Sights & Attractions
31 Amazing things to do in Dubai for the ultimate holiday
Sun, August 14, 2022
Tick off the city's top things to do and places to visit.
Tick off the city's top things to do and places to visit.
Palm Jumeirah is one of the largest manmade islands in the world and a triumph of human ingenuity. Locals and tourists alike flock to its vast array of high-end hotels – Waldorf Astoria, Fairmont, One&Only, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and, perhaps most notably, Atlantis, The Palm. Getting here is simple, thanks to the monorail running down the 'trunk', which connects to the mainland's tram system. You can also stop by for a meal at The Pointe – home of the record-breaking Palm Fountain.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood in Bur Dubai is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. Best seen on foot, this area offers nostalgic views of a bygone era with traditional windtowers and a maze of winding alleyways, positioned along the historic waterways of Dubai Creek. Visit Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) to appreciate local culture with Arabic classes, heritage tours and guided mosque visits. After exploring, take an atmospheric abra boat ride to the souks on the other side of the creek.
The Dubai desert
Less than a 20 minute-drive from the modern streets of Downtown Dubai lies the mystique-filled Arabian desert. Go on a Dubai-style desert safari, complete with thrilling activities such as quad biking and sandboarding. Those looking for luxury can book a safari with leading tour companies Platinum Heritage and Arabian Adventures. From the unforgettable offroad drive to cultural fun with henna painting and camel rides, and a feast of local cuisine under the stars, it's an only-in-Dubai treat. Want to stay a little longer? Treat yourself to an unforgettable night amid the dunes at Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa.
If there's one thing every adventure-seeker must sign up for, it's a skydiving experience. Skydive Dubai provides tandem skydive opportunities, supervised by trained professionals. You'll have to book well in advance to secure a spot, but it's worth it as you dive through the clouds from 13,000 feet and take in views of the landmark Palm Jumeirah or rolling dunes of the desert. And you can keep reliving the epic experience thanks to perfectly-captured videos by the Skydive Dubai team. It's one for every braveheart's bucket list.
Literally translated as 'City of Jumeirah', the Madinat Jumeirah complex is inspired by an ancient citadel. Housing luxury hotels and private enclaves designed to reflect traditional Arabian architecture, it's a great spot to indulge in a therapeutic day at the world-class Talise Spa, splurge on local trinkets and boutique brands at the Madinat Souk, or immerse yourself in the work of famous artists at the high-tech Theatre of Digital Art. And, with over 40 restaurants and lounges featuring cuisines from around the world, it's also an ideal place to refuel.
Since opening in 2018, Dubai Frame has become a cultural landmark that connects the Dubai's past with its present and represents a remarkable engineering feat. Located within Dubai's famous Zabeel Park, this attraction lets you experience the transition between Old and New Dubai thanks to sweeping panoramic views of the city from 150m high. One of its striking features is the state-of-the-art clear glass bridge walkway, which connects parallel vertical towers so that, from the outside, the structure perfectly resembles a giant picture frame.
Dubai Water Canal
Dubai Water Canal is a 3.2-kilometre-long waterway extending from the Creek in Old Dubai through Business Bay before finding its way to the Arabian Gulf. With 80,000sqm of public space and facilities and a 12km cycling path, the Canal has become a popular visitor attraction. There are also five pedestrian bridges that snake their way across the iconic waterway, so it's the perfect spot to stroll and take in classic views of the city at its best. Nearby is the Al Habtoor City development, home to the thrilling La Perle by Dragone show, five-star hotels and an array of trendy restaurants.
If you'd like to shop, dine, watch a movie and swim in the sea all in one place, consider a trip to The Beach, opposite Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR). With guest DJs playing on most weekends, a cinema and plenty of trendy boutiques, The Beach is always buzzing with activity. Take your pick from the range of dining options, try the exhilarating watersports on offer or just enjoy some relaxation time in a cabana with your favourite book. The Beach is also connected to the trendy new Bluewaters Island district by a pedestrian bridge.
