Travel Tips

7 Things to do in Dubai

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Located in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is a city renowned for its glittering excesses, world record breaking attractions and unique blend of modern and ancient cultures. However, with so much to see and do across the city, it’s hard to know where to begin your Dubai adventure. If you’re planning a trip to the city, be sure to check out our picks of the best things to do in Dubai and experience some of the memorable attractions across the city.

Head to the top of Burj Khalifa

Standing at over 828 metres tall and totalling more than 160 storeys, it comes as no surprise that Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, has become one of Dubai’s most iconic sights. See Dubai from a different angle by riding the high speed elevator to the At The Top, Burj Khalifa observation deck and soaking up the sights of the city, the ocean and the desert. Open from the morning through to the evening, there are plenty of opportunities to get a glimpse of the city during the day time or illuminated after nightfall.

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image Credit: Wilerson S Andrade.

Spend time visiting the city’s shopping malls

Quite the contrast to the average suburban shopping centre, it’s quite unlikely that the clothes on sale in Dubai’s malls will be the sole focus of your visit. Taking out the title of the world’s largest mall, The Dubai Mall boasts a 22 screen cinema, an indoor theme park, an aquarium home to more than 30,000 animals, a full sized ice rink and even a complete diplodocus skeleton, while another of the city’s shopping complexes, Mall of the Emirates, is home to an indoor ski slope. Playing host to an enviable lineup of retailers from across the globe, there’s also certainly no shortage of stores to browse.

The Dubai Mall, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The Dubai Mall, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image Credit: Cazz.

Set your eyes on a man made island

Although the idea of creating your own bespoke island may seem better suited to a science fiction novel than reality, Dubai is home to several impressive man made islands. An archipelago of islands made to look like a map of the globe, known as ‘The World’, and three palm shaped creations, named Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali and Deira Island, sit just off the city’s coastline. Visible from the mainland, the islands are best viewed from above during a sightseeing helicopter tour.

Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image Credit: Alexey Grachev via I Love Dubai.

Spend time at the beach

While Dubai may be better known for its man made attractions, the city is also bordered by a number of great beaches. If you’re feeling the need to escape the bustling city centre and are wanting to feel the sand between your toes, make your way to one of Dubai’s popular waterside spots, including Kite Beach, JBR Beach, Jumeirah Beach Park or Sunset Beach. Some of the city’s beaches require an entrance fee, but at just a few dollars, it’s worth it for access to facilities such as showers, barbecues and kiosks.

JBR Beach, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
JBR Beach, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image Credit: Guilhem Vellut.

Explore the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

Created in 1999, the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve was established in the hope of protecting and replenishing the area’s native flora and fauna. Starting out with the reintroduction of 70 Arabian onyx and 6,000 trees and shrubs, the reserve is now home to a wide variety of species and offers plenty of things for visitors to see and do. From camel treks and horse riding through to archery, sandboarding, dune drives and guided tours, there are so many ways to spend a day in the park.

Conservation Reserve, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image Credit: Charles Sharp.

Wander through the Dubai Museum

Situated within Al Fahidi Fort, a structure said to be the city’s oldest building, the Dubai Museum offers a window into Dubai’s heritage, spanning from its early days as a small fishing village through to the present day. Featuring objects dating as far back as 3,000BC, finds from nearby archaeological sites and a number of colourful multimedia displays, there are plenty of great exhibits to explore. Whether you’re looking to gain an insight into everyday life and religious practices in bygone eras, or even common common local professions in the past, the Dubai Museum is a good place to start.

Dubai Museum, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai Museum, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image Credit: Fabio Achilli.

Escape to another world

Whether you’re travelling with the whole family in tow, or just looking for a great way to escape the Dubai heat, the city boasts an eclectic collection of theme parks that are well worth exploring. Cool off with the 30 rides and attractions at Wild Wadi Water Park, get an adrenaline fix at Ferrari World or immerse yourself in one of the many unique worlds created in the city’s other popular amusement parks.

Wild Wadi Water Park, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Wild Wadi Water Park, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Image Credit: Sarah_Ackerman.

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