Updated: Februray 2024
With its year-round sunshine, superior safety records, world-class facilities from restaurants to shopping malls, and a plethora of Dubai tourist spots to explore, including pristine beaches and dreamy desert-scapes, the United Arab Emirates continues to attract tourists from across the globe looking for things to do in Dubai.
There’s much to see and do from fine dining and people watching in the city’s financial district, DIFC, to immersion in art in Dubai’s culture district, Alserkal Avenue, a camel ride in the Dubai desert, or thrill-seeking in mega-theme park metropolis, Dubai Parks and Resorts. Dubai is one of the seven Emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates. Rapid advancements in infrastructure have improved connectivity between regions in the United Arab Emirates with major highways like Mohammed Bin Zayed Road making it possible to easily visit other Emirates such as Abu Dhabi. This means that you can enjoy a wide range of day trips during your stay.
For those new to the United Arab Emirates the prospect of planning an itinerary can be overwhelming with so many options available. To help you to maximise your visit we’ve handpicked the top 10 tourist attractions in Dubai. From chic yacht cruises to desert adventures, beach clubs, and afternoons exploring Dubai’s historic cultural quarters, our compilation of the best things to do in Dubai presents experiences catering to diverse budgets and tastes.
1. Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai
A must-see for any tourist visiting Dubai. The Burj Khalifa is a United Arab Emirates icon that made Dubai’s skyline world famous. The Burj Khalifa has set multiple world records including ‘tallest building in the world’ and ‘tallest free-standing structure in the world’. The scale and structure of this elegant tower, which takes its form from the Hymenocallis flower, are undoubtedly impressive but nestled within its walls are some equally exquisite experiences. First, grab your entrance ticket and make your way to the 124th-floor observation deck, At The Top, and marvel at the views, then, for the ultimate fine dining experience select from At.mosphere’s carefully curated menu. Delicacies are enjoyed beside floor-to-ceiling windows that reveal spectacular views of the Gulf. For a rare moment of tranquillity amid the buzz of the city head to Armani/SPA.
You can combine your visit to Burj Khalifa with several other major sights. Situated next door, get lost in The Dubai Mall. The world’s largest shopping destination offers a jaw-dropping array of retail options, restaurants and activities from a cinema to games zones and an ice rink. Complete your day in downtown Dubai by stepping outside and taking in the drama of the Dubai Fountains.
Tip: Get up early to catch this in-demand attraction before the crowds arrive. Sunset and sunrise viewings at the top of the Burj Khalifa provide Instagram-worthy photo opportunities.
2. Burj Al Arab, Umm Suqeim
For decades the Burj Al Arab has remained one of the world’s most exclusive and talked-about hotels. It’s known for its industry-setting 7-star standards, interior design abundant in contemporary arabesque luxury (and gold), iconic structure, exceptional fine dining options and futuristic sky bar. Now for the first time the Inside Burj Al Arab tour offers tourists the chance to step into a surreal world of superior luxury. The specially curated 90-min journey sees groups of up to 12 navigate their way around the sail-shaped hotel, led by one of the hotel’s butlers who offers up the hotel’s ‘untold stories’.
The Burj Al Arab also boasts Sal, one of the UAE’s most beautiful beach clubs. Complete your Burj Al Arab immersion with an afternoon of sun-worshipping. Sal’s contemporary setting includes delicious Mediterranean dining, Instagram-worthy views of the Burj, chic private cabanas and a striking, 100-metre turquoise infinity pool.
Tip: Go all out and add on signature experiences – from a 24-carat Ultimate Gold Cappuccino to a signature afternoon tea – to your Inside Burj Al Arab tour.
3. Palm Jumeirah
Often hailed as the eighth wonder of the world, the man-made Palm Jumeirah is an architectural marvel that transcends mere human ingenuity. Resembling a palm tree, this island comprises a trunk, 16 fronds, and a surrounding crescent, all constructed from sand dredged from the Gulf. Today, it hosts a vibrant community featuring villas, residences, malls, luxury hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Fitness enthusiasts can enjoy exceptional views while jogging or cycling along the 11km crescent.
