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One Day in Dubai Itinerary – Top things to do in Dubai, UAE

Dubai is so full of spectacular sights that you might be wondering how to experience the best ones if you don’t have too much time. Therefore, we’ve put together a little itinerary to help you see the best of Dubai in a day. So, assuming you’re here on business, or on a stopover, you can still enjoy everything this glamorous city has to offer. We recommend that you stay at a hotel close to the airport to save time and reach all attractions via a Metro line. No doubt, your one day in Dubai is going to be magical.

One day in Dubai Itinerary


Plan your trip to Dubai

1. What’s The Best Time To Visit Dubai? 2. A few facts about Dubai 3. One Day In Dubai Itinerary 3.1. Go for an early morning balloon ride 3.2. Have fun at Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark 3.3. Check out Burj Al Arab 3.4. Explore the Souks of Dubai 3.5. Cross the Dubai Creek 3.6. Check out Burj Khalifa 3.7. Visit the Dubai Fountains 3.8. Take a break for lunch 3.9. Explore the Dubai Mall 3.10. Visit KidZania 3.11. Check out the SEGA Republic 3.12. Enjoy an evening Cruise 3.13. Stop for dinner 4. Where to stay in Dubai? 5. Day trips from Dubai 6. Extra tips for visiting Dubai

What’s The Best Time To Visit Dubai?

TIP: Need a transport from/to an airport? Pre-book your transfer with Welcomepickups . They offer the cheapest prices and most comfortable ride along with the possibility to pre-order essential travel products.

Dubai is hot – there’s no escaping the desert climate. However, it’s much cooler between November to February . If you’re in Dubai during this period, don’t miss the Dubai Shopping Festival!

A few facts about Dubai

The roots of this city go back to the beginning of the 18th century and for about one hundred years Dubai was a small village with less than 1000 people. However, due to its location, it developed into an important trading hub and in the 1960s it was the global centre of gold trade. At the end of that decade oil was discovered and a huge infrastructure boom occurred. In just a few years, the city grew about four times and started attracting many people. Still, the oil reserves this city has are not that big and today this energy source accounts for only about 5% of Dubai’s GDP. The rest comes from financial services, tourism and many other forms of trade.


One Day In Dubai Itinerary

Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Dubai.

Go for an early morning balloon ride

If you decide that this is what you want to do in Dubai to start your day (and you really should), you’ll be picked up at your hotel and taken to the launch site at dawn. There you’ll be gliding over the billowing sand dunes in your balloon with a pilot, watching the desert sunrise break over the city. Flying with falcons at 4,000 feet above ground does some wonderful things to your heart. After the flight, you’ll freshen up at a private desert conservation reserve, enjoy a gourmet breakfast and be back at the hotel before 9 A.M. Be sure to book this in advance if you want to enjoy this incredible start of your one-day tour of Dubai.

Hot Air Balloon, Dubai

Have fun at Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark

If you’re just looking for some good clean or even adrenaline-pumping fun, you can always just spend your morning in this amazing place. Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark even has its own private beach you can use when you get tired of the incredible waterslides all around you (and that’s honestly quite hard). No matter if you’re alone in town or with your whole family, there is something for everyone here.

Check out Burj Al Arab

An incredible number of tourists make a visit to this iconic building a vital part of their one-day tour of Dubai. Burj Al Arab is actually a hotel , one of the tallest in the world at that, but due to its fantastic architecture it has become one of Dubai’s symbols . It is designed to be in the shape of a sail of a ship and has won numerous prizes over the years for its design. While mere mortals will struggle to book a room here, it’s certainly a great place to snap some photos and one of THE things to see in Dubai.

Explore the Souks of Dubai

What to see after this excellent ride? Simple, grab the Metro and go to Al Ras Station, 400 meters from Deira, to explore the Spice and Gold Souks of Dubai . Enjoy browsing window after window of the most expensive gold, mounds of herbs and spices, silk shawls, handicrafts and more. Barter and buy something to take home. You won’t be sorry if you make this place a part of your Dubai itinerary.

Dubai's Spice Souks

Cross the Dubai Creek

Directly in front of the Deira souks is the ancient Dubai Creek . Grab an ‘Abra’ (a long-boat) and cross the creek to the other side, to Bur Dubai . Explore and shop around in that part of the city. What to see here? You absolutely must visit the old and beautiful Sheikh Mohammed Mosque.

Dubai Creek

Check out Burj Khalifa

Out of all things to do and see in Dubai in a day, a visit to this incredible landmark is probably the most amazing. Get off at the Burj Khalifa Metro Station, only 13 kilometers from Deira. Buy an admission ticket for AED 300 and go up to the 148th floor’s observation deck to enjoy a fabulous view of the city . The 828-meter tall world’s tallest building is a fabulous sight from any angle.

View from Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Visit the Dubai Fountains

The world’s largest choreographed fountains are located on the lovely Burj Lake , in front of Burj Khalifa. Watch jets of water soar up to 140 meters. There’s a show every half an hour, with a different design and song each time. Don’t forget to enjoy the Dubai Fountain lake ride . It is an exclusive, fun and extremely exciting activity you must try.

Take a break for lunch

The Dubai Mall is just the opposite of Burj Khalifa. Have lunch at one of the great eateries in the food court. Enjoy some kickass burgers at Five Guys or some lovely Indian food at Pappa Roti. You can also check out the list of restaurants in this mall to find something that suits you better.

Dubai Mall

Explore the Dubai Mall

The aforementioned mall, with its 1000 stores across 4 levels, has loads of choices if you don’t know what to see in Dubai next. You can, for example, check out the indoor Theme Park, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and the Dubai Ice Rink, as well.

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Visit KidZania

On the other hand, if you don’t know what to do with kids in Dubai for the day, KidZania , only 3 minutes from Dubai Mall, is an interactive ‘city’ for children, with kid-sized buildings, cars, offices and parks. Kids can work at any job here, wear uniforms, obtain career advice and even salaries in KidZos and drive small cars around!

Check out the SEGA Republic

Visiting the SEGA Republic is another great thing to do in Dubai with kids. Situated close to KidZania, kids can enjoy 16 rush rides, 170 video and arcade games and a virtual games area where one can snowboard, bobsled, free-fall, joyride; fight the dead and much more. Tickets are AED 300 per person.

Enjoy an evening Cruise

If you don’t have kids, bypass KidZania and SEGA Republic and take the Metro all the way to Dubai Marina for a yacht cruise . Important: book the cruise in advance . Cruise in a motor Gulf Craft yacht for two hours along Dubai’s shores, sailing by the Burj Al Arab, the Palm Atlantis and the Palm Jumeirah islands. The Dubai Marina is 23 minutes from SEGA Republic if you take the Metro line.

Stop for dinner

The yacht drops you off at Dubai Marina , where you can enjoy dinner in one of the nearby restaurants. The Dubai Marina mall offers a luxurious shopping experience and several classy eateries, so it’s a great place to wrap up your one-day tour of this incredible city. Once the dinner is done, just take the Metro back to your hotel for the night.

Dubai Marina

Where to stay in Dubai?

Park Regis Boutique Hotel

Park Regis Boutique Hotel

325 Road, Al Thany Street Jumeirah

Park Regis Boutique Hotel is an elegantly furnished, modern boutique hotel only a two minutes’ walk from the beach. Guests can enjoy a day swim or an evening beach walk. The rooms are bright, modern and quirky with a bit of a beach vibe, while some of them feature a city view.


Rove Trade Centre

Rove Hotels

2nd Dec Road Jafiliya, Trade Centre

Rove Hotels are smart, fuss-free and affordable hotels that can be found all over Dubai city. They all feature modern and spacious rooms and a wide range of amenities & facilities like outdoor pool, fitness area, on site restaurant and bar. Pick your favourite according to location.

Day trips from Dubai

Should you want more from your visit to Dubai, there are plenty of one-day tours you can set up. From visiting other fascinating cities to exploring the incredible nature of this part of the world, day trips from Dubai can make it all happen.

Abu Dhabi is the country’s capital and a city that has modernized itself in quite a spectacular fashion. However, there are still some fantastic things to see that are connected to its humble beginnings. The Heritage Village will tell you all about it, and the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque made of white marble is a sight to behold. Of course, you really should miss out on the Ferrari World theme park for some serious fun.

Musandam Peninsula

To get away from city life, book a day trip from Dubai to Musandam Peninsula. Crystal-clear waters, fascinating landscapes and maybe even some dolphins on the way will make you forget all about the stress. Climb aboard a dhow for an unforgettable cruise and dive and snorkel to get to know this incredibly beautiful place even better.

Desert Safaris

How does a desert adventure sound? Dubai can accommodate you with that, since there are many day trips that take you out there into the wilderness where you can even meet Bedouins . But you can also experience an adrenaline rush if you find yourself behind the wheel of a 4×4 vehicle, and smoking shisha with your hosts in this environment is also something very special.

Extra tips for visiting Dubai

  • The Dubai Metro connects the Dubai Airport to Jebel Ali at the other end, where you get off to visit Bollywood Parks, Dubai. Use the Metro to reach Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina and Dubai World Trade Centre if you want to efficiently explore Dubai in one day.
  • Dubai Tram stops connect with Metro stops and can be used to see attractions not connected by the Metro line.
  • The Dubai Metro runs every day from 5.30 am until midnight, Saturday to Wednesday. On Thursdays, it runs from 5.30 am until 1 am and on Fridays, from 10 am until 1 am.
  • Buy a prepaid Nol card from any Metro station and use it to pay for Dubai’s buses, trams, taxis and the Metro.
  • The good transportation system makes it possible to enjoy several wonderful sights of Dubai in a day. However, we recommend that you estimate routes and distances and book cruises and tours in advance to ensure a smooth and memorable day in this great city.
  • Avoid scheduling meetings with locals during the 5 daily prayer times.
  • Tourists are expected to wear modest clothing and avoid public displays of affection.
  • Bikinis are allowed in the water but modest cover-ups are best on the beach.
  • Drinking and driving will earn you fines, imprisonment or even deportation.
  • During the holy month of Ramadan , restaurants will be closed during the day. Even non-Muslims are not allowed to eat in public during the day.
  • If you’re a man, it’s best not to shake a Muslim woman’s hand unless she offers to shake yours.

Pin for later!

If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Dubai Itinerary feel free to share it in the comments below! Save Save Save

Make sure you have everything you need

What to pack for your next trip.

Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully. Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times. Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.

Related posts:


A postgraduate in Mass Communications, Neha loves everything about life. Traveling is extremely close to her heart and writing came to her naturally.


Best guide ever! I had an amazing days in Dubai and that couldnt ve been possible with dessert safari , thank you for your time and that great experience

I have a layover in Dubai for a day and was wondering what all to see. Thanks to you, I have planned a one day itinerary to see all the important attractions in Dubai. Very nice blog!

Thank you very much, we’re glad it was helpful!

I totally liked this article by you on one day in Dubai itinerary. There are so many things to do in Dubai and you have mentioned some of the best things to do in the dynamic UAE city.

Thanks for taking your time on it and happy holidays!

Please let me know if you can pick up us at the airport for one day tour. We will be at Dubai Airport on July 10th after back from Dublin, Ireland. We would like to have one day tour and drive us back the airport. We will take the flight in the evening and back to Vietnam.

We are 2. Please let me know the rate for the tour including: meal, lunch, ticket…….

Hi, unfortunately, we do not provide such services. We suggest you check for airport car service.

It’s fascinating what Dubai has become in such a short time. You have touched on some of the things Dubai is known for. Well done.

A one-day itinerary to experience the best of Dubai? What a fantastic idea! It’s great to know that even with a limited timeframe, you can still soak in the glamour and beauty of this incredible city. A magical day awaits in Dubai! 🌆🏖️🌟

The proposed one-day itinerary for experiencing the best of Dubai is a thoughtful and efficient guide for visitors with limited time, be it for business or during a stopover. Dubai’s reputation for opulence and grandeur can be overwhelming, and this itinerary provides a strategic approach to capturing the essence of the city’s spectacular sights in a short timeframe.

The suggestion to stay at a hotel close to the airport demonstrates a practical consideration for time efficiency, allowing visitors to maximize their limited hours in the city. Utilizing the Metro line for transportation further emphasizes a convenient and swift means of navigating between attractions, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience.

The acknowledgment that even a brief visit can be “magical” reflects the captivating allure of Dubai’s iconic landmarks and vibrant atmosphere. While a day may seem limited, the itinerary ensures that travelers can still immerse themselves in the glamour and uniqueness that define this cosmopolitan city.

Nice Travel guide on one day in Dubai itinerary. It’s beneficial for new travelers. Thank you for sharing this amazing info with us.

What an amazing guide to experiencing the best of Dubai in just one day! This itinerary by Neha from Dubai Wikia is packed with fantastic suggestions, ensuring you make the most of your short visit to this glamorous city. The well-organized plan takes you through iconic landmarks like Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, and the Dubai Fountains, while also offering unique experiences such as an early morning balloon ride and an evening cruise.

For those with limited time, this itinerary is a lifesaver, allowing you to cover a wide range of attractions efficiently. Staying close to the airport and utilizing the Metro line is a smart tip, ensuring a seamless and time-effective exploration of Dubai.

If you’re planning your one day in Dubai, this guide is a must-read! tips on exploring the UAE, check out “How UAE” at [How UAE]( ). Happy travels! 🌍✨

This itinerary for a day in Dubai offers a perfect blend of must-see attractions and efficient travel tips, ensuring you make the most of your time in this vibrant city. From iconic landmarks to convenient transportation options, it promises a magical experience even for those with limited time.

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Dubai Itinerary

A Perfect One Day Itinerary – How to Spend 24 Hours in Dubai

Last Updated: July 5, 2021

Morning Desert Safari

You have just one day to spend in the entertainment capital of the world. In 24 hours, you need to get the very best of all that Dubai has to offer. Let’s be honest with you – it’s a tall order. Dubai is simply scintillating; an unbeatable adventure in time and space, a traveler’s delight and a poet’s eternal rhapsody. Here are a few attractions and experiences you must not miss out on during your one day in Dubai – the magnificent Burj Khalifa, a blissful desert safari , a dhow cruise and the immensely popular IMG Worlds of Adventure.

To squeeze all of that into 24 hours is not easy but we’ve done it for you. Check out our list of 24 hours Dubai thrills, chills and spills and tell us what you think! We’re basing this one-day Dubai itinerary on the assumption that you are free to spend an entire day, from the early morning of your day in Dubai till the next morning.

Before You Land in Dubai

24 hours in Dubai

One day in dubai itinerary.

Early Morning

  • Morning Desert Safari

If you want the best value for your money, make those 24 hours in Dubai work for you. Plan ahead and make the necessary bookings ahead of time. For example, if you plan on getting the view from the Burj Khalifa’s observation deck, be sure to book your tickets online in advance. Follow the guidelines we’ve laid for you here in this article. Map your route beforehand and be clear as to which sights you’ll manage to squeeze in, and which to leave out.

Give over to some exciting dune bashing sports; this involves driving a 4×4 fast over the dunes and coming down just as fast, to bash into the next dune. It’s an adrenaline-jerking adventure, and you’ll love it. Then if you want to, you can experience some desert quad biking. The desert terrain is very different – there are soft dunes and hard wadis, dips, valleys and rough shrubbery. Rise to the challenge and quad bike in the desert. You’ll be delighted.

You’ll also get to ride a camel; if you haven’t done this yet, you’ll find it strangely exciting and a bit scary the first time. You’ll enjoy the up and down rhythm of the camel’s stride, feeling amazed at sitting so high. If you like, you can go sandboarding as well – this is like surfboarding, except you’ll be boarding down dunes instead of waves. Enjoy every minute of your desert safari – it’s one of the most unique experiences that Dubai offers.

Suggested Read: Morning Desert Safari in Dubai with Ultimate Camel Ride Experience

How to Book: Book Morning Safari tour now and grab the awesome deal!


  • Hot Air Balloon Ride

hot air balloon tour dubai

To make your experience even more special, opt for a desert safari with a hot air balloon ride. An early morning hot air balloon ride is the best way to get a bird’s eye view of the spectacular desert, the oases, the Heritage Village, and the Dubai coastline. Arm yourself with a telephoto-lens-enabled camera and you will enjoy the kind of views you’ve only dreamed of. You’ll be dropped off at your hotel after a continental buffet breakfast. Time to get ready for the next item on your list of things to do in Dubai .

Suggested Read: Experience Hot Air Balloon Ride in Dubai

How to Book: Check out online tickets for Hot Air Balloon Ride & get the best offers!

  • Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour

Big Bus Dubai

The big bus tour is the best way to see all of Dubai in the shortest possible time period. The best part is, you can step off the bus at any attraction you fancy exploring on foot. Then you can catch the next big bus on the same line and continue with the rest of your tour.

How To Book: Big Bus Tour tickets available online(1/2/3 Days)! Book Now!

  • Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa Dubai

We recommend that you get off the Big Bus at the Burj Khalifa, having booked tickets in advance. Enjoy the At The Top experience on the 124th floor, which contains a 360-degree observatory deck. Several telescopes are placed at various points on the observatory deck for your pleasure. Be sure to use these to focus on other attractions such as the Palm Islands, and get an up-close look. Use the telescopes to see all of Dubai, since you don’t have the time to explore everything. You can also choose from the diverse Dubai Burj Khalifa tickets that includes dining or an exclusive access to the Sky Level on the 148 th floor.

Suggested Read: Reasons to Visit Burj Khalifa

How to Book: Experience Burj Khalifa at the Top experience! Book tickets now!

  • Dubai Fountain

Dubai Fountains

Be sure to observe the Dubai Fountain, which is located in front of the Burj Khalifa, from the observatory deck on the 125th floor. There’s nothing more beautiful than watching the mega multi-colored fountain cavort and dance to famous global tunes. There’s a show every few minutes, so do take the time to watch it from above and spend a few minutes enjoying it from the boardwalk behind the Burj Khalifa.

Dubai Mall

You won’t have the time for a leisurely shopping experience, but to enter the Dubai Mall and feast your eyes on the grandeur of the place. It’s well worth checking out the Dubai Aquarium & underwater zoo and some of the top stores. Do take the time to enjoy looking at the biggest gold souq in the world and the incredible décor of the Dubai Mall.

Continue on with the big bus tour or cut the tour short, getting off at any point and moving on to the next item on your list. That’s the beauty of the flexibility offered by the big bus tour.

Break for Lunch

Spend about 2-3 hours on the Burj Khalifa, The Dubai Mall and the Dubai Fountain and break for lunch. Enjoy a great meal at one of the Dubai Mall’s many restaurants and eateries.

  • IMG Worlds of Adventure

IMG Dubai

After the big bus tour is over, take a cab to the IMG Worlds of Adventure , one of Dubai’s latest and most exciting new attractions. Don’t miss visiting this mega theme park, the largest indoor theme park in the world, if you have kids along with you. IMG Worlds of Adventure is divided into several zones – IMG Boulevard which has retail outlets, cafes, restaurants and plenty more attractions for the whole family.

Then there is Marvel Comics, which contains adrenaline-pumping attractions based on iconic Marvel superheroes. Think Iron Man, Thor, the Avengers, Superman, and Spiderman – you’ll meet them all there. Then there’s the Cartoon Network zone, which has rides based on Bugs Bunny, the Flintstones and other cartoon network characters. Step into the prehistoric world and live among dinosaurs in Lost Valley – Dinosaur Adventure zone. There won’t be a single boring moment for you at IMG Worlds of Adventure, no matter who you are.

How to Book: Book IMG Worlds of Adventure tour now and grab the awesome deal! 

Alternative to IMG Worlds of Adventure

If the idea of spending the rest of the afternoon in the indoor adventure park does not seem like fun to you, here are a few alternative ideas that may appeal to you.

  • Dubai Eye (Ain Dubai)

Ain Dubai Largest Ferris Wheel

Touted, with good reason, Ain Dubai, the world’s tallest Observation Wheel, Dubai Eye offers a spectacular view of the entire city, coastlines, and desert from the top. The entire trip to the top and back takes 48 minutes, and you’ll savor each one of them.

Suggested Read: Ain Dubai Observation Wheel – All You Need to Know

  • Dubai Water Canal

Water Canal in Dubai

The Dubai Water Canal is a visual marvel that connects Dubai Creek with the Arabian Gulf. The canal passes through Sheikh Zayed Road, through Al Safa Park and Jumeirah. Three lovely bridges have been constructed over the Sheikh Zayed Road, under which lovely expensive yachts can pass.

