Dubai Sights & Attractions
What to See and Do in Dubai
CITY LIFEDeira and Bur Dubai are as close as you get to old historic districts. They're also the best pedestrian areas, with souks, water taxis crossing the Creek, and ethnic eateries.
The beachfront district of Jumeirah is the most pleasant area of the city, with cafes, boutiques and villas. It's also the most cosmopolitan for those who can afford it.
Naturally, one of the world's largest man-made marinas had to be in Dubai and it has to be surrounded by towers. The most interesting is the twisting Infinity Tower, and Marina Walk which runs the entire length of the marina is where you can admire all the surrounding architecture in the company of joggers and cyclists.
THE LANDMARKSBurj Khalifa was completed in 2010 as the world's tallest tower. A dozen of its floors are the Armani Hotel while an elevator takes you to an observation deck on the 124th floor in just 60 seconds.
Before Burj Khalifa there were the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, the tallest buildings in the city for nine years. One a hotel and the other an office building, together they remain one of Dubai's beloved landmarks.
The most iconic of all, however, its the Burj Al Arab which did everything to become the most eye-popping hotel on the planet. A close second is the Atlantis The Palm, standing on the famous man-made palm-shaped island.
The only thing in town that can be described as "old" is the Dubai Museum where visitors can get a sense of the fishing village that Dubai used to be before the oil. Not very far is The Heritage Village, the other remaining pocket of the original city. It's a "living museum" focusing on Dubai's maritime past, providing insight into local life and often with the presence of craftspeople.
Closer to the beaches is the Jumeirah Mosque, not old but following a classic mosque architectural style. It's open even to non-Muslim visitors, having become a popular attraction.
MODERN ARTDubai wants to become the contemporary art capital of the Gulf, and for that check out the galleries at the industrial district of Al Quoz where former warehouses are now mostly dedicated to art by international and regional artists.
BEACHESThe beach is one of the city's top attractions for most tourists. Although private developments have taken over much of the sand, there are still plenty of public beaches. Sunset Beach near the Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach by the Dubai Marina are all public areas. Just remember to cover up when you leave the sand, as wearing a bikini outside the beachfront can get you into trouble.
TOURS & DAYTRIPSFrom Dubai you can escape to the desert or the sea, but most visitors choose another emirate -- Abu Dhabi. It's an easy 90-minute ride down a modern highway, but you'll need to rent a car.
You may also choose to go on an organized tour which takes you all over the city and beyond.