Things to Do in Dubai – Your Guide to the City


Dubai never fails to dazzle us with its unique blend of luxury and culture, where the cutting-edge skyscrapers meet the ancient sand dunes in a symphony of progress and heritage. When I think of Dubai, I envision shimmering malls nestled alongside traditional souks, futuristic attractions coexisting with age-old landmarks, and, of course, delicious cuisine from all corners of the globe. It’s no wonder that the city has become a top travel destination for both experienced jet-setters and eager first-time explorers alike.

So, welcome, dear reader, to our comprehensive travel guide, designed to introduce you to the awe-inspiring Dubai attractions that you simply cannot miss on your next sojourn to this cosmopolitan oasis. As a seasoned investor and property enthusiast, I’m beyond thrilled to share my knowledge, experiences, and insights that will help you make the most out of your trip to this desert metropolis.

In this article, you can expect to find detailed information on each attraction, seasoned with personal tips on the best visiting times, accommodations, dining recommendations, and of course, much, much more. So buckle up and come along as we explore the must-visit Dubai attractions that will leave you longing for more!

Dubai’s Iconic Landmark: Burj Khalifa

As someone who’s had the chance to witness spectacular skylines in several global cities, I have to say that no other structure has astounded me as much as the one and only Burj Khalifa. Standing tall amidst the glamorous cityscape of Dubai, the Burj Khalifa is not just the tallest building in the world, but also a symbol of the country’s dynamic progress and ambitious vision.

At the Top: World’s Highest Observatory Deck

Imagine peering through the clouds at over 828 meters above ground level as you stand on the world’s highest observatory deck. A visit to At the Top on the 148th floor of the Burj Khalifa is an experience that will leave you breathless – both figuratively and literally. As a seasoned traveler, I can confidently say that no other view compares to the panoramic vistas of Dubai I enjoyed from the summit of this architectural marvel. I found that the best time to visit the observation deck is during sunset when the city comes alive with glimmering lights, creating a magical skyline.

Ticket prices start at around AED 149 ($40) for the 124th and 125th floors, while access to the 148th floor begins at AED 379 ($103). Consider splurging on the VIP SKY Lounge access for a truly unforgettable experience, complete with personal reception and guided tours.

Dubai Mall: Shopper’s Paradise

Adjacent to the Burj Khalifa lies the shopping mecca of the region – the Dubai Mall. With over 1,200 stores, it is one of the most exhaustive retail destinations I have ever visited. But there’s more to it than just shopping. I found myself captivated by the mesmerizing Dubai Aquarium and the virtual reality theme park, VR Park. Insider tip: make sure to also drop by the ever-popular Candylicious, one of the world’s largest candy stores, to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Dining with a View

There’s no better way to end a day of exploring the tallest structure in the world and its adjoining mall than by indulging in a gourmet dinner with a striking view of the Burj Khalifa. As an avid food enthusiast, I was amazed by the array of options available – from casual dining at the mall’s food court to rooftop eateries and upscale restaurants. My personal favorite? At.mosphere, the world’s highest restaurant, located on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa.

The Dubai Fountain Show: A Symphony of Light and Music

Just when you think the night cannot get any better, the Dubai Fountain comes to life. Amidst the sparkling backdrop of the Burj Khalifa, the fountain delivers a dazzling and synchronized spectacle of water, light, and music. Having seen several such shows across the globe, I can assure you it is unmatched in its grandeur and sheer energy. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch this iconic display, which occurs every 30 minutes during the evening.

In summary, the Burj Khalifa is not simply a towering structure – it’s an unparalleled experience that every visitor to Dubai must have on their itinerary. From bird’s-eye views to world-class shopping, dining, and entertainment, this iconic landmark caters to everyone’s tastes and preferences, making it a true symbol of the city’s essence.

The Palm Islands: Engineering Marvel

Ah, the Palm Islands – that captivating trio comprising Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, and Palm Deira – always leave me in awe at their breathtaking, man-made beauty. As an investor who has observed Dubai’s growth from its early days, let me share how these stunning artificial archipelagos epitomize bold ambition and innovative engineering.

Palm Jumeirah: Luxury on a Silver Platter

Imagine staying in a city where engineers have actually built new stretches of land out into the sea, and you have Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah. The most developed and accessible among the three islands, Palm Jumeirah is a luxurious paradise complete with upscale hotels, villas, and apartments.

Luxury travelers, this is your haven. From the iconic Atlantis, The Palm, with its famous waterpark and infinity pool, to the new Nakheel Mall and the soon-to-be-completed St. Regis The Palm – this fronded wonderland is your playground.

My recommendation: Do not miss a chance to ride the Palm Jumeirah Monorail, which effortlessly connects the island to mainland Dubai, and offers some stellar views to boot.

Palm Jebel Ali: Untapped Potential

Though not as developed as Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali holds immense potential for growth. At 50% larger than its developed sibling, this island was initially designed to become an entertainment hub for Dubai. While some projects have been put on hold, keep an eye on Palm Jebel Ali because, in Dubai, the possibilities are endless!

