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Welcome to Dubai! This city offers you the best of all possible worlds: the desert, the beach, and dozens of hyper-modern skyscrapers and attractions designed to cater for tourists.
Anneliese O'MalleyBy Anneliese O'Malley

The 10 Best Things to Do in Dubai

There are hundreds of fun and interesting things to do in Dubai, we’ve gathered 10 ideas which we think will give you a great overview of the city, whether you’re staying for one day or a whole week.
Burj Khalifa
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Burj Khalifa

Dubai is home to the tallest building in the world (for now), the Burj Khalifa. It has several different observation decks to suit every pocket, and the incredible views are definitely worth the price of the ticket.
Aquaventure
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Aquaventure Waterpark

The city is on the edge of a desert, and temperatures can be extremely high all year round. Aquaventure waterpark at Atlantis the Palm is an ideal way to cool off and get an adrenaline rush at the same time. Plus, The Lost Chambers Aquarium is included in the price of your ticket.
Discover the desert around Dubai
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Desert Safari

The desert can be dangerous, but it’s also beautiful and full of adventure! Several tour providers take you into the desert for a daytrip full of activities, from sandboarding and camel riding, to learning about how the Bedouin live in the harsh conditions of the Arabian Desert.
Outdoor Activities
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The Tunnel in the Dubai Aquarium
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Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

The Dubai Aquarium features one of the world’s largest suspended aquariums, right in the center of the Dubai Mall. It’s a great attraction for kids, introducing them to all kinds of marine creatures and reptiles.
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Walking tour of Old Dubai and the souks

Dubai isn’t all new skyscrapers and fancy hotels, and a walking tour in Old Dubai will teach you about Emirati culture. You’ll also get to visit the souks and try your hand at bartering.
Walking Tours
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Wild Wadi Waterpark
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Wild Wadi Waterpark

Another waterpark? You betcha. This one is overlooked by the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel and gives guests access to a private stretch of beach.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosquei in Abu Dhabi
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Day Trip to Abu Dhabi

The city of Abu Dhabi is just a 1-2 hour drive away (depending where you’re staying in Dubai), and it’s full of interesting things to see and do. Culture mavens will want to see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque or the Louvre Abu Dhabi, while thrillseekers will be more interested in a trip to Ferrari World.
Day Trips
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A Dhow in the Dubai Marina
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Take a Boat Tour

See the city from a different perspective! Take a traditional dhow cruise (with or without dinner) on the Dubai Creek or zip along the coastline in a speedboat as you tour the various artificial islands and see the city’s skyline from the sea.
Cruises & Water Tours
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A Windmill and the Burj Khalifa made of Oranges | Flickr: Oiva Eskola CC BY 2.0
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Dubai Miracle Garden

This seasonal attraction only takes place during winter, but it’s one you shouldn’t miss! It features huge sculptures made of flowers, with new designs added each year. The neighboring butterfly garden is also well worth a visit.
Take your time
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Experience Luxury at a Spa

Sometimes sightseeing can be draining! Take some time out of your busy schedule and treat yourself to a massage, facial, or other innovative beauty treatments. Some of Dubai’s luxury hotels offer spa packages for guests or visitors.
Wellness
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Enjoy Dubai with you kids

Things to do in Dubai with Kids

On the hunt for family friendly things to do in Dubai? Never fear, we’ve collected special family tours and attractions that cater directly for children of all ages.If you have junior thrillseekers on your hands, then Legoland Dubai is the perfect place to let them try rides and mini-roller coasters before they graduate to the hardcore coasters. Meanwhile, toddlers, children, and adults alike will enjoy exploring the Green Planet, a bio-dome that recreates a rainforest, complete with roaming animal residents.
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Quad-biking in the Desert

Visit the Desert around Dubai on a Safari

If you’re not a fan of skyscrapers and indoor activities, then you can indulge your wilder side with a desert safari.Choose from half-day or full-day trips and decide whether you want a more active trip (including sandboarding, dune bashing, and camel rides) or something a little more cultural (featuring local food and traditional entertainment). Some tours don’t end until after dark, letting you have the unique experience of sunset among the dunes.

