Must-Do Activities for First-Timers in Dubai
Dubai is the UAE’s most glamorous as well as the second-largest city. Dubai, however, is beyond this statement; it’s an inimitable global city, packed to the brim with a mix of avant-garde architectural landmarks, classic structures, and top-notch leisure and entertainment facilities. In fact, the copious amount of experiences and sights on offer makes it quite a daunting task for first-time visitors to craft their perfect Dubai program. So if you’re looking for an accurate guide to plan your debut Dubai visit, check out this post which covers all top attractions and activities in Dubai that you shouldn’t miss out on your much-awaited Arabian vacation.
See the world’s tallest building – Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa is one of Dubai’s most visited attractions and rightly so, visiting or at least catching a glimpse of it one of the top things to do in Dubai. While capturing a selfie or groupie against this massive 828-meter-high structure is mandatory, an ascent to its observation deck on 124th or 148th (highest of its kind) is definite to add to your experience. Complemented by a swift elevator ride and an informative multimedia presentation, this gives you an unmatched overview of Dubai’s blend of the awe-inspiring skyline, unparalleled desert, sparkling oceans and more.
Go on a picnic at Dubai Creek Park
If you think Dubai is all about its skyscrapers and lacks green spaces, make your way to one of its well-manicured gardens and this will prove you wrong. To begin with, visit Dubai Creek Park which is located right in the heart of the city and filled with gardens, barbeque spots, and dedicated play areas for little ones. That’s not all; it’s also home to some of Dubai’s best family-friendly attractions, mainly Dubai Dolphinarium and Bird Park. Although the entry to the park doesn’t cost you more than AED 5 per head, extra charges apply for its facilities including Dubai Dolphinarium, Cable Car ride, etc. dubai for first timers
Wander around the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
For those who wish to experience Dubai’s intriguing past, this historic neighborhood (also known as Bastakiya Quarter) is one of the top attractions to see in the city. A stroll along its quaint alleys will give you a glance at the region’s lifestyle from the 19th century to the 1970s. See its wind-tower-topped structures, apart from several structures that have been converted into museums and art galleries. You can further combine your Al Bastakiya trip with a visit to Dubai Museum which is within the oldest of its kind Al Fahidi Fort. The captivating exhibits on view here shed light on Dubai’s routine and modest lifestyle before the discovery of oil.
Go Shopping at Dubai Souk
You’ll be drawn to Dubai’s exuberant retail scene even if shopping is not on your priority list. Now if you’re up for some serious retail therapy here, you can’t miss its traditional Arabian bazaars (known as souks) across the Bur Dubai and Deira regions. And probably the must-visit among them is Gold Souk whose streets and alleys are crammed with stores selling gold jewelry. Spice Souk, Textile Souk, and Perfume Souk are other popular traditional souks. Don’t hesitate to haggle here; chances are that you’ll be able to own your favorite, one-off souvenir or jewelry pieces at unbelievable rates.
Spend hours at Dubai Mall and Watch Dubai Fountain Show
Of close to 70 malls in the city, Dubai Mall stands out for its sheer vast size and strategic location, adjacent to Burj Khalifa, in Downtown Dubai. With over 1200 outlets, it is not all about shopping and is an absolute destination to indulge in almost everything imaginable. There is Dubai Ice Rink, KidZania Dubai, VR Park (a place to enjoy Virtual and Augmented reality rides and attractions), and most of all, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo which is the world’s biggest suspended aquarium. Apart from these, you’ll find Burj Lake right outside of Dubai Mall. This man-made lake hosts the largest of its kind choreographed fountain show. And the best part is that this musical light and water show is free to watch; all you need to do is to find a perfect spot to admire this performance up close and in detail. dubai for first timers
Visit Dubai Frame
No matter you’re looking for a more affordable alternative over visiting Burj Khalifa’s observation decks or just want to see one of Dubai’s newest attractions, Dubai Frame won’t disappoint you. Right from its massive picture-frame like structure to its amazing Past and Future Galleries to the Sky Deck with a glass bridge, everything about Dubai Frame is fascinating. And what’s most amazing is that its sky deck feasts you with the stunning views of both Old and New Dubai.
