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Best Things to do in the Summer in Dubai

What to do in Dubai in summer

WHAT TO DO IN DUBAI IN SUMMER + TIPS ON HOW TO SURVIVE

Dubai in summer gets hot – like really, really hot! While I would avoid traveling to Dubai between April and October, some people actually love summer and heat extreme heat.

So, if you are one of those or happen to be there during the period, you need to figure out what to do.

Many activities are not run in summer, and some restaurants are closed, but there are still some great things to do. Here are my top tips for activities in the summer for Dubai.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means 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.

Dubai in summer, Arzo Travels

TRAVEL TIPS FOR THE SUMMER IN DUBAI

Before mentioning the best things to do in the summer, here are some tips on what to pack for a summer vacation in Dubai and some more tips for your trip to Dubai in the summer:

Weather In Summer in Dubai

Dubai only has two seasons – summer and winter. So, basically, this means hot and warm to hottish.

  • Summer starts in the beginning/mid of April and lasts until the end of October.
  • April is hot, and May is even hotter, June gets crazy, July and August are unbearably hot.
  • September gets a bit colder but is still hot, and October is the start of a better time – though it is still hot. As mentioned, it gets really hot during these months.
  • In June, it can get 40°C (104°F) – with no wind and hardly any rain. In July and August, the average temperature is above 40 degrees Celcius.
  • It does cool down after the sun sets, but you can expect around 30°C (86°F) during the night.
  • The ocean is also quite warm – and many consider it too hot to swim.
  • It starts getting cooler in September, but the temperature is still almost at 40 degrees Celcius.
  • It gets better in October. However, some restaurants and places are still closed (like the Miracle Garden) as it is still hot (around 35 degrees Celcius).

More Tips for Surviving Dubai in the Summer Months

  • While I am always up for a good walk and long strolls, the summer months are not great to walk a lot. Dubai´s streets do not offer loads of shadow, and walking is a terrible option to get around (and so is getting around by bike).
  • Unfortunately, taxis are the best way to get around as they have AC, and you do not have to rub shoulders with many others as you have in the metro.
  • However, the metros and the metro stations are quite cold and perfect to cool down if needed.
  • Hotel prices drop in the summer – and you can find great bargains. If you want to experience the amazing hotels in Dubai – then summer is the time to visit (make sure the hotel has at least one pool).
  • Drink water – a lot as being hydrated is one of the most important aspects to staying healthy in the summer months.

What to Pack for a Summer Vacation in Dubai

I recommend buying these things in advance – so you do not waste much time in Dubai buying them. Dubai is normally more expensive than the US or Germany.

  • Sunscreen and more sunscreen
  • Little umbrella – not to protect you from the rain, but from the sun
  • Portable fan
  • Hat
  • SunGlasses
  • Wet Wipes
  • Enough tops

Bright clothes, ideally covering your whole body (no, fewer clothes in summer do not mean less heat; pack airy and bright clothes).

Make sure to drink plenty of water (alcohol in summer is not the best idea) – so you stay healthy!

Where to Stay in the Summer

I highly recommend staying in a hotel with some indoor attractions and some pools – and a nice spa area.

THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI IN THE SUMMER

Okay, after reading all about the heat you might be wondering, “what to do in Dubai in the summer months then?” Here are the best summer activities.

Spend Time in Shopping Malls

While some might roll their eyes, the truth is that the shopping malls are like heaven on a scorching day. Spending time here is one of the best things you can do in Dubai in summer.

Things to do in summer Dubai

The malls are normally very well air-conditioned. So you can finally do all the mall sightseeing that you would not do in nicer weather (feeling that it would be a waste of time that would be better spent outdoors).

In the summer, there are also some good deals. So, you can kill two birds with a stone, so whether you are in Dubai in April, May, June, July, August, September, or October.

Dubai Mall Aquarium from above Arzo Travels

Some of the most popular places are the popular malls – e.g., Dubai Mall, or the Mall of the Emirates.

Go Ice Skating

Skating is a cold and perfect summer activity in Dubai for a hot summer day. Whether you ride the snow bullet (it is an indoor zip line that rushes you along the ice-skating hall, 16 meters in the air), take skating lessons, or meet the penguins, there are worse places to be in the summer.

Ice skating is not just for those living in cold countries, where lakes are frozen, and people can enjoy a day at the ice rink. 

  • You can find the ice skating rink inside Dubai Mall. Check out prices for Dubai Ice Rink here.

Hit the Beach And Do Water Sports

Whenever you can, head to the beach. Not get a tan and burn in the sun, but to cool down – well, kind of cooling down.

Not all water activities will be offered throughout the summer. After all, there are not many tourists and many locals escape the heat, too, and head to places like Switzerland but there are fly-boarding and jet-skiing activities.

While I mentioned before that I do not recommend spending a day at the beach in the summer, it is actually a good idea to rent one of the cabanas, which protects you from the sun (but not from the heat).

Best places in Dubai - La Mer beach

The beaches are quite empty, so you do not have to share them with too many others – make sure to have an umbrella and sunscreen with you.

And do not expect to be cooled down in the water. Consider your time in the water as a whirlpool experience – just without the whirl. It gets up to 35°C (95°F) just in the water, so it is more like a steam bath.

JBR Walk - The Beach Dubai--9

The beach is probably not the best place to visit in late June, July, and August, though (unless you really like heat!).

Relax at the Pool

The good thing about summer in Dubai is… the prices for accommodations drop. As you might be aware, Dubai´s hotel prices are extremely high. Seriously, this is not fun. But summertime means fewer people and way cheaper rates.

Things to do in summer in Dubai

So, you can book a place with a great pool (or better yet, with many great pools) and spend your days by the water.

Ask the service people to bring all available umbrellas to your lounge, so you are protected from the sun, and then enjoy a day at the pool. Here is my full Dubai accommodation guide with the best areas to stay in Dubai.

Do a Speedboat Tour

While I could spend hours on a boat each day, the truth is that the breeze of a normal boat will probably not be enough when you are in Dubai in July or August. I actually think it is one of the best things to do in Dubai at any time of the year.

Where to stay in Dubai for all budgets - Atlantis

For the coolest boat tour experience with a lot of fresh breezes, I recommend a speedboat tour. You won’t feel the heat too much, and you also get to do some sightseeing – so it is actually 2 for 1!

Visit a Water Park

Dubai has some pretty good water parks – namely Aquaventure at Atlantis – The Palm Hotel, and Wild Wadi Water Park, which belongs to the Jumeirah Group and is located just in front of Burj al Arab.

Wild Wali park with kids in Dubai

Both are fun and great places to visit – in summer and winter. The water is chilled so that you will get some refreshing time in the water. There are many slides and different pools so that you will enjoy it even as an adult.

There are cabanas or sunbeds with umbrellas – make sure to bring your suncream and everything your need as items are sold at high prices at the shops there.

Have a Drink at the Ice Lounge

Ice bars are popping up in many parts of the world, and Dubai has gotten its first chill-out ice lounge (actually, it is the only one in the Middle East), named Time Out.

If you are looking for a really, really cool place, then have a drink in this interesting bar. If you do not have thermal clothes with you, don’t worry. You will be provided with some, so you can still enjoy the negative temperatures.

Explore Hotels

Dubai has some of the most amazing hotels in the world. If you seized the chance and booked a luxury hotel for a fraction of what you would have had to pay during the high season, you can experience it firsthand.

Atlantis - The Palm Dubai

However, if you do not book a luxury hotel, you can do hotel sightseeing. The hotels are very well air-conditioned, so there is no sweating – apart from the trip from the taxi to the hotel.

Most of the hotels can be checked out even if you do not stay there – the exception is Burj al Arab, where you need a written reservation confirmation for one of their restaurants or the spa area.

I often go to one of the restaurants for lunch/dinner if I do not stay there overnight, but I like to check out new hotels.

While I use the chance to do some work in the restaurants (blogger stuff), you can stroll along – the top-notch hotels in Dubai are awe-inspiring. 

Go Skiing

One of the best summer activities in Dubai is actually a winter activity.

As mentioned before, you can ice skate, but did you know you can also ski in Dubai? The ski hall is located inside a mall. If it is too hot outside, head to the Mall of Emirates and get a day ticket to spend a day at the air-conditioned ski hall.

You can take skiing lessons, roll down the Giant Ball run, slide down with tube slides – and there is even more to do. There is even a chairlift – so it feels a bit like skiing outdoors.

While I would not do it myself in the winter months in Dubai, this is a nice place to spend time in the summer months in Dubai.

CONCLUSION: BEST DUBAI SUMMER ACTIVITIES

I am not a fan of the heat that comes with visiting Dubai in the summer months. However, for whatever reasons you visit during that time, hopefully, this post has helped you plan your summer trip.

And you now know about the best things to do in Dubai in summer and how to survive it.

Safe Travels, Arzo

DUBAI IN THE WINTER – WHAT TO DO + TIPS

Winter in Dubai, best things to do and see

BEST THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI IN WINTER

Looking for a perfect, warm getaway in the winter? If you are from the northern hemisphere, Dubai is the perfect warm winter destination.

Actually, Dubai in the winter is the best time to visit.

With only two distinct seasons, the winter season is the way to go! Winter in Dubai starts at the end of October and lasts until the beginning of April – so, luckily, there are a few months you can enjoy Dubai (because Dubai in summer is not the best time to visit).

But even during these months, the weather changes, and so do the activities offered – however, overall, the winter months in Dubai are the best!Winter travel guide for Dubai, best things to do and see

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU). MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

DUBAI IN WINTER TRAVEL TIPS

Before talking about the best things to do in Dubai in the winter, you´ll find some travel tips – find out about the weather, what to pack, and more tips for your trip!

Weather in Winter in Dubai

I have visited Dubai in October, November, December, January, February….and March… and April.  And I have a strong opinion on each winter month in Dubai that I will share with you later.

Personally, I liked the end of November until the beginning of February the most.

During the winter season, Dubai has an average daytime temperature of 25°C (77°F). At night, temperatures range from 12°C (54°F) to 15°C (59°F), while it is colder in the desert at around 5°C (41°F).

Separating it into months, it looks like this:

  • October: average max. daytime temperature: 36°C (97°F)
  • November: average max. daytime temperature: 31°C (88°F)
  • December: average max. daytime temperature: 26°C (79°F), average rainfall: 15 mm 
  • January: average max. daytime temperature: 24°C (75°F), average rainfall: 10 mm 
  • February: average max. daytime temperature: 25°C (77°F), average rainfall: 35 mm 
  • March: average max. daytime temperature: 28°C (82°F), the average rainfall is 27 mm 
  • April: average max. daytime temperature: 32°C (90°F), the average rainfall is 8 mm

Let me translate: It can be really hot in October and hottish in November. December is warm, as are January and February. March gets hottish again, and April is hot.

This means that some activities are perfect for December and January, but probably not so good in October/November or March/April. 

But you should also be aware that it can be very foggy in Dubai, especially in December and January. It somehow looks amazing, but sometimes the fog is so strong that you cannot see far – this is especially upsetting if you have planned something unique like a trip to Burj Khalifa.

However, it tends to get better during the day, and it does not happen every day. So, for some special activities, plan to do them later in the day if visiting in late December or early January.

I seriously dislike heat, and October and early November are too hot for me – as are March and April. But of course, some love this hot weather because you can do a few activities that you might not enjoy during the colder months.

Which winter months in Dubai are perfect for what activities?  Well, that is what you will find out below. Here are just a few more tips on how to plan your winter trip to Dubai.

What to Pack for a Trip in Winter in Dubai

While it is warm throughout the year, it can be chilly (-ish) on some days at the end of November, throughout December and January, and at the beginning of February. It gets especially chilly in the evenings. 

So, while sleeveless tops and shorts should be fine for most days of the year, I really recommend having a cardigan or two with you. The sun sets quite early, and it gets coldish at that point, so you will most likely not be comfortable with just a top.

As I often get asked, here is the dress code for women: You do not have to cover your face or hair. You can wear short sleeves, shorts, and skirts in most parts of the city. You can wear a bikini at the beach.

However, you should keep in mind that Dubai is, after all, still conservative, and you should not wear the tiniest bikini you own. I

n malls, you are asked to cover your shoulders and wear shorts/skirts that cover your knees. Many visitors do not do this, though, and it has become common not to do so. However, you are ignoring the dress code in these places and might get kicked out of the mall, etc. I heard from locals that it has become more common to make visitors more aware of the dress code.

That is why I recommend having a scarf with you: during the day to cover the shoulders and in the evening to stay warm. Check out my guide on what to wear in Dubai as a woman.

It does rain for a few days in the summer months, but while the rain can be heavy, it normally does not last all day or for more than a few days. So, it might be good to know about a few things to do in Dubai when it rains, though it is not a big issue in general.

Where to Stay in Dubai in the Winter

Accommodation in Dubai is pricey. I suggest staying in Dubai Downtown, so you are close to the main attractions mentioned here – though it comes with a price tag.

  • Armani Hotel: It is no surprise that this 5-star hotel in Downtown Dubai, just inside Burj Khalifa (it occupies 11 floors of the tallest skyscraper in the world) and Dubai Mall, is synonymous with luxury and pure elegance. Check out rates for Armani Hotel.
  • Carlton Downtown: This 4-star property is also located close to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall – The Financial Centre Metro Station is within walking distance and ideal for those who like to use public transportation. The pool area offers a nice view of Burj Khalifa, and from the 357 guest rooms, you can choose between deluxe rooms all the way up to penthouse suites. Check out rates for Carlton Downtown.
  • Rove Downtown Dubai: This 3-star hotel is located a few kilometers from Burj Khalifa (not far from the international airport). While the hotel is very simple and offers basic amenities, you might be lucky enough to get a room with a view – a view of Burj Khalifa! Find the best for Rove Downtown.
  • You can check out my full Dubai accommodation guide to find the perfect place for your stay here.