  • Palm Islands

palm island

The lovely manmade palm islands are a visual treat and a miracle of construction. The shape of the islands is so distinct that it can be easily spotted from outer space. The best way to take a good look at the islands is via a dhow cruise.

Suggested Read: The View at The Palm Jumeirah Dubai – A Must-Visit Observation Deck

  • Helicopter Ride

helicopter ride, burj khalifa

A single day is just not enough to appreciate the magnificence of Dubai. We suggest getting done with the city tour or the sights plan by evening and taking an aerial tour of Dubai. Obtain the best possible perspective of the city’s famous landmarks, especially the Palm Islands, World Islands, Burj Khalifa, Dubai Eye and many, many more. You’ll get luscious views of the amazing desert, which glows red in the sunset.

How to Book: Helicopter Tour Of Dubai with the choices of 12 / 15 / 17 / 22 / 25 / 40 minutes!

  • Dhow Cruise Dinner

Dhow Cruise Dubai

Sign up for an exciting dhow cruise on the Dubai Marina, or the Dubai Canal or the Dubai Creek, combined with a delicious dinner. No matter where you sail, you’re guaranteed an absolutely thrilling experience with bespoke views of the surrounding attractions. The evening dhow cruise comes with dinner and onboard entertainment.

Dubai New Year Eve at Dhow Cruise

Dhow Cruise Dinner Creek

  • AED 63 and up

Dhow Cruise Dinner Marina

  • AED 125 and up

Musandam Dibba Tour

  • AED 175 and up
  • See More Tours & Experiences

Give over and allow yourself to be pampered by henna artists who’ll paint your hands and feet with flavorful designs. Feast your eyes on the eye-catching Tanura dancers and belly dancers who’ll gyrate to scintillating music. Forget about your cigarettes and cigars and fall in love with the shisha pipe and its flavored smoke. As you lay back on silk cushions, feasting your eyes on the views and on the beautiful dhow’s décor and attractions, you’ll feel like royalty. The dhow cruise Dubai is one of the top things to do in Dubai in one day.

If you have only one day in Dubai, we recommend that you follow this itinerary. We’ve included all the great fun and unique aspects of Dubai in this itinerary for you. Feel free to add or remove a few items to include your own preferences, but do enjoy Dubai to the utmost. It’s impossible to visit Dubai just once and be done with the city. Once you’ve been here, you’ll want to come back, time and again. And there’ll still be plenty to see and do, no matter how many times you return!


Georgia- Key Covid Guidelines for Travel


Deep Dive Dubai – Know what it’s Like Diving into the World’s Deepest Pool

Aanchal Iyer

Avatar for Aanchal Iyer

Aanchal is a writer by profession and an avid foodie. She loves travelling, exploring and adding cherished experiences to the book of life.

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That is an interesting itinerary! I think I have done maybe half of it during my only visit to Dubai!

Avatar for Aanchal Iyer

Hello friend. Its great that you have done half of the itineraries. Try to complete remaining in your next trip to Dubai 🙂

Avatar for Aanchal Iyer

wow, this is such a great place i came to know.I have been in dubai but never know advanture thrilling fun spot that can be very helpful to even kids. Thank for this. Sure, make it out to go

Thanks. Yes, Dubai has so much for kids, like water parks, gardens, attractions…

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Arzo Travels one day in dubai, UAE



Table of Contents

Whether you plan to spend one day in Dubai as a stopover or as a day trip from Abu Dhabi – this post will help you plan your Dubai trip for a day.

When people ask me about what to do in Dubai in 1 day, I struggle because I can name tons of places. However, I narrowed it down to the must-see attractions in Dubai , so that will ease your headache of planning.

So, this post is all about your one day trip to Dubai – find out about the best way to explore this city in the Middle East in a short amount of time, and some useful travel tips that will help you plan and enjoy your trip more.


Yes, Dubai is worth visiting for a day. One day in Dubai is enough to see some of the main sights. Of course, two or three days in Dubai would be better but you can see quite a lot in a day because some attractions are close by. Yes, it will be a busy day, but I want to make sure you get to see different places and don’t miss out on too much.



Let´s start with some quick travel tips to make your one day trip to Dubai as smooth as possible.

Where to Stay

Accommodation in Dubai is pricey. If you stay in Dubai for one night only, I suggest staying in Dubai Downtown, so you are close to the main attractions mentioned here – though it comes with a price tag.

➡️  Armani Hotel:   It is no surprise that this 5-star hotel in Downtown Dubai, just inside Burj Khalifa (it occupies 11 floors of the tallest skyscraper in the world) and Dubai Mall, is synonymous with luxury and pure elegance.  Check out the rates for Armani Hotel .

➡️  Carlton Downtown:   This 4-star property is also located close to Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall – The Financial Centre Metro Station is within walking distance and ideal for those who like to use public transportation. The pool area offers a nice view of Burj Khalifa, and from the 357 guest rooms, you can choose between deluxe rooms up to penthouse suites. Check out rates for Carlton Downtown .

➡️  Rove Downtown Dubai:   This 3-star hotel is located a few kilometers from Burj Khalifa (not far from the international airport). While the hotel is very simple and offers basic amenities, you might be lucky enough to get a room with a view – a view of Burj Khalifa! Find the best for Rove Downtown .


Okay, with only one day in Dubai, there is not much time to relax. So let’s start straight away!

Old Dubai – Around 9:30 AM

Good morning, early birds! If you’re looking for a way to make the most out of your day in Dubai, my recommendation is to start in the vibrant and lively Old Dubai.  

Head to the Gold and Spice Souks for an exciting and cultural experience. While some shops may not open until 10 a.m. , take advantage of the peaceful morning atmosphere before the hustle and bustle of the day begins. 

Which place to visit - Abu Dhabi or Dubai

Step into a world of exotic fragrances and flavors at Dubai’s Spice Souk ! This bustling traditional market is a feast for the senses, with colorful spices piled high in every direction. 

Where to buy cheap things in Dubai

No visit to Dubai would be complete without stopping by the renowned Gold Souk – a traditional market that has stood the test of time. Whether you’re an avid gold collector or just a window shopper, this is a must-see!

If you’re up for it, haggling with the shop owners can be a fun experience, but do not give up quickly. Shopping here feels more authentic and rewarding than in fancy malls.

While most shop owners are foreigners (Afghan, Indian, and Pakistanis), it still has an authentic vibe to it.

Just a quick warning – visiting the souks can feel intense. Shop owners approach you a lot, and it is not really a relaxing time. I know not everyone loves such intense places. Also, it is not what we normally expect from Dubai, because we mostly see modern and luxury areas and not the souks.

Near the souks, you will find Dubai Creek which is a natural saltwater creek. Dubai Creek is a great place to visit – especially in the mornings . You can feel the energy as people start their day, and it’s a great time to scope out some souvenir and spice shops before the crowds hit.

  • If you are a female traveler, especially traveling solo, you might want to dress slightly more moderately, as stares can be intense. 

Bra Ride in Dubai things to do in Dubai in 2 days


🚇 By metro: Get to Al Ras Metro station, and from there, you just have to walk for a few minutes.

🚕 You can also take a taxi/Uber or use the hop-on and hop-off sightseeing buses, which drop you off at the souks.


ℹ️  It is free to visit the souks and you could visit at any time.

ℹ️  However, most shops are open from around 9:30 am or 10 am to 9:30 pm, and on Fridays from 4 pm to 9.30 pm.

La Mer – Around 11 AM

La Mer Beach Dubai - best places to visit in Dubai

Here you can soak up the sun and enjoy the picturesque beaches dotted with cozy cafes and gourmet restaurants. 

Restaurants at La Mer Dubai

You might not find it on many Dubai itineraries as it is quite new but I think it is one of the best places to visit in Dubai .  


If you are at the Gold/Spice Souk, you have to get to the other side of Dubai Creek by an abra or metro. Then, at Al Ghubaiba Bus Station, you can catch a bus that drops you off at La Mer. 

If you get here by car, you will find a parking garage with free parking. 


ℹ️  La Mer is open every day and there is no entrance fee.

ℹ️  The shops are normally open between 10 am to 10 – 11 pm or midnight.

Click here to read more about this part of Dubai.

Madinat Jumeirah – Around 2 PM

This stop – Madinat Jumeirah – is optional as it depends on how fast/slow you travel .

What to do in Dubai on a layover

You could also do an abra ride (small wooden water taxi) here. The rides here are way more expensive than in Dubai Deira, the Gold & Spice Souk area, but you can ride them for free if you stay in a Jumeirah hotel. If you have seen Instagrammers on an abra with Burj al Arab in the background, those pictures were taken here. 

Again, if you do not want your 1-day itinerary for Dubai to be too busy, skip Madinat Jumeirah and enjoy some more time at La Mer instead. Madinat Jumeirah is just an extra for the very fast traveler.


ℹ️  From La Mer, walk to Century Plaza 1 station and take a bus to Madinat Jumeirah. There is a little bit of walking included (around 10 minutes).

ℹ️  Alternatively, you can take a taxi.

ℹ️  It is free to visit the Souk Madinat Jumeirah.

ℹ️  Shops are open from 10:00 am to 11 pm, and restaurants are open from 08:00 am to 02:00 am.

Burj Khalifa – Around 4 PM

Even if you are in Dubai for only one day, make sure to add Burj Khalifa to your Dubai itinerary . After all, it is the  tallest building in the world.

Marvel at the world’s tallest structure, standing proud next to Dubai Mall at 828 meters! But the real treat lies in the  observation decks , from where you have an unparalleled perspective that will leave you in awe.

What to do in Dubai in 1 day

Don´t underestimate the time it takes to find Burj Khalifa’s entrance. It is located in Dubai Mall and it can take a while to find the entrance inside this giant mall. Also, you can book other packages and combine them with a dinner at Burj Club (I loved it).

Ticket prices vary depending on the level of access (levels 124 and 125 only are cheaper than access to level 148) and also the time of your visit.


➡️ Levels 124 & 125

➡️ Levels 124 & 125 and 148

➡️ Levels 124 & 125, including a dinner at Burj Club

If you do not buy tickets in advance, you might still be lucky and buy some at the ticket center.


ℹ️  You have to go to Dubai Mall. There you will see signs that lead you to “At the top of Burj Khalifa ” which is on the ground floor. From there, you get up to the top.

ℹ️  The ticket center/entrance is located on the Lower Ground Level of Dubai Mall .


ℹ️  “At the Top of Burj Khalifa” opens around 10 a.m., and the last admission is at 9 or 10 p.m. (depending on the day).

Dubai Mall – Around 6 PM

Then, it is time to take the lift down and explore Dubai Mall  – which is just gigantic – and busy! 

What attractions in Dubai Mall

If you are into shopping, you could spend days here at the largest mall in the world. Shopping in Dubai is more expensive than in Germany or the US – whether it is luxury items or clothes. The time when Dubai was known as a shopping paradise is for sure over. So unless you are looking for something specific, I would not necessarily recommend shopping a lot.

I love to stroll the mall because it houses several attractions like Dubai Aquarium. Inside Dubai Mall, you will also find a real dinosaur skeleton on display – popular especially if you visit Dubai with kids.

TIP: Don’t buy a ticket for the aquarium.  You get to see some parts of it just by being in the mall and you´ll see the underwater animals. The aquarium itself is not worth the money – in my humble opinion.

Then it is probably time for dinner – and you can choose from many restaurants in the area.

ℹ️  Inside Dubai Mall, you will find many restaurants. At the food hall, there are some very affordable places with food from all over the world.  

ℹ️  Then there are also other – quite high-class – restaurants inside Dubai Mall. I suggest, however, having dinner at Burj Club (and buying your combined ticket with an entrance ticket to Burj Khalifa) or choosing a restaurant outside with a view of Dubai Fountain.

P.S.: There is actually a dress code for Dubai Mall . Many people ignore it but you are supposed to cover your knees and shoulders (as a woman or man).


ℹ️  If you visit Burj Khalifa first, you are already inside Dubai Mall.

ℹ️  But how to get to Dubai Mall? You can get there by metro/bus, and it is also a popular drop-off point for sightseeing buses.

ℹ️  If you get off at “ Dubai Mall Metro Station, ” you can either take another bus that drops you off at the mall or have to walk about one more kilometer from Dubai Mall Metro Station to get into Dubai Mall.


ℹ️  Dubai Mall is open from 10 am to 1 am. Restaurants and the food court are even open until 2 a.m.

ℹ️  There is no entrance fee for the mall itself.

Dubai Fountain  / Burj Khalifa LED show –  Around 8 PM

Dubai Downtown is a beautiful place to end your day in Dubai – this is where you have all the bling-bling you can imagine. After 6 pm, the famous dancing water show goes on just in front of Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa. I can tell you, it gets crazy there. I mean, really crazy just because it is so crowded.

Water Fountain Show in front of Dubai Mall @shutterstock

Sometimes, the LED show takes place – which is honestly even more stunning than the water show. However, I have never really figured out when the LED show takes place. Check out the show time on the day of your arrival to find out when to see it.

Whenever the fountain show or Burj Khalifa LED show occurs, this place will be one of Dubai’s busiest. To get a good view, secure yourself a good spot before the show starts.

You can also book an abra ride and enjoy the water show without all the crowds. 

For a dinner with a view, visit one of the numerous restaurants outdoors that are close by . There are some nice restaurants with a view of the fountain , like the Mediterraneo of Armani Hotel, but make sure you reserve a table beforehand.


ℹ️  Shows take place from 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM every 30 minutes.

ℹ️  It just lasts 3-4 minutes so be there on time.

ℹ️  The Dubai water fountain show is free. However, you can also book an abra ride and see the fountain show from a different perspective (and without the crowds). ➡️ Check out prices for the ride here.


ℹ️  You could reach the fountain even without entering Dubai Mall (e.g., coming from Dubai Opera). If you are at Dubai Mall, you will see signs that lead you to the fountain as well.


Alternatively: Dubai Desert Safari – Around 3 PM

Alternatively, you can do a desert safari in the afternoon/evening. I love desert safaris, so I do recommend them. However, if you have only 1 day in Dubai I am unsure if it is the best thing to do. Why? 

Well, a desert safari takes some time (around 5-10 hours) , and you will have to schedule all your other activities around it. You have to decide for yourself whether you want to skip some other activities instead.

Exploring the desert in Dubai

There are different desert safaris – most include dune bashing, stargazing, and a belly-dance show and some also include a nice BBQ (for me as a vegetarian/vegan, there were plenty of options available).

I enjoy the time in the desert – yes, it might be touristy but it is fun . Especially the dinners in the desert and stargazing were my highlights. Though I have done a couple of desert safaris and been back to my hotel on time, keep in mind that delays can always happen.

If you have to catch a plane that evening/night, only do a desert safari if you know you will definitely be back on time.

Find the best desert safari tour for your trip.

➡️  Find one of the most affordable desert safaris here

➡️  Do you prefer the morning desert safari? Then find out more here



BURJ KHALIFA – LEVEL 124 & 145 & 148  + DINNER



Dubai is a remarkable blend of modernity and tradition. From the awe-inspiring Burj Khalifa, piercing the sky, to the bustling souks exuding rich aromas and colors, Dubai offers an unparalleled experience.

The city’s seamless integration of cutting-edge technology and deep-rooted cultural heritage is evident in every corner. 

With one day in Dubai, you can get an idea of what the city is about. 

Whether you follow this Dubai itinerary rigorously or not – the city is certainly like no other, and though surely not perfect, it is a lot of fun.

  • There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting Dubai – check out my guide on what NOT to do in Dubai so you will stay safe!

Safe Travels, Arzo

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24 Hours In Dubai – Best Of Dubai In One Day – Detailed Itinerary & Must-Do Tours

What to do in Dubai in a day? In this article, read about how to spend 24 hours in Dubai and make the best of Dubai in one day when you have a short layover in Dubai. 

ALSO READ : 👉🏼Where To Stay In Dubai – Best Hotels In Dubai

One day in Dubai Itinerary - what to do in Dubai in a day - layover in dubai

24 Hours In Dubai – Dubai In One Day –  Transit Tour Itinerary for First-Time Tourists

Dubai’s one-day itinerary offers a whirlwind of iconic attractions, from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, to the mesmerizing Dubai Fountain, providing a condensed yet unforgettable glimpse into the city’s luxury and modern marvels—a perfect option for those on a short transit or layover seeking an immersive taste of Dubai’s grandeur.

Dubai Itinerary 2 days - 2 Days In Dubai

Check two types of short layover in Dubai itineraries with detailed time-wise things to do and recommended tours to book.

Note: This Dubai in one day itinerary is designed for a layover of 24 hours in Dubai and is specifically tailored for tourists with limited time.

Option 1 – Dubai In One Day

Option one for 24 hours in Dubai covers major attractions of Dubai like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Old Historic Dubai, Burj Al Arab, and an optional desert safari tour.

Morning: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM: Arrival at Dubai International Airport

Redefining air travel: The Middle-Eastern carriers

  • Ensure your luggage is checked to your final destination or stored at the airport if necessary.

8:30 AM – 9:00 AM: Breakfast at Dubai Mall

Head straight to  The Dubai Mall for breakfast . The mall has numerous dining options, and you can choose from international cuisines.

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM: Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain

2 days in Dubai tour - 24 hours in dubai - dubai in one day

  • Take a short taxi ride or use the metro to reach the  iconic Burj Khalifa.
  • Visit At The Top, the observation deck on the 124 or 125th floor, for breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding desert.
  • Witness the mesmerizing  Dubai Fountain show  just outside the Burj Khalifa.

👉🏼Beautiful Free Things to do In Dubai (Itinerary + Maps)

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM: Dubai Mall Exploration

  • Explore  The Dubai Mall, one of the world’s most extensive  shopping and entertainment destinations.
  • Visit attractions like the  Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo ,  and if time permits, indulge in some shopping.

Afternoon: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch at Souk Al Bahar

  • Take a  short walk to Souk Al Bahar,  a traditional Arabian market near the Burj Khalifa.
  • Enjoy  lunch at one of the many restaurants  overlooking Burj Lake and the stunning skyline.

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM: Old Dubai – Dubai Creek and Al Fahidi Historic District

  • Head to  Al Fahidi Historic District . You can take a taxi or use the metro to Al Fahidi Station.  

  • Explore the Al Fahidi Fort ,  which houses the Dubai Museum, providing insights into the city’s history.
  • Take an  abra (traditional boat) ride across Dubai Creek  to the bustling markets in Deira.

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM: Gold Souk and Spice Souk in Deira

Shopping In Dubai – Souvenirs From Dubai

  • Wander through the Gold Souk , known for its dazzling array of gold and jewelry.
  • Visit the adjacent Spice Souk, where you can explore a variety of spices, herbs, and traditional fragrances.

Evening: 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Jumeirah Beach and Burj Al Arab

  • Take a taxi to Jumeirah Beach and capture photos with the iconic Burj Al Arab in the background.
  • Relax at the beach, book speed boat tour or stroll along the Jumeirah Beach Walk.

Best Boat And Yacht Cruise Tours In Dubai

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM: Dinner at Madinat Jumeirah

  • Head to Madinat Jumeirah, a luxurious resort replicating an ancient Arabian citadel.
  • Choose from one of the many restaurants offering a mix of international and local cuisines.

6:30 PM – 9:00 PM: Desert Safari Adventure (Optional)

Consider booking an evening desert safari for an adventurous experience if you have sufficient time before the flight.

Experience dune bashing, camel riding, and a traditional Arabian dinner under the stars in your Desert Safari adventure.

9:30 PM – 10:00 PM: Return to Airport

Head back to the airport, ensuring you leave ample time to clear security and reach your departure gate. If time permits, grab a quick snack or souvenir from the airport’s duty-free shops.

Option 2 – One Day In Dubai Itinerary

Here’s a suggested itinerary for one day in Dubai covering Burj Khalifa, Desert Safari, Madinat Jumeirah, JBR & Dubai Marina

8:00 AM – 9:30 AM: Breakfast at a Traditional Café

Start your day with a traditional Emirati breakfast at a local café. Enjoy dishes like Balaleet, Chbaab, or a classic Arabic breakfast spread.

