15 BRILLIANT Things to Do in Dubai [2018 Bargain Guide]

One of the most popular places to visit in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has a reputation for glitz, glamour, and lavish luxury. Surrounded by desert, it’s known for being a swanky shopping destination and a place to truly pamper yourself. 

But as a playground for the rich and famous, holidays in Dubai are known for having quite a high price tag, and saving money can be challenging.

But don’t worry! We’re here to help!

Written by our expert travel writers, we compiled a bargain guide to the best things to do in Dubai in 2018. 

This guide is designed to show you a different side of Dubai. We included some top attractions, as well as some more unique things to do so your trip to Dubai can be amazing – no matter your budget!

These are the coolest things to do in Dubai. Period.

Additional reading – the Ultimate List of the Best Hotels in Dubai, and Dubai Neighbourhood Bargain Guide

Things to do in Dubai

Quick Answer – Best Things to Do in Dubai


Fun Things to do in Dubai

In a city that prides itself on having futuristic ambitions that include everything from flying cars to palm-tree shaped islands, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Dubai.

Though everyone’s idea of fun is different, its impossible not to find enjoyment among the sights and attractions of the bustling desert metropolis. From adventurous to inquisitive tastes, there’s a little something for every idea of fun.

Embark on a Red Dunes Safari


  • Adventure
  • Culture
  • Exciting

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Dubai, specifically, adrenaline-fuelled, hair-raising fun, then look no further than the exhilarating Red Dunes Safari where you’ll be treated to an activity-filled afternoon and evening which effortlessly combines the fun of dune exploration and camel riding traditional Bedouin cultural experiences.

The fun starts right away with a thrilling rollercoaster of a ride across the dunes on the outskirts of Dubai before arriving at an authentic Bedouin camp where you’ll have the chance to learn about traditional Arabic culture and enjoy delicious coffee as you immerse yourself into the ways of the Arabians.

Amongst the endless fun things to do like camel riding, sandboarding and trying shisha pipes, you’ll also get to feast on a mouthwatering sunset barbecue consisting of shwarma, kebabs and more.

Visit the Burj Khalifa


  • Views
  • Architecture
  • Iconic Landmarks

No trip to Dubai would be complete without a trip up to the 125th floor of the iconic and positively unforgettable feat of engineering that is the Burj Khalifa skyscraper. As far as fun things to do in Dubai are concerned, ascending the tallest building in the world is high up on the list.

From the gorgeous observation deck balcony, you’ll be treated to views of the city that are quite literally impossible to beat, with panoramic vistas of Downtown Dubai, the Burj Khalifa Lake and the Arabian Gulf. You’ll also have the chance to learn about what it took to build the stupendously tall structure, as well as enjoy one of the famous Dubai Fountain shows from your lofty vantage point.

Go on a Speedboat Tour


  • Water Sports
  • Exciting
  • Outdoors

One of the best things about Dubai is its coastal attractions, from palm tree-shaped islands to waterside skyscrapers, there are endless sights that never cease to amaze visitors and an undeniably fun thing to do is see them from the water.

A speedboat cruise is the perfect way to do so and you can choose to embark on one in either the morning or evening from the beautiful Dubai Marina.

Throughout the journey, you’ll have the chance to marvel at the Burj Al Arab, a spectacular hotel known for its stunning architecture that makes it look like a sail in the wind.

Not only this, you’ll pass by the gorgeous Palm Jumeirah, an artificial island bustling with jaw-dropping villas and spearheaded by the famous Atlantis Hotel.

Romantic Things to do in Dubai

Get ready for some serious romancing as the twinkling city lights and gorgeous desert sunsets set the backdrop for some truly out-of-this-world romantic things to do in Dubai.

With so many amazing sights to see, it’s easy to find something to do that’ll have you both swooning in no time, whether its a peaceful boat ride or a visit to the beautiful desert with the dunes all to yourselves. Here a couple of romantic things to do in Dubai to get you started.

Fountain Show and Lake Ride


  • Boat Ride
  • Romantic
  • Evening Activity

For a romantic experience that’ll take your breath away, why not take your better half on an incredibly beautiful evening out on the water to watch the Dubai Mall Fountain Show at Burj Lake.

If you think fireworks are romantic, wait until you see the majestic jets of water light up and dance in the night sky as you and your loved one cruise the lake. The traditional “abra” water taxis can hold 6 people but you can easily book one to yourselves for some privacy as you croon over the unbelievable spectacle.

Dhow Dinner Cruise


  • Dinner
  • Boat Ride
  • Sightseeing

What’s better than an evening fountain cruise? An evening dinner cruise where you’ll not only get to ogle at the twinkling city skyline, but also enjoy a mouthwatering meal rich in Arabic flavours as well as critically acclaimed international cuisine.

The scene is set aboard a beautifully traditional wooden “Dhow” boat complete with romantic low lighting and soft music, making it a wonderfully romantic thing to do with your other half.

Enjoy the sights of the Dubai Creek which include the Bur Dubai Bazaar, the Sheikh Maktoum House and of course the Royal Palace. Once you’ve taken in the sights, enjoy a mouthwatering meal together before heading back to the departure point from where you can then continue your evening from.

Go on a Sunset Camel Trek


  • Outdoors
  • Camel Rides
  • Views

Perfect for couples who want to get a feel for an authentic Arab tradition in true romantic fashion, a sunset camel trek will see you riding together on the back of a trained camel through the breathtakingly beautiful Arabian desert.

The golden red dunes are some of the most gorgeous in the world and it’ll be hard not to feel the love in the air as you gaze on them with your other half while peacefully journeying through them.

