See also: Where to stay in Dubai
While reading this list, you will realize how Dubai is the world’s most overambitious and determined city owing to the fact most of the locations either happen to be the world’s largest or the world’s biggest. Dubai either goes big or goes home and this is exactly what your trip should look like. Don’t be afraid to over-indulge or make your wallets significantly lighter because this city loves its modernity, its gold and most of all, its zeal to live life, king size. Here is a list of more than 30 things to do during your trip to Dubai:
Stand Tall at the Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa has long been touted as the world’s largest building and its magnificence is known world over but most people aren’t aware that it is a mixed use building and the T-shaped design is made to accommodate residential and office spaces. This skyscraper is the most visited site of Dubai by tourists and the main features are the view of the stunning Dubai fountain and the observation deck which is called ‘At the top’ from where you can see spectacular views of the city.
Feel the Bumps During the Desert Safari
The desert safari in Dubai is considered to be a must in almost everyone’s travel list and once you experience it, you will know why. A visitor can book from among the many tours available online and choose the one to their liking keeping in mind the price range and the type. You can book a morning, an evening or an overnight safari where you get the options of a dinner in the dessert as well as watching energetic belly dancers in the middle of nowhere.
Experience Luxury at Dhow Marina Dinner Cruise
The dhow is a wooden Arabic boat which was used in the earlier days for pearl diving but today, they are a common sight on the Dubai Marina canal situated on the shore of the Arabian Gulf which is a man-made oasis. Here, you will be surrounded by the glittering lights of the cityscape while eating dinner with your loved ones inside a luxury cruise. The cruise serves intercontinental food and boasts of a fine-dining gourmet experience unlike any other you’ve ever experienced before.
Dive Deep at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Dubai always does things large and this is evidenced by their amazing aquarium which includes several fascinating features such as the tank which contains 140 species of aquatic animals including the largest collection of Sand tiger sharks and the aquarium tunnel which is 48 meter long. Their underwater zoo is home to the Piranha, Lionfish, Otters and the Humboldt penguin. Here, you can also feed a shark, go cage snorkeling and take a dive with Sharks, at your own risk.
Fast and Furious at Ferrari World
If you feel the need for speed, then you must visit the indoor amusement park called Ferrari world and spend a day in the world’s first Ferrari themed park. The park includes the world’s fastest rollercoaster called formula rossa and the tyre twist which will keep you spinning. There is also the RC challenge where you have to navigate remote control cars in water ways as well as Nello’s adventure land which is a play area meant for kids.
Dance Away at the Bollywood Parks
This is the world’s first theme park dedicated to the legendary film industry based in Mumbai, India and contains 5 distinct zones which include live performances, rides inspired by cinema and stage performances. There are zones made for some of the biggest blockbusters of Bollywood such as Dabbang, Sholay, Mughal-e-azam, Lagaan and Krrish. The park also has a grand parade as well as many dining areas and gift shops for the visitor to enjoy.
Visit a City of Flowers at the Miracle Garden
The Dubai miracle garden stays true to its name and could be called the most beautiful and extravagant flower park in the entire world. The best features of the park are the floral clock which is designed to look like a clock with a mechanical arrow which changes with the seasons and a large Mickey Mouse made out of real flowers as well as a 12 meter high Teddy bear. The Lost paradise is 20 feet underground and has houses and bungalows made out of real plants and flowers.
Spend a day at the Palm Jumeirah
The palm Jumeirah is a man-made archipelago which is designed in the shape of a palm tree and is situated on the Arabian Gulf. This is a tourist’s paradise owing to the number of exciting places one can visit here such as the Atlantis which is a five-star hotel and eat at the Friday fork and cork at Crescendo as well as take a speed boat ride cruising around the Palm Jumeirah. You also have the options of either relaxing at the Chic beach club or feeling your adrenaline rush while going skydiving.
Fun Never Ends at IMG Worlds of Adventure
Seems as though your adrenaline rush while at Dubai is not going to stop anytime soon because of the world’s largest indoor theme park. Here, there is joy in abundance as it contains different zones such as Marvel, lost valley, cartoon network, IMG Boulevard and NOVO cinemas. There are also many noteworthy restaurants such as Tony’s sky deck, downtown shawarma and Chang’s golden dragon.
Greet a Dolphin at the Dolphinarium
There is nothing more joyous than spending a day with friendly Dolphins and especially, if it’s at the Dubai Dolphinarium which is a state-of-the-art facility. Here, you can attend the Dolphin and Seal show which showcases these animals juggling, dancing and playing ball with the help of their trainers as well as the Creek Park exotic bird show where you will be amazed at the bird’s intelligence level. Lastly, you get to not only meet the lovely Dolphins but also, swim with them.
Defy Gravity at IFLY
If you are too scared to experience skydiving in its traditional state then, Ifly is the place for you. People say you need wings to fly but not here because this is an indoor skydiving experience which will lift you to four meters high and give you the same adrenaline rush as a normal skydiving exercise. You can also fly for a longer duration than the traditional method due to its artificial facility where you can finally, defy gravity.