10:00 AM – 11:30 AM: The Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa

How To Apply 5 Years UAE Multiple-Entry Tourist Visa

Head to The Dubai Mall, one of the largest shopping malls in the world. Take a stroll around and visit the famous Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo .

Don’t miss the iconic Burj Khalifa. Purchase tickets in advance to visit the observation deck for stunning panoramic city views .

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM: Lunch at Souk Al Bahar

Adjacent to The Dubai Mall, Souk Al Bahar offers a variety of restaurants with a view of the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain. Enjoy a leisurely lunch .

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM: Dubai Marina

Head to Dubai Marina for a relaxing afternoon. Stroll along the marina promenade, admire modern architecture, and enjoy a boat/cruise tour .

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM: Desert Safari

Dubai itinerary 3 days - dubai in one day - 24 hours in dubai

Experience the thrill of a desert safari. Join a guided tour that includes dune bashing, camel riding, and possibly sandboarding. Enjoy the sunset in the desert.

7:00 PM – 8:30 PM: Dinner at Madinat Jumeirah

Visit Madinat Jumeirah, a luxurious resort. Explore the Souk Madinat, enjoy the beautiful views of the Burj Al Arab, and have dinner at one of the many restaurants with a view.

9:00 PM – 10:30 PM: Dubai Fountain Show

Perfect Dubai 3 Days Itinerary

Return to The Dubai Mall area to witness the spectacular Dubai Fountain show, a captivating water, music, and light show set against the backdrop of the Burj Khalifa.

Late Night:

11:00 PM onwards: Nightlife or Relaxation

Depending on your preference, you can explore Dubai’s vibrant nightlife in areas like JBR or Dubai Marina. 

24 hours in Dubai - Dubai in one day - One day in Dubai Itinerary

  • Use a mix of metro, taxis, and ride-sharing services like Uber or Careem to get around the city.
  • Consider getting a Nol Card for convenient access to public transportation.

TIPS – 24 Hours In Dubai – What To Do In Dubai In A Day?

Dubai Quotes and Dubai Captions for Instagram - 2 days in Dubai itinerary

  • Plan Ahead:  Research and prioritize the key attractions you want to visit, considering their proximity to each other to minimize travel time.
  • Early Start:  Begin your day early to maximize the limited time, especially for popular sites like the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall.
  • Pre-book Tickets:  Purchase tickets online in advance for major attractions like Burj Khalifa to skip queues and save time.
  • Efficient Transportation:  Utilize the efficient metro system, taxis, or ride-sharing services for quick and convenient travel between destinations.
  • Compact Itinerary:  Opt for a packed itinerary focusing on specific areas, such as Downtown Dubai, to minimize commuting time and maximize exploration.
  • Luggage Solutions:  If on a layover, consider using luggage storage services at the airport or city to travel light and move more efficiently.

Falafel at Automatic at JBR the w

  • Cultural Etiquette:  Respect local customs and dress modestly, particularly when visiting religious or cultural sites.
  • Weather Consideration:  Be mindful of the weather, especially during the hot months, and plan indoor activities during the peak afternoon heat.
  • Flexibility:  Stay flexible and be willing to adapt your schedule based on unexpected circumstances or if certain attractions have long waiting times.
  • Language and Currency:  English is widely spoken, but learning a few basic Arabic phrases can be helpful. Have some local currency (AED) for small purchases.
  • Safety First:  Dubai is generally safe, but be aware of your surroundings and adhere to local regulations to ensure a smooth and secure visit.
  • This itinerary is a suggestion, and actual times may vary based on personal preferences and the time of year, as tourist places during National holidays are crowded.

Remember, while a day is short, efficient planning can make your brief stay in Dubai incredibly rewarding and memorable.

This 24-hour Dubai itinerary offers a diverse experience of Dubai in one day, combining modern marvels with cultural and historical attractions. 

 Enjoy your short but memorable moments during your one day in Dubai!

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One Day in a City

24 Hour Travel Itineraries to Make the Most of a Day in a Destination

Local’s Guide to the Perfect Day in Dubai

January 4, 2021 By Gina Posts on this site may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here .

One Day in Dubai Itinerary + Essential Things to Know Before You Go

1 day tour in dubai

Dubai is ever dynamic and multi-faceted. It has all the sparkle and sophistication of an uber-contemporary metropolis on one side, and the old world vibe on the other with the Al Bastakiya Quarter and a quaint untouched desert scene. 

Because of that, the thought of hitting the UAE’s most popular city in one day may sound overwhelming. But, luckily, with appropriate planning, it’s easier than you think! Especially with our one day in Dubai guide, which has all the vital Dubai info and top suggestions you need to help you make the most of your 24 hours in the city.

Before You Go: Essential Dubai Information to Know

• Dubai is located across the southeastern coast of Arabian Gulf.

• Dubai is the UAE’s second largest emirate, after Abu Dhabi.

•, The winter months from November to March make up the peak season due to its pleasant weather and many seasonal events and attractions. 

• Dubai is four hours ahead of UTC (Coordinated Universal Time.)

• Dubai’s currency is the UAE Dirham and is pegged to the US dollar. One dollar is equivalent to AED 3.67.

• As an Islamic destination, the destination expects you to dress modestly with strict restrictions on all kinds of PDAs.

• Dubaiites and Emiratis revere the month of Ramadan, so refrain from eating or drinking in public during this holy month.

• Get prior permission before capturing images of significant government structures and locals, mainly Emirati women.

• There are two international airports: Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport.

Top Tips To Get Around Dubai

• Dubai is by no means a walkable city, but its well-integrated public transport consisting of the metro, public buses, cabs, and ferries make it super easy to get from one place to another.

• Purchase a NOL card (ideally red card) to make payment for all public transport.

• While public transport is convenient and exceptionally affordable, the best tip is to rent a car to get around quickly if you’ve got only one day to spend in Dubai. Don’t forget to carry your international driving license in case you plan to get behind the wheels.

• If you want to make it even more convenient, you can go for a guided excursion with a made-to-measure itinerary that incorporates all your favorites (check our ‘Where to Go’ section for more ideas.)

1 Day in Dubai: Where to Go

Instead of an off-the-rack itinerary, we’ve included a list of must-sees and experiences that encompass some of Dubai’s top neighborhoods.

This will help you to pick your favorite attractions and activities, thus allowing you to put together a more feasible travel program that matches your preferences and style.

Each thing to do in Dubai that we list below also includes an estimated amount of time we recommend you should spend at the attraction so you can better put together your perfect one day in Dubai itinerary.

1. Downtown Dubai

Downtown Dubai is a posh 500-acre neighborhood that is packed with glitz and glamor, making it one of the most stylish places in Dubai. Sure enough, the region is home to some of the city’s powerhouses such as:

The downtown area is situated along Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road and is surrounded by Business Bay in the south and Financial Centre in the north.

Burj Khalifa

It’s the world’s tallest structure towering at an astounding height of 828 meters. A visit to its observation decks on 124th and 148th levels is highly recommended for the most comprehensive and unparalleled views over the entirety of Dubai and beyond. A high-speed elevator ride and a fascinating multimedia display of Dubai’s past are all added perks of your Burj Khalifa visit.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here: 30 minutes to 45 minutes

The Dubai Mall

Next to Burj Khalifa is the world’s biggest mall. The Dubai Mall hosts outlets of many beloved brands and merchandise with some 1,000+ shops. More than 200 dining outlets make it a foodies’ haven as well. 

Aside from these, this mall is also one of the city’s most favorite leisure and entertainment destinations.  At the Dubai Mall, you’ll find Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Dubai Ice Rink, KidZania Dubai, VR Park Dubai, and Hysteria Dubai Mall.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : You can wander around here as long as you wish. But with just one day in hand, it’s ideal to spend here not more than 60 minutes to 90 minutes.

Dubai Fountain Show

You’ll find this extravaganza of light, music and water outside of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa. Simply put, it’s a choreographed water performance in perfect harmony of iconic regional or classic international musical numbers played in the background. With limited shows during the day, make sure that you time your Downtown Dubai visit accordingly to catch the show, preferably after 7 p.m. 

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : 15 minutes

2. Palm Jumeirah

This chicest neighborhood of Dubai is also renowned as the world’s most elegant man-made island, which looks like a giant palm tree crowned by a crescent. The following are among the can’t-miss sites here:

Atlantis, The Palm

Atlantis, the Palm is an incredible structure to see during a day in Dubai

This 5-star resort on the crescent part of the island is easily identifiable for its regal, palatial style façade.

Atlantis, The Palm is more than just its high-end accommodations; it’s equally worth a trip for its many cool attractions like Aquaventure Water Park (a must-do for water park lovers), Lost Chamber Aquarium (which is a real stunner for its mysterious ambience and distinct exhibits), and Dolphin Bay with some adorable dolphins to give you company.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : Depending on what you wish to see or experience here, you’ll need an average of one to two hours.

Helicopter Ride

Want to cherish the splendor of this island in its true state? Hover above the island in an advanced helicopter equipped with the latest safety measures. Beyond the bird’s-eye view of this island, your pilot will regale you with some captivating facts about the island as well as its top highlights.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : Subject to your chosen flight package, it lasts for 12 minutes to 40 minutes.

This is especially recommended for those who wish to add a touch of wild fun and adventure to their sky-high Dubai sightseeing. With no interludes in between your jump from the aircraft and your way down, it’s one of the ultimate ways to take in the unequaled majesty of this man-made island.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : Sky diving lasts for not more than 15 to 20 minutes but the whole experience from check in to the pre-flight orientation will require at least two to three hours.

Monorail Ride

Not able to afford airborne sightseeing tours? Then a ride aboard the monorail does the job for you. And the bonus is that it covers almost the entire of this island in a 10 to 15 minutes ride.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : 10 minutes to 15 minutes

Laid out along the shorelines behind Atlantis, The Palm, this is one of the refreshing spots for the most scenic sea views and calm ambience. Many food trucks, souvenir shops, and other shops line the boardwalk and add to its vibrancy.

3. Old Dubai

Living up to your imagination, this neighborhood holds some of the area’s most historic and distinctive structures. The iconic Dubai Creek comprises this age-old part of Dubai, as does the Deira and Bur Dubai areas. Top attractions here include:

Al Bastakiya Quarter

Al Bastakiya Quarter in Dubai

It’s unimaginable for culture and history buffs to end up their 24-hour Dubai trip without traveling here. Also called Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, a visit to this 19th century era neighborhood is like stepping into an altogether different era, thanks to its many modest sand-colored structures that are still retained to their original state. Also don’t miss touring some of the area’s intriguing museums, art galleries, and landmarks such as Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : 30 minutes to 60 minutes

This charming area along the Creekside is bursting at the seams with some of the most amazing dining, leisure, and shopping options.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : 15 minutes to 30 minutes

Whether you’re a shopping fanatic or not, don’t leave Old Dubai without checking out the traditional Arabian bazaars or souks spread across Bur Dubai and Deira. There is Gold Souk, Perfume Souk, Textile Souk, and Spice Souk – each with its own intrinsic appeal and character.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : 60 minutes

An abra ride across Dubai Creek is one of the most cost effective things to do in Dubai, costing just AED 1 per ride.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : 30 minutes

4. Jumeirah

This coastal neighborhood is one of the most striking with its stunning beaches, lovely green parks, and a bevy of chic cafes, lively bars, and extraordinary accommodations. Along with these, it stands out for its attractions and sights like:

Burj Al Arab

Burj al Arab in Dubai should definitely be on your itinerary even if you only have 24 hours in Dubai

This is one of those Dubai landmarks which people don’t want to miss on their debut trip. After all, it’s iconic for its sail-shaped structure and also considered the only seven-star hotel in the world.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : 15 minutes to 60 minutes (if you plan for a dining session here)

Wild Wadi Water Park

This is one of Dubai’s perennial attractions. It has a variety of water-based rides, ranging from milder ones to thrilling slides and even a water rollercoaster. Wild Wadi Water Park also has onsite dining and shopping.

Recommended amount of time spent here: At least 60 minutes

Don’t miss this pulsating yet pristine beach if you seek water fun with cool activities such as parasailing, paddle boarding, and kite surfing.

Madinat Jumeirah

Fusing Arabian heritage with modernity, Madinat Jumeirah boasts four luxurious hotels, 40 plus dining choices, a traditional style souk, and a host of other facilities like Talise Spa.

Jumeirah Mosque

It’s one of the region’s oldest and most charming mosques and is open to non-Muslims as well.

5. Al Barsha

Al Barsha is a hotspot for dining, shopping, and leisure and entertainment. One of the most visited spots here is:

Entrance to Ski Dubai

It’s inside the Mall of the Emirates and is popular as the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort. Once you enter, you’ll forget for a bit that you’re in a searing desert city. With its snow-filled alpine settings, real-like skiing slopes, and a vast array of snow-themed rides and attractions, it gives you a feel of being in an authentic winter destination.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : At least 60 minutes

6. More Dubai Attractions / Activities

Desert Safari

Desert Safari in Dubai

If you get a chance to squeeze in this desert trip to your one day itinerary, don’t miss it. Dependent on your time, take a brief morning or an elaborate evening desert safari. Whichever you opt for, you’ll no doubt have a pulse-racing and fun-filled time amidst the incomparable serenity of Dubai’s desert landscape.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : 3 hours (Morning Desert Safari) to 6 hours (Evening Desert Safari)

Dhow Cruise

Dhow Cruise Ship in Dubai

This is one of the most ideal ways to end your Dubai visit. Surrounded by the most breathtaking Dubai night skyline vistas and complete with mind blowing live traditional performance and lavish buffet dining, a cruise in a traditional dhow gives you a slice of the timeless Arabian culture and heritage as well.

Recommended Amount of Time to Spend Here : Approximately 90 minutes

Seasonal Sights & Events

While the majority of attractions mentioned above can be experienced during any part of the year, Dubai’s seasonal attractions are those exclusively lined up for its winter months from late October to April. This ranges from Dubai Miracle Garden and Dubai Garden Glow to the grandest ever Dubai Shopping Festival and Global Village.

Best Places For Quick Shopping in Dubai

Dubai is a shoppers’ haven, so what’s a Dubai holiday without some retail therapy? Whether you’re looking for items from top-notch or even budget brands, more than 70 gigantic malls across the city have it all – The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Battuta Mall, Wafi Mall, and Deira City Centre are just some to name.

For bargain shopping, the souks across Bur Dubai and Deira will fetch you some unique souvenirs, apparels, and decorative items at rock-bottom rates. Want to scour more deals? Head to the spots such as Dubai Outlet Mall (where clearance sales are regular) and Dubai Flea Market, which exclusively hosts the sale of second hand, but well maintained items such as handicrafts, books, gadgets, and more.

Enjoy Your Day in Dubai!

That’s a wrap of our suggestions for your one day in Dubai itinerary! So if cobbling together diverse aspects of your mini Dubai getaway gets out of your hands, we anticipate that the above recommendations and tips would certainly prove beneficial for you.

About the Author: Neha is a travel blogger by profession and also an avid photographer. In her spare time, she loves spending time with her family, binge watching various series on Netflix, and painting. You can follow her writings on .

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The Ultimate One Day in Dubai Itinerary - Written by a Local

I'm a former travel agency marketing director turned freelance travel writer. My editorial and copywriting work has been published on and in USA TODAY, Travel + Leisure, the Travel Channel Cities app, TripSavvy, and many more online and print publications. I especially love sharing my knowledge of traveling with limited vacation time, making the most of cruise ports of call, and vacationing with kids. I also enjoy sharing my favorite travel gear and products to make traveling easier!

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The perfect 1 day in Dubai itinerary: Our 24 hours in the city

Museum of the Future 1

W hat can you do in Dubai in 24 hours, you ask? Well, we’re the right people to answer this question. Based on our vast experience of seven trips to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — two of which were layovers, as well as two all-inclusive packages, and three trips we’ve planned ourselves top to bottom — we know our way around the Dubai’s most notable sights.

Keep in mind that this article can also work if you have a two or three day stay in Dubai. Combine a few itineraries we’re going to mention and you have yourself a fabulous stopover in Dubai!

Article contents

  • First of all, is one day enough???
  • 15 Dubai’s landmarks we suggest including in your list
  • 5 one-day-in-Dubai itineraries for you to choose from

Where to eat?

  • Where to stay?
  • How to get around?

Tips for visiting Dubai in one day

Is 1 day enough for dubai important things to know.

CityWalk in Dubai

In all honesty, is one day enough when you’re traveling somewhere new? Obviously not! Even if it’s some remote village with a post office and a dirty puddle for a lake, you cannot get the vibe of the place right if you only spend 24 hours here.

And then there’s Dubai — the city where almost every attraction is fighting for the place in the Guinness World Records and where new spots are popping up faster than mushrooms after the rain. A great one day trip here can seem downright impossible to plan!

With all this in mind, you can try, however, to see as much of the notable sights as you can in Dubai and make every hour count. To do that, you have to have a clear itinerary to avoid disappointment of coming all the way to the place only to find out it’s closed or simply not worth it.

When traveling to the Emirates, you have to first and foremost choose the right time for your trip. We covered this topic to the best of our abilities in our article here . But if you want to get the gist of it, here it is:

  • Months from October till April are the best for a comfortable vacation in the Emirates: It’s not that hot, and you can spend time outside without the danger of dying from exposure.
  • Months from May to September are literal hell in Dubai, and the only fun you’ll have will be within the limits of air-conditioned spaces. Thankfully, there are a ton of those in the Emirate (don’t forget about the largest mall where you can spend days in, literally).

So, the question remains: What to do in Dubai in one day in 2024? You definitely wouldn’t want to travel far, which means desert safari and the Miracle Garden (world’s largest natural flower garden) are irrelevant to the plan.

The obvious choice tends to be a city tour, where a guide takes all the stress from creating your own itinerary and provides you with a great tried-and-tested one. You’ll find an endless array of the best Dubai’s tours as well as the admission tickets on the GetYourGuide or Viator tour services.

Obviously, there are a few tours that you can choose from, depending on your needs:

🚶 A walking tour (perfect for young couples), 🚌 a bus tour (great if you’re traveling with children or people who don’t appreciate walking a lot), 🚤 and even a speedboat tour (wonderful for adrenaline-seekers).

Do you want to have a little more freedom when it comes to your one day trip to Dubai? Well, you’re in luck: We’re here to give you a list of places most worth your time, energy, and money, and the way to combine them into one cohesive itinerary that you won’t regret following!

A perfect day in Dubai — what to see?

Marina beach Dubai 1

Before we give our planned out itineraries , we feel like it’s important to know a little about the places that are worth visiting. It’s true that Dubai is perfect for a quick layover, so we feel like you shouldn’t waste you precious hours on attractions that are subpar or in any way not live up to the hype around them.

Here are a few places that you can look into when planning your trip to Dubai: Plenty of them complement each other beautifully, so feel free to mix and match each spot according to your previous experience and hopes for the emotions you want to get out of your stay here.

Burj Khalifa

A crown jewel of Dubai — Burj Khalifa — is known world-wide as the tallest building and free-standing structure. It’s an obvious choice for Emirates visitors when met with a question of what to do in Dubai in one day in 2024.

Why? Well, apart from the impressive accolades, must-see landmark status and being one of the Insta locations in Dubai , the tower’s highest ranking (both literally and figuratively) can soon be challenged by one of the many current projects that “shoot for the stars” as well.

Thankfully, no matter the heights those future buildings are planning to reach, Burj Khalifa is guaranteed to stay one of the most popular attractions in Dubai (and, who are we kidding, in the world in general). If you only have 24 hours in Dubai and want to get the most all-encompassing views of the Emirate, then choosing one of the many of Burj Khalifa’s viewpoints should be your top priority for the day.

While the tower spans over more than 800 meters, not all of the floors can be accessed by the ordinary folk. Don’t get discouraged though, there are still a few amazing options here to enjoy stunning 360-degree views of Dubai:

  • The “At the Top” viewing deck , located on two floors of Burj Khalifa (124 and 125), is the most obvious choice for a traveler who wants to get crazy views while still somewhat sticking to a budget (even though you’ll still have to shell out almost $50 for the experience).
  • “Sky” deck , set a few levels higher (148 floor) is an option that is perfect for the people who crave all of their experience to have a “premium” flair to them. Even though the views do not differ that much (and you also get access to lower levels), it’s worth splurging out on if you want to have less people in your shots of Dubai’s grand skyline.

