Dubai has grown into one of the world’s strongest financial powers in recent time. Until the 1990s, Dubai was considered a Middle Eastern backwater. However, with finances fuelled by oil money and rich sheikhs, Dubai has become an international powerhouse.
The United Arab Emirates’ city has also become one of the top tourist destinations in the world. It is practically a new city with new buildings and attractions being built each year. In 2017, 15.8 million people visited Dubai, and tourism experts expect the city to break 20 million by 2020.
So, why is Dubai one of the world’s top tourist destinations? Keep reading to find out exactly why people are heading to the jewel of the Middle East and our recommendations of the top 10 things to do in Dubai.
There is no Dubai attraction more synonymous with the city than the Burj Khalifa. It rises 829.8 metres high and can be seen from various points in Dubai. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and a symbol of the UAE’s power.
The building’s size makes it the perfect vantage point to see the entire coastal city. The observation deck is located on the 124th floor and its breath-taking views will leave you in disbelief. Many visitors prefer the observation deck at night as Dubai’s sky lights up with colour.
Around the Burj Khalifa are well manicured gardens and fountains that are appreciated by locals and tourists alike.
Situated in the Al-Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum showcases ancient weaponry, musical instruments, and other antiquities from the region’s past. The fort was built in 1787, but was restored into its current form beginning in 1971.
You will find traditional boats inside the museum’s courtyard. There is also a house made from palm leaves and a traditional Emirati wind tower. Dubai Museum provides visitors with great insight into the city’s past as a port town.
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House is the former home of the man who ruled Dubai from 1921 to 1958. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum is the grandfather of Dubai’s present-day ruler Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The original house was built in 1896 by Saeed’s father. The original house is no more. What was left of it was rebuilt into a museum that is based on traditional Arabic architecture. The house is a great example of the region’s architecture and differs from that of modern Dubai housing.
The best part about Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House is the old photographs on display inside. They were taken between 1948 and 1953, and show visitors just how far Dubai has come in the last century.
Dubai Frame is located near Dubai Creek and the city’s old neighbourhoods. It is a unique attraction and one of its newer tourist sites. The frame is 150-metres high making it one of Dubai’s tallest attractions.
Tourists can travel to the Frame’s Sky Deck for glorious views of the city. There are also galleries with photographs depicting the city’s past.
Dubai Aquarium is home to 140 species of sea life. Located on the ground floor of Dubai Mall, the aquarium’s tank is massive and many shoppers take the time to sit and view it. You can get close to the underwater creatures thanks to glass-bottom boat rides and snorkeling offered.
The Burj Al-Arab is one of the most architecturally pleasing hotels in the world. Built on an artificial island, the Burj Al-Arab is 321 metres tall and resembles the sail of a traditional dhow boat sail.
The main reason more tourists do not visit the hotel is due to the outrageous price of a night’s stay. An average one-night room price can cost more than $1,800. A stay in a luxurious suit can set guests back over $15,000.
Inside the hotel is the Al-Mahara restaurant which gives diners a true underwater experience. Guests are surrounded by glass in which fish swim all around them.
Travellers looking for some fun in the sun can find it at Jumeirah Beach. It is a clean public beach flush with travellers from all over the world. There are a number of stands and stalls with food and drink allowing beachgoers to slip away from the sands. There is always plenty of room on the white sands of Jumeirah and the nearby green gardens are great escape when the hot sands become too much.
Alserkal Art District
You may not immediately think of art when booking a trip to Dubai. But the city – and the UAE all together – is making efforts to show it is as full of culture as the major cities in Europe.
Alserkal has been transformed and regenerated by Dubai into the centre of the city’s arts. You will find several galleries in the art district, including the Green Art Gallery, The Third Line, and the Ayyam Gallery. The galleries have a combination of works from established artists and lesser known Middle Eastern painters and sculptures.
Horse racing is a major event in Dubai as the city’s upper-class compete against each other on the racecourse. Many of the wealthiest citizens, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, own world-class racehorses. Although gambling isn’t allowed at Meydan racecourse, it is still an exciting day out.
Every March, Dubai hosts the Dubai World Cup. It is one of the richest racehorses in the world and attracts jockey, trainers, and horses from around the globe. The day out gives you the chance to rub elbows with the Dubai’s upper crust.
Al Qudra Cycle Path
Al Qudra Cycle Path gives you the chance to take in Dubai as you pedal around the city and the desert via bicycle. The path goes through a sand dune desert which is extremely unique. How many of your friends can say they cycled through a desert? None, that is how many.
The Al Qudra Cycle Path covers nearly 100 kilometres. You can hire a bicycle and ride the path all day long no matter how experienced a cyclist you are. It is recommended you start early in the morning as it gets hot in Dubai during the day.
These are 10 things to do in Dubai are what we think are must see and you shouldn’t miss them.
Are there any other things you would like to do in Dubai? Or if you are ready to plan your trip, find flights and hotels to Dubai here.
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