Visiting Dubai can be a special once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some of your visitors. On the other hand, when your parents come to visit for the sixth time you might be starting to run short on ideas where to take them!
So, when you’ve been up the Burj Khalifa, done the Dubai Mall & Burj al Arab a dozen times, what next? Where are the places to take them they won’t necessarily find in a guide book? And how do you give them a taste of what the UAE is really all about?
Crack into some culture
With so much emphasis put on the new, modern Dubai, it’s easy to see how some visitors might only scratch the surface when it comes to UAE culture. Let’s help them dig deeper into these ideas:
Take in breakfast at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. They also run several activities and tours throughout the day.
Next up let’s take a wander around Bastakiya or “Old Dubai.” Get lost in the laneways and souqs, perhaps a cuppa at the highly acclaimed Arabian Tea House and visit the Dubai Museum.
From Bur Dubai, take an Abra across Dubai Creek which will see you to the Gold and Spice Souqs of Deira – or simply sit and watch the bustling life along the creek.
If that’s not enough, a short drive to Sharjah and you really are in the culture capital of the UAE. Check out Sharjah Museums to see the huge range of museums and discovery centres, particularly those focused on Islamic culture and civilisation.
Art lovers must head to Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz for contemporary art in a huge, purpose built warehouse space and a buzzing vibe. At the more upmarket end of the scale, you will find plenty of art galleries at Gate Village, DIFC with works from many famous artists on display and for sale.
If theatre and opera is your thing then the Dubai Opera House has a hugely promising line up of internationally acclaimed performances.
Want to experience dozens of different cultures, music, food and shopping all in one hit? Global Village is your place for a little taster session from around the world.
We know it can be sweltering hot in the desert sometimes, but during the cooler months there’s no excuses not to get your visitors outside! There are so many amazing green spaces in Dubai that have been used in some unique ways. We suggest you try
Dubai Garden Glow and Dinosaur Park at Zabeel Park – Read more (here)
Dubai Miracle Garden and Butterfly Garden is green and full of bloom that really impressed all year round.
Kite Beach or JBR the Walk have plenty of things to see and do including a fabulous array of eateries.
Al Qudra Lakes – grab a BBQ, your bike, your dog or whatever takes your fancy. It’s a brilliant spot to even spot flamingoes if you’re lucky.
Mushrif Park- there’s a fabulous new place called Venture that’s aimed at all ages.
Creek Park – including the planetarium, Dubai Dolphinarium and even a cable car ride that’s superb.
For an experience out of the ordinary for any UK visitor, you could try watching Camel racing at Al Marmoum race track.
Hit the water
We live in a city surrounded by water, so let’s get out and enjoy it! If you’ve already crossed abra’s off your list on a cultural tour, why not try an evening cruise with dinner down Dubai Creek? Bateaux Dubai comes highly recommended by our readers.
The Dubai Canal has a ferry service that operates three times daily at present.
Beaches, beaches and more beaches! From The Beach at JBR to the popular Jumeirah Beach or cross the creek at al Mamza. The Yellow Boats come highly recommended as the best way to catch the city skyline from the waters off Jumeirah Beach and around Dubai Marina.
When the weather is hot and you’re looking for a way to escape the heat that doesn’t necessarily mean heading to a Mall, why not check out this selection:
IMG World of Adventures – 1.5m square foot of indoor amusement rides and entertainment.
Take the monorail out to Atlantis the Palm and visit the Lost Chamber, and even dine with the fish!
A tropical rainforest in the heart of the city? Visit the Green Planet biodome at City Walk.
An oldie but still a favourite with so many visitors is Ski Dubai, indoor ski slope at Mall of the Emirates.
And yes, when all else fails you’ll no doubt end up at Downtown Dubai and Dubai Mall. The evening fountain show is spectacular and gives our Dubai visitor’s much to talk about, and the tallest building in the world never seems to fail to impress our visitors (even if it has us pulling our hair out looking for a car park!)
Do you have some tourist favourites that might be a bit of the beaten track or any new ideas that we have missed?
Here we explored different ways you can enjoy the UAE desert
Read more: Dubai’s latest family attractions
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