Tickets to Burj Khalifa >>

  • If you’re not exactly prone to vertiginousness and crave the ultimate bird’s-eye views of Downtown Dubai, paired nicely with a high-scale dinner experience, then The Lounge (located on level 152 through 154) is just what the doctor ordered! Uninterrupted views and scrumptious food — does it get more VIP than that? Well, when it comes to spending funds in Dubai, the sky is the limit: You can get a simple Lounge access with a light lunch for $200 , or you can add a Porsche transfer and foie gras (and eclairs) as gourmet menu items to the mix and spend a whopping $800 for the experience .

Choose your own Burj Khalifa adventure on GetYourGuide which is an authorized seller. And don’t forget to catch one more mandatory (in our mind) thing — a Dubai Fountain show. Depending on the viewing point, this stunning music, water, and light performance can be one of the best things to do in Dubai for free. Would you believe us that tons of tourists flock to the closest Apple store (!) to get their front-row “seats” for the show? While there are a few mid-day sessions, most of the fun happens at nighttime. Dubai Fountain evening show is on every 30 minutes, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. If you ask us, it’s the perfect way to end your Dubai one day itinerary.

Whew, we’re getting too ahead of ourselves: There’s so many things to do in Dubai in just one day, so let’s focus on those, before actually choosing the day’s end activity!

Dubai Mall

If you’re traveling to Dubai with an extra large suitcase half-empty “just in case”, then beeline straight to Dubai Mall as soon as your feet hit the Emirate ground. Conveniently located not too far from Burj Khalifa, this absolute mammoth of a structure is a heaven for shopaholics! Dubai Mall is considered to be the largest mall in the world, and how can you not a pay a visit to the place of this position?

One might wonder why to put going to a mall on your one day in Dubai itinerary, but the answer is simple. Especially in summer months, the temperatures outside can reach completely unbearable levels, leaving you to stick to large air-conditioned spaces, which Dubai Mall definitely is. What’s more, there are so many things to do here besides shopping! Yes, the retail therapy part is a prominent one, with stores like Bloomingdale’s and Galeries Lafayette begging you to spend the last of your hard-earned cash on a new Balenciaga bag or Chanel ballet flats while you’re here, but that’s not all.

Dubai Mall is the ultimate family destination where Dubai Aquarium (one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world; tickets cost 150 AED / $41) and Underwater Zoo provide ample entertainment options for both kids and adults. If your little ones aren’t big fans of “looking at things” (although we highly doubt that the aquarium’s very own King Croc can leave them unimpressed for long), the mall also houses an indoor ice rink (90–110 AED / $24.5–$30), which is perfect for every active rugrat in need of burning off extra energy. Trust us, after a day at Dubai Mall, both you and your children will sleep like logs!

Palm Jumeirah

The View At The Palm

Palm Jumeirah is the obvious choice for tourists who want a humble mix of unique luxury and easy-on-the-pocket attractions (although the island isn’t at all budget-friendly in general). Even if it’s your first time in the Emirate, you’ve probably seen snippets of the island online. The unforgettable date palm-shaped construction with a circular frame around, it has long been the talk of the town online.

There’s no entry fee to the island itself (hello, there are people residing in the homes on the branches), but if you want to get the best views of the Palm, you’ll have to pay to up a little. The View at the Palm observation deck ($19), located by the base of the island’s “trunk”, inside the tall Palm Tower , is the ultimate destination for sprawling views of the island (and also the stunning Dubai Marina skyline on the other side). All in all, it covers the bulk of places in the question of what to see in Dubai in one day, as you can witness them from the 52th floor of the tower.

Side note: Keep in mind that you can always get even higher over the Palm Jumeirah. The majority of Dubai’s helicopter tours have their base here, and the first thing you get to see as you soar into the air is the elaborate structure of the island.

But what if you want to go to the very end of the Palm, its top part? Well, there’s always an option to book a suite at the world-famous Atlantis Hotel . But it’s otherworldly expensive, and not something accessible to an average Joe. So, another alternative would be going all the way to the end of the palm’s tree trunk, to the Pointe , set right across the bay from the Atlantis Hotel. What is the Pointe, exactly? It’s an up-and-coming area of the Palm, full of high-end boutiques, world-class restaurants and ample entertainment options.

  • Souk Madinat Jumeirah

Souk Madinat Jumeirah

Meandering around the souk proves to be a worthy endeavor, both in a matter of buying presents for your loved ones back home (a short stay in Dubai doesn’t excuse the lack of souvenirs, we all know that) and also in having the absolute best time of your life!

Despite the look and feel of a traditional souk, the space seems to be leisurely and unhurried. Take in the wonderful Arabic architecture (earth-toned everything with multi-level clusters of constructions), the palm-lined net of canals (that could give Venice a run for its money in no time) and, drumroll please…. The views of the iconic sail-shaped hotel, the pearl of Dubai coast — Burj Al Arab !

If you’re tired of all the walking among the peacock-colored stalls filled to the brim with goods and trinkets, you can either:

  • Pop into one of more than 50 (!) restaurants and cafes scattered around the premises.
  • Or rest your feet in a more elaborately entertaining way by going on a boat ride on the canal. Traditional abra boats (imagine Arabic-style gondolas) will take you on a picturesque ride on serene waterways that will open you up to new views on every turn. Sit back, relax, and take in as much sights as you can!
  • Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina beach in september

Our personal favorite Dubai neighborhood! Located right on the coast, it is a wonderful mix of urban sights and a beach getaway . Always fun, always teeming with tourists and residents, and practically overflowing with entertainment options, this is the mecca for both the Bohemian crowd and the laid-back traveler types.

Get a taste of the UAE beaches here without actually committing to a full-on beach day in one of a couple spots we will put on the list next (keep reading, they’re a treat)! Apart from the lively shoreline, another part of Dubai Marina is super modern and metropolitan. This doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t see anything but high-rise buildings as you stroll among Dubai Marina streets. Turn your gaze to Bluewaters Island , for example — another Dubai’s man-made island created just off-shore of the Marina. The star of the area is the gigantic Ain Dubai — world’s biggest Ferris wheel that can be seen from virtually every point in the neighborhood. More on this peculiar island later!

Side note: Ain Dubai is temporarily closed, so even though you won’t get to experience the ride to the top (we wouldn’t advice you taking it anyway: It’s way too slow, and you don’t have that much time if you only have 24 hours in Dubai!), you can still marvel at its sheer magnitude as you stand below it.

To get the full taste of Dubai Marina, you will have to carve out a little more time for your Emirate vacation. The majority of entertainment options here are pretty time-consuming. Take yacht tours, for example — you don’t want to rush the experience of looking out on Dubai Marina coastline from the water! Who are we to deprive you of this joy, however? Try and fit in a breakfast rendezvous on a luxury yacht, and let the whole world wait!

Get sea-sick easily but still want to grab a bite of something scrumptious to eat? Not a problem! No matter what time of day it is, you can easily find a place that serves delicious food in Dubai Marina (after all, we can’t think of a place in the Emirate with such high concentration of food establishments as Dubai Marina). It’s easy to get lost in the head-spinning variety of choices, so we narrowed them down to three spots you have to try out first if you have a limited time in Dubai. Here they are:

  • Angel Cakes (Bluewaters Island) — trendy, all-organic, wellness-inspired café. What does it mean? Think healthy brunches, refined sugar-free and gluten-free desserts (49 AED / $13), tasty coffee (25–35 AED / $6.8–$9.5) and angel superfood bar (which, as we’ve come to find out, is a selection of marzipan bars mixed with supplements). Even if you’re not a GOOP-centric person and if Gwyneth Paltrow would 100% judge your diet choices, this place is still worth a shot — get their carrot cake and thank us later!
  • Roasters Specialty Coffee House (Dubai Marina) — mecca for coffee connoisseurs, their pure grade high-quality coffee blends (30 AED / $8) are guaranteed to blow your socks off! Their cold brew is simply out of this world, especially when paired with one of their delectable breakfast options: Whether you’re a berry loaded acai bowl or a simple cheesy omelet kinda guy or gal, you will find something that will rock your tastebuds (in the best way possible).
  • Operation: Falafel (Dubai Marina) — self-proclaimed best casual dining experience, and we’re not here to challenge this title. Their falafels, hummus, labneh, manaaesh, as well as all kinds of wraps and platters deserve all possible awards! Grab yourself a refreshing Laban Ayran and build-your-own sliders or wraps box (20–25 AED / $5–$6.8) and you’ll be all set for the day!

La Mer

When the question of what should I not miss in Dubai arises during October through May, then heading to one of the best beaches of Dubai — La Mer — seems like an obviously great idea. When the sun rays are finally not trying to kill you (or at least make you all red and peely all over), then getting an authentic Dubai beach experience should be at the top of your day agenda!

Currently under a massive reconstruction, the beach itself and its coastal areas are getting pampered to the max. To see the destination in all its prime and glory though, you will have to wait until the first quarter of 2024. While some businesses get a much needed makeover, others, sadly, seem to be shut down completely: The crowd favorite Laguna Waterpark has closed its doors in March.

Side note: Wild Wadi Waterpark , located in Jumeirah, can be a great alternative to the now closed Laguna Waterpark.

The South part of La Mer is almost done with the renovations. You can already go out and explore the premises, see what’s new the area has to offer. If you get hungry in the process, we suggest popping in either one of these wonderful establishments:

  • Comptoir 102 — what the kids these days are calling a concept store, this healthy café is set on bringing you the ultimate wellness experience: You can kick back with a … no, not beer, obviously, but a “vitality” shot of apple cider vinegar (18 AED / $5), chased with some detoxifying water (29 AED / $8) and a bite of something protein-rich and healthy (60–80 AED / $16–$22). Take in the rustic surroundings, and then stroll around the small adjacent boutique. There’s everything, starting from home goods, to jewelry and cleaning supplies. You can even stock up on sunscreen, before heading back out under the unforgiven Dubai sun.
  • 11 Woodfire — a Michelin-star restaurant well-loved for all things grilled. Their open kitchen and outdoor grill bring the guests in and don’t let them leave without eating their weight in Woodfire’s mouth-watering dishes. Seafood, meat cuts, vegetables — everything is cooked over open fire, with different kinds of wood (be it oak, chicory, or some other sort) adding a distinctive taste to the dishes (from 80 AED to 400 AED / $22–$110). This is the place to be if you’re simply ravenous after a full day of walking and swimming. Don’t come here too early, otherwise you’ll be too full to keep exploring the area!

Kite beach Dubai

Kite Beach has lots of bragging rights in contrast with other beaches in Dubai — it has a super long (and wide) stretch of white pristine sand, a nice boardwalk running alongside the beach area, and a pretty developed infrastructure (don’t forget tons of cafes and restaurants nearby).

A perfect spot to start your one day in Dubai right: Get up at the crack of dawn (before the sun actually has a chance to get all riled up and relentlessly hot), and head on over to Kite Beach. What does one do here this early in the morning? Well, it’s the place to squeeze in some physical activity to get your body ready for the day ahead. Swim, run, bike, work out at the designated gym area — whatever floats your boat.

If, however, you like to start your day with something more adrenaline-inducing (so that you can skip your morning coffee altogether), Kite Beach is the mecca of all kinds of extreme-ish sports: Kite surfing, paddleboarding, water skiing, you name it — they got it!

Now, obviously such a strenuous physical activity requires a substantial amount of fuel. Thankfully, Kite Beach has a lot of great food options to choose from. To make your life easier, we’ve narrowed the list down to two places you absolutely must check out when spending time at Kite Beach:

  • SALT Burger — iconic burger bar right by the beach, it combines indoor and outdoor seating with a touch of the restaurant’s humble beginnings as a take-out food truck. Our advice: Forget your diet and get as much food as you can. Their original juicy sliders (30–45 AED / $8–$12) are total flavor bombs, and soft-serve ice cream (25 AED / $7) will cool you off in no time. You can take care of your cholesterol levels somewhere else, this is the place for indulgence!
  • HEAL — the name of the place paired with the restaurant’s interior can be summed up in one word: Bliss. Here, you can let all your troubles go as you’re comforted by clean white lines and terracotta details. Their menu is overflowing with the mouth-watering healthier takes of traditional dishes — starting from a simple coconut milk porridge (50 AED / $13.5) or a breakfast avo toasty (57 AED / $15.5), going all the way to grilled salmon and cooked-to-perfection seabass (75 AED / $20.5), your tastebuds are guaranteed to have a field day, while your body is also getting proper nutrition. Don’t forget to grab something from the HEAL Home collection before you leave: We’re sure your suitcase can fit a couple of candles; their scent is simply too good to pass up!

Al Fahidi Historical district

Al Fahidi

Located within historical Bur Dubai neighborhood, Al Fahidi district is what you would imagine Dubai to look like dozens of years ago: Low-built structures, narrow streets (reminiscent of a medina), and, of course, important historical landmarks.

The usual destinations that call the name of Al Fahidi visitors are Dubai Museum (currently closed for restoration) and Al Farooq Mosque (one of the few mosques of the Emirate that are open to visitors).

Of course, you can simply walk along the Dubai Creek and call it a night: The vast boardwalk and calm creek waters are worthy of simple and content appreciation. But if your mind is in dire need of some exercise and you have a couple of hours to spare, head on over to the newest addition to Dubai’s Heritage Village: Al Shindagha Museum (50 AED / $13.5). Trust us, being not huge history fans ourselves, we still managed to have a good time here. We believe that it’s partly because of the mix of outside and inside spaces, and partly because the installations entertain all of your senses. Don’t believe us? Peek inside the museum’s Perfume House for a chance to “sniff your way” through the Emirate history.

Side note: Among other notable Al Shindagha’s pavilions, we can highlight the former home of the Emirate’s ruling family — Al Maktoum Residence . Built in a shape of a riad, with a big courtyard in the middle, it’s a fascinating spot to learn all about the choices the Arabic royals made to develop such a future-forward sprawling megapolis out of a tiny fishing village.

  • Alserkal Avenue

Alserkal Avenue

Modern art lovers unite! Alserkal Avenue is the area that combines dozens of art spaces and businesses under one roof. Well, technically, not one roof: The Avenue is located in a former industrial compound and is spread across three rows of warehouses (90 buildings in total). What was once a marble factory has been converted to a net of galleries, restaurants, community areas, shops, artist studios, and other spots that can be pretty hard to define.

A hub of all things creative, there’s always something happening within its walls. Workshops, exhibitions, pop-ups, movie screenings, festivals and the like. It’s good to know that Alserkal Avenue is free to enter, but some activities may require a fee (it’s best to figure that out beforehand).

Our favorite destination in all the wide variety of Alserkal Avenue spaces is Leila Heller Gallery — its curators always have a great mix of works by both Western and Middle Eastern artists. Originating from the Land of the Free, the exhibition schedule of the gallery is very dynamic. Every time you come here you are guaranteed to witness some new unique contemporary works by artists from all over the world.

You can spend hours popping in and out of the complex’s spaces, grabbing a bite to eat from the many diversely unique eateries, or browsing the shelves of the shops. Home goods, jewelry, and even chocolate treats are bound to find their way into your hands, no matter how much you resist the temptation! While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have the time to watch a movie if you only have 24 hours in Dubai, you can put this activity on the list of things to do in the Emirate next time you visit!

  • Bluewaters Island

Dubai Marina and Bluewaters Island

As we’ve probably mentioned before, Bluewaters Island is another man-made island sitting by the coast of the Emirate. Most people know of the island because of Ain Dubai (the largest Ferris wheel in the world) that crowns the area. While it’s true that this attraction is one of the most notable ones on the island, this area hasn’t become the ultimate residential and tourist destination thanks to the Ferris wheel only. There are hundreds of retail and entertainment spaces on the island, as well as sought-after dining establishments and welcoming community spaces.

If time permits, pop into Madame Tussauds wax museum located on Bluewaters Island. It’s a fun experience for both adults and children. Imagine you’re singing a duet with a wax figure of Lady Gaga or shaking the hand of David Beckham — an all-around wonderful time!

The main activity on the island, however, is simply strolling along its perimeter, taking in awe-striking views of water panoramas and grandiose JBR wall of high-rises. Bluewaters Island is a great little detour that you can do while in the general Dubai Marina area: It doesn’t take much time to explore it but the experiences you get are one-of-a-kind!

  • The Green Planet

The Green Planet

Located in one of Dubai’s busiest areas — City Walk — The Green Planet (140 AED / $38) is an essential stop for every Emirate visitor traveling with family. You can’t miss the building even if you wanted to: It looks like some elaborate art object, square in shape, with circular holes and geometrical lines all over; the core of the structure is a glass, see-through cylinder.

What is the Green Planet, exactly? It’s an educational and recreational facility that is focused on bringing knowledge about the natural world closer to an average person. A so-called biodome contains a completely enclosed ecosystem, full of more than 3,000 species of animals, birds, and plants. Walking inside the building, you feel like you’re transported thousands of miles away from the surrounding Arabian desert — deep into a rainforest. A giant artificial tree sits at the center of the attraction, with its many branches almost supporting the entire structure.

There are so many levels to this bio-diverse ecosystem: Each set with multimedia installations, but more importantly, the unique live inhabitants. Snakes, parrots, all sorts of fish families, and even a free-roaming sloth are the creatures you’re bound to run into once inside.

Tickets to Green Planet >>

Side note: To get a proper look of the whole attraction, go up to the suspension bridge and enjoy the bird’s-eye view of the jungle.

As for other attractions, kids will be ecstatic to learn that there are plenty of one-on-one encounters with the animals, as well as performances, educational programs, and a unique chance to play zookeeper for a day. Keep in mind your time constraints though, as it is easy to get lost inside for hours on end.

  • Dubai Frame

Dubai Frame viewpoint

Taking the time to go up and enjoy city views should always be at the top of the list of things to do in Dubai in 1 day. While Burj Khalifa might not be everybody’s cup of tea (the tickets tend to be quite pricey), the panorama is no less spectacular from one of another Dubai’s mammoth structures — Dubai Frame .

It looks like a giant knocked his colossal picture frame straight off the nightstand. The exterior’s elaborately carved golden sheen glistens under the sun at its peak, and the see-through blue-hued strips where the elevators go up and down to the viewing deck add a nice touch to the structure’s overall appearance.

Dubai Frame entry fee is mere 55 AED ($15) per adult and 30 AED ($8) per kid (3–12 years). For this humble price, you get a myriad of fun experiences! Among them are two exhibitions: One showcasing Dubai’s past, the other lifting the veil into the Emirate’s future.

Dubai Frame is one of the last (but definitely not least) of the Dubai’s attractions that we visited, and we cannot believe it took us so long to discover this wonderful gem!

Side note: A visit here works especially well with a combo visit to another attraction on our list — the world-famous Museum of the Future .

  • Museum of the Future

Museum of the Future 2

Museum of the Future is one of the best places to visit in Dubai in 1 day if you love learning about the latest advancements and the ways we as humans technologically plan to shape the years to come.

Side note: It’s important to mention that you have to buy tickets to the museum (149 AED / $41) well beforehand, at least three weeks in advance, as the demand stays high year-round.

Why all the commotion around a simple museum? Well, Museum of the Future in Dubai is nothing but simple. Look at the building itself, for example — is it an eye? An egg? Who knows! The unique shape is accentuated with carved out Arabic writings, and the top-of-the-hill location plays a role of a pedestal.

But don’t you worry, the fun doesn’t stop once inside:

  • The lobby (together with the giant spiral staircase) adds to the overall vibe of grandeur; and the flying (yes, literally flying) robo penguins and jellyfish (as well as a friendly, albeit earth-bound, robodog) help you spend your time waiting in line more cheerfully.
  • The elevator, which is made to look like a rocket ship, takes you to the OSS Hope Station (in space, sort of).
  • Once back on solid ground, you’re led into entrancing multimedia exhibitions: Some of them concerned with the preservation of species, some with the time we need to spend disconnected from technology, some with the latest technological gadgets and gizmos… It’s hard to sum up all the experiences, but if you want to learn more before going, we suggest you consult with our Museum of the Future article .

As always, don’t forget about the time: After all, even a simple viewing deck located inside the “hole” part of the structure can mesmerize you for hours on end. Keep to the schedule, people, we only have one day in Dubai!

