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Hi, I'm Asma Chaudhry and I write about things to do in Dubai and UAE.

Explorer, Writer, Foodie, Traveler

Based in Dubai, UAE

It is not hyperbolic to say that Dubai is the best place for tourists in the whole world. The ever-growing number of attractions and friendly atmosphere lures more and more people to this desert oasis every year.The first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when they think about Dubai is the luxury and the record-breaking spree it has been on for the better part of a century. But, when you come here, you’ll know that it’s so much more than that.Dubai is an eclectic mix of vast and unexplored deserts, lush green farmlands, soaring skyscrapers, and white sand beaches. There are more things to do in Dubai can ever imagine.

Here’s a complete list of things you can do and places to visit in Dubai. Read on and discover fun ideas to enjoy your holiday in Dubai.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest man-made structure and an iconic landmark of the UAE. From the observation decks on top of the tower, one can witness the full splendor of downtown Dubai. Observation decks At the Top’ on the 124th floor and the newly opened ‘At the Top Sky’ on the 148th floor bring in a large crowd of visitors every day. A splurge of record-breaking followed the completion of Burj Khalifa in 2009.The entry fee to the observation decks depends on the time of day you choose. Surprising numbers of visitors flock around early morning and sunset hours though tickets cost more during these times. Whether you want to see the city in broad daylight or the twilight glimmer of the night sky, you will be blown away by the panorama from 555m above the ground. For people at the top of Burj Khalifa, sunset happens four minutes later than those at the ground level.The whole building is 830m tall, almost three times higher than the Eiffel Tower. The tip can be seen from as far as 95km away if the weather allows.Anyone who comes to Dubai should witness this world wonder at least from the outside.

Zeta Seventy Seven

Zeta Seventy Seven is one of the hottest tickets in town. But if you don’t mind the increased heat, the rooftop bar is offering a brilliant sundowner deal this summer that comes with some of the best views of the city.Available every day from 4.30pm to 8pm, you can perch up at one of Zeta Seventy Seven’s alfresco bar or restaurant tables and sip on a selection of house drinks. Whether you prefer to wind down with a wine, or refresh with a spirit and mixer, unlimited house drinks, plus a platter of signature snacks from the Asian Fusion menu, are priced at Dhs377 for ladies and Dhs477 for gents.
Of course, while you’re there you’ll be able to soak up the stunning panoramic views, which stretch from Blue waters and JBR to The Palm and out across the city. Though pool access isn’t included – this is still reserved for in-house guests only – you will be able to marvel at the Guinness World Record-breaking infinity pool, which sits at a gravity defying 293.906 meters high.
You’ll need to pre-book to avail the summer sundowner deal, and it’s a strictly 21+ venue, so you won’t be able to bring the little ones along.Throughout summer, alongside the sunset drinks deal, Zeta Seventy Seven is currently remaining open for lunch. The all open-air venue serves up a menu of pan-Asian flavors perfect for in-house guests to graze on poolside.Zeta Seventy Seven, Address Beach Resort, JBR, 4.30pm to 8pm daily, Dhs377 ladies, Dhs477 gents. Tel: (04) 879 8866, addresshotels.com

Desert Safari

Most of the other things to do in Dubai are in the cities. That’s what makes a desert safari different from everything else out there. It is the only way to explore the Arabian dunes up close. The Dubai desert safari lets you discover the forgotten traditions of desert-dwelling Arabs.Safari has something up its sleeve to satiate the intrepid souls too. The dune bashing ride in a 4×4 SUV can be best described as a roller coaster ride through the desert dunes. Tall red dunes of Lehbab desert are the perfect place for a dune bashing ride. But it’s also carried out in the Margham desert as well.The thrilling ride lasts for half an hour with a few sunset-photo stops in between and a stopover near the tallest dunes to try out sandboarding. Sandboarding in the desert is the second version of ice skiing.Before the sunset, the desert activities are wound up, and the convoy moves to the Bedouin camp. The rest of the fun is hosted in this traditionally styled desert camp. It includes opportunities to get a henna tattoo, dress up in Emirati attire, take a picture with the Falcon, and Quad biking.Then as the night falls, the camp is livened up by traditional folk dances and a delicious barbecue dinner buffet. The whole desert safari trip lasts for 6–7 hours, immersing you in the desert aura the entire time.This is a great getaway option in Dubai. Suitable for family trips as well as for bachelors.

