When we started this list we were aiming for 50 but it didn’t take us long before we reached 100… and the list kept going!
Here it is… your ultimate list of places to visit in Dubai – over 150 ideas!!!
We’ve tried to make it as readable as possible by breaking it into categories, and keeping as much as we can to places and activities we think are of interest to tourists. Where we have more details we’ve linked to these so we can keep this list as concise as possible and get you ready to plan your Dubai adventure.
- Major tourist attractions in Dubai
- Theme parks & water parks
- Historic and cultural sites
- Dubai’s best indoor attractions
- Dubai’s best beach and outdoor experiences
- Dubai’s best foodie experiences
- Shopping in Dubai
- Seasonal events in Dubai
- Only in Dubai – some extreme experiences to try
- Dubai Emirate – beyond the city
- Day trips from Dubai
- Before you go… More important things you should know when planning a trip to Dubai
So get your pen and paper ready…. or you can save this to pinterest or bookmark in your browser for later.
Worried how you’ll fit it all in?
We have a dedicated section of our website for itineraries so you can fit in everything you want to see in the length of time you have in Dubai.
We also recommend in a number of places on this page booking your tour tickets with Get Your Guide – online ticketing agents. We have chosen GYG as our partner due to their outstanding customer-first approach and a great range of experiences on offer, most with free-cancellation up to 24 hours before to maximise flexibility.
Before you dive into your Dubai trip planning you may also want to check out:
- Essential Planning Information for your first trip to Dubai
- When is the best time to visit Dubai?
- What should I be packing for a Dubai vacation?
So without further ado, let’s jump into the ultimate list of Dubai Activities!
Major tourist attractions in Dubai
We’re going to start with those Dubai attractions that almost certainly feature on everyone’s Dubai itinerary. You can click on these links to go to our more detailed guides on how to visit these top attractions in Dubai:
Visiting Dubai’s major attractions with kids?
We suggest you head over to our tailor-made Dubai attractions list especially for families – though nearly everything on this list will work for families too!
TOP TIP If you will be in Dubai for several days and want to visit multiple popular attractions, check out the Dubai Pass
Theme parks & water parks
- IMG Worlds of Entertainment – entirely indoor theme park
- Wild Wadi – water park in Jumeirah
- Aquaventure – water park attached to Atlantis the Palm
- Laguna Water Park – at La Mer beach
- Dubai Parks and Resorts
- VR Park – Virtual Reality Park in Dubai Mall
- Mattel Play! Town – Kids theme park at City Walk
Read More – Don’t miss our guide to Dubai’s best water parks
Historic and cultural sites
The best place to start is in the Al Fahidi Neighbourhood. Don’t miss the highlights including:
- Arabian Tea House – beautifully presented Emirati Cuisine
- Dubai Museum (entry only 3AED)
- Coffee Museum
- Coin Museum
- Bayt Al Khanyar (Dagger) Museum (5 AED)
- Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Culture Understanding
- Take a traditional abra ride across Dubai Creek (1AED)
Once you have crossed the river to Deira (Al Ras) area of Dubai, it’s time to enjoy the traditional souks, including:
- Gold Souk
- Spice Souk
- Perfume Souk
- Textile Souk
- Naif Souk – general market
For more cultural emerging, take a guided tour of a Dubai mosque:
- Jumeirah Mosque
- Al Farooq Omar Bin Al Khattab Mosque & Centre
- Day trip to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi
- Al Noor Mosque in neighbouring Sharjah
(NB – Non-Muslims should not otherwise enter inside a mosque in Dubai, only as part of a cultural tour is this permitted)
Further museum exploration in Dubai:
- Etihad Museum (25 AED)
- Majilis Ghorfat Umm Al Sheif
- Salsali Private Museum – Free
- Dubai Police Museum (Naif Museum) – Free
- Saruq Al-Hadid Archaeology Museum (20 AED)
- Museum of the Poet Aqeli
- Pearl Museum – private collection of Emirates NBD
- Al Shindaga Museum – Story of the Creek and Perfume House
- Museum of the Future – coming soon!
And a few others we definitely would not leave of your list:
- See a show at the Dubai Opera
- Explore the Alserkal Avenue arts & culture hub
- Drop by Dubai Design District
Dubai’s best indoor attractions
In a city where temperatures regularly sit above 40°C for months on end, it’s no surprise how many of Dubai’s attractions are indoors, largely attached to the mega shopping malls.
