What to do in Dubai in one day

Dubai is a world-renowned city on the Arabian Peninsula famous for its extravagant beaches and cloud-touching skyscrapers. This Dubai day trip contains the very best of Dubai ensuring a day that you will never forget. Stay at the beautiful and relaxing Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa and hit the beach in Jumeirah for a wonderful time taking in the sights and sun in the Persian Gulf. Stop for a break in the shade while enjoying a refreshing drink at the Lime Tree Café. Experience some of Dubai’s history at the antiquated Dubai Museum housed in the old Al Fahidi Fort. Head to the elaborate and beautiful Grand Mosque to learn more about the culture and religion of the region while experiencing the gorgeous structure. Then it is time for a delicious lunch at the classic and beautiful Arabian Tea House and Café

Feel like a real Emirati while shopping at the marvelous Spice Souk and Souk Al Wasl and experience the excitement of the bustling Dhow Wharf while taking a quick boat ride across Dubai Creek. XVA Gallery and Art Space is the perfect location for a break and some mint lemonade before heading out to experience the incredible buildings of Dubai. The Dubai Mall is a massive shopping space where you can find some of the most exclusive brands. Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and will leave you feeling awestruck and tiny. The Dubai Fountain offers an incredible water performance and the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo will give you the chance to explore the bottom of the ocean. After an exciting afternoon, you will start your evening well with a dinner in the sky at At.Mosphere and a musical performance at The Fridge. Finish off your night drinking and lounging at Koubba Bar and then dancing the rest of the night away the famous 360 night club. Dubai is fabulous, opulent and exciting. Get ready for an amazing day experiencing Dubai from every angle

09:00 – Relax and start your day trip in the Luxurious Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa

If there is one thing Dubai is known for, it is its lavish beachside hotels. Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa does not disappoint. With its own private beach, beautiful grounds, accommodating staff and comfortable rooms, this is the perfect place to stay when visiting this exciting city in the United Arab Emirates. As you walk into the gorgeous marble lobby, the staff will greet you and help you with your travel bags. Enjoy the luxury and relaxation of this excellent renowned beach resort

Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa offers plenty of community spaces and activities. Wander out onto their private beach where they often have bean bag chairs for you to sit on. There are lounge areas and patios and don’t forget that this also a spa so of course there is a wellness center, sauna, and traditional hammam. This is a beautiful hotel that offers pure relaxation. Even being in this hotel for five minutes, you will be instantly at ease, so let the atmosphere calm you and prepare you for a full day in Dubai

The rooms at Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa are plush and spacious. There are a flat screen TV and adorable coffee tables by the window where you can sit and look out over the beach or the hotel grounds. Most rooms have a balcony so wander out and take in the beautiful city of Dubai. This resort is a home away from home and exactly what you would expect of a Dubai hotel. Enjoy the calm and the sea breeze, and then head out to the neighboring Jumeirah Beach for some fun in the sun and sand  // Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1, Dubai

09:30 – Have Fun in the Sun at Jumeirah Public Beach

Dubai Marine Beach Resort and Spa is right next to a fabulous stretch of sand called Jumeirah Public Beach. This is a great place to enjoy the sun, sand and people during your Dubai day trip. Dubai is known for its beaches and skyscrapers and Jumeirah Public Beach is a great place to sit in the sand while catching the view of the famous Burj Al Arab building standing further down the beach. There is no better way to spend your first few moments in Dubai than a stop at the beach

Jumeirah Public Beach has a long boardwalk for visitors to walk along and enjoy the scenery. You will find people walking, running, rollerblading and cycling along this long stretching beachside walkway. It’s a lively space that attracts all kinds of people who are looking for a little morning fun. Children are running across the beach flying colorful kites, sunbathers lying on their towels in the sand, and people rowing on paddleboards in the calm Persian Gulf. Volleyball nets are set up in various spots as well. There are plenty of activities to participate in or you can sit back and enjoy some people watching on the beautiful sunny day in Dubai

Dubai is a warm city, so it is a good idea to start your day off by dipping your toes in the cool water. You will find many other beach visitors doing the same. Palm trees, beach huts and large umbrellas are all over, so find a shady spot to sit and take in the beautiful aquamarine water as it laps gently against the shore. There are also kiosks where you can buy snacks, water, or a magazine. Skyscrapers loom in the distance as you enjoy the beautiful beaches. Jumeirah Public beach is the perfect way to kick off your Dubai day trip  // Jumeirah Public Beach – Jumeirah Road, Jumeirah, Dubai