Set Sail into Dubai Marina or Dubai Creek on a Dhow Cruise
A dhow cruise down the historic Dubai Creek or the super classy Dubai Marina is a charming way to appreciate Dubai’s glittering sights, as the sun goes down. For those who don’t know, a dhow is a traditional Arabian wooden vessel that was once used for pearl farming and fishing during the pre-oil era. It’s now converted into a floating restaurant and offers a unique standpoint for night sightseeing in Dubai. Along with unmatched views, come prepared to enjoy a lavish buffet dining (with a multicourse menu) and live traditional entertainment shows like Tanura dance. The cruise lasts for 1.5 hours to two hours.
Gear Up for Some Heart-Racing Adventure
Dubai is a real playground for adventurists and fun-seekers. From a vast array of indoor and outdoor adventures to breathtaking water and exciting aerial activities, options are aplenty if you want to get extreme on your Dubai trip. Now if you don’t want to venture far or have time constraints, some of the recommended activities are indoor sky diving at iFly Dubai and XLine Dubai which lets you experience the world’s longest as well as the fastest urban zipline. dubai for first timers
Enjoy a Drive along Palm Jumeirah
A visit to Dubai remains incomplete without taking in its man-made islands, especially the Palm Jumeirah. Designed to resemble a giant palm tree with a crescent on its top, this is an unrivaled engineering marvel which you should definitely experience on your first time trip to Dubai. Go on an exclusive sightseeing tour or take a drive across its main attractions including Atlantis, The Palm Hotel, Al Ittihad Park and Al Sufouh Beach. Now if you want to marvel at Palm Jumeirah’s striking design at its entire grandeur, take a helicopter ride or sign up for an exhilarating sky diving adventure.
See Burj Al Arab
This is yet another legendary sight that you shouldn’t miss during your Dubai trip. Al though built almost two decades ago, this sail-shaped structure set on a private island is still one-of-its-kind, being touted as the world’s only seven-star hotel. A stay in its highly opulent rooms or suits may not be affordable for all, but it’s possible if you wish to catch a glance of its supremely royal interiors. All you’ve to do is to book a table at one of its many elegant dining venues such as Sahn Edgar and Al Muntaha.
Go on a Desert Safari dubai for first timers
A desert safari will take you beyond the dazzling side of Dubai means this will give you more reasons to fall in love with this desert city. There are morning, evening and overnight desert safaris; just pick the ideal one. Your desert adventure mostly includes a thrilling dune bash aboard a 4X4 vehicle, together with camp visits and opportunities for traditional Dubai activities like camel ride, henna tattooing, Shisha smoking, falconry and photographic chances wearing traditional Emirati costumes. Moreover, depending on your chosen package, you’ll get to sample a lavish BBQ dinner, watch enthralling belly dance, and even sleep under the desert stars.
Visit Dubai’s Theme Parks
Whether you’re traveling solo or joined by your little ones or family, take time to discover some of Dubai’s most amazing theme parks. It promises something for all abilities. As we share below some of our top suggestions, be sure to visit all or at least one depending on your preference and time limit.
- Dubai Parks and Resorts: It’s an ultimate haven for theme park lovers, with three theme parks and a water park under its roof. While Motiongate Dubai offers rides and experiences inspired by Hollywood movies, Bollywood Dubai is a treat for the lovers of Hindi cinemas. Finally, LEGOLAND Dubai and Water Park are specially designed for families with kids aged between two to 12 years.
- IMG Worlds of Adventure: This is one of the world’s biggest indoor theme parks. From Marvel and Cartoon Network to Lost Valley and IMG Boulevard, its four themed zones not only breathe in life to your favorite superheroes and cartoon networks but also allow you to indulge in some exciting Dinosaur-based fun and adventure.
- Ski Dubai: Fancy trying a winter activity right in the middle of the desert? This is possible even when Dubai’s temperature soars to over 55 degrees Celsius. Thanks to Ski Dubai with a massive snow park. This gives you the chance to enjoy all winter or snow activities imaginable in an authentic snow-filled environment, anytime or during any part of the year. dubai for first timers
That’s it for now; we’ve listed out here all that we think are the classic attractions or must-experiences in Dubai. And with this guide, we hope that the first-timers to Dubai will have the most incredible and unforgettable sampling of the city’s top highlights.