***This post was written and contributed to this blog by Neha of Dubai Wikia. I highly recommend that you check out her very informative blog on Dubai as you make your travel plans.***
There are many things that we hear about the famous city of Dubai. Sometimes hear Dubai is all about high-end malls and resorts, and then the other times, we are told that the city has the best campsites for desert safaris. Dubai manages to maintain a delicate balance between the old and new. It has an impressive mix of ingenious architecture and heritage buildings, gorgeous beaches and the legendary Creek, city-sized malls and buzzing souks, Michelin-star restaurants and Arabic buffet in the desert, as well as upscale yachts and show cruises.
Whether you are looking for luxury or local culture, we have listed the best things to do in Dubai that are sure to upgrade your holiday:
1. Hike the Burj Khalifa
Nobody can deny that the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, is one of the most Instagram-worthy backdrops in the world. This insanely tall building can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Plus, if you are not content with it just being the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa has also achieved a host of other bragging rights. It has the highest outdoor observation deck in the world and one of the fastest elevators. That means that a visit to this building includes sweeping views in a journey of seconds. Some other things that you’ll love on the 160 floor journey in the building are that you can catch similar dramatic views from the 125th floor, take in the Dubai Fountain show, have a closer look at the world below through high powered telescopes, dine in atmosphere, and set off for a virtual reality experience.
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2. Swim and Soak at the Kite Beach
One of the fantastic things to do in Dubai is to visit the beaches that are lively hives of activity accessible all year round. Located next to the Jumeirah neighbourhood, the Kite Beach offers a picturesque view of the majestic Burj Al Arab. All you have to do is slap some sunscreen and bask in the sun. It is the most popular and family-friendly beach destination that attracts adrenaline-rushers, foodies and sports enthusiasts alike. Grab the best quality equipment and try an array of watersports such as kitesurfing, wakeboarding, or stand-up paddleboarding. Lined with beachfront cafes, the coastline is also perfect for an evening walk, sunrise jog or beach volleyball.
3. Discover older ways of life at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
A part of the mid-19th century, the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood is a key heritage site. It is shocking that so much of the early infrastructure is well-preserved and intact. Travel back in time and experience history as you explore the brown doors and wind towers. There is a story hidden in every nook and corner. Follow the winding alleys and you will stumble upon art galleries, museums, cafes and a range of cultural events. The highlights include Symposium House and Events House, and Coins Museum. History and architecture buffs would admire the quarter for its unique perspective on the culture.
4. Enjoy a seamless shopping experience at Dubai Mall
A complete shopping, entertainment and leisure destination, Dubai Mall is the star attraction of the city. Featuring over 1,200 retail stores, two major department stores and 70 signature outlets — millions flock here to satisfy their high-end fashion desires. From Chanel and Gucci to Burberry and Valentino, Fashion Avenue is created with curated VIP services and covetable brands. After, you can give your credit card a break as you head towards the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Here there is a giant 10-million litre tank where thousands of marine animals swim in their natural habitat. Don’t miss the indoor waterfall, Gold Souk, and other exclusive concepts while you are there! Later, get inspired by premium dining at the multi-cuisine eateries as you participate in one of the most popular things to do in Dubai.
5. Get your heart racing with Skydiving
Whether you have never tried it before or you are a professional — skydiving in Dubai is for every daredevil that wants to challenge their fears. This is one of the spine-chilling things to do in Dubai that is surely not for the faint-hearted. With this adventure, you will jump off the plane from a height of 13,000ft at a lightning-quick speed of 120mph. You can even take the leap above the iconic Palm Jumeirah and discover the lofty skyscrapers from an eagle-eye view. The Tandem Skydive is the easiest way to free fall from the helicopter as it is completely safe and the instructors will guide you through the whole process which includes a demonstration. This aerial Dubai tour is conducted at two locations, the Palm Dropzone and the Desert Dropzone. Let this be a memorable experience as you take the Instagram-friendly video home with you.
6. Head to the desert
Another way to experience Arabian hospitality is by taking a desert safari in Dubai. Sit back in a robust SUV and brace yourselves as you conquer the sand dunes. Surf the sand on a board, take the camels for a nomadic ride or try quad biking as you experience the thrill and adventure of the desert. Keep an eye out for the native dwellers like gazelles and oryxes that would make your trip filled with wonder. You will surrender to the incomparable beauty of the sunset. The evening continues the thrill as you hit the campsite where you will experience the traditional desert nomad lifestyle. Enjoy the performances by Tanoura artists, watch the fire show, eat the best buffet, and stargaze by the bonfire while spending the night under the stars.
7. Stay, Dine, Relax, and Play at Atlantis: The Palm
Whether you want to stay in luxurious suites, play in the water park, rejuvenate in the spas or dine in the chic atmosphere, Atlantis: The Palm is the most sophisticated destination and hotel in Dubai. Dipped in the rose shade, this five-star resort is an embodiment of luxury. You will step into personalised comfort from the moment you arrive. Its grandeur and opulence will sweep you off the feet. When you aren’t relaxing in the ocean-inspired suites, you can splash in the water and experience true joy in the Aquaventure Waterpark. While the thrill-seekers enjoy a host of slides and rides, relaxers can use this time to soak up the sun. You will never struggle to find a perfect meal or discover a fun-inducing activity in this resort. If nothing, Atlantis: The Palm makes a striking background for your unforgettable pictures of Dubai.
8. Visit the Bluewaters Island
Home to a 210m-tall observation wheel, Bluewaters Island is located across the waters from Dubai Marina. This iconic lifestyle destination is full of life with the chirp of visitors around. It features unique residential areas, retail offerings, world-class restaurants, and unlimited entertainment options. Hop on the Ain Dubai, which is the world’s largest observation wheel, indulge in mingling in the Cove Beach lounge, and have a brisk walk on the pedestrian link bridge. With easy access to transport, visitors can enjoy a distinctive, comfortable getaway.
9. Browse the Souks
On the other side of the Creek, there are plenty of souks that provide retail therapy to ones who love bargaining. Souks are market stalls that can be found all over the city. From fine gold jewellery to handwoven fabrics, the Deira souks have products for everyone at rates you have never heard before. Hunt the perfect jewellery for yourself, explore the savoury mounds of spices, choose the aromatic traditional perfumes, get fine silks, and buy rare artefacts. So, wear those comfy shoes, and enjoy a friendly haggling.
10. Stroll in the Dubai Miracle Garden
Boasting a group of impressive flower displays, Dubai Miracle Garden is the world’s largest natural flower garden. In this 72,000-sq-m paradise, you will witness jaw-dropping floral renditions like Emirates A380, Disney Avenue, Floral Clock, Floating Lady and a lot more. The stunning landscape is dotted with other pleasant experiences such as Umbrella Tunnel, sitting area, heart passage, cabanas, play zones, Zumba, photo booths, souvenirs and others. Arrive with kids, partner or friends and you will cherish the time spent watching the live shows, street performances and friendly activities.
Overall, Dubai is a place that embraces the ocean breeze. You will enjoy this vacation as soon as you step off the plane and begin to explore. It is an action-packed holiday city that offers something for everyone in the group. Its abundance of activities on land, in the sky, in the water, and over the sand allow you to escape and avoid boredom at all costs. Abide by the local rules, pack light cotton clothes, and you are in for a lifetime of fun in Dubai.