Visiting Dubai is an absolute dream come true, a desert mirage come alive with modern architecture, incredible food, experiences like no other and a true cosmopolitan spirit.
My family and I recently visited the stunning city of Dubai for the trip of a lifetime. Grayson, Harper and I were joined by mom since my husband has a startling fear of airplane travel that developed after we had my son.
Getting to Dubai
Flying to Dubai is an experience in itself! We flew Emirates, one of the top airlines in the world. Flying on the Airbus A380 (the largest airplane in the world) is a treat with its roomy, plush seats, first class entertainment system with the newest movies and top television shows, and lofty open spaces.
And we only flew in economy!
Getting Around Dubai
Once we landed in Dubai, we exclusively used Uber UAE to explore the city. Uber in Dubai is just as spectacular as Dubai is, with choices to use “Chopper” to helicopter around the city or take UberOne the fleet of all electric cars including Teslas among the regular car choices.
Many of our Uber drivers also offered wifi, which is so convenient! Cell reception is pretty strong and reliable around the city, but I always like the option to hop on wifi.
What to Do in Dubai
There is so much to do in Dubai, you could stay for months and still not come close to seeing everything! The city is growing at such a robust pace that there are constantly new and exciting places popping up.
To help you figure out what to see and do in Dubai, I created suggested itineraries based on the number of days you will be in Dubai.
Dubai Day 1
Dubai Miracle Garden
Start off your Dubai adventure at the Dubai Miracle Garden, a gorgeous outdoor oasis made up of flowers in a myriad of shapes, styles and forms like hearts, airplanes and more.
Walking in to the Miracle Garden, the first thing you will notice is the smell. Sweet fragrances + aromas delight your senses. And then you see the floral designs and I was instantly transported into a fairy universe of wonderland.
We spent the best morning walking around, enjoying the flowers and plants. Plus the photos for your Instagram feed will amaze and delight your friends! The colors and scents of Dubai will truly delight you.
Some cities celebrate their location on water, and others turn their back to it. Dubai squarely falls into the first camp and embraces its stunning location on the crystal blue Persian Gulf.
To help give you the full perspective of Dubai, head to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
THE VIEWS ARE UNREAL!! I have never seen anything like it in my life, and I’ve been to the tallest buildings in Chicago, NYC, London and Los Angeles.
The city views of Dubai are an urban delight. My son and I play Sim City together, and the closest thing I can describe the cityspace to is the fictional futuristic cities in that game. The buildings are modern, unique and absolutely glow amidst the desert sky.
I highly suggest booking the VIP experience called “Sky” to skip the long lines to travel to the top of the Burj Khalifa and be instantly transported to a post private lounge. A guide meets you on the bottom floor with a short wait to take the elevators to the top of the world.
When you enter the lounge, you are greeted with drinks and desert, plush seats to enjoy the skyline and exclusive outdoor areas to capture the best photos looking out on Dubai. You are above the main observation deck with far fewer people, making the experience even better.
Stop and stare for awhile before you head to the Dubai Mall for lunch.
The Dubai Mall is one of the largest in the world. It’s located next to the Burj Khalifa and houses the entrance to the tallest building in the world. When you leave the Burj Khalifa, take some time to explore the beautiful Dubai Mall.
With unique restaurants and stores, a waterfall, ski slope, ice skating rink and even its own Eataly, the Dubai Mall is a fun experience for everyone. And also a great place to shop! You just may need to head back to your hotel to drop off your shopping bags! Even better, many hotels accept delivery of your bags right from the mall, so no stop is even needed.
End the day with the most incredible desert safari in the world! Platinum Heritage takes you through the desert in vintage Land Rovers for a falcon show, desert sunset and dinner in an authentic Bedouin camp.
What an experience!
We saw animals, watched the gorgeous sun set over sand dunes and learned how Bedouins use Falcons to hunt in the desert. Then we were treated to a delicious dinner in a Bedouin camp plus singing, dancing and playing drums.
We also got henna temporary tattoos, rode camels and took the most swoon-worthy Instagrammable photos. It’s truly a bucket list, Dubai must-do experience!
Dubai Day 2
Your second day in Dubai will start with an aerial perspective of the city from Seawings Dubai. That’s right, you will get your sea wings!
Since I was a child, I have always wanted to fly in a sea plane. It’s one of those things that just seem to defy logic. How does a plane stay afloat on water?!
Yes, you will take off and land in a plane, on water. It’s super smooth and a much more gentle experience than a helicopter or even a private jet taking off from a runway. You enter the boat on a floating dock.
Then you take off to see the crystal blue waters, the World Islands an archipelago of islands in the shape of the world, and the Palm Islands, three different islands in the shape of palm trees off the coast of Dubai. Explore the gorgeous scenery from the most incredible vantage point.
It’s the most bucket list experience, and thank me later!
City Walk Dubai
Next head to City Walk Dubai, a modern collection of restaurants, unique shops, street art and play places.
