Glamorous Dubai is a top spot vacation destination in the UAE. This city of skyscrapers and shopping centers was transformed from a desert into a destination where tourists congregate for sales bargain, go for sun tanning and family enjoyment.
Dubai is known for its several tourist attractions, such as the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) and its shopping centers, as well as its giant aquariums and indoor ski slopes.
This city of Dubai has many cultural moments, as well as all modern and glamorous accessories.
Take a stroll through Bastakia and discover ancient Dubai, then walk through Dubai Creek in a traditional dhow, and you will realize that there is more to this city than its striking lining.
Learn more about the top-rated places to visit in Dubai with our list of the best tourist attractions.
Table of Contents
- 1. Burj Khalifa
- 2. Dubai Mall
- 3. Dubai Museum
- 4. Bastakia (Old Dubai)
- 5. Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House
- 6. Dubai Creek and Al Seef District
- 7. Jumeirah Mosque
- 8. Deira
- 9. Dubai Frame
- 10. Sheikh Zayed Road
- 11. Heritage and diving village
- 12. Dubai Aquarium
- 13. Burj al-Arab
- 14. Jumeirah Beach
- 15. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
- 16. Crossroads of Civilizations Museum
- 17. Mall of the Emirates
- 18. IMG worlds of adventure
- 19. Dubai Opera
- 20. Kite beach
- 21. Alserkal art district
- 22. Parks and Resorts in Dubai
- 23. Aquaventure water park
- 24. Dubai Garden in Dubai
- 25. Butterfly garden in Dubai
1. Burj Khalifa
The most significant building of Dubai is the Burj Khalifa, which is at 829.8 meters, and the tallest building in the world and the most famous monument in the city. For most visitors, a must to do in the city is a trip to the 124th floor of the observation deck.
The views from the city skyline from this panoramic view are simply breathtaking. The elegant viewing observation deck experience includes a multimedia presentation in Dubai and the Burj Khalifa building (completed in 2010) before a quick lift takes you to the observation deck for these 360-degree views degrees through the skyscrapers to the desert on one side and the ocean on the other.
Night tours are especially popular with photographers due to the famous bright panoramas of the city of Dubai. Buy a ticket in advance for the Burj Khalifa “At the Top” to avoid long queues, especially if you plan to visit on weekends.
Back to the ground, surrounding the Burj Khalifa, are magnificent gardens of buildings with winding paths. There are many features of the water, including the Dubai Fountain, which is the world tallest Fountain, inspired by the famous Bellagio Fountains of Las Vegas.
2. Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is the city’s main shopping center and provides access to the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Aquarium. There is also an ice rink, a gaming arena, and a cinema complex if you are looking for additional entertainment options.
Shopping and dining are unlimited, and there are almost always special events like concerts and fashion shows in the mall. The most famous is the annual Dubai Shopping Festival in January and February and the Dubai Summer Surprise Festival in July and August.
Location: Doha Road, off Sheikh Zayed Road
3. Dubai Museum
The fascinating museum in Dubai is located in the Al-Fahidi Fort, which was built in 1787 to defend Dubai Creek. The walls of the fort are constructed with traditional coral blocks and joined with lime.
Wooden pillars support the upper floor, and the ceiling has the layer of palm leaves, clay, and plaster. The fort used to be the residence of the ruling family, the seat of government, a garrison and a prison.
Renovated in 1971 (and again in 1995), it is today the city’s main museum. At the entrance is a fascinating display of old maps of the emirate and Dubai, showing the enormous expansion that hit the region after the oil boom.
In the courtyard, there are several traditional boats and palm-leaf houses with an Emirati wind tower. The right hall consists of the weapons, and the left gallery shows the Emirati musical instruments.
Below the ground floor is showcasing halls with displays and dioramas covering various aspects of traditional Emirati life (including pearl fishing and viability in the Bedouin desert), as well as artifacts from tombs back from 3000 to 4000 years old at the archaeological site of Al Qusais.
4. Bastakia (Old Dubai)
The Bastakia district, which is also known as the Al-Fahidi district, was built in the late 19th century to house wealthy Persian merchants who were mainly engaged in pearls and textiles. Because of the tax-free trading system and access to Dubai creek, they were drawn to Dubai.
Bastakia occupies the eastern part of Bur Dubai along the creek, and the coral and limestone buildings, many with walls covered with wind towers, are perfectly preserved.
The wind towers provided houses with an old form of air conditioning: the wind trapped in the towers was directed towards the houses. Persian merchants probably transplanted this architectural element (common in Iranian coastal homes) from their country of origin to the Gulf.
