HOW TO FIND THE BEST VIEWS IN DUBAI AND SEE IT FROM ABOVE
Given the many skyscrapers (and rooftop bars) in Dubai, it is not difficult to see Dubai from above. Actually, seeing this super city from above is an amazing way to fall in love with the city. And while those rooftop bars offer indeed scenic views, here are some other ways to see Dubai from above.
At the Top – Burj Khalifa
The classic! Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, is not only a popular site to photograph, but is also a popular place to take pictures from and offers perfect views from above.
The view from level 124+125 (456 meters high) or level 148 (555 meters high) is the most iconic in Dubai, and you´ll get wonderful views of the city.
You will see how much construction work is still going on, you´ll get to see the desert (which is very close to the city center), but you´ll also have some stunning views of Dubai Fountain.
Overlooking Dubai this way is indeed a unique experience. Unfortunately, you won’t be the only one who thinks that visiting the Top of Burj Khalifa is a good idea – it is quite busy at most time of the day, so booking tickets in advance can be quite helpful.
Ticket prices depend on the time of the visit – its just a few € difference in ticket prices but if you don’t want to stand in line and also have access to level 148, you have to pay a few more extra €.
The building will not be the highest building for long – a new tower is going to break the record but for now, book yourself tickets for Burj Khalifa if you want to experience the taller building in the world.
One of Dubai´s newest attractions is the golden Frame, located close to Zabeel Park.
It just opened in January of 2018, and this frame allows you to overlook the city and have great views of Burj Khalifa.
But you also have a unique view if you walk the glass floor – looking 100 meters down while casually strolling along.
This place is as nice to visit at night as during the day, and the entrance fee of about 12€ is worth it.
Actually, the views from here are almost better than from Burj Khalifa – because you can see the tallest building. Also, it is a great alternative if you are on a budget or just want to have some adrenaline rush when walking on the glass and look down.
While 15 minutes seem extremely short, it is enough to get some of the best views of Dubai.
Flying over the beaches, the Palm, Burj al Arab, and Burj Khalifa, a helicopter ride gives you the chance to see all the iconic places of Dubai. You can book longer helicopter flights and even get to Abu Dhabi by helicopter – probably the fanciest way to get around in Dubai.
The newest attraction in March of 2018 opened at JBR Walk. This fun Flying Cup definitely offers great views of JBR – The Walk and the Beach.
You do not even need a drone to get amazing shots of the pristine waters of the Persian Gulf. Whether you do it by yourself or in a group, it is something different and, by Dubai standards, quite affordable (for about 20€, you can buy your ticket at the counter just in front of it).
You get 40 meters above the ground and the capsule rotates, so you have a panoramic view.Bring your camera to take these shots, and if you are feeling brave, get a drink and enjoy it up there while your feet are dangling in the air.
You do not have to be scared though – you are secured by a belt. The experience lasts about 10 minutes, and you can even book the whole capsule and have your birthday celebration up in the sky. If you travel to Dubai with kids, you can either take them with your or let them enjoy JBR which is one of the best places to visit in Dubai.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
One of the most beautiful rides you can take is a hot air balloon ride.
A balloon ride above Dubai´s desert is gorgeous and unique – seeing the sun rise in the desert (yes, it means waking up very early) while passing sand dunes is a very special way to experience Dubai.
While there is no guarantee how high you will soar above the ground (as it depends on the weather conditions), it is a fun thing to do and one of the best views you will have from above. Duration: about 40 minutes but the whole trips takes a few hours including hotel pick-up etc. So if you have a few days in Dubai, add it to your itinerary.
Dinner in the Sky
The concept of having dinner in the sky (and we are not talking about plane flights), has arrived in Dubai as well.
Head to Dubai Marina and have a fun dinner (or lunch or afternoon tea) experience. There are some similarities to the Flying Cup, but in this case, you get up even higher (about 50 meters) and have a different view.
You´ll overlook Dubai Marina, Zero Gravity – the hip beach club in Marina, and have views of the beach! Hold your cutlery and especially your camera tight, so you do not see it falling 50 meters down, as there is no ground under your feet.
Oh, I should, of course, mention that food and drink are included (prices depend on the dining option, but the activities start from about 120€ for the afternoon tea, which includes sandwiches and snacks and some non-alcoholic drinks). Click here to read my review “Dinner in the Sky”
Something for the bucket list (even mine) is to see Dubai´s attractions from a seaplane.
The trip starts from the water and you´ll get to see Burj Khalifa and Palm Jumeirah before landing back in the Persian Gulf.
Each of the passengers has a window to look out from, which gives you perfect views of the Dubai skyline. Though the views from a seaplane are supposed to be amazing I, myself still have to experience it, but as I have heard positive reviews, I have added it here for you.
For the very brave ones, a unique way to overlook Dubai is from a jump from the plane.
At 120 miles per hour, you fall freely, and while you probably will not be able to enjoy the view at the beginning, you might do so once you are more relaxed and soaring rather than falling.
I am not that brave – are you? Apparently, the “crown prince” of Dubai is a fan of skydiving so you might even meet him up in the sky. Though chances are low, you can still enjoy incredible views that not many others do experience.
Whether you decide to go on a tandem skydive or do it solo, skydiving allows you to see Dubai in a way only few have – so just do it (easy said as I would not, but maybe you are braver than me :).
So, if you want to enjoy a drink while having great views, here are some rooftop bars that have some of the best views in Dubai (though I have not been t all myself, these are known to be the best bars that come with a view).
Level 43 Sky Lounge at Four Points by Sheraton
For 360-degree views of the city, head to this rooftop bar which is located 155 meters above ground.
Tomo at Raffles Hotel
This rooftop bar and Japanese restaurant is located at the 17th floor of Raffles Hotel in the older part of Dubai so you can enjoy the views of the “new” skyline (which includes Burj Khalifa).
Shades at Address Dubai Marina
For beautiful views of Dubai Marina, head to this rooftop bar. It is open at day time, too and was a perfect choice for my lunch. But the views were even better than the food. I did not use the infinity pool there – but you can buy a day pass and enjoy these views while relaxing in the water.
There are some more amazing viewpoints in Dubai – many of the skyscrapers offers stunning views of the city and also Burj Khalifa. However, the above mentioned places are pretty great if you are looking for the ultimate, the best views in Dubai because each offer quite a unique experience.
Dubai is a fun city but to really understand the city, you have to see it from above – and if you pick a few of the places/activities mentioned in my post, you will get to see Dubai from its best side.
Planning your 1-day Dubai itinerary? Whether you spend one day in Dubai as a stopover or as a day trip from Abu Dhabi etc. this post is about how to spend your time in Dubai.
As a regular Dubai visitor, I know how much the city has to offer – I never tire of it and often revisit old places, but also discover something new each time I visit the city.
And when people ask me about what to do in Dubai in 1 day, I struggle because I could name tons of place. However, I sat down and narrowed it down, so you have a 1-day itinerary for Dubai that will ease your headache of planning.
Yes, it is busy day, but I want to make sure you get to see different places and don’t miss out on too much – so you can make the best of your 1 day in Dubai.
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TRAVEL TIPS FOR ONE DAY IN DUBAI
Anyhow, Dubai has two airports, and most likely you will fly into Dubai International Airport (DXB International). From there, it takes about 10-20 minutes drive (taxi) to get to the old town of Dubai and about 20-30 minutes to get to Burj Khalifa. Warning: There might be a lot of traffic and it might take longer.
Abu Dhabi – Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the second biggest airport in the United Arab Emirates and it takes about an hour drive to get to Dubai (about 50-60€ taxi fare, public transportation from the airport to Dubai is not really great.
How to Get Around in Dubai in One Day
I highly suggest not renting a car but only use public transportation and taxi/Ubers when needed.
Where to Stay for One Day in Dubai
Accommodation in Dubai is pricey but if you stay in Dubai for one night only, I suggest staying in Dubai Downtown so you are close to the main attractions mentioned in this 1-day itinerary.
You can check out my full Dubai accommodation guide to find the perfect place for your stay here.
WHAT TO SEE IN ONE DAY IN DUBAI
Okay, with only one day in Dubai, there is not much time to relax and to waste time – so let’s get started straight away with the main places to visit in 1 day.
Around 9 am
In the morning, start in Old Dubai – if you are up and out at 9 am, you are actually doing quite well because most people in Dubai start the day rather late and you can seize your one day in Dubai to the fullest.
The Gold and Spice Souks are fun places to visit, and even with only 1 day in Dubai, it is a must-see.
So, if you arrive at the Gold and Spice Souk around 9 am, there will not be many other tourists – and you can enjoy the calm (which you will not experience often in Dubai).
Most shops might not be open yet – they open around 10 am – but at least it is not overly busy yet. If you want to wait for all the shops to open, stroll Dubai Creek – I love getting here early and watching the people getting ready for the day before checking out the shops myself.
While most shop owners are foreigners (Afghan, Indian, and Pakistanis), it is still somehow authentic.
This is the place to buy souvenirs, affordable clothes, or spices. They are much cheaper here. Haggling with the shop owners can be fun and it feels more authentic than shopping in the malls and one of my favorite places to visit in one day in Dubai.
