The definitive Dubai bucket list
37 things you have to do while you're in Dubai
This definitive Bucket List is a mixed-bag of all our favourite things in Dubai; from the obvious adrenaline-pumped activities and epic gorge-worthy treats to the ultimate Dubai fantasies you need like to fulfil...complete this list and we reckon your life will be in pretty good shape.
Let us know how many you've ticked off or, better yet, snap some pics and #LovinDubai as you make your way through the list. Oh and if you decide to charter the yacht and need some extra guests; remember we are definitely available.
1. Skydive at the Skydive Drop Zone, Al Sufouh
Do it as a tandem or take some lessons and go it alone; either way nothing can beat the adrenaline rush as you shoot towards the ground at 210km/h. You will have ridiculous views of one of the world's most recognisable man-made island (the Palm) beneath you, as you glide gracefully (drop) through the skies.
2. Cycle the AL Qudra cycle track at sunrise
Force yourself out of bed in the morning and get out to the Al Qudra cycling track in time for sunrise. This 100 km track (beginners can have a go at the 50km loop) is the perfect setting to watch the sunrise over the horizon...and treat yourself to a healthy post-cycle brekkie at the Cycle Hub after; you'll deserve it after that work out.
3. Try the French Toast at Bertin Bistro - SZR
Dubai eateries are so good at French toast – the most sinful, glutinous and delicious (non-chocolate) dessert of all. This dreamy, salty caramel dessert is like a warm hug that you won't forget anytime soon. The dish will set you back AED 59 (it's worth the money...AND the extra time in the gym).
4. Get pampered at the Talise Ottoman Spa – Zabeel Saray
Feel like royalty at one of Dubai's most luxurious resorts, (the hallways are literally dripping in gold leaf) and enjoy one of the world's most luxurious spa experiences. Their most exclusive experience which includes a 24 carat gold chain-mail mask and a facial will cost you AED 25,000....you might need to crack open the piggy bank for this one.
5. Take a selfie in front of the Burj Khalifa
The tallest and one of the most photographed buildings in the world; if you must take a selfie, it may as well be beneath this stunning building. Watch out though; the area is filled with tons of tourists, and if you're not careful you'll wind up with a selfie-stick in the eye.
As a second option, consider a selfie in front of The Atlantis: 19 Amazing Instagram pictures of Atlantis The Palm
6. Take a hot air balloon ride over the desert
Only 30 minutes from downtown Dubai; this needs to be on your LIFE Bucket List. Soar over sand dunes and take in the wildlife below, as the sun comes up over the Hajjar Mountains - this is an unforgettable experience.
7. Try the fish tacos at Claw - Souk Al Bahar
Tacos? Fish tacos? On a bucket list? Yes, yes and yes! These bad boys come served in a flour tortilla with cabbage, tomatoes, onions, scallions, a serious amount of cheddar cheese, guac, sour cream and just oozing with Claw's homemade salsa. Served in twos, one portion will cost you AED 70.
8. Check out the skyline from a hip terrace - Burj Khalifa Street
Be part of the skyline at Tree House Dubai. With comfy sofas, trees and a whole lot of foliage dominating, you might just forget you're in the centre of Downtown Dubai...That is until you take in the magnificent skyline. Go for the view but stay for their delicious Mediterranean bites and innovative cocktail selection.
9. Swim with dolphins at Atlantis - The Palm Jumeirah
While this is an obvious one to tell your guests about, (particularly if they've got kiddies with them) how many of us have actually gone and done it? And since the likelihood of being able to do this at home is slim to none, now is definitely the time to give it a go. Try everything from swimming, scuba-diving or even just a quick snap with the dolphins at the Atlantis on the Palm. See here for more info.
10. Take an Abra ride at Dubai Creek
Abras (long wooden boats which hold about twenty people), were the traditional method of transportation from Bur Dubai to Deira. Used today by residents and tourists alike, they are a great way to experience the old part of Dubai, and at the low-low cost of AED 1 these trips are an absolute bargain.
11. Have afternoon tea at Peacock Alley - Waldorf Astoria, The Palm Jumeirah
Step into this striking hotel for a slice of New York class. This ultra chic venue which overlooks the hotel's central gardens has everything an afternoon tea should have; beautiful dainty chinaware, personal teapots and delicious offerings from a London or Parisian package. Expect the usual glorious scones with cream and jam along with nearly too-good-too-eat pastries...think on the lines of white chocolate and mint eclairs and toffee popcorn cupcakes...YUM.
Daily from 2 pm - 6pm. Packages start from AED 160
12. Haggle for goods at the souks - Bur Dubai and Deira
Head to the Creek area for gold, spices, perfumes, textiles and even fish souks. With bustling areas dedicated to each industry this area is a bargain hunters dream. Be prepared to fight for a good price; getting good discounts is all part of the fun.
