Top 10 Things to do in Dubai for First-Timers

Last Updated on October 1, 2021 by Cody Livingston

Dubai doesn’t mind overwhelming you with its glamorous vault of wonders. Get mesmerised with ‘the world’s greatest and biggest’ while in Dubai. Even frequent visitors will be amused by something new every time they arrive – ultramodern skyscrapers, twinkling dusk lights adorning the tall superstructures, fast cars, swimming with the sharks at Dubai Mall, fascinating landmarks and the spell of old and new Dubai. A record-breaking blend of traditions and modernisation can be seen in the middle of the desert. We are here to take you on a guided tour to some of Dubai’s top things to do on your upcoming Dubai holiday.

1. Climb the World’s Tallest Structure – The Burj Khalifa

Standing 828 meters high, the needle-shaped Burj Khalifa is difficult to miss. The world’s tallest structure rules the Dubai horizon and its magnificence can be best experienced either from very close or from the inside. Visitors rush to get a bird’s eye view from the perception deck At The Top Sky Lounge on the 124th floor. Also, for adventure food lovers who wish to enjoy dining among the mist, the atmosphere on level 122 is the spot to be.

2. Enjoy Thrilling Rides at Aquaventure Waterpark

Over 17 hectares of rides and slides, Dubai’s largest aquarium with over 65,000 marine life, a private beach and a special area for the little ones make Aquaventure Waterpark the #1 voted fun-filled water park in the world. Located in Atlantis, The Palm, it is the only place on earth where you can zip through a water tunnel while sharks and stingrays swim above you through the ruins of Atlantis. If you are looking for chilling twists and turns along with rushing rapids, you’ll find your dose of adventure at Aquaventure. The water park is also ideal if you’re craving for a lazy sunbathing on a pristine and private beach or wish to interact with dolphins and sea lions.

3. Be dazzled by Dancing Water Fountains 

Immerse yourself in an enchanting light, water and music experience while witnessing the world’s tallest fountain in the world – The Dubai Fountain. Situated at the base of the famous Burj Khalifa and the entryways of the famous Dubai Mall, one can marvel at world’s best-arranged water jets that sway in sync to music, producing what has turned out to be the most popular show in Dubai that can be seen from over 18 miles away. With the installation of several WET super lights and over 20 colour projectors, the sight is a visual masterpiece. If you wish to get up close and personal to the fountain, set sail on the lake during the water show to grab the best seats. The Dubai Fountain Boardwalk is the latest addition to the spectacle. Visitors can get even closer to the show by strolling on the 272m floating platform, which is just 9m away from the fountains.

4. Get a Taste of Life at The Beach-JBR

For those who like to shop, feast, watch a movie facing the beach and absorb beachside lifestyle, consider an outing to The Beach at JBR. The family-friendly spot is easily reachable from anywhere in Dubai. There is plenty to do here – from a wide range of beachside dining and shopping to watersports such as parasailing and wakeboarding. Plus, there’s a 600m running track, outdoor gym and beach volleyball court if you’re keen to sweat it out. Or workout at an outdoor yoga class to kick start your day the way you like. There are also banana boat rides and even a train for kids to enjoy.

5. Do not miss Desert Safari

Within 20 minutes from Downtown Dubai, you can encounter the wonders of the Arabian Desert, the first holiday spot of Dubai. Take a Dubai-style desert safari and explore the huge expanse of the golden dunes by tumbling in the deep ditches and mounting high on the summit of the dunes. Enjoy quad biking and sandboarding followed by traditional dining under the sky, sipping traditional Arabic coffee, smoking a flavoured Shisha and camel rides. Or you can even simply drive out and experience the miracle of the desert on a 4×4 SUV.

6. Enjoy Family Outing at IMG Worlds of Adventure

Fun, fervour, speed and even 5D, you can expect this in the huge amusement park, which is the size of 28 football pitches. With the most cutting-edge and energizing rides, IMG Worlds of Adventure will breathe life into your lazy bones. There are themed rides for all ages. With Ben 10, Gumball, the Powerpuff Girls and LazyTown, you’re sure to have a gala time out there with your friends and family. Curious visitors can dive into the universe of Marvel legends: Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and The Avengers. Do not forget to greet the life-size enlivened dinosaurs in the Lost Valley. Take a rest at a cafe or go shopping. The scope of enjoyment guarantees nonstop excitement for the entire family.

7. Revel at the Largest Mall – The Dubai Mall

If you’ve seen enough of Dubai attractions, which is doubtful, you can head to Dubai Mall – one of the pioneering shopping centres with the latest collections and new experiences. For lovers of high fashion, food and fiesta, over 1,200 stores and 70 signature outlets will beckon for your attention. The Dubai Mall is also the ultimate family entertainment destination. Find yourself in front of the largest aquarium in the world and absorb the most mysterious marine life with over 150 varieties of aquatic species. Witness a few more as you cross the 48-meter long walk-through tunnel. Got nerves? Be a little adventurous and opt for cage snorkelling and shark diving activities. Indeed, it’s a life-long memorable experience. Other activities that may lure travellers include the Olympic-sized Dubai Ice Rink, children’s ‘edutainment’ concept Kidzania and a colossal indoor cinema complex.

8. Test your Skills at Ski Dubai

Dubai broke all the records with the opening of the region’s largest indoor ski resort in one of the world’s biggest malls – The Mall of the Emirates. Ski Dubai has five slopes with varying difficulties and inclines for skiers, from beginners to professionals. It’s also home to the world’s first indoor black diamond run for those who dare to take their skill to the next level. With attractions such as giant zorbing ball, ice cave, Mountain Thriller ride and more, the one-of-a-kind winter wonderland gives you access to polar activities like no other. The latest introduction of Gentoo and King Penguins adds an extra element of fun to your visit to Ski Dubai. With professional guides, learn to ski and hit the main slopes in no time!

9. Enjoy Bird’s Eye View of Dubai from a Helicopter

With a skyline as spellbinding as that of Dubai, who can resist a helicopter tour where you get to see one of the best manmade marvels of the world from a different view. Nothing is more engrossing than a helicopter tour ride above and around the city. You don’t need an entire day, just a 30-minute circuit will do, where the aerial tour will take you around the city. Soar above the Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al-Arab and other top sights. Hover around the Burj Khalifa; glide over The World, the man-made archipelago in the Persian Gulf shaped like a map; and snap photos as your pilot points out the main landmarks.

10. Go Shop Hopping

If you have covered all the tourist places in Dubai, it’s time to uncover the shopping centres in the biggest and largest markets, souks and malls in Dubai. The Dubai Mall, a tourist’s favourite is certainly a delight with international big brands like Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Chanel, Burberry and more. All you’d want to do is to shop as soon as you enter the gates to the shopper’s heaven. This city has a wide range of shopping destinations and while the rich people’s playground is malls such as Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates, the travellers and common people can linger longer at the Dubai Outlet Mall, Meena Bazaar Dubai and Dubai Gold Souk. For an alternative shopping experience, you can visit The Dubai Flea Market or the Mercato Mall in Jumeirah as it offers sight and ambience from the European Renaissance-era of France, Italy and Spain.

Dubai is like nowhere else on the planet and is a captivating place to visit. Often claimed to be the world’s fastest-growing city, from a small Gulf trading hub to one of the world’s most dazzling, spectacular and revolutionary urban destinations, Dubai is a paradise for every visitor. Visit Dubai for a week or just a short stopover, and you’ll be blown away by the clash of cultures, extreme luxury and world-famous architecture.

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