25 Things Dubai is Known and Famous For

When you think of Dubai, you’re likely to either picture the glitz and glamour of the city, or perhaps the desert and camels. While you’re not wrong, there are far more things that make up life in one of Earth’s fastest-growing cities.

What is Dubai famous for, you ask?

Dubai is famous for its skyscrapers, including Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab, and its traditional markets such as the Gold Souk and Spice Souk. It’s also known for its malls, fountains, airport, and world records.

Let’s have a look at all the things Dubai is known and famous for.

1. Hot summers

Desert architecture in Dubai

If there is one thing Dubai is famous for, it’s the heat.

Summers in Dubai can reach up to 51°C, which is further aggravated by high humidity. During this time, Dubai is a ghost town.

You’re highly unlikely to find people taking a stroll or opting to sit outdoors in mid-July. The only way residents fight the heat is to stay indoors!

2. Development

Dubai Marina is one of the city’s most coveted residential districts
Dubai Marina is one of the city’s most coveted residential districts

Dubai has built a reputation for being one of the fastest developing cities in the world. At one point, Dubai was home to 25% of the world’s construction cranes!

What was once a desert transformed into a bustling city within decades. This development has boosted the economy, leading to its wealth and high standards of living.

3. Skyscrapers

Ocean Heights is an award-winning 84-storey residential skyscraper that is distinguished by its gently twisting silhouette.
Ocean Heights is an award-winning residential skyscraper that is distinguished by its gently twisting silhouette

It isn’t surprising that Dubai is home to some of the largest skyscrapers in the world. These towers stand out for their innovative, cultural, and futuristic architecture. From afar, it forms the breathtaking Dubai skyline.

You can spot many towers when driving along the Sheikh Zayed Road. This includes the Burj Khalifa, Princess Tower, The Torch, Cayan Tower, and a number of luxurious hotels.

If you want a panoramic view, the Dubai Frame was recently built for the very purpose of capturing the city’s glamorous skyline.

4. Burj Khalifa

Dubai is famous for the Burj Khalifa, tallest tower in the world

Dubai is most famous for being home to Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure in the world.

The building reaches 830 meters into the sky and has 160 floors. Inside, there are restaurants, hotels, offices, and over 900 apartments.

The building also has a massive LED system that lights up on special occasions, such as UAE’s national day. And to top it off, Burj Khalifa has been featured in some incredible movies, such as Mission Impossible!

5. Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab, as seen from Jumeirah Mina A'Salam Hotel
Burj Al Arab, as seen from Jumeirah Mina A’Salam Hotel

Burj Al Arab is the world’s only seven-star hotel and easily Dubai’s most luxurious. It is embellished with 24-carat gold, Swarovski crystals, and even Statuario marble.

The hotel sits on a man-made island at the edge of Jumeriah giving the rooms a magnificent view of the Arabian Gulf. It’s complete with exquisite restaurants, a private beach, leisure pools, gyms, luxurious spas, and cafes.

All in all, Burj Al Arab defines luxury.

6. Palm Jumeirah

Aerial view of Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah is easily one of Dubai’s most famous accomplishments. It is the world’s largest man-made island formed in the shape of a palm tree. It’s home to luxury real estate and hotels.

The archipelago can be seen from space. In fact, you will spot more of its kind.

That’s because there are two more man-made islands that are also shaped like palm trees: Deira Island and Palm Jebel Ali. However, these two projects are yet to be completed.

7. Shopping malls

Inside the world's largest shopping mall, Dubai Mall
Inside the world’s largest shopping mall, Dubai Mall

If you love shopping, Dubai’s massive malls should be the first thing on your bucket list. The plethora of shops, the escape from the heat, and the sales and festivals are just a few reasons why malls are such a popular attraction in Dubai.

Plus, each mall has a certain feature unlike any other, such as the indoor ski park in the Mall of the Emirates, or the Ibn Battuta-themed mall which is aptly named Ibn Battuta Mall. But if you just want to enjoy the ambiance, then we recommend visiting the largest mall in the world, the Dubai Mall.

8. Beaches

The lively beachfront neighbourhood of Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) in New Dubai is very popular with residents and tourists.
The lively beachfront neighborhood of Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) in New Dubai is very popular with residents and tourists

Since Dubai sits on the coastline, you can expect some amazing beaches. The best part? Most of them are free to enter, and there are days reserved for women only.