Palm Deira: The Future Beckons

Lastly, there’s Palm Deira, the largest of the trio, intended to bring a mix of residential and commercial spaces. While construction is still underway, I am confident that in the near future, Palm Deira will emerge as yet another delightful attraction, adding more feathers to Dubai’s crowded cap.

Environmental Considerations: A Necessary Caution

While I marvel at the ingenuity of the Palm Islands, as a conscious investor, I must also address some concerns. The islands’ engineering has an inevitable environmental impact, particularly on marine ecosystems. My hope is that as Dubai continues to innovate, we’ll see increased adoption of eco-friendly technologies and designs in projects like these.

But for now, as you plan your visit, I urge you to explore the Palm Islands at least once. Trust me, you’ll experience an enchanting blend of luxury and cutting-edge engineering that will leave you spellbound!

Hatta: Adventure and Heritage

As an experienced investor and writer who’s had the pleasure of visiting numerous locations around the world, I can confidently say that Dubai is undeniably one of the gems that leave you craving for more of its diverse attractions. One such place that perfectly captures the beauty of Dubai’s natural landscapes and outdoor adventures is Hatta, a town nestled in the Hajar Mountains. Hatta holds a special place in my heart not just for its breathtaking scenery but also for its rich cultural heritage that is beautifully preserved for all to explore.

Outdoor Activities

For those of us seeking an adrenaline rush, Hatta offers plenty of adventure-packed activities that promise to leave you with unforgettable memories. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

  • Hiking: With numerous trails winding through the rugged mountain terrains, take the opportunity to witness a stunning view of the landscapes and rocky canyons surrounding the area.
  • Kayaking: The Hatta Dam is a must-visit for anyone seeking peace and tranquility. Rent a kayak or paddleboat and float through the turquoise waters, absorbing the incredible scenery.
  • Mountain Biking: Hatta is well-known for its vast network of mountain biking trails, catering to various skill levels. Rent a bike and explore the wild landscape at your own pace.

Historical Sites

Apart from its natural beauty, Hatta is also known for its historical and cultural heritage. Do not miss out on these enriching experiences:

  • Hatta Heritage Village: This restored village exhibits an insight into Dubai’s history and traditional Emirati way of life. Wander through the preserved mud-brick houses, date farms, and handicraft shops for a taste of the past.
  • Hatta Fort: This 18th-century fort stands as a perfect representation of traditional military architecture. The fort now houses an intriguing museum that showcases Emirati culture.

Accommodations and Tour Operators

After a day of exploration and adventure, unwind in one of the many accommodations in Hatta that cater to different budgets and preferences. For a luxury retreat, consider the Hatta Fort Hotel, where you can relax in the lovely chalets, surrounded by mountains and lush greenery. Alternatively, JA Hatta Fort Hotel offers a serene atmosphere away from the city’s hustle.

For those looking to indulge in all the experiences mentioned above, there are numerous tour operators in Hatta that provide customized itineraries and guided tours to satisfy your thirst for adventure, knowledge, and cultural exploration.

In conclusion, Hatta is an underrated treasure that offers unmatched natural beauty, incredible outdoor activities, and a genuine glimpse into Dubai’s rich history and culture. This small town has something for everyone, from thrill-seekers to history buffs. Don’t miss the chance to explore Hatta and create cherished memories on your next visit to Dubai.

Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood: A Trip to the Past

As an experienced investor and avid traveler, I’ve long admired Dubai for its stunning futuristic architecture and luxurious lifestyle. However, one of my absolute favorite parts of the city is the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, which offers a refreshing contrast to the modern marvels dominating the skyline. This hidden gem transports you to the past with its charming, traditional buildings and rich cultural experiences. Trust me when I say that visiting Al Fahidi is an absolute must for anyone eager to explore the historical side of Dubai.

Preserving History through Architecture

Walking through the narrow, winding streets of Al Fahidi feels like stepping back in time. The neighborhood’s low-rise buildings, made from traditional materials like coral, gypsum, and palm wood, showcase the city’s unique architectural heritage. These time-tested construction techniques are not only impressive but also eco-friendly, as they keep the interiors cool in the scorching summer heat. Be sure to admire the iconic wind towers (barjeel) that adorn many buildings – they are Dubai’s early version of air conditioning!

Galleries and Museums: A Cultural Treasure Trove

This historic neighborhood is also a cultural hotspot – home to numerous galleries and museums that art enthusiasts will fall in love with. At the heart of Al Fahidi, you’ll find the Dubai Museum housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest existing building in the city. This fascinating museum showcases a wide array of artifacts, providing a glimpse into Dubai’s history and rapid transformation.

Another must-visit spot is the Coffee Museum, where you can learn about the origins and history of coffee, as well as taste some exquisite brews from around the world. Art lovers should not miss the XVA Gallery, an exceptional contemporary art gallery that frequently hosts exhibitions from talent across the region.

