It’s no surprise that Dubai is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world. With a diverse range of locations and activities, this one-of-a-kind city will impress even the hardest critics.

From the most extravagant locations, including the tallest building in the world to relaxing beaches and an unbeatable food scene, Dubai is home to some of the most exciting and unique things to do in the world.

Planning a trip to Dubai and not sure where to go and what to see? We have created an in-depth guide to help you plan your visit in the best way possible and help you make the most out of your time and money.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about Dubai, including the top 10 tourist places in Dubai that are a must-visit on your trip.

Important Things To Know Before Visiting Dubai

Best Time To Visit Dubai

The best time to visit Dubai depends on the activities you want during your trip.

As Dubai is located in the midst of the desert, temperatures can get very high during the peak summer months, which run from June to September. If you are not a fan of the heat, we recommend visiting during the cooler months, from October-April.

Popular outdoor tourist destinations like Global Village and Miracle Garden are also open during these months, making October-April the ideal time to visit Dubai.

If you are interested in shopping during your trip to Dubai, you might want to plan your visit according to the bi-annual Dubai Shopping Festival in January and July.

The festive season, including Christmas and New Year, is also one of the most popular times to visit Dubai, especially if you want to experience the exclusive and spectacular Burj Khalifa firework show that happens only on New Year’s Eve.

Best Locations For Tourists To Stay At In Dubai

The best location to stay at would vary from person to person based on their preferences. Some locations are better for easy access to public transportation, while others are more centrally located and closer to the main tourist destinations. Here are a few popular localities you can choose from:

  • Downtown Dubai: Home to The Dubai Mall & Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai is one of the most popular destinations for tourists to stay at during their visit. It’s both centrally located and has easy access to the metro. There are a lot of high-quality hotels and Airbnb’s in Downtown, but note that during peak times like the festive season, these accommodations get booked out months in advance.
  • Dubai Marina: Dubai Marina is the perfect location for travelers who want the city feel with a hint of relaxation. The Marina overlooks a beautiful seaside and also has the hustle and bustle of a city with various top-rated restaurants and shops in walking distance, including the Marina Mall. Dubai Marina also has easy access to the metro and is located very close to Kite Beach and Burj Al Arab.
  • Jumeirah: For anyone looking for a suburban, local feel in the city, Jumeirah is the perfect location for a relaxing stay. With multiple restaurants and shops nearby, visitors can feel like the locals while also enjoying the amenities.
  • Palm Jumeirah: For anyone looking to experience luxury at its finest, hotels at Palm Jumeirah are the perfect place to stay. Although located a little further from the main city, Palm Jumeirah is one of the most lavish localities and is home to some of the most popular tourist destinations, including The Pointe, Sky Dive Dubai, and West Palm Beach.

Palm Jumeirah

How To Commute In Dubai

Dubai has a well-established public transport system that uses the metro and buses to connect the entire city. As a traveler, you can easily access locations at a cheap price using public transport with the transport card, also known as a nol card, that can be purchased from and recharged at any metro station.

Taxis are also easily available and can be hailed from the street almost everywhere. For convenience, local taxis can also be requested at your location using the Careem app.

Travelers with an international license can also rent a car from one of the thousands of rent-a-car stores in Dubai, with a range of cars available at request.

Which Currency Is Used In Dubai?

The local currency used in Dubai is the United Arab Emirates Dirham or AED. Most places like hotels and malls also accept USD for transactions; however, we recommend keeping dirhams at hand for local transactions.

Currencies can easily be exchanged at the airport or at one of the many currency exchanges located across the city.

What Are The Opening Times In Dubai?

While opening times differ from place to place, most general locations like malls and stores open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to midnight on weekends. Many restaurants and other famous locations are open beyond the regular operating times, so check the correct timing on the internet before your visit.

