We have spent one week in Dubai during the summer of 2022. A week is sufficient time to visit most of the attractions that Dubai can offer to the tourists. So, you can absolutely rely on this article if you want to understand what the must-see sights of Dubai are. Now you can discover Dubai with us, as we share here our ultimate Dubai Bucket List with the top 30 places that you should really visit.
Dubai is the most populated city in the United Arab Emirates, and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai. The most populated of the 7 monarchies which together form the United Arab Emirates. Dubai was established in the 18th century as a small fishing village, the city grew rapidly in the early 21st century with a focus on tourism and luxury. It has the second most five-star hotels in the world, and the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, which is over a half a mile tall.
In the eastern Arabian Peninsula on the coast of the Persian Gulf, it is also a major global transport hub for passengers and cargo. Oil revenue helped accelerate the development of the city, which was already a major mercantile hub. A centre for regional and international trade since the early 20th century. Dubai’s economy relies on revenues from trade, tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. The city has a population of around 3.4 million (as of 2021).
Dubai Bucket List – Top 30 things to do in Dubai
1. Dubai Frame
The Dubai Frame is an observatory, museum, and monument in Zabeel Park. It holds the record for the largest frame in the world. The building has a height of 150.24 meters and a width of 95.53 meters. The building mainly serves as an observatory, providing amazing views of old Dubai in the north and newer parts in the south. You can get up by an elevator and come down as well. When we were here, it was no need to queue or pre-book tickets. We just went there and could get in immediately.
The project idea was initially conceived by Fernando Donis, and selected as the winner of a design competition by an international jury. The final project was opened in January 2018. The tickets for Dubai Frame are 50 AED for adults and 20 AED for children. (Information from August 2022.)
2. Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is also called in English the Khalifa Tower. And until its inauguration people called it simply the Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration in 2010. It is maybe the world’s most famous skyscraper with a total height of 829.8 m and a roof height of 828 m. The Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure and building in the world since its topping out in 2009, supplanting Taipei 101, the previous holder of that status.
Construction of the Burj Khalifa began in 2004, with the exterior completed five years later in 2009. The building was opened in 2010 as part of a new development called Downtown Dubai. It was designed to be the centerpiece of large-scale, mixed-use development. The decision to construct the building was based on the government’s decision to diversify from an oil-based economy, and for Dubai to gain international recognition. The building is named in honor of the former president of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
3. Sheikh Mohammed’s Three-Finger Salute Statue
In the park next to the Burj Khalifa we can find many modern art objects and some statues, too. The most famous is the huge structure that stands as a reference to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s famous three-finger salute. The monument shows the arm of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Leader of Dubai, with a hand gesture that has been replicated across the world since its debut in February 2013.
4. Burj Al Arab
The Burj Al Arab (Tower of the Arabs) is a luxury hotel managed by Jumeirah hotel group. It is one of the tallest hotels in the world, although 39% of its total height is made up of non-occupiable space. Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island that is 280 m from Jumeirah Beach and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. The shape of the structure is designed to resemble the sail of a ship. It has a helipad near the roof, at a height of 210 m above ground.
5. JBR Beach
It is probably the most famous beach in Dubai. Often the first port of call for beach volley players and sunbathers, The JBR Beach offers white sand and turquoise blue waters. But there is more to love here than the sand and swimming. Head to “The Walk”, the leisurely promenade along the waterfront. Here international restaurants, fashion boutiques and luxury hotels (Sofitel, Sheraton, Hilton, Ritz Carlton…) have made The JBR Beach one of the city’s most popular spot.
In the side streets you will find plenty of cafés with terrace, refreshing juice bars, gelato kiosks, surf shops, markets and cinema too. If arts is what you are after, then JBR Beach is the place to go. You will find every sort of summer bags and crafted beach towels.
6. Bur Grand Dubai Mosque
One of the most well-known mosques in the emirate is the Grand Bur Dubai Masjid, also known as Grand Mosque Dubai. The iconic mosque is more than a hundred years old and represents the traditional architecture and design of the region. If you are planning to see the marvellous structure in person, here is a complete guide on the Grand Bur Dubai Masjid.
