Dubai, UAE: Holiday adventures can be a lot of fun, especially when they allow you to see a new city, culture, or country. There is nothing like a good road trip with your friends or family, and there are so many beautiful places in the world to explore. Of course, some places are more well known than others. For example, you might have heard of Dubai or thought it was just a city in the UAE. However, what many people don’t realize is that Dubai is actually a whole country that stretches from the Persian Gulf in the west to Oman in the east, and Yemen in the south. On top of that, it also has many islands, desert oases, and mangrove forests, and offers beautiful islands for adventurous campers.
So what can you do in Dubai? Well, there are so many activities and events to do here, from the futuristic Burj Khalifa and the colorful Dubai Mall to the traditional desert scenes of the Arabian Nights, the city’s architecture, fishing in the Burj Al Arab, hiking around the mountains, visiting the World of Wonders, taking a trip to Masdar City, or simply eating on the beach. There are several places in Dubai, and so much to see and do, but it all depends on what you’re interested in. So, if you’re new to the city, or are simply looking for some inspiration, take a look at the following top 10 things to do in Dubai:
Get a beach and skyline workout
Kick start your day off right with a beach and skyline workout, followed by a quality surf lesson. If you enjoy yoga and meditation, consider the daily meditations at the sand dunes on Jumeirah Beach Residence, where you can also use yoga mats and loungers provided by REI. For those who like to take their workouts to the next level, pick up a surf lesson from Wind Wave Surf Co. at Abraaj Beach Club, or go for a boot camp at BKC Gym. After your session, you can chill out on one of the beautiful cushions on the beach.
Relax at the beach, then meet with a group of friends
After your workout, cool off on one of the lovely beach loungers, or walk up to the Burj Al Arab, and take a dip in one of the beautiful swimming pools there. You can then relax with friends over a cocktail, then head to one of the private terraces at the hotel, and watch the spectacular sunsets from the Burj Khalifa, or at the Burj Al Arab’s bar. If you like to walk, you can head to the Jumeirah Beach, Dubai Marina, or Dubai Mall, where you can take a leisurely stroll, or try out a local Dubai walking tour. Alternatively, you can join the city’s running or cycling events. For something a little more relaxed, visit Dubai Opera, which offers cultural performances, or head over to the Dubai Creek Marina, where you can grab a bite to eat or go for a ride on a traditional dhows boat. You could even learn to play one, and take it for a spin around the marina.
Relax in the desert, then sample some delicious food
Go for a night walk in the desert, and breathe in the fresh, cool desert air, before resting on a comfortable lounger. You can find the perfect spot, or you can even get help from one of the many public lounge areas in the city, before heading to one of the luxury hotels in the desert and having a meal in one of the hotel’s fine restaurants. The restaurants in the city have top chefs and waiters, and you can even learn to cook some of the local dishes. Alternatively, you can head out to the Al Marmoom Desert Camp, a luxurious desert camp in the Al Wadi Desert, where you can enjoy camel riding, ice-skating, archery, helicopter rides, and more. At the resort, you can also enjoy a coffee while watching the sunset over the desert.
Take a culinary tour of Dubai
If you enjoy cooking, why not head to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Dubai? At Cafe Beirut, at the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, for example, you can take a tour of their kitchen, and enjoy a demonstration from one of the chefs, as well as a cocktail. Alternatively, you can go to Palm Dubai to have a taste of Omani food, and dine at the stylish Hamra Café, where you can also watch the sun go down from one of the views from the rooftop restaurant. Finally, head out to one of the restaurants at Dubai Creek, like The Jumeriah and Dafna, and enjoy the famous Dubai Creek Tower as your backdrop.
Go for a tour of the city’s historical sites
Dubai is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, and you can explore its history and culture with a few visits to historic sites. Take a tour of the historic old town at Deira, and visit the souk, before heading over to Deira City Centre, where you can sample some deliciously-priced Lebanese and Palestinian street food. If you like art, you can visit the Islamic Arts Museum at Deira City Centre, and learn about the history of Islamic art. Meanwhile, if you are into cars, you can take a tour of Dubai and visit the sprawling Dubai Motor City, which has over 1,000 workshops, and several car dealerships. Alternatively, if you want to see Dubai from a birds-eye view, you can take a tour of Dubai’s airport to get a look at the facilities, before exploring the city’s stunning skyscrapers.