Dos and Donts For Tourists In Dubai

Here are a few things for tourists to keep in mind while visiting Dubai:

  • Dress according to the rules: As Dubai is a Muslim country, certain dressing rules apply to public locations like malls and restaurants. Make sure to check the dress code before you visit any place.
  • Don’t take photos of people without permission: To protect people’s privacy, the Dubai government restricts clicking photos of others without their permission, especially women. Ensure the photos you snap are not focused on one person unless you have their permission.
  • Don’t swear in public: Swearing or misbehaving in public is not allowed in Dubai and can cause police intervention in extreme cases.
  • Behave well with workers: The government wants to ensure that each of the city’s members is treated well, which is why you want to ensure that you do not misbehave with workers, including servers, cashiers, and so on.
  • Don’t travel on public transport without a valid ticket: Make sure you have a valid and recharged nol card when boarding a public bus, or you will be fined up to AED 200 for misusing public transport.

The Top 10 Tourist Attractions In Dubai

1. Experience Burj Khalifa

The most iconic building in Dubai, nay, the world, the Burj Khalifa, is a place you cannot miss. The tallest tower in the world, soaring 829.8 meters high, Burj Khalifa is a place that wows its visitors in every possible way.

Not only is it one of the most magnificent towers to look at, but it’s also home to a stunning observatory deck, a luxurious restaurant, and a sports club.

Burj Khalifa

At The Top, Burj Khalifa

The world’s highest observation deck, At The Top, is located on Levels 148, 125, and 124 and gives visitors the unique experience of viewing the city from an outdoor terrace and a premium lounge.

At The Top features a 360-degree observation deck lounge on Levels 124 and 125, where visitors can stroll for hours. The deck also pays tribute to traditional Arabic arts and culture at Level 125, where the entire floor’s design is dedicated to a Masharabiya motif.

Ticket Price: 

At The Top, Burj Khalifa 124th & 125th Floor
24 Jan 2019 - 25 Jun 2024
Best price guaranteed
179 AED View event

Atmosphere Burj Khalifa

Known as the highest restaurant in the world, Atmosphere Dubai gives diners an opportunity to experience a lavish meal overlooking stunning views of the city. Visitors can enjoy a fine-dining lunch or dinner menu or relax while sipping on the restaurant’s exclusive 24k gold-plated cappuccino while enjoying the views from level 122.

Tables at Atmosphere Dubai get booked out fast, make sure to confirm your reservation in advance.

Burj Club

The Burj Club is an exclusive fitness and wellness retreat in Burj Khalifa. This lavish club spanning 6,320 square meters and five levels, includes various high-end facilities, including a gym, a swimming pool, a spa, and an exclusive ladies’ suite.

2. Explore The Dubai Mall

Another record-breaking, all-in-one destination in Dubai, The Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world and a world-class shopping, entertainment, and dining destination featuring the best brands under one roof.

One thing is for sure; you will never get bored in this 1 million square meter location that will keep you on your toes throughout the day with exciting activities like the fountains and the world’s biggest aquarium.

With the recent opening of the Dubai Mall Zabeel extension, the mall has grown 15,000 square meters and holds various new lifestyle, retail, and dining options, along with 3,000 new parking spaces. The Zabeel extension is linked to the Dubai Mall with a bridge that features an interactive art display to keep visitors entertained and enticed.

Tip: If you want to really explore Dubai Mall, make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes!

Things to do at The Dubai Mall

Shop

With 1,200+ retail stores ranging from luxury fashion outlets like Bloomingdale’s, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Burberry to departmental stores like H&M and Zara, Dubai Mall is the go-to shopping destination for residents and tourists.

Dubai Mall also features a gold souk dedicated to high-end jewelry stores and “Level Shoes” featuring the latest in luxury footwear.

Dine

Dubai Mall is also one of the prime dining destinations in the city, with over 200 restaurants ranging from high-end to casual dining. If you are looking to grab a quick bite, head to the massive food court with a number of fast food options, including Mcdonald’s, KFC, and the region’s famous Al Baik.

Other casual eateries include Five Guys, The Cheesecake Factory, P.F.Changs, and Wagamama.

If you want to lux it up, Dubai Mall is also home to some of the best fine-dining restaurants in the city, including GIA, Somewhere, and Eataly. No matter what you are craving, Dubai Mall will have something for everyone.

