12 Things Dubai Is Famous For - Updated 2024

things dubai is famous for
Divya
Divya 
Contributing Writer
Updated
| 5 min read

If you’re planning a visit to the ultra-modern city of Dubai, you may be tempted to fill your visit with shopping malls and skyscrapers- Dubai can be so much more than that. Yes, the city is pushing boundaries on design and architecture, filling a space in the global landscape where tourism is redefined by ultimate luxuries. But Dubai is also a city that respects its origins and pays tribute to its history, heritage, and culture while showcasing these aspects to visitors and locals alike. Dubai has its own take on hipster streets, havens for artists, and museums. After you arrange your accommodation in a luxury hotel or an Airbnb, make a list of must-see spots and must-buy souvenirs. Read on to find out about the top things Dubai is famous for, which mix the old with the new and the fashionable with the traditional.

Tip from tour guide

AZIRA

AZIRA
Dubai

Another great place that shouldn't be missed in the city is Downtown Dubai. The tall, lit-up buildings and the water fountains look truly magnificent at night. Also, the streets are very neat and clean, and boat rides are available if you wish to explore the water.

From transportation tips to medical essentials and everything in between, the Dubai local guides share all the must-know information to help you plan your trip.

1. Burj Al Arab

Dubai - Burj Al Arab - Helicopter View
Source: Photo by Flickr user Sam valadi used under CC BY 2.0

Modeled after the shape of a dhow’s sail, Burj Al Arab is an iconic part of Dubai’s skyline. While there are plenty of luxurious hotels in the city, Burj Al Arab definitely tops the list. Not only does it stand on an artificial island separated from Jumeirah Beach by a private bridge, but the sheer amount of gold and marble found inside the property will leave you awestruck. Guests are given royal treatment, from transportation via helicopter or Rolls-Royce to high-class service. Not everyone who passes through the bridge is a guest - most are tourists eager to experience the opulence and enjoy afternoon tea from one of the best hotels in the world. Whether you’re spending a small fortune for a night in Burj Al Arab or you’re touring with a group, this is one attraction you don’t want to miss!

Burj Al Arab

Address: Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 3 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Website: Burj Al Arab

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2. Dubai Creek

Dubai Creek
Source: Photo by Flickr user syk photo used under CC BY 2.0

Besides shopping malls and luxury cruises, take time to experience a more traditional side of Dubai by visiting Dubai Creek. This important area was a hub for commercial activity, and it has serviced the city in many ways - people fished, hunted for pearls, or docked their dhows along the creek. Today, locals still head here to take an abra (water taxi) across the creek for just 1 AED (0.27 USD), and you can enjoy this fun experience too on your visit! While here, why not spend the afternoon at Dubai Creek Park or tee off at Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club? Either way, you’re sure to see a different side to this opulent city.

Dubai Creek

Address: Dubai Creek - Dubai - United Arab Emirates - United Arab Emirates

Tip from tour guide

Dubai Creek Dubai Creek

Photos of Dubai Creek shared by Dubai tour guide, Sandra.

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3. Dates

All The Dates in the World
Source: Photo by Flickr user Gabby Canonizado used under CC BY 2.0

A traditional part of Emirati culture, dates are fruits that are synonymous with the cultural practises and heritage of Dubai. Date palm trees are grown in Dubai and sold in the local market and they form a large part of Dubai’s export market. Taste dates that are grown locally for their sweetness and flavour, many stuffed with gourmet fillings and ingredients, enhancing the fruit known locally as “God’s Bounty”.

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4. Persian carpets

Persian carpets by Gianni Del Bufalo CC BY 4.0
Source: Photo by Flickr user gianni del bufalo used under CC BY 2.0

Take home a special part of Dubai with you, beyond the fridge magnets and key chains. Shop for one of the most famous things in Dubai - authentic Persian carpets. These can be found in the markets and malls of Dubai. You will be able to find a rug that is handmade and one-of-a-kind, and there is a wide variety of options to fit all budgets, sizes, shapes and colour.

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Dubai Tour Guide

Dubai Local Tour Guide

Dubai Local Tour Guide

Welcome, Hello, bonjour, Hola, Namasty, Salam! It brings me great joy to extend a warm welcome as you embark on your journey to explore our vibrant city during your visit to the United Arab Emirates. Here, in this land of hospitality, you are not just a guest; you are welcomed as a member of our extended family. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Rafiq, a seasoned professional in the realm of t... Read more

Tours by Dubai local tour guide

5. The Burj Khalifa and Dubai Aquarium (from USD 99.0)

Visit two of Dubai’s most famous attractions, the Burj Khalifa and its observation deck for panoramic views of the city, ocean, and desert, as well as the Dubai Aquarium, the ideal attraction for the whole family to observe thousands of sea creatures and marine life, including the largest collection of sand tiger sharks in the world. This aquatic playground serves not only as a leisure experience but also one for activities, as the more adventurous ones in the group can go diving with sharks, or for a more tame experience, the glass bottom boat should suffice.

Tip from Content Creator

Sneha

Sneha

Burj Khalifa

In Dubai, where ambition meets the sky, Burj Khalifa reigns supreme. This 829.8-meter titan, adorned with 163 floors, whisks you to the 124th floor in a minute, unveiling breathtaking cityscapes and beyond. 

