The crown jewel of the Middle East; Dubai is a wondrous city full of sights and sounds. Where better to go sightseeing? Between the tallest building in the world, artificial islands and amazing shopping destinations, there is plenty to take in. That’s why we at Brunchy have compiled this guide for sightseeing in Dubai.
The Burj Khalifa is unmistakable on Dubai’s skyline–it is the tallest building in the world at an astonishing 828 meters excluding its antenna. Designed by the same firm behind the Sears (Willis) Tower and One World Trade Center, the Burj Khalifa’s architecture was inspired by local Islamic building aesthetics. A surrounding 27 acre park is irrigated by water collected from the skyscraper’s air conditioning systems.
Not only does Dubai boast the tallest building in the world, it also has the most visited mall in the world. The Dubai Mall received more than 80 million visitors in 2014. With more than 1,200 retail stores in the mall, there is definitely something for everyone. Attractions inside the mall include the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, the Dubai Ice Rink, SEGA Republic, and Rainforest Cafe.
Dubai Museum in Fort Al Fahidi
The Dubai Museum doesn’t look very grand from its exterior–it’s housed in and below two hundred year old Fort Fahidi–but it is a gateway to Dubai’s past. Built in 1787, Fort Fahidi originally housed and protected Dubai’s monarch but has been re-purposed several times over its long history. The fort was converted into a museum in 1971 and gives a startling juxtaposition between modern Dubai and old Dubai.
Bastakia District (Old Dubai)
Old Dubai (known as the Bastakia or Bastakiya Quarter) is the closest you can get to ancient Dubai besides the Dubai Museum. Step away from the glass and steel and concrete of modern Dubai and fall back in time. A heritage site, the district features restored Emirati buildings. Many are open to the public and there are plenty of shops and eateries for tourists meandering around the quarter’s narrow streets.
Dubai Creek naturally splits Dubai in two–Bur Dubai and Deira. Naturally occurring and saltwater, the creek helped make Dubai what it is today. A natural harbor for ships, Dubai Creek made Dubai a key port early in its history. Walk along its promenade, take a boat across, or just relax and enjoy the nightlife that emerges at dark.
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
Located inside the Dubai Mall, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo features a 10 million liter aquarium tank, making it one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world. With a 48 meter walk-through tunnel, cage snorkeling experience, shark dives, glass-bottom boat rides and over 140 species of fish, sharks and rays, the aquarium is definitely worth a look.
Rated the most luxurious hotel in the world numerous times, the Burj Al Arab Hotel is also an architectural marvel jutting out into the Persian Gulf. Shaped like a giant sail, the hotel is a symbol of modern Dubai. Even if you’re not lucky enough to stay at the hotel, the uniqueness of the building makes it worth looking at.
Alserkal Art District
Who said Dubai isn’t on the cutting edge of contemporary art? The Alserkal Art District (Al Quoz) is full of modern art galleries and performances. Merging food, music and art, Alserkal is the place to be. Some galleries of note in Alserkal include the Syrian-owned Ayyam Gallery, The Third Line, and the Green Gallery. These galleries showcase contemporary art from top artists in Syria, Turkey, Dubai and the Middle East.
After taking in the city of Dubai, its architecture, history, shopping and fine dining, you may want to take a break and enjoy the Persian Gulf. The pristine Kite Beach is where you will want to go for beach activities and water sports in Dubai. Swimming, kite surfing, kite flying, beach volleyball and sunbathing are just some of the things to do at Kite Beach.
Made up of 30 pavilions representing more than 70 countries, Dubai’s Global Village is more than just a theme park. Live shows, rides, concerts, cuisine and shopping make Global Village a one-stop shop for entertainment for the whole family. Open every year from November to April, the village hosts numerous festivals. Make sure to plan your visit.
With its skyscrapers, numerous luxury hotels and vast wealth, Dubai was finding it hard to top itself. What screams opulence more than a man-made archipelago? Palm Island (Jumeirah) was originally planned to the be the first of three artificial island archipelagos off the coast of Dubai but the financial crisis of 2008 has caused the other two planned islands’ construction to be postponed indefinitely. A monorail connects the outer island ring to the mainland.
Billing itself as the world’s most luxurious man-made marina, Dubai Marina was carved out of the desert sand. With around 8 kilometers of public walkways, numerous luxury residences and excellent shopping, the marina is quite an attraction, especially at night when lit up. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the open-air restaurants after an invigorating stroll along the water.