Dubai is the city that turns science fiction into everyday reality and you can’t help but like the city for it. From ambitious super-structures to palm-shaped islands, lightning-fast hyperloop train to flying taxi, Dubai makes you gawk at the future right now. It’s a desert turned into a glamorous playground, where everything runs just too perfect, too good!

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If you are visiting for a holiday, you will have an amazing time whether you plan to or not. The city offers playground around pristine beaches, picturesque places, diverse experiences/holiday activities, mouth-watering cuisine from different cultures, wonderful accommodations – including one of the world’s 7-star hotels, great shopping in amazing malls and souq, a good share of a life of luxury and a lot more. If you are still wondering what to do, here is a list of places and what you can do there when you visit.

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Public beach of Jumeirah and Burg Al Arab

The magic of Jumeirah is that you have the sea on one side and the skyline on the other and in-between lies amazing spots and memorable experiences. One of which is the public beach and the Burg Al Arab – a picturesque 7-star hotel.

City Walk

Go to city walk if you really want the best designer materials at the chip of your debit card. It is a unique location that is both contemporary and dynamic. There are great entertainment and shopping opportunity here.


This is a cool place to hang out and have a nice cup of coffee. Here, colourful containers are turned into eclectic boutiques selling wears of smaller brands. It’s an arty area where urban lifestyle is fussed with traditional ways. Boxpark has many fine dining areas offering the best of Emirati meals and coffee thinkable.

Nikki Beach

This is for you if you want a luxury beach holiday experience. It gives you the kind of Miami experience. It’s a perfect place for a staycation – where you could enjoy a nice spa treatment, music, art, food – and even pick fashion ideas. The DJs are really top-notch, and it’s a resort with nice accommodation if you choose to stay – it’s difficult to leave the fun going on there once you are there.

Downtown Dubai

Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall | Photo by Emirate Woman

Shopping does not get any better than at the Dubai Mall. This is the world’s biggest shopping centre by area. It has over 1000 stores spread out over 50 football fields or so – and here, you’ll find not just stuff to buy, but plenty of experiences.

Burj Khalifa

The iconic, needle-shaped Burj Khalifa is 828m high – about the tallest manmade structure in the world, and Dubai’s hallmark of glitz, glamour and amazing skyline! Marvel at it from afar if you wish, but nothing beats the amazing panoramic view of Dubai that you get from its top.

Dubai Fountain

This is a must see! The captivating fountain offers an unbelievable experience, showcasing a choreography of light, music and impressive water fountain. You can grab the view either from the Souq Al Bahar or Dubai Mall – you’ll enjoy it more in the evening with a good meal at any of the restaurant nearby. For a closer perspective, stroll through the Fountain Boardwalk – a 272m floating platform which is just 9m away from the fountains.

Dubai Aquarium and underworld zoo

Located in Dubai Mall, this is one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world and one of Dubai’s most captivating attractions. Get a fish-eye perspective of the ocean floor walking through the 48-metre tunnel that cut through the aquarium. This is your chance to be so close to the 33,000 aquatic animals that call the 10 million-litre tank their home – you don’t want to miss it.

Dubai Opera

Located just across the Dubai Fountain, the Dubai Opera gives you some of the nicest arts and culture scenes you’ll ever have in the city. Experience interesting entertainment with music and cool performances – ballet, Broadway shows, etc. from local and visiting entertainers when you visit.

Bay Square

This area has a mix of commercial, residential and nice hotel accommodation. Take out time to enjoy the parks which beam with many different activities. Savour the food and beverages, the entertainment, the restaurants, the sporty vibe, yoga spot, the view etc. all along the bank of the canal. You can even attend the farmers’ market where you could get organic fruits and vegetables – all sourced locally. Business Bay is also a hub of nightlife, with many nice nightclubs springing up there.

Cruise through the Dubai water canal and catch the waterfall

While the 12 km Marasi Business Bay Promenade allows visitors to walk, cycle, skate and enjoy various other leisure activities, the Canal it flanks offers a good view of the Business bay while on a boat cruise. If you choose the cruise, don’t miss the mechanically operated waterfall in the water canal.

Dubai Parks

Amazing theme park with loads of interesting activities, including 100 incredible indoor and outdoor rides and attractions at Motiongate Dubai, Bollywood Parks Dubai, Legoland Dubai and Legoland Water Park, this fun spot will definitely keep young hearts enthralled.

You can also check out the Last Exit – which is coloured by food trucks. This place also offers nice shopping opportunities.

Festival city

Offers plenty of shopping opportunities, state-of-the-heart cinema, food – in outdoor terrace restaurants; indoor theme parks, family playground – especially kids area, and the whole area is very picturesque.

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina| Photo by Francisco Anzola

Very cosmopolitan, high-end area in Dubai with nice skyscrapers, beautiful beach, loads of water activities – yachts, boat and dhow cruises, etc., and very many dining options. Of course, you can do some shopping here or go for a camel ride on JBR Beach.

Palm Jumeirah

This is a one of its kind in the world because it is entirely a manmade island built in the shape of a palm tree. Being here alone gives you a bragging right, but you can add colours to it by indulging yourself in some of the available activities which include skydiving, swimming with dolphins, watersports like kayaking, wake peddling, etc.

Historical and cultural routes

Dubai is not about glitz and glam alone, there is realness too – which connects its present to the past.

Deira is one of the places to experience this. Just like 50 years ago, the boats and global trade still go at the port in Deira. You should check out the Spice Souq, textile souq as well as the Gold Souq, all of which offer souvenirs at very affordable prices. The beautiful thing is you can sail from souq to souq.

Al Shindagha

Al Shindagha | Photo by Jorge Lascar

Away from the futuristic architecture usually associated with Dubai, Al shindagha shows visitors some of the architectural styles (houses) that existed in Dubai about 60 years ago. Here, you’ll see traditional houses covered in corals, with wind tunnels that keep them cool at the top.

Al Fahide

Dubai Museum | Photo by Fabio Achilli

Al Fahide is a nice place to walk and take nice pictures. The pebble stones make it even nicer. You should also visit the Al Fahidi fort – the oldest existing building in Dubai. It hosts the Dubai Museum where you’ll encounter colourful dioramas and enlightening historic exhibits – including the interesting stories of pearl divers.

Etihad Museum

Further history of Dubai can be learned in this museum which is housed in a futuristic building.

Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve

The Desert Conservation Reserve is about 45 minutes away from Dubai. It’s a wide area of pristine desert land with beautiful Campsites. The desert has wildlife life gazelles, Arabian cats and falcons. Expect an amazing sunset when you set out to be here. Activities in the desert include horse riding, cruises in vehicles left by the British, hot-air balloon, etc.


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Michael Alvin

Michael Alvin

Creative Writer
Michael Alvin is a lawyer and a UNESCO certified journalist. At Afro Tourism, he blends creativity with his training in telling moving stories about his personal experience on his various trips across Africa.
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin
Michael Alvin

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