How to spend 48 hours in Dubai
How to make the most of every minute of your Dubai adventure…
With so many incredible things to do in Dubai, if you’ve only got a short window to experience them it can be quite difficult to know where to start.
Whether you’re here for a layover between destinations, or you’re on a road trip around the UAE, you can easily see some of the best bits that Dubai has to offer in only 48 hours.
8am: Explore Souk Madinat
Start your day by exploring two of Dubai’s most beautiful attractions: Madinat Jumeirah and the Burj Al Arab. Souk Madinat is a shopping and dining destination found at the beginning of Jumeirah and while its not easy to get into Burj al Arab without a reservation, there are plenty of places to see the iconic seven star building.
We recommend having a walk around and exploring the maze of shops and stalls before reaching the waterways. You can take a traditional abra ride through the resort (but be prepared to pay a premium for the privilege) or take a stroll through the winding walkways.
10am: Breakfast at tashas
Around the corner from Madinat, just off Umm Sequeim Road, is one of Dubai’s best-loved breakfasts spots, tashas. The extensive menu also covers lunch and dinner, but the breakfast is particularly exceptional.
tashas, Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, daily, 7.30am to 11pm. Tel: (04) 380 6243. tashascafe.com
12pm: Ride a bike along the Palm Jumeirah
One of Dubai’s greatest achievements is building the man-made palm tree shaped island which can be seen from space. From the top of the Palm you can rent bikes (opposite Atlantis the Palm) and ride down the east or west crescent to see views of Dubai’s iconic skyline.
1pm: Brunch at Bubbalicious*
If you’re in Dubai on a Friday then brunch is a must. Bubbalicious is one of Dubai’s most famous brunches due to the sheer scale of the food and drink on offer. From cocktail stands in just about every creation you can imagine, to endless stations of buffet delights. It’s not the cheapest brunch you can find, but certainly one of the most lavish.
Bubbalicious, Westin Mina Seyahi, Al Sufouh, Dubai Marina, Fridays, 1pm to 4pm, Dhs420 soft, Dhs520 sparkling, Dhs620 champagne. Tel: (04) 511 7373. facebook.com/events
*For alternative brunches to suit every mood and occasion, just click here.
4pm: Carry on the party at Lock, Stock and Barrel
In Dubai, we know how to have fun. If brunching alone isn’t enough for you, there are plenty of places for you to carry on the party. Lock, Stock and Barrel is a Dubai favourite because you can come as you are and are guaranteed to have a great time. There’s also a happy hour offering buy one get one free on drinks from 4pm to 8pm.
Lock Stock & Barrel, Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR, Dubai Marina, Mon to Thurs 4pm to 3am, Fri 1pm to 3am, Sat & Sun 2pm to 3am. Tel: (04) 392 7120. lsbdubai.com/jbr
8pm: Dinner at Pier 7
Pier 7 is the ultimate dinner destination as not only does it offer seven different restaurants, each with their own cuisine, but also unbeatable views of Dubai Marina’s glittering waters and enviable megayachts. If you’re feel like treating yourself then head to Asia Asia. For a more low key affair then The Scene would be perfect.
11pm: Dance the night away at Soho Garden
Soho Garden is a great party destination as it has something for everyone. There’s four different concepts under one ‘roof’ including Glasshouse, a trendy cocktail bar serving up fine dining bites. Or for a livelier scene check out Tokyo Vibes, where you’ll find the resident DJ getting you in the dancing mood.
There are two options for nightclubs, Toy Room is where you’ll find the latest urban and hip-hop tunes while Code has more of a house and trance focus. Whichever venue you choose, (or make your way around them all) you can keep the night going until 3am.
Soho Garden, Meydan, Downtown Dubai, Tues to Sun, 8pm to 3am. Tel: (052) 388 8849. sohogardendxb.com
9am: Discover Old Dubai
While it’s amazing to marvel at Dubai’s superlative structures and endless activities, there’s another side to also be discovered. Beyond the Dubai Creek is an area which reminds you that you’re in the Middle East.
Here you can discover the gold and spice souks, ride an abra boat for Dhs1 (or Dhs2 for the modernised abra’s with AC) and enjoy a traditional Arabic breakfast. There’s even a museum, which teaches the origins of the country and is where the city’s oldest intact building, Al Fahidi Fort, is located.
12pm: Lunch at La Mer
Dubai’s newest beachside destination, La Mer, has something for everyone. With sand and sea, plenty of cafes and restaurants and even a waterpark; its a must-see for visitors. Make sure you walk around to discover the hidden works of art playfully painted on the sides of buildings.
Whether you’re looking for a light lunch or a hearty meal, La Mer’s restaurant offering is second-to-none. For something a bit more unusual, check out Uzbek restaurant OSH, which has an al fresco terrace overlooking the stunning beachfront.
4pm: Check out The Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is the biggest shopping mall in the world, but it has a lot more than shops to offer. Inside you’ll find one of the world’s biggest aquariums, plus an underwater zoo and there’s also the eye-catching Human Waterfall feature.
6pm: Head up to the top
The best time to be At The Top is sunset, especially on a clear day. Burj Khalifa’s sky high attraction give you access to the views from the 125th floor, including an outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the emirate from above.
At The Top, Burj Khalifa, accessed from The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, daily, 9am to 11pm, from Dhs146. burjkhalifa.ae
8pm: Dinner by the fountains
Every half hour from 6pm onwards, the lake in front of Burj Khalifa bursts into life with the world’s largest choreographed fountain show. With songs such as Michael Jackson’s Thriller and even Baby Shark, lights and powerful streams of water dance together in time to the music.
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from, some with better fountain views than others. Head to Souk al Bahar for the choice between multiple cuisines including Italian, Lebanese and Asian.