Dubai is a city full of wonder, and 2022 will be the best time to visit. If you’re not familiar with Dubai, it’s the largest emirate in the United Arab Emirates and has expanded rapidly over the last 40 years. In 2022, Dubai has turned into a tourist mecca with many attractions you will not find anywhere else in the world.
Whether it is famous for its shopping and architecture, Dubai is also home to one of the world’s most iconic man-made structures, The Burj Khalifa, which, at 829 meters, is one of the tallest buildings on Earth.
What are 15 things that every person should experience when visiting Dubai? Here are our top recommendations:
Dubai Fountain is Dubai’s iconic fountain, dancing with light at the front of Dubai Mall. It rises from a nine-acre artificial lake and can shoot water 150m into the air in sync with music choreographed by some of the world’s best international DJs. If you have ever been to Vegas and enjoyed the Bellagio fountain, the Dubai Fountain will blow your mind.
The seven spectacular daily performances range from classical ballet to contemporary electronic dance music, laser lights, and searchlights that turn night into day for five minutes every 30 minutes between sunset and midnight. The fountains start their show at least 20 minutes before each performance time displayed on screens across Burj Lake or Dubai Mall forecourt using subtitles in English, Arabic, and Chinese language depending on where you’re standing around the Dubai Mall area.
We recommend getting there early to get prime viewing spots. It gets crowded.
Dubai is best known for its shopping, and Dubai Mall is the mecca of shopping. Dubai Mall is the world’s largest mall, home to over 1200 stores and 300 food outlets alongside a great cinema with IMAX screens. Dubai Mall also boasts an ice rink.
Dubai Mall is busiest during weekends and public holidays, so we recommend visiting Dubai Mall during weekdays if you want to do some serious shopping. The mall is open from Saturday to Thursday from 11 am to midnight. Some stores close at 11 pm, while others stay open until midnight.
If you’re looking for some luxury brands, then the Dubai Mall is the place to be. You can find all the top designer stores here, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Prada.
Dubai Aquarium is Dubai’s largest aquarium with 32,000 marine animals across 100 species. Located inside the Dubai Mall, Dubai Aquarium is home to the world’s longest tunnel aquarium at 125 meters long and five storeys high.
One of Dubai’s best attractions for kids has got to be The Lost Chamber, where you will find over 400 fish, including sharks! Kids love feeding time when divers hand-feed stingrays three times a day. There are also daily educational presentations about sea life that children will enjoy.
You can also purchase a ticket to get up close and personal with great white sharks by dropping into the Aquarium in a cage!
The ticket price includes access to Dubai’s underwater zoo, which makes this a great family attraction. It houses over 33,000 marine animals representing more than 450 species of aquatic creatures, including rays, turtles, and fish like the golden crocodile fish, which you won’t find anywhere else in Dubai or even Asia! There’s also a pair of 750kg King Crocs to feast your eyes on.
Dubai Aquarium stays open from Sunday to Thursday between 11 am – 11 pm. The best times are weekday visits during lunchtime around 12:30 pm – 15:00 pm when crowds are manageable compared with weekends. We recommend visiting Dubai Aquarium during weekdays as it gets busy on weekends and public holidays.
A marvel of engineering and architecture, Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building. It was completed in 2010 and has since held several world records, including being the first structure to have more than 100 floors and the world’s fastest elevator, which reaches speeds of up to 40 km/h. Situated right next to the Dubai Mall and with the Dubai Fountain extending out in front of it, it is an awe-inspiring sight to behold.
Do not miss the observation deck on the 124th floor offering visitors 360-degree views of Dubai. You can enjoy the view from inside with air-conditioning or outdoors on the open-air terrace. The view from this deck is something special – it’s worth visiting!
Other attractions are located inside Burj Khalifa, such as Armani Hotel, Dubai Aquarium, and Dubai Opera.
Burj Khalifa stays open from Sunday to Thursday between 09:00 am – 11:00 pm, with entry closing at midnight. The best times of day for a Burj Khalifa visit is sunrise and sunset, which offer beautiful views over Dubai cityscape. We recommend visiting around these times if you can, but be warned that tickets are more expensive during these times.
