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The Best Things to Do in Dubai

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It's hard, at times, to wrap your mind around Dubai--and that's a good thing. It's a city that feels incredibly modern but, also, maintains strong ties to the rich and diverse traditional ways of Arab cultures. A trip to Dubai can feel like a visit to another century, with its traditional mosques and the Desert Safari excursion. But Dubai also steps confidently into the future with the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest built structure; Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort; an incredible water park at Atlantis, The Palm; and much more.
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4 17th St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Alserkal Avenue runs through an industrial area in Dubai where you'll find the core of the city's art scene inside a group of warehouses. The galleries and exhibition spaces here are a must-see for art lovers and those who...
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1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Two architectural wonders helped put Dubai on the map: the Burj Al Arab hotel, which resembles the sail of a ship out on the gulf waters, and the Palm Jumeirah, a residential development on a manmade archipelago that fans out in the...

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Sheikh Zayed Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Admit it; you're curious. A ski hill in the middle of the desert, on the Persian Gulf, no less, is as wild an idea as humankind has ever concocted—but isn't dreaming big what Dubai is all about? The slopes at Ski Dubai are no substitute for...
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Al Musalla Rd. - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Dubai isn't just about shopping and architecture. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding offers enriching and intellectually stimulating tours, meant to engage and inform visitors about Emirati history and...
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When the swell is up and the waves are high, Sunset Beach is Surf City, UAE. Count on left-breaking waves at the Jebel Ali end and right-breaking waves at the northern tip of the beach. In between, expect a busy beach full of tourists, locals, and...
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17, The Iridium Building, Umm-e - Umm Suqeim St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Whether you want to explore the stretch of sand dunes 40 minutes outside of Dubai or visit the largest expanse of uninhabited desert in the world, known as the Empty Quarter, a desert safari is the way to do it. There are any number of tour...
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Business Bay - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
In Dubai, only visitors and laborers ride the subway—which is exactly why you should do it. Snaking its way through the city’s highways and skyscrapers, the Dubai Metro lets you steal glimpses of the city you would never get to...
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Ali Bin Abi Taleb Street - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Iranians first began to settle in Dubai in the 1920s, when H.H. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum invited several Persian families. The lingering influence of this community on the old part of Dubai is still quite striking, especially in the...
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In colloquial Arabic, an avid traveler is jokingly dubbed Ibn Battuta in honor of the medieval globe-trotter by the same name. Battuta set off on a legendary adventure in 1325 that took him from modern-day Morocco all the way to Somalia, China,...
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Al Rigga Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
If your interest in malls transcends shopping, Al Ghurair Centre is a must. Built in 1981—which makes it Dubai's oldest mall—Al Ghurair has undergone renovations, but maintains a whiff of the past (sometimes...
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Jumeirah St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Wimpy waves and calm coasts—Dubai's Public Beach (also known as Umm Suqeim Beach) is as peaceful as it gets. This local secret is removed from the bustling shops and restaurants occupying (ruining?) other UAE waterfronts—perfect for...
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31 A Street, Al Garhoud - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
The Irish Village was initially built in 1996 to cater to spectators arriving for the Dubai Tennis Championships. But over the years, it has became a city staple in its own right. In this strange little settlement within a tennis...
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Dubai Marina - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
The visual harmony between the high-rise buildings and the shimmering water of the canal can almost lull you into forgetting that Dubai Marina is a man-made development. Built in 2003, Dubai Marina is a residential area, yet it has generous...
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Crescent Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
“You can book a 20-minute helicopter ride for only $120 to $150 per person. If there is one city worth flying over, it’s Dubai!”—Maximilian Büsser

This appeared in the March/April 2017 issue

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Citywalk,Al Wasl , Al Safa Roads,Near ENBD - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Pretty much every kooky exercise trend can be found in the gyms of Dubai, and Physique 57 has emerged as one of the favorite franchises to catch up on the latest crazes. Join Dubai’s leading bloggers and socialites...
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Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Dubai's thoroughfare, Sheikh Zayed Road, is often seen in all its silvery steel glamour in Instagram feeds, but it makes for a unique experience in person, too. The roadway is lined with dozens of restaurants and cafés...
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3 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
The name "Kite Beach" doesn't cover the half of what goes on along this stretch of Dubai’s coastline. It's a community space, an open-air gym, and home to several popular cafés and restaurants. For adrenaline junkies, Kite Beach...
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Bahar 7 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
When it opened, Jumeirah Beach Residence, known to locals as JBR, was just a upscale beachside residential area with just a few cafés. Over the years, JBR got bigger and busier and now features dozens of...
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Al Seyahi St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
If the viewing platform from the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa doesn’t induce vertigo, why not jump out of a perfectly good airplane at Skydive Dubai? The view of the Palm Jumeirah from 13,000 feet up will literally take your breath...
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Jebel ali, Al Muntazah - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Where else but Dubai could you find a church, a mosque, and a Sikh temple side by side? Thanks to just this juxtaposition in Jebel Ali (a suburb of Dubai), the locals have dubbed the area Religion City. Of particular interest is the...
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Sheikh Zayed Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Safa Park is a regular stop on the weekend itineraries of most Dubai families, and as such, has a place in the childhood memories of many of the city’s residents. The family-oriented public park is ideal for a relaxed picnic...
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Street # 17B - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Perhaps because Dubai is home to so many Indian expats, many Emiratis have become avid fans of Bollywood films. (Several Bollywood stars, including Aishwarya Rai and Shah Rukh Khan, own homes in Dubai and are often...
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Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Dating back to the 1780s and restored in the late 20th century at the behest of Prince Charles, the historical town of Al Bastakiya is a lovely historic exception to the modern glass and steel towers that dominate Dubai’s...
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Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Dubai Miracle Garden is home to over 15,000 butterflies and 45 million flowers, all displayed upon eccentric props in a distinctly over-the-top Dubai style: Take, for example, the Ferrari and Emirates airplane covered with...
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Dubai Gold Souq,Deira,Behind Malabar Gold Showroom - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
On Friday afternoons, this unassuming expanse of sand comes to life with music and athletes practicing the lively art of pehlwani, a South Asian wrestling tradition. Spectators sit on the ground to listen to the ringmaster and watch...