Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

10 Best Places to Visit in Dubai: Dubai’s Top Tourist Attractions

January 19, 2024

The United Arab Emirates is a rapidly developing country in the Middle East. Its largest city is Dubai, a name almost everyone has heard of but few tourists really know. More and more people visit Dubai from time to time, so we can’t leave it out of our blog.

Dubai is amazing, it really did become our absolute favorite on our first trip, and proves it with each subsequent trip that it’s a favorite for a good reason.

We affectionately nickname it the city of “superlatives,” boasting the world’s tallest skyscraper, the largest Ferris wheel, and more. In one day, you can rally in the desert in the 40°C and then go skiing on the artificial snow track.

Dubai has something to offer almost every tourist: the fascinating Arab culture, the wonderful beaches where you can swim in winter, the breathtaking skyscrapers with their magical views, the world-class infrastructure (the road network is perfect!) and the multicultural offerings, such as gastronomy.

All this while being one of the safest countries in the world and fully respectful of Westerners. Because yes, women drive cars here, and you will see people in bikinis. There are even Christmas markets. So don’t fall for the negative reviews.

Before we look at the top 10 things to see and do in Dubai, there are a few questions to answer about visiting Dubai.

You can see most of the attractions in Dubai in about 4–7 days. If you are also visiting the countryside, want to see the highlights of Abu Dhabi or want to relax, we recommend a minimum of a week or more.

But don’t let that put you off, if you have less time available in Dubai, you can still see the main sights.

Best time to visit Dubai

The best time to visit Dubai is definitely between October and April, so the winter season. Dubai has pleasant temperatures in winter, between 18-30°C during the day.

However, around April it gets very hot with limited rainfall and this lasts until October. It is not pleasant to be outdoors at that time, so we do not recommend traveling then. Even if it is otherwise much cheaper.

And if the weather doesn’t convince you, the extra information is that a lot of attractions are not open in the summer, so you can’t visit many places at that time. So we would definitely advise you to book your trip to Dubai for the winter period between October and April.

Our preferred months are January and February, when the big Christmas tourist season is over and accommodation is a bit cheaper than in December. The only downside is that the sea is a bit cold at that time, so October, November and March and April are much better for swimming.

And if you are looking for the greatest sensation, we recommend New Year’s Eve in Dubai. This is the time of year when prices are at their highest, but Dubai has a wonderful New Year’s Eve, with everything you could possibly want, so it is well worth a trip.

Where to stay in Dubai

Dubai is full of great hotels in almost every price range, with a wide choice to suit everyone.

We can recommend several hotels in Dubai, from 3 star cheap hotels to 5 star luxury hotels, which we have selected ourselves.

So here is a selection of the hotels we recommend in Dubai.

3-star hotels in Dubai

  • Rove Dubai Marina: a very well-priced three-star hotel on Dubai Marina, close to more other attractions like Ain Dubai or Palm Jumeirah
  • Rove Expo 2020: we can also recommend other hotels in the Rove chain, such as the Rove Expo 2020 in Expo City, which is a very affordable and well rated hotel. It’s a bit far from the other attractions, but for the price it’s on our list

4-star hotels in Dubai

  • Radisson Beach Resort Palm Jumeirah: a four-star hotel opened in 2022, located on the Palm Jumeirah, offering an almost five-star experience with breathtaking views, beautiful interiors and its own private beach
  • Vida Creek Harbour: a good value hotel near Creek Harbour with fantastic views from its terrace and pool, two restaurants and free private garage
  • Courtyard by Marriott Dubai, Al Barsha: a well-priced four-star hotel in the Barsha district, close to the Mall of the Emirates. If you want to stay in a central location at a good price, this hotel is a good choice
  • The First Collection Business Bay: a four-star hotel relatively close to Downtown. It’s very budget-friendly, has an award-winning restaurant and a pool with fantastic views