And if you want to buy gold, then buy it here. Oh, and even if you don’t want to buy gold, it is worth it to see what people could buy. Shops mostly open around 10, but you can stroll the area before that and then explore both souks for an hour or so.
Tip: Just a quick warning – visiting the souks can feel intense. Shop owners approach you a lot and it is not really a relaxing time. If you are a female traveler, especially traveling solo, you might want to dress a bit more moderately, as stares can be intense.
To get from the Gold Souk to the Spice Souk, jump on one of the abras – the water taxis that cost only about 0.25€ and are a fun activity, and you have crossed the creek.
Around 11 am
Then, it is time to get to La Mer. It is quite close to Old Dubai. However, walking there would take too long. Take an Uber, taxi, or use the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing bus (there is no direct bus connection from Old Dubai). You might not find it on many 1-day Dubai itineraries as it is quite new and many itineraries are a bit older but it is a must see if you have 24 hours in Dubai.
There is a lot of beach, cafes, and restaurants, as well as water activities you can enjoy – and you’ll get the first good glance of Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world.
The beach is free and open to the public. The beaches in Dubai are, in general, very clean and safe. There are even free showers (which are quite stylish), and after some time at the beach (and in the water?), it is time for lunch at La Mer.
Around 2 pm
So, this is optional as it depends how fast/slow you travel and how much to want to hurry. You can spend some more time at La Mer, or add another area to your 1-day Dubai itinerary.
If you want to do another activity in 1 day, it is time to continue your journey to Madinat Jumeirah (no direct bus, but if you are on a budget and like to walk, then you can do that and take a bus for the most part).
It takes some travel time (about 30 minutes by car), so if you don’t have a full day in Dubai, I would probably skip this.
Madinat Jumeirah is so pretty and picturesque – it has its own souk and a bunch of restaurants and cafes with a view of Burj al Arab. You could also do an abra ride (abras are small wooden boats) here. They are way more expensive than in Dubai Deira, the Gold and Spice Souk area, but you can ride them for free if you stay in a Jumeirah hotel.
If you have seen Instagrammers on an abra with Burj al Arab in the background, then those pictuures were taken here. While it is picturesque and pretty, I think that 1-3 hours is definitely enough.
Around 4 pm
Then, it is time to visit the tallest building in the world – Burj Khalifa.Before you go to the top, take a few pictures of the iconic building in the daytime.
It saves you time to book your tickets in advance – with one day in Dubai, you don’t want to waste too much time in lines.
If you want to avoid all lines, buy tickets for level 148 (with access to levels 124 and 125). Ticket prices vary slightly depending on the level access (only levels 124 and 125 are cheaper than access to level 148) and also the time of your visit.
If you want to watch the sunset from Burj Khalifa, it is slightly more expensive. And it is not guaranteed that there is a nice sunset to watch. However, you can try to arrange your Burj Khalifa visit in the late afternoon and watch Dubai from above.
It gets busy and it is not really a relaxed atmosphere, but I still love going up, and have done so three times so far.
Don´t underestimate the time it takes to find the entrance for Burj Khalifa – it is located in Dubai Mall. Also, you can book other packages and combine it with a dinner at Burj Club (I loved it).
Get the best rates for your Burj Khalifa tickets here:
Then, it is time to take the lift down and explore Dubai Mall, which is just gigantic – and busy, especially on a Friday (Friday is the Sunday of the Islamic world).
If you are into shopping, you could spend days here – I just love to stroll the mall because it houses several attractions like Dubai Aquarium (tip: unless you are super into aquariums don’t buy a ticket).
You get to see some parts of the aquarium just by being in the mall (the aquarium itself is not worth the money, in my opinion) and the dinosaur skeleton that is on display. Shopping in Dubai is more expensive than in Germany – whether it is luxury items or the clothes in one of my favorite shops (Oasis). Everything is pricier than in Germany.
The time has definitely passed when Dubai was known as a shopping paradise. If you are from the US, it will be even more expensive to you – so, unless you are looking for something specific, I would not necessarily recommend shopping a lot.
Dinner: It is probably time for dinner. Inside Dubai Mall, you will find many restaurants – and in the food hall, some very affordable places that have food from all over the world.
Then there are also other – quite high-class – restaurants inside Dubai Mall. I suggest, however, having dinner at Burj Club (and buy your combined ticket with an entrance ticket to Burj Khalifa) or choose a restaurant outside with a view of Dubai Fountain.
Dubai Fountain / Burj Khalifa LED show
Around 8 pm
After 6 pm, the famous dancing water show goes on and I tell you, it gets crazy there. I mean, really crazy just because it is so crowded.
Whenever the fountain show or Burj Khalifa LED shows take place, this place will be one of the busiest in Dubai. To get a good view, secure yourself a good spot before the shows starts.
Dubai Downtown is a beautiful place to end the evening – this is where you have all the bling-bling you can imagine.
Everything is illuminated, and with the view of Burj Khalifa, ending the day here is one of the best things to do in Dubai in 1 day.
Sometimes, there also the LED show takes place – which is honestly, even more stunning than the water show. However, I have never really figured out when the LED show takes place. Check out the LED show time the day of your arrival to find out when to see it.
Dubai Desert Safari
Around 3 pm
Alternatives: One of my favorite activities in Dubai is a desert safari. If you have only 1 day in Dubai, I am not sure if it is the best activity to do though.
It takes some time (around 4-10 hours) and you will have to schedule all your other activities around it. So, while I do truly love them and recommend them to everyone, it might be tough to squeeze one into this 1-day itinerary.
You have to decide for yourself whether you want to skip on some other activities instead.
With one day in Dubai you can get an idea what the city is about – however, I suggest staying at least 3 days but knowing it is not always possible, I hope you get the most out of your time.
Whether you follow this 1-day Dubai itinerary rigorously or not – the city is surely like no other and though surely not perfect it is a lot of fun. Just thing to keep in mind – Dubai is a conservative city (even after all) and there are a few things to keep in mind when visiting the city – check out my guide on what NOT to do in Dubai so you will stay safe!
One of Dubai´s newest and most popular hotspots has opened in October 2017 – and has become a popular place for people of all ages.
“The wind in your hair. The sand in your toes.” La Mer welcomes you with this lovely quote and it matches.
Dubai has a new, fun hotspot, and if you come to see it, you will find out very quickly why La Mer is a great place to visit.
On my recent trip, I could not help but visit La Mer several times. After all, it has a lot of different things to offer and quickly became one of my favorite spots – and I am not even a beach person! Find out why you should add it to your Dubai itinerary and what to do at La Mer. And I came back: Whenever I am in Dubai, I make sure to hit La Mer several times.
La Mer is a newly created area that just opened and will be one of the hotspots in 2018.
It is perfect if you just want to escape the craziness of Dubai Downtown (while still having a cool view on Burj Khalifa and the Dubai skyline), enjoy some beach time and water sports, go shopping, have a nice lunch/dinner, and if you like to see some really cool street art. Even though the private beaches are sometimes quieter and nicer, this is more fun and one of the best beaches in Dubai.
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How to Get There
La Mer is located in the Jumeirah area. It takes about a 20-minute drive from attractions like Burj Khalifa (without the traffic) or 30 minutes from Burj al-Arab,
I suggest getting there by car or cab. There is are (underground parking available).
City Sightseeing buses stop at Jumeirah Mosque (blue line), which is just around the corner, and from there you can start your journey at La Mer – North Beach.
Buses also get here: RTA Buses 9 and 88
There is a complimentary shuttle bus from a few hotels in Dubai (though I could not figure out if they also offer the return transfer) that anybody can use.
Where to Stay at La Mer
There are several very good hotels and also more budget-friendly places, close to Jumeirah. While the area, in general, is a more expensive one, there are some 3 and 4-star hotels quite close La Mer and for more budget-friendly places you check out our rates in Dubai Deira and Dubai Creek.
Mobile charging boxes (though none of those worked when I was there and the staff could not figure out what the problem was)
Complimentary shuttle buses to only a few hotels in Dubai
Free showers and toilets
Baby changing facilities
Wheelchair accessible (many areas)
What to do in La Mer, Dubai
You can also start your journey at La Mer – South Beach or the North Beach.
Chill at the Beach at La Mer
Before you see the beachfront, you´ll get to see some restaurants, beautiful new walking paths, and a tiny artificial pond. But you do not have to walk for long to discover the coolest section of beach in all of Dubai.
Dubai´s beaches are not bad, but with all the city life, I get the feeling that a day at the beach is underrated.
However, not so at La Mer. This area has the coolest outdoor toilets ever (seriously, they are really stylish) and the absolute, most stylish (I probably have to use this adjective quite often when talking about La Mer) outdoor showers ever, as well as other fun details.
You can rent sun lounges and umbrellas, or even your own cabana, but you can also budget and bring your own towels and umbrellas, and chill under the sun.
While the showers and toilets are free, you can also get the paid version (but even the free toilets are quite clean and okay to use).
You can do all kinds of watersports – obviously, those activities are not free, but probably worth it if you are into water activities. You can rent inflatable pool floats, you can go stand up paddling, flyboarding, boat cruising and more.