I have a detailed Dubai accommodation guide with the best areas and the best hotels for each budget. Check it out here to find the perfect hotel for you.

WHAT TO DO IN WINTER IN DUBAI

Okay, here are some of the top things to do and the best places to visit in winter in Dubai.

Burj Khalifa in Winter

Burj Khalifa is the perfect place to visit at any time of the year – and winter is no exception because, after all, Burj Khalifa holds a couple of records: The tallest building in the world, the highest number of stories in the world, highest outdoor observation deck in the world, and highest occupied floor in the world.

7 days in Dubai - best vintage points

Burj Khalifa stands at 828 meters high and is one of Dubai’s main attractions – and its unique shape makes it stand out. It hardly matters where in Dubai you are – you can often spot it from afar. But being up there is a different experience.

The views from the top are incredible, but getting up is a bit pricey. Ticket prices vary depending on the level of access (levels 124 and 125 only are cheaper than access to level 148) and also the time of your visit.

HOW TO GET TO BURJ KHALIFA: 

  • You have to go to Dubai Mall. There you will see signs that lead you to “At the top of Burj Khalifa.”
  • The ticket center/entrance is located in the Lower Ground Level of Dubai Mall.

OPENING HOURS/  TICKETS:

  • “At the Top of Burj Khalifa” opens around 10 am, and the last admission is at 9 or 10 pm (depending on the day).

Christmas in December

Dubai is an Islamic city (and the United Arab Emirates is an Islamic country). Still, if you visit Dubai in December, you might be surprised to see all the Christmas decorations (and other cities in the UAE).

There are Christmas trees in most bigger hotels and shopping malls. And if you happen to do a desert safari on Christmas Eve, you might even spot Santa, who brings chocolate – which, btw, was my favorite part and the best Christmas gift I have ever received.

It might be a bit corny as it looks somehow not authentic (and often, it is over the top), but in the end, the gesture counts. So, if you are in December in Dubai, then Christmas is something you will experience to some extent.

Beach in The Winter

The best time to visit the beaches in Dubai? Of course, the answer depends on your preferences, but you can perfectly visit and spend time at the beach during the winter.

October and November, as well as March and April, are quite hot, and often, you will not find umbrellas or any shade at the beaches (at least not at the public beaches), but the water is perfect for swimming.

December, January, and even the first few weeks in February might be too cold for some to swim (as it was for me), but there are still people enjoying time in the Persian Gulf.

Best beaches to visit: There are several beaches you can spend hours on – some are private, some are public. For the best public beaches, head to JBR – The Walk or La Mer.

Shopping Malls in Winter

I am not a big fan of shopping in Dubai (too overwhelming and too expensive), but Dubai’s malls are one of a kind!

What attractions in Dubai Mall

My favorite part is the Fashion Avenue of Dubai Mall – the biggest mall in the world – the luxury department with the fanciest toilets. Some other malls, including the Mall of Emirates, are good places to visit and great for an activity on a rainy day in Dubai.

Desert Safari in Winter

One of the best things to do in the winter is to go on a desert safari – in the summer months, some activities are not offered. And so the good news is: November until the end of March is the best time for activities in the desert.Desert safari in the UAE

Whether you go on a wild dune bashing desert safari, watch a belly dance show, go sandboarding, or sleep in the desert – if you come during these months, you can enjoy an amazing time in the desert.

Find the best desert safari tour for your trip.

Dubai Shopping Festival in Winter

The Dubai Shopping Festival is the largest shopping and entertainment festival in the Middle East, so if you visit Dubai in January, then this is the main place to go.

It is an annual celebration of fireworks, concerts, raffles, prizes, and of course, the best retail experiences. Many people come to Dubai for this experience, and so it will be even busier. Timing differs each year, so check before your visit.

JBR – The Walk in Winter

In the winter months, JBR is probably one of the best places to visit in the winter in Dubai. The fun area has a public beach that gets busy during the day – and stays busy in the evenings, which makes it a place you can spend all day.JBR Walk - The Beach Dubai--3

As mentioned, the water might be a bit too cold in December and January, but that does not stop many others from hopping in. While the water might be coldish, these months are perfect for a nice and relaxed beach day, where you can get a tan without burning or melting. TIP: Do not forget sunscreen in the winter months.

There are always restaurants and cafes open – and in the warmer months (November and March) you can escape into these cafes/restaurants. P.S. What I might consider as heat might be only hot to you.

Boat Tours in The Winter

I am always up for a nice boat ride – including some speed boat tours. But this activity is perfect for the hot days (which you will have in Dubai in winter, too). You can experience Dubai differently, PLUS you can cool off when the boat takes off, and you get a nice breeze.

There are some stops at some main tourist attractions, but you experience a thrilling ride most of the time.

Do you enjoy the thrill? Then sit at the front of the boat Most tours start in Dubai Marina – speed boat tours normally last between 60-90 minutes

If you love food and boat cruises (two of my personal favorite things), you can even book dinner on a boat. 

La Mer in winter

La Mer is, similarly to JBR, a busy and fun district at the beach and, thus, perfect for spending a whole day.La Mer Beach Dubai - best places to visit in Dubai

It is here where you will find most of the graffiti and “street art“ – but there are playgrounds, restaurants and cafes, and the beach for you to spend your days and evenings.

P.S. The beach comes with a view of Burj Khalifa and is a free public beach.

Bike Riding

In the summer months, it would be suicidal to do a bike tour during the day. Bt in the winter months, my tip is to rent a bike at a rental station on the Palm and explore Palm Jumeirah by bike.

Cycling here is easy (plenty of well-paved paths) and fun, and you have beautiful views of the Dubai Skyline while passing hotels like Atlantis – The Palm.

Dubai Marina

If you visit Dubai in the hot months, you probably will not enjoy strolling the impressive Dubai Marina as you will in the winter.Dubai accommodation in Dubai Marina IC Dubai Marina

If you visit Dubai in November, December, January, February, March, or the beginning of April, this is a place to go.

Dubai Marina, with all its cafes, food trucks, and restaurants – and skyscrapers – is the perfect place for some nice walks. Even though there are many skyscrapers, it is also ideal for nice walks (or runs in the evening) as it is very well-paved, and in the colder months, it is very enjoyable to walk, sit down, walk, and then sit down again.

Burj al-Arab

Want to experience Dubai in the most luxurious way possible? A good start would be to wake up in Burj al-Arab, one of the world’s most expensive hotels.

Dubai - Kite Beach with a view of Burj Al-Arab

If staying overnight is not in your budget, you can – and this is not only on a rainy winter day – have dinner, brunch, or afternoon tea at one of the restaurants (as only people with confirmed reservations for the restaurant overnight guests can visit).

Theme Parks in Winter

Many theme parks are closed in the summer but open in the winter – you have the option to choose from a variety of parks. They are family-friendly, and some have fun rides.

Again, I do not necessarily recommend visiting in October or November or March or April, as I personally don’t enjoy walking in the heat and especially not riding carousels in the heat, but anytime between late December and the beginning of March should be fine.

Helicopter Flight

One of the best things to do in Dubai in winter (not in the rain, though) is to see Dubai from above.

Helicopter flight in Dubai

A helicopter flight is a perfect way to see what the city has to offer. There are different tour operators, and I went on a helicopter flight with these here.

There are two main companies offering helicopter rides: HeliDubai and Dubai Helicopter Tour  

You can choose between a 12, 15, and 25-minute helicopter flight, I enjoyed my 12-minute flight but would not have minded flying over Dubai for longer but it is a quite expensive activity.

  • Click here to find out about prices for a helicopter ride

Al Bastakiya

Strolling Al Bastakiya in the winter months is fun (especially in December and January). It is one of the oldest districts, located at Dubai Creek, and quite charming with its narrow streets and surely worth a visit. 

However, I would only do it when it is not incredibly hot, as it is sticky and there is not much shade here.

Here you see a different side of Dubai, and though it is actually modern, it is also quite old (you´ll see what I mean if you get there, so surely put this on your Dubai winter itinerary).

Gold and Spice Souk in Winter

If you are in Dubai in the winter, make sure to visit the Gold and Spice Souk in the old part of Dubai.Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or Dubai

Many say that this area is very intense – the shop owners, that is. However, if the weather is nice (aka not hot), strolling the souks is a must. Even if you don’t plan to buy spices – or gold -en masse, this is a fun activity.

Miracle Garden

One of the things that you can do only in the winter in Dubai is visiting the Miracle Garden, so, whether you visit Dubai in November or later in the winter, head o Miracle Garden.

It is the world’s largest natural flower garden, featuring over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants.Better place to visit in UAE

It normally opens in November and is only open in the colder winter months. This means that everyone is flocking here in the winter months, and it gets crowded, but seeing this garden is a must when it opens.

Water Fountain Show in Winter

A free thing to do in Dubai in winter is to watch the water fountain show.

It is located at Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa and there is no entry fee. The show takes place several times a day and is short, but do not miss out on it as you will have water dancing to all kinds of music.

Water Fountain Show in front of Dubai Mall @shutterstock
@shutterstock

Sometimes, 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 show time on the day of your arrival to find out when to see it.

Whenever the fountain show or Burj Khalifa LED show occurs, this place will be one of Dubai’s busiest. To get a good view, secure yourself a good spot before the show starts.

You can also book an abra ride and enjoy the water show without all the crowds.

For a dinner with a view, visit one of the numerous restaurants outdoors that are close by. There are some nice restaurants with a view of the fountain, like the Mediterraneo of Armani Hotel, but make sure you reserve a table beforehand.

WATER FOUNTAIN SHOW SCHEDULE / PRICES:

  • Shows take place from 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM every 30 minutes.
  • It just lasts 3-4 minutes so be there on time.
  • The Dubai water fountain show is free. However, you can also book an abra ride and see the fountain show from a different perspective (and without the crowds). Check out prices for the ride here.

Abu Dhabi in Winter

From Dubai, you can do an easy day trip to Abu Dhabi. The weather is quite similar to the weather in Dubai in the winter, but it is a great getaway as Abu Dhabi is much quieter and totally different than Dubai.Die besten Sehenswürdigkeiten in Abu Dhabi

You have more beautiful beaches, fewer crowds, the Grand Zayed Mosque (the most beautiful building in the world), and there are quite a few more reasons to visit Abu Dhabi for a day from Dubai in the winter.

New Year´s Eve in December / January

If you happen to be in Dubai in December (to be exact on the 31. of December), then you might want to attend the New Year´s Eve celebrations in Dubai – and a lot is going on.

So, it will be busy as heck, and accommodation prices will be high, but you will have a unique NYE celebration.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON VISITING DUBAI IN THE WINTER MONTHS

Dubai is surely not a city for everyone, yet it has a lot to offer for many people. Visiting Dubai in winter is the best season to go, and these were my tips on how to spend your winter in Dubai with some of the best things to do. For more tips, head to my post on the top things to do.

READ MORE:

Safe Travels, Arzo

What to do in Dubai in One Day

best things to do in 1 day in Dubai, itinerary

HOW TO SPEND 1 DAY IN DUBAI + TRAVEL TIPS

Whether you plan to spend one day in Dubai as a stopover or as a day trip from Abu Dhabi – this post will help you plan your Dubai trip for a day.

When people ask me about what to do in Dubai in 1 day, I struggle because I could name tons of places. However, I narrowed it down to the must-see attractions, so that will ease your headache of planning.

IS DUBAI FOR ONE DAY WORTH IT?

Yes, one day in Dubai is enough to see the main sights. Of course, two or three days in Dubai would be better but you can see quite a lot in a day because some attractions are close by. Yes, it will be a busy day, but I want to make sure you get to see different places and don’t miss out on too much.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU). MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

DUBAI TRAVEL TIPS

Let´s start with some quick travel tips.

How to Get to Dubai

DUBAI AIRPORT

  • Dubai has two airports. Most likely, you will fly into Dubai International Airport (DXB International).
  • From there, it takes about a 10-20-minutes taxi ride to get to the old town of Dubai, or about 20-30 minutes to get to Burj Khalifa.
  • Warning: Due to a lot of traffic, it might take longer.

ABU DHABI

  • Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the second biggest airport in the United Arab Emirates.
  • It takes about 60-90 minutes to get to Dubai.
  • The taxi fare will be about 50-75€ ($60-80). 
  • If you stay in Abu Dhabi, and just want to visit Dubai for a day, you can also book guided tours or get to Dubai via bus. Public transportation from the airport to Dubai is not really great.

How to Get Around Dubai

I highly suggest not renting a car. Instead, use public transportation and taxis/Ubers when needed.

Public transportation in Dubai:

  • Overall public transportation in Dubai is okay.
  • The metro is fast, clean, and reliable, but stops are a bit too spread out, in my opinion. However, you can use the metro for longer distances.
  • For shorter distances, you can use buses. In Dubai Marina, you can also use the tram.
  • Buy your metro card at the metro/tram station or on the bus and top it up whenever needed.

Uber/taxis:

  • Though I normally prefer public transportation over taxis, taxis are often the better choice for getting around in Dubai.
  • The prices are okay – one kilometer is about $0.50 plus a starting fee and a little standing/waiting fee.
  • Ubers are slightly more expensive than taxis but offer a flat rate. So you will not get charged for waiting if you are stuck in traffic (which is a very likely scenario).