Dhow Cruise Dinner in Dubai Marina

A cruise dinner on a boat in the Marina is a romantic trip through the pristine waters of Marina Canals amidst the tall buildings and glam and glitter. The traditional Arabic wooden dhow has two decks: the lower air-conditioned one and the alfresco top deck.The top deck will let you enjoy the air and look up at the people waving at you from the walkways across the canal and the gravity-defying skyscrapers that line Marina. The large windows in the lower deck ensure sightseeing fun for those who prefer an air-conditioned experience.The Dhow cruise Marina trip offers mouthwatering food starting from the welcome drinks and Gahwa served as soon as the guests are seated on board. Then the floor will be open for the five-star buffet of intercontinental cuisine.Along with everything else, a live performance of a Tanoura dancer will light up the evening. Tanoura dance, which originated from Egypt centuries ago, is always performed by a male dancer. His long and colorful skirt forms unique patterns as the dancer twirl from start to finish.The Best way to experience Dubai at night with your loved ones, friends and family. Dhow Cruise is a great alternative to restaurant eat outs. A dhow cruise dinner can be way more romantic than a regular one.

Dubai Water Canal

Opened towards the end of 2016, this is the essential addition of recent years to Dubai’s list of waterfront attractions. 2.7 billion AED was spent constructing the 3.2 km canal, which passes through the middle of the busiest part of the city. The channel even cuts Sheikh Zayed Road before it meets Arabian Gulf.The waterfront has a jogging track and a 12 km cycling path. This place is perfect for a romantic outing in the evening. However, you might not want to visit here when the sun rises above. Also, after the sunset, the whole promenade and bridges across the canal are drowned in lights. The sides of Sheikh Zayed Road bridge have a mechanical waterfall, which again is drenched with purple lights. This waterfall makes use of sensors to make way for boats and ferries as they move beneath the bridge.Dubai Water Canal has changed the face of Business Bay forever. Unlike all the other marinas, this one is at the busy downtown center. For Dubai, this presents an immense opportunity for huge developments.The waterfront will witness astounding growth in the coming years, with 80,000 square meters of space planned for entertainment and housing.The canal looks stunning at night. The streetlights along the canal are powered by solar panels, which charge up the batteries during daylight hours. All of these lamp posts have charging stations and WIFI. There are a few bridges to walk across; one of them looks like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.The water canal has excellent accessibility due to its proximity to the metro. This place is best visited in the evening.

Dubai Mall

Like pretty much all the other superlatives, the largest mall in the UAE is in Dubai. Located at the foot of Burj Khalifa and spanning over an area equal to fifty soccer fields, Dubai Mall nearly qualifies as a city in and of itself. The mall gathers more visitors a year than Los Angeles or NewYork does.All the crazy things inside the mall are like a real dinosaur skeleton. If you want to, you can spend a year and a half browsing around in those hundreds and hundreds of stores.Dubai Mall is home to a little over 1200 shopping outlets. Many of which are dedicated to gold jewelry. And on the top floor is the KidZania.There weren’t as many reasons in one place to spend money as ever before. Even if you don’t have the hunger to eat out (pun intended) or hunt for couture, the gigantic aquarium or the ice skating rink will beckon any jovial soul.It is also easy to get lost inside the mall. If you don’t watch out, you will end up spending a long time searching for the entrance you came in through.Best place for shopping visits. Even you can spend hours window shopping and strolling inside the mall.6. JBR and Dubai Marina — The east meets the west
Marina is an artificial canal city situated along the Arabian Gulf, like Venice. But the buildings here soar to the sky. Most of the buildings here are at least 300 meters tall. There are a great many architectural feats all over the water city. Cyan tower stands out with its twisted construction.
A 7-kilometer promenade lines the length of the canal. Though thousands of people come here every day, the wide walkways do not look crowded. Marina walk is made to be explored on foot.Innumerable restaurants and branded outlets adorn the entire walk. Marina walk is a premier marketplace with luxury clothing brands and international restaurants. If you are here on weekends, head towards the cobblestone avenue to catch a glimpse of street performances.The Beach is another open-air mall in Marina. But this one is on the beachside near JBR. Though not as expansive as the marketplace in the promenade. The Beach has a cheerful vibe, being next to the sea. The Blue waters Island and the towering Ain Dubai, the tallest Ferris Wheel globally, can be seen from Marina beach.If you want to witness the poshest neighborhood in Dubai, then this is the place to go. And there are numerous opportunities for shopping and eating.