Dubai Aquarium

Entertainment

Some of the best leisure activities in Dubai, including the famous dancing fountain, aquarium, and underwater zoo, are all situated within Dubai Mall. Here are a few entertainment facilities you can explore during your visit:

  • The Dubai Mall Fountain: The famous dancing fountain is the largest choreographed water show in the world and is one of the best things you can do in Dubai for free. The fountain show takes place every 30 minutes from 6 to 11 p.m.
  • The Dubai Aquarium: Explore one of the biggest aquariums in the world with over 33,000 marine animals in a 10-million-liter tank. The Aquarium can be viewed for free from the mall or can be experienced from an under-the-water tunnel with a ticket.
  • Dubai Underwater Zoo: Discover the animals inside the aquarium along with other exciting creatures like King Croc and Turtles with a special guided tour of the underwater zoo.
  • Ice Rink: Skate your heart away with friends and family at Dubai Mall’s Olympic-sized ice rink, where you can skate for leisure or take special skating lessons to hone your skills.
  • Cinema: Watch the latest releases at one of the region’s largest cinemas at Dubai Mall. Reel cinemas feature multiple shows of all the new movie releases from every language throughout the day.


3. Take a Relaxing Break at Kite Beach

One of the best beaches in Dubai, Kite Beach is the perfect place for a day out with friends and family. Not only is it an amazing location to relax by the beachside and catch a spectacular Dubai sunset, but it’s also the go-to location for watersports in Dubai.

With exciting activities like paddle boarding, kitesurfing, and kayaking, Kite Beach gives adventure seekers the thrill they are looking for. Watersports can be booked in advance through one of the many sporting agencies in town.

Not into extreme sports? You can also walk, jog, run, or cycle on the beach’s 14km track that takes you across the coast and provides stunning views of Burj Al Arab.

After a long day at the beach, you can indulge in delicious food at one of the many eateries in and around the area, including the famous local burger joint, SALT, and the city’s favorite Karak tea spot, Filli.

Overall, Kite Beach provides visitors with beautiful views and a relaxing adventure away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

4. Experience the Traditions of Dubai at Deira Souk

While the newer, cutting-edge side of the city is exciting to experience, nothing portrays the true roots of Dubai like the traditional Deira Souk. The Deira souk was established way back in 1850 and still operates as one of the main traditional markets in the city.

The restored original architecture of the shops from 1850 represents the history of Dubai like nowhere else. It gives visitors the chance to experience shopping like a traditional city resident.

The grand souk is also home to the famous Spice Souk, which includes a variety of shops selling authentic local spices and other traditional Arabic products like perfumes, shawls, and herbs. If you are looking for special souvenirs to take back home, the Deira Souk is the place to be.

The souk is close to the port, where merchants would earlier receive goods from other countries. You can also take the famous Abra (water taxi) ride from near the souk that still costs only AED 1 to cross from old to new Dubai. The ride boards from the Deira Old Souk Abra Station and disembarks at the Bur Dubai Abra station.

The Abra takes you on a trip to observe local merchants on their trader and view the magnificent scenes of old Dubai, including wind towers, traditional houses, and minaret. The Abra ride is an accurate representation of old Dubai in all its glory and is an experience that is not to be missed.

5. Travel the World at Global Village

The Global Village is an annual fair that runs from October-April and is one of the most visited attractions in Dubai by both tourists and residents alike. This unique outdoor fair has been running since 1997 and features over 30 extravagant pavilions dedicated to different countries, including Africa, India, and Russia.

Each pavilion highlights the country’s traditions and culture through its architecture and unique shopping and dining locations. At the Indian pavilion, for instance, you can enjoy a traditional samosa or biryani while marveling at structures like the Taj Mahal. You can also snag some exclusive goods all the way from India being sold by local merchants.

The Thailand pavilion features some of the country’s traditional fruits, while the Yemen pavilion allows you to taste delicious, authentic honey from Yemen. The Global Village is a true celebration of the diversity and culture of Dubai.

Global Village

Global Village is also one of the most popular food destinations in Dubai, with diverse and delicious food stalls from across the world under one roof. You can enjoy churros from Spain, Luqaimat from UAE, and fresh mango ice cream from Indonesia. Not to forget the floating market that features a range of delicious stalls serving authentic Asian food, including Thai mango salad, butterfly prawns, noodles, and more. Make sure to keep your stomach empty before visiting Global Village!

