Dubai, the most famous of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates, is known for many things – muscle cars, wealthy celebrities and swanky hotels. It also loves to boast the biggest and best, such as constructing the tallest building in the world, man made islands and the only seven-star hotel in the world (ok, perhaps they made up the 7* rating, but visitors love it!).

But hey, it’s not all just glam and glitz – there’s a cultural heartbeat in old Dubai that’ll give you a taste of tradition with its bustling souks and the historic Al Fahidi district.

And whether you’re up for a sun-soaked beach day down at JBR or shopping frenzy in Downtown Dubai, you’ll never run out of things to do and see in this vibrant city.

Dubai’s history and culture is evident through the variety of landmarks that can be found throughout the city. From modern architectural marvels to traditional buildings, there is something for everyone to explore and admire.

I’ve lived in Dubai for almost 8 years and it’s safe to say that I’ve seen my fair share of landmarks.

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I’ve lived in Dubai for almost 8 years and it’s safe to say that I’ve seen my fair share of landmarks.

So without further ado, here are 17 of the most beautiful Dubai landmarks that you should visit when you’re in town.

1. The Burj Khalifa

One of the most famous landmarks of Dubai, the Burj Khalifa stands at 2,716.5 feet (828 meters) as the world’s tallest building. 

Burj Khalifa

But holding the record for the tallest building in the world isn’t the only record this majestic building holds. Can you believe, the Burj Khalifa holds multiple Guinness world records? Some of which include:

  • Tallest building in the world
  • Tallest free-standing structure
  • Tallest elevator in a building (including tallest service elevator)
  • Most floors in a building
  • Highest fireworks on a building
  • Highest base jump from a building

You can purchase tickets (not to base jump!) to go up to the observation deck on the 125th and 148th floors for 360 degree views of desert landscape, high rise buildings and the coastline, or if you’d like to treat yourself, book in for breakfast, afternoon tea or sundowners at Atmosphere on the 122nd floor (you guessed it, it’s the world highest restaurant!). 

Dubai Landmarks: View from the top of the Burj Khalifa

Be sure to check the weather before buying your tickets as you’ll want to go up on a clear day for the best views. Otherwise you’ll just be looking at out at the fog or even a sand storm.

Twice nightly, you can witness stunning light shows reflecting off the Burj Khalifa and if you happen to be there over New Years, you will see the most incredible fireworks display at midnight. 

2. Dubai Fountains

Located outside of the Dubai Mall, at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, are the Dubai fountains, the largest choreographed fountain system in the world.

The Dubai fountains illuminated at night with the Burj Khalifa, Dubai's tallest tower (in a needle shape) in the background, with purple Arabic writing on it.

The Dubai fountain shows run every 30 minutes daily between 6pm and 11pm (best to see at night with the lights). 

If you’re visiting Dubai on a budget and looking for free things to do in Dubai, the fountain show is a must see. 

For a front row view of the Dubai fountains, hire an abra for a 30 minute cruise on the lake. 

Book a Fountain Abra Ride here!

3. Ain Dubai (Dubai Eye)

Ain Dubai, commonly known as the Dubai Eye, is – you guessed it – the largest observation wheel in the world and is one of the newest Dubai landmarks to be constructed. 

Dubai's giant observation wheel, Ain Dubai with an orange sunset in the background and a palm tree in the foreground. The observation wheel is set on a manmade island next to a beach.

Standing at a height of 688 feet (210 meters), Ain Dubai is the largest of it’s kind.

Ain Dubai is set on one of Dubai’s newest man-made islands, Bluewaters Island, and is surrounded by hotels, restaurants and shops.  

From the top of Ain Dubai, you’ll get to witness some of the most stunning Dubai sunsets. For those looking to splurge, there are also luxurious dining options available on board Ain Dubai.

(Update: As of 2024, Ain Dubai is currently closed while enhancements are made to the attraction).

4. Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

One of the tallest hotels in the world (the tallest being the Gevora Hotel on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road), this Dubai landmark – the Burj Al Arab – was built to resemble the sail of a boat. 

While it is one of the tallest buildings in the world, taller than the Eiffel Tower and just shy of the Empire State Building, almost 40% of its height is non-occupiable. 

It was constructed on a small man made island which is only accessible by private bridge. The only way to get past security is if you have a reservation at one of the restaurants or are staying at the hotel.  

A stay at the all suite Burj Al Arab will set you back anything from $1,000 a night in one of their ‘basic’ suites to a whopping $24,000 in the Royal Suite. 

The helipad, high above the ceiling of the hotel, juts out onto the gulf and is famous for various stunts over the years. It has been turned into a golf course for Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, a tennis court for Roger Federer and a boxing ring for Anthony Joshua. 

Possibly the most daring stunt performed was when a Formula 1 race car was airlifted onto the helipad for David Coulthard to spin ‘doughnuts’ 212 meters in the sky. 

Go nuts and check out Burj Al Arab rates here!

