15 different things to do when you have friends visiting Dubai
Stray away from the usual tourist spots…
If you have guests coming to visit Dubai, keeping them entertained can be pretty easy as the city is packed with plenty of things to do. However, if you want to do something different from the usual Burj Khalifa visit or Dubai Mall shopping spree, here’s a list of wonderful things to do to ensure they leave with some great memories.
Here is a round-up of 15 things to do in Dubai when you have friends visiting
A visit to Old Dubai should not be missed especially when friends are coming down to visit. The bustling waterfront promenade in Old Dubai is one not to be missed as it shows off a different side to Dubai. It runs a stretch of 1.8 kilometres along the iconic Dubai Creek and is packed with plenty of shopping opportunities, cafes and restaurants, and entertainment spots. Read our guide here.
Take a stroll down Alserkal Avenue to enjoy the artier and hipster side of Dubai. A cultural landmark, this avenue is home to numerous galleries, boutique shops and rustic cafés. Spend the evening strolling around being enriched by the international art on display and soaking in the cool vibes.
Aura Skypool Lounge
Burj Khalifa is one of those spots that people who visit Dubai don’t want to miss. If they like the views, add in a visit to Aura Skypool Lounge located 200 meters in the air. It’s also the world’s highest 360 infinity pool and offers panoramic views of the city.
Camel racing is an important traditional local pastime and if your visitors want a dose of heritage, take them to see Al Marmoom Camel Racecourse. From the grandstand, you can become fully immersed in the races and experience an integral part of Emirati life.
Dubai Camel Racing Club, Al Ain Highway, Dubai, Tel: (0)4 718 8888.
Chillout Ice Lounge
If your friends are visiting over the summer, give your guests a break from the heat and take them to a place where they can chill – literally. No, we’re not talking about Ski Dubai. Chillout Ice Lounge is another one of the spots here in Dubai that offers up a below-freezing atmosphere as you dine or have a coffee. It’s the first of its kind in the Middle East and your guests will leave with cool images of themselves posing with ice sculptures.
Dinner in the Sky
Picking a restaurant to dine at in Dubai is hard only because there is a long list of options. However, if you want something unique, head to Dinner in the Sky for a unique sky-high experience. You and your guests will take a seat at the table on terra firma and then will be lifted up into the air 50 metres by a crane for your dining experience.
A road trip to this beautiful exclave is always exciting for residents and visitors alike and there’s always something new to explore. At Hatta Wadi Hub alone there are countless activities to get involved in from mountain biking to archery, zorbing, ziplines, axe-throwing, paragliding, horse riding and more. If you want your loved ones to experience a one-of-a-kind glamping experience, check out Hatta Resorts. The tents come with a full range of amenities including a mini-fridge, television, private BBQ and fire pit within a large terrace space and more. Book here.
Hot air balloon
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An essential part of your visit to Dubai should include a hot air balloon over the emirate’s iconic desert. You will depart at sunrise and drift peacefully over the awakening desert. You’ll even be able to spot camels, gazelles and much more of Dubai’s cool wildlife. For something really different, book yourself and three of your mates to enjoy Breakfast in the Sky in the UAE’s first seated hot air balloon.
A lake in the desert? No, it’s not a mirage, it’s real! Love Lakes is perhaps one of the most well-known man-made lakes in Dubai. The interlocking hearts have garnered plenty of interest since it was first revealed a few years ago. The Love Lakes can be found in Al Qudra Oasis and are best seen from an aerial view. On land, whether you’re picnicking, walking or taking in the sunset, it’s certainly a wonderful UAE nature spot to do it in. Nearby at Al Qudra Lakes, you’ll find plenty of flamingos, ducks and swans.
If your visitors want a break from sightseeing, take them to an escape game at Phobia. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea but one of those fun experiences that your visitors will certainly remember when they head back home. In this escape game, you’ll have to work in a room with no light (of course…), and the preface of a revengeful dead little girl who follows you around. The escape room is open for two to five people brave enough to have a bash. It is an eight-plus-rated escape room if the parents are present, if not, it’s strictly for those over the age of 14.
Phobia Escape Games, JLT, Red Diamond Building, Dubai, Tel: (0)52 797 4916/(0)50 873 0445, phobia.ae
Class and luxury collide with culture and sustainability at this Platinum Heritage experience. Take your guests on a quintessential desert safari trip and visit the dunes in a traditional Land Rover. You can even opt for a hot air balloon experience or an overnight stay.
For more information visit platinum-heritage.com
There are a number of must-not-miss restaurants in Dubai, but if you’re looking for one with no frills – go to popular dining and cultural experience Ravi Restaurant. It is located in the bustling neighbourhood of Satwa in Old Dubai where you can tuck into traditional Pakistani and Indian food for a pocket-friendly price. Since you’re here, go check out the Iranian Hospital and Satwa Grand Mosque.
Ravi Restaurant, Al Satwa, open daily from 5am to 2am Tel: (0)4 331 5353, @ravirestaurantuae
StepUp Ceramic Cafe
Have an artistic visitor? Let things get messy in this splatter painting experience. Your visitors will be able to create a one-of-a-kind abstract painting in their cosy splatter rooms. You can choose your colours and music and get your paint on. Use your 30 minutes to create your own masterpiece – whether that’s on the canvas or on yourself, it doesn’t really matter. It’s open to all ages, so little ones will have a lot of fun with this one.
Sunrise SUP yoga
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Dubai is not all about living in the fast lane, so make sure to show your friends how to find ‘zen mode’ in Dubai’s fast-paced life. Take them to a sunrise yoga class on a SUP (Standup paddleboard) to help them feel centred and connect with nature. There’s also moonlight beach yoga available if they are more of the night owl type. Book here.
SUP Yoga, RIVA Beach Club, Palm Jumeriah, Dubai, Sat from 6.30am to 7.30am, Dhs100, Tel: (0)52 249 5311, ignitewatersports.com
The Smash Room
Want to go crazy? Go to The Smash Room – the ultimate destination to go rage on objects that can sometimes drive us crazy – like a printer or even a TV. The Smash Room philosophy is ‘If it can fit through the door, you can smash it.’ Keep in mind that their location has a garage-size roller door so just about anything goes for smashing.
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