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Dubai Tourism and Holidays: Best of Dubai
Everything feels extra spectacular in Dubai—from the ultra-modern Burj Khalifa to the souks and malls filled with gold and jewellery vendors. It’s a place where if you can dream it, you can do it: Whether that means skiing indoors, dune-surfing in the desert, or zip-lining above the city. But it’s not all glitz and adrenaline-pumping action. Stroll through the winding alleys of Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood to see what Dubai was like during the mid-19th century. Or visit the Jumeirah Mosque (one of the few mosques open to non-Muslims) and learn about Emirati culture. Spot some street art on Jumeirah Beach Road and grab a bite at a shawarma shop, or spend the day hunting for spices and perfume then round things out with a Michelin-starred meal. You can really do it all and we’ve got more recs, below.
What to do
Iconic places and can’t-miss experiences that define the citySee all
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The tried-and-trues, plus local faves and hidden gemsSee all
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Take it outside
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Traditional Trek Around Dubai
Dubai certainly dazzles with its uber-modern design showcased in sights like the Burj Al Arab, and with its over-the-top attractions like the Dubai Mall and Palm Jumeirah. But it wasn't the glitzy nightclubs and crowd-pleasing brunches that won me over, it was the traditional architecture, Emirati culture, and delicious pistachio dates. So if you're looking for a more traditional slice of life, here are some of my favorite places you should visit in Dubai.
Lara Grant, New York City, NY
- Dubai Gold Souk3,620Located in the Deira district, the Dubai Gold Souk is a traditional market with over 350 stores, most of which sell jewelry. Gold, diamonds, and precious stones are all available here, but do your research on the best stores if you're looking to buy!
- Deira Old Souk Abra Station311Abras are traditional wooden boats that act as water taxis on Dubai Creek, ferrying travelers between the Deira Old Souk and Bur Dubai Abra Stations. As a bonus, the creek is a busy hub, with lots to do and see nearby.
- Cafe Bateel178Bateel is renowned for their gourmet dates packaged in hand-painted wooden boxes, and the cafe expands that upscale approach to all-day dining. Scrumptious bateel date pudding and traditional Arabic coffee are highlights.
- Siraj423Dubai is well-known for its fine-dining cuisine and outposts of global restaurants, but for a truly authentic Emirati meal, head to Siraj. Go with friends and share the camel steak, chicken biryani, and green mango salad. Pro tip: snag a table outside for a gorgeous Burj Khalifa fountain show view.
- Ripe Market92Skip the fancy restaurants and indoor malls and spend an afternoon strolling the Ripe Market, an outdoor farmers' market showcasing local businesses. I was a big fan of the organic veggies and fruits, cute handicrafts, and chic jewelry.
- Jumeirah Mosque2,229Firstly, built in traditional Fatimid style, the Jumeirah Mosque is beautiful. And, it's one of the few mosques open to non-Muslims. It's a unique experience to observe the prayer and learn more about the customs.
- XVA Art Hotel838XVA Art Hotel offers a more traditional, simple alternative to the towering, flashy hotels. It’s located in the heart of the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, the oldest community in Dubai, and it occupies the former home of the Seddiqi family – high-end watch retailers. There are just 14 rooms on-site, all individually decorated and with locally inspired furnishings. A cozy café and gallery showcasing Arab artwork add to its charm.
- Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding1,282Although roughly 80 percent of Dubai's population is foreigners, travelers can still get a peek inside Emirati culture by visiting this center. It's in the historic Al Fahidi neighborhood and I love that visitors can take part in activities such as walking tours, authentic dinners, and conversations with local Emiratis.