The view from the beach is great, at least if you ask me. Surely, a secluded beach is also fantastic, but a day at the beach with such a view is unbeatable for a city girl like me.
Play Around – Kid´s Heaven
Most kids love the beach, but there are more things for children (and adults) to do at La Mer.
Whether you visit a playground with them at La Mer or let them trampoline at Hawa Hawa, this is a kid’s heaven and your children – regardless of their age – will love this area.
Just recently, the Laguna Waterpark opened. Four distinctive zones – Surf, Relax, Slide and Splash – seem like a heaven for those enjoying being in the water (without the fish). Plus, there are also a few rides, including a children’s zone.
There are also a few waterslides that are totally unique in the United Arab Emirates. Also, tickets for this water park are much cheaper than tickets for the other two main waterparks.
While many restaurants and cafes are open already, there are still many that are not. However, you will definitely find something that satisfies your cravings.
While there is not really any budget food, you can find more affordable restaurants, as well as nicer and finer dining options. The restaurants are numerous and pretty stylish (here we have that word again).
There are healthy eating options, as well as hearty ones, and a lot of choices for dessert.
I just loved the food/cuisine choices and the pretty interiors that made me want to stay in the restaurants forever. From Greek to Arabic, from Italian to Turkish food – you will have a hard time deciding on the perfect restaurant because of its numerous choices.
Shopping at La Mer
While I like (or better used to liked) shopping in Germany, I do not shop in Dubai. It is more expensive and I would probably prefer a mall to the beachfront for shopping.
However, shopping addicts will find retail stores here to their heart´s content like Sephora. On a winter day (so probably from November to March) it is probably more fun to shop here than in a mall.
Once the area is further established, I am sure that there will be even more shops open.
Check out Street Art / Architecture at La Mer
In a city that is, normally, all about glitter and gold, skyscrapers and modernity, La Mer is refreshingly different.
I am not sure how to label this kind of style – but this retro, New Yorkian, fun style is so pretty and beautiful that it creates a perfect contrast to the skyline of Dubai, which you can see in the background.
The street art is awesome; not only the “habibi” graffiti, but each of the images is fun, friendly, and interesting.
The buildings and different elements are so pretty, and this whole retro style has been implemented perfectly. While I do love modernity, I am head over heels for this area and style.
It shows a different side of Dubai and, okay, it might seem out of place to some, but I found it refreshing and interesting.
If you visit Dubai anytime soon and skip La Mer, you will have definitely missed out.
Are you planning a family vacation and wondering about the best things to do in Dubai with children? Holidays in Dubai with kids might seem like a crazy idea at first – but actually, it is not a bad place to visit with your family.
Dubai has become a very popular tourist destination and while when you think of Dubai you probably only think about the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, or the most expensive hotel in the world, Burj Al Arab, you should know that it is also a great destination for families.
The more often I visit Dubai, the more often I realize how great it is for kids and how much there is to do – the options seem endless, so I will focus on the best things for kids – from babies to teenagers. Though I do not have kids myself, I visited Dubai with my two nephews and also, I teach kids between 10-18 years, so I think, I have a good feeling for what children enjoy.
So, if you are planning to visit Dubai as a family, you have definitely come to the right place to find out about the best things to do in Dubai with kids.
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TRAVEL TIPS FOR DUBAI WITH CHILDREN
Before I tell you about the most fun things to do in Dubai with kids, here are some pre-travel tips.
Dubai is a great place to visit between October and April. You can also visit in September or May, but for children especially it might become a little too hot and a few activities may not be available, so Dubai in winter is the best idea.
In general, people in Dubai or in the Middle East, are very child-friendly so I’m sure your kids will love it. Read on to find out what to do in Dubai with kids.
How to Get Around With Children in Dubai
Getting around is actually not expensive. Whether you pick a taxi or public transportation – prices are moderate. Your kids, especially the younger ones might enjoy metro rides more than taxi rides (at least my nephews do). If you plan on using the metro more often buy get a NOL card at the metro station. This smart card helps you saving even more.
However, metros are often very crowded so my tip (especially with kids) avoid rush hour and try to get a window seat – kids will love that.
Taxis are roughly about 0,5€ per kilometer (but there is a minimum fare) and if you are a family of four, a tax might even come cheaper. Being stuck in traffic is a big problem though (DUbai´s road are actually always busy).
Rent a car: Renting a car is an option but personally, not my top tip when you are with kids. While you can store a lot of things in the car, you would have to rent child seats etc. separately and other means of transport might be the better option. You can check out prices for renting a car in Dubai here.
Sightseeing buses are probably the best way of transportation – fun, safe and several attractions are included in the tickets.
In general, I recommend staying at the beachfront. Whether you opt for Jumeirah or JBR- The Walk. The hotels in Dubai tend to be very child-friendly – if you don’t book a hotel at the beach, I suggest booking a hotel with a pool (many hotels have an outdoor pool in Dubai).
Dubai can be really sunny – so make sure to bring suncream, hats etc with you. If you are a female traveler, then you should check out the dress code for females in Dubai.
Booking tours in Dubai: Kids under two years almost never have to pay for any attraction, sometimes kids under 4 years have free entry (e.g. for Burj Khalifa), so it really depends on the activity and the age of the kids. When booking tours, I mostly use GetYourGuide – especially with kids this is the best option because the cancellation policy is good.
Some of the mentioned activities are free, some are paid activities. If you are on a budget (Dubai is not cheap), then read my tips on how to save money in Dubai.
Dubai is home to some fantastic fine dining restaurants – but there are also many different restaurants and cafes that have more kid-friendly dishes. So, food will not be a problem when traveling to Dubai with your families (the malls probably have the biggest variety of cuisines – for each budget).
Dubai is NOT stroller-friendly. The more modern areas are better but if you plan to just stroll – what I normally do, even with my nephews, you might see that not every place is pedestrian-friendly let alone stroller-friendly. However, most of the places mentioned below can be visited even with a stroller.
FUN FAMILY ACTIVITIES IN DUBAI WITH CHILDREN
Enough general tips, here are the best activities for Dubai with children.
Visit the Desert with Kids
Kids activities in Dubai don’t just have to be fun for them, they can be fun for you too.
I visited the desert several times and each time I somehow was accompanied by kids (not my own but strangers sitting in a car with me).
They always enjoyed whatever we decided to do, whether it was taking advantage of the variety of desert safaris, trying sand boarding, camel riding or dune bashing. However, children under the age of 5 years are normally not allowed to participate in the tour.
So, if you are traveling to Dubai with younger kids, this might not be the best thing to do with your family.
The dune bashing would probably even make my top ten things to do in Dubai with children and though it is probably best not to take very small children, there are so many other things to enjoy there that they are sure to love anything they do.
Prices depend on the exact tour and also on the age of the participants (one car can normally seat up to seven people, so even medium-sized and biggish-families can sit in one car together).
La Mer is a new area that was just created a while ago and just opened about two years ago.
La Mer has something for everyone and so it does not surprise it has become a hot spot for locals and tourists alike.
Spend the day at the free beach (cabanas and umbrellas for a fee) and enjoy the pristine water while enjoying great views of Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) and the Dubai skyline.
The kids will love this area of Dubai and there are plenty of activities to do for kids of all ages.
Watersports, restaurants, street art, and so on – this is the best place to visit with kids and it is easy to spend a full day there without getting bored at all. One of those perfect “family things to do in Dubai” – none of your children will dislike the place and probably none of the grown-up neither).
Entry is free, if you bring your own water toys and snacks it can be even a cheap activity for the family in Dubai. The waterpark and some activities like, Haha Haha Bouncing charge money.
Apart from skiing, people can also actually ice skate in Dubai and this is always a thing that my students and all kinds of kids love and enjoy so I’m sure your kids will as well.
It is located in Dubai Mall, so if you do not have to supervise your kids. If you prefer not skating yourself you can head to the shops or numerous cafe/restaurants there. Find out more about prices.
Miracle Garden is a spectacular paradise made of huge floral sculptures.
It’s pretty magical for both adults and children – so it’s one of the best Dubai attractions for families. Miracle garden will definitely fascinate your children and give them lots of lovely memories to take home.
Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the giant teddy bear and the adorable mushroom houses!
Prices: The garden is located a bit further (so perfect to combine with a trip to Global Village, RTA bus No. 105 will take you there). Entry for adults is about 12€, kids aged between 3-12years pay about 10€ and kids under 2 years don’t have to pay).
Global Village is one of the best places to visit in Dubai for kids, because this huge theme park is open in the winter months for a very small entry fee. It is perfect to combine with a trip to Miracle Garden.
It tries to bring lots of different cultures together and there are also lots of different roller coasters which your kids can ride for an additional fee.
Prices: Entrance fee about 5€, each ride costs extra.
One of the best things to do in Dubai with kids is a boat tour.
A boat tour will definitely be fun for the kids as well as the adults (unless they get seasick).
So, if you take a dhow cruise along the creek they will have a great time and if anything, kids normally enjoy it the most! For the older kids, you can book a speedboat tour so they can enjoy some thrilling activities and those children who like it calmer you can book a dhow cruise or just a Marina or Palm Cruise.