Dubai’s beaches offer plenty of activities, such as jet skiing, kitesurfing, kayaking, and camel rides.

But while Dubai has over ten beaches for you to choose from, don’t expect them to be empty. Beaches tend to be a resident hotspot regardless of the time of day.

9. Desert life

Dune bashing in Dubai desert

When it comes to the nature side of Dubai, the desert is the city’s top feature.

The golden dunes offer activities such as dune bashing, quad biking, sandboarding, and camel rides. For those looking for a more cultural experience, live belly dancing and folk songs continue late into the night.

Of course, for a pleasant experience, all desert activities should be reserved for the winter.

10. Glitz and glamour

Luxury brand names
Photo credit: Isabell Schulz

Dubai is undoubtedly famous for all things luxurious.

With a thriving economy based around tourism and trade as well as natural resources such as oil, Dubai offers many opportunities to tourists who want to see what it’s like to live in a lavish society where high-end cars and designer bags are ubiquitous.

11. Luxury cars

Dubai police car
Photo credit: 4WheelsofLux Photography

Dubai is famous for cars, specifically luxurious cars. Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Maseratis are all household names and you’re bound to come across them in numbers.

The city also houses some of the most exquisite cars that we guarantee are only found here. Think gold cars, the Batmobile, coined cars, and Ferrari limos thundering down Sheikh Zayed Road. For car fanatics, it is truly a sight to see.

Even the Dubai police patrol the streets in style. They have designated sports cars and SUVs that conquer the roads authoritatively!

12. Abundance of expats

A girl in Dubai

Dubai is a thriving city that attracts expats from all over the world. Expats make up 80% of the total population, with the most common nationals being from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Iran.

With its high income, low taxes, and work benefits that can include rent, transport and paid holidays, it’s no wonder people are willing to take a risk on this Middle Eastern country.

Despite misconceptions of life in an Islamic country, expats can purchase pork and alcohol which are available in restaurants and stores. Plus, they can comfortably practice their religion with access to places of worship including churches, temples, and gurudwaras.

13. Global Village

Turkish lanterns

One of Dubai’s most famous attractions is Global Village, a massive shopping district with pavilions featuring shops from all around the world.

Here, you can do everything under one roof, whether it is buying incense from Bahrain, tasting samples of cheese in Jordan, or enjoying a performance in India. It’s like a virtual trip around the world without leaving Dubai!

As for food, there are plenty of restaurants available, ranging from cultural to trendy to fine dining. Global Village runs between November to April – the perfect time to comfortably shop and dine in Dubai.

Here’s our tip for visiting the Global Village: put on your walking shoes because you will be there for a while!

14. Fountains

Burj Khalifa Fountain

Fountains are no ordinary feature in Dubai; in fact, most attractions have extravagant fountains located at the entrance ready to greet you.

Dubai is famous for designing the world’s largest choreographed fountain: the Burj Khalifa Fountain. Every night, hundreds of people gather in Downtown Dubai to watch the fountain dance in sync with the dramatic music and flashing lights.

15. Parks and Gardens

Heart-shaped decoration in a garden

Despite Dubai’s desert landscape, the city has some impressive parks and gardens. Creek Park, Zabeel Park, and Mushrif Park are popular parks complete with attractions such as the dolphinarium, cycling tracks, boat rides, and horse riding.

Another famous park in Dubai is the Quranic Park. It was designed for people to explore the notable features, symbols, and miracles mentioned in the Quran. Signposts and video clips explain each attraction’s significance.

Besides parks, Dubai also has some noteworthy gardens.

Miracle Gardens is the world’s largest flower garden where everything is completely made of flowers. Some of the most unique structures in the garden include mosques, castles, Disney figures, and a heart-shaped tunnel. And if that’s not impressive enough, there is even a life-size version of Emirates’s famous A-380!

16. Amusement Parks

Legoland Dubai

Over the past few years, Dubai has constructed some of the most amazing amusement parks.

It has built IMG World, the world’s largest indoor theme park, which has four different zones: Cartoon Network, Marvel, Lost Valley, and IMG Boulevard. There are performances, restaurants, arcades, meet and greets, and other activities inspired by these zones.

