The Top 10 things to do in Dubai

Occasionally, it feels like everything is conspiring against you, doesn’t it? You got sucked into finishing yet more work that was offloaded onto your plate. You got an unexpected phone call that couldn’t wait. Your train was delayed on the way back from the gym where you were working on that summer body. By the time you got back home you were so exhausted and inevitably you got sucked into your Instagram feed and got FOMO.

With such a busy lifestyle, you don’t have time to research every aspect of your trip ahead of time. But you’ve made it now. You’re here. That trip to Dubai has finally arrived and this guide can be your tick list of the top ten things to do in Dubai before you head home!

Well, I couldn’t help you with your packing, or ensure you got to the airport on time, but I can help you make sure that once you get to Dubai, you know the best things to do and see, so you come back raving about what a great time you’ve had!

10 Things to do in Dubai - Pinterest ready button

Here are the top 10 things, in no particular order, that you’ve just got to do in Dubai:

1. Go on a romantic Gondola ride

Before I visited Dubai, I’d never thought of it as a spot for romance. Oh boy, I was wrong. Before you leave you must take a gondola ride through Madinat Jumeirah, a harbour-side hotel combining luxury with tradition in a truly unique spot. The hotel sits on a beautiful web of meandering waterways and walkways linking each part of the resort. Arrive at sunset and ask your butler or concierge to show you to the nearest “Abra spot”, from where you can relax onto a gondola with your loved one and enjoy a truly unique experience. Nothing beats the joy of sharing this smooth journey across the tranquil waters, passing private enclaves, endless palm trees and Arabic inspired forts, with someone you care for. As the sun sets see this all light up and witness the distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab. We took the “Abra” or cushioned gondola to Pai Thai restaurant but, for romance, I’d skip Pai Thai. Instead I’d recommend taking the gondola journey from the Souk Madinat waterfront to one of the many luxury hotel bars.

2. Visit Dubai Mall and the Fountain Show

This is no ordinary mall. It’s showy and exuberant and on the fine line between elegant and maybe-gone-too-far but it’s a must visit if you’re in Dubai. From the elaborate fountains to the glass tunnels of sea life in the aquarium, you’re spoilt for choice. With stores from all over the world and not one but two Sephora stores, it’s a shopaholics dream. For those who aren’t into shopping you’ll be glad to know that Dubai Mall has tonnes of restaurants. I’d highly recommend heading to one of the restaurants with an outdoor area, like Wafi Gourmet, to eat whilst watching the fountains. The amazing fountain display starts every 30 minutes, and the music and lights change. I had gone with low expectations but loved it.

Dubai Fountains - Top 10 Things to do in Dubai - The Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

3. Search for the Best Hummus Beiruti in town

Am I the only one who didn’t know how incredible the Hummus Beiruti is in Dubai before I went? Every time I asked for recommendations I got told more and more places to try. There are lots of great ones so go on a hunt and try loads, they all taste a little different, some more like a classic hummus, some with a lot more garlic and some spicy. They’re absolutely delicious and a pleasure to eat with the fluffy, pillowy breads which arrive at your table, hot and puffy. My favourite spot for Hummus Beiruti was in super casual local haunt, Mezza House, which also doubles as an epic spot for people watching! It was recommended to us by local friends and there’s a great atmosphere too.

Hummus Beiruti Mezza House - Top 10 Things to do in Dubai - The Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

Pitta - Top 10 Things to do in Dubai - The Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

4. Eat excellent Pan-Asian food

You’re absolutely spoiled for choice and according to my taste buds, the Pan-Asian food in Dubai is a thousand times better than that which we have in the UK. Dare I say it, before I came to Dubai, I didn’t really like Pan-Asian! We had lots of it and with no regrets. Here are my suggestions by area:

  • Dubai Marina and nearby: Asia Asia at Pier 7 is the spot to go to if you’re staying nearby to the Marina. It’s absolutely excellent and the only reason I don’t have a blog post on it is that it’s candlelit so I couldn’t take photos! It also boasts gorgeous views of the Dubai Marina skyline and has excellent cocktails!
  • Jumeirah and nearbyZengo at Le Royal Meridien has some of the most delicious sushi and grilled items I’ve had in the last few years!
  • The Palm Jumeirah: Nobu at the Atlantis is your best bet but do make sure you read my post first so you know what to order and what to skip!Pan-asian food nobu the atlantis - Top 10 Things to do in Dubai - The Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

5. Visit the Souks

Slightly away from the tourist hubs of the Palm, the Marina and Jumeirah Beach, you can visit the Dubai Souks, a collection of unassuming streets, packed with spices, perfume, oud and gold. Dubai is known for cheap gold but even if, like me, that’s not what you’re in Dubai for, it’s a unique spot to walk around in the late afternoon, once the midday sun has gone. Bartering for spices is great fun and it’s a good spot to take home some unique souvenirs such as fragrant flower teas or handcrafted oud diffusers.

Spice souks - Top 10 Things to do in Dubai - The Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

6. Have drinks in the sky – 122 floors above ground!

On the 122nd floor of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, through an entrance to the Armani Hotel, is one of the best bars I’ve ever been to. This bar goes by the name of “At.mosphere”. 422 metres above the ground, you can enjoy breathtakingly pretty views and innovative cocktails, with ingredients from around the world. Some of these are elaborately served on dry ice or with theatrical touches.

I have no idea why it has a full stop in the middle of its name but what I do know is that At.mosphere at the Burj Khalifa has some of the most exquisite cocktails and views of any bar I’ve ever been to. It’s opulent, luxurious, and extravagant and with an unrivalled wow factor. This is one for those of you who appreciate a view on the side of your drink! Many people buy tickets for “At the top” which is the viewing platform at the Burj Khalifa on the 124th and 125th floor but personally, I think this is a more luxurious and more relaxing alternative that you mustn’t miss!