Is Dubai Safe? 

There is no transparency in Dubai, or the UAE, in general. We will only hear about crime if the government wants us to know. So, we do not really know about crimes and I can only talk about my experience.

  • I – as a solo female traveler – have been to Dubai many times, and I felt safe!
  • I never worried about being robbed, attacked, or anything else.
  • Exercise common sense whenever and wherever you travel and you should be fine.
  • Deira is the only place in Dubai – and the only place on this 1-day itinerary – where I would not want to stroll alone at night.
  • But in general, I say that you can stroll Dubai (at night) alone or with others without having to worry. Just exercise common sense.
  • Check out my post on solo female travel in Dubai for more tips (also on safety tips).

One Day in Dubai – Where to Stay

Accommodation in Dubai is pricey. If you stay in Dubai for one night only, I suggest staying in Dubai Downtown, so you are close to the main attractions mentioned here – though it comes with a price tag.

  • Armani Hotel: It is no surprise that this 5-star hotel in Downtown Dubai, just inside Burj Khalifa (it occupies 11 floors of the tallest skyscraper in the world) and Dubai Mall, is synonymous with luxury and pure elegance. Check out rates for Armani Hotel.
  • Carlton Downtown: This 4-star property is also located close to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall – The Financial Centre Metro Station is within walking distance and ideal for those who like to use public transportation. The pool area offers a nice view of Burj Khalifa, and from the 357 guest rooms, you can choose between deluxe rooms all the way up to penthouse suites. Check out rates for Carlton Downtown.
  • Rove Downtown Dubai: This 3-star hotel is located a few kilometers from Burj Khalifa (not far from the international airport). While the hotel is very simple and offers basic amenities, you might be lucky enough to get a room with a view – a view of Burj Khalifa! Find the best for Rove Downtown.
  • You can check out my full Dubai accommodation guide to find the perfect place for your stay here.

PLACES TO VISIT IN DUBAI IN ONE DAY

Okay, with only one day in Dubai, there is not much time to relax. So let’s start straight away!

Old Dubai – Around 9:30 AM

If you are in Dubai early in the morning, then start in Old Dubai. If you are up and out at 9 or 10 am, you are actually doing quite well because most people in Dubai start the day rather late, and you can seize your one day to the fullest.

The Gold and Spice Souks in Old Dubai are fun places to visit. Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or DubaiEnjoy the calm that you will not often experience in Dubai. Most shops might not be open before 10 am. But at least it is not overly busy in the morning.

Stroll Dubai Creek – I love getting here early and watching the people get ready for the day before checking out the shops myself.

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 malls. Where to buy cheap things in DubaiAnd if you want to buy gold, then buy it here. Oh, and even if you don’t want to buy gold, it is worth seeing what people could buy. 

While most shop owners are foreigners (Afghan, Indian, and Pakistanis), it is still authentic. Just a quick warning – visiting the souks can feel intense. Shop owners approach you a lot, and it is not really a relaxing time.

This is one of my favorite places to visit – but I know not everyone loves such intense places. Also, it is not what we normally expect from Dubai (because we mostly see modern and luxury areas and not the souks).

  • If you are a female traveler, especially traveling solo, you might want to dress slightly more moderately, as stares can be intense. 

Bra Ride in Dubai things to do in Dubai in 2 daysTo get from the Gold Souk to the Spice Souk, jump on one of the abras. The water taxis cost only about 0.25€ and are a fun way to cross the creek.

HOW TO GET TO THE GOLD/SPICE SOUK:

  • By metro: Get to Al Ras Metro station, and from there, you just have to walk for a few minutes.
  • You can also take a taxi/Uber or use the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing buses, which drop you off at the souks.

OPENING HOURS / TICKETS:

  • It is free to visit the souks and you could visit at any time.
  • However, most shops are open from around 9:30 am or 10 am to 9:30 pm. 

La Mer – Around 11 AM

Then, it is time to get to La Mer. It is quite close to Old Dubai. You might not find it on many Dubai itineraries as it is quite new but I think it is one of the best places to visit in Dubai.  La Mer Beach Dubai - best places to visit in DubaiThere is a 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.

Beaches in Dubai are, in general, very clean and safe! This beach is also free and open to the public. There are even free showers (which are quite stylish). After some time at the beach (and in the water?), it is time for lunch at La Mer.Restaurants at La Mer Dubai

HOW TO GET TO LA MER:  

  • If you are at the Gold/Spice Souk, you have to get to the other side of Dubai Creek by an abra or metro.
  • Then, at Al Ghubaiba Bus Station, you can catch a bus that drops you off at La Mer. 
  • If you get here by car, you will find a parking garage with free parking. 

OPENING HOURS/PRICES:

  • La Mer is open every day and there is no entrance fee.
  • The shops are normally open between 10 am to 10 – 11 pm or midnight.

Click here to read more about this part of Dubai.

Madinat Jumeirah – Around 2 PM

This stop is optional as it depends on how fast/slow you travel.

If you do not want to spend some more time at La Mer, you can add another area to your 1-day Dubai itinerary: Madinat Jumeirah makes for a good short stop. It is a recreation of ancient Arabia, comprising five-star hotels, ornate souks, and restaurants. What to do in Dubai on a layoverIt is so pretty and picturesque – it has its own souk and many restaurants and cafes with a view of Burj al Arab.

You could also do an abra ride (small wooden water taxis) here. The rides here 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, those pictures were taken here. 

Again, if you do not want your 1-day itinerary to be too busy, skip Madinat Jumeirah and enjoy some more time at La Mer instead. Madinat Jumeirah is just an extra for the very fast traveler.

HOW TO GET TO MADINAT JUMEIRAH:

  • From La Mer, walk to Century Plaza 1 station and take a bus all the way to Madinat Jumeirah. There is a little bit of walking included (around 10 minutes).
  • Alternatively, you can take a taxi.

OPENING HOURS / TICKETS:

  • It is free to visit the Souk Madinat Jumeirah.
  • Shops are open from 10:00 am to 11 pm, and restaurants are open from 08:00 am to 02:00 am.

Burj Khalifa – Around 4 PM

Even if you are in Dubai for only one day, make sure to add Burj Khalifa to your Dubai itinerary. After all, it is the tallest building in the world. 

Before you go to the “top of Burj Khalifa” to enjoy incredible views, take a few pictures of the iconic building in the daytime. What to do in Dubai in 1 dayYou can save time by booking your tickets in advance – with one day in Dubai you don’t want to waste too much time in lines. 

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. 7 days in Dubai - best vintage pointsIt gets busy, and it is not really a relaxed atmosphere, but I still love going up and have done so four times so far. Check out my Burj Khalifa guide.

Don´t underestimate the time it takes to find Burj Khalifa’s entrance. It is located in Dubai Mall and it can take a while to find the entrance inside this giant mall. Also, you can book other packages and combine them with a dinner at Burj Club (I loved it).

Get the best rates for your Burj Khalifa tickets here:

Ticket prices vary depending on the level of access (levels 124 and 125 only are cheaper than access to level 148) and also the time of your visit.

HOW TO GET TO BURJ KHALIFA: 

  • You have to go to Dubai Mall. There you will see signs that lead you to “At the top of Burj Khalifa.”
  • The ticket center/entrance is located in the Lower Ground Level of Dubai Mall.

OPENING HOURS/  TICKETS:

  • “At the Top of Burj Khalifa” opens around 10 am, and the last admission is at 9 or 10 pm (depending on the day).

Dubai Mall – Around 6 PM

Then, it is time to take the lift down and explore Dubai Mall – which is just gigantic – and busy! 

Dubai: What to do and see in 3 days
@shutterstock

If you are into shopping, you could spend days here. I love to stroll the mall because it houses several attractions like Dubai Aquarium.

TIP: Don’t buy a ticket for the aquarium. You get to see some parts of it just by being in the mall and you´ll see the underwater animals. The aquarium itself is not worth the money, in my opinion.

Inside Dubai Mall, you will also find a real dinosaur skeleton on display. 

Shopping in Dubai is more expensive than in Germany or the US – whether it is luxury items or clothes. The time when Dubai was known as a shopping paradise is definitely over. 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. At the food hall, there are some very affordable places with 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 buying your combined ticket with an entrance ticket to Burj Khalifa) or choosing a restaurant outside with a view of Dubai Fountain.

P.S: There is actually a dress code for Dubai Mall. Many people ignore it but you are supposed to cover your knees and shoulders (as a woman or man).

HOW TO GET TO DUBAI MALL: 

  • If you visit Burj Khalifa first, you are already inside Dubai Mall.
  • But how to get to Dubai Mall? You can get there by metro/bus, and it is also a popular drop-off point for sightseeing buses.
  • If you get off at “Dubai Mall Metro Station,” you can either take another bus that drops you off at the mall or you have to walk about one more kilometer from Dubai Mall Metro Station to get into Dubai Mall.

OPENING HOURS DUBAI MALL / PRICES:

  • Dubai Mall is open from 10 am to 1 am. Restaurants and the food court are even open until 2 am.
  • There is no entrance fee for the mall itself.

Dubai Fountain / Burj Khalifa LED show – Around 8 PM

Dubai Downtown is a beautiful place to end your day in Dubai – this is where you have all the bling-bling you can imagine.

After 6 pm, the famous dancing water show goes on just in front of Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa. I can tell you, it gets crazy there. I mean, really crazy just because it is so crowded.

Water Fountain Show in front of Dubai Mall @shutterstock
@shutterstock

Sometimes, 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 show time on the day of your arrival to find out when to see it.

Whenever the fountain show or Burj Khalifa LED show occurs, this place will be one of Dubai’s busiest. To get a good view, secure yourself a good spot before the show starts.

You can also book an abra ride and enjoy the water show without all the crowds.

For a dinner with a view, visit one of the numerous restaurants outdoors that are close by. There are some nice restaurants with a view of the fountain, like the Mediterraneo of Armani Hotel, but make sure you reserve a table beforehand.

WATER FOUNTAIN SHOW SCHEDULE / PRICES:

  • Shows take place from 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM every 30 minutes.
  • It just lasts 3-4 minutes so be there on time.
  • The Dubai water fountain show is free. However, you can also book an abra ride and see the fountain show from a different perspective (and without the crowds). Check out prices for the ride here.

HOW TO GET TO DUBAI FOUNTAIN: 

  • You could reach the fountain even without entering Dubai Mall (e.g., coming from Dubai Opera). If you are at Dubai Mall, you will see signs that lead you to the fountain as well.

OR: ALTERNATIVELY

Alternatively: Dubai Desert Safari – Around 3 PM

Alternatively, you can do a desert safari in the afternoon/evening. I love desert safaris, so I do recommend them. However, if you have only 1 day in Dubai I am unsure if it is the best thing to do.

A desert safari takes some time (around 5-10 hours), and you will have to schedule all your other activities around it. You have to decide for yourself whether you want to skip some other activities instead.

Exploring the desert in Dubai

There are different desert safaris – most include dune bashing, stargazing, a belly-dance show and some also include a nice BBQ (for me as a vegetarian/vegan, there were plenty of options available).

I enjoy the time in the desert – yes, it might be touristy but it is fun. Especially the dinners in the desert and stargazing were my highlights.

Though I have done a couple of desert safaris and been back in my hotel on time, keep in mind that delays can always happen. If you have to catch a plane that evening/night, only do a desert safari if you know you will definitely be back on time.

Find the best desert safari tour for your trip.

Final Thoughts on Your 1-Day Dubai Trip

With one day in Dubai, you can get an idea of what the city is about. However, I suggest staying at least 2 days, but knowing it is not always possible, I hope you get the most out of your time.

Whether you follow this Dubai itinerary rigorously or not – the city is certainly like no other, and though surely not perfect, it is a lot of fun.

  • There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting Dubai – check out my guide on what NOT to do in Dubai so you will stay safe!

Enjoy your 1 day in Dubai!Safe Travels, Arzo

 

Best Places to Visit in Dubai at Night 

best places to visit in Dubai at night for non party people

PLACES TO GO IN DUBAI AT NIGHT (FOR NON-PARTY PEOPLE)

Here you will find out about the best places to visit in Dubai at night.

Dubai might be lovely during the day, especially at hotspots like Dubai Fountain and Miracle Garden, where tons of people can be found discovering their beauty. Still, it gets even more exciting and awesome in the evening. Some areas seem to be in a deep sleep and only awaken at night. Dubai at night is surely more fun than Dubai during the day.

After the sun sets in the winter months, and even more so in summer (April-October) when it is too hot to spend the day outside, people get out of their houses/hotels/malls in the evening time – ready to spend a fun night out.

While some beautiful areas are extremely sleepy during the day, they fill with life at night, and things get exciting.

Find out about the best places to visit in Dubai at night- no clubbing, just places that are fun for people of all ages.

Disclaimer: Though I visited all these places at night (and totally loved them), I kind of suck at taking night shots most of the time, so while the pictures often do no justice, you can trust my words.

I have written quite some Dubai posts, which you can check out here.

Downtown Dubai at Night

One of the best places to visit in Dubai at night is Downtown.

Downtown Dubai, home to many world-famous attractions like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, and the Dubai Fountain, is busy during the day but gets crazy in the evening/night.

@shutterstock

WHAT TO DO AT DUBAI MALL IN THE EVENING:

There are a couple of attractions in and around Dubai Mall you can visit.

The Dubai Fountain Water Show runs every 30 minutes between 6 pm-11 pm – but it comes with the crowds. The number of tourists in front of it can be insane. It is free to watch but each show just lasts a few minutes, so be there on time to not miss it.