Dubai Frame

A recent addition to Dubai’s list of architectural marvels is the Dubai Frame. The one that adds a golden tinge to the city’s skyline. The tower is located in Zabeel Park, dividing between Old and New Dubai.The photo frame-shaped landmark is two towers, each measuring 150 meters tall, connected by a 93 meters long bridge. The exterior of the frame is covered in gold-colored stainless steel cladding as a throwback to Dubai’s rise as a gold trading center.The mezzanine floor of the frame showcases the past of Dubai as you enter it. With the use of mist, projectors, and screens, the gallery explains the humble beginnings of Dubai. You can see the expanding horizons as you move up through the glass windows of the elevator from the mezzanine floor to the Skydeck.On the Skydeck, the two sides of the frame give us two completely distinctive perspectives of Dubai. On one side is Old Dubai, which includes Karama, Bur Dubai, and Deira. Faraway, the quintessential Creek can be seen winding in the middle of low-rise buildings.On the other side is the new Dubai, with the broad and busy Sheikh Zayed Road and iconic Burj Khalifa soaring into the sky in downtown Dubai. You should try walking over the acrophobia-inducing glass bridge.There is yet another museum on the mezzanine floor, but this time on your way back, and also this one is about the future of Dubai equipped with state-of-the-art Augmented Reality presentations.Definitely worth visiting along with your family. Children will enjoy all the galleries and visual elements.

Palm Jumeirah

Who would have thought about the idea to build an island in the shape of a palm tree? But Dubai did. They are just ingenious like that. Not only that, but they also made it the largest artificial Island ever built. So big that it can even be seen from space.The Palm Island (or Palm Jumeirah) is a luxury private residences and hotels center. There are over 30 hotels on this Island alone. The most prominent among these hotels is the Atlantis.You can board a monorail from the station near the internet city located at the base of the Palm’s trunk. The monorail will take you to the crescent at the end of Palm Island and offer a brief visual tour of the Island.The lagoons on the Island are a great place for yachting. The white sand beaches in the Palm are a water sports destination for adventure seekers. An eleven-kilometer boardwalk stretches along the shore behind the Atlantis. This boardwalk is teeming with food trucks and souvenir stands. Sip a mug of coffee under the parasol feeling the sea breeze.This is a man-made wonder you should see. You can get a good view of all of the Palm Jumeirah if you go on the Palm Monorail. But to really appreciate the design of the island you will need to get on a helicopter.

Dubai Fountain

Everyone knows that the tallest building in the world is in Dubai. But there is more to it. Right below Burj Khalifa, in the middle of the 30 acres, Burj Lake has the world’s tallest fountain - the Dubai fountain. It is also the world’s largest choreographed fountain.The fountain can shoot 22,000 gallons or 83,000 liters of water over 140 meters high, almost as high as a 50 story building. It has five circles of varying sizes and two arcs that stretch 275 meters across the lake. The same creators of Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas were behind the design of the Dubai Fountain.6,600 WET lights and 25 colored projectors give the fountain a spectacular image at night. One thing that draws people to it is the synchronized choreography with music. The light, the sound, and the undulating water thrill the onlookers for hours on end.Because it is located between Dubai Mall and Souk AI Bahar, there are a lot of great vantage points. But if you want to have a closer look, you can get a pass and go to the boardwalk, which extends 272 meters into the lake. There you will be standing just 9m away from the high water, which means there is no escape from getting wet.Take an Abra ride through the lake if you wish for an entirely new perspective. The ride goes through the fountain as it performs.The fountain has three types of shooters to throw water at three height levels. The most powerful can create 500 ft tall jets, making the spray visible even far away.One of the easiest to visit places in Dubai. Grab a coffee from a restaurant with a nice view of the fountain and enjoy the show.

JBR and Dubai Marina

Marina is an artificial canal city situated along the Arabian Gulf, like Venice. But the buildings here soar to the sky. Most of the buildings here are at least 300 meters tall. There are a great many architectural feats all over the water city. Cyan tower stands out with its twisted construction.A 7-kilometer promenade lines the length of the canal. Though thousands of people come here every day, the wide walkways do not look crowded. Marina walk is made to be explored on foot.Innumerable restaurants and branded outlets adorn the entire walk. Marina walk is a premier marketplace with luxury clothing brands and international restaurants. If you are here on weekends, head towards the cobblestone avenue to catch a glimpse of street performances.The Beach is another open-air mall in Marina. But this one is on the beachside near JBR. Though not as expansive as the marketplace in the promenade. The Beach has a cheerful vibe, being next to the sea. The Blue waters Island and the towering Ain Dubai, the tallest Ferris Wheel globally, can be seen from Marina beach.If you want to witness the poshest neighborhood in Dubai, then this is the place to go. And there are numerous opportunities for shopping and eating.