- Dubai Mall ice skating rink – Dubai Mall
- Kidzania – Dubai Mall
- Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo – Dubai Mall
- The Green Planet-City Walk
- Ski Dubai – Mall of the Emirates
- The Lost Chambers – Atlantic the Palm
- Emirates A380 Experience – Dubai Mall
- iFly – indoor sky diving Mirdif City Centre
- Oli Oli Experiential Children’s Play Museum
- Museum of Illusions – Al Seef trick eye museum
- Dubai Butterfly Garden
- La Perle by Dragon – stage show
Dubai’s best beach and outdoor experiences
Beaches in Dubai
Dubai is famed for its glorious beaches (though truth be told, a lot of its man-made) it does, however, have an amazing wide, here are 8 to try open to the public.
- Sunset Beach -(also known as Umm Suqeim Beach or Burj al Arab Beach)
- La Mer – a trendy new beachfront area of the city for foodies and beachfront, modern, fun and funky day and night
- The Beach & The Walk – beautiful and trendy waterfront area of the city, it includes a splash pad area for smaller children and offshore, the giant Aqua Fun inflatable water park
- Mamzar Park Beach – in “Old Dubai” this is a popular park and beach
- Jumeirah Beach – Park and beach all newly renovated perfect for picnicking
- Mercato Beach – a small and lesser-known community beach opposite Mercato Mall
- Kite Beach – a popular community beach including water sports and lots of kids adventure activities
- Black Palace Beach – a more rustic beach with nothing but glorious sand
Other parks and outdoor attractions to try in Dubai
Beyond the beaches, check out these amazing green spaces in Dubai, most are free or have a very minimal municipality charge:
- Al Seef – the waterfront area that extends beyond Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood and along the Creek
- Imagine – light and sound show nightly at Dubai Festival City
- RISE Dubai Creek Harbour – seasonal
- Dubai Creek Park – a large green area along the creek front, close to DXB
- Mushrif Park – including outdoor ziplining park Aventura Parks
- Zabeel Park – home to Dubai Garden Glow and the Dubai Frame but includes other extensive parklands in the city centre
- Burj Park – in the heart of town – ideal photo shot for the Burj!
- Umm Suqeim Park – close to Sunset Beach in Jumeirah
- Quranic Park – dedicated to the Holy Quran
- Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary – an urban wetland home to migratory birds
- Al Qudra Lakes – a man-made lake system for wildlife, including the famous Love Lake
Dubai’s best foodie experiences
Oh wow, where do we start?! There are literally 1000’s of restaurants across the city from street food to so rather than listing individual restaurants here, we will divide this up be locations/experiences.
- Classic Friday Brunch – all afternoon. Things have certainly diversified over the years though and if you are looking to mix things up, it’s possible to Brunch on a Saturday, or even in the evening – check out these other Brunch options.
- Afternoon Tea – Proving High Tea is not just a British speciality, there are plenty of amazing afternoon tea experiences across Dubai that mix classical plates with a modern twist.
- Boutique breakfast – so many amazing small cafes around the city, skip the hotel buffet and try these unique breakfast spots.
- Try traditional Emirati Cuisine – so many visit Dubai without ever experiencing real Emirati.
- Walking tours of Dubai – there’s no better way for foodies to get in touch with the place they are visiting then to take to the streets. Frying Pan Adventures is widely acclaimed as one of the best or try this tour offered by Dubai By Foot.
- Soak in a rooftop sunset – all the most beautiful rooftop venues across the city for dinner and drinks.
- Nightclubbing scene – a very active and vibrant nightclubbing scene exists across the city. Some roll from evening brunch into dancing, whilst others are strictly dance clubs catering to all sorts of musical tastes.
Shopping in Dubai
As well as the traditional souks we mentioned above, there are DOZENS of large shopping Malls in Dubai. Some of the largest you are likely to come across are:
- The Dubai Mall
- Mall of the Emirates
- Mirdif City Centre
- Time Square
- Dubai Festival City
On the hunt for more souqs? As well as the traditional souqs, check out these modern souqs with a traditional twist:
- Souk Madinat Jumeirah – stunning canals and Burj Al Arab backdrop, indoor and outdoor stalls along with many restaurants
- Souk Al Bahr – adjacent to the Dubai Mall
Or traditonal bargain hunters who want to explore futher than just the old Souks may be interested in the likes of
- Al Karama
- The Gold & Silver Souk Al Quoz
Seasonal events in Dubai
Depending on when you time your trip for you may be able to join In the fun and festivities of many of these amazing events:
- Dubai Food Festival – held every March
- Racing at Meydan Racecourse – Dubai Cup held in March
- Al Marmoom Heritage Festival – April
- Dubai Summer Surprises – over July & August
- Dubai Rugby Sevens – popular sporting tournament held in December
- National Day – enjoy celebrating the nations birthday alongside Emirati’s and residents alike
- Ramadan & Eid – enjoy Suhoor & Iftar with Muslims in marking the Holy Month and the breaking of the fast (dates vary)
Only in Dubai – some extreme experiences to try
There are plenty of extreme experiences to enjoy in Dubai including:
- Zipline across Dubai Marina
- Sky Dive from the Palm Jumeirah
- Hot Air Balloon over the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
Dubai Emirate – beyond the city
Still within the Emirate of Dubai, there are plenty of fabulous places to visit.
