Dubai is a city that has something for everyone, whether you’re a culture vulture or an adrenaline junkie. While popular tourist spots like the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall are must-visit places, there are plenty of off-the-beaten-path activities that are worth exploring on your first trip to Dubai. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of 10 such activities that will give you a unique perspective of this fascinating city.
Visit the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Dubai may be known for its towering skyscrapers, but the city also has a rich history that is worth exploring. The Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood is a perfect example of this. This area is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Dubai and is home to a number of beautifully preserved buildings that date back to the early 1900s. Here, you can wander through the narrow alleyways and admire the traditional wind towers that were used to cool the houses in the pre-air conditioning era. The area also houses a number of museums, including the Dubai Museum, which is located in the oldest building in Dubai, the Al Fahidi Fort.
Take a Ride on the Abra
If you want to experience Dubai’s culture in a unique way, then taking a ride on the abra is a must-do activity. Abras are traditional wooden boats that have been used to ferry people across the Dubai Creek for centuries. For just 1 AED, you can take a ride on one of these boats and soak in the sights and sounds of the city as you cross the creek. The ride is especially beautiful at sunset when the sky turns pink and the lights of the city start to twinkle.
Explore the Dubai Miracle Garden
The Dubai Miracle Garden is a floral wonderland that is sure to leave you spellbound. This garden is home to over 45 million flowers, making it one of the largest flower gardens in the world. Here, you can stroll through themed gardens, take selfies with the floral installations, and even spot the world’s largest flower arrangement in the shape of an Airbus A380.
Go Dune Bashing in the Desert
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then dune bashing in the desert is an activity that you shouldn’t miss. You can book a tour with one of the many operators in the city and head out to the desert for an adventure of a lifetime. The tour involves driving a 4×4 vehicle over the sand dunes at high speed, which can be quite thrilling. You can also try sandboarding or take a camel ride while you’re in the desert.
Visit the Dubai Miracle Museum
The Dubai Miracle Museum is a quirky museum that showcases the unique creations of artist Akhmedova Anila. The museum houses a collection of intricate miniature models of famous landmarks and attractions from around the world, including the Burj Khalifa, the Eiffel Tower, and the Taj Mahal. The attention to detail in each model is truly amazing and makes for a fascinating experience.
Take a Walk on the Beach at JBR
Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, thanks to its beautiful sandy beach and lively atmosphere. Take a walk along the beach, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, or simply people-watch from one of the many beachside cafes. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try out water sports like jet skiing or parasailing.
Visit the Dubai Frame
The Dubai Frame is a relatively new attraction in the city that has already become an iconic landmark. This towering structure stands at 150 metres tall and is made entirely of gold-coloured stainless steel. Visitors can take an elevator to the top of the frame, where they can enjoy panoramic views of the city from the observation deck. The frame also houses an interactive museum that showcases the past, present, and future of Dubai.
Experience a Traditional Arabian Dinner
Dubai is famous for its lavish dining experiences, but if you want to try something unique, then you should consider experiencing a traditional Arabian dinner. There are a number of restaurants in the city that offer this experience, where you can dine on traditional Emirati dishes while enjoying live music and entertainment. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and sample some of the region’s delicious cuisine.
Take a Day Trip to Abu Dhabi
While Dubai has plenty to offer, a day trip to the nearby city of Abu Dhabi is also worth considering. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and is home to a number of attractions, including the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum, and the Yas Island amusement park. You can easily book a tour from Dubai or make the short journey by car or public transport.
Explore the Street Art Scene in Al Quoz
Al Quoz is a trendy neighbourhood in Dubai that is known for its vibrant street art scene. Here, you can wander through the streets and alleys and admire the colourful murals and graffiti that adorn the walls of the buildings. You can also visit the Alserkal Avenue arts district, which is home to a number of contemporary art galleries and cultural spaces.
Dubai is a city that offers a diverse range of activities for visitors, and exploring off-the-beaten-path attractions is a great way to get a unique perspective of the city. From exploring the historic Al Fahidi neighbourhood to experiencing a traditional Arabian dinner, there is something for everyone in Dubai. So, make sure to add these 10 off-the-beaten-path activities to your itinerary on your first trip to this fascinating city.