  • La Perle by Dragone

La Perle by Dragone

In all seriousness, do you ever wonder why the answers to the question of how to spend 1 day in Dubai rarely include catching an evening show? During our first visits to the Emirate we were puzzled by the lack of answers of how to finish the day if you only have 24 hours in the city. Think about it: You’re exhausted from walking around all day, and you need to squeeze in something wildly entertaining for a couple of hours before finally hitting pause on the day. In our mind, getting tickets to La Perle by Dragone seems like a good touch to end the day on a high note (tickets from 209 AED / $57).

It’s a live show playing inside theatre in Al Habtoor City , and can only be described as an explosion of flamboyance and artistry. Not to spoil or give anything away, but you’re guaranteed to be hypnotized by the talented acrobats, tightrope walkers, and other artists all taking part in a one-of-a-kind massive production. Imagine Middle Eastern-style performance reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil , but with the addition of the water element. It’s a sight that you definitely shouldn’t miss if you have the opportunity to witness it firsthand!

Tickets to La Perle by Dragon show >>

Beach clubs

Beach club in Dubai

Of course, there are always tourists craving something more than an ordinary beach outing (especially in Dubai, the Emirate that has the word “luxury” as its synonym). For this exact reason, might we present a couple of spots that take leisuring on the beach to a whole new level — Dubai’s very best beach clubs:

  • Summersalt (admission ticket is 500 AED / $135) — one of the more exclusive spots in Dubai, this beach club is one of the best places to admire the iconic Burj Al Arab. The uninterrupted views of the hotel are worth every penny you spend here, in our opinion. The overall experience here is highlighted by the utmost best quality of food. We know that a strong menu isn’t something people usually base their beach club experiences on, but if you do decide to spend time inside Summersalt, make sure you’re hungry! A strong Japanese influence can be seen coursing throughout their menu options, but whatever you order, a food coma is guaranteed!

Side note: Keep in mind that if you want to spend your 1-day Dubai itinerary in style, Dubai’s beach clubs can often be seen partnering up with high-fashion brands. Summersalt is no exception: It has recently held a Jimmy Choo pop-up that enhanced the otherwise muted and nautical-hued amenities of the club with bright pops of fuchsia pink and bright orange, bringing a whole new vibe to both outdoor beachfront area and also indoor spaces. Pumps and high heels aren’t usually beach appropriate footwear, but this designer pop-up might say otherwise: In any case, keep your hand on the pulse of what Summersalt is going to do next. It’s all very exciting!

  • Twiggy by La Cantine (sunbed is 200 AED / $55) — usually considered the best beach club in Dubai, Twiggy by La Cantine takes a unique approach to garnering the holidaymakers’ attention: The club’s location on Dubai Creek is a choice that can be most attributed to this spot’s fame and glory. While all the other beach clubs mostly set in Dubai Marina and Jumeirah neighborhoods have to fight for the beachgoers’ time, Twiggy sits back and lets the crowds found the space on their own accord. After all, it’s one of the only high-end beach clubs in the Deira district of Dubai. Upscale lounging amenities paired well with stunning views of the creek and a giant infinity pool are exactly the things that attract tourists by the handful. Try and make reservations in advance, this club is a slice of heaven that tons of people want to experience annually.

Side note: Since we’ve already brought up the topic of high fashion, we can’t help but mention the club’s recent collaboration with Ralph Lauren — who knew that the brand’s usually countryside- and horse riding-inspired vibe can be translated so beautifully into the heart of beach activities in Dubai? Twiggy’s visitors had a unique opportunity to see the brand’s newest collection and experience the nice touches that Ralph Lauren team brought to the club: Starting from the customized chaises and cabanas and passing over all the way to the food, with American classics being a huge hit!

Dubai itineraries for you to choose from

Skyview observatory skywalk

Now that you’re familiar with the elements you can fill your 1-day Dubai itinerary with, we’ve gone ahead and compiled five pre-planned guides (with a bonus one) that can help you spend a perfect day in Dubai without having to stop and think about your next destination.

Side note: If you cherish freedom in your travel days, feel free to mix and match the attractions in a way that best fits your agenda.

1. Classic “One-Day-In-Dubai” itinerary:

  • Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall (observation deck is optional)
  • Palm Jumeirah (the View at the Palm and the Pointe)
  • Al Fahidi district (if you still have time and energy)
  • Dubai Fountain show

🏨Accommodation option: 3* Citymax Al Barsha (from $95 per night)

2. Kid-friendly itinerary:

  • Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
  • Wild Wadi Waterpark

🏨Accommodation option: 4* DoubleTree by Hilton – Al Barsha (from $100 per night)

3. A luxury itinerary:

  • A helicopter tour
  • Summersalt/Twiggy by La Cantine beach club
  • Burj Khalifa VIP experience (with dinner)

🏨Accommodation option: 5* Atlantis The Royal (from $850 per night)

4. Museum Day in Dubai:

  • Al Shindagha Museum

🏨Accommodation option: 4* Metropolitan Hotel Dubai (from $185 per night)

5. For people who believe they’ve already seen everything in Dubai:

  • The View at the Palm or the newest viewpoint of SkyDeck Observatory
  • Kite Beach Walk
  • Dubai Design District

🏨Accommodation option: 5* Address Beach Resort (from $685 per night)

Breakfast in Dubai

While we’ve already mentioned a few food spots that you can check out while near any of the beaches on our list, we couldn’t leave you hanging without adding a few more of our favorite city-bound establishments. After all, it wouldn’t be an article about things to do in one day in Dubai without the call to eat at as many cafes and restaurants as possible: Dubai’s food culture is clearly off-the-charts here!

Side note: For your convenience (we know how hard it is to navigate in a new foreign city), we’ve divided the places based on the landmarks that can be found nearby. You’re welcome!

Places near Burj Khalifa :

  • Time Out Market — a tried-and-tested hotspot for top-notch culinary experiences, Time Out Market is set smack dab in the center of Downtown Dubai, covering a huge space inside the Souk Al Bahar . Apart from a rich and diverse program of shows and events, this place offers the best food Dubai has to offer, no matter the season: 20 food concepts provide a ton of choices to feel your plate with. Be it Greek, Portuguese, or Italian cuisine; a vine bar or a coffee shop that you’re looking for — you’re guaranteed to find it here.
  • Wild & the Moon — in particular LA-like fashion, this vegan/vegetarian restaurant covers all the buzz words: Plant-based, gluten-free, local, organic, no additives, and even mylks… The food here is supposed to be good for both yourself and the planet: The ultimate guilt-free indulgence. In short, we recommend popping inside and getting one of their cold-pressed juices: They’re wonderfully refreshing in hot Emirate climate.
  • Hoof café — the ultimate destination for coffee aficionados: Their single origin coffee is worth the entire trip to Dubai to begin with! But don’t stop there: Pair their signature coffee drinks with some of their delectable menu items. Depending what you’re in the mood for: Something simple, like banana bread or french toast, or something a little bit more experimental, like wagyu sandwich or baked Alaska dessert — you’re in for a treat!

Places near Burj Al Arab :

  • 21grams Urban Balkan Bistro — an absolute gem of great food in Dubai, 21grams bistro brings all the delicacies of the Balkan region straight to the Emirates. You can expect giant sharing platters, as well as crazy delicious mains, like lamb shank or kebabs. Your sweet tooth will also be satisfied: You should always leave some room for Turkish coffee and baklava, that’s the rule!
  • Your Address Coffee — we’ve been dreaming about this place’s toffee date cake ever since we’ve tried it! Your Address Coffee is a perfect spot to kick your heels and relax a little with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a small sweet treat, recollecting the memories you’ve made in your day in Dubai so far.

Places on Palm Jumeirah :

  • The Byron Bathers Club — Dubai’s very own Australian oasis, the Byron Bathers Club is a popular destination among the Palm Jumeirah visitors. The freshest seafood and the booziest cocktails await those stumbling upon this highly coveted spot. Their regular Oyster & Mussels days prove to be a total hit, so try to book a table beforehand! Sitting under the shade of palm trees while on “the” Palm is a one-of-a-kind experience, that’s for sure!
  • %Arabica — baguettes, soft-serve ice-cream, and, most importantly, coffee, — the ultimate lunch date combo, in our opinion. Join the army of tourists walking around the Palm with a cup marked “%” in the middle: The epitome of IYKYK talk.

Coffeeshop in Dubai AlSerkal

Places by Alserkal Avenue :

  • FOMO Burger — who needs McDonald’s when there’s FOMO Burger in Dubai? One look at their trendy holographic food packaging intrigues you to take a peek inside, where you see every American’s dinner classic — the BURGER. The name of the joint suggest you run here as fast as you can to avoid getting that fear of missing out on this iconic spot!
  • Pekoe tea & bread bar — a lovely small-batch Asian bakery that serves treats worthy of any Studio Ghibli movie. Being huge coffee drinkers, we still love this spot’s dedication to all things tea: There’s matcha, iced tea, cold brew tea, all the works! P.S.: Don’t forget to snag a loaf of bread for a walk back home: It’ll be gone before you reach your hotel!

We know that the most important activity in a new place is exploring its culinary scene, so we went ahead and added all the spots mentioned throughout the article into one map: That way, you can always look up the closest food joint any time you get hungry during your one day in Dubai.

Where to stay in Dubai?

Hotel in Dubai

Even if you only have 24 hours in Dubai, you still need to find a place to crash and shut your eyes (preferably in a nice bed, since your weary tourist body has been through a lot).

What are the characteristics we usually look for when choosing a hotel in Dubai perfect for a short stay in the Emirate? Well, besides the usual standards of cleanliness and service, we shoot for the hotels that are located close to a metro station. No matter how far from the proverbial Dubai “city center” the hotel is situated, we know we’ll get to Downtown Dubai in record time.

We’ve gone through the trouble of testing out a few of the hotels that we believe are just what you need if you have only one day to spend in Dubai. Here’s the short (albeit completely fleshed out) list:

  • 5* Stella Di Mare Dubai Marina Hotel (from $180 per night) — in the best tradition of Art Deco style, the common spaces of Stella Di Mare sport the interiors pleasing to the eye: At times dark, symmetrical, with geometric lines that help you relax at an instance, even after a hard travel day. Located within walking distance of Dubai Marina and JBR, the hotel has a gentle mix of almost hazy city views paired with panoramas of the marina. Five-star status of the hotel guarantees top-class amenities and the best overall treatment: Your every issue will be resolved in an instant. Our advice: Book yourself a massage for the time of your arrival; that way, you’ll be in the right mindset to appreciate the finer things the hotel has to offer.
  • 4* Wyndham Dubai Deira (from $130 per night) — right on par with the neighborhood the hotel sits in the middle of, the interiors can only be described as “50 shades of beige”: Modern rooms and airy spaces make for a perfect palate cleanser to come back to after a busy day of sightseeing and adventures in the Emirate. Can’t leave work behind even on vacation? Not a problem, since the hotel has a few conference and meeting rooms that hit the spot for every traveling workaholic. Don’t forget to take a dip in an outdoor pool to make all your worries melt away: You deserve the best, and Dubai is more than happy to accommodate your every need!
  • 4* DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Dubai – Al Barsha (from $105 per night) — one of our favorite places to stay at in Dubai, be it a short stay or a long vacation: In our opinion, the price-quality ratio of this Hilton hotel is the best in the Emirate. Though not as pretentious-looking as the previously mentioned contenders, DoubleTree gets the job done: It’s comfortable, with great location, not that expensive, and provides the usual list of amenities one might need for a pleasant stay.
  • 4* Carlton Downtown Hotel (from $150 per night) — if you’ve been dreaming about one day waking up to the view of Burj Khalifa out of your window, then booking a suite in Carlton should be your top priority. We know that the views opening up from the decks of Burj Khalifa are mind-blowing, but they lack one thing: The view of the building itself, which is such a shame! Carlton hotel’s location is adjacent to Downtown Dubai, so you can easily spend your morning enjoying the views of the skyscrapers, while planning your one day in Dubai itinerary. That’s a win in our book!
  • 3* Gateway Hotel (from $135 per night) — the more budget-friendly choice for travelers that are conscious of their spending. Even though the hotel is located not too far from Meena Bazaar (which can be proven to be a strain on your wallet, since no tourist can resist the temptation of buying a few special trinkets to remember your trip by), you are guaranteed to save plenty of money if you stay here. The abra station is close, the airport is 15 minutes away, and all the historical Dubai landmarks are just around the corner, — transportation will be the last thing you’ll have to worry about. All in all, the rooms are nice, the staff is welcoming, and the amenities (like a gym and a spa center) are in great condition. A solid choice for a short stay in Dubai; a real getaway into the city.

Atlantis The Royal

  • 5* Atlantis The Royal (from $850 per night) — in stark contrast with the hotel counterpart above, Atlantis The Royal is one of the more lavish and extravagant accommodation options you can shoot for while in Dubai! While not exactly being metro-adjacent, this hotel is not really about being easily accessible, in every sense of the world. Staying here presupposes you using helicopters to get around Dubai, and while it can be arranged for some, the majority of tourists can only dream about staying here. The hotel’s Tetris-like shape is definitely intriguing, and their wonderful pool area and pristine white beach with crystal-clear water can definitely be a source of envy, even if only through social media.

How to get around Dubai in one day

Metro in dubai

Since Dubai is as far from the label of a walkable city as we are from being royal descendants (definitely not), then the question of getting around Dubai is a pretty important one to figure out beforehand. What are your main options?

  • Hail a cab in the street (a 15–20 minute ride will cost you around 25–35 AED / $7–$10); but if you aren’t a fan of being all spontaneous, you can call an Uber (it can sometimes be a little more expensive though, so keep that in mind).
  • Take a metro: Since you only have one day in Dubai, you can avoid getting a Nol Card and simply get single-ride tickets each time (4–8.5 AED / $1–$2.3). Public transport in Dubai is pretty developed, and even though metro stations are few and far between, you can catch a tram or a bus right to your destination.
  • Use the service of a hop-on hop-off bus (from 280 AED / $76) and explore the most famous Dubai attractions at your own pace, although on a pre-planned route.

Miracle Garden in Dubai

Now that your day in Dubai is planned and ready to be conquered, there are some things to know before you go on your adventure of a lifetime:

✔️ Because you only have one day in the city, we’d advise you splurge on taking exclusively taxi rides from attraction to attraction. It saves you a ton of time, and the chances of you getting lost are now close to zero. Efficiency over everything!

✔️ Like a true scout, always be prepared: That means wearing modest clothing (the men should also avoid wearing short shorts to a mosque), bringing a head cover with you (ladies-only), and having enough water to last you between places (to avoid dehydration in hot weather).

✔️ Adhere to local traditions: Even though more than half of Dubai’s population are expats, there are still laws that can be enforced (and often are enforced, to a varying degree). So, do not express any PDA in public (no kissing, even if it’s your partner), don’t dance or sing in the streets, don’t be publicly intoxicated or take your beer bottle out of the restaurant and into the street.

✔️ Also, in the age of Instagram and bloggers, don’t take pictures of the Emiratees (especially women) without asking them first. It should be common knowledge, but tourists tend to let this one slide at times.

✔️ Don’t spend too much time in one place! If you’ve decided on a schedule, stick to it: There’s always next time, and Dubai will be waiting for you, in all of its magnificent and ever-evolving glory!

Well, here it is, folks! We hope that our Dubai in one day guide eased a little bit of your travel planning stress, leaving you with more energy to actually enjoy and appreciate the amazing Dubai landmarks. If you have any questions regarding the topic of short trips to Dubai, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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  • UAE 1-Day Itinerary And Tours

UAE 1-Day Tours and Itineraries

Discover the best 1-Day multi-day tours in UAE with Bookmundi. We offer a total of 54 UAE 1-Day tours and itineraries with 5 customer reviews.

  • UAE Travel Guide
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54 Trips in UAE with 5 Reviews

Burj Khalifa At The Top - Sky Ticket (Level 125 + 148) Tour

  • Starts Dubai, UAE
  • Ends Dubai, UAE

Burj Khalifa At the Top - Sky Ticket (Level 125 + 148)

  • Trip customizable
  • Best price guaranteed
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Activities Sightseeing Tours
  • Accommodation No Accommodation
  • Age Range 1-79 yrs
  • Operated in English
  • View More Jan 1, 2019 Jan 2, 2019 Jan 3, 2019

Full Day Abu Dhabi Tour With Lunch

Full Day Abu Dhabi Tour with Lunch

  • Free cancellation
  • Activities Cultural, religious and historic sites
  • Age Range 5-79 yrs

99 Min - Premium Sightseeing Dubai Tour + Burj Al Arab

99 Min - Premium Sightseeing Dubai Tour + Burj Al Arab

  • Tour Type Private Tour
  • Age Range 5-99 yrs

Dubai Desert Dune Safari With BBQ Dinner Tour

Dubai Desert Dune Safari with BBQ Dinner

  • Activities Adventure & Desert safaris Adventure , Desert safaris & Dune Bashing 'data-more-tripid='6539'>+1 more

'At The Top' 124th Floor - Burj Khalifa Entrance Ticket Tour

'At The Top' 124th Floor - Burj Khalifa Entrance Ticket

  • Age Range 1-99 yrs

Dubai Private Sightseeing Boat Tour

Dubai Private Sightseeing Boat Tour

  • Activities Sailing, yachting and motor boating
  • Age Range 2-79 yrs

60 Min - Marina Cruise Sightseeing Dubai Tour

60 Min - Marina Cruise Sightseeing Dubai Tour

Scuba Diving Experience With BBQ Lunch Tour

Scuba Diving Experience with BBQ Lunch

  • Tour Type Small Group Tour
  • Activities Scuba diving
  • Operated in Arabic, English

Abu Dhabi Evening Desert Safari With BBQ Dinner Tour

  • Starts Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Ends Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi Evening Desert Safari With BBQ Dinner

  • Activities Desert safaris & Culture shows and excursions

75 Min - The Atlantis Sightseeing Boat Tour Dubai Marina

75 Min - The Atlantis Sightseeing Boat Tour Dubai Marina

  • Activities Sailing, yachting and motor boating & Sightseeing Tours

Dubai Marina Dinner Cruise Tour

Dubai Marina Dinner Cruise

  • Activities Cruise

Abu Dhabi Full-Day City Sightseeing Tour From Dubai

Abu Dhabi Full-Day City Sightseeing Tour from Dubai

  • Activities City sightseeing & Cultural, religious and historic sites City sightseeing , Cultural, religious and historic sites & Local culture 'data-more-tripid='21371'>+1 more

4x4 Hatta Safari To Fossil Rock & Honey Bee Garden Visit Tour

4x4 Hatta Safari to Fossil Rock & Honey Bee Garden visit

  • Activities Desert safaris & Natural landmarks sightseeing Desert safaris , Natural landmarks sightseeing , Local culture & Concerts and shows 'data-more-tripid='21370'>+2 more

Dubai Canal Dinner Cruise Tour

Dubai Canal Dinner Cruise

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Explore Dubai in 24 hours with this 1 day itinerary!

Things to do in Dubai Dubai Travel Guide Dubai Itineraries 1 day In Dubai

So, you've got just one day to soak up all the magic Dubai has to offer? Don't worry, we've got you covered! In this whirlwind city, every moment counts, so buckle up and get ready for the ultimate 24-hour Dubai adventure. From the glitz and glamour of the Burj Khalifa to the traditional charm of the old souks, we're diving headfirst into the heart and soul of Dubai. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler looking to make the most of a layover, this jam-packed itinerary will ensure you don't miss a beat.

24 Hours in Dubai - How To Spend Your Time

1 day in Dubai

The View at The Palm

1 day in Dubai


1 day in Dubai

Bastakiya Quarter

1 day in Dubai

Dubai Creek Abra Ride

1 day in Dubai

Burj Khalifa

1 day in Dubai

Dubai Fountain

Dubai In 1 Day - Detailed Itinerary

Top 10 Dubai Attractions

New Landmark

Observation Deck

Let's start with the best, shall we? Head to Dubai's latest palm tree, the Palm Tower , for an astonishing experience up in the sky. Towering 240 meters above Palm Jumeirah, the 52nd floor of the tower offers views that will leave you swooning. Grasp views of the Palm Jumeirah, the Arabian Gulf, and the Dubai skyline- all at once! This is also an opportune moment for you to learn about the creation of the Palm Jumeirah. Grab The View At The Palm Tickets here and save yourself the hassle of waiting around in line.

