Insider tips: Explore Dubai like a local
Megan & Aram is a travel blog that focuses mostly on travel in the Nordics and Eastern Europe with the occasional trip beyond those regions. We love coffee, promoting small businesses, and sports.
What should I do on my first trip to Dubai?
Head up the tallest building in the world, the 2,722-foot-high Burj Khalifa. You can visit the observation deck on the 124th floor for incredible views over the city, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Desert. You’ll also learn more about how the structure was built and the history of Dubai. Next to the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall, don’t miss the daily fountain show, one of the most popular things to do in Dubai. Designed by the creators of the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas, this incredible show shoots jets of water 500 feet in the air.
What are some hidden gems to see in Dubai?
Despite being filled with ultra-modern buildings, Dubai has an old side too. Head to Al Bastakiya Historic Neighborhood to wander around alleys built in the 1800s. Check out the Coffee Museum, explore coffee roasting and brewing methods worldwide, see antique coffee makers, and taste some of the best coffee in town.
How much time should I spend in Dubai?
To see Dubai's most impressive sights, enjoy the beach, experience its brilliant nightlife and restaurants, and take a day trip into the desert or to Abu Dhabi, you'll need at least five days in the city.
What food is Dubai known for?
Dubai has no shortage of mouthwatering dining options. The city's population is pretty diverse, and this reflects in the food choices, with tons of international flavors. Many popular dishes are variations of dishes eaten all over the Middle East, so you might be familiar with some. Some well-loved foods include shawarma (a spiced meat sandwich served in a flatbread with pickles and garlic sauce), machboos (a meat dish served with rice and onions), stuffed vegetables. You can even try camel.
What is the best way to get around Dubai?
Dubai’s metro system is fast and reliable and, with 47 stations, you can usually find one close to where you want to go. Some areas are better served by road, and taxis are common in the city too. They’re more expensive than the metro, but reasonable. Some areas of Dubai are pedestrian-friendly, but walking outside can get very uncomfortable in hot weather. If some attractions are close together, you can take transport to that area and then just walk between them.
What are the best months to visit Dubai?
The best time to visit Dubai is between November and March. The comfortable temperatures (70-90 F or 21-30 C) are perfect for the beach. This is also peak visitor season, as people flock to Dubai to escape the cold winter of the northern climates. In summer, temperatures can be sweltering with high humidity, so it’s best avoided if you want to get outdoors. If you visit during Ramadan, some places and attractions may be closed.
What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Dubai?
To see the glitz and glam Dubai is known for, head to Downtown Dubai, where you’ll find iconic landmarks like Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Fountain, the Dubai Mall, and a pocket of green space in Burj Park. If you want to enjoy luxurious shopping, hip cafes, and a chic beach vibe, head to Jumeirah, which has several public beaches. To see the older side of the city, head to Bur Dubai, one of the oldest neighborhoods, where you’ll find the Dubai Museum, traditional restaurants, and souks (markets).
What are the best neighborhoods for food?
The Dubai Marina has a huge variety of food options, from fine dining to bistros. It also has great waterfront views. For some of the best street food and inexpensive dishes, head to Bur Dubai. If you love Indian cuisine especially, don’t miss out on all the options in Bur Dubai.
What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?
Dubai has no shortage of shopping, especially as it’s home to the Dubai Mall, one of the biggest in the world. Home to hundreds of stores, tons of restaurants, an ice skating rink, a movie theater, and an aquarium, you can easily spend a day here and still not see it all. For a more market-like experience, head to the Spice Souk and Gold Souk. Awaken your senses as you walk through the bazaars filled with aromatic spices and dazzling jewelry.
What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Dubai?
If it’s your first time and you want to be in the heart of the city, stay in Downtown Dubai, where you’ll be close to shopping malls, restaurants, and nightlife. If you prefer a more beachy vacation, stay on the incredible man-made island Palm Jumeirah, home to several luxury resorts and and incredible waterpark.
What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Dubai?
If you are traveling with kids, Dubai has many family-friendly activities. Check out one of the three waterparks in the city for a day of fun splashing around. Another activity that kids love is sandboarding, which you can try on a desert safari. Head out to the desert on a tour and fly down the dunes on an exhilarating sandboard ride. It’s something your kids will remember long after the trip is over.
What is the best thing to do in Dubai for couples?
While in Dubai, don’t miss out on taking a trek into the desert with your partner. There are different tours, including going out in a 4x4, sandboarding, camel riding, overnight camping, or having a traditional dinner in the desert. Most tours and desert safaris combine a few of these activities into a half- or full-day trip from Dubai. If you want to stay in the city, book a sunset swimming slot at Aura Skypool, a 360-degree infinity pool with unbeatable views of the Dubai skyline and ocean. Enjoy drinks and snacks as you enjoy the incredible views.
What are the best annual events in Dubai?
In February, the Dubai International Jazz Festival rolls into town, where you can see concerts from a variety of international artists. In March, don’t miss the Taste of Dubai food festival, where top international and celebrity chefs cook, and you can sample the most popular local restaurants’ dishes at a fraction of the price it usually costs. In December, Dubai celebrates UAE’s National Day with festivals, cultural events, and a spectacular fireworks display.
What are the best beaches around Dubai?
JBR Beach is Dubai’s largest beach, with calm waters great for swimming and plenty of space to spread out on the white sand. There are bathroom facilities and shops and restaurants nearby. Black Palace Beach is more secluded and much less crowded, making for a relaxing and peaceful day, but no facilities are nearby. Sunset Beach is perfect for watching the sunset, as its name suggests. It has playgrounds and BBQ areas nearby, making it a perfect place to spend an evening.