Ultimate Guide to Exploring Dubai Mall’s Top Attractions
Dubai Mall is one of the biggest shopping malls in the world.
It can be an overwhelming place to explore with over 1,200 outlets, not to mention it is attached to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa as well as the Dubai Aquarium, Kidzania, a Virtual Reality Park, an Olympic Ice Skating Rink – on the scale of worldwide shopping mall experiences, it’s a pretty epic destination!
So let’s take a deep dive into exploring the Dubai Mall. What are the highlights you don’t want to miss? How do you get there? Should you stay nearby? What do all the extra attractions cost? Dubai visitors, read on!!
Dubai Mall Top Attractions
You could easily pack several complete days in if you were to attempt everything that’s on offer at Dubai Mall. We know most visitors simply don’t have the time to see it all, so we’ll help you narrow it down based on your interests and time, let’s go!
Burj Khalifa – At The Top
Let’s start with a biggie, although technically its own building, the Burj Khalifa is entered through the Lower Ground Floor of the Dubai Mall. The main attraction for visitors is At The Top observation deck.
This is one part of your trip to Dubai you really do want to plan in advance. The ticket prices are exponentially more at the door vs paying online and guarantee you the slot you want, particularly if you are keen on the popular sunrise or sunset times (though bear in mind they cost more)
Time Needed: 2 hours
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is famous for having the largest suspended aquarium tank in the world – holding 10 million litres (2.64 million gallons) of water. It has the largest acrylic viewing panel in the world measuring 8.3m high by 32.88m wide and is 75cm thick.
Inside the aquarium – which sits in the very centre of Dubai Mall – you can expect to experience hundreds of sharks and stingrays among the 140+ species on display. Within the zoo there is plenty of add on experiences to be enjoyed from caged shark walks to Kind Croc encounters, shark dives, ray encounter experiences and feeding presentations.
If you don’t want to splash the cash, it’s still possible to see the giant suspended tank of the aquarium without actually going inside.
Time needed: 1.5 to 3 hours depending on what activities you undertake
The human waterfall (free!)
This stunning sculpture is beautifully iconic and utterly instagrammable. Spread over two large cylindrical walls 30 metres in diameter and 24 meters high – spanning the three floors of the Dubai Mall – it is one of the Mall’s most eye-catching features.
Time needed: 15 minutes
Glide your way around the ice skating rink
Hard to believe an entire Olympic-sized rink sits within the heart of the Dubai Mall. Open to all ages and abilities, you can learn to skate through to advanced skaters showing off their moves to the crowd. All your ice skating gear is there to rent.
Time needed: 1 hour
Get the kids to work at KidZania Dubai
A real-to-life city built just for kids, this 7,000 m2 edutainment centre incorporates over 60 real-life activities for kids to enjoy from role-playing to critical thinking, to crafts and sports and fun ways to spend the KidZoos (money!) that they earn for working.
Ideal for your kids aged 4 to 12 years old (they need to be independent of a parent/carer to join in).
- There’s a good detailed review here of exactly what to expect at Kidzania Dubai or purchase your tickets here.
Time needed: 3 to 4 hours
Land an aircraft with the Emirates A380 simulator
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to sit at the helm of the world’s largest commercial aircraft? This cutting-edge simulator can be found on the 2nd floor of the Dubai Mall (opposite the Aquarium entrance) where you can enjoy a 30 minute instructed lesson on how to land this megalithic aeroplane at 12 of the world’s busiest airports.
Step into the future at Play DXB
In the space that was formerly known as VR Park (and before that, Sega Republic) you will find the world’s largest virtual reality and augmented reality park – Play DXB. Rides vary from the popular Dubai Drone which sees you on a simulated roller coaster experience through Dubai’s landmarks to popular video game classics.
There’s something here for everyone from an inflatable playpark for tots to grown-up themed simulators and shooting games for teens and adults. Entry is free, you only pay for the games and activities inside.
Time needed: 1.5 to 3 hours
Dubai Dino (free!)
Situated quite centrally in the Souk Dome on the ground floor of the mall, the 24-metre long and 7 metre high Dubai Dino is a firm favourite of kids as one of the mall’s permanent displays. Marvel at the 155-million-year-old creature from the late Jurassic period, in stark contrast to its modern surrounds in this desert mall.
