents in the Perfume Souk.”
Gold Souk, 54 Al Khor Street

Spice Souk, 26 34th Street

Perfume Souk, Sikkat al Khali

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Fine feasts

Dubai’s delights

Fine feasts

Dubai’s delights

Best for: adventurous foodies

More than 5,000 restaurants and a world of flavour await you in Dubai. While fine dining restaurants, including those by celebrity chefs, get a lot of attention, the city is also home to many unconventional culinary gems which are worth a visit. Take, for example, the humble seafood restaurant Bu Qtair, located in a fishing harbour, that serves up the day’s freshest catches, or Bait Al Mandi that presents tasty rice-based dishes packed with Middle Eastern spice. Don’t know where to start? Join Frying Pan Adventures and embark on a memorable walking tour of the city’s lesser-known dining delights.

Lonely Planet says: “Ferret out authentic low-cost feasts from India to Iran in Bur Dubai’s expat kitchens, or have the expert guides of Frying Pan Adventures take you there.”
Bu Qtair, Umm Suqeim
+971 55 705 2130

Bait Al Mandi, Barsha Heights
+971 4 330 7777

Frying Pan Adventures
+971 56 471 8244

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