The Jewel in Dubai’s crown is certainly the Burj Khalifa, the tallest skyscraper in the world with 2 viewing platforms on the 124th floor (At The Top) and the 148th (Sky). Make it a VIP experience and watch the sunset over the horizon and skies turn pink with romance from level 152 to level 154. Enjoy a glass of house beverage or bubbly, complemented by gourmet canapes.
The Dubai Fountain
If heights are a problem then why not take in the Burj Khalifa from the ground with the added bonus of the spectacular fountain shows?
A captivating water, music and light spectacle in Downtown Dubai, The Dubai Fountain is the world’s tallest performing fountain. At over 900 ft in length – equivalent to over two football pitches – The Dubai Fountain is situated on the 30-acre Burj Lake and performs to a selection of different melodies. The fountain has a unique design comprising five circles of varying sizes and two arcs and features powerful water nozzles that shoot water up to impressive heights. Over 6,600 WET Superlights and 25 colour projectors create a visual spectrum of over 1,000 different water expressions, while 50 colour projectors provide a full spectrum of colour with a total output of 1.5 million lumens. The fountain performs to a range of different songs from classical to contemporary Arabic and world music. When operational, the fountain has over 22,000 gallons of water in the air at any given moment.
The Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest destination for shopping, entertainment and leisure, located next to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Featuring over 1,200 retail stores, two major department stores and hundreds of food and beverage outlets, The Dubai Mall covers more than 1 million sqm – an area equivalent to 200 football pitches.
For lovers of high fashion, over 70 signature outlets beckon your attention, including retailers such as Bloomingdale’s and Galeries Lafayette, the first in the Middle East. For haute couture, head to Fashion Avenue where you can experience the latest collections from world renowned designers and brands such as Versace, Burberry and more.
The Dubai Mall is the ultimate family entertainment destination with The Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink, children’s ‘edutainment’ concept Kidzania and a massive indoor cinema complex
Dubai Miracle Garden
Every year from mid-November to mid-May, a 72,000 sqm space full of scents and colours comes to life. This incredible experience is one of Cityland’s signature creations. It was launched on Valentine’s Day, 2013, and is set in the heart of Dubailand.
Seeing the garden in full bloom with its 150 million flowers arranged in colourful arches and patterns, and the myriad shapes they form, is truly magnificent. Dubai Miracle Garden’s breathtaking landscaping has earned two Guinness World Records for the largest vertical garden in 2013 and world’s largest floral sculpture forming the shape of an Airbus A380 in 2016.
Each year Dubai Miracle Garden reinvents itself, as it brings a whole new concept and design experience to visitors. The community has given its own endorsement with more than 1.5 million visitors per year.
Burj Al Arab
Located on a manmade island 280m off Jumeirah Beach, Burj Al Arab (meaning Tower of the Arabs) is reportedly the world’s only 7 star hotel. Burj Al Arab offers the ultimate in luxury, featuring a 180m tall atrium, a fleet of white Rolls Royce cars, dancing fountains and touches of gold leave everywhere.
Although the exterior of the hotel is exceptionally impressive, many visitors can’t help but want to see the inside. The only way to do this is to book a room or make a reservation at one of the ten bars or restaurants. However the worlds only 7 star hotel comes with an exceptionally high price tag, for example, The Royal Suite ranks 12 on the list of the world’s 15 most expensive hotel suites at a whopping $18,716 per night.
If you want to experience the Burj but don’t want to entertain a $20,000 bill then Al Muntaha (Arabic for ‘Ultimate’ or ‘Highest’) offers excellent views of Dubai and sits 200m above the Persian Gulf, suspended by a full cantilever that is accessed by a panoramic elevator and Al Mahara restaurant (‘Oyster’) features a large saltwater aquarium and offers entry via a unique simulated submarine voyage.
Jutting out into the Arabian Gulf, this man-made archipelago was built in the shape of a palm tree, with a 3-mile-long trunk and a fan of fronds lined with luxury villas and five-star hotels. One of the first things that strike you when visiting the Palm Jumeirah is its size. This giant landscape is visible from space and the outer crescent is more than 10 miles long.
Standing proud at the top of the Palm, the rose-hued Atlantis is one of Dubai’s most recognizable landmarks. It’s home to a five-star hotel, celebrity chef restaurants, and Aquaventure Waterpark, where you can ride record-breaking waterslides (including one that shoot you through a shark tank), splash in the pools, or kick back with a cocktail on the private beach.