Cheaper 5-star hotels in Dubai

  • Al Bandar Rotana: a five-star hotel close to the DXB airport and the Creek, very good value for money, has a private parking garage, great views of Downtown and excellent breakfast
  • Hotel Indigo Dubai Downtown, an IHG Hotel: a five-star hotel in Downtown, relatively close to the Burj Khalifa. A very good value hotel in its category and with excellent reviews

Top luxury hotels in Dubai

  • One&Only Royal Mirage Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach: a top luxury hotel close to Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina, with a private beach, breathtaking outdoor facilities and stylish interiors
  • Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai: a real luxury hotel on Pearl Jumeirah, with excellent restaurants, a huge private beach and wonderful interiors
  • Palace Downtown: The Palace Downtown is one of Dubai’s most famous luxury hotels. It has breathtaking views of the Burj Khalifa, is built in a magnificent Arabian style and its palm-fringed pools are a big favorite among tourists
  • Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai: a popular five-star luxury hotel on the Palm Jumeirah. It has excellent restaurants, with by far the best breakfasts we have tried. The nightlife is quite active at this hotel, so we recommend it especially for young people. There are also frequent star DJ nights. It has a private beach and a fabulous pool

These are just a few of the many Dubai hotels we can recommend. If you are looking for something different, Booking.com has all the other best hotels in Dubai.

Or if you want to find accommodation in Dubai using a map, you will find the right place below.

Getting around Dubai

Dubai is a lot bigger than it looks on the map, and getting around can take a lot of time. There are long distances between attractions, so always leave enough time to get from one place to another.

By car or taxi

As for us, we always prefer to rent a car, but a taxi is also a very practical option in Dubai. In fact, we are sure that a taxi is the most time-saving way to get around Dubai.

However, if you want flexibility, then rent a car and enjoy the wonderful road network of Dubai.

By public transport

If you prefer public transport, buy a so-called Nol card. You can use this card for the metro, bus, even sometimes boats. They also offer discounts on certain tickets within the Nol Plus service.
You can find out more about the Nol card on its official website.

Another great idea for exploring Dubai is choosing Big Bus Tours. This means you can buy a 24-hour, 48-hour or 5-day ticket for unlimited hop-on-hop-off tours. The Big Bus has two routes that take you to almost all the major Dubai attractions, and during the ticket’s validity, you can use the designated buses as much as you like.

10 best places to visit in Dubai: These are the top tourist attractions in Dubai

After a little introduction, here are the top 10 places to visit and the best things to do in Dubai.

1. Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world. It is an 828-meter high and 163-story skyscraper with its unique, easily recognizable shape. You can see it from almost all of Dubai, wherever you go. It is located in the Downtown Dubai district, where many places such as hotels and restaurants have been built, from where you can get an amazing view of the Burj Khalifa. In the evening, you can see beautiful laser shows and even more beautiful fountain shows from the Souk Al Bahar Bridge in front of it.

The Burj Khalifa itself can be visited under the name “At the top”. Of course, there are a lot of tourists, especially during the winter peak season, so be sure to book your tickets in advance. They offer several types of tickets that you can choose based on your wallet and your curiosity. If you buy the cheapest for the 124th and 125th floors, you’ll still have stunning views and good photo opportunities. If you buy the most expensive ticket for the 152-154. floors, then the even better view is accompanied by super VIP service.

Pro tip: book a ticket for 30–60 minutes before sunset, and then you can see the view in the light, at sunset and if you stay, even in the dark. You can get there relatively quickly with an online ticket.

2. Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is located right next to the Burj Khalifa. It is one of the biggest malls in the world, which is so big that it would take weeks to get to know it and not get lost in it.

In Dubai Mall, you can find almost all the well-known brands, but you’ll also find plenty of affordable products. So the Dubai Mall is definitely worth spending some time in, shopping around, discovering new shops, the huge range on offer and the interesting attractions.