  • Check out the showtimes here to ensure the times are still correct and you don’t miss out on the show.
Water Fountain Show in front of Dubai Mall @shutterstock
@shutterstock

Burj Khalifa is even more beautiful in the evening when illuminated or when the LED show takes place in the evening. That indeed was spectacular every time I watched it.

I could not find a schedule for the LED shows.

Dubai Mall is an attraction in itself. It is open until midnight and it is like a little but very busy town. In the evening, more than during the day, it is stuffed with people dining, shopping, and strolling the biggest mall in the world. 

Dubai Mall at night

Dubai Downtown at night - things to see in Dubai at night

Make sure to walk around the mall and stroll along the streets, as downtown wears its prettiest dress at night (even the trees are illuminated).

You can head to one of the many rooftop bars to enjoy breathtaking views of the downtown area.

City Walk At Night

Another place to visit in Dubai in the evening is City Walk. Lovely but sleepy during the day, it is a fun and popular place to see “after dark.” 

Places to visit in Dubai at night

Whether you visit with children or without (there are some extra activities for kids in the evening), this place is great for enjoying a nice dinner or a quick stroll (the area is not really that big).

The shops are open until 10 pm (on Fridays and Saturdays until Midnight), so it is also a good way to shop your way around Dubai.

As in many popular places, it is a lot about lights – and City Walk is no different and walking here at night is a fun activity.Most Insta worth places in Dubai

La Mer at Night

Another must-see in Dubai at night is La Mer – one of Dubai’s most popular places for locals and tourists alike. La Mer is located in the Jumeirah area with its own beach and many retail stores, restaurants, and stylish cafes.

Places to visit in Dubai at night

While it is also busy during the day, unlike some other hotspots, it is even more beautiful at night. I could spend all day at La Mer without getting bored.

There are so many restaurants and cafes that you’ll be sure to find something that suits your cravings.

La Mer at night with a sunset

You´ll have great views of Burj Khalifa from there, which is even prettier at night than it is during the day – and watching the sunset from there is a lovely and romantic way to start the night.

Dubai Marina at Night

Dubai Marina was established in 2003 – in Dubai, this is practically old! The artificial marina boasts several skyscrapers and restaurants and is another top place to see in Dubai at night.Dubai Marina at night - where to go in Dubai at night

Stroll along the three-kilometer-long stretch of the Persian Gulf shoreline, and do not forget to look up – the high buildings in this area are one of a kind! You won’t take too many strolls in the world that will astound you with so many impressive buildings – that are illuminated in the evening!Dubai Marina at nigt from Pier 7

Some bars have loud music playing, but in general, it is also very child-friendly.

The sunset is pretty from here, the walks are easy, and the area is pedestrian-friendly. Enjoy great views from one of the restaurants or go on a dhow cruise in the evening (there are also dhow dinner cruises available).

Madinat Jumeirah at Night

This extremely picturesque place is probably best known for its unique view of the iconic Burj al-Arab hotel – Madinat Jumeirah!

With its many walkways, restaurants, and little shops, it is great to visit in the daytime, but it is an even better area to visit in the evening.

At night where to go in Dubai - Madinat Jumeirah at night

Many restaurants, some are part of the luxurious hotels of the Jumeirah group – offer great food (pricey though) with nice views.

While it is one of the most romantic places to visit in Dubai at night, it is also gorgeous for anyone who enjoys an evening stroll or dinner in a fine dining restaurant!

Dubai Desert at Night

One of the things to do at night is to spend an evening in the desert of Dubai (or even at night).Desert safari on a layover

After going on a desert safari (that includes a ride on a 4×4 and normally some wildlife spotting), have a BBQ in the desert (you can even have great veggie options), enjoy a belly dancing show, stay in a “traditional” Arabian camp, and enjoy the sunset and later stargaze.

This is definitely one of the most beautiful memories you will have from your Dubai trip and a great place to spend the evening.

JBR Walk – The Beach at Night

JBR Walk and the Beach are trendy during the day – and after sunset.

DUBAI JBR at night activities
@shutterstock

While most people enjoy going to the beach during the day, you can have an amazing time in the evening, too. Whether you chill at the beach or explore one of the numerous cafes and restaurants, and bars, this place is perfect for families, couples, and anyone who likes popular hotspots with different activities, street art, etc. 

JBR at night in DUbai

The Frame at Night

One of the newer attractions in Dubai is the Frame. After sunset, you will see it illuminated in different colors, even from far.

Where are good places to visit in Dubai at night
Creative Family / Shutterstock.com

However, if you head there yourself, you will have the chance to get some stunning views of Burj Khalifa and other places in Dubai. Since the skyline of the city looks just amazing at night, this place is great to visit after spending a day at Zabeel Park.

  • The frame is open until 9 pm – tickets are 50 Dirham (about 13 €) and can be bought just at the ticket counter. Ideally, you can there before sunset and can enjoy the views while it is still light, watch the sunset here and then enjoy the skyline of Dubai Downtown from here.

Al Seef at Night

It seems that each month a new area pops up. One of the newest ones is Al Seef. 

While it is lovely but extremely quiet during the day, it is a popular place amongst locals in the evening.

Located in Deira, many restaurants have opened that are overlooking the Creek, and it is a calmer place to have a drink and end your day here.

While you will find many modern buildings that host restaurants on one side, you will also find other restaurants built in traditional Arabian houses; but don’t let the look fool you. These were built just recently, but they still have a charm that modern buildings do not have.

Take your time while walking the 1.8 kilometers and seeing another, more unique, and lesser-known part of Dubai in the evening.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON VISITING THE BEST PLACES AT NIGHT IN DUBAI

I truly love visiting all the places in Dubai at night – and whether you are in Dubai with your family, with your partner, or alone, the places all can be visited with whomever you are.

Just be careful to respect traditions (no public drinking, not getting totally drunk) in Dubai, and you will have a fun time in Dubai and can easily go around in the evening and nighttime in Dubai.

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

50 Best Things to Do in Dubai, UAE

WHAT TO DO IN DUBAI – FUN ACTIVITIES FOR ALL BUDGETS AND AGES

Whether you visit as a tourist for a short time, stay longer, or live in Dubai – here is a list of the best 50 things to do in Dubai.

After endless visits, I have concluded that Dubai does not get boring. There is so much to do and see, making planning challenging and overwhelming. It seems that there are new attractions popping up regularly.

P.S. Some activities are not offered throughout the year. Especially in the summer, some places are closed, so please double-check the dates.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU). MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

TOP THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI 

Are you ready? Here is my ultimate list of 50 cool and most fun things to do in Dubai – for young adults, kids, and everyone else.

  • Booking Tours When I book tours, I normally use GetYourGuide. Many of the links I added will lead you to GetYourGuide as it is my personal favorite because of its generous cancellation policy. Normally, you can cancel up to 24 hours before the tour and get a full refund – especially in times like these – with all the uncertainty, it is a lifesaver. 

GO ON A DUBAI DESERT SAFARI

Going on a desert safari is one of the best things to do in Dubai! There are many different desert safari tours offered in Dubai, and I tried several of them.Arzo Travels Desert Safari in Dubai

However, my favorite is the one that includes 4×4 wheel drive, and a BBQ & a belly dance show. The dinner under the sky was lovely. I had enough vegetarian options, but meat-eaters will also find something. Some argue, that it is quite touristy. Yes, it is but it is still a great experience.

Desert Safaris normally take between 5-9 hours and you are – usually – picked up at your hotel and will be dropped off there, too.

ENJOY A SEAPLANE FLIGHT

A seaplane flight sounds pretty amazing, right? A seaplane flight in Dubai sounds even better, as seeing Dubai from above is such fun and one of the more unique things to do. It is a bit fancy and surely not one of the cheap activities you can book, but since it is a lot about Dubai’s luxury, it is a unique activity. 

It is unfortunately not a cheap activity but one of the most unique things to do in Dubai.

  • You can book different tours. Check them out here to find out about prices.
  • There are different take-off locations – when booking, check where your flight will start.
  • The flight takes around 30-35 minutes, but plan a couple of hours for the whole activity.

EXPLORE LA MER

Relax at La Mar – one of the newer hotspots in Dubai. And if you ask me, that is not surprising. Whether you want to spend a day at the beach, stroll the beachfront, 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 great to visit as a family, with friends, as a couple, or solo.La Mer Beach Dubai

There is no metro going, but some buses and if you stay in a big hotel the shuttle bus might get you here. However, if not, a taxi would be the c choice to get here (taxi drivers will know where it is).

  • There is no entrance fee but sun lounges etc. are available for a fee
  • Most restaurants and shops are open from 10 am until 11 pm
  • You can also do water sports and rent equipment at the beach area
  • Read more about my tips for things to do at La Mer

DO A SPEED BOAT TOUR

A speedboat tour in Dubai is great to enjoy the breeze – especially on a hot day. While the boat rides fast, they stop at several tourist attractions like Atlantis Hotel or Burj Al-Arab – so you have time for snapping pictures.

STROLL DUBAI MARINA

Explore Dubai Marina and see all the cafes, food trucks, restaurants – and skyscrapers. This is one of the best places for nice strolls.

Dubai accommodation in Dubai Marina IC Dubai Marina

Yes, I am a city girl, and this area is definitely nicer and easier to walk in than many other areas in Dubai that are not very pedestrian-friendly. The amount of skyscrapers is insane. So, whether you come here during the day or in the evening, it is always worth a trip.

If you are with kids, you can rent a little cat car, or you just walk along the beautiful promenade. If you stay a minimum of 2 days in Dubai, it is a place you should visit.

  • Dubai Marina “is open” 24/7 – it gets especially busy in the evening and its the best time to visit
  • You can reach Dubai Marina also via metro and then get use the tram for longer distances (but most of the area is best explored on foot)

HAVE A DRINK AT PIER 7

Dubai Marina is beautiful – especially in the evening! So don´t miss Pier 7 at night and dine in one of the seven restaurants with beautiful views at nightDubai Marina at nigt from Pier 7With all the illuminated buildings (including the shopping mall), the view from there is just superb! I have to admit that the Scene Dubai (4th floor) staff was not the best, but the panorama is great.

  • For great views AND nice staff, head to the 6th floor ASIA ASIA
  • During the high season, I recommend booking a table on the terrace in advance

ENJOY A MARINA CRUISE TOUR

Boat tours are one of my favorite ways to get around. Walking Marina is fun, but for a unique angle of Dubai´s great Marina, go on a Marina Cruise tour. 

  • If you love food and boat cruises (two of my personal favorite things), you can even book dinner on a boat. 
  • Tours normally last around 90 minutes
  • Click here for prices

GET TO THE TOP OF BURJ KHALIFA

When in Dubai, visit the highest building in the world, Burj Khalifa which is probably also the most famous attraction in the city.  View from Burj Khalifa At The Top Best stuff to do in DubaiGo 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.

  • I had to stand in line for ages, so probably a VIP ticket is the better choice for the people who are less patient. 
  • On my second visit, I got a ticket that included a lunch/dinner at the Burj Club as well, and the price was definitely worth that experience.
  • On my third trip, I visited with my two little nephews – the older one (4 years) loved the views.
  • To find out more about getting to Burj Khalifa, click here and read my detailed review.

Get the best rates for your Burj Khalifa tickets here:

WATCH THE WATER FOUNTAIN SHOW

Watch the water fountain show at Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa and literally see the water dance. The show itself is quite short (about 2-4 minutes), and I have seen nicer shows (e.g. in Kuala Lumpur), but sitting at a cafe and watching it is still worth it.

Water Fountain Show in front of Dubai Mall @shutterstock
@shutterstock

This place gets crazy – especially in the evening. Avoid coming here on weekends if you do not LOVE crowds.

  • 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. However, it might be totally crowded as all the tourists get to the water show on time.
  • Check out the show times here.
  • Since there are many restaurants close by, you can get more exclusive views. I had a nice view from Burj Club, a restaurant that is part of Burj Khalifa.
  • If you want to get very close to the water fountain show, you can do an abra ride. You can buy tickets just at the abra station at the water fountain or book them in advance.

REST AT ZABEEL PARK

For those who do not believe that Dubai has some greenery, Zabeel Park will prove him/her wrong:

Kids will love it as there are many playgrounds, and the older ones also enjoy the mobile phone chargers in the shape of palms (bring your cable, and you can recharge your phone while relaxing in the park).

  • Zabeel Park is located between the Gold and Spice Souks and Burj Khalifa – not too far away from the Crown Prince of Dubai’s palace and from there you can walk to Dubai Frame (more on that later).
  • There is a small entrance fee (about $1)

GET A TAN AT KITE BEACH

You can chill for free at Kite Beach and enjoy great views of Burj Al-Arab – not all beaches are free and public (most actually belong to luxury hotels), but Kite Beach is. Chill at Jumeirah Beach Best things to do in DubaiEven on sunny days, it is not crowded by European standards. Personally, I like the beach area at JBR or La Mer a bit better. But if you prefer beaches with a good view of Burj al-Arab, then this is your beach.

SPLURGE AT BURJ AL-ARAB

Want to splurge? Getting inside Burj al-Arab isn’t easy if you don’t stay overnight. You need a written booking reservation for one of their restaurants. So why not have an afternoon tea at Burj Al-Arab (it is still on my own list) at the only “7* hotel in the world”. It is not a bargain but probably an amazing experience.

