These are great things to do and see in the city, whether you’re visiting for a short visit or traveling with your family.
Visit local souks
Visit Deira to discover the city’s historic spice, textile, and gold souks. Enjoy the sights and smells of the city, as well as some amazing bargains. Even if you don’t want to buy anything new, the gold in Dubai is exceptional in quality and value. It is open all day but it is best to go in the afternoon, when the souks bustle with activity. After your visit, you can head to the
Find out more about Islamic culture
For only AED35, you can visit one of the largest mosques in the city. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre of Cultural Understanding hosts a guided tour through Jumeirah Mosque. You’ll learn more about Islamic culture as well as the history of the area. As part of the centre’s ‘Open Doors and Open Minds’ mission, visitors are encouraged to ask any question. Non-Muslims can take tours six days per week (except Fridays) and they are offered in the mornings or afternoons. All visitors must dress modestly. This includes long pants or skirts and long sleeves for men, as well as headscarves for the women.
Enjoy sky-high views
Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building at 828m. It is a must-see on any Dubai trip. Tickets to ‘At The Top,’ the observation deck at Burj Khalifa’ start at AED150 per person if you book ahead. The attraction is arguably the most well-known in the city. There are also seasonal discounts and promotions available at certain times. You can also appreciate the attraction from another angle.
Explore the past by traveling
Al Shindagha Museum is located by the beautiful banks of Dubai Creek and offers fascinating insight into the country’s history. You can enter to discover “Dubai Creek: Birth of a City”, a multimedia-led tour that traces the region’s evolution over the years using interactive displays, historical photographs, and valuable artifacts. The Perfume House is next door. It focuses on Arabian fragrances and the importance of perfumery in Emirati society.
Try local delights
For cheap food, go to 2nd December Street if you are hungry. This bustling street was once known as Al Dhiyafa Street, but a taxi driver might not be clear. It is now the place to get delicious cuisines from India and Iran. Al Mallah serves some of Dubai’s finest chicken shawarmas. It comes in a bread pocket with garlic pickles and salty pickles. For less than AED30, you can also turn onto Al Satwa Street to find Ravi Restaurant. Ravi Restaurant serves delicious Pakistani cuisine. You can try the famous biryanis but make sure you bring cash as most places won’t accept cards.
Uncover art gems
You’ll find traditional wind towers, preserved buildings and courtyard cafes in Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. It feels like a world away form the modern city. You can stroll through the streets to the XVA cafe, where you’ll find light lunches and works by contemporary artists. You can choose from over 100 teas at the Arabian Tea House, or you can marvel at Majlis Gallery’s sculptures and art. Al Fahidi also houses the Sheikh Mohammed Centre.
Enjoy a dip in Gulf
Dubai has all year sunshine, miles of golden sandy beaches, and is nestled between the Arabian Gulf and the Arabian Gulf. This makes it the ideal place to spend your beach holiday. Many beaches are open to residents and visitors alike. Kite Beach is one of them. It’s home to many hip restaurants and food trucks. You can also kitesurf at this beach and take advantage of a variety of watersports. Equipment and sun-loungers are easily available for rent.
Arthouse movies available to watch
Cinema Akil showcases the best independent cinema and is a cultural treasure. Cinema Akil was founded in 2018 as a series if pop-up screenings throughout the UAE. It became the first permanent arthouse cinema in the region. The venue currently screens independent films and festival favorites like Ian Bonhote’s McQueen documentary, Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War, and the Vincent Van Gogh biopic At Eternity’s Gate. It’s open all year and tickets are affordable. Project Chaiwala Cafe is located on the site and serves traditional karak Chai and Indian-inspired street foods.
Amazing aquatic displays available
Every 30 minutes, the dancing fountain of Dubai attracts thousands of people. The fountain is open to the public for free, but you can also enjoy a premium waterside view from many casual restaurants located around The Dubai Mall or Souk Al Bahar. This includes dinner and a show. You can also enjoy free shows at The Pointe and at IMAGINE at Dubai Festival CIty Mall.
Escape to the desert
Downtown Dubai is no longer recognisable from its desert roots, so a trip to the desert can be a great reminder of how far this cosmopolitan metropolis has come. A desert safari with a 4WD dunes-drive is a great option if you are short on time. Safaris come in a variety of prices, but they are affordable and available starting at AED125 (US$34). Light snacks and shared transport are included with the Dubai Desert Safari.