5. Dubai Frame

Standing at 150 meters tall, the Dubai Frame offers visitors stunning panoramic views of both old and new Dubai.

The frame is designed to resemble a giant picture frame (the name gives it away), with one side showcasing the modern city skyline and the other side showcasing the historic areas of Dubai.

One of Dubai landmarks, the Frame, which looks like a giant gold picture frame. Below the frame are green palm trees.

There’s a small museum on the ground floor that tells the story of Dubai’s transformation from a small fishing village to a global metropolis.

But, for those with an adventurous spirit, there is a glass walkway at the top of the frame where you can see all the way down to the ground below – not for the faint-hearted!

At just AED50 for entry, this is a great way to see Dubai on a budget.

Book Dubai Frame Tickets here!

6. Marina Towers

Dubai Marina has the tallest cluster of skyscrapers in the world and is one of the picturesque sights in Dubai. 

The best view can be seen from one of the towers in the neighboring community of JLT (the above picture is taken from my balcony!) or from a boat cruise through the Marina.

View of Dubai Marina from JLT

The Torch Tower in Dubai Marina is famous for catching fire not once, but three times in four years. I’m of the opinion the name should have been changed after the first fire…

The Cayan Tower is the most iconic of the skyscrapers, with it’s twisting structure, designed by the same designers as the Burj Khalifa. It is 75 floors high, with 7 elevators and twists to a full 90 degrees. 

Princess Tower is the second tallest in the cluster Marina 101 holds the title of being the tallest residential building, not just in the Dubai Marina, but in the world.

Me ziplining across Dubai Marina, wearing a white helmet that says XLine and my arms are stretched out in front of me. Below are roads with cars and the marina. In the background are the yellow towers of JBR.

Strolling around the marina is a nice way to marvel at these architectural wonders up close. But if you want to up the ante, i recommend ziplining through the Dubai Marina with XLine. It’s the only way to see the towers from a whole new perspective.

Pro tip: For an even more spectacular view, visit at night when the entire marina lights up and becomes a glittering wonderland.

Book an epic ziplining experience here!

7. The Palm Island

View from above of me and my skydiving instructor (him on my back) skydiving over the Palm Jumeirah island. The island is pure white sand, shaped like a palm tree leaf, and the water is turquoise blue.

There’s only one way to really take in the brilliance of Dubai’s Palm Island, and that’s from above! Skydiving in Dubai not only offers views of the entire city of Dubai, it’s the only way to see the true palm tree form of this man-made island. 

Book a unique skydiving experience here!

This artificial island was constructed in the shape of a palm tree, thus the name Palm Jumeirah. The main trunk of the tree runs the length of the island and branches off to either side. 

The island has over 20 luxury hotels and resorts, numerous malls and restaurants, a monorail running from Dubai Marina to the Atlantis Hotel, and a boardwalk rounding the coastline. 

A little known fact is that there are actually two Palm Islands in Dubai, Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali. The latter, which was set to be 50% larger than the Palm Islands, has unfortunately been put on hold for a number of years and there is currently no completion date set.

8. Atlantis Hotel

The Atlantis The Palm resort in Dubai stands prominently against a clear blue sky, framed by the tranquil waters of the Arabian Gulf with lush greenery at its base.

Located at the end of the ‘trunk’ of the palm tree, the Atlantis Hotel is the most iconic landmark on Palm Jumeirah. 

The hotel is a luxury five star hotel, themed on the lost city of mythical Atlantis, with sandy beaches, a water park and an aquarium, among other activities like diving and snorkeling. 

Even if you’re not staying at this Dubai landmark, you can take the monorail out and have a walk around the hotel or visit The Lost Chambers Aquarium. 

Check out rates for the Atlantis Hotel here!

9. Museum of the Future

Dubai is known for pushing boundaries and constantly innovating, so it’s no surprise that the Museum of the Future is one of the most recent landmarks for the city.

An artistic close-up of the Museum of the Future, showcasing the intricate Arabic calligraphy designs on its facade, with palm trees and a clear sky in the background.

This unique building, showcases futuristic technologies and ideas from around the world. It aims to inspire visitors to imagine, create and shape the future. 

The circular structure symbolises humanity, with the green mound beneath it representing the Earth. Meanwhile, the void signifies the enigmatic future that lies ahead.

Book your tickets for the Museum of the Future here.

10. World Islands

Want to travel the world? You can do that in Dubai! The World Islands is an archipelago of artificial islands shaped like a world map, located just off the coast of Dubai.

Aerial view of the World Islands in Dubai, with the artificial archipelago's sandbanks resembling a world map, set against the backdrop of the Dubai skyline in the hazy distance.

As of now, only the Lebanon island is open to visitors, with plans to open more islands in the future. This unique destination offers luxury villas and floating hotels for a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

You can book a full day trip to the Lebanon island, where you can relax on the beach, enjoy water sports, or indulge in delicious food and drinks at one of the island’s restaurants.

