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Fun Things to do in Dubai


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city guide

Dubai, also spelled Dubayy, city and capital of the emirate of Dubai, one of the wealthiest of the seven emirates that constitute the federation of the United Arab Emirates, which was created in 1971 following independence from Great Britain. There are several theories about the origin of the name Dubai. One associates it with the dabaa type of locust that infests the areawhile another holds that it refers to a market that existed near the city. In recent years Dubai has been compared to Singapore and Hong Kong and is often regarded as the Middle Easts premier entrep̫t. Area 13.5 square miles (35 square km). Pop. (2017 est.) 2,919,178.


Best time to go

The best time to visit Dubai is in September and April, when it's sunny but not too hot. While much of the Northern Hemisphere is wrapped up for winter during this period, the city continues to offer bright skies and balmy temperatures. Temperatures soar from May to August, so hotel prices drop and crowds disperse.


Fun city facts and activities

    26 Free Things To Do In Dubai
    If you are still under the shock and wondering about the things which can be enjoyed without spending a penny, then heres a quick list of 26 free things to do in Dubai which will definitely let you enjoy the luxury just like anything.

    Free Experience Of Dubais Culture And Heritage
    Free Entry At Camel Museum
    Free Yoga Classes
    Free Movie Under The Stars
    Free View Of Dubai Aquarium
    Free View Of The Dubai Fountains Display
    Free Entry To The Jumeirah Beach Corniche
    Free Wandering Through The Old-Style Gold And Spice Souks
    Free Car Gazing
    Free Pehlwani Wrestling
    Free Dance To The Peppy Numbers
    Free Visit To St. Marys Catholic Church
    Seek Blessings At Emirates Baptist Church International For Free
    Pray At Pentecostal Church For Free
    Meet The Holy Father At United Christian Church For Free
    Pray At Grand Mosque For Free
    Take A Selfie Against Burj Khalifa For Free
    Visit Burj Nahar For Free
    Climb Burj Al Arab Jumeirah For Free
    Visit Infinity Tower For Free
    Pray At Jumeirah Mosque For Free
    Play Watersports At Kite Beach For Free
    Visit Coffee Museum For Free
    Stroll At Alserkal Avenue For Free
    Watch Flamingos For Free
    Ride An Abra Boat For Free
City facts

Neighborhoods to explore

    Media City
    Arabian Ranches
    Sports City
    Motor City
    Dubai Marina
    Business Bay

Food Specialties

    Choosing where to eat out is not a decision to be taken lightly, especially in a city jam-packed with restaurants. We want you to be able to select the restaurants in Dubai that suit your every whim and preference, in the locations you like, at the budget you set. Every time you dine.

    In short, we want you to select from Dubais best restaurants.

    Whether you like Italian or Thai, steak or seafood, we want you to eat out and have an absolutely amazing time doing so.

Dubai Offbeat activities

Free or cheap things to do

1. Hot Air Balloon Ride over the Desert: Take a hot air balloon ride to experience the Dubai skyline from the best vantage point.

2. Snow Ski: Dubai may be hot, but you can still ski indoors at the Ski Dubai facility.

3. Desert Safari: Experience the desert and its beauty in a four-wheel drive and watch the magnificent sunset.

4. Dhow Cruise: Glide down Dubai Creek and Dubai Marina in an Arabian Dhow for a unique experience.

5. Sandboarding and Dune Bashing: Try your hand at sandboarding and dune bashing in the desert.

6. Camping in the Desert: Spend a night under the star-studded sky in a desert camp to get a taste of the culture and traditions.

7. Kayaking in the Mangroves: Explore the pristine mangroves of Dubai in a kayak.

8. Helicopter Tour: Take a

Offbeat activites
Kid friendly

Fun things to do in with kids

Free or cheap things to do

1. Get some perspective at the Burj Khalifa
Ascending the tallest building on the planet, the Burj Khalifa, is the ultimate playground brag for your kids. Standing 828m tall, this bucket-list skyscraper is a staggering vertical city of such improbable proportions that the mind struggles to find perspective. From the bottom the view is utterly vertiginous, but from the observation deck on the 148th floor, 555m up you can take in the panoramic views with serene detachment, since youre now so far from the ground that it feels like youre looking at the UAE on Google Maps.

2. Take a day trip to the future at KidZania
They grow up so fast, dont they? Never is that sentiment more true than at KidZania, a scaled-down city run by your children. In an instant, little ones will transform into miniature adults: learning to drive, attending university, opening bank accounts and shopping at the supermarket, while spending and saving their KidZos currency that theyve earned at work. Yes, there are more than 40 real-world careers your kids can try in this 7,000 sq m city, from jobs at the radio station or TV studio through to working as a department store cashier, hotel housekeeper or firefighter.

