The splendorous gem of the desert, Dubai, dazzles its visitors with ubiquitous grandeur. It’s a city of innovation, with the ambition to be the most mesmerising metropolis in the world – and when it can’t compete with the sheer size, it makes up for it with content. Here, everything is over-the-top, in-your-face and bold. From futuristic projects, like the Hyperloop train or flying taxis, to the plans to introduce robotic police force, Dubai effortlessly makes its point clear – I am not afraid of the unthinkable. Another speciality of Dubai is shopping. Malls of Dubai are nothing like your typical big stores – Italian palazzo or Persian palace being the prime example, giving you the opportunity to enjoy a giant ski slope or an enormous aquarium. When the lights go out and the sun hides behind the desert, Dubai reveals its other face. The wild nightlife of Dubai is truly spectacular, with lavish clubs full to the brim with action-hungry tourists. To top it all off, Dubai offers some of the most awe-inspiring hotels in the world, with the famous Burj Al Arab being the most recognizable one. Taking all of this into account, Dubai is not a place when one can get bored.
Top 10 Things to See and Do in Dubai
Desert Safari with Barbecue Dinner
This all-inclusive experience will allow you to experience what lies outside of the city of Dubai on an adventure through the Safari desert. With a lot of activities planned during the trip, such as dune bash, camel ride, sandboarding, and live dance shows, you are sure not to get bored easily.
Step aboard a comfortable speedboat which will take you along the waters of the Dubai city as you zip through many seafront landmarks. The monuments which you will be able to see include the Atlantis, The Palm, Burj Al Arab, and more, while a local guide provides informative commentary during the trip.
RIB Boat Dubai Tour
Taking only small groups of tourists at a time to ensure a personal experience, this tour uses a luxurious RIB boat to show you some of the landmarks of the city from the water. You can choose from a variety of start times to better fit your time schedule, making the tour flexible.
Dubai Marina Luxury Cruise
During this calm cruise around the waters of Dubai Marina, you will be able to get a great, 360-degree view of the cityscape from the observation deck of the ship. After you enjoyed the views of Palm Jumeirah Lagoo and the Burj Al Arab, you can indulge in a traditional Arabian buffet with unlimited beverages.
La Perle by Dragone
Experience the amazing La Perle by Dragone live show yourself with this exclusive admission ticket and visit the event which takes place at Al Habtoor City. The show consists of spectacular acts performed by skilled acrobats and daredevils whose life-threatening stunts will take your breath away.
Premium Rustar Dhow Cruise
This two-hour-long cruise will take you along the Dubai Creek on the world’s largest ‘dhow’, which is a traditional Arabian boat. The ship has a luxurious, five-star restaurant on board where you can taste some of the local delicacies and have a drink while watching the stunning landmarks along the way.
Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Mosque Half-Day Tour
Escape the bustling city of Dubai on this half-day tour to the city of Abu Dhabi, where the great mosque of Sheikh Zayed resides. The mosque is the largest building of its type in all of United Arab Emirates, adorned with exquisite domes, minarets, courtyards, and copulas. A local guide will tell you all about its history.
Dubai by Night City Tour
This four-hour tour will fill up your evening with a plethora of activities and impressive sites. As you take off in an air-conditioned coach, you will be able to see the some of the gorgeous waterfronts of the city, along with its famous skyscrapers, the Madinat Jumeirah, the Dubai Marina, and more.
Hammam and Massage Experience at Dubai’s Spa
Unwind after a hard day of travelling and sightseeing during this two-hour-long hammam and massage session in a professional, luxurious spa. You can freely visit the whirlpools and the many saunas or can enjoy a cleansing ritual with black soap, or even just relax on a comfy table as a masseuse gives you a full-body massage.
Self-Drive Boat Tour
If you are looking for a truly unique experience, this tour will give you just what you crave. Sit behind the steering wheel of your own boat and feel like a professional captain as you travel along the coastline of Dubai. A professional guide will escort you and tend to your safety as you discover the city on your own.
Private Dubai City Sightseeing Tour
Taking as long as six hours, this tour is packed full with activities and attractions to visit. A local private guide will tend to all your needs and will show you along the city. Take a monorail to Atlantis and The Palm Hotel and soar to the 124th floor of the Burj Khalifa for a ‘high level’ experience.
Other Things to See and Do
Take a walk to the Dubai Mall, which is a huge conglomerate of shops and restaurants. The enormous size of the shopping centre is worth seeing in itself, but once you are in there, make sure to take a photo of the gigantic standing dinosaur skeleton, along with some facts about the diplodocus next to it.
Pyramids Rooftop Gardens
Located at the Wafi Mall in Dubai, the Pyramids Rooftop Gardens offer a tranquil and quiet place to relax. Walk around the artificial gardens with fake-stone walls and benches, and don’t forget to enjoy the main attraction of the area: a huge spot on the ground filled with beanbags in front of a movie screen where you can sit for free.
