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Plan Your Trip to Dubai: Best of Dubai Tourism

About Dubai
Everything feels extra spectacular in Dubai—from the ultra-modern Burj Khalifa to the souks and malls filled with gold and jewelry vendors. It’s a place where if you can dream it, you can do it: Whether that means skiing indoors, dune-surfing in the desert, or zip-lining above the city. But it’s not all glitz and adrenaline-pumping action. Stroll through the winding alleys of Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood to see what Dubai was like during the mid-19th century. Or visit the Jumeirah Mosque (one of the few mosques open to non-Muslims) and learn about Emirati culture. Spot some street art on Jumeirah Beach Road and grab a bite at a shawarma shop, or spend the day hunting for spices and perfume then round things out with a Michelin-starred meal. You can really do it all and we’ve got more recs, below.

Travel Advice

Watch The Wanderer

Follow Cam Mackintosh in the guise of The Wanderer, as he dives into the fascinating emirate of Abu Dhabi. Explore each step of his travel guide among deserts' hidden gems. Follow along on his epic journey.

Essential Dubai

How to do Dubai in 3 days

From the biggest skyscrapers to the best hidden-away restaurants
Read on

My favorite spots for drinks with a view

I’ve learned one crucial thing while living in Dubai for fifteen years—everything constantly changes. Leave the city to travel for a few weeks, and you’ll likely return to a plush new 5-star hotel or a swanky Michelin-starred restaurant. The upside is that if you love a perfectly made sundowner with a gorgeous view, there’s always somewhere new and fabulous to discover. Here are my seven (current) cocktail spots in the Venice of the Gulf.
Emma K P, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • SUSHISAMBA
    318
    This lavish bar restaurant on the 51st floor of the Palm Tower is a must-visit for its creative Japanese-Peruvian-Brazilian fusion offerings and the expansive views across the famous Palm Jumeirah (especially if you book the gorgeous private Sambaroom). Cocktails here are truly works of art, and I often catch myself yearning for the Samba Melon Sour paired with a plate of the marinated Chilean sea bass.
  • ZETA Seventy Seven
    148
    Just when you think you’ve taken in all the best views in Dubai you’ll discover another one. This adults-only infinity poolside bar on the top of the Address Beach Resort is 77 floors up. It has dazzling views along the Dubai coastline and across Bluewaters Island with its Instagrammable Ain Dubai observation wheel. There’s a sophisticated and exclusive vibe here, not to mention a robust menu of signature cocktails such as ‘Venus’ with its blend of passion fruit, lemongrass, and citrus liqueurs. It pairs wonderfully well with the lobster rolls.
  • Mott 32 Dubai
    39
    Bar hop (elevator hop?) to another location inside the Address Beach Resort to double your fun. Head to the 73rd floor for a slightly hidden gem that will whisk you east to China. Mott 32 boasts gorgeous views over Bluewaters Island that are similar to Zeta 77, but the atmosphere here is a little darker and more mysterious, as are the cocktails. Don’t miss the Hong Kong Iced Tea, made from tequila, Cassis de Crème, Blanc Lillet, basil seeds, and jasmine tea. If hunger strikes, check out the exquisite Peking Duck, smoked with apple wood.
  • Folly
    386
    Few places are better suited for a first date than folly in Souk Madinat. Overlooking the pretty waterways with the sail silhouette of the Burj Al Arab hotel as a backdrop, this is where those in the know go to get to know one another. The excellent cocktail list here boasts novel creations like Candy Cloud – a mix of fruity flavors with Zacapa 23 rum and Veuve Clicquot Rose. For nibbles, try the seafood arancini with marmite emulsion.
  • Luma Pool Lounge
    8
    One of my favorite spots to catch a sunset in “old” Dubai is Luma at Address Grand Creek Harbour. With artsy décor and a laid-back ambiance, their classic cocktails are made with love – especially the martinis – but the red wine sangria is also a spicy treat while you watch the boats cruise idly by. If your stomach is grumbling, opt for a mix of starter plates (the Arabic lamb hummus is yum).
  • The Tap House, Downtown
    1,391
    Several bars have terrific views of the famous Burj Khalifa Tower, but Tap House in Souk Al Bahar is the best for my money. Not only does it have a Burj view on steroids, but the cocktails are ambitious. My tastebuds bow down to the Lusty Martini made with blue pea vodka, elderflower syrup, lime juice, ginger, and egg white – ideally paired with the pulled beef brisket on a bun.
  • The Penthouse at Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai
    1,477
    This chic rooftop venue on the 16th floor of FIVE Palm Jumeirah boasts spectacular views of the Dubai Marina skyline on one side and Downtown Dubai on the other. A popular nighttime party spot with the fashion set, this is where you have to treat your senses to the Desert Rose cocktail – a heady mix of rose-infused vodka, rose liqueur, and citrus. Meanwhile, the extensive Japanese food menu will keep you full. Make sure to try the wagyu beef sliders.