  • The observation deck has movable glass partitions for unaltered views of Dubai.
  • If you're up for it, head to the VIP lounge for some private entertainment.
  • You can book the observatory for private events, celebrations, fashion shows, and more.

The View At The Palm Tickets

Flyboarding in Palm Jumeirah

Dubai Watersports

Thrill Seekers

Jumeirah beach situated right next to Palm Jumeirah is home to many water sport activities in Dubai. Flyboarding is one of the newest extreme sport to hit the coasts of Dubai. Flyboarding consists of a board with a hose that is attached to a jetski engine. The engine pumps water out of the hose at a great force, allowing one to propel into the air at heights of up to 10 meters. While you’re in the air, the board can be maneuvered using hand controls or even distributing your weight accordingly. The arrangement lets you fly, Iron man Style!

  • Pay close attention to all the safety instructions given by the instructor and perform this activity under expert supervision.

Flyboarding in Dubai


Historic Tour

Family Friendly

Begin day 2 with a visit to the old Bastakiya Quarters. Squeezed between Dubai Creek and the Bur Dubai district, Bastakiya Quarter harks back to the days when Dubai was just a fishing village on the Persian Gulf. This is one of the must-visit cultural sightseeing landmarks in Dubai. The winding streets of Bastakiya are lined with old-fashion wind-towered buildings that have now been converted into galleries and restaurants. Before you finish touring Bastakiya, make sure to visit the textile souk where you'll find some of the best bolts of fabric. Finally, to experience the old ways of Dubai in its truest forms, head to the creek and go for a scenic tour in traditional abra boats.

  • This is a nice place to hop between art galleries and boutique restaurants.
  • You may choose to opt for a sightseeing tour of Dubai- this includes access to the Bastakia Quarters, amongst other attractions.

Sightseeing Cruises

The history of Dubai and Dubai Creek are inseparable. Settled along the creek since its inception, Dubai Creek has played a pivotal role in Dubai’s past, helping it develop from a fishing village to a booming trade center, receiving trade from Europe, Asia as well as East Africa. Today, Dubai Creek is still an integral part of the city and a cruise down Dubai Creek is quite a traditional way of experiencing Dubai. A sightseeing cruise along Dubai Creek will allow you to see landmarks such as Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Heritage Village, Al Diwan or The Ruler’s Assembly, traditional gold & spice souks, Emirates N.B.D. Headquarters, Sheraton Dubai Creek and the Rolex Twin Towers.

  • If you wish to sail down Dubai Creek and see the landmarks that lie on its banks, then go for a sightseeing cruise of the the creek.
  • You can make your Dubai Creek cruise experience even better by opting for a dinner cruise where you will be treated with an international buffet dinner.

Top 5 Dubai Attractions

World-Famous Landmark

The tallest building in the world needs no introduction. With a total height of 829.8 m (2,722 ft), the Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure in the world since 2008, even before it was finished. No trip to Dubai is complete without visiting the Burj Khalifa. Over 2 million people visit the Burj Khalifa every year, making their way to the highest observatory in the world - At the Top. Take your pick of Burj Khalifa Tickets.

  • Purchase tickets in advance online in order to prevent queuing up for hours at the ticket counter.
  • Evenings are some of the busiest periods at the Burj Khalifa. To enjoy the place in peace, head to the observatory in the morning or after 9:00 PM, when the crowd has lessened considerably .
  • Sunsets from the top of the Burj Khalifa are considered a thing of beauty, but they're also the most crowded periods. To catch a sunset from the top, make sure to visit the Burj Khalifa an hour before the sunset.

Must-See Attraction


Finally, round your trip off beautifully by watching a show at the Dubai Fountain, right outside Burj Khalifa. One of the most beautiful light, water and music spectacles in the world; the Dubai Fountain is the world’s second largest choreographed fountain system. Situated in the center of Downtown Dubai, the Dubai Fountain offers a breathtaking show of choreographed water jets that shoot over 100 feet in the air and dance to the rhythms of songs from all over the world.

  • If you opt for the Burj Khalifa + Boardwalk combo ticket, you can see the Dubai Fountain show from two unique angles.
  • Best to arrive for the show after sunset for the best views.

1 Day in Dubai Under AED 700

Morning - view at the palm & flyboarding, noon - bastakiya quarter & abra ride, evening - burj khalifa & dubai fountain.

Book your Dubai Attractions tickets on Headout, and spend under AED 700 on your 5-day vacation in Dubai! Hit up all the prime attractions in the city and save more while you explore more. Read on to see our detailed 1 day Dubai Itinerary and learn more about visiting each of these attractions.

More Dubai Itinerary Options?

Have more time on your hands? Want to explore Dubai further? Check out our 3 days in Dubai and 5 days in Dubai itineraries for further inspiration.

Dubai local's guide

The ONLY guide you need to explore the best of Dubai

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Here are a few detailed guides that will help you plan your trip to Dubai better.

Dubai Travel Guide

Sachin Kumar

Having lived and worked in Bangalore and Singapore before moving to Dubai, Sachin is one of the many expatriates who've come together over the years to knit the fabric of Dubai’s global culture. An avid urban explorer and photographer, he has spent countless hours uncovering hidden gems in these cities - eating in ramshackled establishments that only the cab drivers frequent, discovering underground markets, exploring abandoned buildings and staying with families that may or may not like him.

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  • About Rachel


one day in dubai layover

Dubai has always been a mysterious city I had been dying to visit. Something about the United Arab Emirates always seemed unknown and untouchable to me . As I had an Israeli visa in my passport I never thought visiting the United Arab Emirates was possible. BUT I was able to get one day in Dubai when I ran out of pages in my passport (perks of obsessive traveling) and a trip to Thailand planned with the cheapest flight option from NYC being with Emirates through Dubai I knew this was my shot (especially because I was moving back to Israel shortly after my trip).

With a clean, brand new passport I strategized my flight home from Thailand to get a FOURTEEN hour layover in Dubai so I could see Dubai in one day. Of course this is not enough time to see everything, however a one day layover in Dubai is the perfect time to see all the absolute MUST-DOs for a first visit . I got a strong feel for the growth of this massive city (which was literally all desert 16 years ago) and had enough time to see all of the main sites, even when my layover was during the late afternoon into evening.

Disclosure: This Dubai stopover guide may contain affiliate links. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post. As always, all opinions are my own and I would never post about something I have not personally used/verified.

I used a private tour guide to execute my efficient plan to see everything in the city, Saqlain, through WithLocals . Saqlain is beyond helpful and I am still unsure how I got so lucky finding the perfect private tour guide to help me see so much of a massive city in a short time . He TOTALLY customized the Dubai one day tour to what I wanted and added pieces of his knowledge to enhance it. We had the best Dubai itinerary. If you are visiting Dubai whether on a layover or week-long trip, you need to book Saqlain . Booking a tour with Saqlain means total freedom to what you want to do and see, getting a private car AND a driver.

You can book a tour with Saqlain by clicking here. You can click any of his tours and contact him and he will customize for you!

Travel Guide Contents

Must-Know Dubai Itinerary Travel Tips

  • For all of my United Arab Emirates travel tips and what to expect when visiting the UAE head to my United Arab Emirates travel guide here (including Dubai Airport guide, how to dress in Dubai, UAE visas, Emirates stopover guide, UAE safety and more!).
  • Dubai Stopover Time: If you have less than a 5 hour layover in Dubai, you should stay in the airport, there is plenty to do (more in my UAE guide ). Anything more than 5 hours GO ON A DUBAI ONE DAY TOUR !
  • Uber In Dubai : Uber is insanely popular in Dubai AND you usually get a very nice car! They have even have special cars you can get JUST for women only (I just got a regular one and it was so nice and clean and the driver spoke perfect English).
  • Dubai Private Guide: I highly suggest hiring a private guide when visiting Dubai to make your own Dubai tour. There is so much to see and so many things to know about this conservative country that it is the best way to see the area and feel safe at the same time.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE: When visiting Dubai (even with a layover), I highly recommend getting travel insurance . You never know what may happen to your flights, a death/personal emergency in your family, or an accident happening while traveling (think: getting mugged, falling while hiking and spraining your ankle, literally any accident than can happen ANYWHERE!). World Nomads makes it super easy and I never leave for a trip without getting their insurance. Most importantly it’s extremely affordable: get your World Nomads travel insurance before your trip here!

DUBAI PACKING TIPS: It is HOT in Dubai and you will be outside all day. The humidity in Dubai is no joke. I love this Sunbum sunscreen stick here that is easy to pack in a small purse and re-apply without needing a mirror. Dubai also has a really strict dress code (read about it on my UAE travel guide ) so make sure you are covered correctly. A maxi dress is my go-to for warm locations like this. For all of my travel/packing essentials I bring on any trip compiled together, head to my influencer page on Amazon here for a complete list or my descriptive carry-on packing guide here !

Emirates Stopover Program + Dubai Layover + Guide

The reason Dubai has become such a hot spot lately for long layovers is due to the amazing Emirates stopover program ! Basically, if you have a layover for >8 hours when there is no option for a shorter one, Emirates Airlines will give you a free hotel room, transportation to and from the hotel AND breakfast and dinner at the hotel. Now this is insane – ESPECIALLY if you have a less than a day like I did. I spent almost no money besides the one day tour guide while I was in Dubai because of this amazing deal – and Dubai is SUPER expensive.

  • IMPORTANT TIP: After your book your flight, you MUST go on the Emirates website and click that you want the Emirates Stopover Program voucher (or contact your travel agent)!!! If you do not do this you CANNOT do it when you arrive in Dubai, you must do it beforehand!

I landed in Dubai at 1230PM, went through customs and then went straight to the Emirates stopover desk by following signs . I gave them my ticket and they handed me a voucher. After I got my bags, I went to the Emirates Hotel waiting area for my free shuttle to the hotel. The hotel is perfectly acceptable (not dodgy at all) and a mere 5 minutes from the airport. I was at the hotel by 130PM. I quickly showered (I had just gotten off a 7 hour flight and had a 14 hour flight later that night…necessary). Then I went down to eat lunch at their included huge buffet. Then I started my day of touring (detailed Dubai itinerary below). At the end of the tour, I went back to the hotel, had my free dinner (the buffet is huge) and then took the shuttle back to the airport. ALL.FOR.FREE. HIGHLY recommend this if you can make a Dubai layover work, not to mention Emirates is an AMAZING airline.


Dubai itinerary stop 1: burj khalifa.

The Burj Khalifa needs no introduction and is the number one spot to visit in Dubai and for good reason. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building IN THE WORLD . It is a must-see from far away, up close, and all the way from the top. YOU MUST BUY TICKETS IN ADVANCE! It fully books up, seriously. I went on their website a few days before visiting and it was already sold out for the regular tickets! You also have to pick your time window in advance, too.

  • Ticket options: There is an option between a regular (At The Top) ticket or VIP (Sky Ticket) — regular is more than enough. VIP is only a few floors higher and once you are THAT high a few extra feet don’t matter. You are so high up that you can basically see the curve of the Earth it is so insane! I went in the late afternoon during the beginning of sunset and it was just stunning.
  • Book your Burj Khalifa tickets here as soon as you know when your Dubai layover is to see if they have your preferred time still available, or, If they are sold out already, I booked this package that included a ticket to the top and a coffee and snack from the shop at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa ( book here) .
  • TIP: You enter the Burj Khalifa through the Dubai Mall . The Dubai Mall is MASSIVE. Plan time in advance just to find the entrance (you WILL walk in circles a few times just looking for it!).
  • TIP: You also could pay more for fast-track to skip the line, I didn’t, but I waited about 45 minutes in line at the bottom just to get in! It’s total chaos but worth it. Get there before your scheduled time.
  • ANOTHER option to book is to eat at the fancy restaurant in the Burj Khalifa on the 122nd floor, At.mosphere . If you get a reservation here, ask for a window seat (very hard to get). There are multiple food options, the cheapest is 250 AED a la carte per person. Considering an At The Top ticket alone is 216 AED during peak hours, if you go here with a meal you would save a lot of money! You can book a reservation at At.mosphere here .

Buy your tickets on the Burj Khalifa website here or if your timing option isn’t available, book your ticket here or do the one I did with coffee/pastry combo here .

dubai burj khalifa

Related Post: United Arab Emirates Travel Guide

DUBAI ITINERARY STOP 2: Dubai Fountain Show

Dubai is known for its famous fountain show which completely puts the Las Vegas fountain show to shame! The fountain show happens right outside the Dubai Mall every single evening starting at 6PM until 11PM on the half hour. It goes off just for 3 minutes choreographed to a single song and changes each round so feel free to hang around the area to see more than one! I went for the first one right as the sun set and it was amazing! I just followed signs for the Fountains from inside the Dubai Mall and found the viewing area!

dubai fountain show


The Dubai Mall is the biggest mall in the world and is a must-see (notice all the trends of Dubai having the tallest and biggest and best of everything!?) I got lost a million times walking around the Dubai Mall and you literally could get anything you could possibly need there! They are also known for their massive aquarium that sits RIGHT in the middle of the mall! You can see the aquarium across three floors walking by – there’s no need to actually purchase tickets to the inside of the aquarium (unless you are traveling with kids in Dubai, then it is a great activity). The mall gets even more crowded as it gets later in the night (like post-midnight is the most popular time to go as it’s an escape from the Dubai heat!). You must see this amazing mall during your one day layover in Dubai.

the dubai mall

After I did the Burj Khalifa, Fountain Show and Dubai Mall on my own, Saqlain and his driver picked me up at the mall and we were on our way to see all of Dubai on my Dubai itinerary.


The first stop Suqlain took me to was the Dubai Marina which is a huge marina where you can find people hanging out at all hours of the day as well as MASSIVE yachts and boats that people take out and own. We went at night and it was beautiful with lots of lights.

1 day tour in dubai

DUBAI ITINERARY STOP 5: The Palm Jumeirah & Atlantis The Palm

Next, we drove to the Palm Jumeirah and entered this manmade INSANE island archipelago. You have undoubtedly seen pictures of this tree-shaped island . You enter through the main center tunnel (the stem) and once you enter there are 14 different branches (7 on each side) all of which are huge condos where individuals can rent or own. The piece of land making up the outer shell of the whole archipelago is filled with massive 5 star hotels and insane views of downtown Dubai (think Kempinski, Waldorf, etc.).

Lastly, at the top and farthest point of The Palm Jumeirah archipelago is the MASSIVE Atlantis The Palm Hotel which is a replica of the one in the Bahamas but of course nicer and better, and they are making another one that is even BIGGER right next to it! The Palm Jumeirah is a must-see even if you do not go inside anywhere (as I did) . We just drove around each of the areas and stopped on the boardwalk area to see the downtown Dubai views as well as stopped in front of the Atlantis The Palm for pictures. This is a must when seeing Dubai in one day.

PRO TIP: Want to see this insane Palm shape from above?? The best way to see the shape of these islands is either skydiving in Dubai (book here) , having a unique experience doing DINNER in the SKY (book here) or you can get a side view from the top of the Burj Khalifa!

dubai atlantis

Related Post: Jordan Travel Guide

DUBAI ITINERARY STOP 6: Burj Al Arab (from the outside)

The Burj Al Arab is the only 7 star hotel in the world (at least it calls itself that, there really is no such thing) but it is the highest status. You actually cannot step inside without a hotel, restaurant or spa reservation. Not even the lobby! It is well-known as well for its architecture resembling a boat and the hotel next door, The Jumeirah, resembling a wave. I highly recommend driving up next to the hotel for pictures up close , especially when it lights up at nighttime. The Burj Al Arab is iconic to Dubai and cannot be missed. If you can afford it, the Talise Spa is absolutely incredible and instagram-worthy, and gets you access to the hotel, so if you can splurge to relax, do it!

dubai burj al arab

After the first few stops on our Dubai itinerary, we were done with “New Dubai” and it was time to head to “Old Dubai” aka how you likely picture the Middle East. The contrast between the two is insane and you must visit both during your Dubai layover tour.


We made a quick pit stop on the way from New Dubai to Old Dubai at Zabeel Palace , the residence of the royal family of Dubai . Even at nighttime you can see how insanely beautiful the building and architecture is. And seeing the Burj Khalifa light up the sky from far away wasn’t a bad view either.

zabeel palace dubai

DUBAI ITINERARY STOP 8: Dubai Creek Abra Ride to the Dubai Souks

Once we arrived in Old Dubai, the best (and most fun) way to get to the Souks, which is across the Dubai Creek , is on an Abra! An Abra is a typical boat that locals use to get to and from each side of the river . The ride only takes about 10 minutes and you literally just hop on for a small fee (I think ~$1, but it was included in my tour). This definitely felt the most local and cultural thing I did in Dubai.

dubai abra ride


Our last and final stop (and i’ll admit by this time the jetlag was hitting me hard but I was powering through because I love a good market) was to the famous and hundreds of years old Souks of Old Dubai . You can find a specific market for almost anything you want but the most famous to visit are the Gold Souk, Spice Souk, Perfume Souk and Textile Souk . We walked through all of these and you could literally feel the energy and history here…and we went at 10PM and it was still beyond lively! I could have stayed in the gold souk forever marveling at the massive gold pieces.

1 day tour in dubai

This was now the end of my tour with Saqlain. He drove me all the way back to my airport hotel and we parted ways and I had *included* dinner at the hotel and then took the *included* shuttle to the airport to get to my flight! If you have a long layover in Dubai, one day in Dubai or a week in Dubai, seriously USE Saqlain as your tour guide ! He will not disappoint, will cater to EVERYTHING you want, and make your time in Dubai more knowledgable and enjoyable and the best Dubai itinerary you could want.

Book tours with Saqlain on the WithLocals website by clicking here.

Things To Do With More Than One Day In Dubai

If I had more time during my stay or layover in Dubai, there are a few places I would have loved to hit. I highly suggest visiting these places in Dubai and adding them to your itinerary if you have more time than a one day layover in Dubai! Click their names to learn more.

  • Dubai Miracle Garden
  • Spa at Burj Al Arab
  • Souk Madinat Jerimiah
  • Palace Downtown
  • JBR Beach Walk
  • Day trip to Abu Dhabi
  • Dubai Desert Tour
  • Check out this list of amazing other activities and tours around Dubai and the United Arab Emirates to book in advance by clicking here!

*Thanks to Saqlain for helping set up my private Dubai tour and customizing it to my desire in order to make this blog post possible! While I did receive this tour with a discount, my review and experience is, as always, 100% personal and honest*

Related Post: Tel Aviv Local Travel Guide

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1 day tour in dubai

Did I miss one of the things you must do in a day in Dubai or a layover in Dubai tip? Let me know in the comments for my next visit! See my general United Arab Emirates guide to know what to expect when visiting the UAE!

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rachel shulman

About The Author

Rachel Shulman is the owner of From East To West and a seasoned traveler having been to 45+ countries and no intention of stopping soon. She is obsessed with planning and specializes in creating detailed, efficient travel itineraries and guides so you don’t have to when planning your next destination.

Amazing Dubai layover guide. Depending on your time of arrival, you could do desert safari tour as well.

This is a fantastic guide for anyone considering to spend a day in Dubai! The information is clear, concise, and well-organized, covering everything.

Dubai is worth visiting place so far.. Nice article & thanks for sharing your experience.

Rachel, I agree with you. The itinerary is suitable for a one-day trip to Dubai. You can do all this even if you are only in Dubai for a day. In fact, if your layover is longer than 20 hours, you can even visit Musandam Oman from Dubai on a day trip.

Thanks so much for compiling such a comprehensive guide for a layover in Dubai. I’ll meet it handy for the next opportunity.

Rachel Shulman

You’re welcome!!! Enjoy!

Blimey you did so much on just a quick layover! Almost as much as I did in 3 days in Dubai!

I know it was a lot!!! But so worth it!

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The Ultimate Dubai Layover Guide: How to Spend 6 Hours, 1 or 2 Days

  • January 16, 2023
  • 11 minute read

Psst, FYI – this post may contain affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission (at absolutely no extra cost to you) and ads keep this blog free for you to enjoy. Thanks for supporting the free content on this site (and for sponsoring more doggy treats for little Albus!)

Are you traveling via Dubai and have a few hours to spare at the airport and are considering a Dubai layover? If you’re flying between Asia and the Americas, you will likely be making a stop here. After flying for many years, Dubai has always been just a stopover for me but I’ve always only been familiar with the four walls of the airport. This time, I decided to venture out and extend my layover to a 2-night stay to finally explore the city! If you’re thinking of doing the same, this guide will help you plan out your Dubai layover!