The best attractions in the Dubai Mall are the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, and the Dubai Mall Waterfall, which is popular on social media.

In addition, next to the Dubai Mall, you’ll find one of the world’s largest fountains, the Dubai Fountain, which is home to nightly fountain shows and Burj Khalifa laser shows.

3. Museum of the Future

The Museum of the Future is one of Dubai’s newest attractions, located on the popular Sheikh Zayed Road.

It is a building of stunning beauty from the inside and out, so we highly recommend a visit.

Tickets should be bought online, even weeks in advance, as it is a very popular place. With your ticket, you can see a range of things Dubai’s vision of the future has to offer.

4. Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame is an iconic architectural structure in Dubai, connecting the city’s modern and traditional parts (the new Dubai and the old Dubai) within a massive frame. Located in Zabeel Park, it impresses with its dimensions, standing at 150 meters tall and 93 meters wide, offering impressive views of both the city’s new skyscraper-filled area and the traditional historic district.

From the Sky Deck atop the frame, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramas and walk on a glass floor that turns transparent when stepped on. Exhibits inside the building showcase the development and future plans of Dubai.

The Dubai Frame is a great chance for visitors to understand how the city has grown and changed, enjoying amazing views from high above.

You can buy tickets online or on the spot. On weekends and during busier periods, it is advisable to buy in advance.

5. The Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah is a palm-shaped island in Dubai, which is currently the most famous, as there are already two such palm islands.

The Palm is full of the best hotels, restaurants and super beaches. Here you can experience the real Dubai luxury.

The main attractions that you can find here:

Atlantis The Palm

In a central part of the island is the Atlantis Hotel, one of Dubai’s famous landmarks. It has a fantastic aqua park, a beautiful aquarium, magical beaches, and restaurants of world-famous chefs, so if you can, book there.

If you prefer an external view, take a stroll along the Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk for fantastic photos of this spectacular building.

Atlantis The Royal

One of the newest and best hotels in Dubai. Ideal for young adults who can afford one of Dubai’s most sought-after luxury hotels. Offers a stunning view of Dubai from its pools, making it a perfect Instagram-worthy location.

The View at the Palm

An affordable observation point providing breathtaking views of Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina, and even other parts of Dubai. It’s advisable to visit during clear weather conditions to avoid smog or haze. Tickets can be bought online or on the spot.

Aura Skypool

One of Dubai’s trendiest luxury pools, offering impressive views similar to The View at the Palm since both locations are within the same building. It comes with higher prices, and tickets need to be booked well in advance due to high demand. Recommended for those wanting to experience a touch of luxury during their Dubai trip.

6. Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina is one of the most popular places in Dubai for tourists.

If you take a walk along the Marina, you can see breathtaking skyscrapers, take a boat trip from here, sit in one of the many amazing restaurants, and go down to the beach, where you can also spend a wonderful afternoon.

On nearby JBR Beach, you can enjoy free beach access and see Ain Dubai, the world’s largest Ferris wheel, located on nearby Bluewaters Island. Unfortunately, tickets for the Ferris wheel are currently not available as it has been out of service for some time, hopefully this will change in the future.

One of the best places to stay in the area is the Address Beach Resort, a luxury hotel with the world’s highest infinity pool on the 77th floor, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Pro tip: If you visit in December or January, check it out, because on JBR, there are regular spectacular drone shows and fireworks in the evenings.

7. Dubai Miracle Garden

The Dubai Miracle Garden is the largest flower garden in the world. Flowers are used to make all kinds of shapes. For example, the life-size Emirates Airbus A380 plane covered in flowers is very popular. Almost every year, tourists are greeted with a new theme, often themed around fairytale characters.

The Miracle Garden is quite on the outskirts of Dubai, so we recommend a car or taxi to get there. The ticket price is a bit high, but it’s worth spending half an afternoon there, because the garden really is amazing.

