Things to Do
Aquaventure at Atlantis: You can't say no to a waterpark with two rides through fish and shark tanks! The lazy river also is a fun ride, and make sure you wear flip flops - the ground is hot. Lockers are $15, so if possible don't bring anything valuable and leave a backpack under your towel.
Barasti: Comfortable sunbeds near the sea. There is fancy swimming pool some afternoons the entrance is free. You can rent a towel if you forget yours. At night it becomes a dance seen with awesome music.
Burj Khalifa: This skyscraper is the tallest structure in the world, buy tickets tickets to the top for the best, and highest, views of Dubai.
City sightseeing pass: For under 150 dollars, you can see the entire city at your own leisure via hop on hop off buses that will take you to all the major attractions like the Grand Mosque and more! We recommend one day in the old city, one day in the new, and the last in Abu Dhabi.
Day trip to Abu Dhabi: See the Grand Mosque! This can be done under the city sightseeing pass. It's a long day with a lot of stops, so wear comfortable clothing, and change into Mosque-appropriate attire at lunch. Women but have hair, ankles, and wrists covered, and you can't wear anything too tight.
Dubai Mall: One of the largest malls in the world. If you want to shop the most expensive designers or just people watch, this is a site worth visiting.
Desert Safari: Make sure you find a small, local operation rather than going with a huge group - or you might end up spending minimal time in the desert. We also recommend going in the evening for sunset.
Dubai Marina: Evening, daytime. Amazing yachts, nightlife is really good (a favorite is Pier7).
Every Tuesday night is ladies night and many bars have ladies night specials including LSB and Pier7.
Mer: Dubai's eclectic beachfront hangout. To relax or enjoy some good music this is a great spot.
Old City: For 25 cents each way, you can go back and forth between the Old Souk to the Gold/Spice Souk on the Abras (small boats). Make sure you spend time haggling in the markets - they always start their prices high!
Skydive Dubai: Skydive over one of the most iconic and ideal spots in the world.
Zero Gravity: Exclusive beach club, bar and restaurant. Awesome place for a Friday or Saturday brunch - the food is amazing and it includes top shelf bottomless drinks. We recommend reserving a cabana or daybed depending on the time of year in case it's hot.
Places to Eat
Aroos Damascus Restaurant: Outdoor seating, open 24 hours, and a variety of amazing food!
Arabian Tea House Restaurant and Café: On Al Fahidi Street- this looks like nothing from the outside but opens up to a very pleasant patio area with plenty of food and drinks. It is in Old Dubai so you can take a cheap boat across the water to the markets.
Asia Asia: If you're down to splurge, they have a fantastic tasting menu for about $150 per person. We think it's worth the hefty price! The interior design is also breathtaking!
Bayt Al Wakeel: Located in the Old City, a great patio on the water.
Karram: Incredible cuisine and make sure to get the Beiruti hummus. Seriously to die for.
Wafi Gourmet: It's a chain but we still love it, there is one in the Dubai Mall with a view of the dancing fountain and the Burj Khalifa.
If wandering, there are also many restaurants and bars on Pier 7. Explore them!
Places to Drink
Dubai Marriott Harbor Hotel: The top floor bar/restaurant is one of the only places you can score views of the Palm Jumeirah. Go around 4:30 for happy hour and to catch the sunset!
Hyatt Pure Sky Lounge: Rooftop bar with 3 free glasses of wine or champagne on Tuesdays, ladies night.
Lockstock Barrel: Two stories with fun rock music.
Media One Hotel: Fancy handcrafted cocktails. You get 3 for free on ladies night.
Soho Garden: A lovely space for drinks, Wednesdays ladies drink for free all night.
Westin Dubai: A great place to grab a drink then walk around their pool and beach area. The grounds are exquisite!
Tip: Tuesdays are ladies nights at SO many places in Dubai. Most offer 3+ free drinks and food specials. Do a quick google search around the area where you're staying to get a full list.
Places to Stay
If you're interested in shopping, restaurants, culture, and nightlife, the JBR is a great option.
The Palm is perfect for relaxing on the beach and swimming in fancy pools.
We don't recommend staying near the Burj Khalifa unless you're there for business. It's very far away from where most of the attractions are.
Uber is available in Dubai, but just like everything else, it is expensive. However, there's tons available, and very safe. The entire fleet is composed of Black Lexus 350s.
The tram around the Marina/Harbor and the train going down the main thoroughfare is quick, cheap, and easy! If you buy the red tourist card, you can continue to top that up. It's paper, but don't throw it away!
When out in public it is best for women to cover their shoulders and knees, however, when it's very hot outside shorts and dresses can be more acceptable - just clothing that is a little more lose. If you are going out or to the beach it is much more acceptable to wear whatever you like.
Public intoxication is a big no no in Dubai. If you get arrested for being too drunk in public, you can get hefty fines and face jail time.
If visiting the Burj Khalifa, don't book until the day before or day of. The air quality changes drastically from day to day, and you want to make sure you have a clear view at the top! We also recommend going during the day instead of at night...it's cheaper and the views are better.
You can get away with mostly using your credit card in Dubai, unless you're at the souks (markets).
If you're looking into dinner cruises, make sure to do a lot of research. Many horror stories have come from other tourists, and they can sometimes be a rip off.
If you just have a layover in Dubai for a day, leave your luggage in the airport! It costs about $5 per 12 hours and is better than lugging it around.
Dubai is often known for being very expensive, and you can definitely spend your time there in luxury and sitting down at the most expensive restaurants and bars. However, there are some more inexpensive options, you might just have to look for them!