7. Al Seef
One of the best area to spend some time, either in the mornings or in the afternoons is Al Seef. The District of Al Seef is a tourist destination located near Al Fahidi Historical neighbourhood of Bur Dubai. You can enjoy an underground parking for free and go up via the escalators to the ground. Where a completely rebuilt area with traditional patterns will welcome you. With nice stores, a kind of modern souk, with some coffee places and restaurants around. The territory of Al Seef is very big, dedicate at least 2-3 hours to walk around.
It was our favourite place in Dubai, we went back even twice during 1 week. It’s also the perfect spot to buy nice & handcrafted souvenirs.
8. Dubai Museum & Al Fahidi Fort
The Dubai Museum is the main museum in Dubai. It is located in the Al Fahidi Fort built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. The museum was opened by the Ruler of Dubai in 1971, with the aim of presenting the traditional way of life in the Emirate of Dubai. When entering, one can see the fort constructed and the various displays that go along with it. From the fort, there is a path to the galleries, which display the general culture of the land, especially in the 1800s. It includes local antiques as well as artifacts from African and Asian countries that traded with Dubai.
9. Wall of Old Dubai
This piece of wall is the oldest wall still standing in Dubai. You can just walk along the Al Fahidi Fort and you will find the remaining of the old wall easily.
In the past, Dubai city had two such walls that defined the city context. The oldest one was constructed in Bur Dubai about the year 1800 A.D. It surrounded the old city, which included Al-Fahidi Fort, the Grand Mosque and residential houses. The second one was built in Deira side in the fifties of the nineteenth century. The wall was built using coral stones and gypsum. It was approximately 50 cm thick, approx. 600 meter long and 2.5 meter high.
10. Crossroads of Civilizations Museum
We can find this museum in the Museum Group (TMG). Which is a historical center that includes: The Crossroads of Civilization Museum (CCM), Rare Books Manuscripts & Prints Museum, and The Armoury Museum. Together, they reflect the best of each civilisation that has passed through the region. Its artefacts, reflect the diversity & tolerance of cultures, beliefs & religions. It represents the legacy of Dubai and the UAE as a crossroad of global trade routes and cultural exchange. Between Europe, Africa and Asia.
11. Coins Museum
The Coins Museum is located in the Al Bastakiya historic area, near the Dubai Creek. The museum has an amazing collection of coins from the modern and historic era of the UAE. The museum is divided into 8 different rooms. There are almost 500 coins in the museum and each of them has a history of its own. The museum is open from Sunday to Thursday from 8.30 in the morning till 15.30 in the afternoon. The facility stays closed on Friday and Saturday. It’s free of charge to enter.
12. Coffee Museum
Dubai’s Coffee Museum is a coffee lover’s paradise that we can find in Al Fahidi heritage neighbourhood. The eccentric museum brings coffee lovers and the coffee culture together under a roof for the love of the cup of brewed Joe (Coffee). The robust home of Coffee Museum showcases the coffee bean journey from around the world, how it was discovered back in time. For more information about when to visit click here.
13. Camel Musem
We can find the Camel Museum also in the Al Fahidi heritage neighbourhood. It’s a free museum about camels. Interesting to learn how they train and race camels, and we can also enjoy discovering the great importance of camels in this part of the world.
14. Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is the second largest mall in the world after the Iran Mall by total land area. It is part of the 20-billion-dollar downtown complex (called Downtown Dubai) adjacent to the iconic Burj Khalifa, and includes over 1,200 shops. In 2011, it was the most visited building on the planet, attracting over 54 million visitors each year.
Dubai Mall opened on 4 November 2008, with about 1000 retailers. The Dubai Mall has a total internal floor area of 5.9 million square feet and leasable space of 3.77 million square feet. It also has a 250-room luxury hotel, 22 cinema screens plus 120 restaurants and cafes. The Mall has over 14,000 parking spaces across 3 car parks, with valet services and a car locator ticketing system. The easiest though it to approach it by metro. But be prepared with comfortable shoes as you need to walk many kilometres if you would like to see it all.
15. Together – Arabic Couple Statue
While walking on Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid boulevard in Downtown Dubai, we can see the Together Sculpture opposite Fashion Avenue of Dubai Mall. Also we can review them if arriving from the metro and heading to Dubai Mall.