Cool Down at a Waterpark

When we say Dubai gets hot, we mean that the average yearly low temperature in Dubai is 71℉ (21.6℃). Even in winter, you’ll probably be desperate to cool off. Luckily for you, Dubai has several different waterparks to choose from!Aquaventure is found at Atlantis the Palm, and tickets also include the Lost Chambers Aquarium where you can meet all manner of marine animals. Wild Wadi Waterpark is near the Burj Al Arab and tickets include access to a private beach, while Legoland Waterpark is (you guessed it) Lego-themed! In addition to pools and waterslides, it has shady areas where kids can safely play with Lego and Duplo blocks.
The View over the Park | Flickr: James Merabi CC BY-ND 2.0
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Nightly view of Dubai | Flickr: imran shahabuddin CC BY 2.0

What to Do in Dubai at Night

In Dubai, the fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down! From night time attractions to events and special dining experiences, there’s something to suit everyone.Dubai Garden Glow is a seasonal attraction whose glowing light sculptures only really come to life after dark. Explore the park, meet the dinosaurs, or upgrade your ticket and visit the sculptures of the Ice Park. The Global Village is also a seasonal event, hosting pavilions from countries around the world in an effort to bring the world’s culture to Dubai. It’s great to visit in the daytime to shop or try out the rides, but it also hosts concerts and shows at night. The Dubai Fountain is at the base of the Burj Khalifa, and every evening it springs to life with a show that incorporates music, water, and lights. It’s stunning by day and even more impressive after night falls.

Take a Sightseeing Tour on the Ground, Water or in the Air

You have to see Dubai to believe it: a city of ultra-modern buildings squeezed in between the desert and the sea.Hop-On Hop-Off tours let you see it from the ground, taking you from one key attraction to the next while providing commentary on everything you can see outside your window. Boat tours offer you a different perspective, taking you out to the sea so that you can get a closer look at Dubai’s famous artificial islands. The ultimate tours include a helicopter flight above the city, which will show you just how incredible the city is, climbing into the sky against all odds.
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Cruises & Water Tours
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Air & Helicopter Tours
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Motiongate Dubai | Flickr: Jeremy Thompson CC BY 2.0

Have Fun at one of these Theme Parks in Dubai

The United Arab Emirates is a dream destination for people who love amusement parks, and Dubai is the ideal place to stay. Adrenaline junkies will definitely want to spend a day at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, home to Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster, plus several other rides for thrillseekers. Motiongate Dubai features Hollywood-themed rides, including iconic movies like Shrek, The Hunger Games, Kung Fu Panda, and Zombieland. Meanwhile, Bollywood Parks is just what it sounds like, with highlights including rides and live shows based on movies from Mumbai’s massive film industry. IMG Worlds of Adventure is an indoor amusement park that works with iconic brands like Marvel Comics and Cartoon Network to create rides and shows that will appeal to all ages. Finally, Legoland Dubai is the most family-friendly option, with the vast majority of rides suitable for kids under 12 and plenty of opportunities to build with Lego.
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Bollywood Parks Dubai
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IMG Worlds of Adventure
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Walking Tours

The 10 Best Things to See in Dubai

Dubai is packed with interesting attractions and fun things to do. We've collected the ten most interesting attractions so that you can put together your ideal itinerary.
Burj Khalifa
1

Burj Khalifa

The tallest building in the world is one of Dubai’s most popular tourist attractions. There are three different levels to visit, At The Top, At The Top Sky, and the Sky Lounge, all of which offer amazing views.
The View over the Park | Flickr: James Merabi CC BY-ND 2.0
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Aquaventure

When you’re on vacation in the desert, a water park is one of the best ways to cool down. Aquaventure offers visitors the chance to experience high-adrenaline slides and rides as well as family-friendly pools and slides.
The Tunnel in the Dubai Aquarium
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Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

You might not think of the mall as a tourist attraction, but it’s worth a visit to the Dubai Mall just to see the Dubai Aquarium. Featuring thousands of animals from hundreds of species and one of the largest suspended tanks, you’re sure to be impressed.
Wild Wadi Waterpark
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Wild Wadi Waterpark

Another waterpark? Fans of big slides should also check out Wild Wadi Waterpark, near the Burj Al Arab, which is home to the incredible Jumeirah Sceirah slide, plus plenty of options for the rest of the family to enjoy.
A Windmill and the Burj Khalifa made of Oranges | Flickr: Oiva Eskola CC BY 2.0
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Dubai Miracle Garden

