Dubai: it’s one of those places you have to see to believe. From indoor ski slopes to dancing fountains, extravagant brunches and local street eats, beachside cocktails and vertical waterslides, there is so much to eat, see and do in this desert metropolis.
Dubai-based international carrier, Emirates, is helping bring Aussies over to experience the city in all its glory, and with such an outrageously awesome city to call their own, we don’t blame them for wanting to show it off.
Whether you’re looking to scoff, shop, swim, or soak up the rays, we’ve found the top 50 things to tick off your Dubai bucket list.
2. Head to the beautiful Al Qasr hotel for a Friday champagne brunch. You’ll be handed a map to navigate the 37 food stalls and treated to free-flowing drinks.
3. Feast at seaside restaurant Bu Qtair where the same family has been serving chilli prawns, masala fish curry and freshly fried hamour since 1999.
4. Wild Wadi Waterpark will have you tubing down the Burj Surj, meandering through the lazy river, or braving the iconic 120m Jumeriah Sceirah at 80 km/hr. Tighten up those swimmers!
5. Or plunge into a shark pit at Atlantis’ Aquaventure Waterpark.
6. Witness Dubai’s diverse creative community come together at The Ripe Food & Craft Market.
7. Paddle board past the Burj Al Arab with Surf House Dubai.
8. Eat the miso marinated black cod at Zuma—it’s one of the most loved dishes in the city.
9. Enjoy the highest of high teas on the top floor of the iconic Burj Al Arab.
10. Play with penguins or hit the slopes at Ski Dubai.
11. Hit up Kite Beach for an action-packed day of kite surfing and soccer, followed by a Chicken Cheetos slider at SALT.
12. If cocktails and lounging are more your thing, head to Nasimi on The Palm, one of Dubai’s man-made islands.
13. Step back in time at the Bastakia Quarter, a heritage area dotted with art galleries, cafes and historic buildings.
14. Experience a modern-day Arabian market at Madinat souk.
15. Navigate the bustling maze that is Bur Dubai’s souks. From textile and spices to gold and jewels, be prepared to barter yourself a bargain.
16. Refuel with kofta, fattoush and fresh pitas at Al Bair Al Qadeem restaurant or XVA Café Restaurant—their mint lemonade is somewhat famous.
17. Go ‘dune bashing’ in the desert, followed by a traditional Arabic feed, belly dancing, henna and camel riding.
18. Learn about Emirati culture at the beautiful Jumeirah Mosque.
19. Get your shop on at Dubai Mall. With over 1,200 shops, you’ll quite literally shop ‘til you drop.
20. While you’re there, watch the magnificent dancing fountain show shoot water 150 metres into the air at the Burj Khalifa Lake.
21. Try and nab yourself an invite to experience XLine, a 558m zip line across the Dubai Fountain.
22. Marvel at the fish and toothy inhabitants of the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo.
23. Join the European expats for Guinness at the Irish Village.
24. Dine in the sky at At.Mosphere, the Burj Khalifa’s 122nd floor bar and restaurant.
25. Do as the locals do and puff on grape shisha at Shakespeare and Co in Souk Al Bahar, or QD’s if you’re closer to the creek.
26. Hurl yourself from 12,000ft with Skydive Dubai. You’ll be treated to a spectacular view of the city.
27. Gorge on a traditional Pakistani feast of flavour-packed curries, biryani and warm-out-of-the-oven rotis at Ravi’s in Satwa.
28. Combat the heat at Chillout Dubai, the Middle East’s first sub zero lounge and bar.
29. Shop, eat and drink at The Walk at JBR, a 1.7km beachfront avenue.
30. Chuckle at the Smiling BBK’s menu of Honkey Tonk Woman stir fry, Same Same But Different prawn cakes and My Sharona oyster sauce chicken.
31. Kiwis Matt & Kim make the best coffee in town at their café and roastery, RAW Coffee Company.
32. Jump around, play dodge ball and slam dunk at BOUNCE.
33. Tuck into the Ultimate Brekkie Board or “All The Goods” Pasta at Friends’ Avenue café.
34. Party with your toes between the sand at Barasti.
35. Go celeb spotting at the stunning One&Only Royal Mirage.
36. Take a dhow cruise down the creek.
37. Eat a couple of sharwarmas from Automatic. Their chicken, pickle and garlic sauce combo is a winner.
38. Putt your way around the Emirates Golf Club, the host of the Dubai Desert Classic.
39. Have your kinks and stresses massaged away at Park Hyatt’s Amara Spa.
40. Discover the interesting roots of this impressive city at the Dubai Museum.
41. A visit to the themed Ibn Battuta Mall is a must. Its ‘courts’ are decorated after the Moroccan explorers’ adventures in China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia and Andalusia.
42. Visit the Gold And Diamond Park where you can have your Arabic name turned into a golden necklace or bespoke ring.
43. Embark on a walking food tour of Dubai’s best hidden gems with Frying Pan Adventures.
44. Frolic amongst 45 million flowers at the beautiful Miracle Garden—the largest natural flower garden in the world.
45. Escape the glitz and glam to watch the pink flamingos at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary.
46. Spend a night or two in the desert at the luxurious yet Bedouin-inspired Al Maha Resort & Spa.
47. A trip to Dubai must include a dinner at Pierchic. This restaurant is on stilts in the sea and has incredible ceviche.
48. See what five-star luxury is all about at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. The 59m infinity pool is your ticket to bliss.
49. Party the night away with contortionists, fire breathers, burlesque dancers and magicians at Cirque Le Soir.
50. End your trip with a bit of adrenaline and leap of a crane at Gravity Zone.
Here at The Urban List, we're forever dreaming about, and planning, our next holiday destination, which is why we're excited to join forces with Emirates to inspire you for your next amazing trip. Emirates' expansive global network, with 149 destinations in 80 countries to choose from, the world really is your oyster. Stay tuned for the ultimate guides to the world's best destinations - handpicked, must-do experiences that will take your next holiday to another level. Or to book a trip give Emirates a call on 1300 303 777 visit your local travel agent or go to www.emirates.com/au.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie, Daniel Maddock