Fun Things To Do in Dubai, Tips on Where To Stay, and More

Did you know that Dubai holds more than 300 world records? From the towering Burj Khalifa to the expansive Dubai Mall, and even the architecturally stunning Dubai Frame, this city of superlatives offers an endless array of fun things to do. Turn your next visit to Dubai into a record-breaking adventure of its own!

People on a boat ride with the buildings of Dubai in the background
People on a boat ride with the buildings of Dubai in the background

Dubai is a city that literally rose from the desert sands to become one of the most futuristic metropolises on the planet— a place where the impossible becomes possible. Not only is it home to the world’s largest flower garden, the Dubai Miracle Garden, but it also boasts an archipelago of man-made islands shaped like a palm tree, visible even from space. These marvels are just the tip of the iceberg in a city teeming with unique attractions and fun things to do. Dubai’s ability to blend extravagant innovation with rich cultural heritage offers an exploration ground for adrenaline seekers, culinary adventurers, and those fascinated by the blend of tradition and futuristic vision. 

With over 3 million residents, Dubai presents an array of experiences that range from skydiving over scenic landscapes to navigating the spice-scented souks. Every nook of this city unfolds stories of ambition, luxury, and unparalleled experiences, inviting you to experience all the fun things to do in Dubai.

Fun Things to Do in Dubai: Adrenaline-Pumping Activities

Dubai isn’t just about luxury shopping and ultramodern architecture; it’s a playground for thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies. That said, let’s kick off this adventure with some of the fun things to do in Dubai that promise to leave you breathless.

First up, skydiving over Palm Jumeirah offers a heart-stopping leap into the extraordinary. You’re 13,000 feet in the air, ready to freefall, with breathtaking views unfolding beneath you. It’s totally an exhilarating way to witness the sheer ambition of Dubai from the Steel Falcon’s perspective.

Going indoors, skiing at Ski Dubai presents a delightful contrast to the desert landscape outside. Nestled within the Mall of the Emirates, this winter wonderland invites both novices and seasoned skiers to enjoy its snowy slopes. Beyond skiing, the opportunity to meet playful penguins adds a touch of whimsy to the experience.

Shifting gears to the desert, Dune Bashing promises an adventure that’s as exhilarating as it is iconic to Dubai’s heritage. Imagine being in a 4×4, coursing through the undulating dunes at thrilling speeds— each turn and dip offering a taste of the desert’s untamed beauty. 

Lastly, ziplining across the Dubai Marina injects a dose of urban excitement. Gliding over one of the world’s longest urban ziplines, you’re treated to an unmatched view of the city’s glamorous waterfront, all at the speed of flight.

Two individuals sitting on white cushions by a pool of a hotel in Dubai
Two individuals sitting on white cushions by a pool of a hotel in Dubai
Photo credit: Vida Emirates Hills Hotel

Fun Things to Do in Dubai: Cultural Experiences and Heritage

Dubai is often celebrated for its skyscrapers and luxury shopping, but if you delve a little deeper, you’ll find a rich tapestry of cultural experiences and heritage that offer a different kind of thrill. 

Starting off, Al Fahidi’s historical neighborhood is a worthy window into the Dubai of yesteryears. Wandering through its narrow lanes transports you into a time when wind towers and coral stone buildings were the norms. The area is also home to charming art galleries, cafes, and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, where you can indulge in Emirati cuisine and conversation, deepening your appreciation for the local culture.

Next, a traditional abra ride on Dubai Creek offers not just a picturesque journey but also a narrative of the city’s trading history. As you glide across the water, you’ll see the bustling souks on either side, including the famous gold and spice souks, where the air is fragrant with the scent of exotic spices.

Shifting from the water to the desert, camping in the Arabian dunes is a must. The Bedouin Camp offers insights into the traditional desert lifestyle, complete with camel rides, falconry demonstrations, and an Arabian feast under the stars. 

Lastly, Dubai’s Museums offer a treasure trove of insights into the emirate’s heritage. The Dubai Museum, housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, and the Etihad Museum, which explores the UAE’s formation, both provide contexts for Dubai’s meteoric rise from a quiet fishing village to a global metropolis.

These fun, cultural things to do in Dubai aren’t just mere activities but insightful journeys that let you appreciate the city’s roots and evolution. From historic neighborhoods to desert traditions, Dubai’s heritage unfolds in vibrant colors, inviting explorers to discover its heart and soul.

Where to Stay in Dubai: Accommodations for Every Budget

Finding the perfect place to stay is key to enjoying all the fun things to do in Dubai, and fortunately, This City Knows caters to every type of traveler. 

If you’re looking to splurge and indulge, Dubai’s luxury hotels are synonymous with opulence and unparalleled service. The Burj Al Arab, often celebrated as the world’s most luxurious hotel, is an icon of Dubai’s skyline and offers suites with breathtaking views, personal butler service, and world-class amenities. Similarly, the Atlantis The Royal provides a unique underwater experience, with rooms that have floor-to-ceiling windows into a massive aquarium, allowing you to wake up to the sight of marine life swimming by.

