The best attractions of Dubai
If you are looking for a destination that combines leisure, entertainment and relaxation, Dubai is the right choice. Located in the Middle East, between the warm water of the Arabian Gulf and the gold dunes of the desert, in the last years, Dubai has drawn millions of tourists with its shopping Malls, luxury hotels, futuristic architecture, beautiful beaches, heritage sites, fun attractions and a vibrant nightlife. We’ve visited this cosmopolitan city more than 20 times, and we are never bored of it! We are in love with Dubai because this city truly combines everything we are looking for during our journeys: art, culture, relaxation, sea and entertainment. We have heard hundreds of times phrases like “in Dubai, there is nothing to see”, “I’ll never go there”, “it’s just skyscrapers”, and many more. We can tell that if you visit Dubai with the expectation to find millenary historical sites like in Jordan and Iran and genuine and colourful souks like in Oman and Yemen, you will undoubtedly be disappointed. Dubai offers none of this. If, on the other hand, you will spend your time in this cosmopolitan and multicultural city taking it easy, enjoying its “modern attractions”, relaxing in the sun on one of its beaches or beach clubs, strolling through its iconic neighbourhoods between trendy shops and restaurants, attending to a cultural event, and why not, shopping in one of its vast malls, you’ll fall in love with Dubai.
The Ultimate Attractions List for an unforgettable holiday in Dubai
1. Burj Khalifa
During a stay in Dubai, your holiday cannot be complete without visiting the iconic Burj Khalifa. Standing at 828 meters, the tower is truly an architectural marvel and, with its 160 floors, is the world tallest building. It boasts two observation decks with an outdoor terrace with a breathtaking 360° view of the city, the Arabic Gulf and the desert that will leave you speechless.
2. Dubai Foutain
One attraction that we love is the Dubai fountain light show. The Dubai Fountain is located on Burj Lake right in front of Burj Khalifa and outside the Dubai Mall. Designed by the world-renowned WET Design, it is the world’s tallest performing fountain. It boasts a unique design of five circles of various sizes and two arches with powerful water nozzles that shoot water up to impressive heights.
3. Dubai Mall
It’s a must-visit not only for shopping but also for its entertainment and leisure. The Dubai Mall is one of the largest malls in the world as it covers a total land area of 3.77 million square feet. It features more than 1.200 stores, hundreds of restaurants, movie theatres, a luxury hotel, an Olympic-size ice-skating rink, a virtual-reality theme park, and, above all, the Dubai Aquarium & underwater zoo. The 10 million litre tank is home to over 300 sharks and rays and boasts the largest collection of tiger sharks in the world.
4. Al Fahidi historical neighbourhood (Bastakya) and the Dubai Museum
Dubai is iconic buildings and fun, but it also boasts culture and tradition. A walking tour through the old alleys of Al Fahidi will take you back in time, soaking up the history and unique tradition of the Emirati culture. Al Fahidi also features some small but interesting museums such as the Coffee Museum, the Coin Museum and the Emirates Postal Museum. If you want to enjoy this historic place’s most, we suggest booking a guided tour through the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. The Centre offers several activities including the “cultural meals” to taste the traditional local cuisine. Only a few minutes on foot from Al Fahidi historical site, you’ll also find the Textile Souk and the Dubai Museum, housed in the Al Fahidi fortress, the oldest still standing building in Dubai (1787). The Museum shows the history of Dubai, its ancient heritage and displays objects dating back to 3000 BC.
5. The Dubai Creek and the souks
The Dubai Creek was built in 1961, and it divides Bur Dubai from Deira. Next to the entrance of the Textile Souk in the Al Fahidi quarter, you can take an abra boat (only 1 dirham) and cross the Creek to reach the Spice Souk and the Gold Souk, located on the Deira side. Once at the Deira Abra station, you can even ask for a boat tour along the Creek (the whole abra boat costs 120 dirhams for 1 hour). The Spice souk features several shops offering smelling spices and a wide variety of flavoured teas. In contrast, the Gold souk boasts elegant shops selling many sparkling objects, including diamonds and gold jewellery of different carats with distinctive designs.
6. Ski Dubai (snow park)
Have fun trying the third largest indoor slope in the world! Located inside the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai offers different options such as the Ski Slopes Session (or Snowboard), the Snow Park and the Penguin Interaction. Do not miss a quick slalom in the desert!
- Click here to read more about Ski Dubai.
