Top 10 leisure activities in Dubai

Sunbathers on the beach in Dubai.

Dubai is a bustling city in the United Arab Emirates known for its towering skyscrapers, luxury shopping, and world-class attractions. However, beyond the glitz and glamour, there are plenty of leisure activities for expats to enjoy.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply some relaxation, here are the top 10 leisure activities in Dubai for expats.

1. Desert Safari

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Go on a desert safari.

Dubai is surrounded by vast stretches of desert, and a desert safari is one of the best ways to experience the beauty and majesty of this landscape. You can opt for a morning or evening safari, which typically includes a thrilling ride in a 4×4 vehicle over sand dunes, followed by a camel ride, a traditional Bedouin-style dinner, and live entertainment. This is a must-do activity for those who want to get a taste of authentic Arab culture and hospitality.

2. Beaches

Top 10 leisure activities. Sunbathers on the beach in Dubai.
Sunbathers on the beach in Dubai.

Dubai has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and they are a popular destination for expats and tourists alike. Jumeirah Beach is perhaps the most famous, with its crystal-clear waters, white sand, and stunning views of the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel. Other popular beaches include Kite Beach, which is great for water sports enthusiasts, and Al Mamzar Beach Park, which has barbecue areas, picnic tables, and plenty of space for families to relax and play.

3. Theme Parks

Dubai is home to some of the most exciting and innovative theme parks in the world, including the record-breaking Ferrari World and the adrenaline-pumping IMG Worlds of Adventure. These parks offer a range of attractions, from high-speed roller coasters to immersive experiences that transport you to other worlds. They are a great option for families with kids, or for anyone who loves a good thrill ride.

4. Golf

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The golf course at Emirates Golf Club.

Dubai has a thriving golf scene, with several world-class courses that offer stunning views and challenging gameplay.

Some of the most popular courses include the Emirates Golf Club, which hosts the annual Dubai Desert Classic, and the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, which offers a unique experience of playing golf in the heart of the city.

5. Shopping

Dubai is known as a shopper’s paradise, with a wealth of luxury shopping malls and markets that offer everything from high-end designer brands to traditional Arabic handicrafts.

The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping mall in the world, with over 1,200 stores, a giant aquarium, and an indoor ice skating rink. Other popular malls include Mall of the Emirates, which has its own indoor ski slope, and Ibn Battuta Mall, which is themed around the travels of the famous Arab explorer.

6. Water Parks

Dubai’s warm climate makes it the perfect place for water parks, and there are several to choose from.

Wild Wadi Water Park is located next to the iconic Burj Al Arab and features a range of water slides, wave pools, and other attractions. Aquaventure Waterpark is situated on the Palm Jumeirah island and is known for its thrilling rides, including the world’s largest water slide.

7. Cultural Experiences

Dubai has a rich cultural heritage, and there are several experiences that allow you to immerse yourself in this history and tradition. The Dubai Museum, located in the historic Al Fahidi Fort, offers a glimpse into the city’s past, while the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding provides tours and workshops that introduce visitors to Emirati culture and customs.

8. Sports

Dubai is home to several world-class sporting events, including the Dubai World Cup horse race and the Dubai Tennis Championships. For those who prefer to participate rather than watch, there are plenty of opportunities for sports activities such as tennis, cricket, football, and horse riding.

9. Dining

Dubai is a food lover’s paradise, with a diverse range of restaurants and cafes offering everything from traditional Arabic cuisine to international delicacies. Expats can explore a variety of flavors and dining experiences, from high-end fine dining to street food markets. Some of the must-try restaurants include Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara, known for its seafood and stunning underwater setting, and Ravi Restaurant, a beloved Pakistani eatery that has been serving delicious curries for over 30 years.

10. Spa and Wellness

Dubai is a great place for expats looking to relax and rejuvenate, with a range of luxurious spas and wellness centers that offer a variety of treatments and therapies.

Whether you’re looking for a traditional hammam experience, a hot stone massage, or a yoga class with a view, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some of the most popular spas include the Talise Spa at the Burj Al Arab, which offers breathtaking views and a range of personalized treatments, and The Ritz-Carlton Spa, which features an extensive menu of treatments inspired by Arabian traditions.

Dubai offers a wealth of leisure activities, from thrilling outdoor adventures to cultural experiences and relaxation. 

Top 10 leisure activities in Dubai

This top 10 list provides barely a glimpse into the diverse range of options available, catering to different interests and preferences. Expats in Dubai are sure to find something that suits their taste and budget, making the city a fantastic place to live, work, and play.

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