13. Try a Bullfrog at Rock Bottoms Cafe - Burjuman or Tecom
Bullfrogs, the toxic green liquid synonymous with Rocky B's need to be on your Bucket List (if you think your stomach can handle it). The venue itself is an institution on the Dubai nightlife scene, (probably because it's rarely closed) and they say you've haven't really 'seen' Dubai until you've grooved on the dance floor, bullfrog in hand, at either of the infamous Rock Bottoms locations.
14. Go on a desert safari
Pick from a whole load of tour companies who mostly offer pretty similar experiences; an exhilarating dune bashing ride in a four-wheel drive, a camel ride if you dare, henna and trinket purchase opportunities, a buffet dinner as the sun sets and traditional dancing performances. It may be a tourist jaunt but we reckon this is a great evening out.
15. Do the Bubbalicious brunch at the Westin - The Westin Mina Seyahi
Trying to pick a Bucket List brunch ain't easy in Dubai when you've got a whole world of options in front of you, but we reckon the Bubbalicious brunch has got a little something for everyone. Live entertainment, a seriously extensive menu, lavish food displays and even a petting zoo for the kiddies...This might well be the ultimate brunch.
16. Go to the top of the Burj Khalifa
Might seem kind of obvious but we've met countless people who've never been to the top. WHEN will you have the opportunity to go the top of the world's tallest building again? Never, that's when. Get the finger out and book yourself a spot.
17. Visit the turtle rehabilitation centre - Mina A'Salam
All seven types of turtle found globally are listed as vulnerable to extinction, (can you believe that?) or endangered, and the Hawksbill, the turtle native to the Middle East, is critically endangered. The rehabilitation centre cares for sick and injured turtles and has released 560 back into the wild since 2004. Visit for free anytime to look at these cuties or view a feeding session every Wednesday at 11am.
18. Watch the fountains - Dubai Mall
Set across the 24-acre Burj Lake, (is it really that big?) these powerful jets go as high as 140 metres in the air, have a beam of light that can be seen from over 20 miles away and is even visible from space. Facts aside, the fountains perform to about 35 songs and are truly beautiful. If you go, do try and catch Whitney Houston's, 'I Will Always Love You,'...it's a Lovin Dubai favourite. Anyone else ever get emotional watching the shows? No?...Might just be us then.
19. Visit the Skyview bar - Burj Al Arab
Described as the world's only seven star hotel, you need a booking just to get through the doors of this exclusive, iconic Dubai hotel. Rest assured, this reservation will be worth your while; take a stroll around the inside of this architecturally fascinating building and view the stunning Dubai skyline from the Skyview bar on the 27th floor. Minimum spend here is AED 275, which won't be a problem because the cocktails here are superb.
20. View Dubai from a seaplane
Offering a unique bird's eye view of Dubai, these tours will take you over vast desert, past some incredible buildings and of course over the simmering Arabian Gulf. You can choose between a tour or a customised private charter (if you feel like splashing the cash) which is the ultimate exclusive flying experience.
Check out this Seawings Seaplane website for more info
21. Try the cronuts at Common Grounds - Mall of the Emirates
Is it a doughnut? Is it a croissant? Nope and nope, this is a sweet mix of two of the most heavenly of pastries. Ask for it warmed up for an even more indulgent experience. A cronut will set you back AED 25 and they make a number of different flavour combos, each one better than the last.
22. Visit the Al Qudra Lakes
Still relatively underpopulated at the weekends and only 40 minutes from the city; the Al Qudra lakes are perfect for a peaceful getaway. These man-made lakes are home to hundreds of exotic birds so this is great for bird spotting or even for a short camping trip.
23. Charter a yacht
Why not? No need to be a sailor to fulfill this dream; these yachts come equipped with a complimentary crew, not to mention four bedrooms, bathrooms, a sun deck, and a home entertainment and music system. They'll also do catering onboard for an extra cost. Want to throw one mega party? Well this one is pretty much sorted for you...all you need to bring is the guests (*Note: We are definitely available if you're throwing a yacht party).
For more info check out Xclusive Yachts
24. Go paddleboarding by the Burj Al Arab
De-stress, work at your fitness, strengthen your core (if you're a pro) or snap the ultimate selfie on a stand up paddle board. Technically exercise, but once out on the water, just relax on the flat sea and dip your toes into the cool Arabian Gulf. Check out this site for more info.
