Springing up from the Arabian desert, Dubai is a slick, modern city full of ambition. From mega malls to some of the tallest buildings and the largest artificial islands in the world, this is a magical place in the United Arab Emirates. Weather-wise, Dubai is scorchingly hot in the summer months so the best time to visit is between November and January when you can expect blue skies and picture-perfect beach weather. If you’ve never been to this incredible destination, here are 10 reasons you must add Dubai to your travel bucket list.
1. DUBAI HAS THE MOST IMPRESSIVE SKYLINE IN THE WORLD
Whether you’re in Downtown Dubai around the Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure on earth, or down at the marina, home to four of the five tallest residential buildings in the world, you’re never too far away from an amazing view. Based on the average height of the 10 tallest buildings in Dubai, this city has the tallest skyline in the world.
2. CLIMB THE TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD
While we’re on the topic of heights, Dubai is home to more skyscrapers than you can count, but one is the most famous of all. Known for its super structures, the Burj Khalifa skyscraper is the tallest of the supertall. At nearly twice the height of New York’s Empire State building, the tallest free-standing structure in the world towers above the clouds at 2,722 ft or 828m. With 163 floors to explore, you know the view from the observation decks is going to be worth the entry fee.
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3. FIND ENDLESS ENTERTAINMENT AT THE MEGA MALLS
The Dubai Mall is the second biggest shopping center on the planet by land mass, and it’s just one of the many novelty centers you can visit. People travel to Dubai from near and far to indulge in retail therapy and visit the attractions built into the various shopping centers. Dubai even holds a month-long shopping festival in January with concerts and giveaways where shoppers can win cars and gold.
4. YOU CAN GO SKIING IN THE DESERT
Yes, you read that correctly. And no, we’re not talking about sand skiing despite the location in the middle of the Arabian Desert. Dubai is a city where anything is possible – even skiing in the snow. At 85 meters high and 22,500 square meters, Dubai’s five slope indoor ski resort also boasts the world’s first 400-meter-long indoor black run.
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5. DUBAI HAS A THRIVING FOODIE SCENE
With such a diverse and international population, there is a spectacular range of food styles available in the city. With hundreds of Arab, Persian, Indian, Pakistani, Filipino, French, Japanese, Chinese, British and American restaurants – both humble and high-end – there’s something for everyone and every craving. Throw in the array of food festivals that happen throughout the year and the stream of pop-up eateries and it’s no wonder expats talk about newcomers putting on weight, aka the ‘Dubai stone’.
6. DUBAI HAS 1,000KM OF BEACHES TO ENJOY
Set on the ocean and with spectacular weather year-round, Dubai’s greatest drawcard might be its incredible beaches. With more than 300 days of sunshine per year and over 1,000km of coastline to explore, you’re never too far away from getting your tan on in Dubai. Plus, who doesn’t want to return home with a bit of holiday color?
7. DUBAI IS THE MODERN ART AND DESIGN CAPITAL OF THE MIDDLE EAST
From the gritty Alserkal Avenue art district that has sprouted up in the industrial Al Quoz area in the last few years, to the slick art galleries sprinkled through the Financial Center, Dubai offers a unique and diverse art scene. Whether you choose to stroll through the Dubai Design District, to visit Dubai for its many art and design festivals (like Art Dubai and Design Week), there’s always something going on for the aesthetically minded.
8. DUBAI IS A MAGICAL, MULTICULTURAL MELTING POT
With almost 200 different nationalities calling the United Arab Emirates’ city home, and a massive 90% of the population coming from outside the country, Dubai is arguably one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. In contrast to cities like New York or London that have been inhabited for hundreds of years, Dubai’s expats are mainly first-generation, bringing with them a host of different cultural traditions, food and experiences. The diversity on show in the city is unparalleled.
9. BEYOND BIG BUILDINGS, DUBAI IS HOME TO THE BIGGEST FOUNTAIN DISPLAY IN THE WORLD
The Palm Fountain is a really fun sight for anyone but, of course, the kids in particular love witnessing the magic! Designed to show the harmony between the universe and earth, the fountain puts on a colorful display where the water dances, leaps and shoots high into the sky in time with a soundtrack of music.
10. AND ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST ARTIFICIAL ISLANDS, PALM ISLAND
Yes, modern Dubai is all about having the biggest, best and most spectacular things on earth. Palm Jumeirah, built between 2001 and 2006, is one of the world’s largest artificial islands. It’s home to multi-million dollar mega mansions and a host of five-star luxury hotels, including the iconic Atlantis The Palm.