Sculpted by Syrian artist Lutfi Romhein, ‘Together’ features two sculptures – that of an Arab man and an Arab woman, chiselled to perfection. The male figure has been sculpted in Carrara marble from Italy, while the female sculpture is made of black granite from Sweden.
16. Dubai Fountain
The Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest choreographed fountain system, at the center of the Downtown Dubai. The easiest to arrive is via the Dubai Mall, but also it’s possible to approach from Dubai Opera. All shows at the fountain are free of charge and are visible from every point on the lake and neighbouring areas. The most popular spot is the Waterfront Boardwalk outside The Dubai Mall.
The Dubai Fountain Lake Ride gives you front row seats to the world’s largest performing fountain. You can book your tickets here.
17. Dubai Aquarium
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is home to thousands of aquatic animals, comprising over 140 species. Over 400 Sharks and Rays live in our 10 million litre tank, including Sand Tiger Sharks, Giant Groupers, and a host of other marine species. A series of carefully designed experiences will allow our visitors to come face to face with our aquatic residents for memorable moments with friends and family.
Since it’s located in the Dubai Mall, you can also observe the Aquarium from the Mall as well for free, via the giant windows and can see turtles, sharks all around.
18. Dubai Opera
Dubai Opera is the definitive destination for performing arts in Dubai, bringing arts and music to life like never before. It is located in Downtown Dubai just right next to Dubai Mall and the Dubai Fountain. They have maybe the best repertoire of the world bringing talents, performances and amazing shows from all over the world.
19. Ski Dubai
Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort with 22,500 square meters of indoor ski area. The park maintains a temperature of -1 degree to 2 degrees Celsius throughout the year. It is a part of the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping malls in the world. It was developed by Majid Al Futtaim Group, which also operates the Mall of the Emirates.
Opened in November 2005, the indoor resort features an 85-metre-high indoor mountain (equivalent to a 25-story building) with 5 slopes of varying steepness and difficulty, including a 400-metre-long run, the world’s first indoor black diamond run, and various features (boxes, rails, kickers) that are changed on a regular basis. A quad lift and a tow lift carry skiers and snowboarders up the mountain. Equipment such as skis and jackets are provided with the ticket and one can buy equipment in the nearby stores.
20. Dubai Water Canal
Dubai Water Canal is an artificial water canal unveiled on 2 October 2013 and inaugurated on 9 November 2016. The canal side-walk comprises one shopping centre, four hotels, 450 restaurants, luxury housing, walkways and cycle paths. It is a 3.2 km long project starting from Business Bay into the Persian Gulf through Safa Park and Jumeirah. The width ranges from 80 m to 120 m. It is 6 m feet deep and be crossed by 8 m high bridges. It creates new public places and facilities with a total area of 80,000 m2 with private marinas for boats and a trade centre at the entrance of the canal.
21. Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina is an artificial canal city, built along a 3-kilometre stretch of the shoreline. As of 2018, it has a population of 55,052. When the entire development is complete, it will accommodate more than 120,000 people in residential towers and villas. It is located on Interchange 5 between Jebel Ali Port and the area which hosts Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, and the American University in Dubai. The first phase of this project has been completed.
Watch-out though! There have been many instances of marine wildlife (especially whales and sharks) entering the marina, because of its proximity to the open sea.
22. Jumeirah Grand Mosque
If you have limited time in Dubai and would like to visit a mosque, this should be your choice. The Jumeirah Grand Mosque is the most photographed mosque in all of Dubai. Organized tours are available for non-Muslims too. It is open for all to visit whether you’re a Muslim or not. During the organized visits, you can learn about the Islam, the Arabic culture & customs and learn about the history of the mosque too.
The mosque is built in traditional Fatimid style which originated from Syria and Egypt. It opened in 1979, the Jumeirah Mosque visit has been a key activity under the ‘Open Doors. Open Minds.’ programs of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU).
23. La Mer
La Mer is also called as the eclectic beachfront of Dubai. It is packed with high-standard coffee shops and juice bars, some beauty and fashion stores and some ice cream stands. You can enjoy here the beach for free, but be prepared as there is no shadow – so take your umbrella or sun hat to avoid the strong rails.