Become a Psuedo Surfer at Laguna Waterpark
The Laguna water Park is an extravagant amusement location perfect for a day with your family. There are innumerous rides and activities that a visitor can enjoy here such as the WaterOz 180 flow rider which is the ultimate surf machine and the astounding infinity pool accompanied by its own swim-up bar. The other rides here are called the constrictor, the manta, the loop, freefall, lazy river and the mad racer.
Bring a Camera to the Dubai Frame
Dubai’s achievement in architecture is evidenced by its mammoth photo frame which has a 360 degree vantage point from where you can witness the beauty of the old Deira town as well as the dunes of the Arabian Desert. The bridge which connects the two vertical towers at the top of the frame also has a clear glass bridge which will give you the unbelievable feeling of walking on thin air. Though, this isn’t recommended for anyone who suffers from acrophobia or is prone to the feeling of vertigo.
Turn Back the Clock at Musandam
Even though Musandam is a two hour ride from the city but it is worth it, in every sense considering it is in Omani territory but has close proximity to Dubai. The tour of Musandam will take you to the historic villages of Khasab and Bukha where you will learn about the history and culture of the area as well as tour the Limestone Mountains and the red Hajar Mountains. You can take a ride on a dhow cruise and sail into the stunning fjords as well as go for canoeing and swimming.
Witness the Magic at Dubai Garden Glow
The Dubai garden glow is open for a few months in the year and has been started recently in the year 2015 with the help of over 500 eminent craftsmen, architects and engineers. The glow garden has live musical shows and performances from the best talents of UAE as well as an educational zone for children to learn about art. The Dubai garden glow provides an interactive experience to its visitors which will leave them amazed.
Eat Like a Local at the Khan Murjan Restaurant
The Khan Murjan restaurant promises an authentic Arabic dining experience which includes the most delicious grilled meats and other dishes inspired by Middle Eastern, Arabic and Mediterranean cuisines. It is situated inside Wafi mall and has architecture of Egyptian, Syrian, Turkish and Moroccan origins. The astounding features of this place include a water wheel in the center, marble flooring and an open sky spot for visitors to enjoy while sipping the exquisite Moroccan tea.
Feel Tropical at the Green Planet
Even thought Dubai’s geographical location prompts it to have a dry existence but the architectures of this marvelous city have created a bio-dome which makes for the city’s very own tropical rainforest. The green planet is divided into four parts such as the canopy, the midstory, the forest floor and the flooded rainforest as well as artificial pathways which take you around the serene waterfalls. This green oasis has 3,000 species of flora and fauna which include snakes, spiders, birds and sloths. There are numerous eateries surrounding the area which a visitor can choose from.
Check out Ski Dubai
Ski Dubai is an indoor ski facility situated inside the Mall of Emirates and staying true to its form maintains a negative temperature of -1 to 2 degrees Celsius throughout the year. It caters to skiers of all levels with its 5 distinct slopes ranging from the beginner and going to the advanced level. There is an adjoining snow park which has towers, sled routes and ice caves as well as a ski lift which ferries people around. Ski Dubai also contains the world’s first indoor black diamond run for those who crave an extra layer of adventure.
Treat Yourself at the Burj Al Arab
If you’re looking for the ultimate Emirati royal experience then, you must be willing to part with a hefty amount of your money to book a room in one of the most iconic hotels of the world, Burj Al Arab. It is designed in the shape of a sail and is built on a man-made island. Not only is there a helipad on top of the building but also an underwater aquarium restaurant coupled with the breathtaking views of the city from your hotel room. The Burj Al Arab is worth every cent especially when the interiors are made of gold.
Learn About Islamic Culture at the Jumeirah Mosque
The Jumeirah mosque is one of the most frequented places of the city due to its magnificent white stone building and twin minarets with a large dome which was built in the year 1976. The mosque has an ‘open door, open minds’ policy where you can admire the building with ease and also learn about Islamic culture at Sheikh Mohammad center for cultural understanding. There are guided tours for non-Muslim visitors where questioning is welcome and there are sample Arabic snacks for you to try such as dates and coffee.
The Biggest of All, the Mall of Emirates
Considering this mall is situated in the over-ambitious city of Dubai, it has to claim the title for the largest mall in the world and this is evidenced by the fact it houses more than 630 of the world’s biggest brands including Missoni, Chanel, Burberry, Prada, Tom Ford and Kate Spade to name a few. The mall of Emirates also contains the tourist favorite Ski Dubai as well as the magic planet. Some of the best restaurants here are common grounds and Din Tai Fung. You can also catch a movie screening at the humongous VOX cinema complex.
Visit the Dubai Museum
The Dubai museum is situated in the oldest existing building of this city, the Al Fahidi fort built in the year 1787 but the museum was opened by the ruler of Dubai many decades later in the year 1971. In a place where everything is moving ten steps ahead from the rest of the world, this museum is a shrine which preserves the old and traditional way of living by the resilient Emirati people. The museum contains various artifacts from Asian and African countries as well as local antiquities and dioramas showcasing the evolution of this Arab nation.
