1-Day Dubai Itinerary
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Dubai is one of the most mesmerizing places in the world. And yet, if you only have one day to take it all in, you might be worried you’ll miss something. But there’s no need to worry – here’s one of the most comprehensive one-day itineraries that will cover all of the best places.
So, whether you’re there for a business trip or you have a day between your flights, you’ll get to experience the full magic of Dubai.
Here’s what you’ll find on this list:
- Air Balloon Ride
- Desert Safari
- Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark
- Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Sightseeing Tour
- The Dubai Mall
- Kid Zania
- SEGA Republic
- Souks of Dubai
- Burj Khalifa
- Burj Al Arab
- The Dubai Fountains
- Ain Dubai
- Evening Cruise
Following this plan, you’ll get to see some of the most iconic sights and experience all sorts of entertainment, depending on your needs. You’ll embrace the nature and geography of Dubai in the morning, hide from the heat and enjoy activities in the afternoon, and savor the lights of this city in the evening.
Strap in for this ride and read all about these sites so you’ll be ready when you’re there.
It’s best to start your day early, so you have enough time to take in all of the wonders this desert beauty has to offer. This way, you’ll also do the most active things in the morning, when the heat is still not too bad.
If you’re visiting Dubai in the time frame between November and February, you can expect cooler temperatures – but don’t let that fool you, Dubai is still warmer than most places on Earth.
Air Balloon Ride
- Location: Skydive Margham Desert
- Open: September to May with annual variations
- Price: Prices start at AED 1209 for adults
Start your Dubai adventure with an air balloon ride – a magnificent trip that is more than an appropriate introduction to this city.
One of the best parts is that you will get a perfect royal treatment. Someone will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the take-off spot. This usually happens at the crack of dawn, which allows you to watch the sun spill over the city and stretch its rays through the buildings.
Flying at 4.000 feet above the ground will teach you more about Dubai and warm you up for the day.
For a hundred years, Dubai was no more than a village, hosting less than 1000 people. Before that, it was only sand dunes and oases. But because of its important location, it became crucial for trade, and its expansion started. Later, oil was discovered, and then the real growth began.
The city rose from the sand and turned into the tourist hotspot that it is today.
Once your ride is done, your guide will take you to a private reserve where you’ll have your breakfast and have an opportunity to prepare for the day. All of this is supposed to be done before 9 AM, which gives you enough time for your next morning activity.
- Location: It will depend on the company you hire
- Open: Depends on the type of tour you take – morning tours are open from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM
- Price: Depends on the company you hire, some prices start at AED 99 per person
There’s no better way to continue your adventure than going on a desert safari. The staff will kindly pick you up at your hotel, and a few minutes later you’ll be riding a camel through the sand dunes.
You’ll feel immersed in nature and history – riding a camel isn’t easy, but it’s one of the best things you can do in the desert. After you hop off your camel, the guides will take you on a heart-pumping ride in an SUV through the sand dunes.
This safari also offers an opportunity for you to do some sandboarding and quad biking. Of course, if you prefer to relax, you can opt-out of these rides and lounge in a tent, sipping on coffee and taking in the wonders of the desert.
And what’s better than taking pictures of sunny areas, wildlife, and plants that surround you.
Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark
- Location: Atlantis The Palm, Crescent Rd, Dubai
- Open: 10 am – 18 pm
- Price: Starts at AED 320 for adults and AED 260 for kids
Finish off your morning by cooling off at the Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark. This is a perfect place for you if you have kids or you enjoy adrenaline-boosting activities.
This waterpark has a private beach if you feel like basking in waves and sunshine, but there’s also plenty of fun in waterslides, diving with the fish, and so on. One of the best things this park has to offer is swimming with the dolphins or playing with sea lions.
You can spend your entire day here and you probably wouldn’t get bored, but it’s best to move on if you want to see more of Dubai.
Once you leave the pools and adventures in the waterpark, you’ll probably want to hide from the sun for a while. But no worries – you don’t have to spend the rest of the day in your hotel. Rest up and get ready because Dubai has more than its fair share of indoor fun.
Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Sightseeing Tour
- Location: All over Dubai
- Open: Always
- Price: Starts at AED 120
To understand the city better – and see more of it in a short amount of time – take an open-top bus ride through Dubai. It will drive you to some of the best sights in the city.
A guide on the bus will tell you enchanting stories and anecdotes, and provide an insight into the history of this beautiful place. This is also a perfect opportunity to take some pictures of more than 40 sights. You can hop off at any point, but our best recommendation for the next part of your journey is the Dubai Mall.
The Dubai Mall
- Location: Financial Center Rd, next to Burj Khalifa tower, Dubai
- Open: 10 am -12 am
- Cost: Free (+ the cost of activities)
Everyone loves a good shopping trip, and this mall will give you weeks and weeks of shopping material. Of course, you don’t have that time, but you can still enjoy some of its major highlights.
You see, this is not just a mall – it has a three-story aquarium where you can walk along with the playful fish and other sea wildlife. Kids will love this place. It’s impressive to know that this imposing architectural achievement hosts around 30.000 animals swimming in around 10 million liters of water. Tickets for this start at AED 90.
Do as much shopping as you want. There are top-notch clothing stores from famous designers, less expensive brands, as well as numerous other products.
And if you get bored with shopping, enjoy a VR park which will satisfy any gamer in the world. You will have to pay extra for this activity, and the price for an entire day in there ill cost you around AED 150. However, if you just want to see one or two attractions, you can pay AED 35 for each.
In case you’re not much of a gamer, you can test your skills in the ice rink or see a movie. Plus, there are many other activities at the mall, something to satisfy any taste.
An ice rink ticket will cost you around AED 75. You can also take courses in ice skating, host a birthday party and so on.
Don’t forget to have lunch in one of the restaurants at the mall – you can choose the cuisine you like or opt for something from the local cuisine.
If you’re traveling with kids, and they get bored at the mall, you can always skip away to KidZania, which is located conveniently only three minutes away from the mall.
It’s an exciting place that will challenge your children’s imagination and give them an opportunity to run their own interactive city. There are buildings and cars, parks and workplaces. Your child will be able to pick a job they want to do, dress up in costumes, and have plenty of fun.
The price for this experience is AED 160.
Another option for your children is the SEGA Republic, which is close to KidZania, so you can check them both out. It features 16 rides, more than 170 games, and gamer areas.
Your kids will be able to do a free-fall, snowboard, take a joyride, and so on.
It’s an amazing place for older, adventure-loving kids and teenagers. Tickets start at AED 140 and go up from there, depending on what you want to do and how much time you want to spend there. You can also pay individual prices for each feature.
Souks of Dubai
- Location: Eastern Dubai, Deira, Dubai Gold Souk
- Open: 7:30 am – 21:30 pm
- Price: Free
If you’re not traveling with kids and you’d prefer some adult entertainment, you will enjoy the Souks of Dubai. It’s a continuation of your shopping journey; only this time, you’ll get to experience a true Dubai market.
Stride along and gaze upon the luxurious gold stores, take in the scents at the spice stores and immerse yourself in the culture by observing some locally handcrafted products. And you’d be mistaken not to buy one of those beautiful shawls that sway in the wind.
Burj Al Arab
- Location: Jumeirah St, Dubai
- Open: Always
- Price: Free (just to see)
Nearby, you’ll find one of Dubai’s most famous attractions – Burj Al Arab.
In essence, it’s a hotel, but it’s one of the tallest hotels in the building, and it gets this crazy amount of attention because it was designed to be in the shape of a ship sail. It’s one of the essential Dubai symbols – and a perfect opportunity to take some stunning photos.
The design of this building has received many awards over the years. Of course, booking a room is nearly impossible due to the price and the long waiting list, but it’s the perfect place to rest and take in the beauty of the city.
As one of the most iconic elements of Dubai, it’s certainly worth your attention.
- Location: 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Dubai
- Open: Always
- Cost: Free / Tickets start at AED 150
No Dubai trip is complete without visiting the glorious Burj Khalifa.
It’s the tallest building in the world, and it will give you a fabulous view of the city. There’s nothing better than seeing the area from the top – the city framed with sand dunes and blue ocean water, lights slowly turning on, and millions of tourists below you.