And that’s not it. Global Village also features a large carnival-like space with thrilling rides, arcade games, and other entertaining activities like the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! ‘Odditorium’, which is a region-first museum with six stacked galleries and fascinating exhibits.

Global Village only operates between October to April, make sure to plan your trip accordingly if you want to visit this Dubai institution.

Ticket Price: AED 25 per person

6. Take a Tour of the Desert with Desert Safari

While the modern side of the city is amazing, the real way to experience the desert is by heading into the sand dunes and discovering the way of life of the Bedouins and ancient Arabs. Desert Safari helps you do just that with an invigorating and thrilling journey through the desert that takes you to a traditional Bedouin camp.

Your journey begins in a 4×4 SUV with an experienced and licensed dune-bashing driver who takes you on an exhilarating, off-road ride through the desert and into the wild. A traditional Bedouin camp awaits riders with various local activities like quad biking, henna application, falcon encounter, camel rides, and much more.

After the sunset, a buffet made up of a wide spread of Arabic delicacies is presented for the visitors, which they can enjoy while watching a traditional tanoura light and dance show, belly dancing show, and fire show. The day ends with another exciting dune-bashing ride across the desert and into the city.

Desert Safari can be booked easily through one of the many entertainment agents online. You can choose from regular to premium packages; each will include different activities based on your preference.

Ticket Price: 

Arabian Adventures – Evening Desert Safari
28 Sep 2022 - 30 Jul 2023
Sold out View event

Dubai Frame

7. Learn About the Past, Present, and Future of Dubai at The Dubai Frame

Another iconic addition to Dubai’s skyline, The Dubai Frame, is a unique landmark that has quickly become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. The 150-meter-tall tower is shaped like a photo frame. The frame shape famously captures the modern skyline when viewed from the south side and the historic old city from the north, representing the stark growth that the city has seen in recent years.

While the frame is a spectacle to admire from the outside, it’s equally as marvelous to discover from the inside, where visitors can discover Dubai’s history, present, and future from atop the Dubai Frame Sky Deck. The Sky Deck is a 50-meter-long glass platform located at the top bridge connecting the two towers of the frame. The Sky Deck has been crafted ingeniously so that the opaque bridge only turns clear when someone walks on it, giving visitors the thrilling experience of walking 150 meters above the ground.

The deck also features other exciting exhibits and activities representing the city’s past and future, like the interactive time tunnel in the future zone, which displays Dubai’s future plans with flying taxis, space missions, and underwater living.

The Dubai Frame is the perfect place to experience and explore the city in its past, present, and future and discover what has been and what is yet to come.

Ticket Price:

Dubai Frame
26 Jul 2023 - 31 Dec 2024
Up to 6% Off
25 AED Buy now

8. Experience Snow in the Desert at Ski Dubai

Become a part of one of the most unique experiences in the world and go skiing in the midst of a desert city at Ski Dubai. Spanning a massive 22,500 sq meter space, Ski Dubai is the world’s only indoor skiing resort that gives you the opportunity to experience chilling temperatures and snowy slopes while being in a desert.

This innovative location is located inside the Mall Of The Emirates and features slanted slopes covered with snow, chalets, skiing locations, restaurants, and a lot more exciting activities. Both adults and kids can have a grand time at Ski Dubai building a snowman, skiing on the slopes, taking a ride on the chairlift all the way to the top of the hill, enjoying the frozen zip-line, and the best of all – meeting the penguins.

Ski Dubai is home to a colony of King and Gentoo penguins who live in a carefully controlled environment. Visitors can participate in one of the many penguin meets and greets every day to interact with and learn more about these little feet’ friends.

You can also find a snow cinema inside the chilling premises that gives you the experience of watching the latest movies while cozying up with a blanket, hot chocolate, and popcorn. It’s a truly unique experience that’s hard to find anywhere else.

With multiple kid-friendly activities, Ski Dubai is the perfect attraction for a family day out in Dubai.