Yacht Cruise

Set off on a magical journey across the rippling waters of the Arabian Gulf with the cool sea breeze blowing around you. Get close to Burj Al Arab, Atlantis, and Palm and World Islands.Go deep-sea fishing or relish a dinner on a yacht. You can also think of a catamaran party for a group of 30 or, even better, a corporate fishing trip.Fishing Charter
The sudden flash of excitement when you feel a tug on your line and as you reel in your catch! Deep-sea fishing is a sought-after thing to do in Dubai. The most common fish are the Sailfish, Barracuda, Grouper, Tuna, Queenfish, and Snapper.
A fishing cruise will take you to the best fishing locations on a boat with fishing equipment and fish-finding Sonars. Catch the fish, cook them, and have them on board!Romancing a Sunset
As soft waves rock the yacht and the sun glides down the horizon, you will witness one of the most beautiful sunsets of your life-an ideal moment to share with someone special. As the setting sun paints the city orange and pink, the mesmerizing sight will be one of the most cherished moments of your cruise experiences.
Leisure in Luxury
Organize a yacht cruise that no one will forget. Whether a small gathering of friends or family or a grand bash for a larger group of people, there is a luxury boat to cater to your needs. From the smallest boat for eight people to an elegant 85 ft luxury yacht that can host a party of 37, there is a yacht for any occasion. So don’t wait up and try out the best yacht charter Dubai has to offer.
Yachting is a sought after pastime in Dubai. It is best for medium to large groups of people, like five and above, and families and weddings. There are yacht cruise packages suitable for many activities. So plan yours and pick the one that suits you.

Stargazing in the desert

For Dubai’s best after dark experience, you have to head into the desert. Tour company Platinum Heritage will take you deep into the dunes in a private 1950s Land Rover to an open-air Bedouin camp. From here you will be led on a nocturnal eco walk to see the animals and birds who call the desert their home. Stargazing sessions will teach you about the constellations, which can be seen in all their dazzling beauty when out of the city.
platinum-heritage.com, (04 440 9827).

Swim under the moonlight 50 stories high

Fancy swimming under the stars as you’re perched on the edge Dubai’s highest inifinity pool? If this sounds like a bit of you, why not book in and enjoy a Sunday evening summer swim at AURA Skypool. Sitting 200m above the city, with incredible views over Palm Jumeirah, this might just be one of those special Dubai moments that can’t be recreated. With a live DJ spinning tunes, and the pool open until midnight, you need to add this to the list.
AURA Skypool. Every Sunday, June to August from 9pm-midnight, September 8pm-11pm. auraskypool.com

Discover Dubai’s highest dinner show

Unsurprisingly, 53 is located on the 53rd floor of the Sheraton Grand Hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road. With a bird’s eye view over the hustle and bustle of Dubai, this experiential dinner show includes a beverage counter and dinner alongside high-energy live entertainment shows, and creative performances that will take place across different elevated stages in the venue. This will make for a very interesting dinner.
6pm onwards (beverages and bites) and 8pm onwards (dinner à la carte). 53, 53rd Floor, Sheraton Grand Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, 53dubai.com (056 2 535353).

Smash balls into the night at TopGolf

Like golf, but way more fun. Ninety-six hitting bays facing the Dubai Marina put some swing into regular golf as micro-chipped balls bring a degree of hi-tech simulation to a normal driving range experience. Different targets, accuracy and power challenges make this as much like playing a video game as engaging in sport. One of the quirkiest nightlife venues in Dubai, it is open until after midnight every day of the week and is a day-to-night attraction like no other. And – there is some whopper AC to combat those clammy summer nights.
Topgolf, Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills, topgolfdubai.ae, (04 371 9999).

Brighten up at Dubai Garden Glow

Not the easiest concept to explain to a first-time visitor, this glow-in-the-dark theme park is one of the UAE’s more surreal attractions. Part collection of optical illusions, part immersive art instillation and part illuminated fantasy land of brightly coloured scenes. It is only open during the evenings as so many of the sights depend on the ten million energy saving bulbs to provide colour and excitement against the dark of night.
Dubai Garden Glow, Zabeel Park, dubaigardenglow.com, (055 918 8126).

