List of things to see, do and see in Dubai, known as the Paris of the Middle East…
Most people use Dubai as a stopover.
While the city of Dubai is often seen as “Vegas in the Desert,” there is a surprising amount of things to do here. There is a depth to the city that its popular image does not fully reflect.
Dubai is a city stuck between the old and the new. In a conservative culture with old world traditions, Dubai is also a Vegas stuck in the Middle East where you can find everything. You will be surprised to see how many things to do in this city that you will discover with Dubai tours .
Dubai is a fascinating, multicultural city that deserves much more than a break. This Dubai travel guide will help you get the most out of your Dubai tour while showing you how to save money .
1. Wander around the marina
The marina area is surrounded by high-rise buildings and consists of a scenic boardwalk. Here you’ll find plenty of luxury boats, beautiful condos, and bars and restaurants overlooking the harbor. Be sure to visit the seven-floor Dubai Pier 7 , with its restaurants and bars above the water .
2. Go to the mall
Malls in Dubai are unlike malls anywhere else in the world. There are numerous shopping centers in the city. People like to go to malls here! Between Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates , you’ll find lots of great things to see and do.
There is luxury shopping, nightly fountain shows, an aquarium inside Dubai Mall (which has a 270 degree underwater tunnel you can walk through) and even indoor skiing at the Mall of the Emirates (Mall of the Emirates has over 650 shops).
You can also visit the world’s largest themed mall, Ibn Battuta Mall . It has a Moroccan theme and is named after the explorer of the same name (it has more than 270 shops and 50 restaurants).
3. Visit the Great Mosque
Located near Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is definitely worth a half-day trip.
Built between 1996-2007, the mosque and its surrounding gardens are spread over an area of 30 decares. The mosque and its huge square are almost entirely white, giving it a very majestic appearance. It is a 90-minute drive from Dubai.
4. Explore Old Dubai
This is the place where you can see the oldest version of the city on a trip to Dubai . Markets (like the famous gold market) feed the area, small shops line the streets, and you can get lost in a dizzying maze of alleys.
Climb a boat across Dubai Creek to Deira and wander the streets, dine at some of the traditional restaurants, explore the arts district and see Dubai as a place away from the glamor without the malls and tall buildings. Don’t miss the Dubai Frame (a landmark with the best views of the city), the gold market (always holding over 10 tons of gold), and the spice market (a huge spice market you can browse).
5. Tour the Jumeirah Mosque
Opened in 1979, this beautiful mosque is one of only two you can actually visit in the city. Built in the Fatimid style, it consists of a large room and a guided tour is available every day at 10:00am (except Friday).
6. Go deep sea fishing
If you want to try deep sea fishing , it’s pretty easy to book a boat and set sail. Tour operators cater to all ages and experience levels, and most packages even include lunch. Prices will vary depending on what type of ship you’re booking and how long you’re going.
7. Relax on Jumeirah Beach
This white sandy beach is a great place to sunbathe and stroll along the boardwalk. Located along the waterfront just south of the city’s historic district, there are plenty of shops to visit and even an open-air cinema. This is not only a great place to visit, but also a great area to stay as you are surrounded by countless activities to do. Jumeirah Beach has playgrounds and barbecue areas for children. Perfect for picnics but gets very busy on weekends so try to enjoy it during the week to beat the crowds.
8. Cruise the Palm Islands
This famous man-made palm tree-shaped island has a large shopping district. You’ll also find the Atlantis resort, Aquaventure Waterpark, and a host of upscale restaurants, bars and clubs.
9. Visit Souk Madinat Jumeirah
This bazaar and shopping district is in a modern building and is home to some incredible restaurants. There is also a beautiful inner courtyard pond inside this complex. If you’re a foodie, want to splurge, come here! Stop by Al Makan for local cuisine, Anar for Iranian cuisine, and The Noodle House for delicious Asian dishes.
10. Go overboard at brunch
Brunch in Dubai is a tradition among locals and expats. Every Friday, everyone flocks to a lunch buffet of unlimited drinks and food. As the day progresses, it often turns into debauchery. But brunch is not a cheap affair. Ask your hotel/hostel staff where the cheapest brunches are.
Tips to Save Money on a Dubai Trip
Dubai is an expensive city. If you hang out at malls and restaurants that cater to expats, you can end up spending a lot of money. However, there are a few things you can do to cut costs to save money.
Here are some quick tips to help you save money in Dubai :
- Use Groupon.
Groupon Dubai is huge and you can find tons of discounts, 2 for 1 specials and deals on its website. If there is something you want to do, look there first because you have a good chance of finding a discount.
- Eat in Old Dubai.
Get away from the fairytale hotels, shopping malls and luxury markets and head to Old Dubai for a cheap meal . Food prices in restaurants in this area are quite affordable.
- Choose accommodation close to the metro.
Make sure your accommodation is close to a metro stop. You do not want to wander around unnecessarily in an environment where the weather is scorching and public transportation is much cheaper than taxis.
- Bring a reusable water bottle.
Tap water is safe to drink in Dubai , so bring a reusable water bottle to reduce your use of single-use plastic.
When to go to Dubai
The most popular time to visit Dubai is from November to April. The weather is cool and perfect for desert safaris, with average daily temperatures around 27°C (80°F). But during this time, flights and accommodation will be more expensive.
May-August is suitable for visiting Dubai in the heat. Daily highs average around 41°C (106°F), and you’ll need to withstand the hot weather when exploring the city.
The season between September and October is when the sea becomes perfect for swimming and water sports. You will find less crowds and cheaper prices during this time as it is much less busy.