Dubai is one of the hottest destinations at the moment (not only literally).
While most people think about luxury first, Dubai has way more to offer than just luxurious buildings and shopping malls. And while it is not wrong that the city is and has all that – there is more to see Dubai and here are the best things to do in Dubai.
Best Things to Do in Dubai
- 1 Best Things to Do in Dubai
- 2 50 Fun Things to Do in Dubai
- 2.1 Desert Safari
- 2.2 2. Seaplane Flight
- 2.3 3. Speed Boat Tour
- 2.4 4. Visit La Mer
- 2.5 5. Stroll Dubai Marina
- 2.6 6. Visit Pier 7 at Night
- 2.7 7. Dubai Marina Cruise Tour
- 2.8 8. At the Top of Burj Khalifa
- 2.9 9. Chill at Zabeel Park
- 2.10 10. Relax at Jumeirah Beach
- 2.11 11. Visit Burj Al-Arab
- 2.12 12. Spend a day at IMG Worlds of Adventure
- 2.13 13. Do a Hot-Air Balloon Ride
- 2.14 14. Go Flyboarding
- 2.15 15. Enjoy a Friday Brunch
- 2.16 16. Helicopter Flight
- 2.17 17. Eat Dates
- 2.18 18. Ski in Dubai
- 2.19 19. Shop at Dubai Mall
- 2.20 20. Hotel Sightseeing
- 2.21 21. Jet-Ski in Dubai
- 2.22 22. Visit Al Bastakiya
- 2.23 23. Visit the Gold and Spice Souks
- 2.24 24. Do an Abra Ride
- 2.25 25. Visit a Museum in Dubai
- 2.26 26. Stroll Along The Walk at JBR
- 2.27 27. Visit Miracle Garden
- 2.28 28. Visit Global Village
- 2.29 29. Visit a Mosque
- 2.30 30. Cruise Along Dubai Marina, Atlantis, and Burj aArab
- 2.31 31. Dubai Ferry
- 2.32 32. See the Water Fountain Show
- 2.33 33. Aquaventure Waterpark
- 2.34 34. Hop-On and Hop-Off in Dubai
- 2.35 35. Do a Day Trip to Musandam / Oman
- 2.36 36. Do Day Trip to Abu Dhabi
- 2.37 37. Visit Lost Chambers
- 2.38 38. Do a Professional Photoshoot
- 2.39 39. Camel Riding
- 2.40 40. Get a Day Pass on the Palm Jumeirah
- 2.41 41. Do a Bike Tour
- 2.42 42. Explore Madinat Jumeirah
- 2.43 43. Private Yacht Cruise
- 2.44 44. Dine in an Underwater Restaurant
- 2.45 45. Visit Wafi Mall
- 2.46 46. Go Sand Boarding
- 2.47 47. Visit Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
- 2.48 48. Dubai Garden Glow
- 2.49 49. The Frame
- 2.50 50. City Walk
- 2.51 51. Enjoy
- 3 Where to Stay in Dubai?
As you probably know, I fell in love with Dubai when I visited for the second time. I was surprised that there is so much more to do and see than skyscrapers and malls.
Though it is actually a lot about breaking any kind of records, Dubai can also be charming and fun and there is a lot to see in Dubai.
So whether you are already or you will head there soon, these are fun activities to do in the biggest city of the UAE (some of them are free activities, some cost a bit, some are for the wild ones, some are for those who like to chill and rest).
P.S. Some activities are not offered throughout the year – especially in summer some places are closed, so please double-check the dates :).
Find out about the best tourist attractions and points of interests in Dubai and 50 fun things to do.
Things to Know Before Visiting
Other than my top tips for unique things to do in Dubai, here are a few more things to know before visiting.
Click here to find out about the dress code for the United Arab Emirates
Read more about important things to pack for Dubai
Find out about the 10 luxury hotels
Is Dubai safe to travel to? Click here to find out
P.S. When I book tours, I normally use GetYourGuide or Viator. Both are great websites and absolutely trustworthy. Many of the links I added will lead you to one of the two websites.