Additional activity: Next to Miracle Garden, you can find Dubai Butterfly Garden, which might be worth a visit for nature enthusiasts.

8. Dubai Expo City

Dubai Expo City remained after the 2020 World Expo, hence its name.

The main buildings, exhibitions and pavilions have been preserved and can still be visited. There are also UAE pavilions, Saudi Arabian pavilions, and many others worth visiting.

You have to buy an entrance ticket for the pavilions. Public spaces can be visited for free.

If you visit Expo City, don’t miss the famous Fire Falls and the Garden in the Sky for a top view of Expo City.

9. Global Village

Global Village is a unique blend of an amusement park and an extensive market, making it challenging to define precisely. It’s an ideal destination for families in Dubai, offering abundant entertainment for both kids and adults.

Vendors from various countries and regions showcase goods ranging from the USA to Asia.

Admission requires a ticket, and additional charges apply for various attractions inside.

10. Dubai Creek Harbour

Dubai Creek Harbour offers stunning views of the city and serves as a leisure destination with a variety of attractions. It’s worth taking a sunset stroll along the shore, as both the Flamingos Statue and the white arches offer wonderful photo opportunities, showcasing the Creek and the Downtown in the background.

Additionally, while walking, visit the Creek Harbour Public Viewing Deck, which is a new viewing platform in Dubai.

Pro tip: If you’re looking for something extra, not far away is the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can see, among other things, flamingos.

Other great things to do in Dubai

Shopping in a mall

Enjoy a great time shopping in the modern malls of Dubai. Dubai has fantastic shopping places that offer a mix of luxury and variety.

If you travel to Dubai around December-January, you can enjoy the Dubai Shopping Festival. However, this month-long event is known not only for its fantastic deals but also for the city’s fireworks and other exciting events.

The best shopping malls in Dubai:

  • Dubai Mall
  • Mall of the Emirates
  • Dubai Marina Mall
  • Dubai Festival City Mall
  • Ibn Battuta Mall
  • Wafi Mall

Going on a Dubai desert safari

The desert safari is another popular activity among tourists visiting Dubai.

On most safaris, a driver will take you around a specific desert area where you can experience sliding down sand dunes. Additionally, camel rides and quad biking are often available. Many tours also offer opportunities to taste traditional Arabian food, and on longer trips, you might even enjoy belly dance performances.

For desert safaris in Dubai, GetYourGuide and Viator are great options, offering good deals, although mostly standard tours.

For a more unique experience, Facebook groups might be helpful. There, you can connect with Dubai residents who organize special, distinct safari services at unique prices.

Discovering Old Dubai

“Old Dubai” refers to the historic areas of Deira and Bur Dubai along the Dubai Creek. These parts of the city still have older-style buildings, traditional markets (souks), and cultural landmarks. Exploring Old Dubai provides a glimpse into the city’s past before modernization.

One of the best places to learn about Dubai’s history is Dubai Old City on Al Seef Street. Here you can see traditional Emirate buildings, with a variety of heritage sites, hotels, cafés and restaurants.

Plus, here is one of Dubai’s famous Starbucks cafés in an old building that you may have seen on social media.

Not far from here, you can also find the Dubai Museum, an optional attraction.

In addition, on the other side of Dubai Creek, there are some interesting markets that tourists love, such as the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk. If you like shopping, you’ll love these places.

Other interesting places in Dubai

Burj Al Arab

The Burj Al Arab is one of Dubai’s iconic buildings and one of the world’s best-known luxury hotels. Burj Al Arab is built on an artificial island. Its elegant design and ‘sail-shaped’ appearance make the building unique.

The Burj Al Arab is often referred to as a 7-star hotel, although this is not reflected in the official rating system. However, it is the hotel’s services, level of luxury and exclusive atmosphere that have led to the use of this designation.

You can only see the Burj Al Arab from the outside for free, but it is well worth a short stay. Inside, if you are not a guest, group or individual tours are available to take you around the complex and show you the places that attract tourists.