Guided Walking Tours and Boutique Accommodations

To truly immerse yourself in the Al Fahidi experience, consider joining a guided walking tour. The knowledgeable guides will lead you through the maze-like streets and provide valuable insights into the neighborhood’s history and significance. Of course, I also wholeheartedly recommend staying at one of the boutique accommodations within Al Fahidi, such as the elegant XVA Art Hotel or the charming Orient Guest House. These unique places will offer you an authentic and unforgettable taste of Dubai’s history.

In conclusion, setting foot in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood is like voyaging back in time and uncovering a different facet of Dubai, away from the glitz and glamour of its futuristic wonders. Make sure to add this enchanting cultural haven to your list of must-visit Dubai attractions, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Dubai’s Food Scene: A Culinary Adventure

The essence of travel lies in exploring new experiences and cultures, and what better way to dive into a culture than through its food? Dubai is a melting pot of diverse cultures and culinary traditions, making its food scene a tantalizing adventure for the senses. From upscale restaurants helmed by world-renowned chefs to hidden gems serving authentic local dishes, the city’s gastronomic landscape truly has something for everyone. In this section, we’ll take you on a delectable journey through Dubai’s culinary offerings, highlighting some of the best dining experiences this marvelous city has to offer.

Fine Dining: A Taste of Luxury

Dubai is known for its opulence, and its fine dining scene continues to uphold that reputation. Some of the city’s most indulgent culinary delights can be found at the well-known establishments like Nobu, serving contemporary Japanese cuisine, and Hakkasan, which offers modern Cantonese dishes. For a uniquely Emirati fine dining experience, be sure to visit the exquisite Al Hadheerah, where Arabian nights come to life in a desert setting featuring live entertainment and traditional food.

Savor the Streets: Flavorful Bites and Local Favorites

If you’re keen on tasting the authentic flavors of Dubai beyond the glitzy restaurants, there is a wealth of mouthwatering treats that can be found on the city’s bustling streets. Al Mallah in Satwa is known for its shawarma sandwiches, a local favorite, while Ravi Restaurant serves curry lovers with their finger-licking Pakistani fare. The exquisite flavors offered by these hole-in-the-wall establishments showcase the true essence of Emirati food culture.

Emirati Cuisine: Uncovering the Richness of Local Flavor

Dubai’s diverse population has introduced a plethora of cuisines to the city, but it’s essential to also embark on a culinary discovery of the rich and flavorful Emirati cuisine. Traditional dishes like Machboos, a blend of spiced rice and chicken, or Harees, a savory wheat and meat porridge, reflect the city’s Bedouin roots. Al Fanar Restaurant & Café is well-known for offering a delightful array of local Emirati dishes, served in a traditional ambiance that transports you back to old Dubai.

Food Tours: A Gastronomic Journey With Expert Guidance

If exploring the culinary offerings of a city with a knowledgeable guide is more your style, then Dubai’s food tours might just be the perfect adventure for you. Companies like Frying Pan Adventures and Dubai Food Tours provide unique experiences that not only showcase the city’s diverse food culture but also impart knowledge about ingredients, cooking techniques, and the history that shaped its culinary identity. These tours often provide opportunities to interact with local vendors, chefs, and food enthusiasts, making it an unforgettable experience for any food lover.

In conclusion, Dubai’s food scene is a vibrant and diverse landscape of flavors, textures, and culinary wonders. Whether you’re indulging in the splendor of fine dining or immersing yourself in the humble street food offerings, your taste buds are in for a delectable adventure. So go ahead, gather your appetite, and leave no plate unturned in this marvelous culinary playground.


As we reach the end of this mesmerizing journey through Dubai’s attractions, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of wonder and awe at the sheer variety and richness this city has to offer. From the towering heights of the Burj Khalifa and the engineering marvel that is the Palm Islands, to the historic charm of Al Fahidi Neighborhood and the natural beauty of Hatta, Dubai truly caters to every kind of traveler.

One thing I’ve learned as an experienced investor and traveler is that the best way to appreciate any city is to immerse oneself in its culture and explore its hidden gems. Dubai’s unparalleled blend of luxury, culture, and innovation provides a truly unforgettable experience that you’ll be reminiscing about for years to come.

So, whether you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking thrilling adventures, a history buff eager to delve into the past, or a foodie on the hunt for the next culinary masterpiece, Dubai has something just for you. Don’t hesitate – take the leap and start planning your trip to this extraordinary city today! And don’t forget to share this comprehensive Dubai travel guide with your friends and fellow travelers. Because, as they say, the more, the merrier!

In conclusion, allow this guide to serve as your personal compass to navigate the multifaceted city of Dubai. From breathtaking attractions to mouthwatering cuisine, the memories and experiences you’ll acquire here will undoubtedly create a special place in your heart for this incredible destination. Go forth and create your own unique story in the magical world of Dubai!

Dubai Real Estate Professional
Chelsea Greaves
Hi! I'm Chelsea, a full-time writer and Dubai real estate professional. I started this site to help buyers, renters, and investors find the perfect property in Dubai.