The narrow streets, lined with a well defined Arab architecture, evoke a much slower and over an era in the history of Dubai.
In the neighborhood, you will find the Majlis Gallery with its collection of pottery and traditional Arab furniture (located in the wind tower) and the Al Serkal Cultural Foundation, with a shop, a café, and rotating art exhibitions (located in one of the historic buildings).
5. Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House
The glittering city of Dubai was ruled by Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum from 1921 to 1958 and the grandfather of the current ruler. His former residence has been renovated and kept as a museum, which is an excellent example of Arab construction
The first house was built in 1896 by Sheikh Saeed’s father to observe the ship’s activities from the balcony. It was, however, demolished, but the current house has been restored to its original location, staying true to the unique model by installing carved teak doors, wooden mosquito nets through the windows, and plaster ventilation screens with floral and geometric design.
Thirty rooms were built around a central courtyard with a wind tower at the top. Inside are exhibits from the Museum of Historical Photography and Dubai Documents, with many beautiful old photographs of Dubai from 1948 to 1953.
The maritime wing of the museum contains pictures of fishing, pearls, and boats. Throughout the building are numerous letters, cards, coins, and stamps representing the development of the emirate.
Nearby is the house of Sheikh Obaid bin Thani, restored with traditional interiors.
Address: Al Khaleej Road, Bur Dubai
6. Dubai Creek and Al Seef District
The Dubai Creek splits the Dubai city into two, with Deira to the north and Bur Dubai to the south. The creek was an influential element in the city’s growth, first attracting settlers to fish and dive for pearls.
Small villages developed along the creek 4000 years ago, while the contemporary era began in the 1830s when the Bani Yas tribe decided to settle in the area.
Dhow Wharfage is located along the banks of Dubai Creek, north of the Al-Maktoum Bridge. Small traders across the Gulf still use it; some of the houses anchored here are over 100 years old.
You can visit here and see the cargo being loaded and unloaded inside and outside the trench. Dhow workers often invite visitors on boats for tours, where they can experience these traditional sailor’s lifestyles.
Many dhows here travel to Kuwait, Iran, Oman, India, and even the Horn of Africa. This little remnant of Dubai’s traditional economy is still a lively and fascinating place to walk around.
On the side of the Bur Dubai cove, which borders the Bastakia district, the coastline has been restored as an Al Seef district, with a promenade supported by traditional buildings made of coral and limestone blocks, a floating market and craft shops. It is a perfect place for a walk with a beautiful view of the water.
To cross the creek, you can take on one of the many dhows that have been restored on a tourist cruise or take the abra (small wooden ferry) between the ferry spots on the creek of the Bur Dub and Deira banks.
7. Jumeirah Mosque
The Jumeirah Mosque is reviewed by many to be the most beautiful mosque in Dubai. A replica of the Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, eight times larger, the Jumeirah Mosque is an excellent example of Islamic architecture.
This stone building was built in the medieval Fatimid tradition, with two minarets representing subtle details in the stone construction. It is particularly attractive at night when spotlights lit it.
The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, a Center for Cultural Understanding (runs a program of visits, conferences, Arabic lessons, and cultural meals), organizes a tour guide around the mosque to guide a better understanding of the Muslim faith.
The tours commence at 10 a.m. every day except Friday.
Address: Jumeirah Road
Deira is located on the north coast of Dubai Creek, and the winding streets reveal the crucible of different nationalities that Dubai has taken up residence. On the shore, old dhows are loaded and unloaded by banks, hotels, and modern offices in the marquee.
For travelers, Deira is known for its traditional souks (markets), full of customers at any time of the day. Deira Gold Souk is recognized worldwide as the largest gold bazaar in the world.
Deira Spice Souk sells every imaginable spice; the stands are filled with sacs of incense, cumin, paprika, saffron, and thyme, as well as fragrant oak, rose water, and perfume. The fish market offers a much smaller tourist experience.
During their stay in the district, culture lovers should not miss two beautifully restored Deira architectural gems. The heritage house was built in 1890 to house a wealthy Iranian merchant. The heritage house later became the home of Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmouk (a famous pearl merchant in Dubai).
Today it is an excellent opportunity to see the interior of a traditional family home. Al-Ahmadiya School, which was built in 1912, is the oldest school in Dubai and is a museum of public education.
Location: Dubai Creek
9. Dubai Frame
This massive painting, 150 meters high, is located in the bumps between the oldest districts of Dubai sloping around the creek and the modern latitude of the city, It is one of the lastest monuments of Dubai.
Inside, a series of galleries will take you through the history of the city and explore the heritage of the Emirati before heading to the Sky Deck, where fantastic panoramas of old and new Dubai are provided as you will capture on the observation decks.