10:30 – Have a Refreshing Drink at the Cool Lime Tree Café

After a great time at the beach walk over to the nearby Lime Tree Café for a nice cup of coffee or tea. This coffee shop has a relaxing atmosphere and a friendly staff who will greet you when you walk in. Enjoy the well-lit café space or wander through the cozy room that houses the retail space where you can find a number of interesting products to purchase. There is also a lovely patio surrounded by leaf green palm trees and bushed. The Lime Tree Café feels like a calming oasis in this busy and exciting city

There are plenty of delicious drink and snack options here at Lime Tree Café. They have wonderful freshly squeezed fruit juices like the triple wild berry apple juice and a variety of lemonades. They also have coffee, of course, and lots of tea options. There are also milkshakes if you are in the mood. They also have fresh made scones and lots of amazing cakes to choose from. The carrot cake is a common favorite, so go ahead and give it a try. The food is yummy and refreshing and this is a perfect spot for a midmorning snack

The café has floor to ceiling windows and a clean industrial vibe, which makes it a nice space to sit and talk about your plans for the day. Sit outside and enjoy the breeze through the trees and the sound of the nearby sea and the call to prayer as it echoes from the Mosque. The Lime Tree Café is a great place to sit for a bit and chat with your friends. Enjoy your snacks and drinks and take in the atmosphere before heading out to your next activity on your Dubai day trip  // The Lime Tree Café – Jumeirah 1, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Quoz, Dubai

11:00 – Step Back in Time at The Dubai Museum and at the Breathtaking Grand Mosque

Get ready to enter into the culture and history of Dubai at the fascinating Dubai Museum and the beautiful Grand Mosque. These neighboring spots are a great intro to the region you are currently traveling in. The Dubai Museum is housed in the famous Al Fahidi Fort, which was built a few hundred years ago. The fort matches the desert with its sandy beige brick walls. It is the oldest building in a city known mostly for its new sparkling skyscrapers. It offers you a rare peek into old Dubai before the discovery of oil that led to the lavish wealth of the city

In the museum, you will encounter exhibits and dioramas depicting what life in Dubai was like hundreds of years ago. There are also lots of ancient artifacts discovered by archeologists in the region. Some of these finds date back to the third millennium BC. There is plenty to see in this famous Dubai museum. Enjoy exploring the old fort and the history within the museum before heading over to the ornate and breathtaking renowned Dubai Grand Mosque just a few steps away

The Grand Mosque is an impressive white structure featuring Dubai’s tallest minaret. The mosque has a distinctive and beautiful design, with 50 large and small domes making up the roof. The interior is spectacular with its vaulted and colorful ceiling and extravagant mosaic floors and carpets. It is quite a privilege to enter this sacred space, as it is the only mosque in Dubai that is open to the public. There are plenty of men and women within the building who are eager to answer all of your questions about their culture and religion. Take your time wandering through this breathtaking space  // Grand Mosque – Ali Bin Abi Taleb Street, Dubai

12:30 – Feast on a Beautiful Middle Eastern Lunch at the Arabian Tea House and Café

For lunch in Dubai, there is no place better than the Arabian Tea House and Café. This cozy spot in the historic old part of Dubai is perfect for lounging in the shade and eating delicious traditional foods. The restaurant is housed in an old Emirati style building that echoes back to the old way of living before the skyscrapers and massive shopping malls. Get ready for a delightfully traditional Dubai lunching experience here at the Arabian Tea House and Café

The seating area is in the well-shaded courtyard. There are canopies of leafy green foliage providing shade from the heat and the seating is made up of plush cushioned chairs and couches that are perfect to sink into. You will love the hanging plants, waving fabric and quaint décor of lanterns and garlic that all add to the ambience. The restaurant prides itself on classic Emirati hospitality and the staff lives up to this by welcoming you with friendly smiles and being ready to answer all your questions

The mood is set for a great meal as relax in the quiet oasis of Arab hospitality. The food is the real jewel in the crown. They offer fresh salads of cucumber and tomato and of course there is plenty of pita bread and humus to enjoy. The café also has various meat kebabs, and traditional sandwiches like chicken shawarmas. Don’t forget that this is also a tea house. The  Arabian Tea House and Café has a wide range of fresh loose leaf teas to choose from that are interesting and delicious. Your lunch at this beautiful restaurant will be exactly what your Dubai day trip calls for  // Arabian Tea House and Café – Al Fahidi Street, Dubai

14:00 – Get Some Shopping Done in the Traditional Way at the Spice Souk and Souk Al Wasl and Take a Quick Boat Ride from Dhow Wharf

