Discover the City of Gold with the best Dubai Attractions

Unlike any other city on earth, Dubai is a beguiling mix of modern — often luxuriant — consumer lifestyles and traditional Arabian households. This port city is steeped in local heritage and culture. As such, Dubai offers an incredible mix of tradition and futurism; it offers everything from desert adventures to shimmering city nightlife. In this handy guide, you’ll discover what are the best Dubai Attractions for you!
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The Best Dubai Attractions

Dubai Attractions
Discover the city with the best Dubai Attractions. © shutterstock.com / Irina Schmidt

Things to do in Dubai

Many of Dubai’s outstanding attractions require either tickets or pre-booking. In this section, we make travel easy by providing a one-stop-solution for the best Dubai Attractions and tickets so that you can beat the rush.

Burj Khalifa

At the top of the list of Dubai’s superlative architectural wonders is Burj Khalifa (or Khalifa Tower), the tallest structure in the world. You can choose to marvel at the views over Dubai from this staggering 828m tower during the day or night. Not one to just provide stunning vistas, the tower features the highest restaurant, highest nightclub and longest elevator distance in the world. A ticket ensures you are not disappointed on the day, and there are many combination deals available too.
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Helicopter Tour

What better way to feel like a superstar than to take a helicopter tour over one of the most luxurious cities in the world. Taking you higher than the iconic Burj Khalifa Tower, you’ll be provided with a once in a lifetime view that only the power of flight can offer. Marvel in the views over the World Islands and the magnificent skyline vistas over the Persian Gulf.
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Discover the Arabian desert. © shutterstock.com / Sophie James

Dubai Desert Safari

If the bright lights of city life are claustrophobic, head out on a bookable 6 – 7-hour desert safari tour. There are many outdoor activities to be had across a stunning red sand landscape, with easy pick-up across Dubai.
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Dubai Aquarium
Visit the Dubai Aquarium, one of the world’s largest indoor aquariums.© Dubai Tourism

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

Dubai Aquarium is one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world. It offers a host of exotic marine species including sharks and crocodiles. Located in the famous Dubai Mall, you can beat the queues by pre-booking your day tickets.
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Hop-On Hop-Off Bus

An open-top double-decker hop-on-hop-off bus tour is an ideal way to navigate the streets of Dubai. You can hop on or off any of the 39 stops which take you to Dubai’s top attractions. This gives you easy access to the best attractions with no hassle.
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Dubai Frame
Enjoy amazing views of the new and old Dubai from the Dubai Frame © headout.com

Dubai Frame

The award-winning Dubai Frame offers incredible views of Dubai and its skyline. You can beat the queues to this top attraction by booking online. This will give you more time to soak in the mesmerizing views. A museum outlining the history of Dubai offers an overview of Dubai’s impressive growth from fishing village to super-city.
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Free things to do in Dubai

But Dubai isn’t all about expensive glitz and glamour; there are plenty of Dubai Attractions and areas which offer incredible days out. This will give you a feel for the city beyond the skyscrapers.

Markets and Souks

Near Dubai Creek, you can revel in the traditional souk markets and haggle for trinkets from around the Middle East. These include spices, foods, and Dubai’s famed gold, with no obligation to buy. Dubai Creek is a wonderful time portal. It offers a feel of the traditional Dubai in sight, sound, and smell. The Al Fahidi neighborhood, in particular, offers centuries-old alleyways that you can lose yourself in.

Window-shopping in futuristic malls

For a more modern shopping experience, Dubai Mall is free and perfectly fine for perusing and browsing. There is far more than shopping on offer in the Mall, with the Dubai dinosaur display, VR theme park, ice-skating rink, human waterfall sculpture, and impressive Dubai fountains all in the vicinity. The fountains are a must see, with water and song shows for spectators.

Parkland and the outdoors

Outdoors activities and excursions abound in Dubai. Consider the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, a wetland park with mangroves, lagoons, mudflats and salt flats featuring many species of birds. Dubai is, of course, no stranger to sand, with public beaches like Kite Beach and La Mer. There are also plenty of green places and parks like Zabeel Park, Khazzan Park, Safa Park, and Jumeirah Lakes Towers Park. These are all perfect for lazy days sprawled on the grass. Elsewhere, the Marina Walk is ideal for an evening stroll, with a 7km walkway offering food and cafes as well as one of the prettiest views in Dubai.

Insider Tips – Don’t miss these Dubai Attractions!