At.mosphere Bar at the Burj Khalifa, worlds tallest building - Top 10 Things to do in Dubai - The Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

7. Try the best French food outside of France

I fell in love with La Petite Maison in DIFC, Dubai. Yes. It really is that good! Make sure you reserve ahead and don’t leave until trying the epic apple tart and crème brûlée!

Apple tart - Top 10 Things to do in Dubai - The Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

8. Unwind with a spa day at Le Royal Meridien

Aaaand relax! Is there anything more calming than a spa day? I loved the Roman-themed Caracalla spa at Le Royal Meridien hotel, though we weren’t staying there we were able to book massages and buy day passes. With fantastic Elemis massages, well equipped shower rooms, both male and female hammams, sauna and steam facilities you’re all set to melt away any stresses. On top of this, you have access to the gorgeous outdoor pools and the private beach – it’s a perfect way to rejuvenate. Given that we were there during Ramadan there were even offers making our treatments even more of an affordable luxury!

9. Spot a luxury car (or two or three!)

If you visit Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, you may be lucky enough to see or hear a supercar zooming past you, coming to a grinding halt as the traffic builds up outside Harrods superstore. By comparison, in Dubai, the official playground of the ultra-rich of the Middle East, you can’t travel down Sheikh Zayed road (the longest road in the Emirates) without spotting dozens of cars with eye-watering price tags. What do you expect from the city that owns the world’s fastest police car, the Bugatti Veyron? (In case you thought that I had become a car expert I should let you know that actually The Doc told me what make it was…)

Our most surprising moment was when we walked out of the Atlantis hotel after visiting Nobu only to find that the valet had got our fleet of Ferraris and Lamborghinis ready for us… We wished they were ours at least!

Atlantis Supercars Ferrari Bugatti Masarati - Top 10 Things to do in Dubai - The Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog

10. Beach it up!

Jumeirah beach is the first beach where I’ve been able to swim in hot water – the sea temperature reached 27 °C whilst we were there so there’s no reason not to jump right in! I loved this beach in that it was so unique. On one side, you see endless water and the occasional camel strutting across the sand, and on the other Dubai’s skyline. It may be manmade but if you can handle the heat, it’s a lovely space to relax. If you prefer a more photographic guide then do connect with me on Instagram!

You work hard and play hard and now’s the time for you to kick back and enjoy yourself in Dubai. Have a great trip and comment below with any other tips you have too, I’d love to hear them!

For more tips, tricks, foodie hints and travel guides, please do follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

This post was written as part of a monthly collaboration with my fellow travel blogging friends on the Travel Link Up, where we all write on a set theme. Check out the latest posts on  Follow Your SunshineSilverSpoon LondonAdventures of a London Kiwi or on the blog of our lovely guest host Erin at Erin Out and About to see more!

 

 

  • I love your pictures as well as tips! I’ve been there less than 2 months ago and I missed a lot of these things 🙁 I guess thats another reason why to come back! though, as Im a budget traveller, Id love to know the prices too,it looks expensive 🙁

    • Hey Diana!! Did you have a good time? What did you enjoy doing? I agree that Dubai can be pretty expensive but the souks are accessible by metro as can be the mall (window shopping is fun!) Also, I found the best hummus beiruti to be pretty cheap but packed with flavour! Please do share any things you enjoyed though as I’ll keep them in mind for future visits!!

  • Binny Shah-Patel

    Love Dubai we go regularly because Amit’s best friend lives out there and I love the food scene!!

  • Still not been to Dubai, looks like a great place for a foodie!

  • Alex BetterTogether

    Dubai has never appealed but it sure does look nice in your pictures! The food looks incredible 🙂

    • It never appealed to me really either, it feels a little soulless and without a strong history, that said we had an amazing time there and really enjoyed it so worth going if you get the opportunity!

  • Chandrika Ghosh

    I found this at just the right time! Might be planning a trip to dubai later this year. I’ll keep all these pointers in mind 🙂

    • Amazing, lucky you Chandrika! Did you decide whether you’re going? I hope you have a great time, whenever you do make it!

  • After living next door to Dubai for 4 years now and visiting several times, I could not have written a better guide myself! Zengo, Nobu and Le Petit Maison are also 3 of our favourite restaurants there. It looks as though you guys did it in style!

    Polly xx

  • Stella Marie Encina

    2,5,9 check! now i have more things to add on my list when i come back! ( i hope i can do it soon, though) i’ve never tried soaking the beach although we spent a lot of time in Kite beach etc. thanks for this post!

  • Jewels Rhode

    This is a great list!! I really need to make it to Dubai soon!

  • Anisa Alhilali

    Nice list. I didn’t get a chance to see the fountain show last time I was there, so definitely need to do that. And will check out that bar on the 122nd floor while I am at it.

  • Nice list, the fountain is wonderful, I’d add take the monorail, go dune bashing, do some serious shopping malls and go for a Sunday brunch

    • Ooh great tips Amanda! As we were there during ramadan the brunches weren’t running but I absolutely want to try a weekend brunch there! I’ve heard the Friday ones are legendary too!

  • Dubai seems like a lovely luxury. I’d love to go here and experience it all.

  • Siarra Chantal Turner

    Where some destinations are a fairy tale, Dubai has always looked like fantasy…I had no idea you could ride a gondola!

  • There were so many of these things that I wanted to do but didn’t have time. Next time I’m definitely going to the Burj!

  • Whenever I make it to Dubai, this is the guide I’ll be using!

  • Ayush Pratap

    Thanks for giving such a wonderful information. It is very helpful.

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