Then visit the Future Dubai gallery, imagine what a futuristic vision of what the glamourous city of Dubai will look like.
Location: Zabeel Park, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Road
10. Sheikh Zayed Road
Sheikh Zayed Road is the main road through a modern financial district in central Dubai. This broad eight-lane highway is bordered over its entire length by tall glasses, chrome, and steel buildings. It is one of the best views on the ground for the splendid views of Dubai skyscrapers.
The main attractions are located along the strip between the roundabout and the first intersection, and most of Dubai’s famous shopping malls are located along the road. The Dubai World Trade Tower has a viewing terrace on the top floor, which offers visitors a panoramic view (a cheaper option than the Burj Khalifa).
The Gold and Diamonds park (Sheikh Zayed Road) is in the same place for jewelry lovers, with 118 producers and 30 retailers, all under one roof.
11. Heritage and diving village
The architectural, cultural, and seafaring heritage of Dubai is displayed at the Heritage and Diving Village, with exhibitions related to pearl diving and the construction of dhows, the two main economic pillars of Dubai.
There are also reconstructions of the traditional life of the Bedouins and the coastal towns, with Persian houses, a traditional café and a small souk where potters and weavers practice their crafts on stalls.
Local music and dance are staged from October to April, and visitors can get advice from experts in traditional medicine.
Location: Shindagha, Bur Dubai
12. Dubai Aquarium
One of the city’s main tourist attractions, the Dubai Aquarium, preserves 140 species of marine life in an extensive suspended tank on the ground floor of the Dubai Mall. In addition to a free tour of the mall, if you enter the underwater zoo, you can walk through the aquarium tunnels.
Various activities help you take a closer look at marine life. Boat trips with a glass-bottom (above the tank) are particularly popular. Cage snorkeling and shark diving are also accessible.
Address: Dubai Mall, Sheikh Zayed Road
13. Burj al-Arab
Burj Al-Arab is the tallest hotel in the world, with a height of 321 meters on its artificial island off the coast of Dubai. Designed to resemble a wavy dhow candle, the exterior of the building is illuminated at night by an exhibition of colorful and choreographed lighting.
Declining in every possible way, Burj Al-Arab is one of the most expensive hotels in the world, and the most luxurious suites cost more than $ 15,000 per night.
For those with unlimited credit limits, dine at the underwater restaurant Al-Mahara, where the floor-to-ceiling glass panels on the partitions of the dining room allow you to watch sea life while eating, or you can have lunch at a California Scape-style fusion restaurant.
For the best panoramic view of the city, book an afternoon tea at the Skyview Bar (minimum cost required) on the 27th floor.
Address: Jumeirah Road, Dubai
14. Jumeirah Beach
This strip of blissful white sand is the first place on the beach for visitors to Dubai. The hotels span its entire length, making it one of the most popular sites for tourists. The beach has outstanding facilities, with plenty of sun loungers, restaurants, and water sports offering jet skiing.
While around, brush off the sand of the region for an hour and visit Majlis Ghorfat Um Al-Sheef, a few steps from a beach which was built in 1955, it was the summer home of late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed al-Maktoum. The home, made of plaster and coral blocks, has been renovated and retains much of th
e beautiful original decoration, allowing you better to understand the rich lifestyle of the rulers of Dubai. The Majlis gardens restore an effective Arab irrigation system and many shaded palm trees.
Address: Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai
15. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
You don’t have to go too far from the skyscraper to get a more natural view. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary includes mangroves and Dubai Creek wetlands.
An essential stop on the migratory routes is a privileged place to see flamingos in winter, when large flocks of these magnificent pink birds cross lagoons, against the backdrop of towering skyscrapers.
In the park’s main places, various hides have been built, allowing bird watchers to have a good view of birdlife.
Address: Ras Al Khor Street, Dubai
16. Crossroads of Civilizations Museum
This museum explores the historical role of the United Arab Emirates as a center for trade between Asia, Africa, and Europe before oil became the most important industry in this region.
Located inside the former residence of Sheikh Hashr bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, who was a member of the ruling family of Dubai, the pieces retrace the history of this coastal area as part of world trade routes, with artifacts and manuscripts.
There is also a museum of rare books and manuscripts and a small weapons museum.
Address: Al Khaleej Road, Dubai
17. Mall of the Emirates
The Mall of the Emirates is one of the city’s most famous shopping malls, home to Ski Dubai’s spectacular (and surreal) facilities. The closed ski slope is equipped with cable cars and a penguin fence, all at a constant temperature of -4 degrees Celsius.
