BurjKhalifaisDubai's landmark building, which at 829.8 m is the tallest building in the world. For most visitors a trip to the observation deck on the 124th floor here is a must-do while in the city. Back on the ground, wrapping around the BurjKhalifa, are the building's beautifully designed gardens with winding walkways. There are plenty of water features including the Dubai Fountain, the world's tallest performing fountain, modelled on Las Vegas' famous Fountains of Bellagio.
Dubai Museumhoused in the Al-Fahidi Fort, built in 1787 to defend Dubai Creek. The fort's walls are built out of traditional coral-blocks and held together with lime. In its history, the fort has served as residence for the ruling family, seat of government, garrison and prison. Restored in 1971 (and again extensively in 1995) it is now the city's premier museum. The entrance has a fascinating exhibition of old maps of the Emirates and Dubai, showing the mammoth expansion that hit the region after the oil boom.The courtyard is home to several traditional boats and a palm-leaf house with an Emirati wind-tower. The right-hand hall features weaponry and the left-hand hall showcase Emirati musical instruments. Below the ground floor are display halls with exhibits and dioramas covering various aspects of traditional Emirati lifestyle (including pearl fishing and Bedouin desert life) as well as artifacts from the 3,000-4,000 year old graves at Al Qusais archaeological site.
Bastakia (Old Dubai)The Bastakia Quarter was built in the late 19th century to be the home of wealthy Persian merchants who dealt mainly in pearls and textiles.Bastakia occupies the eastern portion of Bur Dubai along the creek and the coral and limestone buildings here, many with walls topped with wind-towers, have been excellently preserved. Inside the district you'll find the Majlis Gallery with its collection of traditional Arab ceramics and furniture (housed in a wind-tower) and the XVA Gallery with a contemporary art collection (located in one of the historic buildings).
Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum was the Ruler of Dubai from 1921 to 1958 and grandfather to the current ruler. His former residence has been rebuilt and restored as a museum that is a fine example of Arabian architecture. Thirty rooms are built around a central courtyard with wind-tower details on top.Inside are the exhibits of the Dubai Museum of Historical Photographs and Documents with many wonderful old photographs of Dubai from the period between 1948 and 1953. Nearby is the Sheikh Obaid bin Thani House, restored with displays of traditional interiors.
Dubai Creekseparates the city into two towns with Deira to the north and Bur Dubai to the south. The creek has been an influential element in the city's growth, first attracting settlers here to fish and pearl dive. You can visit here, watching cargo being loaded and unloaded on and off the dhows. This tiny remnant of Dubai's traditional economy is still a bustling and fascinating place to wander around.
Jumeirah Mosqueis considered by many to be the most beautiful of Dubai's mosques. An exact copy of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque that is eight times its size, the Jumeirah Mosque is a fine example of Islamic architecture. It is particularly attractive in the evening when lit with floodlights. The Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understandingorganizes guided tours of the mosque designed to try to foster a better understanding of the Muslim faith.
Deira Souksis located on the northern bank of Dubai Creek. On the shore, ancient dhows load and unload with modern banks, hotels and office buildings for a backdrop. For travelers Deira is most famous for its traditional souks (markets), which bustle with shoppers at all times of the day. Deira Gold Souq is world-renowned as the largest gold bazaar in the world and the reason that Dubai has received the name "City of Gold". Jewellery of all kinds is available in a variety of designs from traditional to modern and plenty of options to customise your own design.The Deira Spice Souq sells every imaginable spice with stalls overflowing with bags of frankincense, cumin, paprika, saffron, sumac and thyme as well as the fragrant oud wood, rose water and incense.
The Dubai Mall is simply huge, with something for everyone inside. The shopping and eating are almost a side attraction. With a 22-screen cinema; an indoor theme park, called Sega World; a world for children, called Kidzania; a giant Aquarium with an underwater zoo; and a full-sized ice rink you, will want for little. The topping on this treat is the Dubai Fountain, which has shows every evening starting at 6 p.m. that easily rival anything that the Bellagio in Las Vegas has to offer.
Mall of the Emirates is one of the city's most famous malls with the spectacular (and surreal) Ski Dubai facility inside. The indoor ski slope is complete with chairlifts and a penguin enclosure, all at a continuous temperature of -4 degrees Celsius. There's also a cinema complex and a family entertainment center. The shopping opportunities are boundless as are the eating options, offering every conceivable world cuisine.
Sheikh Zayed Roadis the main thoroughfare running through Dubai's modern downtown business district. This wide, eight-lane highway is rimmed with towering glass, chrome and steel high-rises along its length. The Courtyard Gallery (6A Street) has an excellent permanent collection focused on contemporary art from Arab artists. Dubai World Trade Tower (Sheikh Zayed Road) has an observation deck on its top floor that offers visitors panoramic views.The complex's museum presents the history of Arabic jewelry production and also offers short tours of the manufacturing plant.
The Bastakia Mosque may not be the largest or most glitzy mosque in the United Arab Emirates but it has to be one of the most photogenic. This lovely little mosque has exquisite latticework detailing made more beautiful by the blindingly white facade. Nearby you can see the last remnants of Dubai's city walls, built in the mid-19th century from gypsum and coral.
Heritage and Diving Village showcases Dubai's architectural, cultural and maritime heritage, with displays related to pearl diving and dhow building - two of old Dubai's historic economic mainstays. There are also recreations of traditional Bedouin and coastal village life, with Persian homes, a traditional coffeehouse and a small souk where potters and weavers practice their handicrafts at the stalls. Local music and dance are performed from October to April and visitors can get advice from practitioners of traditional medicine.
Dubai Aquarium houses 140 species of sea life in the huge suspended tank on the ground floor of the Dubai Mall. As well as free viewing from the mall, if you enter the Underwater Zoo you can walk through the aquarium tunnels.There are a myriad of activities where you can get a closer look at the sea life. Glass bottom boat tours (on top of the tank) are particularly popular. Cage snorkeling and shark diving activities are also on offer.
Burj al-Arab is the world's tallest hotel (The world’s only seven-star hotel), standing 321 m high, located on its own artificial island on the Dubai coastline. Designed to resemble a billowing dhow sail, the exterior of the Burj Al-Arab is lit up by a choreographed coloured lighting show at night. Decadent in every way possible, it is one of the most expensive hotels in the world with the most luxurious suites costing over $15,000 for one night. For those without unlimited credit, the way to experience the over-the-top opulence is to go for dinner at the underwater Al-Mahara restaurant where floor-to-ceiling glass panels in the dining room walls allow you to view sea life while you eat.
Jumeirah BeachThis strip of sandy white bliss is the number one beach destination for Dubai visitors. The beach has excellent facilities with plenty of sun loungers, restaurants and water-sport operators offering jet skiing.
Mushrif Parkis a natural ghaf forest with many trees, bushes and flowers. The park covers 124 ha with many features including swimming pools, fountain and lakes, children's play areas, as well as train, camel and pony rides. A population of Bruce's Scops owls nest in the park as well as a number of other species including Orphean warblers, eastern black redstarts, yellow-throated sparrows and Hoopoe. It's a great place to escape the city bustle.
Mamzar Park, this large park offers a sheltered beach area, lagoon and children's play areas. There are four beaches with lifeguards, two pools, and chalets for rent and barbeque sites as well as picnic areas. It's an excellent alternative to some of Dubai's busier beaches.