7 Non-Touristy Experiences in Dubai

Dubai | © Thais Kelly
Dubai | © Thais Kelly
Photo of Thais Kelly
27 April 2017

Dubai has no shortage of amazing tourist attractions to check out, from the tallest building in the world to the historical markets, this city is a true travel hub. However, there are some incredible experiences that visitors won’t find in their travel guides, but that definitely should be done. Take the road less travelled and check out all this Emirate has to offer.

Dubai Opera

This jaw-dropping construction can be seen when driving down Downtown, but few tourists actually take the time to buy tickets and attend the shows. The Dubai Opera opened in August 2016 and has already brought some of the biggest musicals and operas in the globe to town, such as Les Miserables, La Boheme and CATS. Other than high-quality shows, the building itself is a work of art. A night at the opera is a great opportunity to get dressed up and feel culturally enriched while visiting Dubai.

Meydan Hotel

Dubai | © Thais Kelly
Meydan is a massive hotel that offers much more than meets the eye. This beautiful hotel is where the Dubai World Cup is held — one of Dubai’s biggest social events — as well as several other horse races. Race enthusiasts can come to watch the races during the winter and spring months, take a tour of the stables and even take riding lessons. Meydan also has a golf course and running track.

Alserkal Avenue

Art Gallery, Theater
Art galleries at Alserkal Avenue
© Iain Masterton / Alamy Stock Photo
Alserkal Avenue is a hipster spot in Dubai. This small block in Al Quoz, formerly an industrial area, gathers art galleries, trendy cafes and even a theatre. One could spend a whole day visiting the art galleries in Alserkal Avenue. Check out their website for upcoming events, as markets, concerts and plays take place throughout the year.

Dubai Brunches

Dubai is famous for its brunch scene, and although residents will spend their entire Fridays having brunch, tourists don’t seem to be very aware of all the experiences on offer. On Fridays, and sometimes Saturdays, restaurants offer popular set-menu, all-you-can-eat/drink brunches. Some of the best in the city are at Ewaan at the Palace Downtown, Coya at the Four Seasons in Jumeirah and Nobu at Atlantis in The Palm Jumeirah.


This place truly is Dubai residents’ little secret. BOX PARK is an outdoor mall with several cool restaurants and trendy shops, located on Al Wasl Road. Perhaps the coolest aspect is that all outlets look like massive shipping containers. The containers are super colorful and are a great place to spend some time, window shop and take some unique pictures.

BOXPARK, 433 Al Wasl Rd, +971 4 317 3999

Skydive Dubai

Amusement Park
A skydiver above Dubai Marina
© Mohamad Kaddoura / Alamy Stock Photo
This is the perfect experience for all adrenaline junkies visiting Dubai. Skydive Dubai has made waves internationally, so why not take a break to free-fall from 13,000 feet with a unique view of The Palm Jumeirah at a speed of 120 miles an hour? Spots must be booked in advance, so if you’re planning on trying this once-in-a-lifetime experience, get on their website and book your space.

Beach Clubs

As Dubai is sunny year-round it’s not surprising that the beach clubs are always crowded. However, this seems to be an experience that only residents indulge in. Hitting up some of the city’s beach clubs — like Zero Gravity, Nikki Beach, Cove Beach and Blue Marlin — can be a great way to enjoy the sun, check out the local party scene and meet residents. Most of these allow walk-ins, but those looking for the real Dubai experience can get a table (for a price).

If this is not one of your weekend plans.. You're doing weekends wrong. #CoveBeachClub #CoveBeach #FeelTheCove

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