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Things to do in Dubai

Things to do in  Dubai

Welcome to Dubai

A major aviation hub and the ultimate stopover, Dubai draws travelers with its shopping, futuristic architecture—including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa—and mix of old-world culture and over-the-top attractions. Scout bargains in the old town’s ancient souks and luxury brands at a 1,200-store mall; scuba dive inside a huge tank at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo or hit the slopes at indoor snow park Ski Dubai; take a cruise aboard a traditional dhow; and head into the desert for dune-bashing in a 4x4 followed by dinner under the stars in a traditional Bedouin camp.

When to visit

The best times to visit Dubai are late fall through early spring—anytime from November to March—when average temperatures range between the high 70s and high 80s Fahrenheit and you can enjoy the outdoors (provided you’re armed with sunscreen). Summer temperatures hover around 100°F and come with high humidity, making Dubai something of a sauna from May until September, but hotel rates also plunge by up to 75 percent, and you can simply hop from one air-conditioned attraction to another.

Getting around

Dubai’s heat and highways work against walking, although it’s easier to go by foot in Deira and other older districts. The easiest alternative is a taxi, with plenty to flag down and reasonable rates—think about $1 to $2 per kilometer, plus an initial standing charge. For longer distances, use the Dubai Metro, which runs between Dubai Airport and the Creek, and on to Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, and Downtown. To save hassle, buy a Nol card, and pre-load it to avoid the often-long ticket lines at stations. You can also use your Nol on Dubai’s buses, trams, and waterbuses.

Traveler tips

If you’re after cheap souvenirs away from Dubai’s upscale shops, the Karama Market in the old town is the go-to of savvy locals, and does a roaring trade in low-cost clothes, gifts, and accessories. Don’t be surprised if you’re invited into backrooms filled with replica designer handbags and watches, and brace yourself for lots of elbow-tugging and pleading from the vendors. One rule: There’s no point in shopping here unless you haggle—and haggle hard.

Hotels and restaurants automatically add a 10- to 20-percent service charge to bills, and sometimes an extra tourism levy of around six percent. That’s quite a sting, but it’s still customary to leave a 10- to 15-percent tip at restaurants, and to give porters and hotel room cleaners a few dirhams. Bear in mind that service charges don’t usually get to waiters and that hospitality worker earnings in Dubai are usually low. In taxis, it’s customary to round up fares to the nearest five dirhams at least.

Top 10 attractions in Dubai

#1
Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

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The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building on the planet, soaring 2,717 feet (828 meters) high with more than 160 stories set in a stepped design that narrows as it climbs, syringe-like, to the sky. The design is patterned after the repetition of a single geometric shape, meant to echo Islamic art. Bringing a new meaning to the term skyscraper, the building is part of the massive downtown Dubai complex of offices, hotels, shopping malls, entertainment precincts, and apartment buildings.More
#2
Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina

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Carved along the Gulf shoreline south of Dubai’s The Palm island, Dubai Marina is a skyscraper-packed waterfront community that’s one of the city’s swishest residential and leisure hotspots. At its heart is a 2-mile (3-kilometer) waterway framed by residential blocks, hotels, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.More
#3
Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah

Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah

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The sail-like silhouette of the Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah has become a symbol of Dubai's opulence and affluence, standing at 1,053 feet (321 meters) as the third-tallest hotel and one of the most luxurious hotels in the United Arab Emirates. Opened in 1999, the landmark boasts plenty of superlatives, including its five-star status.More
#4
Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah

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Jutting into the Persian Gulf from southern Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah is an artificial island in the shape of a palm tree and ringed by a crescent-shaped breakwater. The world’s biggest artificial island, it draws visitors to its palatial hotels, theme parks, and shopping malls.More
#5
Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum

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Set inside Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum recounts the Emirates’ history up until the oil boom, which forever altered its skyline. Dioramas and artifacts convey what daily life was like for Dubai’s earliest communities, while life-sized re-creations of the city’s early souks and wharfs bring the past to life.More
#6
Dubai Gold Souk

Dubai Gold Souk

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Dubai’s internationally famous Gold Souk has its roots in the 1940s, when Indian and Iranian traders began setting up stalls in the area. Today it’s one of the world’s busiest jewelry markets, with hundreds of shops and stalls selling just about everything that glitters—namely, gold. An estimated 20 percent of the world’s gold passes through the souk, with a whopping 10 tons for sale in the market at any given moment.More
#7
The Lost Chambers Aquarium

The Lost Chambers Aquarium

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Come face-to-face with 65,000 marine creatures, dive with sharks, and walk underwater at The Lost Chambers Aquarium in Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm hotel. This state-of-the-art aquarium is themed around the mythical Lost City of Atlantis and consists of illuminated underground chambers brimming with sea life from across the world.More
#8
Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai)

Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai)

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The seawater Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai), flowing between Deira and Bur Dubai in the historic center of the United Arab Emirates city of the same name, is the reason for Dubai's very existence. When trade with the outside world began over a century ago, this protected inlet was the obvious choice to develop a commercial seaport. The creek has been widened many times during the last century, and today, it's often busy with abra—small wooden water taxis—ferrying passengers between the souks of Deira on the northeastern bank and the historic district of Bur Dubai on the southwestern bank.More
#9
The Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall

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The world’s largest shopping mall by area, The Dubai Mall boasts a huge range of attractions—making it a full-blown UAE entertainment destination. At the heart of Downtown Dubai, this 4-level colossus houses around 1,300 stores, plus restaurants, cinemas, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, and the Burj Khalifa.More
#10
Aquaventure Waterpark

Aquaventure Waterpark

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Brave water rides, see marine animals, and much more at the Aquaventure Waterpark in Dubai. One of the Middle East's biggest and best water parks, it sits next to Atlantis, The Palm resort on Palm Jumeirah island. Visit for record-breaking slides, river rides, multiple pools, and a private beach spread over 42 acres (17 hectares) of seafront.More

Trip ideas

Ways to Beat the Crowds in Dubai

Ways to Beat the Crowds in Dubai

Top activities in Dubai

Big Bus Dubai Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Big Bus Dubai Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

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Dubai Red Dune Desert Safari: Camel Ride, Sandboarding & BBQ Options

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Dubai Red Dune Desert Safari: Camel Ride, Sandboarding & BBQ Options

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Red Sand Dunes Desert Safari, BBQ Dinner, Camel Ride, Sand Boarding In Dubai

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Recent reviews from experiences in Dubai

star-5
Top tour
STOYAN_P, Feb. 2021
Dubai Guided Sightseeing Boat Tours
You should definitely take this tour , it's triling and you get to see Dubai skyline from a different point of view.
star-5
Amazing experience
Mariya_K, Feb. 2021
Dubai Fountains Show Lake Ride
This show is better to see from the boat than from the Dubai mall site.
star-5
A Dubai must do!
Amelia_M, Jan. 2021
Red Dunes By Quad Bike, Sandsurf, Camels & BBQ at Al Khayma Camp
Probably the best thing we did in Dubai, excellent service and the activities were all great fun - 100% recommend.
star-5
One day in Dubai
helenanel, Jan. 2021
Desert 4x4 Safari: Free ATV ride, Camel Ride, BBQ Dinner, Traditional Live Shows
We were only spending one day in Dubai and needed to see and do as much as we could.
star-5
Highly recommended
JasonPerez, Jan. 2021
Dubai Helicopter Tour
You will get a birds eye view of the best sights in Dubai.
star-5
Great tour!
Alexandra_S, Dec. 2020
Private Tour: Dubai City Sightseeing Tour
We got to see a nice snap shot of Dubai.
star-5
Wonderful experience!
Olga_A, Jan. 2021
Dubai Morning Desert Safari: Red Dunes, Sandboarding, Camel Ride at Al Khayma
He help us to take many beautiful pictures and suggested good places to visit.
star-5
A great morning out
Una_B, Jan. 2021
Dubai Morning Desert Safari: Red Dunes, Sandboarding, Camel Ride at Al Khayma
The activities were fun and SAAJ was very careful, reminding us of safety procedures throughout the trip.
star-4
Excellent Tour
Heidi_P, Jan. 2021
Dubai Miracle Garden and Global Village Shopping Tour
The inside of Global village is beautiful with so much to see & 3 hours is good to really get to explore.
star-5
Amazing experience, well worth it- a must when visiting Dubai :)
Adam_S, Dec. 2020
Dubai Red Dune Desert Safari: Camel Ride, Sandboarding & BBQ Options
The driver Mohammed was amazing, very helpful & knowledgeable, with us all the time taking us to all the activities always available to answer any question.
star-5
Very nice trip at Christmas evening.
Marco_H, Dec. 2020
Luxury Canal Dinner Cruise (New Route)
The route was very nice to see Dubai from another perspective.
star-5
Fantastic city and Safari Desert tour!
Marcella_T, Dec. 2020
Dubai City Tour and Desert Safari
I had a very short stay in Dubia, and I couldn't have made a better choice to see the beauty of Dubia and all it has to offer!
star-5
Not just a food tour! City tour and new friend tour is what it should be called!
Andrea_M, Nov. 2020
Street food & local market private tour!
With no live racing he took us on a special side trip and we got to see a dream spot for us.
star-5
The whole package! - Ask for Shahid!
Jenna_R, Oct. 2020
Desert Safari Dubai, BBQ Dinner, Camel Ride And Quad Bike
Shahid was an exceptional tour guide but also a fantastic friend to walk us through the adventurous activities of the tour.
star-5
Fantastic Experience
NelMar, Mar. 2020
Dubai Desert 4x4 Safari with Camp activities & BBQ Dinner
The show, activities, and food at the camp were great.
star-5
A Place to enjoy ..!!
Morales, Mar. 2020
Miracle Garden+Global Village Tickets with Sharing Transfers
Beautiful place to visit.
star-5
Very enjoyable
Paul, Feb. 2020
Dubai Miracle Garden with private round trip transfers
The miracle garden was amazing, and I would recommend anyone visiting Dubai to visit.
star-4
interesting tour
Christine_B, Feb. 2020
Dubai City Tour with Guide - Old and New Dubai sightseeing tour
very interesting tour to see the highlights of Dubai in some hours .
star-5
Out of this world experience
Graciela_H, Feb. 2020
Burj Khalifa: at the top (Level 124 and 125)
The whole experience itself was wonderful to see all the models and photos of the building being constructed as well to get on the lift and realised how fast you travel without noticing it.
star-5
Great tours
gayekw, Feb. 2020
Big Bus Dubai Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
A great way to see & get around Dubai.

Frequently Asked Questions