City Walk offers European-style pedestrian streets alongside a host of shopping and entertainment options – perfect for a pleasant day out. Take a walk along tree-lined avenues with shops and restaurants and spot artwork etched by some of the world's finest urban artists. Afterwards, treat your family to an afternoon of fun and head over to The Green Planet to see real wildlife in an indoor tropical rainforest setting. You can also catch a concert, live sports or a comedy show at the nearby Coca-Cola Arena, the Middle East's largest indoor arena.
Dubai Miracle Garden
Located in the Downtown district, Dubai Opera offers an enticing performing arts schedule from the likes of London’s West End and Manhattan’s Broadway. With views of The Dubai Fountain and located next to Burj Khalifa, the eye-catching exteriors are inspired by Arabian dhow ships while the stage area is designed to easily convert into three different event platforms: theatre, hall or concert hall. Want to know what's playing at Dubai Opera while you're holidaying in the city? Visit Dubai Calendar.
A 130km drive south-east of Downtown Dubai is Hatta, a not-to-be-missed scenic getaway. In this mountain town you can try kayaking along the serene Hatta Lake, or traversing rocky mountains on foot with specially-crafted hiking experiences. Recent additions to the area include Hatta Dome Park, a glamping experience that takes advantage of Hatta’s mountainscape views and back-to-nature vibes, plus a chic lodge-style hotel and trailer parks. Indulge in a host of adventure activities such as zorbing, mountain biking and more at Hatta Wadi Hub. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, as the Hub is also home to Asia’s first ever water jump park, Hatta Drop-In.
IMG Worlds of Adventure
Unlimited fun, excitement, speed and 5D entertainment – you can expect it all at IMG Worlds of Adventure. This enormous theme park is the same size as 28 football pitches put together. With the most up-to-date and exciting rides, IMG Worlds of Adventure brings your favourite characters to life. Give your little ones the best time with rides featuring Ben 10, Powerpuff Girls and LazyTown, while older kids can delve into the world of Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man and The Avengers.
Dubai Parks and Resorts
The View at The Palm
Sky Views Dubai
Thrill-seekers can try a trio of epic experiences at Sky Views Dubai, perched 219.5m above ground on top of the Address Sky View hotel. The Glass Slide allows visitors to zoom down a transparent tunnel on the 53rd floor, while the Observatory features a glass elevator and bridge to further test your head for heights. Meanwhile, true risk-takers will look forward to the Edge Walk – as they dangle off the building's side while strapped to a safety harness. All three experiences allow participants to enjoy phenomenal views of Downtown Dubai's iconic landmarks, including the nearby Burj Khalifa.
Burj Al Arab
For the first time since its launch, Dubai's famed Burj Al Arab has opened its doors to visitors, granting access to the hotel's ultra-luxurious interiors on an immersive 90-minute tour. Not only will you get to explore the landmark’s gilded suites, and enjoy its incomparable views of the city, but you'll also uncover the hotel’s history and wealth of untold stories. You can also delve deeper and make the most of your experience with tour customisations.
Museum of the Future
Mohammed Bin Rashid Library
Built along the historic Dubai Creek and designed in the shape of a traditional Islamic lectern, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is the latest cultural hotspot to open its doors in the city. A landmark unique to Dubai, the library is the largest in the region and representative of its collective cultural wisdom, educational milestones and continued forays in research and academia. Aside from enjoying the remarkable architecture and exploring the library's nine levels, visitors can discover a fully digitalised laboratory and several specialised collections inside.
Serious foodies can’t possibly visit Dubai without making a stop at the MENA 50 Best Restaurants top spot, 3Fils. Its chic yet casual setting, coupled with calming harbourside views and a no-reservations policy, makes this one of Dubai's most unassumingly spectacular dining hotspots. Serving modern Asian cuisine, you’ll find tantalising dishes such as salmon carpaccio, wagyu sushi and fire-grilled octopus on the menu.
Unwind in the world's highest 360-degree swimming pool as you gaze out at landmarks including Burj Al Arab and Ain Dubai. Situated 200m above ground, AURA Skypool is the perfect place for an unforgettable swim. Visitors to the Palm Jumeirah venue can also relax in its chic lounge area and sample a menu filled with delicious sharing plates and Pan-Asian flavours. Standouts to try include the glazed miso salmon, chilli honey cauliflower popcorn and matcha tiramisu.