Last updated on: Oct 13, 2021
Dubai is a buzzing, dynamic Arabian city with a whirlwind of activities and attractions to experience throughout the year. In fact, its offerings are so infinite and diverse that it can be sometimes an overwhelming task for first-timers travelers to the city. But, with this compact list of the top 10 things to do in Dubai, you can be assured that you won’t miss out on the city’s blend of the most amazing, brand-new, and quintessential travel experiences.
Related post: Top Things to Do in Dubai with Kids
If you’re looking to travel to Dubai within the next six months, this mega attraction should be atop your Dubai bucket list. Originally slated for 2020, it was postponed due to the pandemic. The revised dates are from October 2021 to March 2022.
Don’t miss one of the world’s greatest shows at the Dubai Expo 2020. This colossal venue in the south of Dubai reflects the theme, “Connecting Minds and Creating the Future,” and sub-theme, “Sustainability, Mobility, and Opportunity.” With pavilions of close to 200 countries from around the world, the expo showcases the most breathtaking displays of innovation, culture, arts, retail, and culinary offerings.
Another recently unveiled attraction, the massive, man-made island of Palm Jumeirah is familiar to all, with its majestic palm-tree design capped by a crescent. Heading to the View at the Palm is one of the most affordable yet risk-free ways to catch this view in its entirety. Its observation deck is perched on the 52nd level of the Palm Tower, where you can absorb panoramic views of the entire island and beyond.
Dubai smashed its own world record with the opening of this fountain show. Prior to the launch of Palm Fountain, the Dubai Fountain outside the Dubai Mall and next to Burj Khalifa was the world’s highest fountain. Splendidly set at The Pointe on Palm Jumeirah, Palm Fountain also displays the region’s only colored show. So if you are looking for a magnificent Dubai experience that won’t drain your pocket, be sure to watch this choreographed water show in flawless harmony of light and music. Best of all, it’s absolutely free.
Opened a decade ago, the mighty 828-meter high Burj Khalifa still continues to hold the title of the world’s tallest building. So, it goes without saying that it’s a must-see on any Dubai trip. The best way to experience Burj Khalifa is by visiting its observation decks on the 124th and 148th floors. Not only can you see the whole of city, from desert to ocean from a towering vantage point, but you can also enjoy one of the world’s fastest elevator rides. For a look at its regal interiors, book a refined stay at the onsite Armani Hotel or sign up for a culinary class at one of the Burj Khalifa’s extravagant dining venues.
Dubai has witnessed the launch of many prestigious projects since the announcement of the Dubai Expo dates in 2013. One of the most incredible and phenomenal among them is Ain Dubai. Located on the stunning waterfront destination of Bluewaters Island, it is the world’s largest and tallest observation wheel at 250 meters high. A spin aboard one of its 48 glass cabins lasts just over 30 minutes and allows you to capture some cool photos and survey the exquisite Dubai skyline. If you choose a premium ticket to Ain Dubai, you get the added bonus of sumptuous food and drinks with VIP lounge access.
Located near the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, the Dubai Mall is one of the best places to shop in Dubai. If you think it’s just another mall in Dubai, think again. While its more than 1,200 shops makes it one of the world’s largest malls, it is equally a destination for those looking for fun, entertainment, and gastronomic flavors under one roof. For those seeking edutainment experiences, there is also the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. For those traveling here with kids, a must-visit is KidZania Dubai. Adventurists and impulsive teens will be happy too, with Dubai Ice Rink, Ekart Zabeel, and the largest of its kind VR (Virtual Reality) Park.
Want to trade in Dubai’s glamor and sparkle for untouched serenity and tranquility? It’s possible with a guided desert safari tour, which takes you to the region’s isolated desert landscape, about 40 kilometers away from the city center. A desert safari Dubai, however, is not all about immersing yourself in the beauty and stillness of the dunes. Feel the rush of a lifetime with activities like a 4X4 dune bash, sandboarding, quad biking, and dune buggy rides. Additional activities like camel rides, henna tattooing, falconry, and shisha smoking will give you a glimpse of Bedouin history and culture.
To understand more about Dubai’s history and culture, make your way to Old Dubai, especially Al Bastakiya Quarter, which is officially called Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. This 19th-century enclave is still preserved intact, with its narrow lanes and ages-old sand structures with traditional wooden wind towers. Most places now function as an art gallery or a museum. Within the quarter, Dubai Museum is housed within the city’s oldest fort (Al Fahidi Fort). To learn more about the Emirati heritage and religious beliefs, visit the Sheikh Mohammed Centre of Cultural Understanding.
If you want to have a Dubai holiday with the most astonishing theme park experiences, it is hard to miss Dubai Parks and Resorts. Theme park enthusiasts will be thrilled to visit the world’s largest indoor park (IMG Worlds of Adventure), and did you know that you can also ski at indoor ski park, Ski Dubai? Gamers will love the video game-inspired Hub Zero.
With multiple accommodations and a dedicated retail and dining section, Dubai Parks and Resorts is the Middle East’s first integrated resort, where you can have unlimited theme park fun and more without ever leaving the resort, thanks to its four activity-packed theme parks: Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, LEGOLAND Dubai, and LEGOLAND Water Park. Visit two parks in one day with a multi-park pass.
Whether you wish to slow down after an adventurous day or simply want to see Dubai’s illuminated cityscape from a new perspective, a dhow cruise along Dubai’s dazzling waters is sure to delight all your senses. Once used for fishing and pearl farming in the region, dhows are now regarded as the epitome of the region’s humble past. Take a two-hour sail aboard this traditional Arabian wooden vessel, which offers spectacular views and options for buffet dining and traditional entertainment onboard. You can choose from two locations: Dubai Marina or Dubai Creek.
Although, by no means, comprehensive, this list provides some cool ideas to piece together an incredible Dubai wish list. With lots of things happening in Dubai on a regular basis, make sure you don’t delay a trip to the city, as there is no better time than now to visit.