Dubai has been on my must-see travel destinations for years—nope—decades. Right from the time I got a job offer there that I had to decline, to all the occasions when friends moved there to settle. Yes, they’ve been inviting me to visit and enticing me with interesting things to see in Dubai, but somehow, the trip has just not happened.
We’ve made trips to farther away places but Dubai, in spite of being so accessible and just a 4-hour flight booking away, almost the same time it takes us to visit our son in India and about the same price, has been elusive. A bit funny, if you ask me.
I’ve noticed that sometimes when we keep thinking of something, it happens. Just out of curiosity, while booking my son’s tickets for his short trip home, I looked at flight bookings for Dubai and found that Etihad Airways had some good deals and bookmarked the page.
And I thought, now I as good a time as any to build a list of interesting things to see in Dubai – I am sure there’s more but I’ll leave the final itinerary to my friends who live there. Here’s what I came up with, especially after seeing photos of these places shared by my friends to entice me.
Dubai has always conjured up amazing visions of duty-free shopping, unbelievable architecture, historical marvels, and good times galore.
Let’s look at 10 interesting things to see in Dubai.
10 Interesting Things To See In Dubai
1. Burj Khalifa
Naturally, right? First on the list of interesting things to do in Dubai is the Burj Khalifa. Enjoy some fantastic views from the top of this iconic tower. It’s the world’s tallest tower at 828 meters and stands out against the skyline. There’s an observation deck on level 124 that takes one’s breath away. Then there’s another view from the 148th floor (just thinking of the height makes me dizzy!). It seems like you can also hang around for lunch in the clouds on level 122 at At.mosphere. Amazing, right? There’s something about watching the world go by from a height that’s soothing. Everything below and stretching out to the horizon looks like toy land.
The Dubai Opera is located right next to the Burj Khalifa.
Enjoy fabulous views of the Dubai fountain from this interesting building shaped like an Arabian Dhow ship
2. The Dubai Mall
Who visits Dubai and returns without splurging on shopping? The Dubai Mall is a shopper’s paradise like none other. It is close to the Burj Khalifa and boasts more than a thousand shops and 150 restaurants, an indoor theme park, an ice rink, an indoor waterfall, dancing fountain and the massive Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. I am sure when we visit my son would prefer to spend all his time at the zoo and aquarium.
3. The Dubai Fountain
While located just outside the doors of the Dubai Mall, the Dubai Fountain is known as the world’s largest choreographed fountain system. 150-meter colorful illuminated jet streams fly high in the air, dancing to music from various genres to delight people. There are two specific show timings in the afternoon and in the evening, at sunset, every thirty minutes until 11.00 pm.
4. Palm Jumeirah
This has been doing the rounds on WhatsApp because of its awe-inspiring structure and luxurious hotels. The palm shaped islands are one of Dubai’s man-made architectural marvels. Only in Dubai, right? It’s a favorite place for both tourists and locals. Accessible by monorail that runs on the trunk of the tree connecting the islands to the mainland’s tram system, getting there is a breeze.
From the Atlantis, The Palm to the other high-end hotels like the Waldorf Astoria, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray and many more—a fantastic time is guaranteed. We live only once, right? And whether or not I’ll throw money at luxury, I am all for window-shopping just to see the sights!
5. Dubai Creek
History is fascinating and if you enjoy learning about ancient trade routes, Dubai creek, the saltwater estuary is where you can know more about ancient trade routes, winding waterways and souks. Here is where the ancient tribe, Bani Yas settled and the creek’s waters drove the economy with pearl diving and fishing.
Here’s where the Dubai Museum is located along with the gold, spice and textile souks. I am told that while visiting the creek, a ride across the water on the traditional abra or water taxi should not be missed.
What’s more, the ticket is super-affordable at AED 1 per head. I would definitely like to do that.
6. The Walk and Beach at JBR
The Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, also called JBR, is a much-loved part of Dubai with restaurants, the beach, and of course, more shopping and definitely one of the most interesting things to see in Dubai.
There are open-air cinemas, a water park and plenty of other activities to stay busy! Or one can just relax in the pavement cafes and watch the world and fancy cars cruise by.
Of course, if you want purely beach and water sports, there’s Kite Beach. One can also enjoy biking, skating, volleyball and a grand view of the Burj Al Arab.
7. Dubai Marina
Skylines are always enchanting and the man-made Dubai Marina is no exception. Some of the world’s tallest building can be seen here as one walks along the water or sail from the Yacht Club.
8. The Desert
Shopping, beaches, ancient trade routes, luxury hotels. What next in the list of interesting things to see in Dubai? The desert. Definitely among the most interesting things to do in Dubai. It is just a twenty-minute drive to the Arabian dessert where a desert safari awaits. There’s also quad biking, off-roading, and sandboarding, traditional barbecues, henna applications and camel rides. It’s a majestic landscape out there and its splendor can be enjoyed simply by taking a long drive. I can imagine what it must be like under the moonlight.
9. Al Fahidi
Now for some heritage Dubai. The Al Fahidi historical neighborhood is among the oldest in the city, built in the early 1900s by merchants from the Persian town of Bastak and called the Bastakiya Quarter. One can explore the labyrinth of lanes flanked by restored heritage buildings and wind towers.
The Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding here offers Arabic classes, heritage tours and guided mosque visits so you can take in the local culture. There are craft shops, cultural exhibits, museums, art galleries and courtyard cafes. If you missed the abra ride to the souks at the Dubai creek, don’t miss it here.
10. IMG Worlds of Adventure
If adventure and theme parks are your thing, the IMG Worlds of Adventure is all set to thrill. This is a massive theme park the size of 28 football fields featuring exciting rides for all ages with your favorite fiction characters. There are larger than life animated dinosaurs in the Lost Valley.
A fascinating structure in Dubai is the Dubai Frame, which soars into the skyline. This is located in Dubai’s Zabeel Park between old and new Dubai, offering a panoramic view of the city. There’s a glass bridge connecting the vertical towers, creating the shape of a picture frame.
That’s not all—Dubai has much more to see but why not discover them in the course of visiting the above sights? One thing is for sure. Dubai is a wonderful blend of old, new and futuristic and is sure to enchant any visitor.
Have you been to Dubai?
What would you like to add to this list of top 10 interesting things to see in Dubai?
This post is in collaboration with Almosafer