This seasonal attraction is only open in winter but is definitely not one to miss. The Dubai Miracle Garden includes sculptures made out of real flowers and plants, and the results are extremely impressive and highly instagrammable.
Dubai Frame
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Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame is an exhibition center and observation deck, located outside the city center but perfectly framing it (which is why it’s called the Frame). It’s the ideal spot to get great pictures of Dubai’s skyline and to learn more about the city’s development over the last 30 years.
Indoor Ski Dubai | Flickr: Timo Tervo CC BY-SA 2.0
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Ski Dubai

Skiing? In the desert? Well, yes, or at least inside a temperature-controlled building. It’s not a huge slope, but if you’re keen to try skiing for the first time then there are lessons for beginners and a range of other winter activities.
The Burj Al Arab on its Island
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Burj Al Arab

This luxury hotel is an icon of Dubai’s skyline, and it’s definitely one you’ll want to take a picture of. If you want to get inside to see what 7-star service is like then it’s best to reserve a table for lunch, dinner, or afternoon tea.
Atlantis Dubai | Flickr: themonnie CC BY-SA 2.0
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Lost Chambers Aquarium

The Lost Chambers Aquarium is designed to look like the lost city of Atlantis, making it an impressive and atmospheric destination. You can visit as part of a ticket to Aquaventure Waterpark, or you can pick up a ticket for the aquarium by itself.
Dubai Fountain | Flickr: Natalie Maguire CC BY-SA 2.0
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Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Fountain can be found at the base of the Burj Khalifa, and it puts on a powerful show several times a day, featuring water, music, and lights after dark. You can watch for free from ground level or get access to a special platform for a better view.

9 Best Amusement Parks

Dubai is an amusement park fan’s dream, with plenty of different levels of adrenaline or fun themes on offer. This list includes theme parks, water parks, and seasonal attractions.
Legoland Dubai | Flickr: Jeremy Thompson CC BY 2.0
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Legoland

All the best places have Legoland parks, and Dubai is no different! Most rides are geared to younger visitors, but there are a couple of rides that will still thrill older adrenaline junkies. Little kids will also find lots to do, with playgrounds and small rides geared towards toddlers.
Legoland Water Park | Flickr: Jeremy Thompson CC BY 2.0
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Legoland Waterpark

In the heat of Dubai, it makes sense that Legoland has a twin waterpark. With slides, playgrounds, and pools, kids and adults alike can enjoy a day at the Legoland Waterpark.
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motiongate | Flickr: Martin Lewison CC BY-SA 2.0
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Motiongate Dubai

Motiongate Dubai has partnered with Columbia Pictures, Lionsgate, and Dreamworks to bring you rides and shows based on some of your favorite Hollywood movies. From The Hunger Games and Shrek to The Smurfs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!
Bollywood Parks | Flickr: Jeremy Thompson CC BY 2.0
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Bollywood Parks Dubai

Bollywood Parks Dubai doesn’t have that many rides, but it is the ideal destination for people who love Bollywood movies. With 4D film experiences, shows, a handful of rides, and themed areas, you’ll feel like you’re in Mumbai.
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IMG Worlds of Adventure | Flickr: Jeremy Thompson CC BY 2.0
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IMG Worlds of Adventure

This theme park includes 5 zones of adventure, including a Marvel superheroes area and a Cartoon Network-themed area. With a good mix of roller coasters, thrill rides, and children’s rides, this park is great for families with teens or older kids.
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The Leap of Faith | Flickr: neekoh.fi CC BY 2.0
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Aquaventure

This waterpark is one of the most popular in Dubai, located at Atlantis the Palm Jumeirah. In addition to awesome slides and a range of pools, your ticket also gets you access to a private beach and the Lost Chambers Aquarium.
Visitors Float on the Lazy River | Flick: Studio Sarah Lou CC BY 2.0
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Wild Wadi Waterpark

Yet another popular waterpark, the Wild Wadi Waterpark is opposite the Burj Al Arab and offers 17 slides, 3 pools, and a lazy river. For a real taste of luxury, book a cabana for reserved sun loungers and VIP treatment all day.
Indoor Ski Dubai | Flickr: Timo Tervo CC BY-SA 2.0
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Ski Dubai Snow Park

If you want to ski all year round and you don’t want to travel to the Alps to do it, then you can try the artificial snow at Ski Dubai! If you’re not big on skiing, then you can also try sledding, their winter rides, or meet the penguins that live at the attraction.
Dubai Garden Glow | Flickr: Rob Young CC BY 2.0
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Dubai Garden Glow

This seasonal attraction is at its best after dark when the sculptures are lit up and glowing. It changes every year and includes a Dinosaur Park and an Ice Park, so there’s something that will amaze every member of the family.