Sky Views Dubai

The Sky Views Observatory provides stunning panoramic views of Dubai’s skyline. Moreover, it offers the unique opportunity to experience an exhilarating ride down a glass slide. Additionally, visitors have the option for an Edge Walk, providing an even more daring adventure along the edges of the observation point.

It is an ideal destination for those seeking both breathtaking vistas and thrilling experiences.

You can buy tickets online or on the spot. On weekends and during busier periods, it is advisable to buy in advance.

Dubai Gold Souk and Spice Souk

Explore the vibrant markets of Gold Souk and Spice Souk, offering a wide array of precious metals and aromatic spices in the heart of Dubai.

Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum showcases the city’s rich history and cultural heritage, providing an insight into its transformation from a small fishing village to a modern metropolis.

Al Qudra Lakes

Al Qudra Lakes is a serene desert oasis, perfect for nature lovers and birdwatchers, offering a peaceful escape from the city.

Half Desert Dubai

This is an area outside the city where you can safely drive into the desert. There are many asphalt roads surrounded by sand dunes, making it a popular recreational spot. Some people capture iconic photos of Dubai with asphalt roads leading through the desert, showcasing the city skyline in the background. It’s worth noting that these images are digitally altered, but the roads among the sand dunes are real and can be found in this area.

Ski Dubai

Ski Dubai, located in the Mall of the Emirates, offers an indoor skiing and snowboarding experience, allowing visitors to enjoy winter sports in a desert city.

The Green Planet

The Green Planet is a bio-dome that immerses visitors in a tropical rainforest environment, featuring diverse plant and animal species.

Dubai Safari Park

Dubai Safari Park is a wildlife reserve showcasing a variety of animals in their natural habitats, providing an educational and entertaining experience.

AYA Universe

The AYA Universe, located in the Wafi Mall, is an immersive entertainment park with 12 interactive rooms offering interactive experiences in art, science, technology, and history.

Family activities with small children

Aquaventure Waterpark

Aquaventure Waterpark, situated in Atlantis, The Palm, offers thrilling water slides and attractions for a fun-filled family day.

Dubai Garden Glow

Dubai Garden Glow is an enchanting light-themed park, captivating families with its illuminated displays and interactive exhibits.

KidZania – Dubai Mall

KidZania, located in Dubai Mall, is an interactive educational city where children can role-play various professions in a miniature world.

IMG Worlds of Adventure

IMG Worlds of Adventure is an indoor amusement park featuring cartoon characters and thrilling rides, promising an exciting day out for the whole family.

Motiongate Dubai

Motiongate Dubai is a theme park that brings Hollywood movies to life, featuring attractions based on popular films. It offers a variety of entertainment, including rides and shows suitable for different age groups.

Legoland Dubai

Legoland Dubai is a family-friendly theme park dedicated to Lego enthusiasts. It includes various Lego-themed attractions, rides, and shows, providing an enjoyable experience for visitors.

Our list of the best places in Dubai has come to an end. Originally, we aimed to showcase the top 10 spots, but we ended up listing dozens more. It was quite a challenge to narrow it down to the top 10, so we provided additional ideas in case you’re looking for something else during your time in Dubai.

Dubai hosts numerous tourist attractions, and as a Dubai tourist, you can enjoy the world’s most outstanding places and services. In Dubai, you can truly experience quality, luxury, and diversity.

Dubai’s city has something to offer for everyone, whether you’re traveling with family, alone, or as a couple. You are sure to find something from our list that suits your preferences in Dubai.

We hope that our list of the best places in Dubai has sufficiently inspired your upcoming trip to Dubai. We aimed to provide enough ideas about Dubai’s must-visit places that you shouldn’t miss.

Dubai is a wonderful destination, not only for the UAE but also for the entire Middle East, and it is sure to enchant you during your journey.

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