10 Must-Visit Attractions in Dubai

10 Must-Visit Attractions in Dubai

Heading to Dubai? Here are top attractions to visit during your stay, from Palm Jumeirah to the world's biggest mall.

Dubai is a city of wealth, ambition and excess. It is known for its ultra-modernity, cutting edge architecture and luxury shopping. If you find yourself in this heady city – for a vacation or even just for a layover – here are some of the attractions you must visit!

1. Burj Khalifa

dubai attractions

Image credit: Martijn Barendse

Standing at the height of 829.8 metres, this skyscraper is the tallest man-made structure in the world, a magnificent centrepiece of downtown Dubai. The ‘At the Top’ Experience could be, literally and figuratively, the highest point of your visit to the city. Elevators whisk you up 124 storeys to enjoy the staggering views from the observation decks on the 125th floor, then even higher to the 148th floor where you can stand on the highest outdoor observation deck in the world! Here you can also enjoy the luxurious lounges before learning more about the history of the building as you descend.

2. Dubai Creek

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Dubai Creek is a saltwater creek that runs through Dubai. It has been developed and extended as part of the Business Bay development to reach the shores of the Gulf. It is thought that this may have been the river known as the River Zara to the Ancient Greeks. There are many important bridges that cross this creek and you can explore it by water taxi or on a boating cruise.

3. Wild Wadi Water Park

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This exciting water park is located in the Jumeirah area of the city. It is run by Jumeirah International, the Dubai-based hotelier. Here you can go wild on the aquatic rollercoasters and enjoy the surfing wave machine, slides, tunnels and pools in an outdoor setting. There are over 30 rides and attractions at this family friendly destination. There are activities for children from racing slides to water guns, and thrilling rides for those adrenaline junkies who are seeking a bit of excitement. What more, here you can surf or body board on the Wipeout Flowrider, one of only four such rides in the world.

Also read: 5 Exhilarating Activities In Dubai For Adrenaline Junkies

4. Dubai Museum

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Dubai Museum is located in the Al Fahidi Fort. Built in 1799, this is the oldest building currently standing in Dubai. This is the place to visit if you want to find out more about the stratospheric and almost unbelievable rise from Bedouin village to this modern, global city that reaches for the skies. Watch a video charting Dubai’s development and then make your way through a series of fascinating exhibitions showing elements of Dubai life throughout the ages.

5. The World Islands

Image credit: NASA Johnson Space Center

This famous artificial archipelago of islands is roughly the shape of the continents on our planet, and they are made of sand dredged from the shallow coastal waters. This archipelago sits 4 km off Dubai in the Persian Gulf. The project began in 2003, though the global financial crisis meant that the islands that were created were slow to be developed. Things are now kicking off though, with development on several ‘European’ islands progressing well. Pay a visit to this grand and crazy scheme by helicopter tour or by boat.

6. Dubai Mall

Image credit: Liji Jinaraj

If you like to shop, then Dubai Mall is the place for you. This is the world’s biggest shopping mall, with over 1,200 shops. It is part of the 20 billion dollar Downtown Complex. This shopping and leisure centre does not only have everything you could possibly desire for your retail experience – it also houses an ice rink, a cinema and an aquarium and underwater zoo. This mind-blowing mall opened in May 2009 and is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world.

7. Palm Jumeirah

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When viewed from above, these artificial islands seem to bloom like a palm tree from the Jumeirah coastal area of Dubai. They were built and are owned by the company Nakheel which is owned by the Dubai Government. These man-made islands were created in much the same way as The World Islands later were. Construction on the islands began in 2001 and many families and businesses have since moved in. A monorail, the first in the Middle East, connects Palm Jumeirah to the mainland.

8. Jumeirah Mosque

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This beautiful religious building in Dubai is said to be the most photographed mosque in the city. It is not only among the city’s most beautiful mosques, but also the only one that is open to tours for non-Muslims. Organised tours of the building have been arranged to promote cross-faith respect and understanding. There are Q&A sessions where you are free to ask any questions you might have about the Islamic faith and tradition.

9. Madinat Jumeirah

Image credit: Djordje Radovanovic

This is 5-star luxury resort is the largest in the emirate. Spreading across 40 hectares of land, Madinat Jumeirah is designed to look like a traditional Arabian town. Alongside the various accommodation options you will also find over 40 restaurants and bars. The underlying concept was to recreate life as it once was along Dubai Creek, complete with abras, wind towers and a vibrant souk, or marketplace. The area’s waterways are also home to a Turtle Sanctuary which houses injured turtles before they are released back into the wild. Visit the well-recreated bustling market or take a relaxing boat ride through the area.

10. Jumeirah Beach

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If you just want to luxuriate in the glorious sunshine on your layover, then this is a great place to kick back and get a tan. This beach stretches along the frontage of the Jumeirah area of Dubai, backed by many businesses and hotels. The beach is composed of soft white sand and it is also conveniently close to some of the other major attractions of the city.

Also read: 10 Reasons Why Dubai is Worth More than a Layover

About Author

Elizabeth Waddington
Elizabeth Waddington

Elizabeth Waddington lives in rural Scotland with her husband and her dog. She is part of a small community who are trying to live as sustainably as possible. A professional freelance writer who works from home full time, she has over ten years of writing experience and an MA in English and Philosophy. She mostly writes about travel, sustainability and permaculture and has a particular interest in adventure holidays, camping, walking and sustainable travel. She travels whenever she can.


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