Dubai Parks and Resorts is another phenomenal theme park in Dubai, in fact, it is the largest theme park in the Middle East.

The park is divided into four different amusement parks: MotionGate, Bollywood Parks, LegoLand, and LegoLand WaterPark. Each park is packed with performances, rides, restaurants, and plenty of shopping opportunities!

17. Dubai International Airport

Dubai International Airport
Image credit: J N A R A

Dubai is famous for the Dubai International Airport, one of the world’s busiest airports and a transit hub for travelers across the globe.

Since its establishment in 2008, Dubai Airport has won numerous awards for its high standards of efficiency and amenities.

And because nothing can be short of luxury in Dubai – even an airport – there is a range of facilities available, such as duty-free shopping, restaurants, hotels, spas, lounges, and free WiFi.

18. Emirates Airlines

Emirates plane
Photo credit: Riik@mctr

Dubai’s Emirates Airlines is known for being one of the most luxurious, safest, and comfortable airlines to fly on. It sponsors a range of sports including cricket, football, equestrian, and even rugby.

But let’s get to the point: the experience on Emirates is top-notch. Flying with Emirates comes with world-class in-flight entertainment, WiFi, high-quality dining, and excellent customer service.

If you have the cash to splurge on upgrades, you can be pampered by a private suite, a shower spa, a lounge bar, refined dining options, and more!

19. Markets and souks

Spices in a market stall

Dubai’s markets are known for capturing the city’s culture and traditional practices. They have been around for decades, refusing to modernize as the rest of the city does.

The Gold Souk, Spice Market, Textile Market, and Perfume Souk are some of the most iconic places in Dubai. The quality products are both local and imported, and sold at great prices.

20. Heritage

The diving village in Dubai
Photo credit: greengardn

Before developing into the metropolitan it is today, Dubai used to be rural and composed of small houses, open markets, tents, and large forts. People worked in various industries, including fishing, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, poetry, and pearl diving.

You can catch a glimpse of Dubai’s heritage at Heritage Village.

21. Mosques

Mosque in Dubai
Photo credit: i_pinz

Dubai is famous for having some of the most beautiful mosques in the world, such as Al Salam Mosque, Jumeirah Mosque, Masjid Al Rahim.

These mosques are places for Muslims to practice their faith and offer prayers during five daily prayer sessions called salat.

Mosques in Dubai can be extravagant, going further than decorated domes and minarets. The creativity in architecture and designs has culminated in spectacular structures that are still rooted in cultural traditions.

22. Camels

Camels in a desert

Dubai is famous for camels. Even though the national animal is a falcon, camels are more represented because they were a great help to the Bedouins. They were an important source of food, transportation, and entertainment.

There is no longer a need for camels for transport today, of course. But you can watch a camel race, ride a camel in the desert, or savor camel meat.

Generally speaking, camels are hard to miss. They appear as mascots, cartoons, and even souvenir items, such as keychains, chocolates, and magnets.

23. Equestrian

Horse racing in Dubai

Like camel riding, horse riding is also an important part of Dubai’s heritage. Many Emiratis place their children in equestrian clubs at an early age so that they grow to pursue it as a hobby.

Polo and equestrian clubs, racing, and horse exhibitions are commonly spotted in Dubai and a must-visit for tourists!

24. Philanthropy

Photo credit: AMISOM Public Information

Dubai is known for its philanthropic work. It has many organizations, the most famous being Red Crescent which is known for its humanitarian efforts.

This network has been recognized globally for being one of the leading supporters and first responders for disasters. Among Red Crescent’s services include volunteer work, and the sponsorship of students, orphans, and families both locally and abroad.

25. World records

Dubai skyline as seen from the Palm Jumeirah
Dubai skyline as seen from the Palm Jumeirah

Given Dubai’s drive to strive for the best, it makes sense that it holds some of the most astounding world records.

You may be familiar with some, such as the tallest building, the largest mall, the largest flower garden, the only seven-star hotel, the largest choreographed fountain, the largest man-made island, the list goes on.

But there is more. Altogether, the city of 3.3 million is actually home to 425 world records. Now that is a record!

Conclusion

All in all, Dubai is not just about its skyscrapers and glitzy lifestyle. It’s famous for so many things. Delve into its culture, history, and nature during your visit.

If you have more points to add to this list of things Dubai is known for, leave a comment below!

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