Prices depend on the tour. Of course, you can book the most luxurious boat cruise, but if you have to watch your budget more closely (like most of us) you can do a dhow boat cruise (traditional wooden boats) which are not that expensive.
Dubai Fountain is located at Dubai Mall and several times a day (after 6 pm, on Fridays also at 1pm and 2 pm) there is a water dance which includes music so kids normally love it as much as adults do. Check out times here.
It’s best to either visit in the morning or after six o’clock so you can enjoy a spectacular water show.
The fountain show is free to watch – you can get on the platform which you have to pay for or you can get on a little boat to get close to the fountain. However, this is probably one of the best free things to do in Dubai with kids.
Family Go-Kart Bicycles
One of the great things to do in Dubai with children is to hop on a family go-kart bicycle and explore it by these fun bikes.
They can be rented at many places, but especially at Dubai Marina, you will see kids driving them (you do not have to get a family go-kart, you can also get single ones).
If you stroll along the Marina you will notice some little go-kart/bicycle hybrids where kids and adults can just hop on and race through on the little karts together.
Personally, this is not my top recommendation for a visit to Dubai with very small kids – though it will definitely be something that the older ones (six and over) will enjoy.
Be warned: Strollers are not allowed. So, this means you might have to carry your 1 year old baby (or so) for quite a long time. Looking back, bringing an active one year old was probably not the best idea as we did. However, the 4-year old boy loved the views.
If you get a ticket for level 124 and 125 but don’t get it fast access then you will have to stand in line. With kids, normally, you can skip the line and have the fast track option to get up there.
I’m sure the kids will be amazed by the view from the tallest building in the world and thus, I have added it as one of the best things to do in Dubai with children.
Click here for my detailed guide on how to enjoy the view from the top of Burj Khalifa (including ticket prices, the best choices for you and more),
If you’re looking for more family things to do in Dubai why not try one of its famous aquariums, the Lost Chambers Aquarium in Atlantis (The Palm) and Dubai Aquarium which is located inside Dubai Mall.
You can see some of the Dubai Aquarium for free but if you are with kids they will probably want to go inside and have an amazing time at the Dubai Aquarium.
There is also an underwater zoo which is included in the basic ticket, so if your kids want to see some underwater animals this is the place to go.
P.S. I visited twice myself and I know, it is a very popular Instagram spot in Dubai – but I do not think it would be worth the entry fee. The entrance fee is quite high – but I visited both time (and once with my nephews) because I had my Hop-on and hop-ooff ticket and the entrance fee was included.
People under 105 cm are not allowed to get on it, but those who are not afraid of heights will enjoy this activity which is the most fun to be done with a few people.
My both nephews LOVED JBR and kids and teenagers will love the funny and cute street art that you can find along JBR walk and since it is located directly by the beach it is another fun thing to do there so you can combine a day at the beach with checking out street art.
Prices: The beach access is free and many activities don’t cost anything but some do, so bring along some change.
Another one of the fun things to do in Dubai with kids is to take a trip around the souks.
The souks either in Bur Dubai or Deira are little markets with lots of little shops and the owners are very nice so if your kids like to dress up and try out Arabian clothes they can do it for free.
Very small kids might be overwhelmed but not enjoy it as much, but especially teenage girls will find some affordable fun clothes and souvenirs to buy. While it might be too busy for the little ones, older kids will enjoy experiencing the different flavors, or enjoy sampling Arabic snacks
Of all of the things to do with children in Dubai, I bet you weren’t expecting this one! You may not know it but Dubai is also home to a ski hall so if the heat is getting the better of you or if you want to do something really crazy, you could hit the slopes and spend a day at the ski hall.
It is located in the Mall of Emirates and if your kids do not need supervision you can leave them there and just enjoy some time in the air-conditioned mall.
Click here to find out about prices for skiing in Dubai
IMG World of Adventure
IMG World of Adventure has recently opened and it is perfect for kids. It is one of the newest theme parks and they have loads of different thrill rides to enjoy. You can spend a whole day there and it’s especially great for younger kids. It surely is one of the top Dubai attractions for families who enjoy theme parks.
Click here to find the best rates for your day at the theme park
Yes, kids often don’t like shopping malls, but there is one shopping district called City Walk which is extremely kid-friendly in Dubai and has areas, where they can play and have a great time.
Younger kids will love the little sightseeing bus and stuffed animals which they can “drive” and there is a fun laser show in the evening that is loved by the kids (and adults like me, probably less popular amongst the teenagers but some might also like it as it includes some water elements, too).
If your kids are older they will love the illuminated walkways in the evening (evenings start early in Dubai, so depending on the season it can start between 5-7 pm).
Strolling the area and watching some shows are free, other activities vary heavily on the price.
A great idea for places for kids in Dubai is KidZania.
This is a place that I haven’t checked out myself, but it is one of the kid’s attractions in Dubai Mall where there is a mini town where kids can play grown up, playing doctors and firemen or pilots. They get to run their own little town there which is very cute and lots of fun for them.
Dubai has some amazing water parks which surely are perfect for children of all ages.
I have visited the Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis and even as an adult, I had a great time there and I am sure that if your kids like water, fun, and adventure then they will love a water park.
If you ar staying at one of the Jumeirah hotels, then you will have complimentary access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark next to Burj al Arab (updated: I have just visited it and think both are fun, though I probably enjoyed the Aquaventure in Atlantis a bit more).
If you are a guest of one of the Jumeirah hotels you will have free access to the Wild Wadi Park, and as a guest of the Atlantis, you will have free access to the Aquaventure.
I definitely recommend visiting the Aquaventure water Park and would plan in a whole day for it.
Click here to find out about the rates for the different waterparks in Dubai:
My little nephew is the biggest fan of jumping and if it was up to him he would love to spend all day at a place where he has trampolines as he can never get enough!
There is one place called Bounce Dubai with hundreds of interconnected trampolines which is another great place to visit in Dubai with kids.
It is not very close to other main attractions – like Burj Khalifa – but you could probably combine it with a trip to Mall of Emirates.
Ok, this is probably not as popular with older kids but for smaller ones 4-year old nephew, it can be one of the most fun things to do in Dubai with kids. He just loves to ride the tram or metro in Germany and definitely loved the metro in Dubai.
In Dubai the metro is over-ground so they get to see a lot – if you take the red metro line your kids can admire the Burj Khalifa and many other builds from the train. The only downside is that it is busy and the metro get crowded often.
So, avoid busy times to make sure your kids have a great view and get a seat.
It is also fast, modern and clean so it really is a great thing to do with kids in Dubai and the stations look like little space shuttles-
Of all of the Dubai children’s attractions, this one is always a hit!
Kids love theme parks and Legoland is probably one of the most popular children activities in Dubai so you should definitely plan a visit! Find out more about prices by by clicking here.
Dubai has some very nice beaches and when it’s hot it’s one of the best places for kids in Dubai.
Some of the beaches are free to the public so anyone can visit, even if your hotel doesn’t have a beach.
As mentioned, JBR and La Mer have some nice beaches, but if you prefer a place where the kids are not distracted by activities that cost money head to the Kite Beach (Jumeirah beach) where it is really only about the beach.
The view of the stunning Burj al Arab might be less popular by the kids (though older ones will love the interest architecture) but this view is popular with the parents.
This includes Kite Beach so why not head there and spend a day in the water.
If you are at one of the luxury hotels at Jumeirah Beach or The Palm you will normally have hotel beaches which are most likely even quieter and stunningly beautiful. But believe me, even the public beaches, JBR Walk and Jumeirah Beach are lovely places to visit in Dubai with kids.
CONCLUSION: FAMILY VACATION IN DUBAI WITH KIDS
Dubai with children is actually a lot of fun – as you can see, Dubai is not only for adults who like to go shopping and enjoy nice dinners. There are many things to do in Dubai with kids – it is also fun because there are so many fun activities for families and people of all ages and a family trip surely isn’t a bad idea! Read about 50 fun things to do in Dubai (if you need some more travel inspiration).
Wondering about what to pack for Dubai? Well, here is your complete Dubai packing list for your trip to this exciting city!
Dubai is an interesting destination – not only as a layover destination. It has nice beaches, interesting indoor places (well, a lot of malls), gorgeous hotels, and much more to explore. Dubai is quite westernized (read my post about What to Wear in Dubai as a Woman) and you can wear most of the things you wear in western countries as well.
And while you can buy everything you will need in Dubai yourself I have noticed that Dubai is quite expensive. So I normally do my shopping in Germany and buy everything I need to avoid unnecessary shopping in Dubai – I definitely recommend the same to you.
So I have listed all items that are essential to me (and you) and you´ll find a packing list with things you will need in Dubai:
It can get really, really, really hot in Dubai. Especially in summer – but even winter in Dubai is sometimes warmer than summers in Germany…. So my main advice is to wear bright, and light clothes mostly made of cotton. It can get chilly in the evenings (at least in winter), so some warmer jackets should be on your list. But before I say too much, better just check my list :).
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links – this means, I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service via may link (at no extra cost to you). More about it here.
WHAT TO TAKE TO DUBAI
Let´s start with the luggage to take for Dubai.