If you’d prefer something a little less hair-raising, explore the calm waters surrounding the Palm Jumeirah with a guided kayak tour and paddle around the crescent, taking in views of Dubai Marina, Burj al Arab, and the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
Otherwise known as Khor Dubai, the natural Dubai creek from the Arabian Gulf spans 14km, and it isn’t just the relaxed area to walk in Dubai while taking in the breeze that it offers. It’s also home to a selection of local restaurants, activities and things to do in Dubai that both tourists and residents will love..
And, soon enough, it will also be the home to Emaar’s Dubai Creek Harbour – an in-development luxury community area that boasts waterfront resorts, a record-breaking Dubai Square retail project with a whopping space of 8.07 million sq ft, and the world’s next tallest tower, Dubai Creek Tower.
Riding an Abra, or traditional wooden boat, is one of the quaintest and low-key ways to get a feel for life in Dubai. The boats gather on either side of Dubai Creek—in Deira or Bur Dubai—and can carry about 20 people. Many locals use the boats to get across the creek quickly and to avoid traffic, but you’ll also see lots of tourists, especially at dusk. Given that it’s quick and cheap, an Abra ride is a must if you plan on spending any time at all in Old Dubai or visiting the QE2.
Fly belly-down across highways, skyscrapers, and swimming pools through the city of Dubai with XLine Dubai, one of the longest, steepest, and fastest urban zip lines in the world. From a height of 560 feet at speeds up to 50 miles per hour, riders will soar from the Jumeirah Beach Residence to Dubai Marina, passing once-in-a-lifetime views along the way. The line is so long, there’s even an option to ride tandem with friends.
Those travellers with a soft spot for good photo angles on Instagram should visit Dubai Frame. Designed to represent a metaphorical connection between the old and new city, Dubai Frame is said to be the largest picture frame in the world.
The giant, glistening gold frame stands nearly 500 feet tall and boasts panoramic glass lifts that shuttle guests to the top, where they can walk on a clear glass walkway along the entire 313-foot width.
Visit the Dubai Museum and encounter colourful dioramas and enlightening historic exhibits. Housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, this is the oldest existing building in the city and a must-visit for a taste of old Dubai. Built in 1787, this fort was once the monarch’s base, a fortified residence, a weapons arsenal and prison, before later being renovated during the reign of Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
You can also explore the rich history of pearl-diving in the region, including actual weights and scales used at the time. In fact, items dating as far back as 3000BC are on show, carefully preserved and cared for to ensure even more longevity. See the vast difference between the old and modern Dubai – which developed over just a few years. You’ll find the Dubai Museum at the southern end of the Dubai Creek.
Lavish gold jewellery, handwoven fabrics, traditional perfumes and special souvenirs – you’ll find it all at Dubai’s souks.
Fittingly for Dubai, ‘the city of gold’, the Gold Souk is a must-see for couples looking for a statement jewellery piece, or visitors hunting for that special memento from their time in Dubai. The wide passageways are alive with tradesmen and artists trained in the craft of designing jewellery, from bespoke pieces to alluring Arabic designs, with prices that aren’t set in stone.
A close neighbour to the Gold Souk, follow your nose to the Spice Souk to be instantly transported to the hustle of a vibrant trading floor. Here you’ll find top chefs, home cooks and savvy expats all swearing by their personal picks among the colourful sacks of spices, herbs, rice and fruits. Score high-quality saffron strands at local prices, taste fresh organic dates and stock up on spices, dried fruits, candied nuts and locally-blended teas. You’re sure to discover an exotic new flavour – and yes, you can even sample before you buy.
Follow the road up from the Gold and Spice Souks, and you’ll find yourself in Deira’s Perfume Souk on Sikkat Al Khali Street. Dealing in everything scented, from pure perfume to essential oils, incense sticks and the exotic traditional oud, this trading spot has beautifully-fragranced options for all. Buy rich oils in bulk, stored in wholesale-sized flagons, or opt for the more portable ornate vials designed for those who like to dab perfume on their pulse points. It’s also the perfect place to have a personal fragrance created and bottled by experienced perfumers.
On the Bur Dubai side of the Creek you’ll discover the colourful Textile Souk. A favourite haunt of the city’s in-demand tailors and emerging fashion designers, the souk’s vast array of shops are crowded with rolls of fabric, including fine silks, airy cottons, exotic weaves, and dazzling sari fabrics. Choose from your favourite materials and pop into one of the surrounding tailors to be measured for a dress, abaya (traditional womenswear), kandora (traditional menswear) or suit made to your design. Most can turn around orders in days.