50 Fun Things to Do in Dubai
Are you ready? Here is my ultimate list of 50 cool and most fun activities in Dubai.
One of the most activities to do in Dubai is to go on a desert safari.
There are many different desert safari tours offered in Dubai and I tried several of them, however, my favorite is the one that includes 4×4 wheel drive and a BBQ (I had enough vegetarian options, but meat eater will also find something, it is definitely a unique dinner) and a belly dance show but actually, any desert safari is a great thing to experience in Dubai (and the desert is so picturesque).
Truly, this is one of the best things to do – it is definitely in my top 3 recommendations for cool things to experience in Dubai.
P.S. When it comes to tours in Dubai I often book via Viator our GetYourGuide and both are great. Lately, I use GetYourGuide more often and have had some great experiences.
2. Seaplane Flight
A seaplane flight sounds pretty amazing, right? A seaplane flight in Dubai sounds even better, as seeing Dubai from above is such a fun experience.
3. Speed Boat Tour
Do a speedboat tour in Dubai and enjoy the breeze – one of the best things to do in the summer (or even in winter). Click here to check out the prices for a speed boat tour in Dubai.
4. Visit La Mer
La Mer is one of the newest hotspots in Dubai and if you ask me – I definitely see what the fuss is about. Whether you want to spend a day at the beach, stroll the beach front, chill at one of the very cool restaurants and cafes, or just check out the coolest street art – La Mer is a beautiful place and should be on every Dubai itinerary. Read more about my tips for things to do at La Mer.
5. Stroll Dubai Marina
One of my most favorite parts in Dubai is Dubai Marina with all the cafes and restaurants – and skyscrapers. This is one of the best places to get lost and one of the best places for nice strolls.
6. Visit Pier 7 at Night
As mentioned above, Dubai Marina is beautiful and Dubai Marina is the best area to go out in the evening, don´t miss Pier 7 at night and dine in one of the seven restaurants with beautiful views at night.
I have to admit that the staff at The Scene Dubai (4.th floor) was not the best, but the views are great. For great views AND nice staff head to the 6.th floor ASIA ASIA (during high season I recommend booking a table on the terrace in advance).
7. Dubai Marina Cruise Tour
Boat tours are one of my favorite ways to get around – See more of Dubai´s great Marina by doing a Marina Crude tour. Click here for prices.
8. At the Top of Burj Khalifa
Another top thing to do in Dubai is to visit the highest building in the world.
Go to the top of Burj Khalifa and enjoy amazing views from up there. Plan in some time, to see the water dance show from above and ideally, plan to see the sunset from Burj Khalifa as well.
Tip: I had to stand in line for ages, so probably a VIP ticket is the better choice for the people who are less patient :).
P:S. On my second visit I got a ticket which included a lunch/dinner at the Burj Club as well and the price was definitely worth that experience.
9. Chill at Zabeel Park
Wondering where to chill in Dubai?
For those who do not believe that Dubai has some greenery Zabeel Park proves him/her wrong: For a small entrance fee (about 1$) you can visit Zabeel Park and relax in the lush and green park.
Kids will love it as there are many playgrounds, and the older ones also enjoy the mobile phone chargers the shape of palms (just bring your cable and you can recharge your phone while relaxing in the park.
Location: Between the Gold and Spice Souks and Burj Khalifa – not to far away from the palace of the Crown Prince of Dubai AND from there you can walk to Dubai´s new attraction Dubai Frame (more on that later).
10. Relax at Jumeirah Beach
Not all beaches are free and public (most actually belong to luxury hotel), but you can chill for free at the public (and beautiful) beach Jumeirah Beach and enjoy great views of Burj Al-Arab.
Hop on and hop off buses stop there, but you can also ask the taxi driver to get to the public beach of Jumeirah. Even on sunny days it is not crowded for European standards. The water is pretty, the view amazing and best of all: It is a free activity in Dubai.