Observe the culture at the Dubai Opera
Everyone should visit Dubai Opera, the city’s spectacular new venue, which features one of the largest theaters in the region, and includes a 1,100-seat main stage, a 200-seat dining area, and a 10-meter LED screen. After you have eaten, you can head over to the venue’s bar to enjoy drinks with a view, or you can head to the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) pop-up area, where you can sample handcrafted delicacies from around the world. The bars of Dubai Opera is the place to be, especially in the evening. Enjoy a cocktail, or a glass of wine, before settling in with your friends for the night. The venue also features an events space for your next event.
Complete your Dubai tour by witnessing the Dubai Eye
Dubai has many extraordinary attractions for visitors, but perhaps the most popular is the Dubai Eye, a 52-meter-high structure that sits on top of a water park and offers one of the most breathtaking views in the world. At the base of the attraction are several restaurants and bars, but you can also simply take in the incredible view from your seats on the observation deck. There are even thermal baths on-site if you fancy cooling down before watching the sunset over the city. The Dubai Eye sits atop the world’s tallest attraction, the Burj Khalifa, and is an incredible experience for any visitor.
Relax at the Jumeirah Beach Residence
You can’t have a Dubai tour without taking in a view of the Burj Al Arab, and there is no better place to do this than the Jumeirah Beach Residence, at the end of Jumeirah Beach Road. The property features extensive gardens, including two children’s playgrounds, which are great for the kids.
Whilst you are here, it’s worth exploring the nearby Jumeirah Beach Souq, and choosing from one of the many amazing restaurants to eat in. The souq is another great place to shop, and you can treat yourself to a unique handmade gem or antique.
It’s also worth visiting the Palm Jumeirah. It’s a 22-kilometer-long stretch of coast that has been developed to feature luxury hotels and residential properties and is home to Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah. If you have the time, you can take a ride on a heli-skiing experience, or a mountain-biking tour, and while you are here, you can explore Dubai Marina.
If you would like to experience more of the city’s spectacular sights, you can try Dubai Marina Safari Zoo, with its vast array of wildlife. The aquariums of the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, and the Dubai Zoo, are also worth a visit. Alternatively, if you would like to spend your time relaxing at the beach, Dubai is home to several stunning hotels, including Jumeirah Beach Hotel, the Dubai Kangaroo Sanctuary, and the Meydan Hotel.
Attractions outside the city
If you are looking for more of the city’s cultural sights, you can choose from two of Dubai’s theme parks, Dubai Parks and Resorts, and Dubai Safari City. You can visit Dubai Parks and Resorts to take in one of Dubai’s many amazing theme parks, including Legoland, Bollywood Parks, IMG Worlds of Adventure, the Motiongate theme park, and Legoland Water Park.
Dubai Safari City has the largest safari park in the Middle East, offering two main areas for visitors to discover their way through. The first is a huge area of safari-style rides, and the second is more interactive, including the ‘world’s longest and tallest kid’s roller coaster’ – The Himalayas. The Dubai Safari City also features a ‘wet and wild’ area, where you can splash about in the water, climb a tree, or take a ride on a raft.
Dubai is also home to numerous art and culture attractions, like the Dubai Design District, the Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Arts and Culture, and the Dubai Opera. It is the only city in the world with three major opera houses, and it has a stunning two million-gallon water fountain that is entirely illuminated at night. The Fountain of Wealth is one of the city’s most popular attractions, and visitors can book an audio guide to explore the Dubai Fountain and the mesmerizing light show that takes place every 15 minutes. If you have a little more time, you can also visit the Dubai Studios, which offers visitors the opportunity to see how a movie is made.
Whilst you are in Dubai, you can also visit the Mall of the Emirates, which features some of the biggest shopping opportunities in the city, and for those wanting a bit of culture, the Dubai Architecture and Design Museum is worth visiting, as well as the Palm Jumeirah, the Emirates Palace Hotel and Residences, the Oud Metha and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
Free Sightseeing Tours
Many tourists visit Dubai for the various exciting adventure activities that can be enjoyed on offer here, but what they might not know is that you can enjoy Dubai’s stunning and fascinating architecture for free. The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority offers free sightseeing tours of various sites and landmarks in Dubai.