Marvel in Surprise at the Dubai Fountain
Imagine this scene for me, you’re standing at the foot of the Dubai mall and the world’s tallest performing fountain is shooting 20,000 gallons of water in the air at a height of 140 meter and suddenly a mesmerizing symphony begins to play and captivating lights color the translucent water, you look at the wondrous scene while a gust of wind crashes across your face. Simply put, the Dubai fountain cannot be missed.
Old is Gold at the Al Bastakiya Quarters
The Al Bastakiya quarters also known as the Al Fahidi historical neighborhood will take you away from the glitz and glamour of the man-made wonder that is Dubai. Instead of fine-dining restaurants, five star hotels and expensive international brands you will encounter the old world of Dubai with its narrow cobbled pathways, black coral houses and rustic souvenir shops. The Al Bastakiya quarters will teach you all about the history and culture of a Dubai not generally seen by visitors and tourists.
Visit the Underground Art Scene at Alserkal Avenue
The Alserkal Avenue is situated in the Al Quoz area of this city and is by far, the most contemporary space for local artist and young adults. The Avenue is home to approximately 35 galleries where you can find work by artists from Syria, South Asia, Turkey, Middle East and beyond. You can also visit the Salsali private museum which houses Middle Eastern art as well as a shop which sells edgy and quirky furniture called the odd piece. There are numerous eateries such as the Mirzam chocolate factory and the Appetite café.
Entertainment at Its Finest, the Dubai Opera
The Dubai Opera’s architecture is considered as an achievement in contemporary design for its ‘flat floor’ structure which is multi-purpose and can be used for operas, dance performances, plays, orchestras, live entertainment, concerts, conferences and galleries among many others. There is a seating of 2,000 people in the opera and currently, the have film in concert for Gladiator and the musical broken wings playing just to name a few. There is also a rooftop restaurant and sky garden from where you can view the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai fountain.
Go on a Shopping Spree at the City Walk
City walk is a number of individual yet interconnected buildings which contain a number of shops, restaurants and activity areas and is extremely family friendly. The places to shop here include the high street brands such as Michael Kors, Cavalli, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and DVF. There are numerous places to eat such as Sapori Di Bice, Farzi café, serendipity 3 and Eshak. You can also catch a movie at the Roxy cinema or have fun gaming at the hub zero.
Have a Picnic at Zabeel Park
Zabeel Park is one of the largest parks in Dubai and is well known for the Dubai frame which is situated here as well as its intensive focus on the technology based green spaces which divide the park into four parts such as the alternative energy zone, communications zone and the techno zone. Families come here to spend a day outside listening to live music, eating barbequed food and enjoying serene boat rides. You can also get some exercise by playing sports such as cricket and skating.
Empty Your Pockets at the Gold Souk
Here, all that glitters is gold. The gold souk has become one of the most iconic places of Dubai for its narrow lanes which sell gold in mammoth quantity in the form of jewelry and bullion bars. As a tourist, you should know that there are two prices for the same product which are the uniform market price and the second is the negotiated price. Remember to carry some cash with you along with your cards because some shopkeepers still keep with the traditional method of payment. The gold souk does not pretend to be fancy or ‘high street’ but retains its authentic fervor.
The Modern Meets the Traditional at Aseelah
Aseelah is a newly opened restaurant in the Deira Creek area of Dubai and is known for serving authentic Arabic cuisine as well as for its beautiful interior which is a seamless blending of contemporary art and traditional Arabic architecture. The most important recommendations by visitors include the starters which have 5 different salads, the Camel stew and the delicious Arabic pastries.
Let Loose at the Kite Beach
The kite beach is considered to be the most family friendly and loved beach of the locals and tourists in Dubai. Here, you can spend some quietly time with your loved ones while visiting one of their many restaurants and cafes such as Chez Sushi, carnival treats, JJ chicken, Krush burger, mashakeek cabana and park house. There is also a trampoline park called Dom Tak entertainment, a kite surf school and get some exercise at magnum fitness beach.
Awaken Your Senses at the Spice Souk
The word ‘souk’ means market in Arabic and even though, the spice souk is situated in a small vicinity but it still houses numerous stalls of different spices and flowers such as dried hibiscus, chrysanthemum, nuts, oils, saffron’s, turmeric and red chilies, both powdered and whole. A visit to the spice souk is a complete sensory experience where you get to buy different spices and herbs to cure ailments as well as add to the flavor of your everyday meals. The souk will also take you on a journey back in time as you interact with local shopkeepers who have had a stall in the market since many decades.
In a city like Dubai where police drive Lamborghini, Mercedes and Ferrari as their official vehicles you can only imagine what other unusual qualities might take you by surprise here. Even though Dubai has retained some of its more traditional ideals such as banning PDA in public yet this city is always a hundred steps ahead than the rest of the world in its technological and architectural innovations.