24. Abra Water Taxi
One of the coolest and cheapest activities in Dubai is the abra water taxi service. Abra is the name of the boat type, which is a traditional boat made out of wood. It is the oldest method of water transport in Dubai. With the abra boats you can cross the Dubai Creek in a fast and cheap way. A single journey costs only 1 dirham, yes, you read it correctly: 1 dirham. You need to give the coin directly to the driver on the boat. There is no timetable, usually they wait until the abra boat is full of passengers (15-20 people) – but no need to worry they got full in 1-2 minutes.
25. Deira – Gold Souq
Once you are in Dubai Creek and close to the abra boats, jump on one of them and go to visit the famous Deira Gold Souq, one of the oldest and most fascinating traditional markets in the emirate. Whether you’re just browsing, or genuinely on the hunt for even the smallest amount of precious gold, walk through the glittering bazaar to find designs from around the world crafted with a variety of carats.
26. Dubai Expo
We wanted to visit Dubai Expo this August – but unfortunately since the event was already over, it was under renovation. They reopened the area this September and majority of the pavilions are still somewhat accessible again. Of course some were also rebuilt and reconstructed. The overall plan here to build here the Expo City. This sustainable, eco-friendly, human-centric smart city will reuse at least 80% of the Expo infrastructures and facilities.
27. Dubai Metro
The Dubai Metro is a rapid transit rail network in the city. All trains are fully automated and driverless, and, together with futuristic stations, are air conditioned with platform edge doors.
The first section of the Red Line, covering 10 stations, was ceremonially inaugurated at 9:09:09 pm on 9 September 2009, by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai. The Dubai Metro is the first urban train network in the Arabian Peninsula. Until 2016, the Dubai Metro was the world’s longest driverless metro network with a route length of 75 kilometres, as recognized by Guinness World Records in 2012. The system was surpassed but nevertheless, the Red Line itself, with 52.1 kilometres remains the world’s longest driverless single metro line.
The system is easy to use, once you understand how to use it. But then the rule is simple, as a tourist you need to get the Silver NOL Card and refill it as many times you want to use it. The refill is super easy there are machines at every station to do so.
28. Love Lake
The Love Lake is a heart shaped man made lake in the desert. It’s near to Al Qudra lake at the last exit approx. 15 min drive from there. Even though most of the guides say that you don’t need to have a 4 wheel car to arrive to the Love Lake, trust us, you’ll need to have it. The last part (3-4 km) of the trip you will need to make it on an almost completely sandy road.
This romantic scene is created with over 16,000 trees and thousands more flowers all selected to survive in the desert climate. You can also swim in Love Lake and can enjoy a peaceful walk among the flora. Along the way, you will find heart-shaped structures adorned with flowers and plants.
29. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
In the wetlands, just metres away from the bustling city of Dubai, you’ll find the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s hard to believe you can find tens of thousands of birds in a spot so close to the city. This expansive reserve also serves as a breeding ground each year for crustaceans, mammals and fish, but it is the flamingos that steal the show in winter. Look closer among the mass of pink feathers and you might spot grey herons, great egrets, reef herons, cormorants, black-winged stilts, sandpipers, osprey and more colourful species of birds. For more information click here.
30. Al Lisaili Camel Market
Al Lisaili Camel Market is one of Dubai Municipality’s public markets. It aimed for camel breeders and comprises a number of shops, stores, warehouses for selling forage and camel supplies, in addition to veterinary services. Wide range of consumer and food services are also provides in the market. But it’s better to ask the locals before you go there, if your purpose is to see camels, as they are not always around, only specific days per week.
Where to stay in Dubai
Time Asma Hotel
We have stayed in Time Asma Hotel and it was a very reasonable option for our money. They offer breakfast, buffet dinner, and operate a rooftop swimming pool, too. The location is as well convenient. If you would like to book it, enter your arrival and check-out dates & click on the below link (Show prices). Or if you prefer any other options with a swimming pool, you can check the below selection.
Best experiences in Dubai
Enjoy our discounts in the place
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