Time needed: 15 minutes
Be scared senseless at Hysteria
Hysteria is a haunted house experience like no other – explore through a 15-room mansion simulator. Certainly not for the faint-hearted this extreme fear experience is only for your thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies, you’ll find it at the Cinema end of the Mall, Level 2/P7 (next to the Lego store) – recommended for 16 years+.
Time need: 20 minutes
Catch the latest flicks Reel Cinemas
Speaking of the infamous cinema end to Dubai Mall – one of the largest cinema’s in the Middle East can be found at Dubai Mall, the perfect way to spend a few hours tucked away from the heat. Just about every type of modern movie-going experience you can imagine can be found here from Dine-in to 4D, ScreenX and Platinum Suites.
Time needed: approximately 2 hours
On your marks, get set, go! On the rooftop of Dubai Mall Zabeel (extension to Dubai Mall) the latest new sensation to join the entertainment lineup is go-karting! There are standard track sessions available through to race events that can be organized in groups up to 8.
Outside of the Dubai Mall, and sitting at the foot of the Burj Khalifa you will see the breathtaking Dubai Fountain show. Beautifully choreographed performances happen daily at 1:00 pm and 1:30 pm, and again in the evenings from 6:30 pm and every half hour until midnight.
We highly recommend grabbing yourself a spot at a restaurant which has a view of the Dubai Fountains in order to maximise your experience and avoid the often crushing crowds on weekends.
For a truly special way to enjoy the fountain shows, you can take a traditional abra boat out onto Burj Lake to see the action up close.
You can check out some stunning footage of what to expect at the Dubai Fountains here:
Time need: The show itself is only about 5 minutes but allow yourself 30 minutes getting outside, find your position, and keep a lookout for the following light show on Burj Khalifa
- A complete guide on the best spots and timing for the Dubai fountains and Burj Khalifa light show here
Souk al Bahar
The experience doesn’t end within the Dubai Mall. Keep heading outside the Mall (on the Lower Ground Floor, underneath the flagship Apple store) you will find a bridge over Burj Lake which takes you to Dubai Souk al Bahar.
All of these fabulous experiences are before we get to the actual shopping part, and the time it takes to walk around the mega-complex!
Our top tip – don’t attempt to see and do it all. If you have kids, head over to our family-friendly guide to Dubai Mall. With adults only in your group, there’s more you can squeeze in, but do try and balance it with other activities on your trip to Dubai too.
Dining in and around Dubai Mall
You can expect everything from quick bites and a food court food through to fine dining all within Dubai Mall. The largest food court is in the centre of the top floor of the Mall, but don’t miss a further extensive range of fast food and dine-in choices on the lower ground floor, as you head to the Burj Khalifa “At The Top” entrance.
Restaurants are dotted all over the Mall, primarily on the side toward the Burj Lake.
Do note, all restaurants within Dubai Mall are dry, ie they don’t serve alcohol. If you fancy a drink with lunch or dinner, head over to Souk Al Bahar, accessible by a footbridge from Dubai Mall.
Top dining picks for families in Dubai Mall
The choices are truly vast when it comes to family dining – you really can’t go wrong suiting even the fussiest of eaters. Most likely you will simply stop when the hangry strikes, but here are a few family-friendly ideas to keep in mind;
- The Cheesecake Factory – of international fame, you know what you’re getting and great menu choices suits everyone.
- TGI Fridays – likewise, an international menu with a range of familiar family-friendly choices.
- Social House – situated on the Lower Ground Floor as you exit to the Fountains or Souk Al Bahar they have a huge and varied menu selection and a great atmosphere which lends itself to family groups – its prime location means it can be very busy.
Top Dubai Mall dining picks for a great view
Restaurants that sit on the outside of Dubai Mall get the best views of the Dubai Fountain shows which occur daily at 1:00 pm, 1:30 pm and again in the evening from 6.30 pm and every half hour until 11:30 pm. Some of our favourites include:
- Open Flame Kitchen – an upscale eatery on the 1st floor overlooking the action with international dishes on offer.
- Carluccios – an Italian favourite on the lower ground floor in the heart of the action.
