Here it is folks, the definitive bucketlist of everything epic in Dubai.
Including adrenaline-filled adventures, Dubai gems old and new, and activities to suit all ages – use this as a guide for every spot that’s worthy of a visit during your time here.
Dubai is FILLED with awesome excursions, here’s the best of the best:
1. Aquaventure at Atlantis the Palm Jumeirah
Aquaventure is a vast waterpark connected to Atlantis the Palm Jumeirah, featuring ziplines, slides through shark-filled lagoons, a shark SAFARI, splasher’s kids play area, an epic lazy river and more.
The award winning waterpark, which hosts 1.4million visitors annually, also boasts 700 metres of pristine private beach, a variety of f&b outlets, the opportunity to feed rays and get up close and personal with sharks with the famous shark encounter.
Perfect for families, a trip to Aquaventure is not to be missed!
2. Snap a selfie at the Burj Khalifa
A visit to Dubai is not complete without a trip to the world’s tallest building. Standing at over 828metres tall, visit At The Top for an unparalleled 360°view of Dubai, or snap a selfie from below.
The towering 160 storey building is an architect’s dream. Home to the high-end Armani Hotel, luxurious private residences and observation decks, the tower features a whopping 2,909 steps from bottom to top AND it’s home to the world’s most travelled elevator. Huh!
3. Dubai safari excursions
The Dubai safari is an extremely popular desert excursion; start with some dune bashing in a 4×4 and then choose optional activities like sand boarding, (snowboarding on sand!) quad biking, camel riding and henna followed by an authentic meal in the middle of the desert.
Not to be confused with Dubai Safari park, a Dubai safari experience is a usually half day trip that takes you away from the city of Dubai and deep into the Dubai desert. Choose the evening option for an unforgettable desert sunset.
4. Dubai Fountain
The remarkable Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest choreographed fountain, located beneath the Burj Khalifa and next to Dubai Mall.
Every evening from 6pm the fountains begin; performing one song from a huge set playlist every thirty minutes, with songs ranging between a combination of Arabian and Western hits.
The best bit? A visit to Dubai Fountain is completely free!
5. Dubai Creek Abra
Hop on an Abra, a traditional wooden boat, and take a trip along the untouched Dubai Creek. At just AED1, this water taxi is a brilliant way to explore Dubai Creek.
There are two routes to choose from, starting from either Dubai Creek Abra Station or the Sabkha Station. Both allow you to cross from one side of the Creek to the other and each journey takes approximately 5-7 minutes.
Top tip: Visit at sunset for a truly scenic trip.
6. Dubai Opera
The stunning Dubai Opera sits next to Dubai Fountain, in Downtown Dubai. The multi-purpose venue was designed to resemble a sailing vessel and hosts a variety of performances, including concerts, ballet, theatre and of course, opera.
The 2,000 seater venue has an open-plan floor option too, making it an entirely versatile venue, and an ever-changing events calendar mean there’s something for all ages to enjoy.
7. Snap a pic of Ain Dubai
The world’s largest observation wheel is located in Dubai and it’s almost complete.
The 210-metre tall attraction will feature eight sections and will also be home to the world’s largest rope climbing platform.
The towering destination is situated on Bluewaters Island, a new man-made island located just off JBR, and while the island is not yet complete, a selfie in front of what WILL be a hugely popular tourist attraction is a must!
8. Eat Emirati food
What’s a visit to the UAE without truly immersing yourself in the foodie culture?!
From high-end to boudoin style sharing buffet meals; expect meaty focused meals, made up of meat from animals such as camels, goats and fish, mixed with popular regional spices such as saffron, cardamom and tumeric.
Try Seven Sands and Al Fanar Restaurant & Café for an authentic Emirati feed.
9. Swim at The Beach, JBR
Tick off a swim in the Arabian Gulf at one of Dubai’s most popular beaches.
The Beach is 1.7kilometres of white sandy beach, well equipped with changing facilities, washrooms, and sun loungers if you need. There’s also plenty of fun activities to keep you entertained, with a Splash Pad for the kids and the Insta fab ‘flying cup’ – a rotating platform 12-storeys up you can enjoy a cool refreshment on!
Coupled with plenty of restos and roaming camels, a visit to The Beach at JBR is a day well spent.
10. Hit the seas on a jet ski
This is Instagram GOALS!