Ooooh and aaaah At The Top (and bottom)

Get the timing right and the world’s tallest building and the fountain at its base can give you a day-to-night experience like no other. It is all about picking your moment. At The Top is the observation deck attraction high up in the Burj Khalifa. Set off just before sunset and you will see the light change over the coast and Sheikh Zayed Road from a vantage point on the 125th floor. As night takes over and the lights start to come on in neighbouring skyscrapers and cars hundreds of metres below you see a different side to Dubai. After you descend be sure to catch one of the night-time only performances of the Dubai Fountain.
Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai, burjkhalifa.ae, (800 28 843 867).

Catch a film in a cool area of the city

Cinema Akil is definitely a slick spot. If you haven’t visited, where have you been? On a serious note, this should be on your list if you’re a movie buff or a culture vulture. Kick back and catch a movie at one of the coolest arty cinemas in Dubai. The cute cinema – kitted out with red velvet seating and walls lined with vintage film posters – sometimes puts on free screenings so it’s worth keeping an eye on the website for when free events are on.
Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, cinemaakil.com (058 909 7798)

Play sport in the dark at The Alley

All sports at all levels and all times should be glow-in-the-dark, dayglo and luminous. At least that’s what we think after seeing Dubai’s first and only dark padel courts. Padel – think a cross between tennis and squash – is the fastest growing sport in the city and this night-time venue gives it a funky twist with special ultraviolet nights illuminating courts until after midnight. We honestly don’t know why more sports aren’t played on purple courts with glowing rackets and balls.
The Alley, Al Quoz, thealleydxb.com, (050 600 0767).

Get the zoomies at Dubai Kartdrome

There are indoor and outdoor kart tracks open until midnight at the Dubai Autodrome circuit. Arrive and drive facilities mean you can pull up and get a speed fix late into the night any day of the week. Helmets, overalls and, most importantly, karts are all provided so all you need for a night drive fix is some extra adrenalin and a few fist bumps for when you are on top of the race podium.
Dubai Kartdrome, Motor City, dubaiautodrome.ae, (800 KARTING).

See the laser and light show at Dubai Festival City

Lasers dance in the night sky every night alongside a spectacular fountain display at IMAGINE at Dubai Festival City, so are well worth going to see under the cover of darkness in the hotter months. Expect to be wowed; it’s earned two Guinness World Records. This is one that people of all ages will be impressed by.
Mon-Thu 6pm-11pm, Fri-Sun 6pm-11pm (every hour). Dubai Festival City Mall, dubaifestivalcitymall.com

Full Moon Yoga at Talise Spa

Even just typing out the words “moonlit yoga on the private sandy beach of the Jumeirah Al Qasr makes us feel more sedate and relaxed. Every punctuation mark leaves the sweet chime of a little bell. It is one of Dubai’s finest wellness experiences and, literally, only comes around once every full moon. Qualified instructors lead the sessions and are welcoming to newcomers as well as helping to teach advanced techniques.
Jumeirah Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, jumeirah.com, (04 366 6818).

Indulge in immersive art at Infinity des Lumières

A multimedia experience that immerses the viewer into the starry night of a Vincent Van Gogh painting. Feel the masterpiece as movement, music and soundscapes pulse through custom-made environments. Book a double ticket and you can also walk through the very cosmos itself as projections of the stars fill entire halls and you’re bathed in sound and light. One of the true ‘has to be seen to be believed Dubai’ experiences that inspires awe and wonder.
Infinity des Lumières, Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, infinitylumieres.com, (050 358 3001).

Browse stalls at a night market

Time Outers have loved everything about the Ripe Market series since it first launched and has spent many a morning browsing handicrafts and guzzling grub in the sunshine at various locations. Open until late every Saturday, The Springs Souk location brings together dozens of small businesses and local creators. With lots of choice from jewellery, home decor and crafts, its a great way to spend some time, buy some bits or maybe even grab something to eat. Best of all, this one is inside so you don’t be sweating.
Ripe Market, The Souk Springs ripeme.com, (04 315 7000).