Mid-range travelers have plenty to choose from as well, with hotels and serviced apartments offering great value. Properties like The Bristol Hotel and the Vida Emirates Hills combine modern comfort with easy access to Dubai’s major attractions, making them perfect for families and couples seeking quality without extravagance. Many of these accommodations include amenities like swimming pools, fitness centers, and on-site dining, ensuring a pleasant stay.

Budget-conscious explorers need not to worry as well, as the city is also awash with hostels and budget-friendly hotels that don’t compromise on the experience. Consider the Skyview Hostel, which provides clean, comfortable, and social environments for meeting fellow travelers, and is strategically located near public transportation to keep you connected to the city.

Tip: When choosing where to stay, consider the locations of the attractions you plan to visit. Staying in Dubai Marina or Downtown Dubai might be pricier, but it saves time and money on transportation, allowing you more leisure to explore. Additionally, many hotels offer shuttle services to popular spots, adding value to your stay.

People enjoying a variety of delicious food at a bustling food market in Dubai
People enjoying a variety of delicious food at a bustling food market in Dubai

The Flavors of Dubai: From Street Food to Fine Dining 

Dubai’s culinary landscape is as diverse and dynamic as the city itself, offering a tantalizing journey through flavors from around the globe. From sizzling street food to haute cuisine, every meal here promises an adventure.

Begin your foodie adventure with the traditional flavors of the Middle East at Al Fanar, where Emirati dishes like Lugaimat and camel meat kebabs provide a delicious introduction to local cuisine. For a taste of Dubai’s famous street food, head to Al Dhiyafah Road (now known as 2nd December Street), where eateries serve up everything from Iranian kebabs to Indian dosas, perfect for a flavorful and budget-friendly meal.

Dubai also excels in fine dining, with world-renowned chefs offering gastronomic experiences that fuse traditional ingredients with modern culinary techniques. The Atmosphere Burj Khalifa combines breathtaking views with exquisite dishes, while Pierchic offers a romantic overwater dining experience with fresh seafood.

Cultural food tours and cooking classes offer deeper insights into the region’s cuisine, allowing you to not just taste but also understand the history and technique behind iconic dishes. Such experiences often include visits to spice souks and local markets, adding layers to your culinary journey.

Shopping in Dubai: From Souks to Shopping Malls

Shopping in Dubai is a fun thing to do in itself, reflecting the city’s status as a global retail hub. Whether you’re in search of luxury brands, electronic bargains, or traditional crafts, Dubai’s shopping venues offer an exhilarating and sometimes overwhelming array.

The Dubai Mall, not just the largest shopping center in the world but also a leisure complex, houses over 1,200 shops, an indoor theme park, an ice rink, and a massive aquarium. For a more traditional shopping experience, the gold and spice souk in Deira offers a sensory overload, with narrow lanes filled with gold jewelry, spices, perfumes, and textiles.

For a unique blend of shopping and entertainment, the Global Village presents pavilions from different countries selling traditional handicrafts, clothing, and foods, alongside cultural performances. Meanwhile, Boxpark and City Walk cater to those seeking boutique shops, high-end brands, and trendy cafes in an outdoor setting.

Tips for Shoppers: Bargaining is expected in the souks but not in malls. Also, look out for the Dubai Shopping Festival, held in January and February, for massive discounts, live shows, and lucky draws.

A grand water fountain in a bustling mall in Dubai, providing a refreshing and serene ambiance.
A grand water fountain in a bustling mall in Dubai, providing a refreshing and serene ambiance.

Discover Dubai’s Diverse Delights with This City Knows

Indeed, Dubai is a city that promises the extraordinary, where every experience, from dining to shopping, tells a story of contrast, tradition, and innovation. With This City Knows as your guide, you’re invited to dive deeper into the heart of Dubai, exploring its culinary wonders and retail paradises that make every moment spent here truly unforgettable.

Whether savoring the flavors of local Emirati cuisine, soaring through the sky above iconic landmarks, or wandering through the maze-like alleys of age-old souks, Dubai offers a world of experiences waiting to be discovered.

Join us on this journey to experience all the fun things to do in Dubai, where every adventure is more than just a visit—it’s a foray into a world of unparalleled luxury, rich heritage, and dynamic culture, all ready to be explored with curiosity and wonder.

Author: Katie

Katie is all about hitting the road solo, always on the lookout for spots the internet hasn't fully discovered yet. She’s the one turning left when the map says right, hunting for those genuine, "you had to be there" moments. With a style that's as engaging as a late-night chat by the hostel fire, her stories aren't just about places, but the raw, unfiltered joy of exploring them on your own terms.

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