In the middle of a mall in the desert, the world’s third-largest indoor ski slope is a sight to behold. A daily lift ticket will cost you about $138 (excluding equipment rentals), and you should plan to get there early. The place is filled with families with kids, most of whom are taking part in various rides and penguin visits instead of skiing. If you’re here to shred, there are two runs and a dedicated freestyle area (but Vail this is not).
Situated in the shadow of the Burj Al Arab, this Dubai water park is a fun-soaked water park themed around the adventures of Juha and Sinbad, the popular characters from Arabian folklore.
Here you will discover more than 30 amazing rides and attractions for all the family. Go body boarding at Wipeout, float through ever-changing landscapes or scream to your heart’s content at Jumeirah Sceirah.
The adventurous should head straight to Jumeriah Sceirah, a six-second adrenaline-rush of a ride that looms over the waterpark and drops you down a 120-metre slide at a speed of 50 miles per hour!
Or try the series of ‘masterblasters’ that take guests on an aquatic roller coaster ride. At Tantrum Alley, you’ll face three tornados and meet the eye of a storm or you can experience the ultimate in body-boarding and knee-boarding on the Wipeout and Riptiderate.
For something more sedate, visitors to this Dubai water park can enjoy the waves of Breakers Bay, the largest wave pool in the Middle East or float lazily along the 360-metre Juha’s Journey lazy river. Children will delight in Juha’s Dhow and Lagoon, a specially designed children’s area with over 100 water activities.
Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark
The Atlantis Aquaventure is the ideal place for a great family day out in Dubai.
Aquaventure is the largest and one of the most thrilling water parks in the Middle East. Set in 42 tropical acres, Aquaventure is overflowing with fun and features a series of thrilling waterslides, including the terrifying Leap of Faith that plunges the daring down a near vertical 27.5 metre freefall waterslide, through shark-filled waters. Take on the monstrous leviathan that is the Aquaconda – the world’s largest water slide and experience a burst of weightlessness on Zoomerango. Or truly test your nerves as you feel the wrath of Poseidon’s Revenge which sends you plummeting at speeds of 60 kilometres per hour!
Before or after your visit to Aquaventure head to the amazing Lost Chambers Aquarium and discover the Legend of the Lost City of Atlantis. Amidst a maze of underwater halls and tunnels you’ll come face to face with an incredible 65,000 marine animals swimming in placid waters of 20 freshwater and seawater exhibits. Sharks, stingray, piranhas, lobsters and the tiniest of seahorses are just some of the creatures you’ll come face-to-fin with in this spellbinding underwater world.
Embark on an unforgettable day-to-evening journey across the Dubai Desert. Experience the thrill of driving through red sand dunes and feel the hospitality of a Bedouin desert camp, where you can partake in interactive cultural activities and feast on a delicious BBQ buffet.
Drive out of the bustling city and into the peaceful desert aboard a 4×4 Land Cruiser. When you arrive, enjoy a relaxing rest stop and go on an optional quad bike ride while other convoys catch up.
Next, sit back and strap in for a dune bashing ride across the stunning red dunes of the Lehbab Desert. For an extra kick of adrenaline, get the chance to try out sandboarding.
Continue to the Al Khayma Camp and be welcomed with Arabic coffee, sweets, and dates. Say hello to the camp’s resident camels and, if you’d like, go on a 10-minute camel ride across the sand.
During your time at the camp, you can smoke Shisha, do Henna painting, and meet the resident falcon expert and his loyal bird.
The buffet barbecue begins at sunset. While you eat, be entertained by traditional dances performed in the center stage. Finish your dinner on a high note with a tasting of various local desserts.
As a final treat, the camp will go dark, giving you the opportunity to take in the peaceful ambiance of a desert night before being returned to your accommodation in Dubai.
Al Marmoom Camel Racing
A popular heritage destination, Al Marmoom draws camel racing enthusiasts of all stripes, local and otherwise. A day at the camel races is an experience that is nicely representative of Middle Eastern culture, one that dates back to the 7th century. The grandstands are often filled with camel owners, trainers, and handlers, and most seats offer good views of the action. Remember that races start early—between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.—and that commentary and announcements are made in Arabic.
Get your adrenaline thrills on a jet ski adventure in Dubai, and see the skyline of the city from the Persian Gulf.