7. Burj Al Arab
The meaning of the name Burj Al Arab is “The Tower of Arabs“. The building is characterized by shape as a sail, and it is built on an artificial island on the Jumeirah beach, connected to the mainland by a 280-meter bridge. If you are not a guest, and you’d like to see the interior of the most iconic Dubai hotel, you have the chance to reserve breakfast, dinner or an aperitive in one of its restaurants through the official website of the Burj al Arab. We booked the breakfast and the Skybar (27° floor), which was very cool.
8. Madinat Jumeirah
Located near the iconic Burj al Arab, Madinat Jumeirah is a complex of high-end Hotels, bars, fancy restaurants, a 2 km-long private beach, and several shops, all built in a traditional Arab style. The entire area is connected by 5 km of a river system that you can cruise aboard an abra boat. Among its 50 and more restaurants, our favourites are The Shimmers, located on the beach with a stunning view of the Burj al Arab, and Pierchic, a fancy Italian restaurant located along a private wooden pier jutting out over the warm waters of the Arabian Gulf.
9. Beaches and beach clubs
White sand, clear water, sun. If you are looking for relaxation on the beach, far from the hustle and bustle of your city, Dubai is a great choice. The city offers a wide selection of beaches – both public and fully equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas – to enjoy the clear waters of the Gulf. Our favourite beaches include Kite beach, La Mer beach, Mercato beach, Five Palm Jumeirah beach, Barasti Beach, The Beach and JBR beach. If you want to spend a fun day in a pool drinking a cocktail and listening to music, Dubai boasts many famous beach clubs or fancy Hotels with pools, some of them right in front of the beach and with a bathing establishment as well. We tried Five Palm Jumeirah Hotel (pic below), Nikki Beach Club, Andreea’s, Zero Gravity, Summersalt Beach club, White Beach, Cove Beach and Drift Beach Dubai.
10. Atlantis Dubai & Aquaventure Waterpark
Atlantis the Palm is a high-end hotel and even a city attraction. The 5-star iconic building boats several entertainments for youth and families, including the Lost Chamber Aquarium, the Dolphin Bay, the fun Aquaventure Park, a long pristine beach, a series of swimming pools, many renowned restaurants, and an incredible variety of exclusive boutiques and shops. The Lost Chamber Aquarium features an astonishing series of glass tunnels with bustling marine life, including sharks, stingrays, piranhas, and thousands of other fish. Dolphin Bay is a fantastic body of water where you can interact and swim for 30 minutes with the friendly dolphins, whereas the Aquaventure Park is the largest water park in Dubai and a perfect place to have fun with its hundreds of iconic slides and attractions, including the sharks and stingrays feed.
11. Desert safari
Close to the city, not far from the high skyscrapers of Dubai, you can enjoy the beautiful uncontaminated Arabian desert and its breathtaking landscape. Many companies arrange desert safari tours and activities to discover the charming expanse of gold sand. Here, you can try the dune bashing aboard a 4×4 vehicle, riding a camel, have an exhilarating sandboarding experience, quad biking and end the night with a dancing show under the stars while tasting a delicious BBQ.
If you are a shopping lover or not, it doesn’t matter. The Malls in Dubai are a place to go shopping and are an actual temple of leisure and entertainment. For instance, you can ski at the Mall of the Emirates, visit the fantastic Aquarium or enjoy the spectacular fountain musical show at Dubai Mall, cruise the Jumeirah Souk on an abra boat, breathe the Egyptian pharaohs at Wafi Mall and much more.
13. The Point and the Palm fountain light show
In addition to a beautiful location on the famous Palm Jumeirah, The Point waterfront offers entertainment and leisure with more than 80 restaurants, shops, areas for kids and a cinema restaurant. The Point is the perfect place to spend the night enjoying a fantastic sunset with the Atlantis Hotel view and taste a delicious dinner. Its centrepiece is the spectacular Palm Fountain, inaugurated in October 2020 and inscribed in the Guinness World Record as the largest dancing fountain in the world. The Palm Fountain stretches over 1300 square meters, and it is also the only one in Dubai to be colourful.
14. La Mer beach
Situated in the Jumeirah neighbourhood, La Mer is a modern and colourful promenade with more than 100 shops, restaurants, coffee bars, a waterpark and a white sand beach bathed by a transparent sea. Its long beach offers bathing establishments and the chance to practise watersports.