There is also a cinema arena and a family entertainment center with a large number of attractions for adults and children. The shopping possibilities are endless, as are the dining options offered by every kitchen in the world imaginable.
Address: Road Sheikh Zayed, Dubai
18. IMG worlds of adventure
This theme park, near Global Village, is at its best a fun pastime and has excitement and spills for kids and big kids.
With an area entirely dedicated to the typical representation of Marvel, others for dinosaur themed walks; and the area where Cartoon Network takes the helm with sweeter rides and activities for young children has something for all ages.
Whether you want to help the Avengers fight Ultron, have a spooky madness in a haunted house, or join Spider-Man as he travels through the city, it’s a paradise for families looking for a fun-filled day.
Address: Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, Dubai
19. Dubai Opera
As for night attractions, look no further. Inaugurated in mid-2016, the new elegant Dubai Opera House is the centerpiece of the Downtown Dubai Opera House and will become the city’s premier cultural center and entertainment center.
Dubai Opera offers famous musical theater productions, concerts by world-famous musicians, opera, ballet, classical music all year round, smaller productions, comedy evenings, and concerts.
The 2,000-seat theater building itself is a striking piece of architectural knowledge and one of the new landmarks of Dubai, with very contemporary glass and steel walls protruding from the waterfront, constructed to resemble traditional-looking curves.
Address: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Road
20. Kite beach
This long white sand beach, south of Jumeirah Beach, is not only an ideal destination for parasols who want to swim and sunbathe on the sand. Kite Beach is recognized as the best destination in Dubai for kitesurfers and is home to many water sports operators.
Here you can kitesurf or try standing rowing, with equipment rentals and lessons easily organized on the beach.
21. Alserkal art district
Part of Al Quoz’s former industrial district, Alserkal Central Avenue, has been renovated to become Dubai’s main art center and houses some of the city’s most important contemporary art galleries.
Established names of the gallery, such as Green Art Gallery, Third Line, and Ayyam Gallery, have created their homes here, while many startups have also moved in.
The district revolving collections program focuses on the work of leading artists, as well as the highlighting of new Middle Eastern talent.
This pop-up area is also a place for local fashion designer boutiques and fashion, pop-up restaurants, and cafe life. It displays the energetic, youthful bumble of the city, which is generally better known for its corporate face.
Address: Avenue Alserkal, Al Quoz industrial district
22. Parks and Resorts in Dubai
In Dubai’s parks and resorts, your entertainment needs are brought together in one place. The only problem here is deciding what you want to do. This gigantic project includes a multitude of world theme parks that offer something for everyone, regardless of age.
Motiongate draws its theme from Hollywood productions, with attractions based on movie ticket offices; Bollywood Parks revives the world-famous Indian film industry at its attractions. Legoland Dubai and Legoland Waterpark offer young visitors a fun day on their interactive rides, slides, and wave pool.
The Riverland Dubai District Restaurant Center means there is no need to leave after quitting the theme park activities as there are many evening entertainments present here.
Address: Sheikh Zayed Road, Jebel Ali
23. Aquaventure water park
This Atlantis-based water park, Palma in the palm of Jumeirah, the famous development of an artificial island in Dubai, is a great place to cool off after a few days of shopping and sightseeing.
The water slide’s performance is excellent and world-class, with the Aquaconda, the longest slide in the world, a nine-story skater, aptly named The Leap of Faith, and roller coaster ride.
There are also underwater safaris with Sea TREK helmets, children’s aquatic play area with slides, while all its energy is exhausted, a 700-foot-long white sand beach.
Address: Crescent Road, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai
24. Dubai Garden in Dubai
Unsatisfied with the construction of the world’s most significant buildings and malls, Dubai has created the world’s largest flower garden that spans 2,000 square feet and is home to hundreds of millions of flowers.
There is everything that could be covered with flowers, from English-style country houses to windmills and trucks. There is even a floral version of Burj Khalifa. Take a stroll along the hiking trails and enjoy the vibrant colors and vibrant floral displays.
Address: Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Rd, Al Barsha
25. Butterfly garden in Dubai
Here, you will have to go to the skyscrapers of the city in the afternoon. For a piece of nature, this extensive garden of butterflies, about 15,000 butterflies floating under the arches, cannot be defeated.
It’s a great opportunity for children to take a closer look at butterflies, as they often land on the shoulders and arms of visitors. There is also a museum here with lots of information on the varieties of butterflies, their habitats, and their life cycle.
Address: Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Rd, Al Barsha
These are the top-rated 25 best places for holidaymakers to see in the glitzy city of Dubai. If you’d like to ask any questions or would like to add any other tourist attractions to this list, kindly let us know by leaving a comment below.
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