3. Jump around at Trampo Extreme
Its true: toddlers really do bounce if you drop them at Trampo Extreme, one of Dubais exciting, indoor trampoline parks. Located in Nakheel Mall (theres another in Dubai Mall) Trampo Extreme is great fun, filled with huge, spring-loaded trampoline arenas. Kids as young as two can discover their inner Spider-Man and practise acrobatic skills. The trampolines make up just part of a huge indoor, soft-play area, which features the UAEs largest indoor cave (its artificial), giant ball pits and indoor climbing walls.

4. Bash some dunes on a desert safari
Ideal for tiring out adrenaline-addicted kids, many local tour companies will take you all out for a day of dune bashing, which involves taking a 44 vehicle full of gleefully shrieking families and hurling it at hourglass landscapes. Buckle up as your off-road vehicle burns through boundless, shifting vistas, blasts up huge dunes, then strap on a sandboard in sidelong slides down precipitous sand drifts. For the full experience try an evenings desert safari package, which usually includes dune bashing, camel rides, sandboarding, henna painting and a barbecue feast fit for a Bedouin king, complete with live music.

5. Thrill them with theme parks
Dubai Parks and Resorts combine three theme parks and a waterpark, all in one location. If you have children aged 2-12, youre probably already familiar with Legoland, and Dubais version includes more than 40 rides, shows and attractions. Younger kids can also visit Legoland Water Park for the chance to build their own rafts before putting them through their paces. Elsewhere, colour, dance, music, melodrama and rides collide at Bollywood Park, while Motiongate theme park might be more familiar to British kids, with its thrills based on the films of some of Hollywoods favourite studios: DreamWorks, Columbia Pictures and Lionsgate. That means Ghostbusters, The Smurfs, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and even The Hunger Games. With scores of options to keep kids entertained, the odds have never been more in your favour.

6. Dance to the Dubai Fountain
Head downtown to the man-made Burj Khalifa Lake to witness the spectacle of the Dubai Fountain. Designed by the same company responsible for the Bellagios fountains in Las Vegas, this elaborate 275m-long fountain shoots water up to 152m into the air, and is illuminated by 25 projectors and 6,600 super-bright lights. The entire dazzling display is accompanied by a variety of classical Arabic music as well as contemporary numbers, from Celine Dion to the more child-pleasing Mission Impossible theme tune.

7. Take a glass-bottomed boat tour in Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall along with all those designer shops houses a massive dinosaur skeleton, an indoor waterfall, a full-sized ice rink, an indoor theme park and the stunning Dubai Aquarium. This 10 _million-litre aquarium features a 48m walk-through tunnel and around 33,000 fish of 75 species. You can spy black, eagle and leopard stingrays; the giant grouper fish, which can weigh up to 360kg; and the largest collection of sand tiger sharks in the world. Better still, take a glass-bottomed boat ride over the huge tank and treat your kids to a behind-the-scenes fish-feeding experience.

8. Visit the Dubai Creek
You cant say youve explored the city properly until youve visited the Dubai Creek. Intrepid children will enjoy sampling the local flavours at the spice souks, spying mosques and Middle Eastern architecture, and taking a trip across the water on an abra: a traditional water taxi that costs peanuts to ride. Its here too that youll find Childrens City a fun, hands-on museum for kids and the incredibly Instagrammable Museum of Illusions, which features more than 80 mind-boggling, interactive perspective tricks.

9. Step into a world of adventure
If bragging rights and thrill rides are what your kids crave, then Dubai has much more in store. Only topped by Warner Bros World in Abu Dhabi, Worlds of Adventure is the second-largest indoor theme park on the planet, covering an area of around 140,000 sq m large enough to accommodate 20,000 visitors a day. Its divided into five zones, including a Marvel superheroes zone, a Cartoon Network zone, the Lost Valley with its animatronic dinosaurs, the Boulevards dining, shopping and attractions, plus the spooky Haunted Hotel.