Dubai Garden Glow
Walk through the stunning Garden Glow. © headout.com

Dubai Garden Glow

Dubai Garden Glow is a stunning illuminated garden for children which is perfect for family days out. Remember that the park is an “Art by Day” and “Glow by Night” attraction, so come later if you’re wanting to relish in the beautiful light displays. The food park is particularly impressive with well-stocked delicacies from around the world. Book early to avoid the lines. A new event called the “Ice Park” cannot be purchased online and must be bought on-site – but the process is quick and easy.
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Dubai Fountain

As one of the best must-see attractions in the city, you can enjoy the live water and music show daily in both the afternoon and evening. You’ll want a prime spot to watch the show in all its glory. As the show is repeated every 30 minutes, it’s best to get a spot early as the area can get crowded.

 

Dubai Xline
Ride the adrenaline-fulled Xline in Dubai Marina © headout.com

XLine

The Xline Dubai Marina Zipline is not for the faint of heart. The adrenaline-fuelled descent over Dubai’s skyline will amaze adventurous travelers. Everything from safety gear to photographs is included in this attraction. Visitors need just sit back and enjoy this once in a lifetime ride. As you need to be over 12 and above 130cm height, this is not an attraction for little ones. Book your slot by the hour, but remember to plan your visit well before 4 pm when the ride closes.
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City Pass – Save Time and Money in Dubai

The City Pass is an ideal way to explore the city of Dubai. Many of Dubai’s tourist sites are included in this fantastic package, saving you both time and money. With a 3-attraction 7-day pass, you can personally choose from a pool of the most popular and exciting Dubai Attractions. These include Burj Khalifa, a desert safari, a Palm Island cruise and many more.
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Tours from Dubai

Abu Dhabi City Tour from Dubai

It’s easy to book a tour of Abu Dhabi during your Dubai stay. A full day (8 – 9 hours) tour is a perfect way to soak up the famed Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Emirates Palace and Etihad Towers, with direct pick-up from Dubai’s central hotels with your own bilingual guide. Furthermore, this experience involves a scenic Abu Dhabi Corniche drive to admire the pristine shoreline and remarkable skyline views.
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Musandam Tour from Dubai

The Musandam peninsula offers incredible seaborne excursions on a traditional Arabian Dhow. You’ll not only enjoy the fantastic cruise over beautiful waters, but you can also snorkel around the crystalline waters of the Indian Ocean. This allows you to enjoy the underwater life as well (with the possibility of dolphins).
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Grand Mosque
Visit the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. © pixabay.com

Grand Mosque & Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi Tour from Dubai

Lovers of art will relish the chance to visit both the Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi (one of the most beautiful in the world) and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Both attractions are a must-see for culture vultures, with the Louvre offering pieces from France’s top galleries and museums in the beautiful setting of Saadiyat Island.
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General City Information about Dubai

Things to know

Dubai’s time zone is Gulf Standard Time (GMT+4), with a tropical desert climate. When planning a visit, try to opt for stays between October and April for more manageable heat and blues skies. The air conditioning makes sure that indoor attractions are always accessible. In fact, it’s best to pack coats and jackets to combat these cool indoor temperatures. You’ll find a mix of languages spoken in Dubai outside of the official Arabic, with Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Tamil, Tagalog, Persian, Chinese and Malayalam all spoken by expat communities. English is the most widely spoken non-Arabic language.

Cultural mores and norms

Although you’ll find Dubai more liberal than many of its neighbors, remember to dress modestly so as to respect local tastes. Long skirts and maxi-dresses with sleeves are fine for women. Local mores frown heavily on public signs of affection, so refrain from kissing and holding hands in public during your vacation. Alcohol is available throughout many of Dubai’s hotels and bars. Nevertheless, avoid getting intoxicated if heading outside. The local currency is the dirham, a unit of weight throughout the Islamic world with ties to the local culture. Nonetheless, luggage handlers will appreciate a small tip.

The future of Dubai

Where today’s visitor will be drawn to the impressive Burj Khalifa, the future holds a promise of even more daring and innovative attractions. Dubai Creek Tower (set to be the tallest tower upon completion), Dubai Harbour, the rotating Dubai Dynamic Tower, and Dubai AIN are all set to be completed by 2020. Each of these will add to Dubai’s superlative architectural wonders.

Dubai Creek Tower View
The new tallest building in the world will be ready in 2020. Image: © Emaar Properties

More Things to Do in Dubai

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