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03FEB24 Best Things to Do in Dubai When You Have 24 Hours

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If you get the privilege to visit Dubai, you might want to explore all the best things to do in Dubai, even if you have to pack your favourite activities into a 24-hour window. From desert quad rides to watching the Dubai Fountain Show, use this list as an inspiration to plan out your trip. Dubai is full of once-in-a-lifetime things to do whether you have 24 hours, one week or a whole year to enjoy them.



#1 Watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon

Source: Tripadvisor

Get a bird’s-eye view of the Dubai desert and we’re not talking about using drones. Kick off the magical day by watching the sunrise from a hot air balloon floating 4,000 feet above the ground. As you look down at the dunes, you might even spot gazelles, Arabian oryx and camels beneath.


#2 Explore the desert on a quad bike

desert quad bike ride dubai
Source: Mayar Zidan (Unsplash)

While you’re in the desert, why not take the time to experience a morning desert safari? Discover what it feels like to drive across the shifting dunes and feel the adrenaline rush of riding an ATV quad bike.


#3 Admire the city skyline across Dubai Creek

dubai creek travel
Source: Dreamstime

If you’re not the type of person to start your day with blood-pumping activities, then Dubai Creek is a great place to go to take a stroll and enjoy the breeze. Apart from being full of historical significance, it is also the emirate’s first major port. It is a safe harbour to trade along with other ports of the Arabian Gulf.


#4 Hop onto the Abra

abra dubai transport travel
Source: Shefaali rafeeq (Unsplash)

To cross Dubai Creek, you would have to take its signature abra ride, the city’s most traditional mode of transport. Take a trip in the morning to admire the views of the charming old Dubai including traditional houses, wind towers and minarets.


#5 Get a taste of old Dubai at the Souks

souk gold old dubai
Source: WN/Smita

Get a glimpse at the culture and trades at the Souks, a must-visit for those who want to get a taste of old Dubai in a modern city. Check out the Gold Souk, hundreds of shops and vendors selling gold bracelets, necklaces, earrings and more. And, keep in mind, bargain before purchasing, especially if you’re there as a tourist.


#6 Unleash your love of history at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

al fahidi historical neighbourhood dubai
Source: Shutterstock

Known as a gateway to Dubai’s past and national identity, the Al Fahidi historical neighbourhood gives you an idea of what Dubai looked like before the Emirates were formed in 1971. History lovers will get lost wandering around the narrow alleys and pathways.


#7 Visit Jumeirah Mosque

mosque jumeirah dubai
Source: Buena Vista Images

Built-in 1976, the iconic Jumeirah Mosque is open to tourists 6 days a week. The mosque is worth a visit. The architectural structure alone is a sight to behold. Tours are held at the mosque from Saturday to Thursday at 10 a.m. and they last 75 minutes. Visitors are invited to ask any questions they may have and taking photos is allowed.



#8 Lunch with a view of Dubai Water Canal

dubai water canal

Enjoy the view of the Dubai Water Canal as you take a break for lunchtime alongside this popular tourist attraction. Interesting fact: The extension to the Dubai Creek which includes the canal is 3.2km, adding 6.4km of waterfront to the city.


#9 Stroll around Miracle Garden

miracle garden dubai
Source: Ali Raoufian (Unsplash)

Grab your cameras and your phones. As you head to the Miracle Garden, snap a few shots of the mesmerising display of colourful flowers and flowerbeds.


#10 Quick picture of Burj Al Arab

burj al arab dubai
Source: Pixabay

We may not have the time to explore Dubai as much as we wish but there’s always time to take a photo. Get a breathtaking view of Burj Al Arab from Souk Madinat, Jumeirah Beach, Umm Suqeim Beach or Palm Island.


#11 Up your golf game

golf vacation dubai

If golf is an activity you enjoy or want to try out for the first time, clubhouses like The Track, Meydan Golf is a daily-fee facility. It is positioned as an accessible and player-friendly option for golfers in the Dubai region.