  • Click here to book your dining experience at Burj al Arab
  • Alternatively, you can book spa treatments to get access to the hotel

BOOK A HOT-AIR BALLOON RIDE

One of my personal highlights was flying over Dubai in a hot-air balloon. What to do in Dubai - hot air balloon rideI did my first, and so far only, hot-air balloon ride in Dubai. Dubai surely cannot be compared to Cappadocia in Turkey but it was still worth it.

  • You are normally being picked up at the hotel – for sunrise balloon rides, it means getting up very early but it is worth it.
  • Click here for more information on a hot air balloon ride in the desert.

TRY OUT FLYBOARDING

There are a lot of adventurous things to do for those who like to be more active. The activity is unique and is not offered everywhere, so make sure to try this in Dubai. 

  • Try out Flyboarding in Dubai and soar above the Persian Gulf. 

EAT TONS ON 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 I was not disappointed. 

  • Friday Brunches are quite costly, so some research might be needed if you are on a budget
  • Booking in advance might be good (especially for popular places)
  • You might not be able to do a Friday Brunch during Ramadan (the Muslim month of fasting)
  • Ramadan in 2022 – 22. March to 21.April

PARTY THE NIGHT AWAY

I am not a party girl – so I won’t be able to give the best advice firsthand. However, Dubai’s nightlife is supposed to be great if you like to dress up, drink and enjoy the fancy nightlife.

  • So, though the Emirates are Islamic, Dubai is quite liberal, and partying – and drinking – is allowed.
  • Just be aware not to overdo it. I saw security being quite strict with drunken people
  • Here are more tips for things NOT to do in Dubai. 

ENJOY THE VIEWS FROM A HELICOPTER

See the city from above and do a helicopter flight – it is my tip for one of the most unique things to do in Dubai.Arzo Travels Heli Dubai Fligh

  • There are two main companies offering helicopter rides: HeliDubai and Dubai Helicopter Tour 
  • You can choose between a 12, 15, and 25-minute helicopter flight. I enjoyed my 12-minute flight but would not have minded flying over Dubai for longer but it flights are not cheap.
  • Click here to find out about prices for a helicopter ride
  • Read my detailed post about my own personal experiences of a helicopter ride

EAT DATES

Try out dates in Dubai. When I talk about dates, I don’t mean dating in Dubai, but I mean the delicious little things you can eat. You find many different kinds of dates – some with nuts in them, chocolate, and more.

  • Dates are healthy, vegan (normally), sweet, and a traditional snack of that region.
  • They also make a great gift for your loved ones back home. You can buy them in every supermarket and many other stores and souks (markets).

GO SKIING

Though Dubai is surely not the most natural environment for winter sports, skiing in Dubai is for sure a great place to escape the heat.

SHOP AT DUBAI MALL

Explore Dubai Mall – the biggest mall in the world. Seriously, the 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 fast-food stalls to fine dining restaurants – you will find everything here.

What attractions in Dubai Mall

Whether you are in Dubai for 1 day or much longer, Dubai Mall is a must-see place.

  • Dubai Mall is located next to the water fountain and Burj Khalifa
  • Tips: Do not visit on a Friday (evening) – it will be crowded as heck
  • There is actually a dress code (cover shoulders and knees) though it is not often respected 

GO HOTEL SIGHTSEEING IN DUBAI

The hotels in Dubai are among the best in the world – some are attractions in themselves. If you do not stay overnight in one of the top hotels, you can still see some and be amazed at what hotels could be like.

This can be done in several ways. You can book day tickets for the pool areas of some top hotels, make restaurant or spa reservations, or just visit them without any “obligations”.

  • Burj Al-Arab is not open to the public, you will need a spa/restaurant reservation
  • Atlantis Hotel on The Palm is probably one of the best hotels to check out (no reservation needed)

COOL OFF WITH JET-SKIING IN DUBAI

If you prefer outdoor activities, go jet-skiing in Dubai – where everything is about higher, faster, and further, jet-skiing seems to be the perfect activity in Dubai. It is fun, but also very refreshing on a hot day.

EXPLORE THE GOLD AND SPICE SOUKS

Visit the souks in the old part of the city – this part is different from the rest of Dubai, and though it is hectic, it has some traditional charm. Spice Souk in Old DUbai Deira Where to go in DubaiIf you visit, be prepared to haggle – never accept any price immediately. Normally, you can get things for 50%, but you need to be patient and nice while discussing prices. Apart from spices and clothes (you will also find traditional clothes for a much lower price than in the malls), there is gold…a lot of gold.

  • Many souvenirs etc. are much cheaper here than in malls.
  • Do not forget to haggle
  • If you like to buy gold, check the gold rate online first.
  • For women, I recommend not to wear the most revealing clothes and dress modestly because stares and catcalling are quite common.

DISCOVER AL BASTAKIYA

Explore Al Bastakiya, which is quite close to the souks and is one of the oldest districts. It is located at Dubai Creek, and quite charming with the narrow streets. It shows you another side of Dubai and is definitely a nice break from Downtown’s modernity. This is also a more off-the-beaten place, and I have never really seen it as crowded as other parts of the city.

  • The Secret Garden is probably the most beautiful restaurant/cafe in Al Bastakiya
  • It is great to visit at any time of the day, but in the evening it actually is livelier and lovelier

HOP ON AN ABRA

You can also do an inexpensive abra ride on Dubai Creek, which is a natural creek close to the Gold and Spice Souk. Abras are traditional wooden water taxis that you find mostly in the old part of Dubai. Activities in Dubai - ride an abra - Visit Dubai attractions

  • To get from the Spice Souk to Bur Dubai, you only pay about 0,25€ (1 Dirham).
  • 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 an abra ride in Madinat Jumeirah.

LEARN ABOUT HISTORY AT DUBAI MUSEUM

Learn about Dubai´s past. Apparently, Dubai is super modern, but if you visit one of the museums (Dubai Museum is the best choice), you´ll learn more about its past (yes, there is some history involved). 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 fun thing to do with your kids, too).

  • The entree fee is just about 1€
  • Free with your Sightseeing hop-on and hop-off ticket.

HAVE FUN AT THE DUBAI JBR WALK

You should make sure to discover the JBR Walk by foot – a popular area with many restaurants, hotels, cafes, and access to the beach. Places to see in Dubai in 7 daysIn March 2018 Flying Cup opened. For about 20€, you can hop into the capsule and enjoy an amazing view of the beach.

If you are more into relaxing at the beach, this beach might be a good option (though it can be quite busy)! Alternatively, you can check out street art, eat your weight in meals from all around the world, or do one of the many other activities offered there.

SPEND A DAY AT THE GLOBAL VILLAGE

Another popular place is the Global Village, where you can learn about other cultures. You can also enjoy a ride in one of the 50 rides in the Fantasy Island theme park and visit pavilions of different countries.

  • Pay is about 5€ ($6), but rollercoaster rides cost extra.
  • Location: It is located a bit further away from other Dubai attractions, so it is probably not a place to quickly go through (combine it in the winter months with a trip to Miracle Garden).

VISIT A MOSQUE

Actually, most mosques in Dubai look similar and there is not a big variety in the architecture but they are very pretty overall, 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.

  • You have to take part in a free tour to enter, so check out the times. It is a beautiful mosque – so even if you don’t go inside, it is lovely to look at from the outside.
  • 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. It is close to La Mer so you could combine it with a trip there.

ADMIRE FLOWERS AT MIRACLE GARDEN

Miracle Garden is a perfect place to take 10000 pictures. 

This is art that comes from flowers. Though it is totally crowded, it is worth a visit, and I reckon it is great for people of all ages.

  • Miracle Garden is not open in summer, though (it normally opens in November).
  • Take a bus/cab and plan in a few hours for this trip. It is close to Global Village, so the most efficient way would be to see both places in one day.
  • The entrance fee is about 12€ entry

CRUISE MARINA, ATLANTIS, AND BURJ AL-ARAB

Another boat cruise for a hot day. One of my favorite activities anywhere in the world: doing boat cruises. I normally spend a lot of time, cruising lakes in Switzerland but also boat cruises in Dubai are not too bad. With all the stunning buildings in Dubai, boat cruises are pretty amazing – and there is something for every taste. 

Where to stay in Dubai for all budgets - Atlantis

Whether you like to have dinner on board or just sail along Burj al-Arab, I am sure you will find the perfect cruise for yourself.

HAVE AN ADVENTURE 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 – but even the grown-ups can have a fun day here. So plan a day for this giant theme park where it is a lot about thrilling rollercoaster rides.

GET AROUND VIA 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).

SPEND A DAY AT A WATERPARK

Book a ticket for one of the waterparks in the city.

I never spend much time in waterparks…except when I did in Dubai at the Aquaventure Waterpark…and later at Wild Wadi Waterpark. I enjoyed both my days at the waterpark – though I felt they were very crowded and surely overpriced. Dubai Wild Wadi WaterparkIt is easy to spend a full day at one of the biggest and best waterparks in the region with all the different slides, different pools, and more to do at the waterpark. 

EXPLORE DUBAI VIA HOP-ON AND HOP-OFF

The best way to get around in Dubai is to hop on one of the sightseeing buses and discover many areas by bus – with great stops along the way.

There are actually two operators – either City Sightseeing or Big Bus. Both offer almost identical, but there are some differences in the extras, lengths, and minor differences in the routes.

MAKE A TRIP TO MUSANDAM / OMAN

Explore the neighboring country of the USA and make a day trip to Oman. It is quite a long drive, but Dubai is still a good base for day trips to Oman’s northern parts.

If you feel like escaping the hustle and bustle of crazy Dubai, then head to Oman.

HEAD TO ABU DHABI

If you do not plan to stay overnight in Abu Dhabi, you should make a day trip to the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Day trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, best recommendation for DubaiI 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.

GET LOST AT THE CHAMBERS

Visit the Lost Chambers at the 5* hotel Atlantis – The Palm and find out about the Atlantic myth and marine life. You might have seen images on Instagram already. Honestly, there is not that much to do, and it is a bit lame, but this giant aquarium is probably a fun thing to do as a family.

GET A DAY PASS FOR JUMEIRAH PALM HOTELS

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.

DO A BIKE TOUR

Rent a bike at a rental station on the Palm and explore Palm Jumeirah this way. You just need a mobile and a credit card with you. The Palm is one of the best places to ride because the streets are new, which makes cycling easy.

STROLL MADINAT JUMEIRAH

Madinat Jumeirah is one of the most beautiful places in Dubai. What to do in Dubai on a layoverThough it is a recreation of ancient Arabia, it is extremely modern, and it is also home to some fantastic luxury 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.

BOOK A PRIVATE YACHT CRUISE

Okay, if you want to splurge, then hire a private yacht. Dubai is the city of the rich – so a private yacht cruise sounds pretty standard there.

SEE A SHOW AT WAFI WALL

The Egypt-inspired Wafi Mall also has a free light show every evening, which is worth watching. Though Wafi Mall might not be on your two-day Dubai itinerary, it is a fun place to see in Dubai if you are staying longer.

GO SANDBOARDING

Skateboarding can be done anywhere – sandboarding in Dubai is more exclusive. If you love snowboarding, you will love this. I sucked at it – but well, sports, other than walking/hiking/dancing, are not so much my strong points, but it was a fun and cool Dubai experience.

Sand Boarding in Dubai´s Desert

DINE AT AN UNDERWATER RESTAURANT

Dubai has several underwater restaurants, so why not dine in an extraordinary atmosphere? I admit that it is still on my own bucket list – but if you have the perfect companion with you, I cannot imagine anything more romantic.

VISIT DUBAI AQUARIUM AND UNDERWATER ZOO

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, one of the biggest indoor aquariums in the world, is located in the Dubai Mall. You can see a part of it for free when strolling on the ground floor of the biggest mall in the world. If you want to see more of it, get a ticket and discover marine life.

To be honest, I have visited twice so far. Both times, it was included in my hop-on and hop-off tickets. I personally do not think it is worth almost $40 (no discount for kids above 3 years). However, the reviews are good, and if you are into marine life, this might be a fun activity for you.

SEE DUBAI FROM 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 an amazing view from the skyline of Dubai, but you can also walk on the glass floor and see 100 meters down. Attractions in DubaiIf you visit after sunset, is it beautifully illuminated, However, I recommend visiting in the daytime. Check out city tours, including a trip to The Frame.

STOP AT DUBAI GLOW GARDEN

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.

I only passed it in the evening – when I was in my taxi, and I always have wanted to come back but never made it. Seeing dinosaurs at Dubai Garden Glow makes me believe this is a great thing to do with kids.

SPEND TIME AT 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 as it is one of the best things to do in Dubai for free. Whether you visit with kids (they surely will love it with all the activities they offer for younger tourists) or as an adult.

City Walk in Dubai with Arzo Travels-4It 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 dining options here, too.

Enjoy Your Trip

Enjoy your time in Dubai.

Though I could probably add many more things, these are my 50 favorite things to do.

DUBAI TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some – quick – travel tips. For more detailed information, just click on my Dubai travel guide.

