In the last four years, I spent about 2 months in Dubai. I tried almost everything. And when I say almost, it’s because Dubai comes up with new tourist attractions daily. It’s a city in continuous change and development on all levels, but especially in terms of tourism.
I have written many articles about this futuristic city, but I still have a lot to say about my Dubai experiences. Although I’ve been there 4 times, I would never hesitate to go back and discover more and more of these oriental lands.
What I use every time I travel:
After spending so much time in the city, I can say that these are my top 10 best activities in Dubai that you should try:
Where to stay in Dubai:
Dubai has plenty of hotels per square kilometer, some affordable, while others are ultra-luxurious but very expensive. Here are my suggestions, depending on your budget:
- budget: Rove Downtown – good location, swimming pool, fitness center, restaurant, room service
- mid-range: Address Sky View– Fabulous view, spa, room service, delicious breakfast, infinity pool
- luxury: Bulgari Resort, Dubai – private beach, perfect location, fitness center, restaurant, bar
PIN IT FOR LATER ⇓
Top 10 activities in Dubai
1. Go at the top of Burj Khalifa and see the city from above
Predictable or not, Burj Khalifa, (still) the tallest building in the world, is the first on the top 10 best activities in Dubai.
The massive 828 meters tower is an unmissable tourist attraction in your first getaway in the luxurious Emirate’s city.
The access inside the building is from inside the Dubai Mall, and tickets can also be purchased there. Or you can get them online if you want to avoid the endless queues and make sure you won’t miss them.
And if we get to this chapter, it’s worth mentioning that the best time of day to admire the city from above is just before sunset.
That way, you can catch both daytime and nighttime. At night, Dubai is as shiny as an expensive diamond!
Another decision you have to make is regarding the floors.
Although 20 floors don’t make any difference for such an altitude, you can choose to see the city from above, either in a tour that only covers the 124th and 125th floors or in a more complex one, which also includes the 148th floor.
2. Go on a cruise in Dubai Marina
One of the most romantic, unique, and unforgettable experiences you can have in one of your days in Dubai is a cruise in the Dubai Marina. A promenade formed by wide pedestrian alleys and a water channel, framed by luxurious skyscrapers.
For 90 minutes you will have a nice water ride, with a view of the Dubai Marina and JBR skyline. You will enjoy delicious food, and you will attend shows organized on the boat.
It is one of the ideal activities for couples in Dubai, but it can also be the perfect opportunity to spend a perfect evening in Dubai with friends. You can choose between:
3. Walk among the millions of flowers in the Dubai Miracle Garden
There’s an obvious reason for which it was named Miracle Garden. It is indeed a miracle, that in the middle of the desert, you stumble upon an oasis full of multicolored flowers, arranged in the most ingenious ornaments.
Flower castle, plane dressed in flowers, teddy bear made of flowers, hearts tunnel from flowers, and many other decorations of this kind probably make up the most Instagramable place in Dubai.
The flower garden was opened on Valentine’s Day in 2013 and is still one of the places where people choose to get married. I, myself, have been proposed there.
When to visit Miracle Garden? The garden is open from November to May, and any period in this range represents the ideal opportunity to see it.
How long it takes to visit the Miracle Garden? You will probably walk through the splendid gathering of petunias around 2-3 hours, depending on the time you have and the number of pictures you want to take there.
The ticket costs 55 AED, but I recommend you include Global Village in the package, as they are located at a short distance from each other.
And they are both worthy to be included in the top 10 best activities in Dubai. So, opt for:
4. Visit Dubai the Frame
Summary: adrenaline, spectacular views, and ultra-modern and ultra-futuristic design. These are the words that can describe the entire experience you will have when you visit the building in the form of a photo frame in Zabeel Park.
It was opened in January 2018, following fierce competition between the most talented architects worldwide. It is 150 meters high and will impress even the most professional traveler.
The visit to Dubai the Frame is done in 3 stages, but the most interesting is the moment when you step on the glass floor. The floor is transparent, and you can see what’s on the ground under your feet.
You must also consider the weather when visiting Dubai the Frame. It is ideal to catch a clear day so that you can see in the distance. Frequent sandstorms occur in Dubai, blurring the landscape.
⇒ Also read: Dubai Frame- visiting experience
How do you get to Dubai the Frame?
- By subway – the closest station is Al Jafiliya, located on the red line of the underground system, just 4 stations away from Burj Khalifa.
- By car/ taxi – you can, of course, get here in a rented car or a taxi, but you must also consider paying the parking
When should you visit Dubai the Frame? As with Burj Khalifa, it would be best to arrive here about half an hour before sunset.
Therefore, you will catch the panorama of the city both during the day and at night, but also after the sun goes down. Don’t forget to check when the sun sets in Dubai when you are in the city.
The price of a ticket costs 52.5 AED, but I recommend you to go for a tour of almost 6 hours, with the driver and other activities included (Dubai Creek, stops at Blue Mosque, Burj al Arab, Palm Jumeirah, and Atlantis the Palm).
READ ALSO: 1 Day in Dubai
5. Admire the Dubai Garden Glow light show
The bright park, visible during the evening on Sheikh Zayed Boulevard, is a true light show.
Hundreds of figurines, made from millions of colored bulbs, cheer the twisted alleys of the park. A madness that families with children will especially enjoy since it’s one of the best things to do in Dubai with kids.