Here are more great and cool things to do and see in Dubai
11. Visit Burj Al-Arab
Have an afternoon tea at Burj Al-Arab (it is still on my own list) at the only 7* hotel in the world (reservation needed in advance). It is not a bargain but probably an amazing experience.
12. Spend a day at IMG Worlds of Adventure
The IMG Worlds of Adventure, the world´s largest theme park, is still on my”to-do-list” for Dubai. I am sure your kids will love it – so plan in a day for this giant theme park.
13. Do a Hot-Air Balloon Ride
Another top tourist attraction in Dubai is to see Dubai´ deserts from above when flying over Dubai in a hot-air balloon.
I did my first, and so far only, hot-air balloon ride in Dubai.
Waking up at 4 am was worth it: Do a hot-air balloon ride in Dubai´s desert and enjoy watching the sunrise from above.
You are normally being picked up at the hotel – and it is worth to wake up early to have such a unique experience. Definitely a fun activity to add to your Dubai itinerary.
14. Go Flyboarding
There are a lot of adventurous things to do in Dubai for those who like to be more active.
Try out Flyboarding in Dubai and soar above the Persian Gulf. The activity is quite unique and ist not offered everywhere, so make sure to to try this cool thing in Dubai -i if you are into waterspouts and outdoor activities.
15. Enjoy a Friday Brunch
Dubai is known for great brunches, so experience an infamous Friday Brunch in one of the top hotels or restaurants in Dubai. I tried out the Friday brunch at the fancy Ritz-Carlton JBR and was not disappointed (read my review of the Friday Brunch and click here).
It is probably not advisable to look forward to it if you travel to Dubai during Ramadan (the Muslim month of fasting).
16. Helicopter Flight
See Dubai from above when doing a helicopter flight – Dubai is the perfect place to try out this amazing experience. Click here to find about prices for a helicopter ride and enjoy this incredible view over Palm Jumeirah, Burj al Arab or Burj Khalifa.
17. Eat Dates
While in Germany, I rarely eat them but in Dubai, dates are part of my nutrition. Try out dates – they are healthy, vegan, sweet, and a traditional snack of that region. They also make a great gift for your loved ones back home, so why not buy a little package when in Dubai Deira?
18. Ski in Dubai
I have never been skiing but if I tried it out it would be probably rather in Dubai than in Switzerland.Though it is not the most natural environment to ski, but it is for sure a great place to escape the heat in Dubai so why not skiing in Dubai.
Location: Mall of Emirates, Ground Floor
19. Shop at Dubai Mall
Explore Dubai Mall – the biggest mall in the world (it feels more like a town rather than just a mall).
Seriously, Dubai Mall is crazy and it would be easy to spend several days in it.
From luxury to budget brands, from beauty and fashion to electronic stores -from restaurants to fancy cafes, there is everything you cam ask from a shopping mall (and there is even more than you ask for). Read my Dubai Mall quick guide here.
Location: It is also located next to the water fountain and Burj Khalifa, so you can visit all places at the same time.
20. Hotel Sightseeing
One fund and free thing to do in Dubai is ….hotel sightseeing.
The hotels in Dubai are among the best in the world – if you do not stay overnight in one of the top hotels, do some hotel hopping. Check out which hotels are open to public (Burj Al-Arab is not but Atlantis Hotel is e.g.)
21. Jet-Ski in Dubai
If you prefer outdoor activities, go jet-skiing in Dubai – where everything is about higher, faster, further, fast jet-skiing seems to be the perfect activity in Dubai. It is not only fun, it is also very refreshing on a hot day in Dubai.
22. Visit Al Bastakiya
Al Bastakiya is one of the oldest district, located at Dubai Creek, and quite charming with the narrow streets and surely worth a visit. It shows you another side of Dubai – definitely a nice break from the modernity of Dubai Downtown.
Tip: The Secret Garden is a beautiful restaurant/cafe that you should visit when in Al Bastakiya.