In this guide, you’ll also find useful tips to help you get the most out of your stopover in this bustling metropolis. There are also some hotel suggestions for a short visit to Dubai at the end of this article.

  • 1 Can you leave the Dubai airport during a layover?
  • 2 Do you need a visa if you have a layover in Dubai?
  • 3 Duration of the UAE Dubai Transit Visa
  • 4 How to apply for a UAE Dubai transit visa
  • 5 Dubai Layover Itinerary Options
  • 6 Where to stay on your Dubai layover
  • 7 Staying Connected with a Dubai SIM Card
  • 8 Visiting Dubai Checklist

Can you leave the Dubai airport during a layover?

The short answer is yes – there are plenty of things to do in the Dubai airport to keep you entertained. On the other hand,  if you have a long stopover in Dubai then leaving the airport is absolutely fine, as long as you have the right visa . You don’t need a visa if you’re just transiting through Dubai airport.

Do you need a visa if you have a layover in Dubai?

If you’re considering a layover in the UAE, you might need to obtain a visa to exit the airport. The good news is that getting a UAE stopover visa is simple and straightforward!

You will need a UAE Dubai transit visa, if: 

  • You don’t have a passport of a country that is on the UAE visa on arrival or a visa-free entrance list. (You can visit the official website to check if you’re eligible for a visa on arrival or not).
  • You are not a citizen of the countries (GCC region) exempted from that UAE Tourist Visas.
  • Your onward flight is in the next 48 or 96 hours

Duration of the UAE Dubai Transit Visa

The UAE issues two types of single entry transit visas, visas issued for 48 and 96 hours. You have to apply for a visa prior to your arrival in the country. Note that both 48-hour AND 96-hour visas expire within 30 days of issue. Moreover, the 48-hour visa cannot be extended to 96 hours once it is issued. 

How to apply for a UAE Dubai transit visa

Only the UAE based-airlines you are traveling through can arrange your transit visa prior to your journey. If your trip is through a travel agency, the agency can also help you get the visa, but all visas are routed through the airline. 

So make sure to check with your airline or travel agency ahead of travel for your Dubai transit visa.

Dubai Layover Itinerary Options

6-12 hours layover in dubai , option 1 – dubai mall and burj khalifa.

1 day tour in dubai

This itinerary is perfect if you have at least 6 hours to spare in Dubai, so you can make the best of your time. 

TIP : If you have less than 6 hours in Dubai, I would suggest booking premium lounge access at the airport, as immigration can sometimes take a long time in Dubai. Add in the time waiting for transport in and out of the airport, it’s just not worth the stress of leaving the airport and rushing back in time!

Dubai is all about that boujee living: Rolls Royces and Bentleys everywhere on the street, gold flakes on your coffee, and all that jazz. So where better to immerse yourself in all that luxe than in Dubai Mall – the world’s largest destination for shopping, entertainment, and leisure, and it’s right next to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

Dubai Mall is only 15 minutes from the airport by car, and you can easily hail a cab or take an Uber. I took an Uber everywhere during my trip, and it was easy and convenient. Alternatively, If you’d like to save the hassle, you can book a private airport transfer in advance.

Burj Khalifa

1 day tour in dubai

Think Dubai and you’ll think of the Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world. Impressively standing at 830m tall (that’s more than half a mile!), admiring it from below feels so surreal. If you have time, I suggest also going to the top of the world’s tallest building for sweeping views of Dubai. Burj Khalifa At The Top is a very popular experience and often sold out, so I suggest booking the Burj Khalifa tickets in advance .

Dubai Fountains

1 day tour in dubai

This is one of the best spots to admire the Burj Khalifa, and as if that wasn’t impressive enough, the Dubai Fountains light up every day with a music and light show. And since they’ve got the world’s largest mall, the world’s tallest building, why stop there? The Dubai Fountain is the world’s largest performing fountain! Best of all, it’s free .

Show schedule: Daily 6pm to 11pm (every 30 minutes); Seasonally, lunchtime performances may be added at 1:00 PM and 1:30 PM (1:30 PM & 2:00 PM weekends)

It’s nice to catch the first fountain show at dusk and then return for a nighttime show when you can also capture LED lighting displays on the Burj Khalifa from 7.45 PM.

Take note that the fountains can get incredibly crowded, especially during show times. There are a few other ways you can enjoy the music and light show: 

  • Take a fountain lake ride on a traditional abra around Burj Lake
  • Walk on to the Dubai Fountain Boardwalk
  • Dine at one of the nearby restaurants with outdoor seating over the lake
  • From the top of Burj Khalifa!

It’s best to be in position around 15 minutes before the show to get a good spot. 

Dubai Mall restaurants with fountain views

  • On the lower ground level try; Social House – casual international dining, Carluccios – Italian, Wafi Gourmet – Lebanese. For some quick bites, look out for Nandos, Pizza Hut, KFC .
  • Level 1 – OFK (Open Flame Kitchen) – upscale international
  • Level 2 – TGI Fridays – American dining, Tribes – casual African

Souk Al Bahar restaurants with fountain views

  • Bice Mare – Italian Seafood
  • Serafina – Italian
  • Karma Kafe – Pan Asian
  • For smaller bites, you can grab from Deluca Café and Baker & Spice

Dubai Aquarium

Dubai Aquarium is located inside the Dubai Mall itself. You can see the gigantic aquarium from the mall (and it’s free!). You can also visit the actual aquarium itself by purchasing tickets here . As with all other attractions in Dubai, I advise booking your tickets in advance as the queue can get really long at certain times, and you wouldn’t want to spend your precious time in a queue. Plus, advanced tickets are cheaper! Book your Dubai Aquarium tickets here. 

TIP : If you’re planning to visit the Burj Khalifa and the Aquarium, consider purchasing this 2-in-1 ticket for Burj Khalifa and Dubai Aquarium which is much cheaper than buying them individually! Book your tickets now.

And if you’re a shopaholic like me, shopping in the world’s largest shopping mall is sort of like a pilgrimage! Don’t forget to put on your walking shoes though because this mall is seriously huge. You could easily spend a week here and still not see everything. 

Option 2 – Sightseeing tour

Alternatively, if you want to have everything taken care of for you, this Dubai Layover Tour was specially designed for short layovers. You’ll be greeted at the airport by your guide and be whisked away to the land of old gold and spice souks. This private tour also includes tickets to the Top of the Burj. All you have to do is relax in your air-conditioned vehicle and see the best that Dubai has to offer, all in just 4.5 hours!

One-day Dubai layover itinerary

If you have at least one night or one full day on your Dubai layover, you can combine the visit to the Dubai Mall with one of these activities:

1 day tour in dubai

  • Visit the Souqs . With all the glitz and glam of Dubai, sometimes it can be easy to forget how rich the old culture of Dubai is. A visit to Dubai’s famous traditional markets is a must – Spice Souq and Deira Gold Souq . Seeing all that glittering gold was definitely a huge eye-opener! I hadn’t seen such huge pieces of gold jewelry before!
  • Take a walk down the manmade beach. Jumeriah Beach is a manmade beach on the coast of Dubai where most of the uber-luxurious hotels are located. It’s definitely worth a visit to sink your feet into the soft, white sand and admire the Burj Al-Arab , the world’s only 7-star hotel often touted as the eighth wonder of the world. If you’re ready for a splurge, a one-night stay here starts from $2,000!
  • Palm Jumeirah. Just close by is the world-famous Palm Jumeirah, an archipelago of artificial islands. You’ve definitely seen aerial shots of this palm tree-shaped island! It’s certainly an experience driving through one of the spines of this island and imagining what it’s like to live like the rich and famous. If you have the budget, I highly recommend booking a night in one of the hotels here , as it is truly a unique experience.
  • Dubai Marina . Dubai Marina is an upscale residential area, known for The Beach at JBR. This leisure complex offers outdoor dining and a relaxing sandy beach. The waterfront of Dubai Marina Walk is lined with hip cafés and pop-up craft markets, while the Dubai Marina Mall is lined with chain stores and high-end fashion brands. Luxury yachts cruise a man-made marina, where activities such as jet skiing and skydiving are available. It’s especially lively in the evening, and taking a sunset dinner cruise for spectacular views is the best way to enjoy the marina.

1 day tour in dubai

Two-day Dubai layover

If you have two days on your Dubai layover just like we did, I suggest spending one day doing the activities I suggested above, and for your second day, venturing a little further out of the city for more fun experiences!

Go on a Dubai desert safari

1 day tour in dubai

Going on a Dubai desert safari was definitely the highlight of my Dubai trip! You get picked up after lunchtime in a 4×4 and are transported to the sand dunes of Dubai, where you’ll get to experience some exhilarating dune bashing! If you’re a thrill seeker, I suggest taking the front seat to see all the plunges down the sand dunes!

1 day tour in dubai

You’ll also get to try some sandboarding! In the evening, you’ll take a camel ride into the sunset. As it gets dark, you’ll proceed to the Bedouin campsite where you can sip some Arabic coffee and munch on sweet dates. You’ll be entertained by spectacular belly dancing and tanoura dancing performances as well as an awesome fire show. I thought they would be very touristy, but they actually put on a really fun show! There was also a huge BBQ dinner, and I was impressed by the quality of the food. You’ll also get to try sheesha smoking and Henna painting.

1 day tour in dubai

And of course, cap off this wonderful evening by gazing at the star-spangled sky.

I highly recommend including this in your itinerary for an unforgettable experience. Book your Dubai desert safari here!

1 day tour in dubai

Take a day trip to Abu Dhabi

If I had another day in Dubai, I would definitely have loved to visit Abu Dhabi . It’s only a 1.5 hour drive away so it’s easily done in a day. Admire the immense opulence of the iconic Grand Sheikh Zayed Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world and visit the Heritage Village and get a glimpse into the traditional Bedouin way of life. The easiest way is to book a full-day tour where you’ll get picked up right at your hotel, and dropped back after – completely hassle-free!

Where to stay on your Dubai layover

Dubai is an expensive city, and hotels are no different, but there are still affordable options for your Dubai layover. I recommend staying close to the Dubai Mall so you’re close to food and entertainment options on your short layover. We stayed at an Airbnb close enough for us to walk to Dubai Mall. Here are some options for your stay:

  • DAMAC Maison Dubai Mall Street (4⭐)
  • Ramada Downtown Dubai (4⭐)
  • The Dubai EDITION (6⭐)
  • Address Boulevard (5⭐)
  • Address Dubai Mall (5⭐)

Dubai is a city to splurge in, so if you’re prepared for that, here are some luxurious hotels to spoil yourself in:

  • Burj Al Arab (7⭐ ) – The Burj al Arab Hotel or “Tower of the Arabs,” is said to be the world’s only 7-star hotel (!) , and is presently the third tallest hotel in the world. Prices start from $1,524 per night
  • Jumeirah Al Qasr (5 ⭐) Prices start from $515 per night
  • Marriott Resort Palm Jumeirah (5⭐) Prices start from $301 per night
  • Atlantis, The Palm (5⭐) You’ve probably seen these unique hotel rooms at the Atlantis which feature immense floor-to-ceiling windows into a 65,000 marine animal aquarium, so you’ll wake up with the stunning views of the aquarium right from your bed. Prices start from $834 per night (for normal rooms) and $7,000 per night for the underwater suites (wowza!)

And if you’re a fashionista, I highly recommend staying in these hotels designed by some of the world’s biggest luxury fashion houses.

  • Palazzo Versace Dubai (5⭐) – Every single piece of furniture and fabric that adorns the hotel’s 215 hotel rooms and suites, and 169 residences, is designed and tailor-made by the House of Versace exclusively for the Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai. Prices start from $260 per night
  • Bulgari Resort Dubai (5⭐) – Situated on the manmade Jumeira Bay, an island carved into the shape of a seahorse and adjoined by a 300 m bridge to central Dubai coastline, Bulgari Hotel & Resorts, Dubai comprises a private Marina featuring 50 boat berths and the first world’s Bulgari Yacht Club with peerless views over the sea. Prices start from $1,225 per night
  • Armani Hotel Dubai (5⭐) – Envisioned by fashion icon Giorgio Armani, this hotel has a private entrance and occupies 11 floors of Dubai’s iconic skyscraper, Burj Khalifa. It has a deluxe spa and direct access to Dubai Mall. Prices start from $579 per night

Staying Connected with a Dubai SIM Card

1 day tour in dubai

These days, it’s unheard of to be without a data connection when out and about. And what’s better than a FREE SIM card? Luckily in Dubai, you get a SIM card for free! You can collect your free SIM card at Dubai Airport’s passport control. Once you get your passport stamped, you will get your passport back along with a free Du Dubai SIM card. Just pop it into your phone and enjoy 1 GB of free data for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, you will have to top up to use the sim card, but at least that’s better than nothing! Especially if you’re only traveling for less than 24 hours.

Note : If you go through the automated passport scanner at customs, you won’t be handed a free SIM card! You will have to go to a booth with an officer to get your free Dubai SIM card.

Alternatively, if you don’t want the hassle of changing SIM cards, you can download the Airalo app , purchase a package, and get connected instantly! This is my favorite way to stay connected as it saves all the hassle of buying a SIM card and messing about with these tiny SIMs. PLUS, you can purchase the package in advance and get connected instantly even when you’re still on the plane! Find out more about Airalo.

So there you have it! I hope you’ve found some ideas for the best things to do on your short layover in Dubai. If you have any more suggestions or things I’ve missed out, please let me know in the comments below! Enjoy your trip!

Visiting Dubai Checklist

⇢ Compare accommodation options and prices on ⇢ Book tours in advance on  Klook  or  Viator ⇢ Get your  data roaming  sorted before you arrive with  Airalo ! ⇢ Spend abroad without hidden fees.  Sign up for a Wise travel credit card! ⇢ Don’t forget  travel insurance!  Travel insurance is the most overlooked purchase when traveling, but one of the most essential. Anything can happen when you’re on holiday and you’d want to be covered in the case of travel mishaps such as flight delays, personal accidents, or theft. Choose  World Nomads Travel Insurance , designed by travelers for travelers. ⇢ Don’t leave home without a  power bank!

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1 day tour in dubai


Here are my top travel tips and resources to help you save money and plan your trips effectively! If you're looking for more tips, head over to my travel tips resource page or my comprehensive guide on trip planning .

  • Booking Flights: When it comes to finding great flight deals, I always start my search on Google Flights or Skyscanner . To save some cash, consider flying mid-week or on the weekends, opt for carry-on only with budget airlines, and be open to red-eye or early morning flights. Check out my in-depth guide on how I find the cheapest flights .
  • Accommodations : I'm a stickler for finding the absolute best deals on my stays, so I will obsessively oscillate between a few booking sites: Booking . com (in general) and Agoda (for Asian destinations). When it comes to vacation rentals, there's Airbnb or VRBO .
  • Travel Insurance : It's always a wise decision to purchase travel insurance for international trips. I can't stress this enough - it's highly recommended! For international travel insurance, I suggest considering World Nomads or SafetyWing . SafetyWing , in particular, stands out as one of the few policies that cover Covid-19. They also offer excellent monthly policies that are perfect for digital nomads and long-term travelers!
  • Travel Credit Card : My go-to travel credit card for booking trips is the Wise travel card. I love that there are no foreign transaction fees, so I can pay like a local and never get any surprises at the end of my trip. You can also withdraw cash from the ATMs wherever you are. With  Wise , you are always guaranteed the best exchange rate, and I have saved  sooo  much money just by using this card. Most of the time, I get charged the exchange rate I see on Google, plus or minus a few cents.
  • Tours: Most times, I prefer traveling independently but sometimes, getting a guide and a local's perspective makes the experience all the more enriching. When it comes to tour bookings, I trust Viator and GetYourGuide to provide me with excellent options. In Asia, I choose Klook as they are the biggest provider in the region. Plus, you can often get entrance tickets and discounted prices!
  • Transportation : To navigate through public transit options and plan my journeys from one place to another, I rely on Rome2Rio. When it comes to rental cars, I compare rental companies and find the best deals through DiscoverCars .
  • Connection : It's essential to me to have seamless connectivity wherever I go. I need it to navigate to new places, Google what's around me, and keep in touch with my loved ones. But fumbling around with multiple SIMs has always been a nightmare, which is why I choose Airalo when I travel. No more switching SIMs, just purchase a plan on your phone, on the go, anywhere, and stay connected.
  • Luggage Storage : Whenever I need to check out early or take advantage of a long layover, I securely store my luggage with LuggageHero . It's a reliable service that allows me to roam around freely. As a bonus, you can use this link to enjoy your first hour of FREE luggage storage on me!
  • What to Pack : I always have packing anxiety once I've left home— you know the phantom feeling that you've forgotten something even though you've checked 372836 times . So I made my own packing list and use it religiously before every trip, and by religious I mean I tick off that list at least 7 times before I zip up my bag. Check out my in-depth packing list here.


Hi! I’m Steph. You probably ended up here because just like me, you have an insatiable thirst for trotting the globe, or are just curious about travel. Get ready for brutally honest and in-depth travel guides that will be your trusty companions on global adventures. No fluff, just real talk and practical tips to make your journeys smooth. Join me as we conquer the globe, one epic destination at a time! Together, we’ll uncover hidden gems, laugh at mishaps, and create unforgettable memories. So grab your passport, pack your sense of adventure, and let’s embark on this thrilling journey!


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1 day tour in dubai

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I have been to Israel a number of times, but have never been to an Arab country. UAE would be the one most likely to get tourism, though Jordan is also interesting. This guide helps me make a more informed decision, and I appreciate its thorough approach.

Hi Auren, glad this was of help to you. Thanks for stopping by! x Steph

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Welcome to a sun-soaked metropolis like no other

Plan your dream wedding in an unforgettable destination

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Every district in Dubai tells its own unique story

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Get more out of your holiday with these guides

Escape to the hills and explore nature

Answer the call of the wild and experience desert thrills


Uncover the city’s rich heritage and vibrant arts scene

Embark on thrilling new adventures for all ages

Taste award-winning world flavours and local cuisine

Visit the latest hotspots, openings and attractions

Find new surprises at modern malls and traditional souks

Marvel at record-breaking venues and iconic landmarks

Unwind at Dubai's luxury spas and wellbeing havens

What do you travel for? Find inspiration with our itineraries


Book a table at these fresh hotspots

Taste a deliciously different side of Dubai

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Sights & Attractions

31 Amazing things to do in Dubai for the ultimate holiday

Sun, August 14, 2022

Tick off the city's top things to do and places to visit.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

Standing 828m high, the  Burj Khalifa  is the tallest building in the world and one of Dubai's must-visit attractions. The majestic building is located in the heart of the city and is a hub of activity day and night. Just looking up in awe at the sheer scale of this magnificent structure is memorable in itself, but it's definitely worth venturing inside too. You can capture perfect views of the city from the  observation  deck at levels 124 and 125, or have a bite to eat in the  At The Top Sky Lounge . For special occasions, treat yourself to a sunset session at The Lounge, Burj Khalifa ,  the highest lounge in the world at 585m. 

Opening hours - At The Top:  8am - 12am, daily

Price - At The Top: from AED169

  • 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Downtown Dubai

The Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Fountain at night in Dubai

Located at the base of Burj Khalifa  is one of the world's largest choreographed fountain displays, where powerful jet streams soar as high as 150m in the air and sway in time to musical numbers. Stop by in the evening when displays begin at sundown and take place every 30 minutes, until the final song plays at 11pm. Diners can also sit back and enjoy the show at an array of restaurants at Dubai Mall  or Souk Al Bahar , both commanding prime positions near the fountain arena.

Opening hours:  6pm - 11pm, daily

Price:  free

  • Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai

Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah in Dubai

Palm Jumeirah is one of the largest manmade islands in the world and a triumph of human ingenuity. Locals and tourists alike flock to its vast array of high-end hotels – Waldorf Astoria, Fairmont, One&Only, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray  and, perhaps most notably, Atlantis, The Palm . Getting here is simple, thanks to the monorail running down the 'trunk', which connects to the mainland's tram system.