Rent a jet ski and take to the beautiful clear blue Gulf at speed, with the Burj Al Arab or Ain Dubai as a backdrop. How could you not?!
Safety first: The first thing jet ski operators will tell you is ‘safety first’. Wear a life jacket, stay alert for other drivers, stay far away from swimmers and listen carefully to the rules and regulations.
11. Shop at Dubai Mall
Whether you want to shop ’till you drop or simply marvel at the wonder that is Dubai Mall, a day at the world’s largest shopping mall is not to be missed.
Prepare to stretch your legs across the newly revamped luxury shopping section, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, over 1,200 stores and countless cafes and restos.
Accessible by Dubai Metro, Dubai taxi, and by car; wear your walking shoes to experience the most of what Dubai Mall has to offer.
12. Afternoon tea at Burj Al Arab
Highly regarded as one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, do not miss your chance to dine at the world’s only seven star hotel. The recognisable sail-shaped Burj Al Arab is the epitome of luxury and you can experience it as a walk-in!
Get a glimpse of life inside the hotel (which is accessible with reservation only) with the ‘highest of teas’ 200 metres above sea level in the Skyview Bar – the minimum age for this is 21. Alternatively, try Scape the revamped beach club, the luxurious bar Gold on 27, or any of the numerous high-end restaurants.
13. Camp under the stars
Head deep into Dubai desert, set up camp and prepare to see the sky lit up with stars like never before.
Camping in the desert during the cooler months (October – April) is extremely popular, go it alone in a 4×4 (some guidance from an expert is recommended) or choose a company to take you out.
14. Take an Abra at Madinat Jumeirah
Wind your way through the fabulous Madinat Jumeirah canals on a wooden abra. The man-made resort is inspired by Arabian architecture and a journey through the winding canals is thoroughly unique.
Not just for hotel guests, all visitors are free to hop and hop off at the various abra stops, while a Madinat Abra tour costs adults AED75 and kids AED40. (Kids under four go free). Tours last about 20 minutes and may need to be booked in advance.
15. Ski Dubai
Swoosh through Dubai’s ski resorts at Ski Dubai – Dubai’s famous ski resort.
The indoor ski resort covers 22,500 square metres and you’ll find it at Mall of the Emirates. Featuring an incredible FIVE slopes including a 400 metre-long run, a quad lift, a tow lift and jump park; slopes vary in difficulty, height and steepness and classes are available, so this park is suitable for all levels.
Full day pass holders will be provided with ski trousers, a jacket and gloves.
16. Cycle at Al Qudra
This popular cycling track is used throughout the year.
Located just 20 minutes from Dubai, choose to rent or bring a bike to cover the 50km desert loop and take-in the fantastic flat desert landscape and wildlife that surrounds Dubai.
A visit to Al Qudra is also a good opportunity to visit the Al Qudra Lakes – a man-made group of seven lakes, deserted apart from local wildlife including fish, birds, ducks and if you’re luck you might catch a glimpse of some Arabian gazelle.
17. XLine over Dubai Marina
The world’s longest urban zipline lives in Dubai Marina where the brave-hearted can launch from 170metres up, and prepare to go from zero to 60km/hr in just for 2.5seconds!
Measuring a whopping 1k in length, this is also the steepest AND fastest urban zipline; prepare to soar like a bird above Dubai Marina in an experience you will never forget.
Dress comfortably; no closed shoes and no skirts, dresses, flip flops or any loose footwear, unless you want to lose them!
18. Eat 24k gold
Eating 24k gold is more common in Dubai than you might guess.
Whether you want a coffee speckled in gold, (Armani Hotel) desserts with gold leaf (Burj Al Arab) or a samosa covered in the pricey metal (Yalla Samosa) Dubai is brimming with foodie spots to fill you 24k gold needs.
Described as soft and delicate; gold is tasteless and used for decoration purposes rather than flavouring.
19. Stand-up paddleboarding
If a morning basking in the sunlight in the cool Arabian Gulf sounds like a treat, stand-up paddleboarding might be the activity for you.
Plenty of rental spots litter Kite Beach, where you can easily rent out a board for an hour. And with Burj Al Arab right next door, this is a favourite with Instagrammers.