23. Visit the Gold and Spice Souks
A must-see place in the United Arab Emirates are the souks in the old part of Duba
Visiting the Gold and Spice Souk in Dubai should be on your list (close to Al Bastakiya) – this part is different to the rest of Dubai and though it is very busy it has some traditional charm. If you visit be prepared to haggle – never accept any price immediately.
Normally, you can get the things for 50% but you need to be patient and nice while discussing prices.
For women I recommend not to wear the most revealing clothes and dress modestly.
Apart from spices, and clothes (you will also find traditional clothes for a much cheaper price than in the malls) there is gold…a lot of gold…. If you like to buy gold check the gold rate online and – bargain.
24. Do an Abra Ride
Do an inexpensive bra ride on Dubai Creek, a natural creek close to the Gold and Spice Souk.
To get from the Spice Souk to Bur Dubai you only pay about 0,25€ (1 Dirham) and if you like to have the whole abra for yourself you can get it for 20 Dirham (about 5€).
If you prefer a fancier abra ride and do not mind paying a bit more you can also do a abra ride in Madinat Jumeirah.
25. Visit a Museum in Dubai
Apparently, Dubai is super modern but if you visit one of the museums in Dubai you´ll learn more about Dubai’s past (yes, there is some history involved).
Dubai Museum is one of the best ones to visit. It is near Al Bastakiya and very popular amongst UAE visitors. So it might be quite busy during high season but it is still worth it and it is quite illustrated so you learn about the life of people in Dubai easily (and thus it is a great place to visit with your kids, too).
26. Stroll Along The Walk at JBR
One of the liveliest places in Dubai is JBR – the Walk, so discover JBR Walk by feet – a popular area with many restaurants, hotels, cafes, and with access to the beach.
In March 2018 the newest attraction has opened: Flying Cup – for about 20€ you can hop into the capsule and enjoy an amazing view of JBR The Walk – The Beach.
If you are more into relaxing at the beach, this beach might be a good option (though it can be quite busy), or you can check out street art, eat your weight in meals from all around the world or do one of the other activities that are offered there.
27. Visit Miracle Garden
One of the main points of interest in Dubai is Miracle Garden, so discover it and take 10000 of pictures at Miracle Garden.
Miracle Garden is not open in summer though (normally opens in November) and you need to get there by taxi, but it is one of the best gardens to check out in Dubai.
This is art that comes from flowers. Though it is totally crowded in December it is worth a visit (about 10€ entry) and I reckon it is great for people of all ages.
Take a cab and plan in a few hours for this trip.
28. Visit Global Village
Another popular sightseeing place in Dubai is the Global Village, so check out the Global Village and enjoy a ride in one of the 50 rides in the Fantasy Island theme park.
Pay is about 5€ ($6) but rollercoaster rides costs extra – a cool thing to do in Dubai with kids (or for the people young at heart).
Location: It is located a bit further away from other Dubai attractions, so it is probably not a place to quickly go through.
29. Visit a Mosque
Most mosques in Dubai are not open for non-Muslims but they have a beautiful shape.
Actually, most mosques in Dubai look similar but stunning, so make sure to stop by one and admire the architecture.
Jumeirah Mosque is one of the very few mosques in Dubai open to non-Muslims as well, so put it on your list (tip: you need to cover your head/arms/legs as a female when visiting a mosque and as a male, you also have to cover your arms and legs).
One mosque that looks a bit different is the beautiful Iranian Mosque in Bur Dubai.
30. Cruise Along Dubai Marina, Atlantis, and Burj aArab
Another boat cruise: One of my favorite activities anywhere in the world: doing boat cruises. With all the stunning buildings in Dubai boat cruises are pretty amazing – and there is something for every taste. Whether you like to have a dinner on board, or just sailing along Burj al-Arab, I am sure you will find the perfect cruise for yourself.
31. Dubai Ferry
An inexpensive way to do a little boat cruise is by doing a ferry ride (okay, I know another kind of boat ride) but it is way cheaper and shorter – and you get from a. to b.
You can also use your NOL card to hop onto the ferry and get around in some parts of Dubai (e.g. Dubai Marina).