25. Visit the Dubai Aquarium - Dubai Mall
We've all passed it and admired it dozens of times but how many of us have actually gone inside? This isn't just for the kiddies; there are plenty of surprises to keep us oldies entertained too. With King Croc (one of the world's biggest crocs measuring over 5 metres in length) currently stealing the spotlight, resident cuties such as the otters will put a smile on your face too.
26. Zipline past the Burj Khalifa
Fancy ziplining 558 metres through the air above the Dubai Fountains? Up until recently this adrenaline-junkie dream was by invite only but now anyone can have a go. Tickets are available at the XLine stand in Dubai Mall for AED 600.
27. Take a jog on the Jumeirah Corniche running track
The longest soft running track in the city runs from the Burj Al Arab down to the Dubai Marine Beach Resort. The 14km track has a five metre-wide walkway and a jogging track; it runs by six residential communities, restaurants and cafes and small outdoor public gyms. If you've only got time for one run, make it this one.
28. Try the espresso martini at Seafire Steakhouse - Atlantis, The Palm Jumeirah
A cocktail is only memorable if it's either very bad or very good...and the espresso martinis at Seafire are very very good. Die-hard espresso fans and newbies alike will devour these tasty creations which cost AED 50. We're warning you now; these drinks are addictive and one will definitely not be enough.
29. Take a stroll around Dubai Mall
Why? Well not only is Dubai Mall of the biggest malls in the world; this place is seriously impressive for loads of other reasons too. Inside you'll find a large skating rink, a huge aquarium and some stunning luxury shopping sections; you may not be able to afford to buy but there's no harm in taking a look around.
PS: the kids luxury sections are super special too...think Fendi, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana just for kiddies; even the shop fronts are worth a look!
30. Visit the penguins at Ski Dubai - Mall of the Emirates
Or go skiing, whichever you fancy really. Just as long as you appreciate that you're inside a huge metal structure with over 22,000 metres of indoor ski area...which sits in the middle of the desert (crazy when you think about it). Visit the King Penguins, try skiing or snowboarding or even a bit of tobogganing and afterwards reward yourself with a deluxe milkshake at the Cheesecake factory next door. It's the stuff dreams are made of.
Check out this website for more info.
31. Dine on a dhow cruise
Dubai is definitely more beautiful after the sun sets and this is a great way to see the twinkling lights of the city by night. Choose between a traditional dhow cruise or a luxury five star glass-sided boat and sail through Dubai Creek or the stunning Dubai Marina; either way, this is an unforgettable way to dine.
For more info check out the Arabia Horizon Tours website.
32. Smoke a cigar at The Cigar Bar - The Fairmont Dubai
If you're going to light up a cigar, why not do it surrounded by rich mahogany, deep, comfortable, classic furniture and some speciality drinks? With world-class cigars and high quality cognacs and whiskeys available; this is a hidden gem for cigar lovers...until now that is. The secret's out so get there before the rest of the crowds do.
33. Get KFC delivered to your door at 4am
You might not even want some fried chicken (who are you kidding, of course you want some fried chicken!) but you should do this JUST so you can tell your friends back home about it. KFC delivers (and McDonalds do too, but at more sociable hours)...this is unbelievable!
34. Try the Moana seafood brunch - Sofitel Dubai, The Palm Jumeirah
We know we said we were just going to list one brunch but this is too good not to get a special mention. This Friday brunch set out on a pagoda-style terrace (that's a really cool tiered wooden tower to you and me) is the ultimate seafood lovers dream. Think endless sushi, sashimi and mouth-watering, exquisite fresh fish cooked to your liking. Prices start at AED 350.
35. Devour some cheese manakish
This tasty Arabic snack is basically warm cheesy, salty bread folded over. They're definitely not good for you, but we're nearly sure they're worth the extra ten minutes in the gym. If you haven't tried some yet, (what have you been doing with your life?) then check our our favourite spots to get cheese manakish or go to your local bakery and ask for some! Snap some pics and #Lovin Dubai so we can drool over them.
36. Smoke shisha at Al Sarab Rooftop - Bab Al Shams Resort
Experience ultimate solitude at this authentic rooftop lounge. With rolling sand dunes as far as the eye can see, you will feel world's away from Dubai (when really it's only about 40 minutes drive). Come for sunset, nibble on some local snacks (try the combo sharing platters starting at AED 115 for a taste of everything) and of course get yourself some top-quality shisha (grape-mint anyone?).
37. Rent a supercar
Fancy yourself in a Lambo, Ferrari or even a Bugatti? Well now's your chance; rent a supercar and fell like a movie star for the hour / day / month, depending on how much your wallet will allow. But whatever you do PLEASE don't go adding to the noise pollution down by the Marina; the revving of engines at all hours of the morning is beyond a joke at this stage.