Dubai is a city that has embraced the future while preserving a bit of its past. It is glamour and luxury, culture and heritage. The city is one of the richest in the world, with incredible hotels and restaurants but many of its best sites are still free or affordable to visit. Below are a list of some of the top sites for a holiday in Dubai, combining a bit of luxury with a bit of old Dubai.

Burj Khalifa

Being such a dominating symbol of the city, a visit to Burj Khalifa is pretty much mandatory. This incredible skyscraper is currently the tallest structure on earth and offers spectacular views of the city from the 134th floor observation deck.

Dubai Mall

Thanks to the wealth of the oil industry, Dubai has become a hotspot for fashion and shopping. A visit to the Dubai Mall offers up more than designer brands though with an indoor theme park, aquarium, and famous fountain show offering up entertainment and fun.

Skiing at the Mall of the Emirates

Here is one thing you probably never thought you could do in a mall – go skiing. Add to that that you are skiing in a mall in the middle of a desert and you have one great travel story. You can rent all the ski equipment at the mall or opt for sledding on inner tubes instead.

Take an Abra across the Creek

While Dubai is filled with riches and luxury, one of the most peaceful activities in the city is to simply catch an abra, a traditional boat, across the Dubai Creek which cuts the city in half. For less than a dollar you can glide along the water, caught between the old and the new.

Burj Al Arab

This iconic seven-star hotel is worth checking out, even if you aren’t lucky enough to be staying here. The underwater seafood restaurant, aquariums, and skybar views are all impressive but make you make a reservation for one of the bars or restaurants or you won’t be allowed in at all.

Bastakiya Quarter

For a look at old Dubai, check out the mud brick homes of the Bastakiya neighborhood. This traditional quarter was scheduled to be demolished but at the last minute was thankfully preserved and is now a great place to pick up local handicrafts and art.

Jumeirah Beach Residence Walk

Locally known as JBR and consisting of 36 towers all lined up along the Dubai Marina, this is a great place to people watch the rich and famous of Dubai. There are plenty of great shops and restaurants where both locals and tourists come to enjoy an evening out.

Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding

If you want more of an educational visit to Dubai, be sure to stop by the institution, founded to help visitors understand the culture and heritage of the people of United Arab Emirates. The also run guided tours to the Jumeirah Mosque and hold Cultural Lunches where you can try local cuisine and meet with people of the region.

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