Cruise the Marina at night

See the twinkling lights of the Marina at night from the top deck of a luxury dinner cruise. It is an opportunity to see one of the world’s greatest skylines from a unique perspective while also stocking up on dinner. Between starters and dessert you will see the Ain Dubai wheel, the beachfront of JBR and the Marina itself on this tourist-friendly excursion. Floor to ceiling windows guarantee good views and there is a buffet, too.
Marina Plaza, Dubai Marina, xclusivecruise.com, (04 457 3185).

Movies under the stars

We’ve always been partial to premium-class cinema experiences, with the reclining seats and extra leg room, but nothing beats al fresco movies. Step on to the rooftop cinema at the Galleria Mall to catch the latest blockbuster and pick up a bag of popcorn, a drink and a box of Monkey cookies. Regardless of the quality of the film it already has an extra star rating when viewed from a squishy bean bag or private cabana.
Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, voxcinemas.com, (055 122 5544).

Go night kayaking with a guide

One of the more Instagrammable night-time moments, and definitely one to remember. Head out with a group and an experienced kayak guide in a glass bottomed kayak lit up with fairy lights. Watch as the sun goes down on the Dubai skyline and the high-rise buildings light up and sparkle. Choose a single kayak, or double up with your bestie. This will help you remember why you love Dubai so much.
Crystal Clear Water Sports, Dubai Fishing Harbour 1. crystalclearwatersports@gmail.com, crystalclearwatersports.com (050 473 8459)

Challenge reality at VR Park

It doesn’t matter what time it is if you’re living in a virtual reality. The world’s largest VR park offers up experiences that fall beyond the scope of mere sunrises and sunsets. Take a drone flight through futuristic Dubai, go dune bashing in the UAE desert, battle zombies, have a virtual snowball fight at any time of day thanks to the wonders of modern technology. There are also rides to amuse young and old, plus the rest of The Dubai Mall to explore.
VR Park, The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, vrparkdubai.com, (800 38224 6255).

Watch the fountains dance as you dine

Head to The Pointe on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah to watch The Dubai Fountain this summer. Find a good vantage point on the 1.5m long promenade to catch at glimpse of the world’s largest fountain as it performs choreographed dancing water shows. Expect to be impressed as The Palm Fountain is spread over 14,000 sq feet of sea water and the fountains shoot water 105m in the air. With plenty of dining options over looking the fountains, the kids in for a treat and so are you. On every night of the week, it is an activity that doesn’t need much planning.
The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah.

Party hard at one of Dubai’s newest clubs

Looking like an Instagrammable hotspot, the two-level venue, which can host up to 300 guests, screams luxe with gold and black pillars, grand chandeliers, monochrome flooring and velvet covered couches topped off with plush animal print cushions. Graffiti decked walls and neon lighting contrast with the grandiose to give the club an edgy look which is sure to impress visitors. The Mansion is turning things up a notch, and if you’re looking for a lively night out, you’ve found it.
FIVE Jumeriah Village. jumeirahvillage.fivehotelsandresorts.com (04 455 9989)

Experience sunset in the desert

Enjoy sunset in one of Dubai’s most luxurious desert camps, Sonara. From 6pm-8pm you’ll be able to take in the best that the Dubai desert has to offer; sunset over the sand dunes, sand-boarding, camel rides and a falcon show. You’ll even be able to grab a bite to eat.
From Dhs380 (May-Sept) and Dhs460 (Oct-April). Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Al Ain Road, Margham Gate. (050 336 7909) nara.ae/sonara/book/sunset

Make your roller-disco dreams come true

Be the main character at RollDXB in Port Rashid. This place will give you seriously good retro feels. With Stranger Things high on our Netflix latest watch list, we’ve been dreaming of 1980s roller-discos, and that’s where RollDXB takes centre stage. If you love skating and love good music, get on down to a roller-disco session where a live DJ will be spinning all the greatest hits. Yes, even Kate Bush. Expect neon lights, great music and fun crowd.
From Dhs110. Open Mon-Wed from 2.30pm-11.15pm, Thurs from 2.30pm-1am, Fri from 10am-1am, Sat from 10am-11.15pm and Sunday from 4pm-11.15pm. Port Rashid. rolldxb.com

Become the next star of dancing on ice

Whether you’re a speedy skater whizzing around the rink, a delicate figure skater twirling to tunes, or a stumbling side hanger, your next ice skating experience just leveled up. The Dubai Ice Rink in the Dubai Mall will be filled with skaters whizzing (and dancing) to funky tunes every Friday and Saturday night. The ideal way to cool down and chill out with friends this summer.
From Dhs125 (per person). Every Friday and Saturday, 8.15pm-9.45pm. Dubai Ice Rink, The Dubai Mall. entertainment.emaar.com