32. See the Water Fountain Show
A top free thing to do in Dubai is to… watch the water fountain show at Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa and see the water dance.
The show itself is quite short (about 2-4 minutes) but sitting at a cafe and looking at the water show is still lovely.
For a great – free – view just visit the Apple Store inside Dubai Mall and get on the balcony so you can see it from above. The “seats” are limited though, but there are also nice views if you stand just in front of it – though it might be totally crowded as all the tourists get to the water show on time.
Since there are many restaurants close by you can get more exclusive views from then (I had a nice view from Burj Club, a restaurant which is part of Burj Khalifa, too).
If you want to get very close to the water fountain show you can do an aura ride (tickets can be bought just at the aura station at the water fountain or be booked in advance).
Location: Next to Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa.
33. Aquaventure Waterpark
I never spend much time in waterparks…except when I did in Dubai at the Aquaventure Waterpark.
Visit Aquaventure Waterpark – it is easy to spend a full day at one of the biggest and best waterparks in the region (a visit there made me feel like a little child again), as there are many slides, different pools, and more to do at the waterpark.
34. Hop-On and Hop-Off in Dubai
The best way to get around in Dubai is to hop on in one of the sightseeing buses and discover many areas by bus – with great stops along the way. Read my review of the hop-on and hop-off buses in Dubai.
35. Do a Day Trip to Musandam / Oman
On my fourth trip I finally managed to do a day trip to Oman – it is quite a long drive but Dubai is still a good base for day trips to the northern parts of Oman. If you feel like escaping the hustle and bustle of crazy Dubai then head to Oman (though I honestly can say that the beaches and water in Dubai is nicer than in Musandam).
36. Do Day Trip to Abu Dhabi
If you do not plan to stay overnight in Abu Dhabi you should at least do a day trip to the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
I highly recommended a day trip to the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi, and see, among others, the stunning Grand Mosque, stroll along the Corniche… (click here to find out what else to do in Abu Dhabi)
To get there by car takes about 1 hour and there are also buses and guided tours that get you to Abu Dhabi.
37. Visit Lost Chambers
Visit the Lost Chambers at the 5* hotel Atlantis – The Palm and find out about the Atlantic myth and marine life – I not only recommended to escape the heat in summer 🙂 This giant aquarium is also a fun place to visit as a family.
38. Do a Professional Photoshoot
If you have ever thought of hiring a professional photographer in an amazing scenery/surroundings then Dubai might be the place for a great outdoor or indoor shot.
39. Camel Riding
Go camel riding in Dubai. It is often included in desert safaris.
40. Get a Day Pass on the Palm Jumeirah
If you do not stay at one of the hotels on the Palm, get a “day ticket for beach access on the Palm” (the beach at Dubai Palm is my favorite in Dubai but since it is private this is an easy and legit way to get access).
41. Do a Bike Tour
Rent a bike (at a rental station on the Palm) and explore Palm Jumeirah by bike – The Palm is the best place to ride.
You can rent a bike from a station – you just need a mobile with you and a credit card – it is one of the best places to ride (and easiest, since the streets are new which makes cycling easy).
42. Explore Madinat Jumeirah
One of the most beautiful places in Dubai is Madinat Jumeirah.
It is one of the most charming areas in Dubai – though it is extremely modern, it is a recreation of ancient Arabia and it is also home to some fantastic hotels. You can also dine there, do an abra ride, shop in the souks or just get lost there.
From there you´ll also have beautiful views of Burj Al-Arab.
43. Private Yacht Cruise
Okay, if you want to do another great luxury thing in Dubai then hire a private yacht. Dubai is the city of the rich – so a private yacht cruise sounds pretty standard in Dubai.
44. Dine in an Underwater Restaurant
Dubai has several underwater restaurants, so why not dine in a very special atmosphere? I admit that it i still on my own Dubai bucket list – but if you have the perfect companion with you, I cannot imagine anything more romantic.
45. Visit Wafi Mall
This Egypt inspired Wafi Mall has also a free light show every evening which is worth to watch – though Wafi Mall might be not on your two-day Dubai itinerary it is a fun place to see in Dubai if you are staying longer.