This doesn’t mean that adults will not appreciate it. Especially since in the same area there are several other theme parks: Dinosaur Park, Ice Park, Magic Park, and Art Park. The ticket price is 65 AED.
READ MORE: Top 18 Hotels with private pool in Dubai
6. Enjoy an international experience in the Global Village
One of my favorite from the top 10 best activities in Dubai and one of the most accessible is Global Village. A magical place, where you can find 90 countries from all over the world, displaying everything representative to them.
A chance to see the whole world in one day.
You can taste Indonesian dishes, you can admire the Iranian rugs, you can enjoy Lebanese dances, and you can go shopping for African decorations. All this in one place.
Each country presents its most important parts of the culture, whether we are talking about traditions, gastronomy, music, and dance, etc.
The ticket costs 15 AED, and if you want to buy a ticket with other activities inside the park included, it will cost 100 AED.
You can also go for a 10-hour tour, with pick up from the hotel and with the Miracle Garden included.
How to get to Global Village:
By Uber, taxi or rental car
By bus. Several buses go to Global Village, from several subway stations in the city. These are 103, 104, 102, and 106, and the corresponding stations where you can hop on are Union Station, Al Ghubaiba Station, Rashidiya, and Mall of the Emirates. There is no subway station near Global Village.
7. Have fun at Dubai Parks and Resorts
I visited two of the biggest amusement parks in Dubai. One is the IMG World of Adventure, and the other is Dubai Parks and Resorts. My favorite is the second one because it seems to offer a richer experience, but the price is also bigger.
If you opt for the former, then you must know that it is close to Global Village and Miracle Garden, and can be visited in only one day.
While for Dubai Parks and Resorts, you will need more time if you want to check all the attractions inside the park.
You can definitely include it in your short trips from Dubai since it’s located outside of the city but not too far.
Besides the amusement parks, there is a beautiful promenade area, called Riverland Dubai. Here, you can relax between sessions of roller coasters and other amazing shows.
- Dubai Parks and Resorts: Two Park Pass
- LEGOLAND® Dubai One Park Pass
- Motiongate Dubai: One Park Pass
- Bollywood Parks Dubai: 1-Day 1-Park Admission
- Dubai: Motiongate Theme Park and Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Combo
How to get to Dubai Parks and Resorts:
The Dubai Parks and Resorts is situated approximately 50 km from Burj Khalifa and 30 from Dubai Marina. Therefore, it will take you some time to get here. You can do it in this way:
- with a rented car or Uber/taxi
- Take the Dubai Metro Red Line towards Jebel Ali (UAE Exchange Station) and alight at JLT Metro Station. From there, take the RTA Shuttle Bus to Ibn Battuta Metro station. From there, catch the RTA Bus – DPR1 to Dubai Parks and Resorts. The cost of the bus journey is AED 5.
8. Go on a city tour
In Dubai, you won’t find all the tourist attractions in downtown. It is developed along a portion of the Arabian Gulf and divided into a few different areas, but equally special.
The distances between these regions are large to very large. For example, the distance between Burj Khalifa and Dubai Marina is about half an hour by subway.
So, it’s best to see all these areas of interest in the city in an organized tour.
Various companies offer these activities in Dubai and generally come with a package that also includes other activities, such as desert safari or cruise in the Dubai Marina.
Below you will find links to 4 such packages that I consider very practical and suitable for exploring the whole city on time.
- Dubai: Hop-On Hop-Off Classic, Premium or Deluxe Bus Ticket
- Dubai: Old and Modern Dubai City Tour with Blue Mosque Visit
- Dubai: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Deluxe Ticket
- Dubai: 5-Hour Tour with a Professional Photographer Guide
9. Dubai desert safari
Orange sunsets, sand as you see with your eyes, henna paintings, hookah under the moonlight, belly dance and tanoura, delicious Arabic food, camels, dunes, and adrenaline.
That is how I could describe in a few words the safari experience in the desert near Dubai.
It is an activity that will manage to rank Dubai at the top of your preferences regarding outdoor activities.
Remember, however, that there are plenty of companies in the city that offer this day trip through the desert. However, not all are reliable.
It’s a good idea to do a little research beforehand and make sure that your experience will be enjoyable and worth the time and money invested.
⇒ Read: Truth about Dubai desert safari
- Dubai Desert Safari Red Dune: BBQ, Camel Ride & Sandboarding
- Overnight Dubai Desert Safari & Gourmet Breakfast
10. Visit the historic district of Dubai
Far, but not too far, from the opulent buildings and luxury that characterize Dubai, there is a quiet neighborhood known as Al Fahidi or Bastikiya.
With houses in the color of the desert, made of stone, sandalwood, gypsum, and other natural elements, contrasted by the bright green of the palms.
Al Fahidi is the old or historic district of the city, located very close to the Golden Bazaar, near Dubai Creek. You do not have to pay a fee to walk on its narrow, labyrinthine streets.
You will only do this if you want to visit art exhibitions and museums hosted by the buildings in the area.
Give them a try if you want to discover collections of weapons, clothing, and kitchen tools from the history of the Emirates.
Al Fahidi is strikingly similar to the medina of the old cities in some of the Arab countries. So, if you’ve visited these places, it will surely be familiar to you.
You can get here very fast by subway, getting off at one of the Al Fahidi and Al Ghubaiba stations.