aerial vie over Atlantis the Palm and Palm Jumeirah

10 Jaw-dropping Views in Dubai (Other Than the Burj Khalifa)

by Dubai Travel Planner

In a city full of skyscrapers and world records, where can you get the best city views and unique angles and experiences?

We all know that the tallest tower in the world Burj Khalifa is bound to bring with it some spectacular views, and it is unsurprisingly the #1 tourist attraction in Dubai; but is it the only option for a birds-eye view? Or would you rather take on one of Dubai’s more unique experiences?

Here we’re going to share with you our 10 favourite ways to savour the city views of Dubai – some a little more adrenaline-pumping than others!

1. Zipline over Dubai Marina

What better way to get a birds-eye view over the spectacular skyline of Dubai Marina than to literally fly through it! The 1 km long, 80km/hr experience is the longest urban zipline in the world.

XLine Dubai offers flights 6 days a week (closed Tuesday) between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm. You grab your tickets from the XLine Booth in Dubai Marina Mall (Level P). Here you’ll be weighed (suck those bellies in!) fitted with helmet and harness, undertake a safety briefing then head to your take-off point in Amwaj Towers across the marina before you come flying back to Dubai Marina Mall.

Note, in order to zip line you need to be over 130cm and weigh between 50 to 100kg and be aged 12 to 65 years

2. The Dubai Frame

Nowhere near as tall as the Burj Khalifa at a mere 48 floors high, but the Dubai Frame is undoubtedly a unique way to take in some superb city views of both the modern skyline of Dubai to one side and the older side of the city and Dubai Creek to the other.

Visitors are taken on a guided tour from the past to the future as they cross the glass-bottomed frame (it is literally the largest “frame” in the world), before returning to earth and a glimpse to the future. Tickets are certainly cheaper than the Burj Khalifa and the queuing not nearly so bad!

The Dubai Frame with Palm Trees - Dubai Landmark attraction

For more spectacularly pretty views of the city at ground level – check out our guide to Dubai’s most insta-worthy destinations!

3. Soar over the Dubai desert by hot air balloon

Setting off from the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve this is certainly one of the most spectacular and dramatic Dubai views you will get. Be prepared for an early start as you will depart your Dubai hotel with pickups included from 4.30 am to get prepared for your safety briefings and dawn lift-off.

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Hot air balloon over the Dubai desert conservation reserve

See the sunrise over the desert plains at 4,000 feet enjoying views of gazelles and Arabian Oryx followed by gourmet breakfast. One of the most spectacular ways to experience the Dubai desert.

You can catch more desert experiences, including overnight camping in Dubai here.

4. Sky Dive over Palm Jumeirah

One of the most spectacular views over the man-made island Palm Jumeirah can be found from high in the sky using Skydive Dubai to transport you 13,000 feet in the air from their Palm Dropzone. You will take into the incredible views of the Palm whilst enjoying a thrilling freefall at 120km/hr.

Skydive Dubai also operates a second Desert Dropzone sitting 35km outside of the city for those who’d like a new experience. Participants need to be aged between 12 and 60 years old – along with a myriad of other health requirements to be met! Definitely only for the brave!!!

5. Sundowners at one of the cities superb roof top bars.

There are a plethora of amazing rooftop bars adorning the Dubai skyline – some with chilled out vibes, others with weekend parties to impress or incredible unique nighttime dining experiences.

Level 43 Sky Lounge in Dubai (pictured) is a popular favourite for Downtown views, or head to Dubai Marina area and JBR for several choices including Atelier M in the Pier 7 Complex – multiple floors of rooftop vibes or Hilton’s Pure Sky Lounge is a favourite for beach-lovers.

Lady with drink at Dubai Rooftop bar

We have a complete run-through of all our favourite Dubai rooftop bars here.

6. Stay in the world’s tallest hotel

Ok at 356 metres tall, its not an inch on Burj Khalifa, but proudly sitting 75 Floors tall, the 4-star Gevora Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road currently holds the Guinness World Record – for now – as the world’s tallest hotel, affording its residents and visitors with spectacular city views.

There’s some seriously stiff competition in Dubai when it comes to tall hotels, in fact, Dubai current holds the record with 6 out of the top 10 tallest hotels in the world! (Being super cheeky – the world record can only be held if the building is exclusively a hotel – The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong at 484m is actually the highest hotel room!)

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7. Ain Dubai

The world’s tallest observation wheel is open in Dubai! Ain Dubai, standing at a spectacular 250m high, is part of the new Bluewaters island complex that sits off the coast of JBR.

A ride in one of the luxury capsules will take you approximately 48-minutes, and reward you with spectacular views over the Palm Jumeirah, JBR, the Burj Al Arab and on a clear day even as far as the Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai.

Bluewaters island Dubai overlooking Ain Dubai world's largest observation wheel

8. Helicopter flight over Dubai

It doesn’t get much more incredible than taking a helicopter ride over Dubai to experience the whole city from above. The journey is brief – only 12 minutes from the Dubai Police Academy Helipad and over the Palm Jumeirah and Atlantis – but you will get to take on one of the most truly spectacular cityscapes in the world – a true bucket list experience worth saving for.

Ariel view from a helicopter of Dubai Marina and JBR

9. High Tea at the Burj Al Arab

There’s no way to get inside Burj Al Arab unless you are a paying guest – and what better way to enjoy it than over afternoon tea! SkyTea in Skyview lounge on the 27th floor is the most highly commended – albeit it comes with a hefty price tag starting from 500 AED for adults.

An alternative is to book yourself in for a sundowner at one of the bars, a SkyView beverage package is “only” 330 AED, or even better for those on a budget who don’t want to miss the Burj Al Arab experience, try booking yourself into Gold on 27 (temporarily closed) for an evening cocktail – a minimum of 200AED a head cover charge applies but it is by far the cheapest way to get your entry ticket to amazing!!!

Abra infront of Burj Al Arab

Another option we love to throw into the mix when considering spectacular views of the Burj Al Arab is to visit Souk Madinat Jumeirah. This modern marketplace built in a traditional style is surrounded by waterways where you can enjoy a unique traditional Abra experience. This will take you to the closest views at ground level of the Burj Al Arab with a superb traditional Arabian backdrop.

10. Dubai Skyline from the water

Not all spectacular views in Dubai need to come from above. Make sure at some point in your journey to Dubai you get out onto the water. A speedboat trip around the Palm Jumeirah with views back to the ultra-modern skyline can be rewarding, or even a ferry ride that takes you from Al Ghubaiba to Dubai Marina will last for 1 hour and 40 minutes and take you along much of the city’s incredible coastline and past the Palm Jumeriah.

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The man-made Dubai Canal which connects through to Dubai Creek is another superb way to experience the views of the city’s towering skyscrapers beneath, also available on a public ferry or private dinner cruise.

If a fear of heights has you crippled at the thought of visiting any of these, then we suggest you try a virtual tour of the city using Dubai360.com.


Do you have any other favourite viewing points in Dubai? Share them in the comments below


Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai

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Take me back to Dubai’s best attractions

Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE and transit passengers self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our recommendation links.

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