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Your guide to Dubai
All About Dubai
Dubai began as a small fishing village and eventually grew into one of the most dynamic metropolises in the United Arab Emirates. It’s a fascinating desert city, with a soaring modern skyline made up of some of the world’s tallest towers and some of the largest shopping malls on the planet. You’ll also find championship golf courses, gorgeous beaches, man-made islands, and even indoor ski slopes here.
It’s easy to focus on the hypermodern half of the city in all of its glitzy, air-conditioned glory, but don’t overlook Dubai’s historic Old Quarter where you can check out 19th-century architecture, browse the gold souk for jewelry, get a bite at one of the more traditional restaurants or tea houses, and visit the Dubai Museum that’s housed inside a fort from 1787. The exciting blend of ancient heritage and ahead-of-the-curve futurism is what makes Dubai so unique, and if you’d like to get a better feel for the city’s natural surroundings, you can head out on an excursion to the nearby desert.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Dubai
There’s really no way around it: Dubai — and the entire region surrounding it — is hot. After all, this is largely desert country, and the primary way to elude the heat is to stay indoors, whether you’re out exploring or at your apartment or condo rental in Dubai. This heat is why many of Dubai’s top attractions are indoors, with plenty of air conditioning to keep you comfortable. And while summertime temperatures average among the highest on the planet, the winter months are comparably mild, with plenty of comfortable daytime average temperatures and some pleasantly cool nights. Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims, gradually shifts its occurrence each calendar year, but if you’re visiting during this time, expect to find a different level of activity as religious practitioners observe traditions of fasting, prayer, reflection, and community.
Top things to do in Dubai
At 2,722 feet and rising 160 stories, the Burj Khalifa is not only one of the world’s tallest buildings, but it’s also one of the world’s tallest free-standing structures. There are three different observation decks where you can extend your visit: The lounge offers tea, baked goods, and champagne while the top two have fast elevator rides, telescopes, virtual reality experiences, and 360-degree observation decks.
Gold and Spice Souks
To experience the marketplace energy that’s fueled this part of the world for centuries, head out to the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk. Souks, or bazaars, represent the essence of trade in the same vein as they have for hundreds of years. Dubai’s Gold Souk is one of the legendary gold jewelry trading centers in the world, and the Spice Souk… well, you just have to go and smell for yourself.
Dubai is a shoppers’ paradise, and Dubai Mall is its epicenter. It ranks as one of the world’s largest indoor shopping centers, and you’ll need a highly detailed map to navigate it from end to end. There are more than 1,300 stores, boutiques, and shops here. And there are also countless entertainment and kid-friendly options, including an ice rink and a 22-screen cinema.