Some other authentic spots in Dubai are the Spice Souk, Souk Al Wasl, and Dhow Wharf. First, have a walk through the Spice Souk and get ready for your senses to be overwhelmed with bright colors and incredible aromas. This is the largest spice souk in Dubai and is known for its many winding alleyways lined with sacks of cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, dried, fruits and dozens of other kinds of spices. You will be captivated by the sights and smells of this aromatic souk. The Spice Souk is a wonderful place to wander through and it is a traditional Dubai experience that you cannot miss

Next head to Souk Al Wasl for another colorful market experience. This souk is more of a place to get souvenirs, clothes and other goods. You will find many locals wandering through the market to run some errands. This is a great place to find some traditional clothes for a souvenir. Abayas, traditional dresses for women, can be found here in abundance with various designs and some in colors other than the usual black. Souk Al Wasl offers a unique look into the everyday life and gives you an opportunity to find some souvenirs to bring back from your trip

Dhow Wharf is just around the corner from these souks and is a delightful sight. Dubai has several lovely waterways coming into the city from the gulf and one of these is known as Dubai Creek. This particular waterway has classic old Arabian boats sailing through carrying goods to be sold in the souks. There is always color and activity bursting from the wharf, as goods are unloaded onto the docks. Several of the boats offer a cheap and quick ride across the creek, so beat the traffic and hop on. It is an exciting way to experience Dubai  // Spice Souk – Deira, Dubai

16:00 – Sip on a Drink While Viewing Incredible Art from Around the Region at XVA Café and Art Gallery

Nestled in the alleyways of the old and historic neighborhood of Al Fahidi, XVA Café and Art Gallery is one of Dubai’s best-kept secrets. This is a beautiful old café is a wonderful spot to escape the heat and enjoy a refreshing drink and the lovely art. The café is in an outside courtyard with a large tree in the center and a billowing white covering offering shade and a natural ambience. The building is a traditional white structure that is home to both a hotel and an art gallery. This is the perfect place to sit back with a cup of tea and relax

The XVA Café and Art Gallery is designed for refreshment, so of course they have a number of delicious drinks and snacks for you to choose from. They have delicious drinks like apple iced tea and a regional favorite, mint lemonade. They also have wonderful coffee options and a number of traditional teas to choose from. Their cheesecakes are interesting and so good. Try a flavor like chai, rose, or saffron. Whatever you get it will be wonderful and in keeping with the comforting and lovely atmosphere of the café and art gallery

The XVA Art Gallery is well worth a look. This art space exhibits some of the best that contemporary Middle Eastern art has to offer. There are various types of works and artists featured. There are painting and sculptures and photographs as well as less familiar mediums such as fabric art and teacup design. Arabic calligraphy is also a theme running through the gallery and many of the artists incorporate this beautiful tradition in various ways throughout their work. Enjoy your delicious mint lemonade as you take in the fascinating art from the region’s best artists  // XVA Café – XVA Art Hotel – Al Fahidi Street, Dubai

17:00 – Shop at the Extravagant Dubai Mall, Admire the Cloud-Reaching Burj Khalifa, and See the Water Show at the Dubai Fountains

Dubai is well known for its massive and elaborate malls, tall glittering skyscrapers and the lavish detail added whenever possible. The Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain are all great examples the city’s classic flair. The Dubai Mall is one of the largest malls in the world and it houses a 22-screen cinema an Olympic-sized ice rink and an indoor theme park in addition to 1,200 shops. There is plenty to do here so take a look around and do some shopping. Fashion Avenue, as it is known, is an area featuring high-end shops like Armani, Chanel, and Oscar de la Renta. Enjoy an elegant afternoon of shopping here at the Dubai Mall

Just outside the mall is one of Dubai’s most iconic buildings, Burj Khalifa. This silver skyscraper cuts through the sky and is the tallest man-made structure in the world at almost 3,000 feet. It has 163 floors and the world’s tallest observation deck on floor 148. Head up there if you are not too afraid of heights and check out the panoramic views of the city and surrounding areas. Burj Khalifa is an incredible building that is the epitome of Emirati architecture. It is definitely worth experiencing for yourself

Right in front of Burj Khalifa is The Dubai Fountain. This fountain performs several times a day and is the largest performing fountain on earth. You may have noticed that Dubai likes having the largest and the best things in the world and The Dubai Fountain does not disappoint. The show is packed full of elaborate water choreography, colorful lights and Arabic and world music playing alongside the dancing fountain. It is a magnificent show that you will have to see to believe  // Dubai Mall – Financial Centre Road, Downtown Dubai, Dubai

18:30 – Experience Sea Life at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

One of the most praised activities in Dubai, the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is a must see for any visitor. The aquarium is one of the largest in the world at 10 million liters and it is filled with over 33 thousand incredible sea creatures. From Jellyfish to Crocodiles to the largest number of Sand Tiger Sharks in the world, this aquarium will fill you with a sense of wonder. This is a great place to explore on a hot Dubai afternoon