11. Jumeirah Mosque

No visit to Dubai is complete without experiencing the Jumeirah Mosque, one of the most iconic landmarks in the city.

This image captures the intricate dome and minarets of Jumeirah Mosque in Dubai, framed by palm tree leaves, against a soft blue sky.

This stunning mosque is not open to non-Muslims for guided tours, where you can learn about the Islamic culture and religion. The intricate architecture and beautiful interior make it a must-see attraction.

Guided tours are available daily at 10am except on Fridays, and modest dress code is required for both men and women.

12. Dubai Creek

Dubai Creek showcases the more traditional side of Dubai, with its bustling waterfront and traditional wooden boats known as “abra”.

Traditional wooden abra boat ferrying passengers across the Dubai Creek with a backdrop of modern buildings, highlighting the contrast between Dubai's cultural heritage and urban development.

You can actually take an abra ride across the creek for just 1 AED (about $0.27 USD)! It’s a great way to get in with the locals and get a glimpse of local life.

Food is also a major highlight at the Dubai Creek, with numerous restaurants serving up delicious Arabic and international cuisine. I recommend taking a walking tour with a local who can show you where to go and what to eat.

Book a walking tour of Dubai Creek here.

If you prefer a more upscale dinner, you can also explore the creek on a traditional dhow boat dinner cruise. This authentic experience includes dinner, entertainment, and stunning views of Dubai’s skyline at night.

13. Global Village

From October to April, the Global Village is a must-visit attraction in Dubai. Yet another way to visit Dubai but get to see the whole world! This cultural and entertainment hub brings together over 90 countries to showcase their food, products, and traditions.

This is an image of the striking, whimsical architecture of Global Village in Dubai, featuring golden domes and intricate patterns, with a person in traditional Emirati dress entering the frame, all set against a dramatic cloudy sky.

You can spend an entire day exploring the different pavilions, trying out international dishes, and shopping for unique souvenirs. The live performances and activities add to the atmosphere of the Global Village and, if you’re there at the weekends, there’s even a firework show to finish off the night!

14. Jumeirah Beach Residences

If you’ve ever seen the iconic buildings of Dubai’s skyline, chances are that you’ve seen Jumeirah Beach Residences (JBR). This waterfront community is a huge hit with tourists and locals alike, offering stunning views of the Persian Gulf and both luxurious and affordable experiences.

The sunny shores of JBR Beach in Dubai, with turquoise waters in the foreground and the dense, high-rise residential buildings of Jumeirah Beach Residence rising in the background.

One of my favourite things to do around JBR is just stroll around (I’m a cheap date!). It’s got trendy restaurants, cafes, and shops, market stalls selling souvenirs and clothing and games for the kids (and big kids), making it a perfect spot for a day or night out.

Of course, there’s the ‘beach’ part of Jumeirah Beach Residences, and you can also also just chill on the beach or do some watersports.

15. Dubai Miracle Garden

Dubai Miracle Garden is a truly unique landmark in the city.

Visitors stroll through an enchanting pathway framed by arches of vibrant flowers shaped into hearts at Dubai Miracle Garden, illuminated against the evening sky.

This colourful attraction is home to over 50 million blooming flowers arranged in various shapes and designs, including heart-shaped pathways, giant teddy bears, and even a full-sized Emirates A380 plane adorned with flowers!

Pssst! You can skip the line with this ticket to Dubai Miracle Garden!

16. Dubai Opera

This is one of my favourite places to visit in Dubai. Not just for the theatre performances (I’m a bit of a theatre nerd), but also for the stunning architecture and design of the building itself.

The sleek and modern Dubai Opera House illuminated at night, with its iconic dhow-shaped architecture, stands out against the backdrop of the city's glittering skyscrapers.

Dubai Opera hosts a variety of shows, from Broadway musicals to classical concerts, so if you’re an art or music lover, you should plan a visit there. Plus, you can’t beat the views of Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountains from here!

17. Ski Dubai

Skiing in the desert? Yep, you heard that right! Ski Dubai is an indoor ski resort located in the Mall of the Emirates. It’s a great place to beat the heat and experience skiing or snowboarding on real snow slopes.

Woman dressed in Ski Dubai snow gear playing in human sized shapes at the resort.

Not much of a skier? No problem! You can also enjoy other winter activities like tobogganing, zorbing, or get a ski or snowboard lesson while there.

The building is unmissable from the outside, with its giant slopes rising out of the Mall of the Emirates.

Book your Ski Dubai experience here.

Conclusion to our Dubai Landmarks

And there you have it, our whirlwind tour of the must-see landmarks in Dubai! Each spot tells a bit of a story about this vibrant city, from the awe-inspiring heights of the Burj Khalifa and the artistry of the Palm Jumeirah, to the cultural treasures that await at Dubai Creek and the mesmerising Jumeirah Mosque.

Whatever kind of traveller you are – a thrill-seeker, history buff, or even a sun worshiper – Dubai’s landmarks offer a little bit of something for y’all.

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