Entertainment is a word almost synonymous to Dubai tourism now. Loved as a vacation hot-spot, Dubai ideally fits the bill for families, couples and friends on vacation. This city of skyscrapers and world record architectures is a benchmark for the way it has transformed from a simple Bedouin village to one of the most developed cities of the world.
If you are planning a vacation in this beautiful city of Dubai, here are some of the top rated attractions that must be visited to capture the essence of the city.
The tallest manmade building in the world Burj Khalifa stands at 2722 ft and has numerous records in its name such as the tallest free standing structure in the world, highest number of stories in a building, longest travelling elevator in the world, and more. The building has its observation deck at the 125th and 148th floor that allows the tourists to see the world around them in a completely different way. Many luxury residences, hotels, and offices are located inside this iconic building.
Observation deck visiting hours- 8:30am-1am everyday
Entry: from Dubai Mall, Sheikh Zayed Road
This salt water lake is a historic focal point of the city of Dubai signifying its trade relations with the outside world. The creek cuts through the heart of Dubai and runs up till Ras Al Khor. Earlier the only way of trade, Dubai creek today, is more of an iconic landmark. While at Dubai creek you can enjoy the abra rides. These water taxis are cheap and the old- fashioned way of going from one end of the creek to another. You can also enjoy the famous two hour long Dhow cruise with international cuisine buffet every evening at the Dubai creek.
Dubai museum is housed inside the famous Al Fahidi fort built in the late 1700s. The museum has depicted the everyday life of the regular Bedouin villager in such an amazing way that it transports you back into the bygone era. The exhibits and colorful dioramas offers a glimpse into the daily routine of the villagers living in the era before the oil discovery. Date farms, souks, mosques, pearl diving exhibit, and some of the most important archeological artifacts in the history of UAE are housed at the museum.
Opening hours: 8.30am-8.30pm Sat-Thu, 2.30-8.30pm Fri
Ticket prices: around Dhs3 for adults and Dhs 1 for children
Location: Al Fahidi Street
Popular as one of the most beautiful mosques of the city of Dubai, the Jumeirah mosque is an exact replica of the Al Azhar Mosque in Cairo (although the latter is eight times the size of its copy). The intricately designed mosque is a delight for the art and architecture lovers. The mosque is one of the very few sacred buildings open for non- Muslims, so while at the mosque don’t forget to take a special guided tour of the place to better understand the history behind it and the cultural faith of the Muslims.
Tour timings: Morning 10am – 11.15am every day except Friday
Location: Jumeirah road
Tour Price: around Dhs 10
Dubai has many traditional souks but the most famous souks (market) of Dubai are located at Diera- the northern bank of the famous Dubai creek. With sky high buildings and modern architectures at the backdrop, these traditional centuries old souks still exude the old age charm of shopping. Flowing through these chaotic and colorful souks is a bustling energy and vibrancy that envelopes the visitors and leaves a long lasting impression.
Enjoy shopping for the glittering gold at the world famous Gold souk, which has given Dubai its nick name of ‘the city of Gold’. Get the best of exotic spices at the Spice souk and visit the other souks like the perfume souk and textile souk nearby to enjoy the Bedouin way of shopping. Souks are one of the most visited places in Dubai for shopping by tourists from all over the world.
Opening Hours: Roughly 10am to 1pm & 3pm to 10pm
Shopping Tip: Don’t forget to bargain. It’s fun and can actually save you a lot of money.
The 2nd largest mall in the world- Dubai mall beckons you for an incredible and unique shopping experience with over 1200 shops, 120 cafes and restaurants, 22 cinema screen multiplex and a 250 room luxurious hotel. With a size equivalent to almost 50 football fields, the mall enjoys over 60 million visitors every year. The mall has a parking space for over 14000 cars across three levels. It has won many awards for its design and engineering. The mall is nothing short of a city within a city with unlimited entertainment options including theme indoor parks, giant aquarium and ice rink, and the world’s best brands having their store inside it. The mall is further expanding to accommodate more shopping and entertainment options for the tourists.
Opening hours: 10am to 11pm from Sunday till Wednesday, 10am to midnight from Thursday till Saturday
Location: Sheikh Mohammed Bi Rashid Blvd
The world’s tallest hotel- Burj Al Arab stands at the height of 321mtrs and has its very own artificial island on the ocean shore of Dubai. It is the world’s most luxurious seven star hotel and a night here will be one of the costliest in the world. Whether or not you can afford to stay at the hotel, Burj Al Arab surely is an architecture worth watching. Every evening the building offers a spectacular light show. Burj Al Arab is considered iconic to the exponential growth of the city.
One of the biggest tourist attractions in Dubai, the desert safari is one of the most adventurous and enjoyable things to do in the city. A trip to Dubai is considered incomplete without experiencing the Dubai desert safari. The desert safari includes sand dune bashing, sunset photography, desert camping, various entertainment activities, delicious dinner and overnight stay (optional). There are numerous local operators offering the safari trips along with pick up and drop services from your place of stay.
Timings: Morning 8.30am till 9.30pm
Cost: Prices starts from AED 99 depending upon the excursions selected.
Jumeirah beach is one of the most visited free tourist attractions of Dubai. With plenty of water sport activities, sun loungers and eateries, it is one of the favorite spot of the locals and tourists for a relaxed day out. This white sand beach is named after the Jumeirah district. The beach has a lavish backdrop of shopping complexes, restaurants and luxury hotels . The place is at near proximity to most of the iconic landmarks of the city.
Location: Jumeirah beach road
Entry Fee: Nil
The Dubai aquarium situated inside the Dubai mall is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Its 10 million liter water tank is home to over 33000 marine animals including the rare sand tiger sharks. It has the largest suspended viewing panel 32.8 meter wide and 8.3m high. The tank has over 85 aquatic species which includes over 400 sting rays and sharks together.
Buy a ticket and level up to the 3rd floor for a 48 meter long underwater tunnel giving you an exceptional 270 degree view of the exotic marine life. The experience goes far beyond the small price we pay to buy the tickets.
Entry fee: Tickets starts with AED 55 with children below 3 years admitted free of cost
Location: Dubai Mall
Almost every street of Dubai speaks volumes about its achievement over the past decade. Dubai’s mammoth growth from a desert outpost to the one of the best cities of the world, is a perfect example of correct channelization of resources. Dubai has many other cultural highlights such as old Bastakiya quarters, heritage village, Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House etc. Dubai offers a perfect balance of modernity while ideally preserving its core cultural values.
Neha Signh is a postgraduate in Mass Communications, who loves everything about life. Traveling is extremely close to her heart and writing came to her naturally. An avid trekker & explorer, who often takes off some time from her busy life for mountaineering. She loves meeting new people & gets attached to their culture very easily. Her ambition is to explore as many places as she can in her life. She strongly believes in Gandhian principle – “simple living high thinking”. Currently working as a travel blogger for ImOnHolidays.