15. Bluewaters Island and The Beach promenade
Bluewaters Island is located in front of the Dubai marina. It features over 200 shops, restaurants (including the well known The London Project), entertainment such as the Madam Tussaud Museum, hotels and beach clubs. Its main attraction is the Ain Panoramic Wheel, the tallest wheel in the world. Bluwaters Island also hosts the luxury Ceasar Palace Hotel and the trendy Cove Beach club, the perfect place to sip a drink waiting for the sunset. Connected by a 300-metre long bridge to Bluewaters, The Beach is a fantastic promenade with shops, restaurants, hotels, lounges and a variety of entertainment for the whole family. During the day, its long white sand beach is the perfect place to relax in the warm sun or practise water sports such as parasailing or wakeboarding. The Beach also boasts a volleyball court, a 600-meter running track and an outdoor gym.
16. Ain Dubai wheel
Located on Bluewaters Island and inaugurated in 2021, Ain Dubai is the world’s largest and tallest observation wheel. This giant wheel, with its 250 metres, boasts a 360° unique view over Dubai’s iconic skyline and inside the comfortable cabins, you’ll have a fantastic 38-minute ride. The wheel also offers different options, including the luxury cabins where you can enjoy the view sipping a drink.
17. The Frame
The Dubai Frame is located in Zabeel Park and is one of the best-known attractions in Dubai. The bridge that connects its two towers – both 150 meters high – is about 50 meters long and has a floor that becomes transparent as you walk, giving the feeling of falling into the void. In addition to the observatory, the bridge houses various exhibition spaces, art galleries and a panoramic bar. On the ground floor is a museum dedicated to Dubai’s past. At the end of the tour, there is a virtual gallery with a set of interactive projections and three-dimensional models that show Dubai into the future.
18. The View at the Palm
The View at The Palm is a rooftop terrace located on the 52° floor of the Palm Tower, at the height of 240 metres. Here, you can enjoy a stunning 360° view of Palm Jumeirah and the Dubai coastline. The most charming moment to visit the terrace is in the late evening when the sun reflects its orange rays on the waters of the Gulf and the glittering skyscrapers of the city.
19. Dubai Opera
Dubai Opera is the most iconic cultural place in the city. Here, you can enjoy various performances and events, including theatre, opera, ballet, orchestras, concerts, fashion shows and live entertainment. The Dhow-shape building also boasts a fancy rooftop restaurant and sky garden with views of The Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa. Events aside, you can also visit the Opera with a 45-minute backstage tour walking through the Auditorium, backstage areas, Stage, dressing rooms, piano and trap room.
20. Miracle Garden
The Miracle Garden is the most extensive flower garden in the world and features more than 45 million blooming flowers crafted into sculptures and designs. One of the most iconic flowers sculptures of the 72.000 square meters park is the floral reinterpretation of the Airbus A380 superjumbo plane covered with over 500.000 fresh flowers and natural plants. The Miracle Garden also hosts the Butterfly Garden, a structure with 9 domes home to over 15.000 colourful butterflies.
21. Dubai Marina
The fancy Dubai Marina district features a 7 km-long promenade lined by palm trees with fancy hotels, restaurants, shops, entertainments and a huge mall – the Dubai Marina Mall. Dubai Marina gives you also the chance to experience a dinner cruise along its canal (or a boat tour) surrounded by high skyscrapers and a charming atmosphere. It boasts long white sand beaches bathed by the crystalline waters of the Arab Gulf, including the famous JBR beach and The Beach.
22. La Perle Show by Dragone
La Perle is the first permanent theatre show in Dubai and boasts breathtaking choreography, daring acrobatics, aerial displays, talented performances, and technology, with a cast of 65 world-famous artists. The exhibition pays homage to the UAE’s pearl harvesting tradition. It is unique in its kind as it also features a pit of water and gushing waterfalls, adding the most realistic touch to its aquatic scenes.
23. Global Village
The Global Village is Dubai’s biggest multicultural festival open-air park and features 25 sumptuous pavilions where more than 75 countries display their typical products. Walking through this unique park, you’ll see spectacular replicas of world-renowned heritage sites such as the Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the Taj Mahal, you will attend live shows, and you’ll eat in one of the several restaurants and cafes that serve international delicacies or in itinerant kiosks specialized in street food.
24. Skydive Dubai
If you are brave and want to try an adrenalin-pumping experience, don’t miss the Skydive Dubai. Jump from a plane with a parachute into the skies of Dubai and admire the most famous places of the city from a unique view.
If you are fond of fun nights, Dubai also boasts a vibrant nightlife. The city has an infinite number of restaurants, trendy lounges, amazing sky bars and nightclubs to spend a pleasant night sipping a drink and listening to the hits of the moment mixed by the most famous international DJs.