Luggage to Take
How to Choose the Perfect Luggage for Dubai
Suitcase: Though it depends, where exactly and for how long you travel, I recommend taking a good, light, and quality suitcase with you where all your clothes and most of your toiletries fit in. Dubai is not a backpacker´s paradise – though you will find all kind of people and travelers, I hardly (never?) have seen any “obvious” backpacker, so a real suitcase might be the better choice:
Carry-On: I normally always have an extra a carry-on luggage with me, and the good thing about Dubai is that it is totally safe – you never have to worry about your items, even if you choose an expensive piece of luggage.
Laundry bags are great if you travel for longer and don’t want your dirty and clean clothes to mix up.
Packing Cubes: Packing Cubes are the new must-items when it comes to traveling, they are very handy and they also come in cool colors.
Passport Holder, I need a passport when I travel to Dubai (ID is not enough) so I need a bigger wallet and I love the fun colors here.
Beauty Products and Toiletries to Pack to Bring for Dubai
If I travel for 10 days or shorter I take travel sizes toiletries which I refill with my natural and organic beauty products from home (shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, cleaning water and cleansing milk), if I travel for longer I take the original sizes.
More products that I need in Dubai (at any time of the year) – of course, this totally depend on your. Whether you use a lot of make-up or none at all (I don’t use a lot but need some other products to feel great).
Forget all the different small bags for shampoo etc. – get them all packed in a Toiletry Kit
Travel bottles to refill -I refill them with my own organic products that I normally use (I do not use shampoo & conditioner provided by hotels)
Electric Hair Removal Epilator
Face cream – (which I also use as a ]hand cream, so I do not have to take another cream)
Refillable Travel Size Perfume Bottle
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Only use it when traveling: dry shampoo- (check size, and choose the small travel size)
Magnifying make-up mirror
Nail polish remover or Nail polish remover pads
My favorite hairbrush (especially for longer hair) – or if you have less space take a comb
A small cosmetic bag with the following items:
Eyebrow powder (Taming & Shaping Kit For Brows)
Eyeliner – I sometimes use a black eye shadow as an eyeliner
Glass nail file
Here are a few more items which I personally do hardly use but which might be important to you, so I added them here:
hair spray, hand cream, foundation, powder, lipstick, sanitiser
Clothes to Pack for Dubai
Hats: A hat is more than just an accessory in Dubai, so my must-have item for Dubai is a stylish hat.
Sunglasses: Another must-have item in sunny Dubai: Sunglasses. Ray-Ban seems to be always a great choice, but the most important thing is the quality (sunglasses are an investment in healthy eyes)
Handbags: What I really liked in Dubai is that you will see all kind of people with different styles. I did not feel uncomfortable wearing more expensive but also more affordable clothes and handbags. While I often recommend carry-on bags for traveling (because they are more practical and safer) I do not worry much about it in Dubai.
Jewelry: I love jewelry but since I tend to lose stuff, I do not wear much. One exception are watches: I am totally addicted to watches. Though, there are rumors that people do not take time so seriously in the Arabian countries I could not survive without any. I added a Rolex and a Chanel watch – it is Dubai after all, and for more affordable watches click here
Maxi Dresses – Dubai is made to wear maxi dresses, most of the time it is hot (warm) enough and it is also great for more conservative areas in Dubai.
Linen Trousers: Though I love maxi dresses, the best thing to wear when it is hot is probably linen trousers (which you can get here)- combined with a cool tank top and nice flat sandals it can be super chic.
Skirts: You can wear short skirts in most places, some shopping malls actually have dress codes and do not allow too short skirts or shorts (though many do not follow the rules)
Tops: The more the merrier – my rule for hot destinations. I love skirts/trousers which I can wear with tops that are easy to change and are made from cotton are other light materials.
Blouses: Some cute blouses should be on your list (for the evening, some places that do not allow naked arms, or for the winter).
Shorts: Shorts are okay for most places – I love them especially for the beaches.
Cardigans and jackets: It can actually get chilly in Dubai – not only but also after the sun sets. Though this might not be the case in summer, it definitely is for “winter”. So definitely take at least 1 or 2 cardigans or jackets.
Swimming Suits: It is totally fine to wear bikinis in Dubai (topless is not allowed) but I would not necessarily recommend to wearing the smallest bikini.
I looove kaftans and think, it is best to wear from the beach back to the hotel room etc. Luckily, they look super cool these days.Beach Bag: Dubai is super safe and I assume you could leave your expensive designer bag at the beach – however, I recommend one of the cool beach bags, which are light, affordable, and stylish.
If you have a great hotel with a private beach section, you probably do not need a towel. If this is not the case not it should also be on your list. If you do not have any beach towel yet. Click here to get your beach essential.
Do you prefer lying at the beach all day, or do you like to be more active? Though I do not a lot of sports most of the time, beach sports is much more fun. If you agree, bring your beach ball (click here to get yours), or a floating unicorn. Unfortunately, this is not part of the essentials in most hotels yet, so you need to get them yourself.
A reading book / Kindle is also a great idea for a day at the beach.
P.s. If you do not stay at a hotel with a great private beach you can still get access to the wonderful beaches of Dubai. Read more about day passes here.
Things to Pack for Going Out in Dubai
I am not much of a clubber (anymore), but I love dining in beautiful restaurants – Dubai is the place to dress up. You can never be too dressed up – well, that is partly true for Dubai.
So, high heels, dresses is surely the right way to dress in Dubai and thus perfect items to pack.
What to Bring to Dubai – Tech Stuff
I have my laptop with me whenever I fly.
A while ago, I thought my tablet is the most useless item I bought in a while – since I can download from Netflix (and thus watch my shows offline) I have found one good argument bringing my tablet with me whenever I travel
My phone- without doubt one of my most useful and important (travel) item
Camera – Dubai has so many great spots that need to be photographed.
I have to admit, that I still don’t have a kindle, so a “real” book is often an essential
A day at the beach or pool would not be perfect without my iPod
Power Charger- how long does your phone battery last? Not long? neither does mine, so this is an essential
Check if you need an International Travel Power Adapter
WHAT NOT TO PACK FOR DUBAI
Dubai – or the UAE – in general has some pretty strict rules. So, as a normal person (as I am) I would be super careful with what I bring to the country. Make sure, you only bring medication that is allowed and no drugs, porn etc.
I do not think, I have had my bag checked carefully in Dubai – when entering – but you never know and you do not want to risk starting your Dubai trip in a bad way. For a more detailed list with “things not to do in Dubai” check out this post.
Hopefully, this quick packing guide for Dubai has helped you planning your trip and you now know what to pack for Dubai. As a regular visitor, I have written quite a few posts on Dubai. Check out my post about the best tours to take in Dubai or, if you haven’t booked your accommodation yet, find out where to stay.
As a regular Dubai visitor, I am always surprised to find out about new, cool and best places to visit in Dubai – it seems a new Dubai attraction pops up every day.
Seriously, I doubt any other city is growing as fast as Dubai and new places pop up each day. So, here are the best places to visit in Dubai. Popular places as well as some more lesser-known attractions for your Dubai itinerary.
I have listed my favorite areas in Dubai and the best Dubai tourist attractions that you´ll find in each of my favorite neighborhood.
Whether you are on a budget or a luxury traveler, here are tips – for each budget and each age.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.
Here are my favorite places to visit in Dubai – and its best attractions.
It doesn’t really matter if you are into crazy, busy, glittering, extremely high skyscrapers or not – you have to visit Downtown as it is one of the best places to visit in Dubai. No question about it.
Why is Downtown Dubai one of the best places to go? Well, first of all, because it is home to the tallest building in the world… Burj Khalifa!
The skyscraper, standing at 822 meters, is one of the most iconic (but surely not the only) buildings in Dubai. And while you will see it from many areas – it probably doesn’t come as a surprise given its size- you should get a closer look. Because getting up there is one of the best places to visit in Dubai.
Tip: If you want to visit the top of Burj Khalifa, book your tickets in advance.
Get the best rates for your Burj Khalifa tickets here:
If you are not scared of heights – or even if you are – you could get a ticket to get on level 124 and 125 (or level 148) and enjoy the view from Burj Khalifa. This experience is one of the best things to do. However, even if you decide against it for whatever reason, you have to stand in front of the Dubai Fountain to see it up close.
Speaking of the Dubai Fountain. This is another reason why Downtown is the top place to see in Dubai. To find out about the times for the dancing water show (which is totally free to watch, by the way), click here.
The show is free to watch, just a little warning in advance: It will be crowded. Like seriously crowded. Get there on time to get a good spot or book an abra ride so you can watch it without the crowds.
It is also next to the Dubai Mall, the most famous – and probably the biggest – mall in the world.
Whether you are a shopper or not, the mall is more than a compilation of different retail stores and restaurants and so it is a must-see place in Dubai. You´ll find popular Dubai attractions, like the Aquarium, KidZania, or an Ice Rink and it is probably one of craziest places to visit.
But even if you just stroll through the area, you´ll stumble upon some weirdish things, like figures that kids especially will enjoy, or people who like modern art… I, who am neither of those things, was just left… surprised. Nevertheless, I smiled when I stumbled upon those figures here and there, and they might be some kind of secret Dubai tourist attraction…
If you are into opera, ballet, or theater, you will love the Opera in Dubai, which opened in 2016 and is a few minutes walk from Dubai Fountain.