The Arabian Ranches polo club is definitely entertainment for the more wealthy inhabitants of Dubai. Nevertheless, you can technically enter the premises of the club for free to watch the professionals play, and horses pass by, and you can even pack a lunch to eat while you’re there.
Present on most of the postcards of Dubai you might have spotted, the Dubai Fountain is probably one of the most famous places in all of the city. Every night, the waters of the fountain dance to music, both international and local, starting at 6 p.m and going off every thirty minutes every day except Friday.
Dubai Mall Aquarium
While at the Dubai Mall, make sure to visit the aquarium on the premises of the object. The aquarium is filled with all kinds of marine life, including fishes and crustaceans. Moreover, you can get up close to the tank and see sharks and giant manta rays, making the experience unforgettable.
The hotel of Mina A’Salam is definitely neither free nor is it cheap, but you do not have to get a room there to enjoy its main attraction. The hotel is known for being a sanctuary for rescued turtles, where they grow up before they are released to the wild, and you can see them every Wednesday and Friday.
Being one of the most interesting phenomena of the Arabian culture, the souks are small marketplaces where locals put up their produce, including fruits, vegetables, spices, and sweets. Even if you are not going to buy anything, make sure to stop by to see the blend of colors and smell the enticing aromas.
Dubai Garden Centre
If you are looking for a spot for a calm and tranquil walk, the Dubai Garden Centre might be just the place for you. The garden is filled with lush greenery, lined with pathways to walk or jog through. Moreover, the place has a large collection of animal statues, some of them outstandingly realistic.
Dubai Light and Sound Show
Located outside of the Wafi Mall in Dubai city, the famous Light and Sound Show brings locals and tourists alike to watch the gorgeous display of colors and music. The name of the show is Return of the Pharaohs so you can guess it has a major Egyptian theme and is absolutely free to visit for everyone.
Dhows are traditional Arabian boats, used by local fishermen. The boats are also a huge part of the cultural heritage of Dubai, and as such are displayed in the old shipyard. Make sure to stop by the beach it is located at and see the long lines of boats set upon the sand.
You might think that a toy store is not something to be excited about, but in Dubai it sure is. The toy stores of Dubai are often filled with a lot of the toys they sell set up on the floor for kids to play with, making any of such stores a great place to visit with children to provide them with some free entertainment.
While the Mushrif Park is yet another lush park with greenery all around, making for a great spot for an afternoon stroll or a jogging session, there is a unique feature to the Mushrif Park. The park is filled with thirteen gorgeous recreations of traditional houses, made to act as playhouses for kids.
Posh Paws Animal Sanctuary and Farm
The Posh Paws farm is unique among similar kinds of businesses, as it is a non-profit organisation which hosts a free to visit animal sanctuary. The sanctuary is filled with goats, pigs, and other farm animals which were saved from being slaughtered, and you can even feed them yourself.
If you want to see some of the landscape of Dubai for a very low price, make sure to take the abra ride along the Dubai Creek. While technically not free to attend, the ticket for an abra ride costs only a single dirham, which is an equivalent of about thirty cents, making the trip very affordable.
You do not have to attend a fancy private hotel beach to have some fun while in Dubai. Head out to the Kite Beach, which is one of many public beaches in Dubai, and take advantage of the bright sun and warm water. Make sure to get there early though, as the beach often gets heavily crowded during the day.
Al Sufouh Beach
Known otherwise by its nickname of the Black Palace Beach, the Al Sufouh Beach is a great place to come if you are looking for a more private, secluded experience. The beach is quite hard to find, and generally, only some of the locals visit it each day, which makes it a perfect escape from crowds of tourists.
Burj Khalifa Light Show
The tallest building in the world is not only known for its enormous size. The Light Up show debuted on New Year's Eve and was only repeated until the end of March 2018, but you can still catch shorter shows which last around seven minutes on every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday at 8 p.m. and at 10 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.
If you have your own vehicle and are up for some extreme fun, ride to the Al Qudra area of the Sahara desert. Al Qudra is only around half an hour away from the city, and you can even bring a bike for a ride along the Al Qudra cycle track, or rent a sandboard and ride down some of the tall sand dunes.
Ras Al Khor
The wildlife sanctuary of Ras Al Khor is a great alternative to spending money on a zoo admission ticket. The sanctuary is filled with over twenty thousand birds of almost seventy different species for you to look at. The most popular attraction of the sanctuary is the large flock of flamingos sitting along the sandy beach.
Jumeirah Beach Residence
The area of JBR is filled with a lot of attractions which you can enjoy for free. The first one is The Walk, which is a 1.7 kilometre-long street through the complex, from where you can see the abundance of hotels and resorts. In the mornings there are also free jogging classes to attend at the nearby beach, so make sure to stop by.