Paying tribute to the marine realm, the island offers a plethora of water-themed attractions and activities. Visitors can immerse themselves in the thrills of the Aquaventure water park, explore the wonders of the Lost Chambers aquarium, or engage with dolphins at Dolphin Bay, all located within Atlantis The Palm. Enhance your aquatic adventures with a world-class dining experience at renowned Asian restaurants Nobu and Hakkasan within the Atlantis complex.
Venturing beyond the hotel reveals a myriad of exciting opportunities. The newly completed Nakheel Mall stands as a comprehensive shopping destination, while Palm West Beach beckons visitors with its offerings of dining, leisure, and relaxation. This beachside locale boasts uninterrupted views of the Marina and JBR, housing internationally inspired restaurants, coffee shops, and indoor/outdoor workout venues.
Moreover, the Palm Tower boasts enticing attractions such as The View observation deck, Aura Sky Pool, and a diverse array of dining options including Sushi Samba and CouCou. Within the St. Regis Gardens, visitors can enjoy culinary delights at restaurants like Signor Sassi and Lena, further enriching their Palm Jumeirah experience.
Tip: Take it all in from Palm Tower. Perch at the otherworldly Aura Sky infinity pool on level 50, a record-breaking setting that offers unbeatable full panoramas or continue upwards to The View at level 52. The breathtaking lounge and open-air terrace reveal 360-degree views of Palm Jumeirah.
4. Desert Safari, Camping and Glamping
There’s a range of options and packages to place you right in the heart of Dubai’s awe-inspiring desert. Sporting activities for those who crave the rush of adventure span quad biking, dune buggies, sandboarding, archery, falconry and camel rides while unique resorts such as Al Maha and Bab Al Shams offer chic stays and bespoke itineraries. Thrill-seekers can enjoy the rush of off-road exploration during a sunset dune buggy safari before settling down for the evening at a traditional Bedouin Caravan where they can absorb the flavours of the Emirates. For an all-encompassing immersion, desert safaris remain one of the best options.
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
The captivating desert surrounding Dubai is an 87-square-mile conservation reserve. The protected nature reserve, situated approximately one hour’s drive inland from Dubai, is home to enchanting and endangered wildlife. There are herds of Arabian gazelles and oryx, ubiquitous to the region, more than 100 different species of bird, nocturnal sand cats, and even Ethiopian hedgehogs.
In the UAE, glamping offers the chance to experience outdoor living in luxurious comfort. The ideal glamping season is from October to April, although conditions may vary. Glamping choices range from traditional to extravagant, catering to those who crave opulence. Desert glamping offers chic Bedouin tents with amenities, staff, and the option to cozy up to a campfire. You can spend your day picnicking on the dunes or trying out sports like archery. Alternatively, glamping by the ocean offers the opportunity to fall asleep to the sound of the waves in a two-story VIP majlis.
Tip: While there are hundreds of desert tour operators to choose from we only work with the best.
Dubai boasts some of the world’s most photogenic public and private beaches, here we share the best public and private options for any agenda.
There’s a beach for every type of tourist in Dubai. Families flock to JBR and La Mer, where an abundance of activities awaits. During the day, water parks and inflatable obstacle courses keep kids entertained, while at night, cinemas and shisha lounges on the sand are popular among locals.
Sports enthusiasts prefer the expansive public beaches spanning Jumeirah, Sunset, and Kite Beach. Here, you can paddleboard, kayak, or kite surf across the open waters, or indulge in a sunrise yoga session on the sand. After a day of activity, treat yourself to a local favorite at Salt on Kite Beach, known for serving some of the region’s most delicious burgers.
Tip: Kite Beach is a favourite among families thanks to its newly established collection of beachside food trucks and open-air activities for children from trampolines to the skatepark.
It’s undeniable that Dubai is celebrated for its glamour, boasting a plethora of chic beach clubs that uphold this reputation. Drift Beach Club offers panoramic views, airy light cabanas, and relaxed beachside dining, while Summersalt and Verde Beach provide equally luxurious escapes. San at Palm West Beach is another hotspot known for its stylish ambiance and vibrant atmosphere.
Tip: For our female followers, keep your eyes peeled for Ladies Day offers. Our Instagram page regularly ranks the top beach clubs and selects the best deals.