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Dubai Aquarium and Burj Khalifa Observation Deck: Combo Ticket

Duration: 1 to 3 hours

217 reviews

6. The Dubai Fountain (from USD 18.35)

Set across a 30 acre (12 hectares) manmade lake, the Dubai Fountain is a spectacle that should be witnessed for any first-time visitors to the city. A man-made performing fountain, the choreographed show takes place at various times across a day, and shoots water to the tune of music, as high as 500 feet (153 meters), which is as high as a 50-story building!

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Dubai Fountain Lake Ride

Duration: 1hrsDuration

660 reviews

7. Hookah pipes

Hookah Pipes in the Marrakech Souq
Source: Photo by Flickr user just_a_cheeseburger used under CC BY 2.0

Smoking shisha, a flavoured substance usually with tobacco, through a hookah pipe, is a part of everyday life in the Arab world. Seen as a gesture of hospitality, you will pass many local shisha bars when in Dubai and do not be afraid to partake of the local culture. Hookah pipes are also available in markets and shops for sale and you might want one of these beautifully designed pipes as a keepsake or to use as a memento of your travels to Dubai when you get home.

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8. The Gold Souk

things dubai is famous for | the gold souk
Source: instagram

Even if you do not plan on buying any bling during your visit to Dubai, you must visit the Gold Souk, a traditional market with hundreds of shops and sellers selling gold and silver jewellery. A display of intricate craftsmanship and design, the Gold Souk is ideal for those who are looking for a bargain in buying gold jewellery as prices can be negotiated with the sellers at the market.

Tip from tour guide

Dubai Gold Souk

Photo of Dubai Gold Souk shared by Dubai tour guide, Sandra.

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9. Shopping centers

Mall of the Emirates
Source: Photo by Flickr user Håkan Dahlström used under CC BY 2.0

Dubai is famous for having no shortage of shopping options. Spend days or weeks exploring the shopping malls and markets that the city has to offer. From fashion, beauty, gold to electronics, you can find anything that you are looking for in Dubai. Visit the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world, for local and international shops and cinemas; the Mall of the Emirates for shopping and entertainment options combined; Wafi Mall and the Souk Khan Murjan for more traditional market options inside a mall and Souk Madinat Jumeirah for Arab handicrafts, jewellery, and souvenirs.

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10. Desert safari (from USD 36.0)

Your trip to Dubai would not be complete without an experience in the desert. With options for an evening desert safari or an overnight desert safari, there are several options to choose from when visiting Dubai. You could spend a day focused on unique outdoor activities that you may not find anywhere else in the world, such as dune bashing, which involves being driven in an SUV at speeds that would be the envy of any Fast and the Furious fan, going on a camel ride to envisage the treks of Arabian traders or sand skiing across the dune. You could opt to include an overnight stay at a desert camp with shisha and a traditional dinner to go all out and complete the visit.

Tip from Content Creator

Dubai Dubai

Photo of Dubai desert safari experience shared by content creator from the UK, Aby.

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Desert Safari 4X4 Experience from Dubai

Duration: 6 hours

22 reviews

11. Dubai Miracle Garden (from USD 70.0)

The Dubai Miracle Garden is a seasonal, sensory-loaded experience where 150 million flowers are laid out in thematic patterns, spaces, arches, shapes and in all sizes and forms, to create the ultimate garden. If you are visiting Dubai between November to May, you will be lucky enough to catch the garden in full bloom, and experience a walk through a park like no other.

Tip from tour guide

AZIRA

AZIRA
Dubai

 Here are some interesting facts about Dubai Miracle Garden:

- It is the world’s largest natural flower garden, covering an area of approximately 72,000 square meters (775001 square feet).

- It was established in 2013 and features over 150 million flowers across various species, including sunflowers, marigolds, and roses.

- It showcases numerous creative installations such as the Airbus A380 and the Mickey Mouse topiary, which stands 18 meters tall (59 feet) and holds the record for the tallest topiary-supported sculpture worldwide.

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Dubai Miracle Garden Admission Tickets and Hotel Transfers

Duration: 3 hours

7 reviews

12. Palm Islands (from USD 367.0)

A unique and instantly recognizable feature of Dubai is the three Palm Islands, the world’s largest man-made archipelagos that are set to expand Dubai’s claim over high-end tourism and luxury lifestyles. The islands are in various stages of completion, but the Palm Jumeirah, the first of the completed islands, has added almost 40 miles (64 km) of beaches, and it is home to many hotels and resorts, including the Atlantis. Find a spot on Palm Jumeirah to watch the sunset over the city’s iconic skyline.

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Private 2 Hour Cruise in Dubai Marina, Palm Island & JBR

Duration: 2 hours

The oasis of the Middle East

What is Dubai famous for, you ask? Well, now you know! This is a city rooted in traditions but looking to the future. There are plenty of fantastic things to do and places to visit. You are able to experience the best of the Middle East’s traditions, culture, and heritage when you visit Dubai, without compromising on luxury and convenience in this hypermodern, technologically savvy city.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Divya comes from an academic background having studied economics and public policy and worked in research and writing roles for the past 8 years. Divya's off-duty passion for travel has led her to...Read more

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