You can use telescopes to see all the major attractions like the Dubai Eye or Burj Al Arab, as well as the Palm Islands. Once you’re done taking in the breathtaking views, take an elevator ride a few floors down to sip on some coffee and enjoy some pastries.
Remember to take pictures on the top.
One of the best ways to see Dubai from the top of the Burj Khalifa is at sunset. Watch all of those magical colors and sun rays dance around the city under your feet. This is why this site is placed so late in your itinerary – so you can enjoy it at its most magical hour.
As the lights slowly start to turn on – and Dubai has plenty of lights – your activities will become more relaxing. By now, you will likely be both excited and tired from your day. Take some time to freshen up and dress up, because what comes next is the perfect ending to your Dubai journey.
The Dubai Fountains
- Location: 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd, Dubai (in front of Burj Khalifa)
- Shows happen every day from 6:00 PM-11:00 PM
- Cost: Free
While they are magnificent during the day, there’s nothing better than seeing the fountains in the evening.
These are the largest choreographed fountains in the world, which is pretty amazing on its own. But their location is on the Burj Lake, which is in front of the Burj Khalifa: the perfect backdrop for the dancing streams.
You’ll probably see it during the day – it’s impossible to miss if you go to Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. However, they are even more spectacular at night. Darkness allows you to absorb the dance of light and water.
The fountain shoots water up to 140 meters, and this show is repeated every half an hour or so. You can even take a ride around the Dubai Fountain, which is extremely exciting and something you must try if you find the time.
- Location: Bluewaters Island, Dubai
- Open: 10 am – 9:30 pm
- Price: Unknown yet
Ain Dubai, or the Eye of Dubai, is the tallest Ferris Wheel in the world. Dubai certainly is in awe with tall buildings and creations, and Ain Dubai is no different. It’s another sight that’s great to do during the day, but even better at night.
The Ferris Wheel lights up and so does the city, which provides you with a romantic backdrop. This is especially magical if you’re visiting with a significant other. The ride lasts for 48 minutes, and it will show you a panoramic view of the city, the sea, and the coast, as well as the dessert once you reach the top.
It’s one of those things you can’t miss.
An Evening Cruise
- Location: Dubai Marina
- Open: Always
- Price: AED 159 for adults and 100 for children over 5 (it’s free for kids under 5)
To put a cherry on the top of your day, go on an evening cruise through the waters of the Dubai Marina. It will take you around 23 minutes to reach the Marina, but the trip will be worth it, as it’s one of the best things to do in the evening in Dubai.
It can be a romantic ride for couples, an exciting tour for friends or families. The city lights up with thousands of LED lights during the night, and it looks even better when looking at it from the sea.
There are several options to choose from when it comes to your cruise, but one of the most touted ones is the dhow yacht, which provides for a truly luxurious experience. A dhow is a wooden boat, used in ancient times for trading, but now it’s mostly used for cruises with a hint of history.
The dhow will take you along the coast of Dubai Marina and the Dubai Creek, as well as the Dubai Canal, which means that you will enjoy the city from many different angles. Find a spot in the silk pillows and feast on the traditional fine dining of the Emirati.
This often includes belly dancers swirling around and traditional music from the area. You’ll also get an opportunity to have a henna artist paint a tattoo on your hands or feet. The entire evening is designed to make you feel like royalty while observing the beautiful city unfolding in front of you.
Useful Tips For Visiting Dubai
When traveling to any new destination, it’s a good idea to get to know the culture before you land. Each country is different, and certain things are expected of you. Dubai is no different.
For example, it’s recommended that tourists wear regular clothing – nothing too revealing, if possible. Public displays of affection are not recommended either. Also, as a man, you are not supposed to shake hands with a Muslim woman, unless she offers to.
Naturally, when you go to the waterpark or the beach, bikinis are a staple, but outside of the water, it’s a good idea to cover up – not just because of the culture, but because of the UV rays too.
As in any other country, drinking and driving can be fined or even result in imprisonment.
If you happen to visit during Ramadan, which is a holy month in the Muslim religion, restaurants will be closed during the day.