  • Best time to visit: Between late October to the end of March (the weather is lovely around that time of the year, it is not too hot). During this time, you will do most of the best things to do in Dubai (as some activities in Dubai are also closed in the summer months)
  • What to wear: You don’t have to cover up – as a female you can wear shorts and tops but keep in mind, it is still a conservative city, so don’t overdo it. Check out my What to Wear post for more info.
  • How to get around: By public transportation, taxi, and Uber. I never rented a car in Dubai as driving seems very stressful if you aren’t used to crazy driving. Also, guided tours can be great if transportation is included.
  • Alcohol is allowed – but only in certain restaurants and hotels.
  • Where to stay: Ideally, in Dubai Downtown or Marina.
  • Accommodation in Dubai is pricey. I suggest staying in Dubai Downtown, so you are close to the main attractions mentioned here – though it comes with a price tag.
    • Armani Hotel: It is no surprise that this 5-star hotel in Downtown Dubai, just inside Burj Khalifa (it occupies 11 floors of the tallest skyscraper in the world) and Dubai Mall, is synonymous with luxury and pure elegance. Check out rates for Armani Hotel.
    • Carlton Downtown: This 4-star property is also located close to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall – The Financial Centre Metro Station is within walking distance and ideal for those who like to use public transportation. The pool area offers a nice view of Burj Khalifa, and from the 357 guest rooms, you can choose between deluxe rooms all the way up to penthouse suites. Check out rates for Carlton Downtown.
    • Rove Downtown Dubai: This 3-star hotel is located a few kilometers from Burj Khalifa (not far from the international airport). While the hotel is very simple and offers basic amenities, you might be lucky enough to get a room with a view – a view of Burj Khalifa! Find the best for Rove Downtown.
    • You can check out my full Dubai accommodation guide to find the perfect place for your stay here.
  • If you are looking for beach access, check out accommodations on the Palm or at JBR. Here is my full “Dubai – where to stay” guide.

PIN ME FOR LATER – FUN DUBAI ACTIVITIES FOR ALL AGES & BUDGETS

Pin me for later!

best things to do in Dubai, where to go and what to do in Dubai, UAE, PinConclusion: Things to See and Do in Dubai

As you can see, it is not only about malls and skyscrapers. Dubai offers so many activities for people of all ages and fitness levels. And I hope that this post has helped you find out about the best things to do in Dubai – whether you are on a budget or want to splurge. I hope you have found out what to do in Dubai.

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

MOST EPIC AND BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN DUBAI

Where to go in Dubai - the best places to visit in Dubai and the best attractions

MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES TO VISIT IN DUBAI

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 attraction pops up every day.

Seriously, I doubt any other city is growing as fast as Dubai, and new places pop up each day, and I am sharing with you popular places as well as some more lesser-known attractions for your Dubai itinerary.

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. This means 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.

TOP PLACES TO SEE IN DOWNTOWN DUBAI

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 in Dubai to visit. No questions about it. 

Dubai Downtown, Burj Khalifa @shutterstock
@shutterstock

What makes Downtown special? Well, first of all, because it is home to the tallest building in the world… Burj Khalifa!

Burj Khalifa

Standing at 822 meters, the skyscraper is one of the most iconic 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. 

7 days in Dubai - best vintage points

Tip: If you want to visit the top of Burj Khalifa, book your tickets in advance. 

Dubai Fountain

Next to Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Fountain. To find out about the times for the dancing water show, click here.

Waterfall show in front of Burj Khalifa
@shutterstock

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.

Dubai Mall

Dubai Fountain is also next to the Dubai Mall, the most famous – and probably the biggest – mall globally.

Whether you are a shopper or not, the mall is more than a compilation of different retail stores and restaurants! Dubai Mall is a must-see place. You´ll find popular Dubai attractions, like the Aquarium, KidZania, or an Ice Rink, and it is probably one of the craziest places to visit in Dubai.

Dubai Mall at night

But even if you 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 secret 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 minute’s walk from Dubai Fountain.

It has become one of the main tourist destinations because of the great hotels and restaurants that are 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. Now I love coming back every time I am in Dubai and always discovering something new.

If you plan your Dubai 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.

Click here to find out more about accommodation in Dubai Downtown for each budget.

BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN JUMEIRAH

Another beautiful area in Dubai is Jumeirah Here are the best places to see in the area.

Burj al-Arab

The Burj al-Arab has been, and actually still is, one of the most expensive hotels in the world (prices during off-peak seasons like summer or Ramadan are still above 1000€ minimum). It opened in 1999, and visitors love photographing the hotel that is shaped like a sail.

Burj Al Arab great for photo shoots in Dubai

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. 

Kite Beach

Popular spots to photograph Burj al Arab 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.

Dubai - Kite Beach with a view of Burj Al-Arab

Though Kite Beach is open to the public, you don’t have to worry about the beach being crowded. It is safe, clean, and quite empty by European standards, so Burj al-Arab’s view is not the only reason it is a must-see in Dubai.

Madinat Jumeirah

One of the most beautiful places in Dubai is, in fact, Madinat Jumeirah – a recreation of ancient Arabia that is, however, quite modern. The area to the right of Burj al-Arab is a charming souk area with one of the best hotels in Dubai and a canal lined with restaurants and little shops.

Instagramspots in Dubai

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

Wild Wadi is also located in Jumeirah, right next to Burj al-Arab. It is one of the two main water parks in the city – perfect for kids and adults alike. 

Wild Wadi Waterpark Dubai book tickstes

A long lazy river and adrenaline-fuelled speed slides, 30 slides, and more – you can spend a whole day there if you love slides, pools, and water activities in general.

  • Check out prices for the Wild Wadi Waterpark. 
  • Tip: If you stay in a hotel that is part of the Jumeirah Group in Dubai, you will have free access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark. Click here to find out more about the best places to stay in Jumeirah.

City Walk

In the heart of Dubai, you will find an Urban Shopping and Dining Paradise. City Walk is a bit sleepy during the day, but it is a fun and popular place to see “after dark.” It is also the perfect place for shopping fans or families as it offers many activities (free and paid) for children.

City Walk in Dubai with Arzo Travels

You will also find some street art and have interesting views of Burj Khalifa, and you also have some street art here. For the best experience, I recommend coming here in the afternoon and then stay until late.

City Walk in Dubai with Arzo Travels-4

La Mer

La Mer is a bustling beach area with restaurants, shops, street art, and more. This is the place to chill and rest but also to enjoy some “city life”.

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.

La Mer Beach Dubai - best places to visit in Dubai

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.

The “vintage” look of the shops is so unusual that this is quite an unusual Dubai sight. Keep an eye out for the street art and public showers, which were totally cute. 

PLACES TO GO TO IN DUBAI DEIRA

Dubai is not only about modernity. It actually has an old town. Yes, you read right. It has an old town that is pretty charming and totally different from the rest of Dubai.

Bra Ride in Dubai things to do in Dubai in 2 days

Dubai Creek actually divides Deira from 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.

Gold and Spice Souks

One of the most popular tourist places in Dubai Deira 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.

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.

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.

Gold Souk in Dubai points of interest

Western people might feel overwhelmed as retailers constantly approach you, but knowing this will help you politely say you are not interested and keep 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

Dubai Museum is actually on the other side of the Creek. 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, 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

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.

Find out about the best tours in Dubai

Staying in Dubai Deira? Personally, I would not recommend staying here (though I have done so myself). Some hotels are great, but especially as a solo female traveler in Dubai, Deira is 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

Zabeel Park is a lovely, lush, green, and neat park that you can visit for a small entry fee of about 1€. 

Zabeel Park is one of the best places to visit in Dubai

I have added it to the list because it is a great place for families or for anyone who enjoys some tranquility and peace. 

Dubai Frame

You will also find one of the newest attractions, Dubai Frame, which is located right next to the Zabeel park. The golden frame has become a popular sight and looks pretty in the daytime and at night (illuminated in different colors).

The Frame Dubai and more places to visit

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€ (buy them 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. If you are scared of heights this place probably is not for you, though.

MORE PLACES TO VISIT IN DUBAI

Here are a few more places to add to your bucket list and which did it really fit in the other areas.

Dubai Marina

Oh, this is another place that should be on your Dubai bucket list: Marina.

Dubai Marina at nigt from Pier 7

Tall buildings, good restaurants, a canal, and nice pathways – these are just a few of this area’s features. 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 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 especially popular at night – find out why.

  • Personally, I love staying in Dubai Marina. It isn’t the cheapest place to stay, but I love its vibe and the hotels’ views there. Click here to get the best hotel rates in Dubai Marina.

JBR WALK – The Beach

One area you can easily reach on foot from Marina is JBR Walk (The Beach). It is actually one of the liveliest and busiest areas in Dubai, day or night.

Places to see in Dubai in 7 days

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 in the winter), this is quite a popular spot all year round.

Dubai places to see

JBR Walk is 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).

JBR – The Walk is one of the best areas to stay – especially if you love beaches or if you are with kids. Find the best hotels and rates for your stay at JBR – The Walk.

The Palm

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.

Arzo Travels Dubai Palm from above

The Palm is famous for its unique shape and because you will find some of the most famous hotels on the island. 

If you ask people about the best places to visit in Dubai, people will probably mention Atlantis.

One of the most iconic hotels is probably the 5-star Atlantis – The Palm, 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 some luxury hotels, there is still a lot of construction work going on.

Where to stay in Dubai for all budgets - Atlantis

While the pathways are perfect for nice bike rides or walks, I admit it 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. Admittedly, the beaches here are quite nice (even with all the construction you might see from the beach area).

Dubai Desert

If you visit the desert, you will find another very traditional area of Dubai… the amazing desert. 

Desert safari on a layover

Sure, it doesn’t have the highest 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 pretty great. 

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 dunes. This is a great place for adventurous activities, like 4×4 wheel dune bashing, sandboarding, buggy rides, or hot air ballooning.

There is a lot to see in Dubai´s desert – even if it seems to be just about dunes.

The best place to have a BBQ? In the desert! It is romantic, fun (for people of all ages), and delicious (as an insatiable vegetarian, I feel confident enough to say so).

An evening in the desert (alone or with friends/family) would be a great way to end your Dubai trip. You can even book a hotel in the desert.

ATTRACTIONS TO SEE IN DUBAILAND

Dubailand probably doesn’t belong to Dubai´s most famous places – at least according to its name – but it is home to some main attractions.

Miracle Garden

If you have done some research on activities in Dubai, you will most likely have seen images of Miracle Garden.

Better place to visit in UAE

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 visiting. As the biggest flower park in the world, it is fun for the whole family.

50 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.  

Global Village

Close by is Global Village, which is another 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 IMG World of Adventure.

This giant indoor park is open all year long and is especially fun for kids and adults will enjoy it.

Okay, these are the best places to visit in Dubai – in my honest opinion. 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 places could take weeks – (find my ideal 7-day Dubai itinerary), if you have less time, I hope this guide helps you pick the perfect places for you. 

PIN ME FOR LATER – PLACES TO SEE IN DUBAI

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Epic places to visit in Dubai, UAE, Arzo Travels

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

What to Do in 3 or 4 Days in Dubai

Best things to do and see in Dubai in 3 or 4 days

THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI IN 3 OR 4 DAYS

Are you heading to Dubai soon and wondering about the best things to do in Dubai in 3 or 4 days? Then this post is for you. Whether you stay 3 or 4 days in Dubai, this post is a great itinerary that will help you plan your trip.

While you surely could see the main tourist attractions in only two days, three days in Dubai is a good amount of time to see a bit more of the city. And four days in Dubai is actually even better. I have four different day plans for you. You can skip around and change the dates, but I clustered the activities together to minimize the driving and time spent in the car.

The tips are a mix of my own personal favorite places and places that any Dubai visitor has to see at least once.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. THIS MEANS I MIGHT EARN A SMALL COMMISSION WHEN YOU BUY A PRODUCT/SERVICE (AT NO EXTRA COST TO YOU). MORE ABOUT IT HERE.

In this Dubai itinerary for 3 or 4 days, you will find out:

  • How to Get to Dubai
  • How to Get Around
  • Accommodations for 3 or 4 Nights / Days in Dubai
  • Best Time to Visit Dubai
  • More Travel Tips for Dubai in 3 or 4 Days
  • 3-Day and 4-Day Dubai Itinerary

Dubai 3 or 4 days, Arzo Travels

TRAVEL TIPS FOR 3 OR 4 DAYS IN DUBAI

Before discussing your 3-day and 4-day itinerary, here are also some travel tips for your Dubai trip.

How to Get to Dubai

Dubai has two airports. Most likely, you will fly into Dubai International Airport (DXB International)

  • From there, it takes about 10-15 minutes by taxi to get to the old town of Dubai and about 20 minutes to get to Burj Khalifa. Don’t be surprised to be stuck in traffic even at night – Dubai is always busy. 

Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) is the second biggest airport in the United Arab Emirates.

  • If you fly with Etihad Airways, you will most likely fly into Abu Dhabi.
  • It takes about an hour’s drive to get to Dubai (about 50-70€ taxi fare). 

How to Get Around in 3 or 4 Days in Dubai

RENT A CAR

  • If you are in Dubai for five days, you could actually rent a car. But I do not recommend it.
  • You should know that driving there, from my perspective, is a bit crazy.
  • There is traffic almost all the time (the streets are busy even at night), the people drive fast, like to honk their horns, and are a bit impatient.
  • You should have nerves of steel if you decide to drive, particularly around Downtown Dubai.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

  • If you like to use public transportation, I recommend getting an NOL card for public transportation. There is a one-time fee for it, but you can then recharge it. Public transportation fees are cheaper this way than if you buy single tickets each time. A ticket costs a bit more than 1€ with the NOL card (about 1.60€ without).
  • However, public transportation is not perfect. You can avoid the crazy traffic by taking the metro, which is great, but a) the metro lacks metro stops, so each stop is rather far from the last, b) the buses are not always well-connected for us travelers, so it is not easy to get from one popular station to another, and c) the metros can be stuffed with people.
  • While the air conditioning always works perfectly in the metro and the metro station, it is not the best feeling to be with so many people in such a small space, especially at peak times. I am, admittedly, a little claustrophobic, so if you are not, it should be fine.
  • I mostly take the metro for long distances. Especially for downtown. There is a lot of traffic, and getting around by cab can mean being stuck in it forever, so a metro ride can help you save time. Then I jump into a taxi for the shorter rides if there is no direct bus connection.