Another reason why it has become one of the main tourist destinations in Dubai is because of the great hotels and restaurants that are found here. Armani Hotel is just one of them.
So, I admit that it took some time for Downtown to grow on me, but eventually, it did, and now I love coming back every time I am in Dubai and always discovering something new.
If you plan your itinerary and aren’t sure how much time to spend here, I recommend planning in one full day to see as much as possible without being too stressed out.
So, want to know about more places to go in Dubai? Here is another must-see place.
Dubai Downtown is a great place to stay in Dubai – you are close to many Dubai attractions.Click here to find out more about accommodation in Dubai Downtown for each budget.
Here are the best places to see in Jumeirah area.
The Burj al-Arab has been, and actually still is, one of the main attractions in Dubai. The most expensive hotel in the world (prices during off-peak seasons like summer or Ramadan are still above 1000€ minimum) opened in 1999 and visitors love photographing the hotel that is shaped like a sail.
Though you cannot easily enter the hotel (if you aren’t an overnight guest, you need a written reservation for a restaurant, etc.), the interest hasn’t waned at all and is one of the main places to see in Dubai.
Popular spots to photograph the hotel are from the beaches nearby, like the Kite Beach/Jumeirah Beach in the Jumeirah area.
The beaches right from the hotel (like Kite Beach) are free to visit.
Though it is open to the public, you don’t have to worry about the beach being crowded or dirty. It is safe, clean, and quite empty by European standards, so the view of Burj al-Arab is not the only reason it is a must-see in Dubai.
However, in my opinion, one of Dubai´s most beautiful places, in all of the United Arab Emirates, in fact, is Madinat Jumeirah. The area to the right of Burj al-Arab is a very lovely souk area with one of the best hotels in Dubai, as well as a canal lined with restaurants and little shops.
You can get a ticket and do an abra ride (a little traditional water taxi), do some shopping at the markets (souks), and enjoy great views of the above mentioned Burj al-Arab.
If you aren’t an overnight guest in one of the Jumeirah hotels, you can still buy a day ticket and enjoy access to the private beach for a day.
P.S. This area is probably one of the most romantic areas in Dubai, so lovebirds will enjoy a nice evening stroll and dinner here.
Wild Wadi is also located in Jumeirah, right next to Burj al-Arab. It is one of the two main water parks – perfect for kids and adults alike.
Click hereto find out more about the best places to stay in Jumeirah.
Another place to visit in Dubai is City Walk. During the day it is a bit sleepy but it is a fun and popular place to see “after dark.” It is the perfect place to visit for shopping fans or families as it offers many activities (free and paid) for children.
You will also find some street art and have interesting views of Burj Khalifa. However, my tip is to come in the evening as it gets prettier when everything is illuminated.
Officially, La Mer is also located in the Jumeirah area. However, I felt free to add it here as an extra place to visit.
La Mer is great, so I totally fell in love when I visited it for the first time. And this love grew when I visited again… and again.
It is different from the rest of the city – more relaxed, fun, and easy-going (we are talking about Dubai-standards), and I am not surprised to see it becoming one of Dubai´s top attractions.
It is also a place where you could spend all day – and I mean from the early morning to the late evening.
While there is still some construction work going on (after all, you will probably never find a place in the city where no construction work is ongoing), lots of the attractions have already opened and the “vintage” look is so unusual that this is quite an unusual Dubai sight.
What I liked the most was the love for details – keep an eye out for the street art and public showers, which were totally cute.
Well, even though La Mer has been one of my favorites, there are more things to see in Dubai – and the following place is quite a classic. Find out about the find out why.
Here are more places to visit in Dubai.
Dubai is not only about modernity. It actually has an old town. Yes, you read right. It has an old town, which actually is pretty charming and totally different from the rest of Dubai.
Dubai Creek actually divides the areas Dubai Deira from Dubai Bur, so some of the places I mention below are actually in Bur, not Deira. However, it is easy to get from one area to the other by hopping on an abra (water taxi) or crossing some bridges.
One of the most popular tourist places in Dubai is the Gold and Spice Souks. You´ll find many little stores along the Creek, on both sides. It is so much fun to hop onto a water taxi and get to the other side (and it only costs about 0.25€), which in itself is a very iconic thing to do in the UAE.
But before it gets confusing, let´s start with the best places to visit in Deira.
Gold and Spice Souks
The Gold and Spice Souks are crazy – seriously! If you think Downtown is crazy, then you will experience a different kind of crazy here. Gold as far as the eye can see – okay, this might be a bit of an exaggeration, but if you want to see what a gigantic necklace made of high-carat gold looks like, then you can find out here.
So, you will find out quickly why it is one of the best tourist places to visit in Dubai.
But, of course, the souk has more than gold. It is a great place to buy spices, souvenirs, very affordable local clothes, rugs, and more.
Western people might feel overwhelmed as you are constantly approached by retailers, but knowing this will happen can help you politely say you are not interested and keep on moving.
Women should probably dress a bit more conservatively, especially in this area, if you want to avoid open stares from the locals.
Dubai Museum is actually on the other side of the Creek – and so it isn’t technically in Deira, but I’m still adding it here.
The museum is a great place to get a well-illustrated overview of local history. So, it is perfect for kids and adults alike.
This actually means that it can be quite busy (yes, it is a must-see), but I still recommend a visit (p.s. tickets are available for less than 1€; if you have a hop-on and hop-off ticket, it is often involved).
Al Bastakiya (also known as the Al Fahadi Historical District) is another lovely area that I recommend visiting. This historic district is easily reached from Dubai Museum (on foot), and while it is a famous place in Dubai, it is not as overrun as many other places. So, if you prefer tight, winding alleys while enjoying a more authentic experience, then this is one of the best tourist attractions in Dubai for you.
Okay, if you are still wondering about “What to see in Dubai?” then check out some more ideas below.
Personally, I would not recommend staying here (though, I have done so myself). Some hotels are great but especially as a solo female traveler it probably is not the best choice. However, you can find a good bargain for luxury hotels in this area and find the best rates for hotels in general. Find the best rates for hotels in Dubai Deira here.
ZABEEL PARK / DUBAI FRAME
Zabeel Park is a really beautiful, lush, green, and neat park that you can visit for a small entry fee of about 1€.
One reason I have added it to the list of the top places to visit in Dubai is easy – it is a great place for families or for anyone who enjoys some tranquility and peace.
But the other reason is that one of the newest attractions, Dubai Frame, is located right next to the park. The golden frame has become a popular sight and looks pretty in the daytime and at night (illuminated in different colors).
But it is not only nice to look at – you can also visit the Frame and enjoy the view from above. The tickets are about 12€ (just buy it at the ticket center) and you get access to the top.
Fifty meters above the ground, you can walk on the glass floor and see Dubai from a different perspective. It has quickly become one of the main places to see in Dubai, so another bucket list item for your trip to the UAE.
Oh, this is another place that should be on your Dubai bucket list: Marina.
Tall buildings, good restaurants, a canal, and nice pathways – these are just a few of the features for this area. In the evening, it is a lovely place for nice strolls. Given the fact that the skyscrapers are illuminated and it gets quite busy, it is a place that you really have to visit.
While not everyone likes the extremely modern look, it somehow represents the modern Dubai like only a few places do. Kids will also love it, as you can rent little buggies so that they can be a bit more active.
You will also find many yachts here, and if you are into boat tours (btw, to my thinking, how can you NOT be into boats?), you can book one (speedboat, dinner cruises, and more) and see Marina while lounging.
Of course, shopping addicts will love it here, too, given that Marina Mall has enough shops to make any serious shopper happy.
But most of all, the amount of luxury hotels is impressive. While this means that it is not the most budget-friendly area, you will find several top-notch hotels that include great pool views, etc. It is a great place to stay in Dubai – the metro station is close by and so is the tram, and you can walk to other top tourist attractions in Dubai quite easily.
Personally, I love staying in Dubai Marina. It isn’t the cheapest place to stay, but I love its vibe and the views from the hotels there. Click here to get the best hotel rates in Dubai Marina.
JBR Walk – The Beach
One of the areas you can reach on foot easily from Marina is JBR Walk (The Beach). It is actually one of the liveliest and busiest areas in Dubai,day or night.
While it is actually in Jumeirah, I created a special space for this important place in Dubai, as it is like a little town all on its own.
The beach area (public and free) is very popular amongst visitors, and while it often seems that some areas are deserted in the daytime (at least if it isn’t winter), this is quite a popular spot all year round.
JBR Walk is not only home to several luxury hotels (you will find some mid-range hotels as well, but generally speaking, it is a more expensive area) and restaurants – a lot of them.
So, you can easily spend all day here: swim, do some activities like water sports or see JBR from above by getting on the Flying Cup, then have lunch, see some street art, let the kids play on the playground, and top your day off with a dinner in one of the restaurants and bars (there is something for every taste).
One of the most prestigious projects in Dubai has probably been the creation of Jumeirah Palm.