Accelerate to exhilarating speeds and admire the impressive buildings of Dubai Marina as you speed past iconic sights, such as the Burj Al Arab and the super-size yachts of Palm Jumeirah. See the towering Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai from a different viewpoint. Marvel at the Sheik’s island and private yacht and enjoy a short stop at a beach on Palm Jumeirah for some free time to take pictures of the skyline of Dubai Marina.
See the true marvels of Dubai with a visit to the city’s aquarium and underwater zoo. Dubai Mall is home to one of the world’s largest suspended aquariums.
The 10 million liter tank is home to over 300 sharks and rays and boasts the largest collection of tiger sharks in the world. Choose from two wonderful experiences: Researcher or Explorer.
The Researcher Experience takes you on a comfortable journey through the Aquarium Tunnel, Underwater Zoo and Observatory, and even gives you a peek behind the scenes. Looking for an even more immersive experience? Go for the Explorer option and step into the Submersive Simulator to see white sharks, dugongs and other marine animals up close. Hop into the Aquarium Glass Bottom Boat to drift over the water surface and observe various creatures swimming below.
For thousands of years, people have been searching for the lost city of Atlantis. Discover mysteries of the deep and learn fascinating facts about marine life while you watch 65,000 marine animals swim in the Ambassador Lagoon. Take a behind-the-scenes tour or dive the depths with an aquarium experience.
These unique aquarium programmes allow guests to delve deeper into the fascinating world of these precious animals while gaining insight into how we look after them. We strive to build an enduring connection with marine life and to encourage greater pro-nature conservation behaviours.
If free-falling over Dubai at 120 miles per hour sounds like your idea of a good time, Skydive Dubai has you covered. Beginners are welcome to jump in tandem with the company’s experienced guides, but licensed divers can take the plunge solo. A tandem flight from Skydive Dubai’s location on The Palm costs nearly $600—but it’s worth it if you’re a thrill-seeker who’s not afraid of heights.
The Turtle Rehabilitation Sanctuary
Since 2004, the Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project has seen the release of over 1,950 rehabilitated turtles back into their natural habitat. After initial treatment at Burj Al Arab Jumeirah’s Aquarium, they are brought to health at the Turtle Rehabilitation Sanctuary at Jumeirah Al Naseem, where you can see them in the lagoon – and feed them – as they recover before being released.
All seven species of marine turtle are listed as vulnerable to extinction, endangered or critically endangered. The Hawksbill turtle, native to the Middle East, is listed as critically endangered, with only an estimated 8,000 nesting females left worldwide.
Experience the magic of Hollywood in the desert at Motiongate Dubai, the largest Hollywood-inspired theme park in the Middle East. Part of Dubai Parks and Resorts, Motiongate features five separate zones, 27 rides, interactive play areas, and plenty of live shows and entertainment inspired by 13 popular Hollywood blockbusters.
Composed of five areas — Studio Central, Columbia Pictures, Smurfs Village, Dreamworks, and Lionsgate — MOTIONGATE offers 27 rides, live entertainments, and shows inspired by Hollywood’s top family films. Explore the Smurfs Village, catch the ‘Ghostbusters’ ride, enjoy coasters, water rapids, and more.
Legos come to life at Legoland Dubai (sister to others across the world, including in Florida), where 60 interactive rides and 15,000 Lego models entrance the young and young-at-heart. Aimed at families with children between the ages of 2 and 12, the theme park was created from 60 million Legos and encompasses six lands, indoor and out. In the heat of summer, the outdoor attractions can be a little too much to bear, but the indoor ones are just as good—and they’re air-conditioned.
Like a Miami beach with its wide stretch of sand, aquamarine water, beach chaises, and enough activities to make you feel like sunbathing isn’t quite enough, Kite Beach is for beach lovers. Join a game of beach volleyball, give kite-surfing a try, or take a run around the soft running track at dusk.
Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions in Dubai takes you on a social and entertaining journey into a magical realm which delights all generations. It’s a perfect place for new experiences, fun with friends and family, and is unique in this part of the Middle East. It’s not only a place for children to play and learn, but also for parents, couples, grandmothers and grandfathers.
Summon the bravery to jump into an illusion created by the Vortex Tunnel, the first of its kind in the UAE. The tunnel will drive you crazy and make you believe the ground is shifting under your feet as you navigate through a rotating cylinder, which somehow remains a stable and flat surface. Disfigure your reflection in the Mirror Room, cut yourself loose in the Infinity Room, resist the laws of gravity and shapes, all the while taking amazing pictures of yourself in every possible pose.
