Dubai is more than just a city surrounded by sand and skyscrapers. It is a city steeped in culture yet also filled with some of the glitziest structures known in the world.

Choose from a wide variety of destinations where you can rest and relax or shop and go party. So go ahead, book a room at one of the best beach hotels in Dubai, put on your adventure cap, and try out this fantastic selection of spots to visit and activities to wonderfully fill your time.

Spend time at the Burj Khalifa

The Burj Khalifa is known as the world’s tallest building. Go to the very top and enjoy a majestic view of the city. Bring your camera along to capture sweeping panoramic images of the city, desert, and beaches.

Keep in mind that tickets are required to gain access to this famous Dubai landmark. They are often sold out quickly so better book them in advance if you want to experience being on top of the world for a few hours.

The Burj Khalifa is known for more than its vertical achievements. Visit this place during the evenings and watch the dancing fountain show. Take a seat and watch as the graceful blasts of water dance to an assortment of tunes.

Hang out at The Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is a haven for people who love to shop. You can spend a week going around the mall and still not see all of the stores inside. While taking a stroll, you can also check out the waterfall and ice rink. If you have kids, you can take them to the indoor playground or the dinosaur museum.

Also inside this massive mall is the equally immense Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. You can see part of the aquarium for free or pay to see more of the marine life within the aquarium itself. If you do go in, expect to spend at least an hour roaming around and enjoying the sight of many species of fish and aquatic life forms gracefully swimming away.

Shop at the souks

The souks are the traditional markets in Dubai. Here, you will get to enjoy some of the local flavors and cuisines as well as get to see incense burners and some frankincense. It’s also a great place to go shopping since you can find nearly anything here: traditional and modern clothes, shoes, bags, perfume, spices and souvenirs you can take home.

Visiting the souks also gives you a brief glimpse of the city’s past. Take a water taxi or abra crossing the Dubai Creek to see the Deira Gold and the Spice Souk — two of the most well-known traditional markets in the city. If you intend to join a sightseeing tour, allocate at least half a day for the trip as the tour itself may take five hours long.

Enjoy a dinner cruise

Dubai offers a wide range of memorable dining options and experiences, from global fusion to chic coffee shops to traditional Emirati cuisine and more. Overwhelmed with all the options? Try a dinner cruise. There are several hotels and companies that offer dhow dinner cruises that pass along the Dubai Creek. Most of them include food with entertainment.

The city is especially lively and colorful during the evening so taking a Dubai Creek cruise with a scrumptious dinner is a superb way to end your day.

Go on a desert safari

If you are into more extreme sports or want to try out riding a camel, go for a desert safari. Choose from a wide array of companies that offer tours of the nearby desert.

Typical activities include sandboarding, dune bashing, and a camel ride capped off with a BBQ dinner. Depending on the package, the duration for camel rides may vary from a mere 5-minute trip to a more luxurious 45-minute experience.

Enjoy happy hour

It may be dry in and out of Dubai but there are plenty of places where you can enjoy your favorite alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Dubai is especially well known for its happy hour where you can drink an unlimited amount of cocktails and other alcoholic beverages for a single flat price. Take note of the times and places as some days are reserved for certain groups of patrons. For instance, some restaurants and bars will allocate days for the ladies to enjoy free drinks.

There’s definitely more to the city of Dubai than sand and skyscrapers. Try out these spots and activities to make the most out of your trip. Whether it’s a layover of a few hours to a stay several days long, there are plenty of options to keep you busy and entertained while in the fabulous city of Dubai.


Thomas Grundner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for JA Resorts & Hotels. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the hospitality and leisure industry – across international markets including Germany, Egypt and Spain. Grundner oversees all sales, marketing and revenue efforts as the company continues to build on its key growth and development strategies and further cultivates its unique blend of “Heartfelt Hospitality” and “Casual Luxury.”