One of Dubai’s most popular tourist attractions, the Jumeirah Mosque is a must-visit for anyone coming to Dubai. It is one of the largest and most beautiful mosques in the city with its ornate design and golden dome.
The mosque can accommodate up to 1000 worshippers at any given time and offers free guided tours for visitors, which are worth taking.
Jumeirah Mosque is open from Sunday to Thursday 09:00am-12:00pm and 04:00pm-09:00pm. The mosque is busiest during prayer times, so we recommend visiting at other times if possible.
The Dubai souks (markets) are a must-visit for anyone coming to Dubai. They offer a unique and authentic experience of Dubai culture and are a great place to buy souvenirs.
The Souk Al-Bahar in Downtown Dubai is especially popular with its modern design and waterfront location. The Souk Madinat Jumeirah is also worth a visit with its traditional Arabian architecture and winding alleyways.
Shindagha Historic District is home to the Dubai Museum as well as several old wind towers, which give the area its name (shindagha means “wind tower”).
The Dubai souks are open Saturday to Thursday at 09:00 am
for traditional Arabian architecture. We recommend visiting on a Friday, as it’s one of the holy days where you can see locals in traditional dress
Dubai is home to Dubai Creek, an inlet of the Arabian Gulf. The Deira area of Dubai sits on the eastern bank and offers visitors a glimpse into Dubai’s past with its traditional wind towers and old souks (markets).
The Dubai Museum occupies one of these historic buildings where you can learn about Dubai’s history dating back 5000 years!
Deira is also home to several historic mosques, such as Al-Raudh Mosque, which was built more than 400 years ago. It has since been restored but still retains much of its original features making it worth visiting if only for this reason alone! We recommend taking a walk down Spice Souk and Gold Souk which offer a unique shopping experience.
Deira is busiest during Dubai’s winter months when the weather is cooler. If you’re looking for a more authentic Dubai experience, we recommend visiting in the summer when it’s hotter and busier!
Another engineering marvel, The Palm Jumeirah, is an artificial island in Dubai, shaped like a giant palm tree. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. It was built in 2001 and is home to some of Dubai’s most luxurious hotels and resorts, including the amazing Atlantis resort and waterpark.
Palm Jumeirah offers visitors a wide range of activities, such as swimming, sunbathing, windsurfing, sailing, fishing, and more. There are also several restaurants and bars located on the island which offer beautiful views over Dubai’s skyline.
Palm Jumeirah is amazing all year long, but it is busiest during Dubai’s winter months when the weather is cooler. There is an observation tower at the entry to the island, from which you can see the whole palm shape branches. It is best to visit in the evening for amazing sunset views.
Dubai Marina hosts the city’s most iconic skyline, with some of the most extraordinary pieces of architecture. Dubai Marina was man-made in 2007 and has since grown to house the world’s third tallest residential building (the Princess Tower), as well as several other high-rise luxury apartment complexes. Dubai Marina offers activities such as swimming, fishing, sunbathing, jogging along its promenade or at the touristy Marina Beach for breathtaking sunset views over the sea.
Dubai Marina offers excellent food, clubs, bars, beaches, and entertainment all year long, but winter months are the best if you plan to be outdoors.
Dubai’s Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort located in the Mall of Emirates. It was built in 2005 and is the largest indoor ski resort globally. Ski Dubai offers visitors a chance to ski, snowboard, toboggan, or just play in the snow all year round! The mountain has five runs catering to different levels of difficulty, as well as a beginner’s slope. There are also several restaurants and cafes inside Ski Dubai.
If you’re looking for some fun in the snow, we recommend visiting during summertime when it’s hot outside!
Dubai has three main theme parks designed for families: Dubai Parks & Resorts (consisting of Bollywood Studios, Motiongate, LEGOLAND), Global Village (a cultural themed park), and Wild Wadi Waterpark (located next door to Jumeirah Beach Hotel).