Enjoy the collection of holograms, look closer at every optical illusion, and observe thoroughly each installation. They are such brilliant, playful reminders that our assumptions about the world we perceive around us are nothing but a spectre of illusion.
Amusing and awesome tricks will teach you about vision, perception, the human brain and science, so it will be easier to comprehend why your eyes see things that your brain can’t process. Make sure you visit the playroom with intriguing and educational games and puzzles—these brain-teasers are definitely great fun but tend to be frustrating as well.
IMG Worlds of Adventure
Housed in an air-conditioned hangar the size of 28 football fields, IMG Worlds of Adventure is the world’s largest indoor theme park. The US$1 billion park is truly impressive, with more than 20 rides and attractions split across four themed zones – Marvel, Cartoon Network, Lost Valley Dinosaur Adventure and IMG Boulevard – and 28 dining outlets.
Thrill-seekers will find plenty to get hearts and adrenaline pumping in the Marvel zone. Thor Thunder Spin, a dizzying top-spin ride, will scare the bejeezus out of just about anyone. Thor is also part of the superhero battalion taking on the evil villain Ultra in the Avengers Battle of Ultron dark ride. Thumbs up also for Hulk Epsilon Base 3D that uses 360-degree projection screens and motion to take you through a fierce battle.
The highlight on IMG Boulevard is the spine-chilling Haunted Hotel, a maze of rooms and corridors inhabited by living ghosts and ghouls.
Dubai Garden Glow
Dubai Garden Glow consists of five themed parks bedecked with glowing lights and illusions to interest visitors of all ages: Glow Park, the Dinosaur Park, the Ice Park, the Art Park, and the most recent addition, the Magic Park. Instagram users will be in their element as they stroll the Zabeel Park confines; in addition to the creative, at times, interactive installations there’s also regular live music, plus an “edutainment” kids’ zone and great dining.
Dubai Butterfly Garden
The Dubai Miracle Garden is also home to the Dubai Butterfly Park which was recently added. This is the world’s largest and region’s butterfly garden featuring 15,000 butterflies of around 26 kinds! Dubai Butterfly Garden is an indoor garden which has ten domes that is sure to win your heart.
The destination gives you the opportunity to see beautiful butterflies and gives you an insight into their world. Here you will be made to understand how butterflies evolve through each stage and so is a good learning opportunity for everyone. Also there are assistants to help you interact with the Butterflies and take beautiful pictures with butterflies. If you are travelling with kids this destination is a must visit.
Combining augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) via 18 interactive experiences and rides, the VR Park is the first of its kind in the Middle East. An escapism from reality to an imaginary nirvana, this park is a gamers haven and shrieks adventure all round.
With increased focus on ‘shared escapism’ to foster multiplayer experiences, VR Park will features virtual reality landscape across all genres – adrenaline, horror, leisure and more. Though the entry to this VR world is free, each ride costs anything between AED 15 to AED 45 and promises to allow you some of the finest VR, AR and location-based immersive experiences technologically possible!
Seen King Kong? Fancy being him atop the Empire State Building from the movie’s climax? Well, here’s your one and only chance. Using the Starbreeze’s StarVR headset, you get to be a massive weaponized cybernetic Ape, and all you have to do is escape your creator who wants to keep you a lifelong captive; all while hanging onto the edge of a skyscraper. Make sure you don’t fall off because while blasting and swathing drones that are set to take you down.
When we see window cleaners, we all wish our job was as hunky dory as theirs. Casually hang about buildings and scrub windows. But what if you’re the window cleaner of the world’s tallest building and your cables start snapping one by one? Get to experience this with the combination of a VR set and immersive tactics that allows you to actually feel the drop. It’s terrifying and will have you clutching onto air for your life!
Dubai’s state-of-the-art opera house receives rave reviews for its futuristic design and breathtaking location in front of the Burj Khalifa and the city’s famous fountains. The multipurpose theater hosts a variety of programming aside from opera. Throughout the year, you can catch musicals, ballet, comedy, concerts, and family shows. Don’t forget to grab a drink from the rooftop bar before your performance.
City Walk is an open, design-inspired neighbourhood in the heart of Dubai with hundreds of exclusive shops, restaurants and leisure activities set among 34 low-rise residential buildings, tree-lined avenues and a stunning a collection of contemporary street art murals.
City Walk is a lovely place to spend an evening, with a drink in hand and people watching whilst chilling out.