Eight Cool Things to Do in Dubai

by Lexa Pennington / Nov 14, 2013 /
Lexa Pennington's picture

Whether you’ve got a layover or are planning a trip to Dubai, there’s plenty to see and do! Dubai, often called the City in the Desert, is one of the world’s fastest growing cities. There’s something for everyone – shopping, beach resorts, sports facilities, and a huge diversity of ethnic and national groups. It’s a mix of luxury and desert, of hospitality and haggling, the grand scale of the manmade vs nature. And while you can head out to the desert to explore, there's plenty to do in Dubai...



Photo: Flickr Creative Commons: ADTeasdale


Shop (and more)

Head to the Mall of the Emirates – there is shopping galore. And skiing! (What?!)

At the Dubai Mall, there is even more shopping to be done. But you can also see an enormous aquarium and underwater zoo – and a beautiful indoor waterfall, replete with unusual art - take a look:


Waterfall, Dubai Mall

Photo: Winfred Peppinck


The Tallest Building in the World

It’s the Burj Khalifa, and accommodates more than 12,000 residents. And the cost? Merely $1.72 billion. You can pay a fee (AED 125) to go near to the top (the 124th floor), if you so desire. Or, choose to dine at one of the many restaurants. Did you know that the Burj Khalifa is so tall you can watch two sunsets on the same day?


Burj Khalifa

Photo: Winfred Peppinck


A Great Place to Stay

Whilst tripadvisor lists 466 hotels to stay at in Dubai (!), the one we’ve heard the best about is the Ocean View Hotel Dubai. The service is unsurpassed, and it’s located right on the Walk, very close to the beach.


Go for the Gold

At the Old Gold Souk, you can bargain for cheap gold, which Dubai is known for. Be sure to ask your taxi driver for the Old Gold Souk, and not a newer one. Looking for cheaper gold deals?  Head to the Gold & Diamond Park.


Old Gold Souk, Dubai

Photo Wikimedia Commons: Ian and Wendy Sewell


Or go for the Spices

Nearby the Old Gold Souk is the Spice Souk (which is right up MY alley). Here, you’ll find amazing bags of spices, everwhere. You can always hit up the Fish Market to get inspired to use those spices…


Spice Souk, Dubai

Photo Wikimedia commons: McKay Savage


Hit the Slides

Our family loves waterparks – and it’s definitely worth heading to the Wild Wadi Waterpark, located in front of the Burj Al Arab. There are 30 rides for the family to explore, including Wipeout and Riptide, Flood River, Breaker’s Bay, Master Blasters, Tantrum Alley (downhill slides AND tornadoes), and more.


Wild Wadi Waterpark, Dubai

Photo Wikimedia commons: (WT-en) Jpatokal at English Wikivoyage


Or Hit the Beach

Dubai has several great beaches, including Al Mamzar, Jumeirah Beach Park, or Kite Beach (very popular with kite surfers).


Take in History

The Dubai Museum is located in Al Fahidi Fort (built in 1787, restored in the 1970s). Here you can find 4,000 year old archaeological treasures, and get a glimpse into the cultural heritage of Dubai. Did you know that Dubai was a sleepy fishing village until the 1960s? You will also see depictions of life in the desert (and on the sea). Want more history? There are plenty of museums in Dubai - take a look here.


Dubai Museum

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons: Fabio Achilli



Interested in learning more about Dubai? Check out this interactive tourist map: http://map.dubaitourism.ae/applet/map_js.html