6. Helicopter Tour, Palm Jumeirah
Experience Dubai’s Luxury Things To Do In Dubai from a unique vantage point, it’s a thrilling ride you won’t forget. Departing from Palm Jumeirah, helicopter tours are the ultimate way to absorb the city from above. Chartering open seas and skyscrapers, experience Dubai’s most captivating sites. Start from the striking pink Atlantis hotel to the Burj Al Arab and make your way over white sandy beaches, along Sheikh Zayed Road and towards the ever-growing downtown Dubai and the soaring Burj Khalifa.
For a guide to more adventurous activities visit this link
7. Yacht Cruises, Fishing and Jet Skis, Dubai Marina and Dubai Harbour
There’s nothing more exhilarating than a day spent off-shore. Enjoy Dubai by sea and charter a boat for the day. Yacht cruises leave daily from Dubai Marina and Dubai Harbour and cater to a range of requirements. Couples and friends looking for an intimate experience can charter a private yacht, swim and catch the sunset. Groups looking for fun can book a yacht with options for DJs and catering to suit various budgets. For those keen to get closer to the water Jet Ski tours circle the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel and the trunk of the Palm while avid anglers can embark upon deep-sea fishing tours in search of barracuda and grouper.
Tip. At Top Spots Dubai, we offer a superior selection of yachts to suit every budget.
8. Tour Dubai
Hop on/off bus tours are the best way to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. With 24 and 48 hour options available, tour the city in an open-top bus and take in many of the major attractions that we’ve covered in this article from the Dubai Mall to Atlantis as well as Dubai’s historic quarter fondly referred to by locals as “Old Dubai”.
Old Dubai offers a taste of the thriving community from which this metropolis has evolved. A Dhow Cruise is a must. Take an abra across Dubai Creek, journey through the gold and spice souks to stock up on unexpected souvenirs and then step into the historic district where you can discover the Dubai Museum, situated in the city’s oldest historic building, the Al Fahidi Fort, to discover the region’s rich heritage.
Tip: Experience authentic Emirati hospitality in the courtyard of the charming Arabian Tea house located in Bastakiya in Old Dubai (also known as Bur Dubai).
9. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim
Venice meets Arabian nights in the heart of the United Arab Emirates at the picturesque Madinat Jumeirah. Comprising a cluster of sandy stone buildings connected by tranquil waterways, this destination offers a captivating ambiance. Navigate your way through the winding corridors reminiscent of an ancient Arabian souk, where local artisans and retailers showcase the region’s craftsmanship. Don’t miss the opportunity to pick up unique gifts and souvenirs with a local accent.
For an unforgettable dining experience, head to Al Qasr hotel, offering excellent alfresco lunch options. Adjacent to Al Qasr, Mina Al Salam hotel boasts palm-lined pools of water, including the iconic Shimmers restaurant, where you can enjoy delicious cuisine amidst rehabilitated sea turtles. Jumeirah Al Naseem, the latest addition to Madinat Jumeirah, is renowned for its dining scene, with standout options such as Summersalt, Il Boro, and Flamingo Room by Tashas.
Experience an infusion of boundary-pushing art at ToDA (Theatre of Digital Art), where technology and art seamlessly merge. Explore historic masterpieces and contemporary art offerings like never before.
After a day of exploration, unwind at Taverna in Madinat Jumeirah Souq or indulge in crafted cocktails at Blind Tiger, a bar located in Al Naseem hotel. Madinat Jumeirah promises an unforgettable blend of culture, cuisine, and artistic innovation.
Tip: For striking Burj Al Arab views from your sun lounger, make a reservation at Summersalt beach club at Jumeirah Al Naseem hotel or sit down for shisha at Shimmers in Mina A’ Salam.
10. Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates
Ski Dubai, located inside the Mall of the Emirates, is an indoor ski resort that offers a unique experience in the heart of Dubai. With five slopes of varying difficulty levels, Ski Dubai caters to all skill levels, from beginners to advanced skiers and snowboarders. You can enjoy the thrill of skiing and snowboarding in the midst of a desert environment. Ski Dubai also features Family Activities in Dubai such as a penguin encounter, where visitors can interact with live penguins in a snow-filled setting. Additionally, the venue offers a variety of dining options and a snow park for children to enjoy. Whether you are a seasoned skier or just looking for a fun and unique experience, Ski Dubai is a must-visit attraction in Dubai.