Ticket Price: 

Ski Dubai
17 Apr 2023 - 31 Dec 2024
250 AED Buy now

9. Visit a Waterpark or Theme Park

Dubai is home to some of the world’s most famous theme parks and waterparks, and a visit to at least one of them should definitely be on your Dubai itinerary. Here are some of the top parks for tourists in Dubai:

IMG Worlds of Adventure

One of the biggest indoor theme parks in the city, IMG Worlds of Adventure features many exciting and adventure-filled rides that bring the characters from your favorite Marvel and Cartoon Network to life, including Spiderman, Loki, and Power Puff girls. The park also provides visitors with other fun experiences like meet-and-greets with cartoon characters or the thrilling Haunted House that’s sure to scare both kids and adults.

Ticket Price: 

Motiongate Dubai

Middle East’s biggest Hollywood-themed park, Motiongate Dubai is an awe-inspiring and exciting place that provides adventure and thrill with its unique and fun rides and attractions based on some of the best and most popular Hollywood movie franchises including Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Ghostbusters, and Madagascar. With kid-friendly rides and thrilling rollercoasters, including one inspired by John Wick, there is something for everyone at this park.

Ticket Price: 

Aquaventure Waterpark

 

Aquaventure Waterpark

Aquaventure waterpark is one of Dubai’s must-visit attractions, famously known to be the biggest waterpark in the world. This 2.4 million square ft park features some of the most adrenaline-inducing and thrilling rides that will excite even the biggest adrenaline junkies. Amongst a total of 105 slides and attractions, you can find the Shockwave, Medusa’s Lair, and the world-famous Leap of Faith. The park also includes multiple kid-friendly spaces and rides to help the little ones have the best day.

Ticket Price: 

Wild Wadi Waterpark

Another invigorating waterpark in Dubai, Wild Wadi, is a popular tourist destination with exhilarating rides and activities. Located next to the famed Burj Al Arab, Wild Wadi provides stunning views and an exciting experience. The park, themed around a famous Arabic folklore character, offers a scintillating and fun experience for the entire family with thrilling and relaxing rides.

Ticket Price: 

Go shopping at the best malls in the world

Dubai is known as one of the best shopping destinations in the world, and for good reason. Apart from Dubai Mall, the city is also home to other amazing malls that are perfect for ticking off your shopping list. Here are some of the top malls for shopping in Dubai.

Dubai Hills Mall

One of the latest additions to Dubai’s shopping scene, The Dubai Hills Mall, has quickly garnered a fan following because of its relaxing yet inviting atmosphere. The mall features 600+ outlets, including some of the most popular brands like Adidas, Chanel, and Sephora. Shoppers can also grab a bite at one of the many eateries in the mall and experience one of the biggest indoor rollercoasters in the world.

Timings:

  • Mon-Thurs – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Fri-Sun – 10 a.m. to midnight

Mall of the Emirates

Known as one of the best shopping destinations in town, the Mall of The Emirates is home to 500+ brands and restaurants. With an entire section dedicated to luxury brands, including Chanel, Dior, and Burberry, Mall of the Emirates is the perfect location for when you want to splurge a little. It also includes a cinema complex and the famous Ski Dubai.

Timings:

  • Mon-Thurs – 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Fri-Sun – 10 a.m. to midnight

Dubai Festival City Mall

Dubai Festival City Mall is a great shopping location for all your needs, with 350+ stores, including all the popular brands and one of the two IKEA stores in the city. The mall also includes many local kiosk stores that offer customized and authentic products that are perfect for gifting. Along with that, you can also find some of Dubai’s most popular restaurants, including P.F. Changs, The Cheesecake Factory, and Peppermill at Dubai Festival City, along with a unique light, fire, and laser show.

Timings:

  • Mon-Thurs – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Fri-Sun – 10 a.m. to midnight

The Outlet Village

The Outlet Village

If you want to shop luxury brands for a bargain, The Outlet Village is the perfect place for you. Featuring top brands like Armani, Adidas, Roberto Cavalli, and DKNY, this one-of-a-kind destination helps visitors shop for high-quality products from their favorite brands at record-breaking prices.

Timings:

  • Mon-Thurs – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Fri-Sun – 10 a.m. to 11p.m.