- Tribes – a fabulous fun choice on the 3rd floor of Dubai Mall, tastes from all over Africa can be enjoyed inside and out.
Getting there – transport to Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is one of the city’s most unmissable attractions in the heart of Downtown Dubai so navigating there is straightforward – though depending on the time of day can be super busy!
- By Metro – The Dubai Mall is connected to the Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall Metro station which is on the Red Line. From the station to the Mall you walk through an air-conditioned air bridge with a travellator – about a 10-minute walk.
- By Bus – Route 27 from Deira Gold Souk station and Route 29 from Ghubaiba bus station service the Dubai Mall approx every 15 minutes. they arrive and depart from the tourist drop-off area, Grand Drive Entrance, Lower Ground Floor.
- By Taxi, Careem or Uber – there are several dedicated taxi ranks around Dubai Mall including at the Cinema entrance and Fashion Avenue.
- By private car – there are multiple car park entrances and free covered parking. Despite the mammoth car parks, it can be a challenge to find a park late afternoon and evening and especially Friday and Saturday nights.
- By Dubai Mall Coach – a complimentary coach service is run from several locations around the city including Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, JBR, Ras al Khaimah and Port Rashid for cruise passengers.
Staying near Dubai mall
There’s a lot to be said for staying close to Dubai Mall on your trip to Dubai. Especially if you’re only here for a short stopover, staying near Dubai Mall puts many of the major attractions and shopping conveniences at your fingertips.
The top hotels you will find near to Dubai Mall are:
- Armani Hotel Dubai
- Address Downtown
- Address Dubai Mall
- Address Boulevard
- Palace Downtown
- Vida Downtown
- Palace Downtown
- Rove Downtown
There’s no denying most of these hotels are at the luxury end of the scale and out of many travellers’ budgets. We recommend you pop over to our complete guide of places to stay in Downtown Dubai to see if this location will be suitable for your stay.
Anywhere that easily connects to the Red Line Metro would also be a great choice for staying close to Dubai Mall. You can see our complete guide on where to stay in Dubai here or check the map below:
Save on Dubai attractions
The best way to save on Dubai attractions is to book your tickets in advance and look for multi-ticket deals, both within Dubai Mall and encompassing other top Dubai and UAE attractions. We recommend you try:
- Ultimate Family Multi-Attraction Dubai Mall Pass to the Aquarium, KidZania and PlayDXB (+ you get a Du 4G SIM)
- The Dubai Pass – a multi-attraction pass with several different booking options
Opening Hours for Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is open
- Sunday to Wednesday 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM.
- Thursday to Saturday 10:00 AM to 1:00 AM
Note that on Eid holidays, Ramadan and special events these regular Mall hours can change.
Keep up to date with what is happening at the Mall with the Dubai Mall App (Android here)- we talk about all the great apps you can download ahead of your Dubai trip here.
There are some slight variations to open times in light of COVID-19 changes but most attractions are now back to full operating hours. At the time of writing, variations to the malls opening hours include:
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
- Weekdays (Sunday to Thursday): 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (last entry at 9.30 pm)
- Weekends (Friday to Saturday): 10:00 am to 12:00 am (last entry at 11.30 pm)
- Sunday to Wednesday: 9:00 am to 11:00 pm
- Thursday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 12:00 am
- From 12:00 pm to 3.30 am
Dubai Ice Rink
- Weekdays (Sunday to Thursday): 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm
- Weekends (Friday & Saturday): 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
- Weekdays (Sunday to Thursday): 10:00 am to 10:00 pm (last entry 9.30 pm)
- Weekends (Friday & Saturday): 10:00 am to 12:00 am (last entry 11.30 pm)
Extra Services available at Dubai Mall
To make your Dubai Mall as comfortable as possible, there are several great add on services;
- Wifi (free)
- Porter Service (paid)
- Delivery service (get those shopping bags sent straight back to the hotel so you can get on with enjoying the attractions without baggage – paid!)
We hope this helps you plan your trip to one of Dubai’s top attractions. Undoubtedly still the heart of city entertainment and retail experiences far beyond any ordinary shopping mall!
Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack, and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws, and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass from iVenture or a Go City Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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.Dubai Travel Planner