Dubai Parks and Resorts is the largest. The main drawcard for visitors to Dubai Park’s and Resorts would be the Hollywood-themed “Motiongate”, where guests can walk through an entire street dedicated to famous movies such as Shrek or Ghostbusters! There are also several rides in each section, including rollercoasters and other thrilling attractions.
Dubai Parks & Resorts offers something new every month, so it doesn’t matter what time you go! We recommend visiting during the winter months when it’s cooler outside (October – March).
Dubai has many free outdoor attractions which you can visit without spending any money. The Dubai Museum offers an excellent insight into Dubai’s history and culture, while the Al Bastakiya area is home to several charming old buildings of traditional architecture. There is also a stunning modern art museum located in Zabeel Park called “Salsali” with various exhibitions throughout the year.
Dubai is a desert country and has some incredible natural landscapes. The most popular way to experience Dubai’s deserts would be with a full-day or half-day Dubai desert safari tour, where visitors can enjoy dune driving, sand skiing, camel riding, etc., in an authentic Bedouin Camp. The camps offer great souvenir shopping, traditional food, and shows like fire breathing and belly dancing.
The desert can get very hot during the summertime, so it’s recommended you go in winter (October – March) when it’s much cooler outside.
Dubai is surrounded by water, with two large artificial lakes in the center of town and the ocean on one side. This makes for some great day trips out on the water! The Dubai Cruise offers a relaxing journey down Dubai Creek, while the Dubai Ferry has several routes, including one that goes to Palm Jumeirah (the world’s largest artificial island).
The cruise operates all year round with different timings (check their website), but we recommend going during the winter months when it’s cooler outside. The Dubai Ferry runs from November to April only.
Dubai has some incredible landscapes, and one of them would be the desert or artificial islands like Palm Jumeirah. Skydiving Dubai offers a unique opportunity to jump from a plane over Dubai’s deserts or islands with an experienced instructor watching your back! This activity is suitable for all levels, no matter if you’re a complete beginner or professional skydiver.
The best time is when it’s cooler outside between October – March, which also happens to be peak season with tourists coming to Dubai to enjoy the holiday season.
During the winter months, the weather in Dubainths can be pretty mild, and it doesn’t rain much either, making ideal conditions for sky diving safely without too many complications.
Dubai Expo 2020 is an event for innovation and progress, where people from all over the world can come together to discover new things. Postponed from 2020 due to the global pandemic, it is now taking place from October 2021 to March 31, 2022.
It is one of the most incredible events in history, with more than 190 participating nations and a theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.” If you’re looking for a fantastic experience that celebrates human ingenuity and achievement, make sure you visit Dubai during this time!
Dubai Expo is located on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, making it very easy to get to from anywhere in Dubai. The center is open from Sunday – Thursday 09:00 am – 07:00 pm, and Friday 09:00 am – 03:00 pm.
The best time to go is weekdays during the winter months to avoid the crowds and the heat. We ended up going on Dubai’s 50th anniversary when the Expo had free entry, and each pavilion had at least 2-hour line ups. We recommend avoiding any public holidays and weekends.
Dubai is a safe city, and most people enjoy their stay here without incident or negative experiences. However, be aware of pickpockets around crowded areas like shopping malls and beaches! Also, don’t take photos of buildings; many places will have signs asking visitors not to do this on security grounds.
How long does it usually take for tourists from Dubai International Airport to reach different locations in Dubai? Most destinations from Dubai airport would only take 20-30 minutes by car depending on traffic conditions.
Dubai is a major international hub for business and personal tourism, which means there are many cheap flights to Dubai from all over the world. Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world and offers some incredible views while landing or taking off!
There are hundreds of different air carriers flying daily to Dubai around the clock; Emirates is the national airline with amazing and luxurious service from all major hubs in Europe and Asia.
Dubai is a city that changes with the times, and 2022 is going to be the best time yet to visit. With the expo and the Fifa World Cup happening right next door in Qatar, do not miss the architecture, beaches, and culture that Dubai has to offer!
Featured Image Credit: Paulofcosta /Depositphotos.com.