Soar in the Sky Zone

This Dubai family-fun site has more than 200 locations elsewhere in the world. Sky Zone Dubai is an indoor trampoline park where little adrenalin junkies can work their way around the various areas that include a foam zone, dodgeball arena and zip line. The youngest jumpers have their own toddler area to play in and there is a great café for parents where healthy snacks are on offer in addition to the usual pizza and chicken nuggets. The coffee isn’t half bad either.
Ibn Battuta Mall www.skyzone.ae (800 759 9663).

See the penguins at Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

Head to Penguin Cove at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo in Downtown Dubai, which is home to 16 Antarctic Gentoo penguins. The species is native to Antarctica, and visitors to the aquarium at The Dubai Mall can learn more about the fascinating birds. The Gentoo penguin is one of 18 known penguin species in the world and they can grow to 90cm tall and weigh up six kilos. They can dive to depths of up to 200m at 36kmph, and can remain underwater for up to seven minutes. Intrigued? Waddle along for some fun.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.thedubaiaquarium.com.

Ride the waves at Wavehouse Dubai

Wavehouse brings together live music, gaming, bowling, dining and a wave machine all in one place. Whether you’re looking for bowling, drinks or surfing – it’s here at Atlantis The Palm. There’s a four-lane, ten-pin bowling alley awaits complete with visual 3D mapping projections (and super plush couches). Lanes can be hired from Dhs60 per person, per game from noon to 1am daily. There’s also the LEVELS arcade with more than 50 games including the world’s largest Pac Man. Fancy showing off your surfing skills? Check out the Waverider outside.
Prices and timings vary. The Avenues, Atlantis The Palm, atlantisthepalm.com (04 426 2000).

Play at Mattel Play! Town

A fun and colourful edutainment centre where loveable dinosaur Barney is a permanent fixture. Kids kids can meet Barney, go on an adventure with Thomas & Friends, be a hero with Fireman Sam, build their dream home with Bob the Builder and dance their little hearts out with Angelina Ballerina – and generally just have heaps of fun.
City Walk, playtowndubai.com.

Make a splash at LEGOland Water Park Dubai

Aqua fun for the whole family at Dubai’s LEGOLAND Waterpark where the rides are great, the water is cold and the sun always shines. The Joker Soaker kids’ area has the perfect amount of tumbling buckets of water, water shooters and slides, the lazy river is a great way to chill out and stay cool and with 20 water slides throughout the park to enjoy, there is no excuse not to get wet.
Dubai Parks And Resorts, Jebel Ali, Dubai, www.legoland.com/dubai (04 820 3123).

Jump around like a maniac at Air Maniax

An indoor aerial assault course with extra added high-tech fanciness to help record the exact moment you face-plant into a crash mat or bounce in to a ball pool. Air Maniax Dubai has different zones for different levels of bounce, zip, crash and wallop. The most fun you will have falling over and jumping in to things in the city.
Air Maniax, Al Quoz, www.airmaniax.com (04 348 8981).

Have fun at LEGOLAND

The LEGOLAND extravaganza at the city’s Dubai Parks and Resorts has successfully brought LEGO to life with more than 40 rides, shows and attractions on six themed lands crammed with 15,000 LEGO models and more than 60,000 LEGO bricks. Start off at the factory where you’ll get a guided tour and find out how LEGO bricks are made, before moving onto LEGO City where you can learn to drive an electric car and fly a LEGO plane. From there it’s onto the various kingdoms and imagination zones, before taking a turn on some rides at the Adventure zone before heading to Miniland, where kids will be able to marvel at 20 miles of LEGO bricks.
Dubai Parks And Resorts, Jebel Ali, Dubai, www.legoland.com/dubai (04 820 0000).

Bounce around at BOUNCE X Park

Bounce Dubai’s X Park is a brilliant way to find your inner Spider Man and jump around its many obstacles and pipes to work up a sweat, from its spider wall to its climbing wall. Kids can unleash all their pent up energy in this parkour zone. Plus, billed as one of the most effective exercises you can do, trampolining is a fun, low-impact workout that tones muscles and improves coordination. One of the best places to visit in Dubai with families.
Times vary. Al Quoz, www.bounce.ae.