These are things to do in New Dubai outside your hotel. It’s so easy to stay in the glitzy resorts of New Dubai. The hotels are incredible! But, what is there to do if you want a change from the pool and buffet restaurants? This may surprise you but there are lots of reasons to explore more of New Dubai outside your hotel.
This is a must do list for adults although many of the experiences would suit children of a certain age too, such as the aquarium. My list of best things to experience in New Dubai outside your hotel includes the Marina, the tallest building in the world, choreographed fountain displays, waterside dining and designer souks.
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The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world. It’s impressive!
Especially when you consider that:
- the temperature at the tip is a whole 6 degrees cooler than at the ground level!
- It’s officially a ‘Global Icon’.
- It’s possibly the most conspicuous lightening conductor in the world.
- the telescopic spire at the top is over 200 metres in height and is the
world’s tallest tower.
- It holds the worlds fastest double decker elevators.
- It’s been labelled a ‘vertical city’ and holds up to 10,000 people at any given time.
It really is an awesome sight. The best place to see it is on a bridge connecting The Dubai Mall with the Souk Al Bahar. You can also watch the fountain display from there and catch a little shade!
It’ll get extremely hot exploring New Dubai outside your hotel and it’s air conditioning!
But I have an even better idea. If you time it right, you can have lunch at a beautiful restaurant overlooking the Dubai Fountain display!
Try one of the Restaurants
This Lebanese restaurant has the front seat to the Fountain displays that take place throughout the day to charming Arabic music.
The setting is rather spectacular even without being at the foot of the tallest building and in front of the water display.
They do the most delicious and refreshing Virgin cocktails. There are strict laws regarding drinking alcohol. As a rule of thumb, you can easily get served alcohol, but once you leave the restaurant get straight in a taxi back to your hotel.
Our lunch was completely fresh and wonderfully healthy. Just what we needed in the scorching heat.
The Dubai Fountain
The Dubai Fountain is a choreographed fountain display set in a 30 acre manmade lake at the foot of the Burj Khalifa.
Apparently the night time display is even better and it happens every 30 minutes!
Visit a Mosque
Many many of the mosques in Dubai are breathtaking.
The Mosques in Dubai usually close their doors to non-believers. Like this one above, which we simply enjoyed to see in glorious juxtaposition against the looming tower blocks that nestle around it.
The one mosque, however, you can enter is the Jumeirah Mosque, where you can join a tour. Men can’t wear shorts and women will be given a black robe and head scarf to wear.
The Dubai Mall
If you have been to a Westfields in London, you get the idea (I was expecting it to be a bit more spectacular). It’s very similar, just bigger. There are some great things to see and do there, however, such as ice-skating and this fountain…
Our favourite thing, however, was the magnificent Aquarium and zoo.
Dubai Aquarium & Zoo
This was really wonderful. At first we thought it would be a bit simpler, but there are some in-depth tours through the aquarium nurseries, you can go in a shark Scooter (yes, really), glass bottom boats and more!
But anyone visiting the mall can see the vast glass side of the aquarium.
The tunnel is where you can get up and personal.
Even as an adult it is tremendous fun!
The ‘zoo’ section is still aquatic (no giraffes here) and it’s well worth doing. It’s clean, there are lots of ‘wow’ moments and it’s a great size (just enough).
Look out for the giant crocodile ‘King Croc’ a local trouble maker..!
Souk Al Bahar
For me the Souk Al Bahar is much nicer than the great big ‘high street’ style malls. It’s a beautiful place to shop. It has a more local feel.
They say it is ‘soulfully stylish’ and I agree…
the “sailor’s market”, is a step back in time to the wonder and allure of old Arabia
You can discover rich tapestries and carpets, intricate handicrafts, eclectic jewellery, culturally-inspired fashion and heady perfumes, as well as furnishings, books, art and more…
Take the Public Transport
The monorail and trams are clean, efficient and we found that there was always a member of staff there to guide you.
Dubai Marina is sold as the most luxurious man made marina in the world. It certainly looks beautiful as the sun goes down.
It was very peaceful this time of day. It’s a pleasant way to see the splendour of New Dubai outside your hotel.
It stretches for two miles and so it’s a nice walk. There are plenty of restaurants and coffee houses dotted about to refresh with a drink and a snack.
As you pass the restaurants expect to be approached by waiters (at each and every one…).
You could go on a Dhow cruise for another perspective.
A bar with a view
There will be many, but our choice was the Observatory bar at the 5-star Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites.
You get a great view of the sun setting behind the worlds tallest Ferris Wheel (still under construction).
Even more exciting is a view of The Palm Islands Jumeirah just beyond the harbour.
We didn’t have to wait long to get a table by the window. It was a great view!
If you want to explore resorts, The Atlantis , on The Palm, is considered the best hotel in the Middle East.
The cocktails were very very good at the Observatory bar. Passion fruit in mine (of course!).
But before you go, head to the side of the bar towards the restaurant – because they have a spectacular view of the Dubai Marina round there!
Al Qasr At Madinat
The last thing we highly recommend you do in New Dubai outside your hotel is visit the shops and restaurants of this ‘sultanate palace’.
There are so many opulent restaurants and bars here it’s hard to choose!
This ‘City of Jumeirah’ is built to look like a Sheikh’s summer residence. There is music, candles and incense everywhere.
You don’t get harassed to eat or buy here. It’s way too elegant for that! It makes for a very relaxed and romantic destination.
Do not leave without perusing the shops that are designed as traditional souk shopping (with over ninety five outlets). There is no hard sell so it is a very enjoyable way for us reserved Westerners to have a souk experience.
Some of the opulent shops were dazzling…
New Dubai is incredibly clean, it feels safe and as long as you understand cultural sensitivities regarding dress, drink, public signs of affection etc it can be a glorious place to explore.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our list of things to do in New Dubai outside your hotel. What would you add? Please tell me in the comments below. I love to hear from you!
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