#12 Speed in a Ferrari

supercar dubai marina ferrari
Source: Dubai Marina

How can you visit Dubai without driving a Ferrari? There are companies dedicated to making that dream of yours come true. Enjoy a high-speed, adrenaline-pumping adventure, an experience to remember.


#13 Ride a horse (or camel) in the desert

horse camel ride desert dubai
Source: Dubai City Stable

If golfing or speed car driving is not your cup of tea, how about a horse or camel riding experience in the desert? Al Dhabi Horses & Camel Rental in Al Safa 2 gives guests a one-hour opportunity to do just that. Plus, all the horses are either rescue or retired horses.


#14 Chill on a catamaran

catamaran relax dubai vacation
Source: Dubai Marina

With good food and drinks on a 74-foot catamaran, this is the time to go to Belevari Marine at Port Rashid. Kick back and relax as you cruise along Dubai Creek and enjoy the scenery.


More on Dubai: Top 6 Family-Friendly Vacation Places in Dubai



#15 Watch the sunset at the top of Burj Khalifa

dubai city vacation
Source: Ahmed Galal (Unsplash)

An experience unlike any other. The Burj Khalifa is so tall that you can watch the sunset twice in a single evening from the top of the skyscraper. Try to book tickets to At The Top in advance to avoid the queues and save money.


#16 Shop at Dubai Mall

dubai mall shopping dubai travel
Source: Dovi (Unsplash)

If you’ve got time on your hands, stroll around the largest mall in the world. The Dubai Mall is a good place to escape the Dubai heat, window shop and have a bite to eat.


#17 Drop by the beach

beach dubai vacation
Source: © Renata Sedmakova/Shutterstock

While Dubai is a city well known as a luxury travel destination, there are other things to try out like visiting snowy-white, fine-sand beaches. If you want something other than lying down and basking in the sun, hop on a jet ski and watch the city from the sea.


#18 Wave at aquatic species

aquarium dubai travel

Lose yourself as you marvel at the aquatic species swimming around you. If you’re close to Dubai Mall, why not drop by to catch a glimpse of the wonders of marine life at one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world?


#19 Indulge in the skiing experience

ski snow dubai adventure
Source: James D. Morgan

If you’re in the mood for a more heart-pumping activity, visit the Mall of Emirates where you can find an indoor ski resort with 22,500 square meters of the indoor ski area! Enjoy these snow-related adventures no matter what time of the year it is.


#20 Take your loved ones to Dubai Garden Glow

glow garden dubai

Get your cameras out and embark on a glow-in-the-dark park adventure with your loved ones. What’s more, this eco-friendly park is made out of more than 10 million LED lights and recyclable materials.


#21 Dine while overlooking Dubai Fountain

dubai fountain mall dine travel
Source: Kent Tupas (Unsplash)

One of the most exciting things to see when you visit Dubai is the nightly Dubai Fountain Show, held at the foot of Burj Khalifa. To avoid the hustle and bustle while enjoying the spectacular view, have your dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the fountain.


#22 Late-night stroll on the boardwalk at Palm Jumeirah

boardwalk palm jumeirah dubai

This boardwalk is an 11-kilometre walkway stretching across the outer crescent of The Palm. This project was designed specifically for pedestrians so enjoy your late-night stroll and absorb the views of the sea.


#23 Enjoy Desert Safari Camp & Show

desert camp safari night dubai
Source: Paul Thuysbaert

The magic of the desert comes alive during this Desert Safari Camp & Show. Watch a Tanoura and belly dancing show and later munch away at a tasty Arabian barbecue dinner in the desert.


#24 Go stargazing

stargazing desert dubai

Take your stargazing experience to a whole new level with Al Thuraya Astronomy Centre (under the Dubai Astronomy Group). Utilise astronomical instruments such as telescopes and binoculars with different lenses, eyepieces and filters. However, don’t hesitate to ask the staff to guide you.



Whether you are the type of traveller who can’t wait to explore wild adventures or one that prefers to unplug and relax, there is much to do in this famous city even if you have 24 hours. The activities listed in this article are meant to be used as inspiration for your vacation to Dubai. Let us know what we missed and what you would want to include in your bucket list.

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