  • Palm Jumeirah - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Dubai Creek

Old Dubai Creek crossing

  • Baniyas Rd, Deira, Dubai

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood in Dubai

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood in Bur Dubai is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. Best seen on foot, this area offers nostalgic views of a bygone era with traditional windtowers and a maze of winding alleyways, positioned along the historic waterways of Dubai Creek. Visit Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) to appreciate local culture with Arabic classes, heritage tours and guided mosque visits. After exploring, take an atmospheric abra  boat ride  to the souks on the other side of the creek. 

  • Al Fahidi St, Al Souq Al Kabeer, Bur Dubai

The Dubai desert

The Dubai Desert

Less than a 20 minute-drive from the modern streets of Downtown Dubai lies the mystique-filled Arabian desert. Go on a Dubai-style desert safari, complete with thrilling activities  such as quad biking and sandboarding. Those looking for luxury can book a safari with leading tour companies  Platinum Heritage  and Arabian Adventures . From the unforgettable offroad drive to cultural fun with henna painting and camel rides, and a feast of local cuisine under the stars, it's an only-in-Dubai treat. Want to stay a little longer? Treat yourself to an unforgettable night amid the dunes at Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa .

  • Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Dubai-Al Ain Rd - Dubai

The Dubai Mall

Dubai Mall is the world’s largest destination for shopping, entertainment and leisure, located next to the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Featuring over 1,200 retail stores, two major department stores and hundreds of food and beverage outlets, Dubai Mall covers more than 1 million sqm – an area equivalent to 200 football pitches. Even an entire day spent here is not enough to see it all. Along with its 1,200-plus shops and 150 restaurants, the venue  is home to a range of other fun attractions.

Opening hours: 10am - 1am, daily, except Wednesday (closes at midnight)

  • Financial Centre Road, Downtown Dubai

Skydive Dubai

Sky Dive Dubai

If there's one thing every adventure-seeker must sign up for, it's a skydiving experience. Skydive Dubai provides tandem skydive opportunities, supervised by trained professionals. You'll have to book well in advance to secure a spot, but it's worth it as you dive through the clouds from 13,000 feet and take in views  of the landmark Palm Jumeirah or rolling dunes of the desert. And you can keep reliving the epic experience thanks to perfectly-captured videos by the Skydive Dubai team. It's one for every braveheart's bucket list.

  • Al Seyahi Street, Dubai Marina - Dubai

Madinat Jumeirah


Literally translated as 'City of Jumeirah', the Madinat Jumeirah complex is inspired by an ancient citadel. Housing luxury hotels and private enclaves designed to reflect traditional Arabian architecture, it's a great spot to indulge in a therapeutic day at the world-class Talise Spa , splurge on local trinkets and boutique brands at the Madinat Souk , or immerse yourself in the work of famous artists at the high-tech Theatre of Digital Art . And, with over 40 restaurants and lounges featuring cuisines from around the world, it's also an ideal place to refuel.

Opening hours & price: vary, depending on venues within the complex

  • 6 King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street, Dubai

Dubai Frame

Dubai Frame

Since opening in 2018,  Dubai Frame  has become a cultural landmark that connects the Dubai's past with its present and represents a remarkable engineering feat.  Located within Dubai's famous Zabeel Park , this attraction lets you experience the transition between Old and New Dubai thanks to sweeping panoramic views of the city from 150m high. One of its striking features is the state-of-the-art clear glass bridge walkway, which connects parallel vertical towers so that, from the outside, the structure perfectly resembles a giant picture frame.

Opening hours:  9am - 9pm, daily

Price:  from AED20

  • Zabeel Park, Za'abeel 1 - Dubai

Kitesurfing in Dubai

The aptly-named Kite Beach is the perfect place to test out your watersports skills , although there's plenty to do out of the water at this popular spot too. Grab a smoothie from one of the many open-air cafes and restaurants, watch bikers and skaters fly by at the skate park, or enjoy a game of volleyball with friends on the sand. With plenty of beach activities, plus an incredible view of Burj Al Arab  in the distance, you can easily spend a whole day here.

Opening hours: 24 hours, daily, although sporting and dining venues at the beach have varying timings.

  • Umm Suqeim, just off Jumeirah Beach Road

Dubai Water Canal


Dubai Water Canal is a 3.2-kilometre-long waterway extending from the Creek in Old Dubai  through Business Bay before finding its way to the Arabian Gulf. With 80,000sqm of public space and facilities and a 12km cycling path, the Canal has become a popular visitor attraction. There are also five pedestrian bridges that snake their way across the iconic waterway, so it's the perfect spot to stroll and take in classic views of the city at its best. Nearby is the Al Habtoor City  development, home to the thrilling  La Perle by Dragone  show, five-star hotels and an array of trendy restaurants.

  • Dubai Water Canal - Al Safa - Dubai

The Walk at JBR

If you'd like to shop, dine, watch a movie and swim in the sea all in one place, consider a trip to The Beach, opposite Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR). With guest DJs playing on most weekends, a cinema and plenty of trendy boutiques , The Beach is always buzzing with activity. Take your pick from the range of dining options, try the exhilarating watersports on offer or just enjoy some relaxation time in a cabana with your favourite book. The Beach is also connected to the trendy new  Bluewaters Island  district by a pedestrian bridge.

Opening hours - F&B outlets: 10am - midnight, Saturday - Wednesday, extended to 1am on Thursday and Friday 

  • Opposite JBR, Dubai Marina - Dubai

City Walk in Dubai

City Walk offers European-style pedestrian streets alongside a host of shopping and entertainment options – perfect for a pleasant day out. Take a walk along tree-lined avenues with shops and restaurants and spot artwork etched by some of the world's finest urban artists . Afterwards, treat your family to an afternoon of fun and head over to The Green Planet  to see real wildlife in an indoor tropical rainforest setting. You can also catch a concert, live sports or a comedy show at the nearby  Coca-Cola Arena , the Middle East's largest indoor arena.

  • Al Wasl and Al Safa Road Junction, Sheikh Zayed Rd - Al Wasl - Dubai

Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden

A world of floral wonder awaits you at Dubai Miracle Garden, the world's largest natural flower garden. The 72,000sqm park has an impressive line-up of famous buildings and structures completely transformed into colourful flower displays. You can immerse yourself among more than 50 million blooming flowers throughout the different exhibits. The nearby Dubai Butterfly Garden  is also worth a trip. Here, children can explore over 15,000 species of butterflies whilst learning more about them in a fun setting.

Opening hours:  9am - 9pm on weekdays, extended until 10pm on Saturday and Sunday

Price:  from AED60

  • Al Barsha South 3, Dubailand Area, Dubai

Dubai Opera

Dubai Opera

Located in the Downtown district, Dubai Opera offers an enticing performing arts schedule from the likes of London’s West End and Manhattan’s Broadway. With views of  The Dubai Fountain  and located next to Burj Khalifa , the eye-catching exteriors are inspired by Arabian dhow ships while the stage area is designed to easily convert into three different event platforms: theatre, hall or concert hall. Want to know what's playing at Dubai Opera while you're holidaying in the city? Visit  Dubai Calendar .

Opening hours:  10am - 9pm, daily (show timings may vary)

Price:  from AED145

  • Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid, Near Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai - Dubai
  • Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina

A 130km drive south-east of Downtown Dubai is Hatta , a not-to-be-missed scenic getaway. In this mountain town you can try kayaking along the serene Hatta Lake, or traversing rocky mountains on foot with specially-crafted hiking experiences . Recent additions to the area include Hatta Dome Park ,  a glamping experience that takes advantage of  Hatta’s mountainscape  views and back-to-nature vibes, plus  a chic lodge-style hotel and trailer parks. Indulge in a host of adventure activities such as zorbing, mountain biking and more at Hatta Wadi Hub. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit, as the Hub is also home to Asia’s first ever water jump park, Hatta Drop-In.

  • Hatta Wadi Hub, located off the Dubai-Hatta road

IMG Worlds of Adventure

IMG Worlds of Adventure in Dubai

Unlimited fun, excitement, speed and 5D entertainment – you can expect it all at IMG Worlds of Adventure. This enormous theme park  is the same size as 28 football pitches put together. With the most up-to-date and exciting rides , IMG Worlds of Adventure brings your favourite characters to life. Give your little ones the best time with rides featuring Ben 10, Powerpuff Girls and LazyTown, while older kids can delve into the world of Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man and The Avengers.

Opening hours : noon - 10pm, Sunday to Thursday, extended to 11pm on the weekend

Price - general admission:  AED345

  • E311, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, City of Arabia Dubai Land, Dubai

Dubai Parks and Resorts

The Dragon in Dubai

Dubai Parks and Resorts adds to the city's reputation as an entertainment paradise. Children are bound to get excited in the labyrinth of magnificent theme parks, which includes  Motiongate , Real Madrid World  and Legoland and Legoland Water Park . Adults can relax at the Riverland Boulevard , home to restaurants and a range of open-air entertainment. Don't want to leave? Check in to the luxury Polynesian-style hotel, The Lapita, or the region's first and only Legoland Hotel, both located within the theme park destination.

Opening hours:  10am - 11pm, daily

Price - One Park Pass:  from AED295

  • Sheikh Zayed Rd, Opposite Palm Jebel Ali, Dubai

The View at The Palm

The View at the Palm

Enjoy incomparable views of one of Dubai’s most talked about landmarks at The View at The Palm. Located 240m high, the observation deck presents never seen before 360-degree panoramas of  Palm Jumeirah  alongside the sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai skyline  in the distance. The View at The Palm is located on level 52 of The Palm Tower, which also houses a café, a creative exhibition that showcases the development of the island, interactive aquarium-themed tunnels and a gift shop. 

Opening hours : 9am - 10pm, weekdays, extended to midnight on weekends

Price:  from AED100

  • Level 52, The Palm Tower, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

Deep Dive Dubai

Explore Deep Dive Dubai's underwater habitats

The latest addition to the city's thriving sports and adventure activities scene, Deep Dive Dubai is the place to be for all aqua enthusiasts . The recreational centre's 60.02m-deep pool is certified by Guinness World Records as the world's deepest swimming pool for diving. Aside from its remarkable depth, the pool features other unrivalled underwater additions, such as a 'sunken city', alongside year-round freediving and  scuba diving  courses and guided experiences.

Opening hours : 9am - 6pm, except on Friday (closed)

Price:  from AED400

  • Deep Dive Dubai, NAS Sports Complex, Dubai

Sky Views Dubai

Sky Views Glass Slides

Thrill-seekers can try a trio of epic experiences at Sky Views Dubai, perched 219.5m above ground on top of the Address Sky View hotel. The Glass Slide allows visitors to zoom down a transparent tunnel on the 53rd floor, while the Observatory features a glass elevator and bridge to further test your head for heights. Meanwhile, true risk-takers will look forward to the Edge Walk – as they dangle off the building's side while strapped to a safety harness. All three experiences allow participants to enjoy phenomenal views  of Downtown Dubai's iconic landmarks, including the nearby Burj Khalifa .

Opening hours : 10am - 10pm, weekdays, extended to midnight on weekends

Price:  from AED70

  • Address Sky View hotel, Emaar Square Area, Downtown Dubai

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab Dubai

For the first time since its launch, Dubai's famed Burj Al Arab  has opened its doors to visitors, granting access to the hotel's ultra-luxurious interiors on an immersive 90-minute tour. Not only will you get to explore the landmark’s gilded suites, and enjoy its incomparable views of the city , but you'll also uncover the hotel’s history and wealth of untold stories. You can also delve deeper and make the most of your experience with tour customisations.

Tour timings: 9:30am - 8:30pm, daily Price: from AED249

  • Jumeirah Road - Umm Suqeim 3 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Museum of the Future

Museum of the Future

One of Dubai's most famous architectural landmarks , the Museum of the Future  takes pride of place along the city's superhighway, Sheikh Zayed Road. Founded by the Dubai Future Foundation, the museum explores how society could evolve in the coming decades using science and technology. Termed a 'living museum', it incorporates elements of traditional exhibitions, immersive theatre and themed attractions, so visitors can look beyond the present and towards the future's limitless possibilities.

Opening hours : 10am - 9:30pm, daily

Price:  from AED149

  • Sheikh Zayed Road, Trade Centre - Dubai

Mohammed Bin Rashid Library

Mohammed Bin Rashid Library

Built along the historic Dubai Creek and designed in the shape of a traditional Islamic lectern, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is the latest cultural hotspot to open its doors in the city. A landmark  unique to Dubai, the library is the largest in the region and representative of its collective cultural wisdom, educational milestones and continued forays in research and academia. Aside from enjoying the remarkable architecture and exploring the library's nine levels, visitors can discover a fully digitalised laboratory and several specialised collections inside.

Opening hours : 9am - 9pm, daily, except on Friday (opens 2pm) and Sunday (closed)

Price:  free

  • Dubai Creek, Al Jaddaf

Michelin Guide to Dubai

Serious foodies can’t possibly visit Dubai without making a stop at the  MENA 50 Best Restaurants  top spot, 3Fils. Its chic yet casual setting, coupled with calming harbourside views and a no-reservations policy, makes this one of Dubai's most unassumingly spectacular dining hotspots . Serving modern Asian cuisine, you’ll find tantalising dishes such as salmon carpaccio, wagyu sushi and fire-grilled octopus on the menu.  Opening hours : noon - 11:30pm, daily

  • Shop 2, Jumeirah Fishing Harbour 1, Al Urouba St, Jumeirah - Dubai

Aura Skypool

Aura Skypool

Unwind in the world's highest 360-degree swimming pool as you gaze out at landmarks including Burj Al Arab  and Ain Dubai. Situated 200m above ground, AURA Skypool is the perfect place for an unforgettable swim. Visitors to the Palm Jumeirah venue can also relax in its chic lounge area and sample a menu filled with delicious sharing plates and Pan-Asian flavours . Standouts to try include the glazed miso salmon, chilli honey cauliflower popcorn and matcha tiramisu. 

Opening hours : 10am - 7pm, daily

Price:  from AED150

  • The Palm Tower, 50th Floor, Palm Jumeirah

La Perle Dubai Aqua show

Prepare to be amazed by Dubai's first permanent show, which combines acting, acrobatics, aquatic feats and aerial stunts across an exhilarating 90 minutes. All the action takes place inside a tailor-made, 1,300-seat theatre in the heart of Al Habtoor City , featuring a high-tech ‘aqua-stage’ that can fill with 2.7 million litres of water. Watch from the edge of your seat as performers dive, fly and defy gravity, as they tell a story which pays homage to the UAE's pearl diving history .

Show timings : 6:30pm - 8pm & 9pm - 11:30pm, daily

Price:  from AED209

  • Al Habtoor City, 260 Sheikh Zayed Rd, Business Bay - Dubai

Alserkal Avenue

Alserkal Avenue in Dubai

Once an industrial area in the centre of Dubai, Alserkal Avenue now comprises around 40 warehouses, converted into galleries, dance studios, artisanal cafes and more. The neighbourhood has nurtured a culture of creativity and is now one of the region’s leading art hubs. Since its humble beginnings as a standalone gallery in 2008, word caught on and similar concepts soon moved into the area. Popular spots include arthouse theatre  Cinema Akil , the hipster-inspired  Nightjar Coffee  and Leila Heller Gallery.

  • 17th Street, Al Quoz 1, Dubai

Expo City Dubai


Building on the legacy of Expo 2020 Dubai , which welcomed 192 nations and more than 24 million visitors, is the future-centric Expo City Dubai. Explore popular country pavilions including the falcon-inspired UAE Pavilion, award-winning Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion and reworked spaces for Luxembourg, Pakistan and Australia. Alif – the Mobility Pavilion and Terra – the Sustainability Pavilion have been transformed into interactive educational experiences, while the Opportunity Pavilion is now the Expo 2020 Dubai Museum.  Al Wasl Plaza , the Dubai Exhibition Centre, the Garden in the Sky observation tower and the Surreal water feature also remain at Expo City Dubai, which has its own metro station. 

Opening hours: 24 hours daily, though attraction timings vary Price: free to enter, though attraction tickets vary

  • Expo Road Dubai South, Jebel Ali

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    24 Hours In Dubai - Dubai In One Day - Transit Tour Itinerary for First-Time Tourists Dubai's one-day itinerary offers a whirlwind of iconic attractions, from the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, to the mesmerizing Dubai Fountain, providing a condensed yet unforgettable glimpse into the city's luxury and modern marvels—a perfect option for those on a short transit or ...

  10. Local's Guide to the Perfect Day in Dubai

    This One Day in Dubai guide written by a local has all the vital info and things to do to help you create your perfect 24 hour itinerary for Dubai. About; ... I'm Gina, a former cruise and tour marketing director turned independent travel writer who helps those short on time make the most of their travels, even if you just have 24 hours to ...

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    Full Day Explore Dubai City Tour Itinerary. Transfer to Tour Departure Point from your hotel. Zabeel palace - Information & Photo Stop. Museum of The Future - Information & Photo Stop. Dubai frame - Information & Photo Stop. Visit to Bastakiya and one of the old houses. Abra Ride across Dubai Creek. Visit to Spice Souq and Gold Souq.

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    Time to spend here: 1.5 hours. How to get here: Start your Dubai one day tour and ride the green metro line and stop at the Al Rais metro station, or take the abra ride from the Bur Dubai. Let's start our journey in Deira, which historically has been the commercial center of the city.

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    If you only have 24 hours in Dubai and want to get the most all-encompassing views of the Emirate, then choosing one of the many of Burj Khalifa's viewpoints should be your top priority for the day. While the tower spans over more than 800 meters, not all of the floors can be accessed by the ordinary folk.

  14. Best 1-Day UAE Tours and Itineraries

    Best price guaranteed. 1 hour sightseeing trip through Dubai and Burj Khalifa. Read More. Tour Type Group Tour. Activities Sightseeing Tours. Accommodation No Accommodation. Age Range 1-79 yrs. Operated in English. hours01 From US$ 142 View Tour.

  15. Explore Dubai in 24 hours

    Historic Tour. Family Friendly. Begin day 2 with a visit to the old Bastakiya Quarters. Squeezed between Dubai Creek and the Bur Dubai district, Bastakiya Quarter harks back to the days when Dubai was just a fishing village on the Persian Gulf. This is one of the must-visit cultural sightseeing landmarks in Dubai.

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    Here are a few of the most popular and well-reviewed guided tours of Dubai that you could include in a one-day itinerary. 1. Dubai City Tour inc Dubai Creek, Souks, Blue Mosque, and the famous Burj Al Arab. Highlights of this Dubai City Tour include: A rare opportunity to visit Burj Al Arab, an iconic luxury hotel.

  17. One Day in Dubai Layover Guide: Full Itinerary to See All of Dubai in A Day

    Must-Know Dubai Itinerary Travel Tips. For all of my United Arab Emirates travel tips and what to expect when visiting the UAE head to my United Arab Emirates travel guide here (including Dubai Airport guide, how to dress in Dubai, UAE visas, Emirates stopover guide, UAE safety and more!).; Dubai Stopover Time: If you have less than a 5 hour layover in Dubai, you should stay in the airport ...

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    Armani Hotel Dubai (5⭐) - Envisioned by fashion icon Giorgio Armani, this hotel has a private entrance and occupies 11 floors of Dubai's iconic skyscraper, Burj Khalifa. It has a deluxe spa and direct access to Dubai Mall. Prices start from $579 per night.

  19. THE TOP 10 Full-day Tours in Dubai (w/Prices)

    The best Full-day Tours in Dubai according to Viator travelers are: Abu Dhabi Full-Day Sightseeing Tour from Dubai with Mosque Visit. Dubai Premium Dunes Safari, Stargazing, 5* BBQ at Al Khayma Camp. Dubai Full Day Tour with Entry Ticket to Burj Khalifa at the Top.

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    Standing 828m high, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and one of Dubai's must-visit attractions. The majestic building is located in the heart of the city and is a hub of activity day and night. Just looking up in awe at the sheer scale of this magnificent structure is memorable in itself, but it's definitely worth venturing inside too.

  21. Luxury Vacations and Holidays

    386 likes, 2 comments - luxuryvacations_abroad on April 27, 2024: "#abudhabi #travelgram Chalo Dubai 4Nights / 5 days Holiday Package is here ️ Day-1 Arrival / Marina Dinner Cruise Day-2 City tour / Burj Khalifa Day-3 Dessert Safari Day-4 Abu Dhabi City Tour Day-5 Departure Package Cost - ₹54,000/-* per Person without Flights ☎️ Call Now For Bookings 93550-04222 #travel #dubai ".