The Dubai Desert
Most visitors will be curious about visiting the desert during their trip to Dubai. There are so many different ways to experience the desert, from short “desert safari’s” in organised tour groups to camping and glamping.
We definitely recommend first-time visitors should take on at least one desert experience in Dubai. You can whet your appetite with:
- An evening safari and dinner under the stars in a tented Bedouin camp
- An early morning desert experiences
- Join a camel riding trek
- Explore Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. A more unique way and to get closer to nature is to try a desert safari with Platinum Heritage
- Explore the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve including Al Qudra Lake and Love Lake
- 4×4 to the deserted town buried under the desert of Al Madam
- Join a night of astrology and stargazing
Read More: Our detailed guide to undertaking a Dubai desert safari
For those who might not be so keen on desert camping or seek a more unique way to enjoy the Dubai desert we can suggest:
- An ultra-luxurious private tented resort Al Maha
- Family desert resort Bab Al Shams
- Self camping in the Dubai Desert past Al Madam
- Visit the Camel Farm
Head to the Mountains!
Yes the UAE has mountains! The Hajar Mountain range runs from the tiny Omani exclave of Musandam, pointing into the Strait of Hormuz, all the way down the tip of the Arabian Peninsular to Muscat. Most of the mountains pass through other Emirates in the UAE, but a small Dubai enclave exists called Hatta.
Sitting 90 minutes by car south of the city, in Hatta you can experience:
- The Hatta Heritage Village
- Hatta Wadi Hub activity centre
- Stay onsite glamping at the Hatta Sedr Trailers Resort
Day trips from Dubai
Let’s look beyond the actual Emirate of Dubai and into the other 6 Emirates of the UAE (You can see our complete guide to all the 7 Emirates of the UAE here).
This list is not exhaustive – there are so many incredible things to do beyond Dubai so we have tried to narrow it down to those activities we know are achievable within 1 day and have tours/drivers that can take you.
Abu Dhabi – Cultural Tour: a personalised day trip can see you to The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Louvre Abu Dhabi and Qasr al Watan (the country’s new Presidential Palace) in just a day.
We would add to this list if possible:
- The Falcon Hospital – a fabulous insight into the ancient and modern tradition of falconry including up-close encounters
- Qasr al Hosn -a heritage experience, built on the site of the original Hosn Fort
- A drive-by of the beautiful Founders Memorial
- High tea at Observation 300, Etihad Towers or at the stunning Emirates Palace
- Take kayaks or an eco-boat into the Eastern Mangroves
- Strolling the famous Corniche beach
Abu Dhabi theme parks – there are now 3 amazing theme parks on Yas Island, each could demand your full attention or the best part of a day, though you could arguably fit in two if you are savvy – Ferrari World (home to the World’s Fastest Roller Coaster), Warner Bros World – the world’s largest theme park and Yas Waterworld, the Middle East’s best waterpark.
Al Ain – Abu Dhabi – the second largest city in Abu Dhabi, also known as the Oasis city is among the country’s most historic and fascinating places to visit – home to the country’s jointly listed UNESCO sites.
Sharjah – the culture capital of the UAE has no distinct border with Dubai. It seamlessly blends with the outskirts of the Deira and the city’s eastern areas. In fact, Dubai buses spread into Sharjah, even a public ferry making it the easiest place to visit from Dubai on a day trip.
Most focus from tourists goes into the Heart of Sharjah, the arts and culture district. But increasingly there is focus outside of the main city too with the utterly stunning new Sharjah Mosque and Mhelia achaeological site in the desert.
Ras al Khaimah – often thought of as the country’s adventure playground, it is home to the world’s longest zipline.
Fujairah – – for even more spectacular mountain views, historic forts and arguably the regions oldest mosque still in use today. Also popular for its wide sandy beaches and diving opportunities.
Musandam Peninsula – we’re totally cheating calling this one in the Emirates – because it’s actually an exclave of Oman! BUT!!! it is one of the most stunning landscapes within easy reach of Dubai, and whilst yes, it does cross an international border, it can be done on a day trip from Dubai – read more here!
We’ve tried our best to split it up under broad categories so you can get a feel for what might be right for you – jump ahead using the links here or scroll through and learn it all!
We are sure to have missed some favourites as there’s simply so much going on in Dubai. We are constantly updating this list as new things open up. Let us know in the comments below if there’s more you think we should add.
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.
- Pick up a 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 whilst this page is not directly sponsored by any of the places mentioned, it does contain affiliate links to some destinations. We may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you buy anything after clicking on these links.