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is inside the Dubai Mall and the aquarium tank rises all the way to the third floor. You will not be able to help press your face to the glass and watching the sharks swim by you. There are several ways to experience the ocean life. The aquarium offers of the water in a glass-bottom boat or you can even snorkel or scuba dive in the massive tank. One of the favorite ways to experience the aquarium is through the tunnel. You will go right beneath the aquarium in this clear glass tunnel and see hundreds of sea creatures swim overhead

One of the new additions to the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is the massive King Croc. This humongous crocodile weighs over 1,500 pounds and is more than sixteen feet long. He has sixty razor sharp teeth each the size of one of your fingers but don’t worry, the glass between you and him is thick so he probably won’t escape. Get up close and personal with this huge crocodile who, believe it or not, is still growing. The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo provides and incredible experience with some of the world’s most amazing underwater creatures  // Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo – Ground & Level 2, The Dubai Mall, Dubai

19:30 – Have a Gorgeous Meal While Taking in the Unique View at At.Mosphere

Continuing in the theme of the largest and tallest things in the world, At.Mosphere is the highest restaurant in the world and the place you should definitely stop at for dinner. On the 123rd floor of the Burj Khalifa, this restaurant boasts gorgeous views and delicious food. It is an amazing atmosphere to watch the sun go down while enjoying an incredible dinner. The staff is flawlessly friendly and the whole restaurant exudes that Emirati opulence. This will be a meal you will not forget up here in the sky at At.Mosphere

At.Mosphere’s food is as exquisite as the view, with several different course options featuring perfectly executed dishes. There are several different international options for the first course, from Italian Burrata to French Veloute. They offer impeccable and juicy steak and crisp fresh cod as main courses as well as other perfectly cooked and beautifully presented meats. The wine selection is not to be missed and definitely don’t forget to order one of their amazing cakes. The exquisite food matches the incredible view. It will be a dinner that you will tell all your friends about

As you enjoy your food, it will be hard to peel your eyes away from the view, but definitely take a minute to appreciate the ambience of this lavish restaurant. The walls are mahogany wood and the floors are covered with a plush elegant carpet.  There is dim and romantic lighting coming from a variety of interesting lamps hanging down from the ceiling. Take it all in as you dine in style at the world’s highest restaurant. It is the most talked about restaurant in Dubai and you will be so glad you experienced it  // At.Mosphere – 122nd Floor, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, Dubai

21:00 – Fall in Love with Music at the Trendy and Renowned Music Venue, The Fridge

Dubai is a massive city in every respect, but it is more than just tall buildings. The Fridge is a venue that hosts some of the most interesting up and coming Middle Eastern musicians and performers. In addition to be a great concert venue, it is also one of the leading talent agencies in the Middle East, so many of the artists you will see performing here were discovered by The Fridge and they have great taste. This spot is the home of the region’s grassroots music scene and it is well worth experiencing. The Fridge is an eclectic space to spend your evening on this Dubai day trip

The venue is a large warehouse with lots of seating and amazing acoustics. There are a number of beanbag chairs throughout the large room where you can sink down and enjoy the music. During the day, the space serves as a location for master classes in dance, voice, and various instruments and as a recording studio for artists. You will feel the love and passion for music vibrating off the walls of The Fridge. It is an awesome venue for all things art and music. Get ready to enjoy a unique performance from artists of a variety of music genres

The musicians who perform here are in love with music. That is the commonality between the founders of The Fridge, the artists they host, and the guests who are here to listen. You will experience the passion behind each chord and note. Depending on the night, there could be jazz, hip-hop, classical, or folk performances. No matter what is playing that night, it is sure to be a personal and one-of-a-kind experience. There are also unique collaborations, experiments, and first-time performances from artists. The Fridge cultivates an atmosphere of deep love and appreciation for the beautiful art of creating music  // The Fridge – Alserkal Avenue, Warehouse #5 – Street 8 / Street 17, Al Quoz 1, Dubai

22:30 – Lounge in Style While Sipping on Cocktails at Koubba Bar

If you want a cozy and authentic place for drinks with your friends, Koubba Bar is the spot for you. With beautiful terraces and plush Arabian patterned seating, this bar is a great place to sit back and relax. Koubba Bar is not far from the beach and offers a wonderful view of the famous skyscraper, Burj Al Arab. This part of Dubai seeks to create a romantic Arabia of the past with palm trees everywhere and small boats cruising through the surrounding canals. It’s a magical place to enjoy a few drinks on this beautiful Dubai night