10. Cool off in the worlds wildest waterpark
Dubai offers sunshine and dry heat year round and, accordingly, the city has elevated chilling out to an art form. Dubais waterparks are quite simply world class and whether you want to relax on a lazy river ride or plummet towards the earth on an upright sluice each offers a wide range of waterslides from the fun and family friendly through to the, frankly, terrifying. Hang ten at Wild Wadi Waterpark (located beside Dubais skyline-defining, sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel) where surfing simulators make impressive waves by blasting water into pools at more than seven tonnes per second. Over at Aquaventure waterpark (situated within the hotel complex of Atlantis, The Palm), the open-air Leap of Faith water slide plunges down the side of a huge, replica Mayan pyramid in what feels like a near-vertical drop, ending with you zipping through a transparent tube inside a gigantic shark tank.

11. Step back in time
As mercurial as its surrounding sandscapes, futuristic Dubai has sprung up and thrust skyward in a very short space of time. The city, however, has a rich history, often overlooked by visitors. A visit to Old Dubai allows kids to experience the bustling souks, traditional abra boat rides, and Dubai Museum, which is appropriately ensconced within the oldest building in the city (Al Fahidi Fort, dating back to 1787). Formerly an arsenal, a jail, and the monarchs residence, Dubai Museum now houses dioramas depicting the areas original way of life, plus historic artefacts dating back to 3000 BC. Fascinating youngsters and adults alike, Dubai Museum will delight fans of fantasy films and stories of swords and sorcery.

12. Sail down to Dubai Marina
Nothing screams selfie mode more than cruising around between seven-star hotels while lazing on the deck of your own luxurious, private yacht. Dubai Marina Yacht Club will lay on a daytime picnic cruise and a private on-board chef from around 100 per person (based on eight people), making this the perfect excuse to take a multi-generational getaway. Parents will adore the sophisticated yachtie vibe at the marina, while your kids will marvel at the paragliders over Kite Beach as you sail along the coast. You can concentrate on catching some rays, naturally.

13. See their faces light up at the glow garden
Dubai Garden Glow is a psychedelic wonderland: a permanent festival of light that showcases over 500 environmentally inspired, illuminated art installations. This vast glow-in-the-dark park is divided into five distinct areas the Glow Park, Dino Park, Ice Park, Magic Park, and Art Park. Expect fairytale carriages; illuminated ice sculptures; prehistoric creatures plodding around; perspective illusions; and giant, glowing jellyfish reflected on the lake.
Designed to educate as well as inspire, Dubai Garden Glow aims to shed light on the issue of climate change, and the parks attractions are crafted from energy-saving bulbs and recycled materials throughout.

14. Slope off to Ski Dubai
The novelty of clapping eyes on a fully realised ski resort in the middle of the desert is almost worth the admission price alone, but this snow-globe winter wonderland slap bang in the middle of a shopping mall is good for more than just filling your kids social media feeds. Ski Dubai centres around a man-made, 85m-high mountain that features five ski slopes, including the worlds first indoor black diamond run, so advanced skiers can still stretch themselves. Younger children and non-skiers can enjoy the snow play area, featuring toboggan runs, ice caves, and real penguins.

15. Go around on the worlds biggest wheel
Ever the city of superlatives, Ain Dubai is the worlds tallest observation wheel. Perched 250m above Bluewaters Island, and dwarfing the London Eye at nearly twice its height, Ain Dubai is 82.4m taller than Las Vegass High Roller ferris wheel, which previously held the record. Your little ones might even stop taking selfies for long enough to take in the vertiginous views across Dubai Marina, the Palm Jumeirah, and the city skyline bristling with landmarks such as the Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa.

16. Take a thrilling city tour
Dubai is crammed with marvels of architecture and engineering, so youre going to want to take a tour of the city at some point. Children can tire of ticking off bucket-list landmarks though, so swap the time-honoured open-topped bus for a more exciting spin around the city a 90-minute speedboat tour of Dubais most famous sights, zipping down canals and between skyscrapers at thrilling speed. Alternatively, clamber aboard a chopper for an awe-inspiring helicopter tour over the city.

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City data and FAQ 

Do you need a car to visit Dubai?

Driving in the Middle East is a very different thing from Europe and North America. Either take taxis, or, if you think you will be going from place to place a lot, see if you can hire a driver or at least have one on call.
Robert Crooks Lives in Ontario, CA (2007 Present)

Is Dubai worth visiting?

I would say yes.
Dubai is a great destination for any traveler who likes to experience new things.
I recommend visiting the Burj al Arab, Desert Safari Dubai (especially if you are within 10 days), Museum of Islamic Arts, anything in the mall and Jumeriah Beach.
If you are an entrepreneur, then Dubai is an excellent place to visit. If you want to build a business and live in a city that is business friendly and offers low tax rates, Dubai might be the perfect place for you.
Afaf Mayada Lives in Dubai (2020 Present)

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