11 Essential Things to Do in Dubai

With so much to do in Dubai, it’s likely you won’t have enough time to try everything if you are a tourist—residents can enjoy everything as per their liking. Most things in Dubai are enjoyable but some are too essential to miss.

This is a ranking of essential things to do in Dubai; you’d regret not enjoying these on your visit.

Also Try: Best Free Things to do in Dubai (Yes, FREE!)


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1. Explore Dubai with a Desert Safari – Essential Things to do in Dubai


The Safari is the trip of a life-time: extremely enjoyable yet extremely affordable. Get ready for a fast and thrilling experience through the ups and downs of the desert dunes!

These will follow up with optional 4x4 or BMX rides through the desert, camel rides, and a night full of events ranging from colorful and vibrant traditional Arab dances to jaw-dropping belly dances. Of course, there’ll also be delicious BBQ meals for the guests; vegetarian diets are also supported.

Most safari operators will request you be picked up from a specific rendezvous, and a few will offer VIP packages which will involve a hotel pick-up. The safari operators work along with a desert camp operator to build an amazing experience. Dubai desert safaris take up to 8 hours due to all the amazing things they include.

Avoid branding frills and focus on what extra features your money buys. Also Try: Ranking – Best Adrenaline Adventures in Dubai (Too much Fun!)

Average Price: AED 125

Time Dedication: 6–8 Hours

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5


2. Relax in a Traditional Dubai Dhow – Essential Things to do in Dubai


Dhows are large traditional Arab boats: subtly lit, wooden, and enlivened by many activities.

You enter a state of pure serenity and peace as you drift through Dubai waters, capturing the best skyline in the world. Dhows are said to be magical because they can transport you to your own private world amidst the bustling noise of the huge city only minutes away. Dhow trips are like a mini cruise and will last for a few hours, allowing you to enjoy a scrumptious meal while you drift into bliss.

Dhow trips can take between 2 to 4 hours. Also Try: Best Spas in Dubai (Surprisingly Cheap!)

Average Price: AED 150

Time Dedication: 2–4 Hours

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5


3. See Dubai’s Iconic Burj Al Arab – Essential Things to do in Dubai


Dubai is studded with iconic creations but one stands out as it has been crowned the world’s only 7-star hotel. A thing every resident & tourist seeks to do in Dubai: Visit Burj al Arab.

You can get great photos with the Burj by either visiting it or by standing on the edge of the Madinat Jumeirah’s entrance bridge. Getting in can be expensive as you are required to book something to do inside the hotel, and everything inside runs a high price tag.

To get in, most people opt for a meal or tea. The cheapest price for even the tea is AED 300, however, if you call and reserve a haircut, you’d not only get a hair style from the world’s only 7-star hotel, but will also get entry inside the Burj al Arab for AED 200—the cheapest possible cost of entry.

When you arrive at the gate of the Burj al Arab’s entrance, a security member will ask to see your reservation; be prepared with an e-mail, text message, or print-out of your reservation. Also Try: Best Things to do in Jumeirah (FREE!)

Minimum Price: AED 200 (Haircut) – 300 (Tea)

Time Dedication: 1–3 Hours

Dubaing ScoreTM: 4.5/5

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4. Marvel at the Palm Jumeirah – Essential Things to do in Dubai


The Palm Jumeirah is a masterpiece of human achievement. It’s a palm-shaped man-made island located just off the coast of Dubai’s Jumeirah. This thing-to-do in Dubai is a bit challenging as the best view of it will be either from the top of Burj Al Arab, during your flight, or through a helicopter ride. Also Try: Best Free Beaches in Dubai (FREE!)

Average Price: Varies on Your Choice

Time Dedication: Varies on Your Choice

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5


5. Air Balloon Rides – Essential Things to do in Dubai


Dubai’s air balloon rides allow you to get the magical sights of the desert during dusk and dawn, as the sun paints the sky a reddish orange, and an opportunity to see the Dubai city from the heights and lows of your desires of all the locations.

This is easily one of the most memorable things to do in Dubai. Also Try: Destination Spas in Dubai (LUXURY 2017)

Minimum Price: AED 750

Time Dedication: 1–2 Hours

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5


6. Dubai Helicopter Rides – Essential Things to do in Dubai


Dubai has many companies competing to offer the most exciting experience with helicopters; if city views are your joy, this is something you must do. The experience, though, is usually short as the trip lasts no more than 30 minutes. But those 30 minutes will be nothing less than a magical memory.

Minimum Price: AED 350

Time Dedication: 30 Minutes

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5


7. Sky Diving atop the Palm Jumeirah – Essential Things to do in Dubai


The unarguable champion for the experience of a lifetime in Dubai, while offering unimaginable views of the city: Sky Diving Sky diving views in Dubai are so brilliant that they’ve made their way into popular song videos. This honor is easily well-earned & sky diving in Dubai has become a destination thing-to-do.

Average Price: AED 2,000–2,500

Time Dedication: 1 Hour

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5


8. Visit the Burj al Khalifa – Essential Things to do in Dubai


Dubai’s newest global icon is also its greatest attraction: The Burj Khalifa.

Towering over the city with the title of “World’s Tallest Building,” the Burj is something you must visit when in Dubai. The Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, and the bustling Sheikh Mohammed Boulevard are right next to it.

Average Price: Free

Time Dedication: 1–2 Hours

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5

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9. Spectate the Dubai Fountain’s Dance – Essential Things to do in Dubai


The Dubai Fountain is a dancing champion and you get to see its marvelous moves every 30 minutes. Situated right between Dubai Mall & Burj Khalifa, the fountain’s surrounding is all too spectacular.

This is also one of the best free things to do in Dubai!

Average Price: Free

Time Dedication: 30 minutes – 1 Hour

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5


10. Ski in the Summer – Essential Things to do in Dubai


It’s hard to imagine that today you can ski in the middle of a desert during the summer heat.

Having a ski trip at Mall of the Emirates’ Ski Dubai is one of the ultimate things to do in Dubai. Don’t fret if you cannot ski: there is an exciting snow park there too; it’s packed with many snow-cored activities.

Average Price: AED 225

Time Dedication: 2–4 Hours

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5


11. Dubai Marina Walk – Essential Things to do in Dubai


Dubai Marina Walk, as the name hints, offers a long walk around the Dubai Marina, but this walk is far from mundane.

You get to enjoy a water-side walk along some of the most impressive skyline views of Dubai and the world’s largest man-made marina. The path is studded with dining, shisha, and shopping outlets. The major portion of the walk is dedicated to restaurants serving every cuisine you could want.

This is a great spot to just take a seat alongside city views beside a calm waterway as you enjoy a light meal or drink. Also Try: Ranking – 35 Best Malls in Dubai (FREE!)

Average Price: Free

Time Dedication: 1–2 Hours

Dubaing ScoreTM: 5/5