This man-made island, in the shape of a palm, is located close to Burj al-Arab (when I speak about proximity, it normally means several kilometers) on one side and JBR Walk (and Marina) on the other.
The Palm is not only famous for its unique shape but also because you will find some of the most famous hotels on the island.
If you ask people about “Dubai´s best places to see,” people will probably mention Atlantis.
One of the most iconic hotels is probably the 5-star Atlantis – The Palm, which is a popular tourist spot because it is also home to attractions like the Lost Chambers and Dubai Aquaventure (and you can do a helicopter tour from here).
Though you will find quite a number of luxury hotels, there is still a lot of construction work going on.
While the pathways are perfect for nice bike rides or walks, I admit it kind of disturbs me to see all those half-finished construction projects on the way to any hotel on the Palm.
However, this is one of the most exclusive areas in all of Dubai. All of the hotels are top-notch, and it is also a luxurious residential area. If you are short on time and don’t stay in one of the hotels, you can plan in a few hours to have a look around – or you can skip it.
If you have a few days in Dubai, then why not get a day pass? Many hotels offer day pass tickets for their beaches and pools – and admittedly, the beaches here are quite nice (even with all the construction you might see from the beach area).
Love! If you visit the desert, you will find another very traditional area of Dubai… the amazing desert.
Sure, it doesn’t have the highest sand dunes ever, and while the desert might not be as iconic as the Sahara, I truly recommend spending some time here.
To keep it short, the desert is one of the top things to visit in Dubai because it is pretty great. Even with 2 days in Dubai it is a must-see place.
If you are in the city and have not planned a trip to the desert… well, you are missing out. The desert is much more than just some sand dunes. This is a great place for adventurous activities, like 4×4 wheel dune bashing, sand boarding, buggy rides, or hot air ballooning.
There is a lot to see in Dubai´s desert – even if it seems to be just about sand dunes.
The best place to have a BBQ? In the desert! It is not only romantic but fun (for people of all ages) and delicious (as an insatiable vegetarian, I feel confident enough to say so). You can book a tour in advance as well. An evening in the desert (alone or with friends/family) would be a great way to end your Dubai trip.
This area probably doesn’t belong with Dubai´s most famous places – at least according to its name – but it is actually one of the best attractions in Dubai (or let’s say, one of the best things to do in Dubai).
If you have done some research on activities in Dubai (here are my tips for the best things to do in Dubai), you will most likely have seen images of Miracle Garden.
And Miracle Garden is as pretty as it looks in the pictures. While it can be crowded (it is only open in winter), it is still worth a visit. As the biggest flower park in the world, it is fun for the whole family.
Fifty million flowers – of all kinds – are displayed in a fun and cool way. If you don’t want to bring your own snacks and drinks, you can buy them from one of the numerous little stalls.
There is also the Butterfly Garden, which I personally haven’t visited (mainly, but not only, because I am scared of butterflies). But butterfly addicts could add this place to their Dubai itinerary and is one of the top places to visit in Dubai.
Close by is Global Village, another Dubai attraction that is open in the winter months and the main draw for families and one of the top places to visit in Dubai with your family.
It is a place for people of all ages. You can ride roller coasters, shop, and dine. And, of course, admire the main attraction: the Global Village. It is a tiny version of the world, with more than 27 pavilions representing 75 different countries.
Tickets are only about 5€ each; food and rides cost extra.
I recommend visiting Miracle Garden first before heading over to spend the rest of the day at Global Village.
IMG World of Adventure.
Also, in Dubailand, you will find another Dubai attraction – IMG World of Adventure.
This giant indoor park is open all year long and is especially fun for kids but also adults will enjoy it.
Click here to find out about prices for IMG World of Adventure – another of the best places to visit in Dubai – especially for the adrenaline junkies.
Okay, these were a few of the best places to visit in Dubai. Most of them are for visitors of all ages, so it is fun regardless of whether you visit as a solo traveler, a couple, with friends, or with your family.
While exploring all of these points of interests in Dubai could take weeks, you can get a good overview of them in a week or so (find my ideal 7-day Dubai itinerary). If you have less time, I hope this guide helps you pick the perfect places to see.
If you are in Dubai and want a unique experience, then consider booking a helicopter tour in Dubai.
Dubai is best seen from above. While the view from the Top of Burj Khalifa is probably the most iconic, it is not the only way to have great views of Dubai.
Actually, one of the best views to have is…from a helicopter!
However, before you book your tour, you should know a few things so that you can enjoy the flight over Dubai to the fullest. While my dream was always to book my first helicopter ride over Manhattan, it was actually Dubai where I took my first flight.
Find out about my tips for booking a tour!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links which mean I might earn a small commission when you buy a product (at no extra cost for you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.
How to Book a Dubai Helicopter Flight
So, here is how to book your help flight in Dubai and more.
Where to Book it
I booked my helicopter tour through GYG – a booking site I often use, along with another called Viator.
I hardly ever book via the homepage of the tour operator, as I feel better knowing that I have one of these two booking sites that can help me if I have any issues with the tour.
You have to choose a tour, and prices depend on the flight length. The minimum flight length is about 12 minutes; other popular routes take 15, 17, 20, or 25 minutes.
The cheapest Dubai helicopter flights are around 150€.
While these routes sound extremely short, you can see quite a bit in that time…but yes, whatever time you opt for, you will probably feel like it is too short anyhow.
I booked via HeliDubai. The shorter the flight, the cheaper the price, as I mentioned, but you can also book the ultimate VIP heli flight, so you do not have to share the helicopter with other passengers.
Here are my experiences with HeliDubai:
HeliDubai is located in the area between Madinat Jumeirah and the Mall of Emirates (one of the most popular malls).
After booking, you will receive a confirmation via email that has detailed (and very complicated) directions and an e-ticket (no need to print it).
How to Get to HeliDubai
I took a taxi from the Mall of Emirates. Getting there by bus seemed a bit complicated and, after reading the directions, I thought it would take forever to find it, so I was in a rush.
If you get there by taxi, just ask the driver to take you to Dubai Police Academy. At the entrance, you will be picked up by HeliDubai and be driven to the starting point, which is just a few meters away.
If you are there way too early, you could use the time to visit the Dubai Police Museum, which is located just next to the Police Academy (and is also free).
City Sightseeing also has a stop at the Police Academy.
Arrival at HeliDubai / Things to know before your flight
You need to be there at least 60 minutes before your flight departure, which is when, as they say, the gate closes.
While I am not sure if that is true, it is definitely pretty boring to wait for almost an hour for your flight to depart. There is no wifi or anything, so take something with you to kill time.
There are lockers for your bags.
After a short safety briefing (where the important security aspects are explained and which takes about 5-10 minutes), you also get weighed as the seating order depends on the weight of the passengers. The helicopter needs to be balanced, so you will not be able to choose your seat, unless you have a private heli to yourself.
This was also the main issue I had with the flight: If you sit in the front seat, you are lucky; the side seats in the back are probably fine, too; but if you have to sit in one of the two middle seats, you can see through the front window, but not so well to the left or right.
I was seated next to the pilot (being not so skinny can pay off, especially if the other passengers are very small).
You can bring your mobile (unless it is a Samsung Galaxy 7) and you can use cameras (no professional lenses though).
Flying over Dubai
If you are lucky and get to sit next to the pilot (as I was), you will have the best views. It seemed like the people in the back enjoyed the tour as well though.
And then it starts, and while I was busy taking pictures with my camera and videos with my phone, I clearly did not seize the moment.
The views of the Palm (when doing a 12-minute ride, you will not get to fly directly over it), Burj al Arab, and especially Burj Khalifa were incredible.
The pilot is there to answer any questions you have, but most likely, you will be busy enjoying these unique views…
A helicopter ride in Dubai is a great way to experience the city from above and make lasting memories.
However, 12 minutes is quite short and while I do not necessarily think that it has to be a 20-minute flight, a 15 or 17-minute ride would probably be best. This way, you can sit back and soak in the views while you also have enough time to take images and videos.
It is definitely a great thing to do and I surely do not regret that I went on that tour.
Dubai Solo Travel: Things to Know When Traveling Alone
So, one of the questions I get asked the most is: Is Dubai Safe for Female Travelers? And since I mostly visit by myself, I also get asked a lot about the best things to do in Dubai solo.
When I started the blog, my intention wasn’t to focus strongly on travels to the United Arab Emirates (or Switzerland) but somehow Dubai has become a main focus on my blog and after many visits and trying out a lot of different activities, I feel confident enough to write about my experiences as a solo female traveler in Dubai and so I am happy to answer your questions in the “Dubai Solo Travel Guide.”
Dubai is, I think, one of the safest places that I can think of and the best place to travel solo as a female.
Find out why I think that Dubai is so safe and about my 10 top tips for things to do in Dubai on your own (whether you are a female or a male traveler).
Dubai Solo Travel: Things to Know and Do
This guide helps you to find out about important security aspects, about the best things to do traveling solo in Dubai and more travel tips for solo (female) travelers.
Security Tips for Tourists in Dubai – Traveling to Dubai as a Woman
Security Aspects in Dubai
The crime rate is extremely low, not only because there are serious punishes for a crime. It seems that the police are capable of doing their jobs efficiently. Though I am not sure by which means it makes people feel safe and so I can say that Dubai is safe for tourists.
