Travel Guide: Best Things to do in Dubai in a Day

Dubai is located in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and offers a slice of the Arabian Desert that has turned itself into one of the world’s favorite holiday spots. You’ll, apparently, need at least four to five days to explore this city’s main attractions. But, what if you have got to spend only 24 hours in the city? Below I’m sharing some of the best things to do in Dubai in one day.

You can still make it the memorable ever by cramming your one day in Dubai with almost everything you imagine. And this post is all about how to make the most of your limited time in Dubai, as it incorporates all you should know about this Arabian metropolis, from its key interesting facts to its must-experiences and where to dine, shop and stay.

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Burj Khalifa, Dubai

Best Things to do in Dubai in a Day

Start With A Healthy Breakfast

It is important to start your day right. Begin early and most significantly, choose a breakfast spot that is within easy access to your accommodation or attraction that you’ll be hitting in some time as per your one day in Dubai itinerary. If you’re a connoisseur of tastes and flavors, some of our most recommended options to get yourself fortified for the day are:

 RestaurantLocationBest For
Pots, Pans and BoardsJumeirah Beach Residence (JBR)Wholesome English Breakfast
Fibber MageeSheikh Zayed RoadTraditional Irish Specialities
BoardwalkDubai CreekDine with Best Views
EggspectationCity WalkFrench toast, omelets, crepes & steak
Baker & SpiceDowntown DubaiFresh, organic food

Sightseeing In Dubai

If you’ve already been to Dubai, be sure that your travel program gives you a look at Dubai’s newest, futuristic sights, such as Dubai Frame, Bluewater Islands with Ain Dubai etc. But, if it’s your first time trip to Dubai, it would be reasonable to sign up for a city sightseeing tour with an experienced local service provider as we did.

With pick up and drop off to our desired location, this tour was worth around AED 80 per head. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and gave us a perfect introduction of sights and attractions along the way. Here is a run-down of architectural delights, charming cultural sights, and iconic neighborhoods which we covered in about four hours.

Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum

This museum in Old Dubai is special for a variety of reasons. First of all, it’s housed within the region’s oldest fort, Al Fahidi Fort. And the most important thing is its awe-inspiring exhibits which allow you to glance into the ancient Emirati culture and lifestyle.

Traditional Souks

Gold Souk Dubai

There are many souks including Textile Souk, Spice Souk etc. And in this tour, we mainly explored Gold Souk which is certainly a sight to behold with its hundreds of stores – all specializing gold jewelry. We were here to just skim the surface, so we didn’t do any serious shopping. But, one thing is for sure that shopkeepers were willing to reduce the price, which indicates that the art of haggling is welcome here.

Photo Ops across Palm Jumeirah:

Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah is one of Dubai’s legendary icons. This man-made island is modeled after a palm tree with a crescent on the top. Although the only way to experience this unrivaled engineering marvel is via a sky-high vantage point like a helicopter ride, we were still able to get a hang of its top attractions such as Atlantis, The Palm, Boardwalk (Waterfront Promenade) etc.

Jumeirah Mosque:

Jumeirah Mosque

For those who don’t know, it’s one of the country’s few mosques where entry is allowed for non-Muslims. While time-constraint didn’t permit us to make an entry here, we managed to get some incredible clicks against this whitestone structure reflecting the medieval Fatimid architecture style.

Burj Al Arab:

Set on a private island, this sail-shaped structure is considered the world’s only seven-star hotel. Rightly so, this makes a great photo op too.

Apart from above attractions, there was a drive through some of the Dubai’s astonishing neighborhoods and boulevards including Sheikh Zayed Road, Downtown Dubai etc and this gave us a quick glance of the city’s must-sees like Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates etc.

Save Big on Your Dubai Vacation

Check out the Top Tours & Day Trips from Dubai

Read Reviews of the Best Hotels in Dubai on TripAdvisor 

Take A Break For Lunch

As the first part of your Dubai sightseeing come to an end, it’s time to recharge your energy. But, this will again depend on your current location. From budget to super lavish, there are a variety of options all over the city. Some of our top picks are:

 RestaurantLocationBest for
TeatroTowers Rotana, Sheik Zayed RoadAuthentic Asian cuisines
ZaytoniThe Dubai Mall, Downtown DubaiMediterranean cuisines
KaftanJumeirahTurkish cuisines
Il Borro Tuscan BistroJumeirah Al Naseem Hotel, JumeirahTraditional Tuscan specialties
Bombay ChowpattyVarious locationsIndian delicacies

Align Your Time Till Evening To Indulge In Your Favorite Activity / Attraction

You can consider one of the following attractions or options to while away your time until evening.

Ski Dubai:

Ski Dubai

Traveling to Dubai during the summer months? A visit to Ski Dubai inside Mall of the Emirates promises you a super cool respite from the region’s simmering outside temperature. With its real snow-filled settings, it lets you try your hand in your favorite winter activity.

Dubai Frame:

Dubai Frame

Designed to resemble a giant picture frame, this is the largest of its kind in the world. Past and Future galleries apart, the star highlight is its Sky Deck with a glass bridge. At a height of about 150 meters, it offers stunning views over both Old and New Dubai.