Explore Dubai by interest

Hit the mall or market

Standout spots for one-of-a-kind finds

Grab a drink

Cocktail lounges and beach clubs worth a stop

Make a day of it

Easy trips that take you beyond the city

Take it outside

Action-packed outdoor experiences 

For the architecture buff

Historic sites, modern skyscrapers, and more 
Dubai Travel Guide

Travelers' pro tips for experiencing Dubai

AlanF
Dubai's most popular restaurants are usually booked up quite far in advance. If you are only visiting for a short period, it’s advisable to book them as soon as you arrive in Dubai.
uaomo
There is no eating in public during the Ramadan months until evening time. So if you must eat, do it in your hotel room!
James F
Be polite to service staff in restaurants and take interest in the people who serve you. They are tuned in and can also offer great advice about a myriad of subjects in Dubai.

In the words of those who've been there before ...

sellsMiltonKeynes
Dubai is an amazing experience. You will never be bored. It has everything, desert dune buggy trips, ballooning, parachuting, cruises, art and culture, even skiing.
HonestTravellers
Dubai is simply a City of Wonders that is in continuous expansion and development.
Chakraberty
This city will never fail to entertain… and entertain all kinds of visitors — the thrill seeker, the shopaholic, the foodie, the beach lover, and the nature lover!

What is the best way to get there?

Flying:

Dubai is served by two international airports: Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport.

Do I need a visa?

Visit Dubai’s Department of Tourism website to determine visa eligibility and criteria.

When is the best time to visit?

Winter (November to March): Dubai has a hot desert climate with two distinct seasons. The winter months have the most pleasant weather, ideal for outdoor activities. The average daytime high is around 27°C with lows of around 17°C.

Bicycle

Careem BIKE offers pedal-assist bike hire through its bike-share app.

Train

The Dubai Metro, run by the RTA, operates 2 lines — red and green — which run from about 5:00 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays, the service operates later — the red operates from about 2 p.m. to 1 a.m. and the green line operates from about 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.

For more information about the network and fares, see here.

Bus

Dubai’s public bus service, run by the RTA, operates local buses on more than 120 routes.

For more information about the network and fares, see here.

Taxis

Dubai Taxi Corporation operates government-licensed taxis 24 hours a day and can be hailed in the street, picked up at taxi stand or booked by phone. They are recognizable by their red roof.

For more information, to book a taxi or calculate a fare, see here.

Tram

The Dubai Tram makes 11 stops with trams running from about 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday to Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday.

For more information about the network and fares, see here.

Boat

Abras are motorised traditional wooden boats linking Bur Dubai and Deira across the Dubai Creek via two routes.

For more information about the routes and fares, see here.

Ferry

The Dubai Ferry operates 5 major routes on a limited schedule.

For more information about the routes and fares, see here.

Ridesharing

Uber and Careem are available in Dubai on your smartphone.

On the ground
What is the timezone?
Gulf Standard Time
What are the voltage/plug types?
The standard voltage within the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is 230V and the standard frequency is 50Hz. Wall outlets accommodate plugs with three rectangular pins in a triangular pattern.
What is the currency?
United Arab Emirates Dirham.
Are ATMs readily accessible?
Yes.
Are credit cards widely accepted?
Yes.
Is it easy to find a bank?
Yes.
How much do I tip?
Tipping in Dubai isn’t compulsory but is customary and appreciated. Here is a rough guide:
Restaurants
10-15%
Taxis
AED5-10
Bellboys and valets
AED5-10
Spa and beauty therapist
10-15%

For more information about tipping, see here.

Are there local customs I should know?

Drinking
The legal drinking age for Dubai is 21 years old but buying and consuming alcohol is only legal at licensed bars and clubs at major hotels -- and only for hotel guests and non-Muslim residents with government-issued liquor licenses. It is illegal for non-Muslims to sell or offer alcohol to Muslims. Public drunkenness -- no matter where the drinking occurs -- is also considered a very serious offense. Travelers should refer to the travel advice issued by their government before visiting the UAE.
Clothing
The UAE is a mostly Muslim country with strict standards of dress and behaviour. Dress modestly and ensure your shoulders and knees are covered. It is also recommended to research dress codes for tourist attractions, shopping malls, beaches and other public places -- which can often be found on their official websites.
Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan is a time of fasting, prayer, reflection for Muslims, so it is important to respect the religious and cultural customs at this time. During Ramadan, it's illegal to eat, drink or smoke in public between sunrise and sunset. The dates of Ramadan change each year, as it is celebrated in the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, which is slightly different to the regular Gregorian calendar.
Public displays of affection
You can be arrested for intimate public displays of affection, including hugging and kissing.
Sharing hotel rooms
It is against the law for people of the opposite sex to live together, or to share the same hotel room, if they aren't married or closely related. De facto relationships and civil unions also aren't recognised in the UAE. This law is often relaxed for tourists, however, you may be asked to prove you're legally married when checking into a hotel as a couple. Travelers should do research, contact their hotel and check their government’s travel advice before visiting the UAE.
Photography
It is illegal to photograph people without their consent, airports and other transport infrastructure, government buildings, some beaches, and palaces. Travelers should do their own research and be aware of signs which indicate where photography is prohibited.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dubai

We recommend staying at one of the most popular hotels in Dubai, which include:


Dubai is known for some of its popular attractions, which include:


If you're a more budget-conscious traveler, then you may want to consider traveling to Dubai between March and May, when hotel prices are generally the lowest. Peak hotel prices generally start between December and February.