SIGHTSEEING BUS

  • Hop-on and hop-off buses are a great way to get from one popular tourist attraction to another – at least for some places (the ones I tested). They will not stop at each tourist attraction but at most.
  • There are two main sightseeing companies. They offer similar services, and there are just some minor differences.
  • The pass also includes a few cool attractions, so it saves money in addition to getting you from Point A to Point B.

Accommodations For 3 or 4 Nights / Days in Dubai

Accommodations in Dubai are not cheap, but the standard is quite high. If you are wondering where to stay in Dubai for 3 or 4 days, I suggest staying close to Dubai Downtown or Marina. If you are a beach person, choose a hotel close to JBR – Walk. However, these areas are also some of the most expensive ones. 

If you are looking for my personal recommendations for all budgets and areas, click here.

  • Dubai Marina: best place to stay if you prefer to be in a  lively part of Dubai, with the Marina close-by, restaurants and cafes are numerous, but the hotels do not have direct beach access. However, you are quite close to several attractions. My favorite hotel in Marina is this 5-star Hotel: Grosvenor House in Dubai
  • JBR Walk: a lovely area with many restaurants and shops, most hotels have beach access, it is also close to Dubai Marina and Madinat Jumeirah. Check out the4-star Resort: JA Ocean View Hotel Dubai.
  • A nice 3-star budget hotel is Ibis Al Barsha (not perfectly located, but it offers good value for money and is still quite close to Dubai Marina.

Money Tips For Your Dubai Trip

  • Currency: Dirham. However, € and $ are often accepted. I mostly used credit cards and had some change for smaller amounts and tips in Dirham.
  • Tip: If you dine, the tip is often included in the bill (10%), have a look at the receipt. If it is not included, I always tip about 10%  (I always make sure to tip taxi drivers and hotel housekeeping, too).
  • Dubai is expensive. Accommodation, for example, is costly. However, you can buy food in some malls (food courts) or small street shops and do affordable activities. Here is my full budget travel guide to Dubai

Best Time to Visit Dubai for 3 or 4 Days

  • I do not recommend visiting during the summer (May – September). It gets really hot and unpleasant in the summer months. If you enjoy the heat, if you really, really enjoy the heat, visit Dubai between May and September. If you enjoy some warm months without the heat, then visit between late November and February.
  • Check also for the fasting time (Ramadan) because life is different during Ramadan when many activities cannot be done (also, alcohol is less available).

More Travel Tips for Dubai in 3 or 4 Days

WHAT TO DO IN 3 DAYS IN DUBAI ITINERARY

Let´s start with the 3-day Dubai itinerary.

Day 1: Downtown Dubai and La Mer

Many of the places I mention for this day are actually the main tourist attractions and must-see places.

La Mer – Around 10 am

La Mer is a popular place in Dubai and is located in the Jumeirah area. It is a beachfront with many retail stores, stylish restaurants and cafes, the coolest bathhouses, and friendly and fun street art.

Fun day at the beach

It is a great way to get adjusted to Dubai. 

  • With only 3 days in Dubai, I suggest staying at La Mer for just 2-3 hours.
  • There are sooooo many restaurants that you will definitely find something to your tastes.
  • See some amazing street art – bring your camera.
  • HOW TO GET TO LA MER: You can get to La Mer via RTA Buses 9 and 88. Taking a taxi/uber is another way to get here. If you arrive there by car, you have free underground parking. If you have a City Sightseeing hop-on and hop-off ticket, you can get off at Jumeirah Mosque and only have to walk two minutes to arrive at La Mer.
  • OPENING HOURS/PRICES: La Mer is open every day, and there is no entrance fee. The shops are normally open between 10 am to 10, 11 or 12 pm.
  • Click here to read more about this fun part of Dubai.

Burj Khalifa – Around 1 pm

It doesn’t matter where you are in Dubai – you will always see it. I am talking about the highest building in the world: Burj Khalifa.  Dubai in 2 daysThe very uniquely shaped building is one of the main tourist magnets of the city. And while you might think it is enough to see it from a distance, I recommend getting very close to it. Actually, I recommend getting to the top of Burj Khalifa.

But let‘s focus on the main attractions here. As mentioned, the highest building in the world is a must-see. 7 days in Dubai - best vintage pointsFrom the top (level 124 & 125, and level 148), you have the most unique views. On the one hand, you will see Dubai Fountain and Dubai Mall underneath you. On the other hand, the view will remind you that Dubai is surrounded by desert – actually, a long time ago, Dubai was a desert itself.

While I truly recommend visiting the top of Burj Khalifa, I also suggest buying tickets in advance. I have been to the top several times and was happy that I had bought my tickets online beforehand. 

The lines to buy a ticket were crazy. But even with an online ticket, you have to queue for some time. But that will be nothing compared to how long you have to wait in line if you buy a ticket that day. Also, tickets may sell out during the busy times of the high season.

  • You have to enter Burj Khalifa via Dubai Mall.
  • The trip should take between 2-3 hours.

Get your tickets here (I normally buy tickets via GYG because of their generous cancellation policy).

Dubai Mall – Around 4 PM

I am not that into shopping, but Dubai Mall is really something. You should add this mall to your 3-day Dubai itinerary. It is crazy, it is unreal, and it is busy. What attractions in Dubai Mall

My favorite area is Fashion Avenue, the luxury department section of the mall. It is less crowded and very fancy. And the public restrooms are the most luxurious I have ever seen. I’m not talking about restrooms in luxury hotels, these are public toilets for anyone to use.

If you prefer more casual toilets and shops, there are also more affordable shops and stores (and restaurants). The food court has the cheapest food options.

  • From the mall, you can get to Burj Khalifa’s entrance and other sights like Dubai Ice Rink or Dubai Aquarium.
  • Yes, the mall is fun but I would not spend more than 2-3 hours in there.
  • Try to avoid Dubai Mall on a Friday. Especially in the afternoons, it gets unbelievably busy.
  • HOW TO GET TO DUBAI MALL: You can get to Dubai Mall by metro/bus. If you get off at “Dubai Mall Metro Station,” either take another bus that drops you off at the mall or walk about one more kilometer to get into Dubai Mall.  Sightseeing buses also stop in front of Dubai Mall.
  • OPENING HOURS DUBAI MALL / PRICES: Dubai Mall is open from 10 am to 1 am. Restaurants and the food court are open to 2 am. There is no entrance fee for the mall itself, but you have to pay for the ice-skating rink, etc.

Dubai Fountain – Around 6 pm

The Dubai Fountain is located just next to the mall and in front of Burj Khalifa. It looks like a giant pool with water that I´d like to jump into – but laws are strict in Dubai, so it’s better to only look.

Water Fountain Show in front of Dubai Mall @shutterstock
@shutterstock

There are free dancing water shows daily for you to enjoy. Be warned: There are always crowds.

If you can, try to get a good view from the Apple Store in Dubai Mall. This is a popular spot and, thus, many want to enjoy the view from there, but there is a limited number of people allowed on the balcony. Be prepared to wait in line.

The bridge to the souk is another popular spot to watch the dancing water show, but you can also stand next to the mall or see it from one of the numerous cafes and restaurants.

You can also book an abra ride (water taxi) and enjoy the water show without all the crowds.

In the evenings, there are often LED shows on Burj Khalifa. THIS is spectacular. However, I haven’t found a reliable schedule for the light shows, but you will be amazed if you are lucky and get to witness one.

  • Each show just takes about 2-4 minutes. Shows take place every 30 minutes after 6 pm. Check out the times here.
  • That being said, my main advice is to NOT visit on a Friday. Friday is the Sunday of the Islamic world. But people get out and get crazy. Seriously, the mall is crowded, and so is everything else. For Fridays, I would suggest a day out.
  • HOW TO GET TO DUBAI FOUNTAIN: There is a metro station (Dubai Mall station), and many buses go there. You could reach the fountain even without entering Dubai Mall (e.g., coming from Dubai Opera), but if you are at Dubai Mall, you will see signs that lead you to the fountain as well.

Stroll Dubai Downtown – After 9 pm

Downtown Dubai is a busy district with a lot of (luxury) shops, (luxury) hotels, and weird little things I have never really understood, like the bananas and other statues. However, it is beautiful – especially when it gets dark and everything is illuminated!

Dubai evenings are long – so even after 9 pm, everything is open and busy!

Day 2 in Dubai – Souk and Desert Safari

This day is the perfect get a complete picture of Dubai as you visit the old part of the city. Dubai Deira is the ideal place to explore souks (markets), and thus, it is a must-see in 3 days in Dubai.

Gold and Spice Souk – Around 10 am

Have you heard of the famous gold souks? You will find them here, and yes, it is true: There is gold…a lot of gold! Gold Souk in Dubai points of interest

Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or DubaiBesides the gold, you can buy souvenirs, (traditional) clothes, rugs, and more in this part of Dubai for a much lower price than in the malls. Where to buy cheap things in DubaiYou should also take the opportunity to ride an abra – a typical water taxi that gets you from one side of the creek to the other (for just 0.25€). This is a traditional and local way of exploring the city. 

  • HOW TO GET TO THE GOLD/SPICE SOUK:
  • Catch a metro and get to Burjuman and then change metro lines and get to Al Ras, and then you just have to walk for a few minutes.
  • You can also take a taxi/Uber or use the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing buses, which drop you off at the souks.
  • OPENING HOURS / TICKETS:
  • It is free to visit the souks and you could visit at any time. However, most shops are open every day from around 9:30-10 am to 9:30 pm. On Fridays, the shops open after 4 pm and are open until around 9:30 pm.
  • EXTRA TIP: DUBAI MUSEUM. If you want to learn more about Dubai and its history, I recommend visiting Dubai Museum.
  • It is an interesting but often crowded museum in Deira that illustrates Dubai’s history in an engaging way.
  • Entrance fees are just about 1€, and it is probably the best museum in Dubai.
  • From the souks, it is just an abra ride away.

This is a fun but stressful first few hours of the day. So, I recommend heading back to your hotel to get ready for another Dubai highlight! A desert safari.

Desert Safari – Around 3 pm

A desert safari is an amazing way to discover the desert. This part is one of my favorites, and I am sure you will enjoy it, too, because it is one of the best activities for your 3-day Dubai itinerary. If you book the evening safari tour, you will be picked up around 3 pm from your hotel before heading out to the desert.

The tours vary slightly, but most include wild dune-bashing in the desert, then heading to a recreated, traditional camp.

Dining in the desert while watching the stars and a belly dancing show is one of the most unique and best experiences in Dubai. If someone told me they stayed in Dubai for three or four days and had not taken such a tour, I would assume they were crazy. If you are on a budget and only spend money on one activity, I would spend it here). 

This is probably the best way to spend time away from all the modern parts of Dubai.

Find the best desert safari tour for your trip.

Day 3 in Dubai – Madinat Jumeirah, Marina, and JBR Walk 

This day (whether it is your first, second, third, or fourth day) can be all about the new and modern parts of Dubai. This is the beautiful thing: there are so many different areas and neighborhoods that you will not get bored in 3 days in Dubai.

Here are three entertaining and pretty areas that are just waiting to be explored. If you only have time to see one for whatever reason, I suggest visiting Marina. However, it is even better if you can visit all three of them.

Morning in Madinat Jumeirah. Later that day at JBR Walk. And the evening in Dubai Marina.

Madinat Jumeirah – Around 10 am

You can start with Madinat Jumeirah. It is a popular and luxurious recreational area in the souks. You cannot compare it with the old town of Dubai and its souks – this one is way fancier and less authentic. However, I still love it. What to do in Dubai on a layover

If you stroll the souk and then the canal, you will have a view of Burj al-Arab, the most famous luxury hotel in the world. 

You will then see the souk and the luxury hotel. However, if you want to get into Burj al-Arab, you have to be an overnight guest or have a written reservation for one of the restaurants. But that should not stop you from visiting the area – there are plenty of other attractions.

  • HOW TO GET TO MADINAT JUMEIRAH: You can take a bus from several places in Dubai Downtown. Sightseeing buses also stop here. There is no metro stop near Madinat Jumeirah.
  • OPENING HOURS: Shops are open from 10:00 am to 11 pm, and restaurants are open from 08:00 am to 02:00 am.

JBR Walk – Around 12 pm

In between Madinat Jumeirah and Dubai Marina is JBR The Walk. This is a fun place, especially for beach lovers and families. JBR Walk - The Beach Dubai--3The free, public beach is perfect for water activities – adults and kids alike will love it. Also, there are some activities, like the Flying Cup, and playgrounds. This is actually a great place for the daytime – it is busy, fun, and enjoyable. Close by you will also find a Ferris wheel to enjoy nice views from.

You can bring your own picnic or enjoy lunch/dinner in one of the numerous restaurants or cafes. 

  • HOW TO GET TO JBR: Take the metro – JLT Metro Station or Dubai Marina Metro Station are the closest metro stations. From there, either walk or take the tram to get to JBR.
  • OPENING HOURS / PRICES: Shops normally open around 10 am and are open until 10 pm. Restaurants usually close later. 

So, personally, all three places are good to visit either in the day or night, so I can‘t make the final decision which one to visit when, but this might be a great solution.