20. Take a picture in front of Atlantis the Palm Jumeirah
The front of the picturesque hotel is a hotspot for visitors, where you can snap a great shot of the entire property (which happens to be one of the most Instagrammed hotels in the world).
It was the first resort to be built on the man-made Palm Jumeirah island in 2008 and remains the most popular with tourists today. Use the opportunity to stroll along the popular 11km Palm Jumeirah boardwalk, that stretches along the outer crescent of the Palm.
21. Hot air balloon ride
Fulfill a life long dream with a hot air balloon ride over the scenic Dubai desert!
Rise early to catch the sunrise over the Hajar Mountains where lucky riders will catch a glimpse of the local Arabian wildlife including Arabian Oryx and gazelles.
Trips usually last between four and six hours with one hour of flight time, and are most popular both at sunrise and sunset.
22. Boat party
Head to Dubai Marina any day of the week where local companies have plenty of yacht and boat rental options to suit all budgets and ages.
Whether you’re a family with kids, or you’ve got a special celebration; a boat trip departing Dubai Marina is an epic way to spend a day. Choose between a scenic tour, (the Yellow Boats are extremely popular) a fishing trip or private yacht party hire is available for all party sizes.
23. Skydive over Palm Jumeirah
This is genuine bucketlist stuff.
Quiet possible one of the most popular sky dives in the world, launch yourself from a plane and experience the thrill of freefall with Sky Dive Dubai and check out the Palm Jumeirah from above.
The famous Dubai Marina located skydive spot is open all year around and is open to all levels; beginners can choose tandem skydiving or advanced skydivers can go solo.
24. Tour Old Dubai
Tour historic Old Dubai, a charming area that remains untouched against the backdrop of modern Dubai.
Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Historical district, the Bastakiya Quarter and the residence of Saeed al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai’s grandfather, are all located within a stone’s throw and make for a perfect afternoon sightseeing.
The area is well-preserved and gives visitors an insight into the history of Dubai – a city founded on trading heritage.
25. Visit Global Village
Global Village is an absolutely massive cultural, entertainment and dining destination, where one, two or even three visits is not enough!
The 17,200,000 square foot area is made up of 45 different country pavillions, a street food STREET, and with a entrance price of just AED15 you can see why visitors return each and every year.
Open from November through to April; Global Village is accessible via car and public transport.
26. Dubai Miracle Gardens
Dubai Miracle Gardens are a flower garden unlike you’ve ever seen before.
The mega flower garden is the world’s largest natural flower garden in the region, it’s home to over 109 million flowers, including a huge Mickey Mouse and a Guinness World Record breaker for the world’s largest flower arrangement – the famous Emirates Airbus A380 made from flowers.
On your visit, don’t miss the spectacular Butterfly Garden, which is home to 35,000 species of butterflies in nine custom-built domes.
27. Barter for good in Dubai Souks
If tiny winding streets and traditional architecture take your fancy, a visit to Dubai gold and spice souks is a must.
Accessible by car, Dubai Taxi and Dubai Abra, you’ll find everything from textiles and spices to homeware, fashion and gold.
Dubai is famous for reasonable gold prices, but come prepared to haggle for the best prices.
28. Take a stroll through Dubai Marina
Dubai’s famous Marina district is a beautiful spot to while away a sunny afternoon or evening on the dedicated walkway littered with cafes and restos.
Surrounded by fascinating architecture, you’ll be impressed by the gleaming buildings and modern residential towers, which surround the man-made Marina. The 3km stretch is popular with pedestrians, and also boasts the Dubai Marina Mall, a boutique shopping mall, accessible by Dubai Tram, car and Dubai Taxi.
29. Shark encounter in Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
For adrenaline junkies, this is the real deal where you can join shark walkers during feeding time for the experience of a lifetime.
It all happens at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo which is located within Dubai Mall. Other explorer experiences include King Croc encounters, ray encounters or simply walk through the incredible ten million-litre tank, where you can view the largest collection of Tiger sharks up close.
30. View Dubai from a seaplane
And last, but certainly not least…check out Dubai from above with a unique sea plane trip over the entire city.
Choose a tour or a customised private charter which makes for the ultimate exclusive flying experience.
Offering a bird’s eye view of the city, view EVERYTHING Dubai has to offer in one day, including Ain Dubai, Burj Al Arab, the Burj Khalifa, the beautiful blue of the clear Arabian Gulf and more.