The Best Places For History and Culture-Lovers

From the outside, Dubai might look like its attractions are a little bit shallow in nature, but there are also plenty of attractions for visitors who want to understand Emirati history and culture. Some are best visited with an expert guide in order to fully appreciate the exhibits on display.
Dubai Museum
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Dubai Museum

The Dubai Museum is inside the Al Fahidi Fort and contains exhibitions about life in Dubai over the centuries, including the differences between the urban and rural populations. It also features an exhibition about Emirati folklore and offers visitors the chance to compare the Dubai of the past with the shining city of the present.
Jumeirah Mosque
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Jumeirah Mosque

This is the only mosque in Dubai that welcomes non-Muslim visitors on most days of the week, so if you’ve ever wanted to learn more about Islam’s rituals and customs, or you just want to see one of Dubai’s most interesting landmarks, it’s definitely worth a visit. Guided tours are highly recommended so that you can ask any questions that spring to mind.
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Etihad Museum | Wiki: Lxs CC BY 4.0
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Etihad Museum

The Etihad Museum tells the story of the founding of the United Arab Emirates as a nation in 1971, with interactive displays and experience-based exhibits. If you want to learn more about this unique country then it’s the best place to go.
Global Village
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Global Village

Between October and April every year, the Global Village swings into action. This attraction brings together food, products, and people from different countries around the world into one massive festival of culture, featuring shows, concerts, and even a fairground. If you’re in town while the Global Village is open, it’s well worth a visit, especially after dark.
Article about QE2 | Public Domain
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QE2 Museum

This isn’t strictly speaking a museum that will teach you about the UAE or Dubai, but it is fascinating. This famous former cruiseliner is docked in Dubai and is a floating hotel as well as a museum dedicated to telling the story of the golden age of ocean liners. It’s also a great spot for brunch!

Meet the Animals

Dubai has several attractions that are perfect for animal-lovers and families alike, with several of them offering guests the chance to meet members of their favorite species.
Green Planet
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Green Planet

This innovative zoo-like attraction recreates a rainforest indoors, with a huge artificial tree housing hundreds of species of plants and animals. In addition to seeing creatures at close quarters, you can also book encounters with sloths, birds, reptiles, and a sugar glider.
Dubai Dolphinarium
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Dubai Dolphinarium

The Dubai Dolphinarium in Creek Park is famous for its dolphin and seal show, but it also offers the chance to meet the performers and even swim with dolphins. Other attractions on offer include a bird show, a trampoline park, and 5D and 7D cinema experiences.
Penguins
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Ski Dubai

Ski Dubai is a great place to try skiing or sledding, but the snowy attraction is also home to a family of penguins. Visitors can watch the waddling birds at play or meet them in a supervised interaction.
Albino alligator | Flickr: Jeremy Thompson CC BY 2.0
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Lost Chambers Aquarium

This aquarium is part of Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis the Palm, but it’s more than just a huge tank full of fish. It offers the chance to look behind the scenes of a working aquarium, swim with sharks, or learn how to scuba dive.
Dubai Aquarium | Photo: Flickr, Matt Lowe - CC BY 2.0
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Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo has one clear main attraction, the huge suspended tank at the heart of the Dubai Mall. However, it also offers the chance to get up close with a range of animals, including otters, rays, sharks, birds, and the huge King Croc. You can also bob along on the top of the aquarium in a glass-bottomed boat.
More sights in Dubai
Qasr Al Hosn6 tickets & guided tours
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque22 tickets & guided tours
Hub Zero1 tickets & guided tours
Dubai Ice Rink6 tickets & guided tours
Anneliese O'Malley
Written byAnneliese O'MalleyAnneliese is a former Londoner, keen traveler, and total word nerd. As a Content Management Specialist she knows the TicketLens inventory inside out and curates, matches, and writes about the most interesting attractions worldwide.
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