The interior of Koubba Bar echoes the magic of the night with its dim lights and lavish décor. The flooring is made of deep purple and red mosaic tiles. All the seating is luxuriously cushioned and beautiful Arabian style lanterns hang down from the ceiling. Koubba bar does not disappoint with their delightful atmosphere. The bar has sunset themed cocktails and a number of other fantastic mixed drinks that are delicious. So talk to the helpful staff and order something great to sip on while you take in the vintage Arabian atmosphere

Koubba Bar has live music six nights a week adding to the incredible ambience of this excellent bar. Sit out on the terrace and listen to the band playing. They also offer shisha and cigars if you want to join in this classic Middle Eastern pastime. Either way, you will love looking out over the waterways lit up by golden lights and watching Burj Al Arab in all its glowing glory. Dubai at night is ethereal and mysterious and Koubba Bar helps add to this feeling. Enjoy the night at this marvelous Dubai bar  // Koubba Bar – Lobby Floor, Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah – Al Sufouh Rd, Dubai

23:59 – Dance the Night Away Surrounded by Amazing Sights and Sounds at 360 Nightclub

360 Club is one of the best nightclubs in Dubai and perfect for the end of your Dubai day trip. The club is set out in the Gulf with water and spectacular views of the city surrounding it. The circular building is the perfect spot for this club and the name makes sense. You get 360-degree views of the Arabian Gulf and the city of Dubai. It is an amazing place to spend an evening dancing and partying with some of Dubai’s coolest people. This is a favorite spot among the local international crowd and if you ask around about nightclubs, chances are most people will agree that 360 is the place to be any night of the week

360’s circular dance floor is a unique space to dance in. Join in the party and experience the great music that the DJ is playing. There are two floors to the club. The top floor is an open space with a large bar with plenty of drinks, and the DJ spins the jams up here until one or two in the morning when he moves downstairs. The bottom floor is an indoor space and has another bar also offering a variety of cocktails and other drinks for you to choose from. There is plenty of space to dance and party with your friends while be surrounded by incredible views

Dubai’s party scene can range from chill and laid back to exclusive and extravagant. 360 offers both. With the unparalleled views and well-dressed crowd you will feel like a VIP, and if you need a break from dancing find a seat and maybe order some hookah, a favorite pastime in this region. It will be an amazing night looking out over the city you spent your day exploring. Dubai is extravagant and exotic and you are at the heart of it here at 360 club. Enjoy a perfect end to a perfect day  // 360 Club – Jumeirah Beach Hotel, near Jumeirah Rd, Dubai

We mapped out your day trip in Dubai

Each highlight of your day trip is numbered, simply follow the guide

What you should absolutely know about Dubai

City highlights, food & drinks, expressions, weather, how to get there and how to get around

Dubai is one of the richest city in the world. During your Dubai day trips, sample all types of Middle Eastern and Gulf cuisine at a sprawling street market or traverse around the Dubai desert on a safari journey. Soak up the sun at the Jumeirah Beach Park, catch a show at the Dubai World Trade Center, or dine on local foods at a café. Cheer on a cricket game from the Dubai International Cricket Stadium or watch the sunset from a marvelous tour boat. No matter how you choose to spend your day trip, time in Dubai will be fantastic

Get up close and personal with the tallest building in the world: Burj Khalifa. Indulge and shop at the quaint mall, Madinat Jumeirah. Buy gold at the market, the Gold Souq (or merely look at it!). Make a trip to see the beautiful Jumeirah mosque

Try these foods to savor the exotic taste of Dubai. Have falafel is a combination of chickpeas and various spices as a snack. Hummus is a dip eaten with vegetables. Shawarma is a famous dish of lamb or chicken with vegetables and garlic sauce

“Ahlan” or “Marhaban” means “Welcome” or “Hello”. To say goodbye, you would say “Ma’a salama” and to ask someone if they speak English, you would ask “hal TaTaKalam alanglizia?” They have a very polite culture in Dubai, so learning a few words goes a long way

Dubai has a warm tropical desert climate and is sunny year round. Summers tend to be hot and humid, with an average temperature of 104 degrees. Winters are short with an average temperature of 73 degrees. December through March is still very warm

Taking a taxi from the airport to the city center is very convenient and inexpensive (20 dirham for single trip). The Metro, an automated train, runs all over the city from the airport and costs around 8 dirham per trip

Dubai has a plethora of taxis; they are easy to flag down and inexpensive. Buses are also very common, with over 70 routes that take people all over Dubai. The Metro train, monorail, and water taxi all run over the whole city

Feeling adventurous? Have a look at these city guides