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Best things to do in Dubai

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Where in the world: Asia  /  United Arab Emirates  /  Emirate of Dubai  /  Dubai
You'll find plenty of exciting things to do in Dubai, a monument to human ingenuity built on desert sands. Head downtown at night to check out the shining lights of Dubai Fountains, one of the world's largest choreographed water features, located on a man-made lake. Climb up the nearby Burj Khalifa to enjoy the skyscraper's observation deck and restaurant. Visitors wanting even more dining and shopping options can head to Dubai Marina Walk, an area filled with restaurants with waterfront views.

Dubai is best known for its Observation Decks, Fountains, and Shopping Malls.

Top 15 things to do in Dubai

1. Burj Khalifa

Marvel at Burj Khalifa, the 829.8 m (2,722 ft) high futuristic centerpiece of the modern downtown area. Upon construction in 2010, the mega skyscraper ranked as the world's tallest manmade structure. Designed by architect Adrian Smith, it incorporates patterns from Islamic art and architecture, with its tapering tiers reminiscent of traditional spiral minarets. Enjoy the view from the outdoor observation deck on the 124th floor: at 452 m (1,483 ft) above the city, you'll gain a true bird's-eye perspective on the developing metropolis below. Afterwards, stroll around the palm-lined pathways of the 11 hectare (27 acre) landscaped park, featuring flowering trees, gardens, benches, and water features. Don't miss the massive fountains at entrance to the building.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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2. The Dubai Mall

Enjoy the fruits of a famous shopping area at The Dubai Mall, a large retail and entertainment center. Opened in 2009, the complex contains more than 1,200 shops, with brands, chains, and boutiques from all around the world, across a floorspace equivalent to more than 50 football fields. Wander the streets of the modern gold souk area, designed to have the shimmering look and atmosphere of a traditional Middle Eastern market. If shopping isn't for you, then there's always the ice rink, indoor theme park, and aquarium to explore during your visit.
Suggested duration: 4h 30 min
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3. Wild Wadi Waterpark

Enjoy the rides and diversions at Wild Wadi Waterpark, one of Dubai's top outdoor attractions. Experience the bumps, twists, and turns of the multiple water slides, and head to the wave pool for an exhilarating dip in the temperature-controlled waters. Try out your board skills in the surf pool, and cool off under the 18 m (59 ft) waterfall as it cascades down into the splash pool. Take a break at one of the three onsite restaurants and grab a souvenir of your trip at the gift shop.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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4. Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark

Enjoy some excitement and relaxation at Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark. This sprawling beachfront theme park includes two enormous Ancient Greece-themed towers packed with water rides, 700 m (2,297 ft) of private beach, and numerous areas where you get to swim with marine animals. Adventure along the record-breaking water slide, taking in views of the coast as it winds and loops high above the ground. If you're worked up an appetite, head to one of the park's 15 restaurants, serving fresh, high-quality food from across the globe.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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5. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi

Strap yourself in and feel the Gs at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, an indoor theme park sprawling across 86,000 sq m (925,696 sq ft). Upon opening in 2010, it was the largest of its kind in the world. The park references the world of motor sports and its Italian heritage everywhere you look, with themed rides, driving experiences, and Italian dining. Dare yourself to get on the lightning-fast roller coaster, and fulfill your lifetime ambition to be behind the wheel of a Ferrari. A host of interactive shows, gentle rides, and go-karting challenges give the little ones more than enough to keep them going.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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6. Dubai Museum & Al Fahidi Fort

See another side of Dubai at Dubai Museum & Al Fahidi Fort, detailing the history of the city and its people. Located within the grounds of a former fort--built in 1787, it is the oldest existing building in Dubai--the museum tells the story of trade and development in the city before the discovery of oil. Explore the main galleries for interesting exhibits and artifacts showing the local way of life, with particular focus on the 1800s and the independent traders and seafarers that lived in the port city at the time. Enjoy walking around the life-size replicas of family homes, a model mosque, and a recreated street market.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. Nature & Wildlife Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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9. Waterskiing & Jetskiing

Suggested duration: 1 hour
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10. Off-Road Tours

Suggested duration: 4 hours
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11. Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

Discover the richness and diversity of the planet's marine life at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. Situated within an enormous shopping center, the aquarium features one of the world's largest aquarium viewing panels, with over 33,000 creatures swimming, floating, and diving beneath it. Plunge into the waters yourself to view sharks from a safe cage, and pay a visit to the enormous crocodiles, individually weighing as much as 14 and a half men. See the replica of the giant squid, one of the planet's most mysterious creatures, in the state of the art cephalopod area.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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12. Food Tours

Suggested duration: 3 hours
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13. Dubai Creek

Stroll along Dubai Creek, a natural feature around which much of the city has sprung up. Follow the boardwalk to admire sights of some of the city's most iconic buildings, or take a ride across to the other side for a new perspective on the stretch of water and the developments that line its banks. Hop on a water taxi to access the more traditional side of Dubai on the opposite bank, featuring may popular souks (open-air markets) and other cultural attractions--you'll see how the creek that once divided the city now, in many ways, brings it together.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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14. Jumeirah Mosque

Visit Jumeirah Mosque, a place of worship and cultural center that places particular emphasis on introducing Islam to non-Muslim guests. Built in the late 1970s, the mosque represents a traditional Fatimid style of architecture, with tall twin minarets on either side of a large central dome. Join a guided tour to see the mosque's attractive interior and learn about the traditions and history of Islam in the country and across the region. As opposed to many places of worship in the city, photography is allowed here, so make sure to bring your camera.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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15. Safaris, Abu Dhabi

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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