You’ll also have the chance to dine under the stars with a traditional Arabic spread and you can even get matching henna tattoos to remember your night.

Things to Do in Dubai with Kids

Though its well known to be a playground for adults, there are also endless things to do in Dubai with kids thanks to the diversity of attractions and the ambition to make it a world-class destination for the whole family.

Most of the large hotels have incredible entertainment options for families travelling with children and some really pull out all the stops. From world-famous theme parks to man-made ski slopes, the kids won’t want to leave Dubai and we’re pretty sure neither will you!

Aquaventure Water Park


  • Water Park
  • Exciting
  • Relaxation

Get ready to get wet at the biggest and best waterpark in the Middle East and a great place to take the whole family.

The number of attractions here is huge and you can be sure that some adults are having more fun than the kids thanks to the quality of the rides and different areas.

From tidal river rapids to private beaches, not to mention the nerve-wracking selection of waterslides, Aquaventure is one of the most thrilling things to do in Dubai with kids and adults alike.

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo


  • Ocean Life
  • Shopping
  • Family-Friendly

You’ll find that many things in Dubai are the largest of their kind in the world and this positively enormous aquarium is no different.

Among some of the biggest in the world, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is one of the most fun things to do in Dubai with kids. Complete with a fully submerged underwater tunnel and a vast range of exotic sea creatures, the kids will be pressed up against the tanks in wonder.

The best thing about the aquarium is that its inside the famous Dubai Mall, so there’s plenty to do as soon as you’re done checking out the underwater marvels.

Ski Dubai


  • Unusual
  • Exciting
  • Animals

The kids will definitely be excited about the prospect of hitting the slopes out in the middle of the desert and we can guarantee that parents are going to have just as much fun joining them. From penguin marches to thrilling bobsled rides, there’s a wealth of activities to do as well as skiing, though you can’t go to the Middle East’s first ever indoor ski resort and not hit the slopes!

Free Things to do in Dubai

As well as wandering around the fascinating historic and cosmopolitan sites the city flaunts, which doesn’t cost a penny, there are also a few other free things to do in Dubai that we think are worth mentioning.

Dubai Mall


photo credits: vizts.com

  • Shopping
  • Browsing
  • Luxury

One of the most novel free things to do in Dubai that pretty much always takes first timers by surprise is a visit to the Dubai Mall, by far and wide the biggest mall in the world and truly an experience that’s worth the visit.

Even if you’re not looking to spend money here, you can lose yourself for hours ogling at the sheer range of shops, not to mention the entertainment facilities inside like a full-sized ice rink, cinema and aquarium. Remember to grab a map to find your way around!

Burj Al Arab


photo credits: whatson.ae

  • Landmark
  • Architecture
  • Restaurants

Standing tall and proud on its very own artificial island overlooking the beautiful Palm Islands, the Burj Al Arab is an internationally renowned and acclaimed hotel that mimics the shape of a sail blowing in the wind.

One of the best places to view the iconic landmark that’s so synonymous with Dubai’s skyline is from Jumeirah Beach, but if you want to get up close and personal, which we highly recommend, you can grab a spot of afternoon tea inside or eat at one of the many restaurants without having to break the bank paying for a room.

Gold and Spice Souks

Gold-and-Spice- Souks

photo credits: aroundtheworldl.com

  • Shopping
  • Tradition
  • Culture

To get a real sense of Dubai’s roots in trade, you need to visit one of the various souks and bazaars that can be found in the Deira on the Dubai Creek’s southern bank.

Prepare to be amazed by the glamour and riches of the Gold Souk where a sizeable portion of the world’s gold travels though. Then take a stroll through the smells of the Spice Souk, not for the faint hearted when it comes to intense smells but one of the most unforgettable free things to do in Dubai all the same.

Best Things to Do in Dubai at Night

No trip to the glamorous city would be complete without sampling the famous nightlife in Dubai, whether its at a sizzling beach party or at a swanky rooftop bar – the scene here is one that carries on late into the night and has something for every taste.



photo credits: timeoutdubai.com

  • Nightlife
  • Bar
  • Fun

This iconic beach bar is one of the most popular things to do in Dubai at night given its irresistible tropical atmosphere and the chance to enjoy a few drinks with the sand between your toes.

Party goers will be pleased to know that the energy levels significantly pick up as the night draws on, particularly on weekends, so put on your dancing shoes and get ready for a blast!

Grab a rooftop drink at White Dubai


photo credits: thenational.ae

  • Rooftop Bar
  • Luxury
  • Glamour

If brushing shoulders with local socialites and all manner of sun-kissed individuals high up on a roof terrace bar with jaw dropping views is what you’re after then look no further than the White Dubai rooftop bar.

Guaranteed to be lively each and every night of the week, the bar can be found at the Meydan Grandstand Rooftop with sweeping panoramic views over the city and a cocktail menu that’ll make your head spin.

Salsa at Trader Vic’s


photo credits: tradervics.com

  • Dancing
  • Music
  • Latin Vibes

By far one of the best things to do in Dubai at night, not to mention one of the most fun, an evening at Trader Vic’s will leave you with aching legs the next morning thanks to its essentially obligatory dancing to their trademark Latin music. With a couple of venues around town, you’ll be sure to find one that’s easy to get to.

Final thoughts on the coolest things to do in Dubai

Shop till you drop, feast your eyes on iconic sights, see a traditional side to the city, have a desert adventure, enjoy some romance, cool down in the heat, party all night long … the best things to do in Dubai are diverse and bags of fun.

What are you waiting for?!

About the Author Aaron Radcliffe

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