In Dubai, expect the unexpected around every corner because you will find it! From unique street art, stunning artwork and flower-covered cafes. Every cuisine you could ever imagine and incredible stores in the most stunning settings, Dubai doesn’t do basic.
I started counting how many times I said “woooow!” throughout the day but I keep losing count and you will too!
Enjoy lunch and then head over to Green Planet Dubai.
Green Planet Dubai
The beautiful Green Planet Dubai is a place like no other. It’s an indoor rain forest filled with plants, greenery, flowers, birds, animals, insects snakes, a bat cave and more.
Play with monkeys and watch a sloth move around Green Planet, slowly but surely. It’s a fun sensory experience with lush plants blooming in the middle of a desert! There’s a fun bat cave you can walk through in the dark, but not scary, I promise!
Harper pet a snake (she was the only brave one. I am deathly afraid of snakes!) and we watched monkeys play, play, play. I finally understood the phrase “just monkeying around!” We also loved seeing the vibrant tropical birds fly around.
Dubai Day 3
Al Seef and the Spice Market
Start your third day in Dubai exploring the old city of Dubai. Al Seef is a bustling market specializing in home goods, spices, gold and more. The architecture is absolutely stunning and rooted in Dubai’s culture and heritage.
We loved seeing the colorful spices, clothing and my kids loved seeing all of the toys. From rugs to pillows, there are so many fun items to check out.
You can take a water taxi to or from Al Seef, which my kids really enjoyed. It reminded me of the Venice Canals, and my kids always love traveling by boat!
Located close to Al Seef, the Frame is a completely original structure unlike anything I have ever seen before in my travels.
The Frame is in the shape of a large frame, with new Dubai on one side and old Dubai on the other. If you are afraid of heights, The Frame is not anywhere as tall as the Burj Khalifa and is a great alternative.
Learn about Dubai’s history as you enter The Frame, with interactive experiences. Then you head to the top of The Frame with a short elevator ride. You are greeted with gorgeous white decor accented by a changing rainbow of lights and colors.
The center of The Frame has an interactive floor. It looks opaque, but when you touch it, you can see straight down to the bottom. Enjoy snacks, food and drinks while you take in the views of old and new Dubai. It’s fascinating to compare and contrast the old city with the new.
The views are breathtaking & it’s really eye opening.
La Mer Dubai
Spend you afternoon at the beach, a the brand-new La Mer Beach area. La Mer is the beachfront destination of my dreams with activities for all of your senses filled with restaurants, shops, exciting activities and of course, a beautiful stretch of beach.
The beachfront is picture-esque and I loved that only people dressed to go to the beach are allowed on the sand area. This ensures the beach is a very safe, family-friendly environment.
We had a blast playing on the beach, dining at the dreamiest restaurants and shopping. My kids loved Hawa Hawa, an outdoor trampoline park.
The trampolines are air-filled white dome-shapedhills designed to mirror the sands of the deserts. There are two dunes and seven peaks, which are perfect for running, jumping, climbing, bounding and getting all of your kid’s energy out.
Kids will also loves all of the outdoor games and incredible wall art. And I loved the tiny rainbow houses that reminded me of cottages in Australia.
Dubai Day 4
Dubai Parks is a collection of three amusement parks and one water park filled with fun for the family. My kids absolutely loved Legoland Dubai. They love playing with Legos, and enjoyed seeing miniature versions of buildings in Dubai made out of Legos.
There are tons of fun rides, shows and attractions, like getting to drive a Lego car and boat, compete with other families in a rescue, voyage in a submarine and more!
Next to Legoland Dubai is Bollywood Parks. In five fascinating zones, you get to experience different experiences inspired by the greatest Bollywood blockbusters.
Next head to Dubai Garden Glow, a world of imagination unlike any other. Garden Glow is a stunning display of light up life-size artistic splendor divided into four magical themes.
Experience Glow Park, the largest glow-in-the-dark garden made of millions of energy efficient light bulbs, Dinosaur Park, the biggest dinosaur park with over 120 animatronic Dinosaurs, Ice Park, a polar area filled with ice sculptures, and Art Park made up of thousands of recycled bottles, dishes, cd’s and more.
It’s a sensory-filled experience for the most adventurous evening of your life!
Dubai Day 5
Your final day in Dubai is to swim, play and explore Atlantis Resort and Waterpark located on the majestic Palm Island. The resort is a huge, sprawling structure with shops, restaurants, an aquarium and amazing water park.
It’s fun for everyone in your family! I highly suggest getting a seat in the reserved areas or a cabana so you have a fixed location to come back to throughout the day.
We loved the lazy river, the largest and most adventurous one I have ever experienced. In between long, lazy rides there are small rapids, which are an absolute blast!
I hope you enjoyed hearing about our experiences in Dubai, and I helped you plan your Dubai trip. Be prepared for the trip of a lifetime and a ton of fun packed into a few days!