There are so many great things to do in Dubai but as summer approaches residents and visitors alike will start feeling the heat and wondering about the best indoor attractions Dubai has on offer. Well if you are worried about keeping cool in Dubai fear not with our guide to the best indoor things to do in Dubai.
Best Indoor Things to do in Dubai
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
My toddlers number one thing to do in Dubai is also a great indoor things to do in Dubai – visiting the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. The Aquarium is located in Dubai Mall (more on this later) and is one of the best aquariums in the world in my opinion.
There are two parts to the aquarium – the tunnel walk which you enter on the ground floor of the wall and the underwater zoo on the second level of the mall.
Your visit will start on the ground floor of the mall as you enter the aquarium tunnel. While one side of the tunnel can be viewed for free from the mall it is worth paying the entrance fee to get the full experience. The tunnel is one of the largest in the world and the aquarium exhibits over 300 species of marine animals
Once you have finished your walk through the tunnel you head upstairs to the second floor to visit the underwater zoo where there are more fish exhibits as you would expect alongside exhibits on penguins, crocodiles and some birds. There are also chances to go behind the scenes at the Dubai Aquarium and Zoo including a chance to feed fish or even swim in the tunnel with the sharks.
Top Tip for Visiting Dubai Aquarium: The queues to get in the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater zoo can get ridiculously long – first time we waited over half an hour. Be sure to book your tickets online in advance (Click here for rates and ticket information) as this will mean you can skip the queue. However if you do forget and need to buy tickets on the day we recommend avoiding the line at the tunnel entrance where the queues are at their longest and instead purchase your tickets up on the second floor next to the Underwater Zoo as the queues are much shorter here.
Once you have finished at the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo be sure to explore more of the Dubai Mall. In fact you could dedicated a whole day to Dubai Mall in your Dubai itinerary especially if you are visiting Dubai in Summer.
Of course the obvious thing to do in Dubai mall is shop. Dubai Mall is the second largest mall in the world so if you love shopping this is the place for you. But even if you don’t like shopping there is still plenty to do in Dubai Mall from marvelling at the amazing Anthony Gormley waterfall statues, visit the VR Park or cinema or dine out at one of the many eateries in the mall. One of the best indoor things to do in Dubai with kids or at least in my toddlers opinion is to eat at the rainforest cafe.
If you can manage a quick stint outside or if not get a window seat at one of the restaurants that overlook the Dubai fountains and enjoy the five minute light and water show.
Adjacent to the Dubai Mall is the famous Burj Khalifa. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world and should be top of your Dubai Bucket List. While there are some outdoor viewing platforms at the Burj Khalifa there are also plenty of indoor observation decks.
The options for tickets are:
The ticket price will also vary depending on whether you are travelling up at peak time (afternoon – sunset is one of the most pricey times to visit)! For an in-depth guide to visiting the Burj Khalifa click here!
An alternative to just doing the observation decks is to take afternoon tea at At.Mosphere at the top of the Burj. This is a great luxurious way to see the impressive view from the top of Burj. Advance booking is essential.
If you don’t fancy the Burj Khalifa then there is an alternative – Dubai Frame. The Dubai Frame is one of the newer attractions in Dubai and is a great place to get a great view of the Dubai skyline. The Dubai Frame is located in Zabeel Park and is a golden frame which you ascend via a glass elevator to see great views of the city over 150 metres in the air.
Note: Not for the faint hearted as there is a glass floor across the frame.
Ski Dubai – one of the coolest indoor attractions in Dubai
If you are looking to escape the heat then perhaps the coolest thing you can do in Dubai is head to Mall of Emirates and to Ski Dubai. Ski Dubai has lots of cool indoor activities other than just skiing. On top of skiing there is snowboarding, bobsledding, snow bumpers, a climbing wall and winter playground as well as having a hands on penguins experience.
If you really want to escape the Dubai heat then Ski Dubai really is the coolest indoor attraction in Dubai.
Motiongate – one of the best indoor things to do in Dubai with kids
Motiongate is one of the theme parks at Dubai Parks and Resorts World and happens to be my favourite. While there are some outdoor rides at Motiongate – especially those aimed at adults, there is a large children’s section which is completely indoors. The children’s section called the Dreamworks area features rides based on Shrek, How to Train YOur Dragon, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda is completely undercover and air conditioned which to me makes Motiongate one of the best indoor things to do in Dubai with kids.
IMG World of Adventures
IMG World in Dubai is the world’s largest indoor theme park. The theme park is split into five distinct zones including the Lost Vallery, Dinosaur Adventure, IMG Boulevard and most famously the Cartoon Network and the Marvel Zone. The Marvel Zone is perhaps the biggest draw especially for those with superhero fans in the family and is a great place to have an adrenaline fuelled but air conditioned day.
Dubai Museum and al Fahidi Fort
The Dubai Museum is located in the Al Fahidi Fort and is the oldest building in Dubai having been built in 1787. Despite being the oldest building in Dubai, the Dubai fort is air conditioned. At the Dubai Museum you will learn about the history of Dubai.
Note: While the indoor sections are air conditioned the Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort do have some outdoor sections to see some of the traditional dhow boat exhibits.
One of my favourite things when I travel to a new country is to find out about the country’s history. If you want to do this in Dubai the best place to find out more is at the Etihad Museum.
Dubai Butterfly Garden
The Dubai Butterfly Garden is the largest butterfly garden in the world. It contains over 15,000 butterflies of around 26 kinds which are contained inside 10 biodomes. In the Winter the Dubai Butterfly Garden can be combined with a visit to the Dubai Miracle Garden but in Summer the Garden is closed but it is still worth visiting on its own.
The Green Planet Dubai
The Green Planet Dubai is a great way of feeling like you are outdoors when you are indoors. The Green Planet Dubai is a large biodome. In the biome you will explore three rainforest areas and see over 3000 species of plant and animals.
One of my least favourite things about living in the Middle East is missing greenery and feeling stuck in during the long hot Dubai summers. The Green planet is the perfect tonic to these.
If you are looking for a great indoor activity on a Friday then you should considering booking one of the famous (or infamous) Friday brunches. Most of the 5* hotels will run a Friday brunch where basically you go and eat as much as you can in a three hour period with unlimited beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic depending on the package you go for). I have never eaten bad food at a Friday Brunch. Some hotel’s Friday brunches are more family friendly than others some if you are looking for a brunch to do with kids be sure to check out the amenities on offer for them.
What are your favourite indoor activities in Dubai?