1. The Burj Khalifa
The Burj Khalifa is for sure THE place to visit in Dubai!
The tallest skyscraper in the world (828 meters) has been open to the public since 2010 and has quickly become the symbol of the city.
Every day, thousands of visitors flock to the tower and take one of the fastest lift in the world up to the viewing platforms located on the 124th and 125th floors .
From there, you can enjoy an extraordinary panorama over the whole city!
And that’s not the highest point yet!
You can even go up to the 148th floor, to reach the highest viewing platform in the world (555 m high).
You should visit the Burj Khalifa in the evening, to enjoy the view over the illuminated city from the highest observation deck in the world.
To visit the Burj Khalifa, you should really book your skip the line ticket online in advance.
This will allow you to choose your visit time slot and avoid the long waiting lines to buy your tickets.
Another important advantage is that tickets are cheaper online than directly at the counter. And that’s the same for all the activities you can do in Dubai!
2. The Dubai Mall
In the city center, right next to the Burj Khalifa, there is the Dubai Mall.
This huge mall is the most visited shopping center in the world!
With more than 1200 shops and hundreds of restaurants, you will for sure find something that fits your taste and your budget.
And there is more:
This shopping temple also houses indoor waterfalls, an aquarium (more about it below), an ice rink, a go-kart track, a flight simulator, cinemas, arcade games and a lot more!
The Dubai Mall is open every day from 10am until midnight. Restaurants and food court until 1am.
If you want to prepare your visit, you can have a look to the official website to see all the existing shops, restaurants and attractions.
3. The Dubai Fountain
This fountain (the largest water fountain in the world) is one of Dubai’s main tourist attractions.
The fountain show takes place several times a day on the artificial lake located at the exit of Dubai Mall, at the foot of Burj Khalifa.
You must attend it during your trip to Dubai!
The best is to go there at nightfall, when the tower is illuminated. It’s simply magical to watch the ballet of water jets dancing to music.
The show takes place every 30 minutes between 18.00 and 23.00 (there are also a few during the day).
The access is free of charge.
Quick tip: To get a great viewpoint, try to be there as early as possible, as the fountain show attracts thousands of tourists!
4. Deira district and its souks
Dubai isn’t just about luxury and excess: there are still traditional and authentic neighborhoods to visit!
During your stay, you should really take a stroll through Deira district, a picturesque and popular place featuring several souks:
- The Gold Souk and its large number of shops with magnificent jewellery displays. It’s the largest of its kind in the Middle East.
- The Perfume Souk, in Sikkat Al Khail street.
- The Spice Souk and its colourful stalls to stock up on curry, saffron, cinnamon and more.
To visit the Old Dubai and Deira, the best is clearly to book a guided tour!
During this 3-hour tour, your guide will show you the souks as well as Dubai Museum, which I mention a bit further down this article.
The guide is really amazing, he will teach you everything about the culture, religion, daily life and history of Dubai.
5. Bur Dubai
Bur Dubai is the other typical district you should definitely visit in Dubai.
This neighborhood is also one of the oldest in the city. It’s located just opposite Deira, on the other side of Dubai Creek.
To get there, you will have to take an Abra, a small traditional wooden boat (1 AED per person).
The short crossing will allow you to enjoy a beautiful view and see “Dhows”, the old ships with bright colors supplying the souks with goods.
Here are the best places to visit in Bur Dubai:
- Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House: The old house of the Al Maktoum family until 1958. You will see photos and documents about the history of the city.
- Old Souk, one of the oldest in Dubai. You can find everything there: slippers, souvenirs, fabrics, traditional lamps…
- Meena Bazaar, a market where you can buy Indian goods: fabrics, spices, jewelry.
- Hindi Lane and its Indian stalls. The best place to try traditional dishes at a reasonable price.
- Sheik Mohamed Cultural Center: Here you can have lunch with an Emirati in a traditional house. The center was opened by the Sheikh to allow tourists to learn more about United Arab Emirates (UAE) traditions. Reservation is required, click here.
- Al Seef Market, where you can admire replicas of traditional houses, with restaurants and shops.
- Dubai Museum: I will tell you more about it in section 9 of this guide.