Ambitious, breathtaking and pulsating with innovation, Dubai is fast becoming everyone’s top travel destination in 2017. After all, it has the world’s tallest building, the world’s biggest mall and if that weren’t enough, the world’s biggest indoor theme park as well. In fact, Dubai is surely but slowly claiming every ‘the tallest’ and ‘the biggest’ in the world.
And it’s fast becoming the perfect destination for families looking to mix culture with a little adventure, too.
Dubai has everything you are looking for from sun, sea and sand to a little (or a lot) of retail therapy. I mean, where else can you visit a 7 star hotel, go skiing in the desert and take in the biggest fountain display in the world?
1. The Beaches
There’s a good reason why so many families from both Europe and Asia choose Dubai as their ultimate vacation destination: the beaches. Dubai’s beaches are perfect for parents looking for to dip their toes in the soft sand while their children play in open wide spaces. Kite Beach is your best bet, as kiteboarders, families, sporty groups and casual beach strollers mingle all day and early evening. There are also several cafes, pop-up restaurants and food trucks (most notably the burger-and-shake shack Salt) that give Kite Beach a wonderful community feel for wanting a little home away from home.
And if beach sports and parks are not your thing, Jumeriah’s Open Beach is one of the best free beaches in Dubai. Families can spend an entire day here as there are free facilities including showers and toilets as well as snack stalls and vendors.
2. Theme Parks
It’s without a doubt that Dubai is giving Orlando a good run for its money for the title as the theme park capital of the world. Sure, Orlando might have Disney World and Universal Studios, but Dubai is not wasting it’s time. In fact, the already have dibs on the world’s largest indoor theme park, IMG Worlds of Adventure. The park is as big as 28 football fields, measuring some 1.5 million square feet in size and it doesn’t disappoint, either. Their signature ride is the Velociraptor, which happens to be the fastest and tallest roller coaster in the emirate.
You’ve also got plenty of other entertainment options to choose from, including Legoland Dubai, Legoland Water Park, Bollywood Park and the Hollywood-themed Motiongate.
Shopping with your partner and children with you is never easy, but in Dubai, going to the mall is an experience above anything else. The Dubai Mall just happens to be the biggest mall in the world, with hundreds of top designer and budget retailers along with an Aquarium, an ice rink and enough attractions to keep you entertained for hours. It also has a 250-room luxury hotel, 22 cinema screens plus 120 restaurants and cafes.
If that weren’t enough, the Emirates Mall on the other side of town has an indoor skiing facility. And if malls aren’t your thing, you can head to the Ripe Market in Zabeel Park for your ultimate al fresco market experience. You can find anything here from crafts to fashion to jewelry, kids items, gifts and more.
4. The Souks
These historic markets offer hospitable trading and good-natured bartering. Dubai souks are bright, colorful, noisy and fascinating like any other market place. And it’s a must-see if your looking to experience a little of Old Dubai. A little known fact is that Dubai is known for really cheap gold, if you have the energy to haggle for it, that is.
There are a a wide range of souks in Dubai such as Textile Souk, Gold Souk, Spice Souk, Souk Al Bahar and more. Trust me that you can spend an entire day here strolling through the dazzling and enchanting souks that will take you back to a time when the entire world traveled to the Arabic Markets to sell and exchange goods.
5. Sights and Sounds of Dubai
You can’t visit Dubai without visiting the Burj Khalifa, which just happens to be the world’s tallest skyscraper. At nearly twice the height of New York’s Empire State building, the Burj Khalifa is pretty tall. 2,722 ft (828m) tall to be exact. Built with cutting-edge technology, the Burj Khalifa has managed to redefined what is possible in the design and engineering world.
Here’s a fun fact about the Burj Khalifa: Not only is it the world’s tallest building, but it has also broken two other impressive records: the tallest structure (previously held by the KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota) and the tallest free-standing structure, which was previously held by Toronto’s CN tower.
Also, don’t forget to see what Dubai has to offer at night, with the Dubai Fountatin – the world’s largest choreographed fountains near the Dubai Mall. Sit back, relax and enjoy a dance show of water that reaches up to 140 meters high with syncing lights and music with a playlist that includes Adele to Michael Jackson and more.
You can now fly direct to Dubai from over 12 destinations in the U.S. from Boston to Los Angeles with Emirates.