Bluewaters Island:

Just off Dubai Marina is Dubai’s newest waterfront attraction, Bluewaters Island. It has many attractions, significant being Ain Dubai – the world’s highest observation wheel, Madame Tussauds – the first of its kind in the Middle East, and Caesars Bluewaters Island which is the only Caesars Palace property outside of Las Vegas.


Don’t want to visit any of above attractions? Fortunately, this will give enough time for a retail enthusiast to do some serious shopping. There are over 70 malls in Dubai including Ibn Battuta Mall, Burjuman Centre, Wafi Mall, Deira City Centre, and The Dubai Mall – the world’s biggest shopping mall.

Enjoy The Sunset Views From Dubai’s Highest Vantage Point At Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa observation deck

No trip to Dubai is complete without a visit to Burj Khalifa. Standing at a massive height of 828 meters, it is also the tallest man-made structure on our planet. And an evening visit to its observation deck on 124th or 148th level not only gives you the chance to take in the best sunset views but also admire the most exquisite views over the Dubai’s glittering cityscape. The swiftest elevator ride and a multimedia presentation on Dubai’s past complement your Burj Khalifa experience.

Continue To The Dubai Mall And Watch The Dubai Fountain Show

Dubai Fountain

Right next to Burj Khalifa is the Dubai Mall with over 1200 outlets. But, this place is not just for shoppers; it’s an absolute family entertainment destination with something for every member of your group. You’ll get to see the world’s largest suspended aquarium (Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo), try ice staking in Dubai Ice Rink, and further enjoy a host of thrilling virtual reality-based games at VR Park Dubai.

From Dubai Mall, you can move out to explore the traditional style Souk Al Bahar and finally watch the mindblowing Dubai Fountain Show. Set on Burj Lake, the immaculately choreographed aquatic show (in tune to your favorite Arabic, Bollywood or English songs) is the largest of its kind musical fountain show, shooting water up to a height of over 150 meters. It’s free to watch; so just make sure that you grab a perfect spot before the place gets crowded.

Dinner in Dubai: A Grand Spectacle

Whether you want to dine against the backdrop of Burj Khalifa or Dubai Fountain Show, there are plenty of options in Downtown Dubai. And this list is endless with options like Karma Kafe, Bice Mare, Noodle House, Tribes Carnivore and Zahr Al Laymon.

But, if you’re looking for an exotic dining experience, make your way straight to Dubai Marina or Dubai Creek for an unforgettable dinner cruise aboard a traditional Arabian vessel, known as dhow. Admire the most enchanting night views of Dubai, as you savor scrumptious foods and great live entertainment shows like Tanura dance, on your approximately two hours cruise.

Best Hotels in Dubai 

Burj Al Arab

Whether you’re in search of exceptionally affordable or super extravagant choice, Dubai has accommodations to cater to every budget and preference. A stay at hotels like Burj Al Arab, Atlantis, The Palm, Armani Hotel (in Burj Khalifa), and Aspen Ski Chalet by Kempinski will give you a taste of the Dubai’s opulent lifestyle.

Alternatively, options like Arabian Courtyard Hotel, Mövenpick Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel, The Address Dubai Marina, Pullman Jumeirah Lakes Towers Hotel & Residence etc, are perfect for those looking for mid-range accommodation. When it comes to budget choices, there are some decent three-star hotels across Deira, Bur Dubai etc.

When To Visit Dubai?

Dubai is a destination that one can visit year-round. Although the temperature goes up to 55 degrees Celsius during the summer months, Dubai’s many indoor leisure and entertainment attractions make sure that there will be never a dull moment on your vacation. For outdoor enthusiasts and water sports lovers, the most ideal time to visit here is in winter months from November to March, thanks to its cool, pleasant weather during this period.

6 Fun Facts About Dubai

  1. Emiratis make up only 15% of Dubai overall population and the remaining 85% population includes ex-pats from different parts of the world.
  2. Burj Al Arab rightly deserves the title of the world’s only seven-star hotel, with its regal interiors covered with about 1,790 square meters of gold leaf.
  3. Dubai is home to the longest completely automated metro system in the world.
  4. Apart from air-conditioned public buses and cabs, you can also count on Dubai Ferry (operated by RTA), particularly to experience the city from the water.
  5. For camel racing, robot jockeys are used in Dubai.
  6. The Palm is the world’s largest man-made island with about 94 million cubic meters of sand.

So, with all of this info on Dubai must-do activities, don’t delay to craft your dream Dubai travel program. We’re sure that this allows you to hit all your favorite attractions while promising you a perfect day in Dubai.

Day Trips from Dubai Top Tours

I love to do a combination of exploring on my own as well as a few organized tours when I travel. I love to learn about the history and culture in a new location and tours with local experts is a great way to do this. I recommend Get Your Guide because you can cancel most bookings for free up to 24 hours before they start and their customer service is available 24/7 in multiple languages. 

A few Top Tours in Dubai



Recommended Travel Resources

Read More About Dubai

Girlfriends Guide to Dubai on a Budget

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Things to do in Dubai

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