Dubai Marina – Around 6 pm

As mentioned, if you don’t have time to explore all of these areas, don’t skip the Marina. This is a wonderful example of the modern part of Dubai. Dubai Marina at nigt from Pier 7The density of skyscrapers is insane. Walk along the promenade, and you might have neck pain after a while because you will have to look up all the time. If you enjoy fancy yacht trips, this is also the place to be. Though I have never been to Florida, the Marina reminds me of it.

There are a ton of restaurants and bars. For a great view, I recommend having dinner/lunch in one of the restaurants on Pier 7.

  • HOW TO GET TO DUBAI MARINA: Take the metro – Dubai Marina Metro Station is the closest metro station or ask the taxi driver to drop you off at Marina Mall
  • OPENING HOURS / PRICES: It is open 24/7, but shops normally open around 10 am and are open until 10 pm. Restaurants normally close later. 

What to Do in Dubai in 4 Days – 4-Day Itinerary

Here are more places to see in Dubai in 4 days.

Day 4 in Dubai: Abu Dhabi, Oman, or Theme Park

I suggest a day trip to one of the places below. Of course, you could also squeeze it into your 3-day itinerary, but if you have 4 days in Dubai, it will be more relaxed to do so.

TIP: If you leave on day 4, do the day trip on day 2 or 3. It can always happen that you will be stuck for some unforeseeable reasons. Especially if your plane leaves early, you want to be 100% to be on time at the airport.

Abu Dhabi – Start Around 7:30 – 8 am

For a 4-day Dubai itinerary, I recommend doing a day trip outside of Dubai.

I have a few ideas, and the first is to visit the beautiful capital of the United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabimost beautiful place in Abu DhabiThe city is located about 100 km from Dubai and makes for a great day trip. You can get there by bus (though it is tricky and complicated to use this mode of transportation), taxi, rent your own car, or take a guided tour.

In Abu Dhabi, there are quite a few places to see. One of the most beautiful places is the Grand Zayed Mosque. This mosque is synonymous with beauty, symmetry, and perfection. I have never seen a more beautiful building than this.

The mosque is free to visit, and it is open to non-Muslims. For non-Muslims, Fridays are not a good day to visit, and neither are Islamic bank holidays. You have to dress very conservatively. Women should wear a scarf over their heads and bodies fully covered, men with their legs and shoulders covered when visiting the mosque. Check out my post on the Grand Mosque for more info.

After a visit, you will have time to head to the Emirates Palace or the Corniche, the beautiful promenade in Abu Dhabi with beach access. For the city’s best views, head to the Emirates Towers and see Abu Dhabi from above.

This will be a fun day trip from Dubai, and you will have a great third or fourth day in the Emirates. Check out my more detailed guide on what to do in Abu Dhabi in one day.

Oman – Start Around 7 am

Oman is also a great day trip from Dubai. While I enjoyed my trip, I want to say, in all honesty, that getting from Dubai to Oman was really stressful. Arzo Travels in OmanYou might end up sitting on a bus, and you need to be patient (crossing borders is not difficult but time-consuming). If you are patient, then a day trip to Musandam-Oman is a great way to spend a day.

You will get a good first glimpse of Oman (which might make you hungry for more) – this includes a fun boat tour, some water sports activities, and a local buffet on the boat.

While it was stressful, I loved seeing Oman for a day. Check out my guide on a day trip from Dubai to Oman.

Theme Parks – Start Around 9 am

Dubai is home to many theme parks. Personally, I would opt for a day trip to Abu Dhabi or Oman, but of course, taste differs, especially if you visit with younger ones – or if you love theme parks and roller coasters yourself, the theme parks might be better.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON VISITING DUBAI FOR 3 OR 4 DAYS

As you can see, there are many different things to do and see. So, whether you stay 3 or 4 days in Dubai, hopefully, this post has helped plan your 3- or 4-day Dubai itinerary.

Dubai is a good destination for solo travelers, couples, families, and a friend´s getaway. It offers a nice mix of modernity and tradition. You can make it as luxurious as you want but also travel on a budget to Dubai. Check out my Dubai budget post for more info!

I hope, you will have a wonderful trip!Safe Travels, Arzo

 

BEST DUBAI DAY TOURS – CITY & SAFARI EXCURSIONS

Best tours in Dubai - which tours are best in dubai

BEST TOURS IN DUBAI TO BOOK

Are you heading to Dubai and wondering about the best Dubai tours? Then find out about fun day tours from Dubai that are worth the money.

No matter how often I visit Dubai, I always find new places and more things to do; I never actually get bored.

It almost feels like home to me, and whenever I hear people saying, “Dubai is boring” and “there is not much to do and see,” I almost feel offended. Of course, people could discuss many things, but Dubai being boring surely is not the case.

So, before you think there are only malls and skyscrapers, I have listed my favorite and the best tours in Dubai.

By the way: I have also listed the best places to stay in Dubai and the 50 best things to do in Dubai..

Here are the top tours in Dubai that are worth your money!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means 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. 

Dubai Mall at night

HOW TO BOOK TOURS IN DUBAI

I normally book tours via GetYourGuide. I love GetYourGuide because you can normally cancel tours and activities up to 24 hours in advance without any cancellation fee – this is especially great because we never know what might happen (that is out of our control). And you often do not have this option when booking with tour agencies directly – not even when you book with the best tour operator for Dubai.

So, the top Dubai tours are normally offered via GetYourGuide and because I use them (and pay for the tours myself) I recommend them and have linked to them in this post. 

BEST EXCURSIONS IN DUBAI

Here they are, some of the best Dubai tours and excursions.

DESERT SAFARI in Dubai

One of the best guided Dubai day trips is a desert safari.Best tours in Dubai

If you go to Dubai and skip the desert, you are missing out! The desert is not only extremely picturesque but also a lot of fun. It almost does not matter what tour you do – a Dubai desert trip should be on your itinerary.

Of course, it plays a role in what you personally like and what tour you book. So, here are my favorite desert safaris in Dubai.

DUNE BASHING AND BBQ 

If you want to do something different, book a dune bashing Dubai tour, including BBQ.

There are many different tour operators, and many tours are similar. However, some tour packages and services differ slightly. Some pricier tours have complimentary alcoholic drinks included with the BBQ, while others only offer soft drinks and water, for instance.

Typically, you will be picked up from your hotel, and then you head to the desert and start with some dune dashing – The dune bashing part is fun!

After a few minutes of dune bashing in a 4×4 (including some photo stops), you will have a nice dinner in the desert (in a traditional Arabic camp) and can get some henna paintings and watch a belly dance show.

More desert safari tours: If you prefer a more active tour in the desert, book one that offers sandboarding or a tour where you can drive a buggy.

As for the best desert safari tour operator in Dubai, I recommend GetYourGuide yet again. There are several options so that everyone can find the best Dubai desert safari tour for their own needs.

Desert safaris often are not full-day Dubai tours but take about 4-10 hours.

BURJ KHALIFA TOUR

Okay, though I mentioned at the beginning that it is not only about skyscrapers, I cannot ignore the fact that the tallest building in the world is in Dubai: Burj Khalifa. And to be honest, getting “to the top of Burj Khalifa” is pretty fun and a must Dubai excursion.

7 days in Dubai - best vintage points

Plan in a few hours for this activity. You should definitely book your ticket in advance – the lines are crazy most of the time, and even with a ticket, you might have to stand in line.

I have been at the top three times and probably will visit again. Burj Khalifa, 828 meters high, offers tickets for level 124+125 or level 148.

With the latter ticket, you can visit all three levels. You can also skip all the lines and go to the top quickly, so it saves time, but it’s much more expensive. The view is slightly better, but if you are in no rush or on a budget, then the view from level 124+125 is just fine.

More tours of Dubai – Burj Khalifa: If you would like to combine your Burj Khalifa tour with a lovely dinner (or lunch), you can get a combo ticket for Burj Khalifa and a meal. You will find two different restaurants inside the building where you can get these tickets.

I booked one of them myself, and it was definitely worth the money. Check out my Burj Khalifa guide for more information.

OMAN TOUR – MUSANDAM DAY TRIP FROM DUBAI

A trip to Musandam, Oman, from Dubai, is a fun activity and one of the best-guided tours in Dubai (or better from Dubai). However, this is not for those who dislike longer bus rides because it is a full-day trip from Dubai.Best Dubai tours

The Musandam Governorate is a mountainous Omani peninsula projecting into the Strait of Hormuz, separated from the rest of the country by the United Arab Emirates.

It takes a few hours to get to Musandam, but once you are on a dhow (traditional wood boat), you can relax and unwind (especially after some busy time in Dubai).

Though the drive was too long for my taste, and the water in Oman quite dirty (petrol in the water, I am not sure if that is something Musandam constantly struggles with), I enjoyed the trip and think it is overall great value for money. While I don’t want to say everything was perfect (it is time-consuming), I recommend this tour as it gives you a small glimpse of a different country.

You have several tour operators, but the services are similar.

ABU DHABI DAY TRIP FROM DUBAI

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a beautiful day trip destination from Dubai. If you do not rent a car and drive yourself, I recommend going on an organized tour, as taxi costs add up and you need a taxi in Abu Dhabi to get to several main tourist attractions.Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi Emirates

Of course, you have to book a tour that includes a trip to the majestic and fantastic mosque – Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi!

The most beautiful building in the world is the main attraction in Abu Dhabi – unlike most mosques in Dubai, this one is also open to non-Muslims. So, you can visit it and explore many parts of the mosque on your own.

Make sure not to book your tour on a Friday or on a religious bank holiday, as the mosque is closed for visitors.

However, there are different day tours from Dubai to Abu Dhabi – some combine a trip to Abu Dhabi downtown, the big Ferrari theme park, or the quiet new Louvre museum. So, when you book your tour to Abu Dhabi, check out carefully which sights will be visited.

Here are some popular day trips from Dubai.

SHARJAH TRIP FROM DUBAI

One of the top Dubai activities – though not very popular – is a trip to Sharjah. The lovely city bordering Dubai (depending on your location, it might take only 20 minutes to get to the city center) makes a great day trip. Sharjah has quickly won me over! Trips from Dubai

I preferred the quietness and calm compared to Dubai– and it is green! But there are more to see than the green parks, exciting shopping malls (though much quieter than in Dubai), a beautiful promenade, and a water fountain show  – Sharjah is the smaller version of Dubai (in green!).

However, if you want to have a night out and enjoy a few drinks – Sharjah is not for you as drinking is forbidden and more conservative than Dubai in general.

Book yourself a tour to see the most exciting tourist attractions in Sharjah. And with a trip to Sharjah, you have also visited another Emirate (it is not only a city but also an Emirate).

I actually recommend staying longer than a day, but it is a top tour if you are in Dubai for a shorter time – here are some tours that will show you Sharjah in a nutshell

DUBAI WATER PARKS

Water parks in Dubai are very popular – apparently, people enjoy some time in the water on warm days.

I am not a water park person, but I visited both of the most famous water parks in the UAE, and it was fun – both times. So, I want to say that water parks in Dubai can be fun even if you are not into water parks. And if you are, you will love it!Wild Wali park with kids in Dubai

Whether you book a tour to Wild Wadi Waterpark, which belongs to the Jumeirah group (and so it comes with a view of the Burj al Arab, the most famous hotel in the world), or a tour to Aquaventure, which belongs to the Atlantis Hotel on the Palm (and so it comes with a view of the Atlantis Hotel); both are places where you can easily spend a day.

They are perfect for hot days and the “chilly” ones (as it never gets really cold in Dubai).

If you are on a budget, I recommend bringing your snacks & drinks, and towels as these are expensive renting, but if you don’t have a tight budget, also book one of the cabanas and enjoy a day in the waterparks.

Kids traveling to Dubai will love either one, but they are both great for people of all ages. You have tons of slides, pools, and other water activities you can do there.

BOAT TOURS IN DUBAI

If you have been following my stories on Instagram, you will realize how much I am into boat tours… and how often I hop on a boat.Where to stay in Dubai for all budgets - Atlantis

Any kind of water transportation is great for me. Tour Dubai in a boat. It’s perfect for several reasons:

Boat tours are fun. And they allow you to do Dubai sightseeing the easy way. They offer you the best breeze on a hot day (and there are many of those hot days in Dubai).

So, these are just some of the reasons why they are my favorite activities in a city of superlatives – if you book the right tours, you can even spend a romantic time on the boat, including a dinner – or you do a fast speedboat tour. The choices are endless.

Here are some of my favorite boat tours for you.

DUBAI CITY TOURS

Dubai is a huge city! I know this is not new to most people, but getting around and seeing the most interesting places can be daunting. 

Some of the popular places are spread out and far from each other, so it takes time and nerve to get from point A to point B (you might spend quite a lot of time stuck in traffic).

Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or Dubai

As mentioned earlier, it is not only about the malls and skyscrapers; but if you have a limited amount of time (let’s say less than two days), you should consider booking a city tour. 

This will allow you to be shown around, see several of the hot spots in Dubai easily.

Taxis and public transportation are pretty affordable in Dubai. Still, prices add up, and a tour might be even cheaper than hopping on taxis or the metro/bus, depending on the places you want to see and learn about the history of the city or at least the history of certain parts of Dubai.

WRAPPING UP DUBAI DAY TOURS

Taking a Dubai trip is well worth the money as there’s an overwhelming number of places to visit.

All there’s left to do is pack for your trip to Dubai. I hope this post has helped you to find the perfect tour and excursions in Dubai for your trip! Enjoy!

And if you are still looking to fix your Dubai itinerary?

Safe Travels, Arzo

 

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