46. Go Sand Boarding
Skate boarding can be done anywhere – sand boarding in Dubai is more exclusive (p.s. I do not do it the proper way in the picture). If you love snowboarding you will be challenged to try to do it like this.
My way of sand boarding 🙈 If you are in Dubai, even only for few hours, I can strongly advice to visit the desert. On my blog are two reviews of different tours in the desert (link in bio) – pic by lovely @packslight @arabianadventures – #ad #dubai #visitdubai #arabianadventures #desert #dubaidesert #desertsafari #adventures #heat #sandboarding #funinthedesert #mydubai #bloggergirl #arzotravels #tb #throwback #bucketlist
47. Visit Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Visit Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, one of the biggest indoor aquariums in the world – located in Dubai Mall. You can see a part of it for free when strolling at the ground floor of the biggest mall in the world – if you want to see more, get a ticket and discover he marine life.
48. Dubai Garden Glow
A perfect Instagram location is the Dubai Garden Glow – a garden with beautifully arranged lights. It is not a place to spend hours at but if you have some free time in the evening go and visit this place in Dubai.
49. The Frame
If you like to see Dubai from above then head to Dubai Frame. This cool golden frame opened in January 2018 and you get amazing view from the skyline of Dubai but you can also walk on the glass floor and see 100 meters down.
If you visit after sunset is it beautifully illuminated but for better pictures I recommend visiting at day time.
50. City Walk
There are so many new areas in Dubai that you might not be able to visit all, but add City Walk to your itinerary. Whether you visit with kids (they surely will love it wit all the activities they offer for younger tourists) or as an adult.
It is an interesting place to stroll along – especially in the evening when all the stores and places get illuminated and you have a lovely view of Burj Khalifa.
You will even find some street art there and you have plenty of options to dine here, too.
Enjoy your time in Dubai.
…The end 🙂 Though I could probably add many more things, I stick to the 50 great things to do in Dubai.
Hope, this list inspired you and you´ll have found great ideas what to do when in Dubai.
Where to Stay in Dubai?
Ready to visit Dubai? Then book your hotel but make sure to get the best hotel in Dubai rates by clicking here.
Here are some of my favorite picks for your stay in Dubai:
Luxury Hotels in Dubai
5* Atlantis – The Palm is my favorite choice for families, and people who like to relax at the hotel most of the time. It was the only time I did not leave a hotel property for 48 hours as there was so much to see and so…and so many options to use chill and eat.
5* Grosvenor House – The Grosvenor has become one of my favorite hotels (with the most beautiful lobby restrooms 🙂 It is one of the classiest places and since it is located in Dubai Marina it is perfect for those who like busy areas – perfect for business and younger guests that want to be in a fun location.
5* Anantara – The Palm – This beautiful welcomes the guests in a traditional Thai atmosphere – the place is quiet and the beach is beautiful. Though the hotel is luxury the maximum luxury can be enjoyed in a overwater bungalow or private villa.
5* Intercontinental Dubai Marina – This stylish and modern hotel is perfect for people who like to explore Marina – the staff was one of the friendliest and the location makes the place almost perfect (just the beach access is missing).
5* Armani Hotel – Though I have not stayed at this hotel, this hotel looks pretty perfect to me – extremely elegant and the proximity to Burj Khalifa makes it one of the best hotels in Dubai.
Mid-Range Hotels in Dubai
4* Four Points by Sheraton Downtown Dubai – When I visited Dubai for the very first time I stayed at this hotel and was positively surprised by the high standard of hotels in Dubai. It is a beautiful hotel located in Downtown.
Budget Hotels in Dubai
3* Ibis Al Barsha – a great budget hotel close to Dubai Marina. Simple but sufficient if you do not expect much.
Airbnb in Dubai
Airbnb is becoming more and more popular, so if you like to check out Airbnb accommodations you can use this link and as a first-time use you can save $$$ on your first Airbnb booking.
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