I have been told by a person who lives there that even if something gets stolen, they will find it very quickly, and solve the crime. After few day in Dubai, I felt safe enough to leave my bag (unattended) at the table while going to the buffet and getting food. In Germany, it would be unbelievable to do so. I actually get very careless in Dubai because it seriously feels safe. This does not mean that you should be so careless, too :).
Based on a woman´s traveler perspective, the country is totally safe. Although people might think Arab countries might not be the most secure places, I cannot second that for Dubai.
Actually, since alcohol is not drunk that much in public, I felt much more secure at night than in many parts of Western countries where drunk people run around at the weekend and make me feel uncomfortable.
Security at Night: I feel fine strolling along popular places like Dubai Marina or Downtown Dubai by night.
Though there is no strict dress code for women, I feel safer when I do not reveal too much skin. You can wear bikinis and swimwear at the beach, but should reveal your shoulders and knees when in malls (where you have strict dress codes though many tourists don’t stick to them, and wear extremely short skirts and pants. I heard from local, that security might ask you to leave if that is the case. However, this hasn’t happened often and most wear whatever they feel like).
In taxis, I always felt 1000% safe – even in those not “pink taxis which are particularly for women”. But I always make sure, to sit in the back, more precise behind the passenger´s seat.
When I take the metro, I always go to the women department (which is clearly marked).
As a female traveler, I only sometimes felt a little bit uncomfortable. This normally always had some foreign workers involved who were mainly from Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, etc. Especially in places like Dubai Creek/Deira, I did not feel totally comfortable. It has gotten better the more often I went – with appropriate clothes it is pretty fun actually.
However, I never felt unsafe. I heard some women don’t feel comfortable at all in that area, so they refrain from going there. Thus, I dress a bit differently in those areas. If you are unsure about how to dress as a female in Dubai read these recommendations here.
Alcohol as a Woman
While Alcohol is not forbidden for tourists and non-Muslims, I would be very careful. If you have drunk some alcohol and something happens to you (even if it wasn’t your fault) the police might be way stricter and you might be somehow punished.
Accommodation for Female Solo Travelers
Though, I think Dubai is super safe – even at night – I recommend, especially for females to avoid staying in Dubai Deira. It is safe – especially compared to Western standards, but I still recommend to pick another area to stay for solo female travelers – like Dubai Downtown, JBR Walk, or Dubai Marina.
Dubai Deira is fun at daytime but a bit shady after dark – even if it is probably the cheapest area to stay in Dubai (or one of the most affordable) I suggest investing a bit more into accommodation and, if needed, reduce the spending on activities or food.
The only downside is, that accommodation cost for solo travelers is almost as high as if you share a room. So, this is the main reason I dislike traveling alone in Dubai.
Okay, here are now my best tips for things to do in Dubai alone.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI ALONE
Okay, while I have another post which lists my 50 top activities in Dubai, the list is more focused on solo travelers in Dubai – so here are fun things to do in Dubai yourself.
Dubai Downtown Sightseeing
When you travel in Dubai alone, you can be sure to feel safe in Dubai Downtown. This part is crazy – and home to Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world), Dubai Mall (biggest mall in the world) and Dubai Fountain (biggest water fountain show in the world).
There is no shortage of superlatives and it will not be boring to travel alone. There is so much to see that you will probably be too overwhelmed to even realize that you are on your own.
Click here for tickets “At The Top of Burj Khalifa” – a place you can easily visit as a solo traveler or if you are on a budget you can just enjoy the tallest building from a distance, enjoy the water fountain show for free and do window shopping.
It is also one of the best things to do in Dubai alone at night.
Dubai Desert Safari
I looove a desert safari in Dubai. I am actually not sure how many I have done so far – mostly I went solo, once with my cousin. And what I know for sure is that I loved each tour. A desert safari is not only for families or love birds (the BBQ in the desert, which often comes with a safari is indeed extremely romantic) but a top thing to do for ANY traveler to Dubai.
The desert safari is actually one of the best activities to make friends – depending on the kind of safari, you get picked up from your hotel and while there are tons of jeeps (like a caravan) it feels you form a little team with the other ones in your car.
Somehow, no matter if I ended up with families or a group of friends, we stuck together, dinned together and had a great time together. If you prefer to be yourself during your whole Dubai trip you can of course – there will be no pressure or so. to talk to anyone.
But it is a great way to connect with other Dubai travelers and exchange ideas and experiences. There are also morning desert tours, but my tip is to do the evening desert safari – another fun activity to do alone in Dubai at night.
Looking for more tips on what to do in Dubai alone? Here is another place to visit in Dubai alone – the beach!
I am paranoid – unfortunately, I am very serious about it. That is probably why I am not so much into beach holidays – I am always afraid my stuff gets stolen while I am in the water. I am stressed out and not relaxed. In Dubai I don’t have this feeling – just because Dubai is so freakingly safe – I can leave my valuables at the beach and hop into the water.
And I even feel safe enough to turn my back and leave my stuff unattended for a few minutes. All thanks to a low crime rate.
So, if you are in Dubai, and this is what I wanted to tell you with my revelation, you can feel free to hit the beach – even if you are as paranoid as I am. Okay, make sure to somehow be close to your valuables, but no need to hold your stuff close by you.
Best beaches in Dubai: La Mer, Jumeirah Beach (Kite Beach) and the private beaches on Dubai Palm.
Boat and Abra Rides
I can openly admit that I am into boat rides – speedboats, dinner cruises or whatsoever. Just put me on a boat and let me enjoy the city from a different perspective.
Dubai is great for boat tours – as a solo traveler you have the chance to make friends and if you prefer being on your own you can enjoy the beauty of the city while sailing around. It is just 0,25€ for a ride – a fun and cheap thing to do in Dubai alone.
If you prefer to use a more authentic boat – use an abra (a traditional water taxi) which is super, super cheap or book a dhow cruise.
Some females have told me, they disliked strolling the old town of Dubai, Dubai Deira with the gold and spice markets, because people stare. I understand their point – this is a lovely area full of life with many foreign sellers who actually do stare at women (and might even call after you).
I normally really dislike this – however, I tend to dress more conservatively and try to take it easy. I talk to the sales people and just ignore them if it gets too much. If you are aware of this and know how to ignore people, or just keep them at a distance, it is fun to visit – even as a solo traveler. Even as a female solo traveler.
It probably is not a place I would visit in the evening on my own though.
Day Trip to Abu Dhabi
If you are by yourself you can do a guided tour to Abu Dhabi – or just take a taxi. While the latter option is not very environmentally friendly, prices for a taxi ride is not expensive. You pay around 50-70€ for more than 100 km (so 100-140€ in total).
In Abu Dhabi, you can visit the most beautiful building in the world – Grand Zayed Mosque.
If you are looking for things to do in Abu Dhabi in 1 day, check out my quick guide here.
In Dubai Marina, you can admire the skyscrapers – the density of high buildings is crazy.
While it is also nice to walk along at daytime (if it isn’t too hot), it is even more fun in the evening. When the buildings are illuminated, the restaurants get busy and people get here to enjoy their evenings.
I have been here so many times on my own and it makes me so happy to feel safe but it is also easy to get to know people here because it is also popular amongst younger people who enjoy a night out.
Since there are many foreigners from all over the world, families, couples and solo travelers, it is also easy to meet other people and make friends.
Dinner in the Sky
If you want to meet people and like to have dinner with others – then try out a dinner in the sky (or lunch…or high tea).
With about 16 other people you get lifted in a crane up to 50 meters – and have your lunch/dinner in the sky. This way you get to meet others and don’t have to dine by yourself (if you mind that).
Click here to book your “Dinner in the Sky” experience and find out about prices.
JBR – The Walk
JBR – The Walk is another fun place to visit solo in Dubai. There is a beach section, restaurants, bars and shops and whether you like to be alone to meet others – here is the chance to do both.
If you like to see a different side of Dubai, I recommend visiting the Dubai Museum in the old town of the city. For a little entrance fee (about 1€) you can learn a lot about the history and culture of this rapidly growing city.
I think Dubai is one of the most secure places to visit. Of course, there is no freedom of the press in Dubai – so we only learn about things, the government wants us to learn about. So, even if there are incidents we will probably never find out. However, from my own personal experience – as someone who regularly does a solo trip to Dubai – I can say, that I feel safe.
This does not relate only as a female solo traveler, but also for any kind of travelers, tourists, inhabitants, etc. It is not only because of the absence of mugging but also in the aspects of getting hit by men constantly.
The foreign workers I’ve spoken about before, they don’t “hit” or stare at you on you in places like malls or restaurants. They mainly do it in public places and so I think it’s actually the safest place that I’ve found as a female solo traveler. Apart from those few tips for female traveling to Dubai, I have not to take extra precautions.
So, yes Dubai is safe for solo female travelers!
By the way: I have a thing for countries in the Middle East though I have not traveled much in that area, mostly because I do not know whether I could feel safe in the region (Lebanon is very high on my list). If you are also thinking about visiting Lebanon you can find how safe it is to travel to Lebanon.