There are so many great things to do in Dubai Mall, I recommend that you dedicate at least one day in your Dubai itinerary to fully explore it. In this guide we compile the best things to do in Dubai Mall for couples, singles and for those visiting Dubai with family as well as rounding up the best free things to do in Dubai Mall for those visiting Dubai on a budget.
Best things to do in Dubai Mall
Go Up the Burj Khalifa
Top of most people’s Dubai bucket list and the best thing to do in Dubai Mall in my opinion is going up the Burj Khalifa. Yes, this is perhaps one of the more expensive things to do in Dubai Mall but it is really a unique experience.
There are actually two observation decks at the Burj Khalifa – one at the 124th floor and one at the 144th floor. You can get tickets for either the lower level observation deck or for both! Obviously only going to the lower level deck is the cheaper experience but I think if possible you should try and do both for the full Burj Khalifa experience.
The ticket price will also vary depending on whether you are travelling up at peak time. Peak Time tends to be from afternoon and sunset tends to be the most expensive time of day to visit.
For more tips for visiting the Burj Khalifa check out this post!
Visit the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo
The Dubai Aquarium is absolutely the best thing to do in Dubai with toddlers – according to my toddler as she makes us go on every trip. There are actually two parts to the Dubai Aquarium experience. There is the large tank on the ground floor which has a tunnel running through it and the underwater zoo upstairs which has a broader selection of aquatic life including crocodiles and penguins. Depending on the tickets you buy, there are also behind the scenes tours which my little one loved. . For full ticket options CLICK HERE.
Top Tip for Visiting Dubai Aquarium : The queues to get in the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater zoo can get ridiculously long especially if you are visiting at weekends or during the holidays. The first time we visited we actually queued for over half an hour which tested the patience of our toddler. To avoid this we recommend booking your tickets online in advance – Click here for rates and ticket information as this will mean you can skip the queue. But if your Dubai itinerary is not yet set in stone we recommend heading up to the underwater zoo entrance to buy your tickets at the machines upstairs. Most people gravitate automatically to the large tank so the queues here are huge by nipping upstairs you will find that you can get tickets straight away.
Go Ice Skating
It always amazes me when we visit malls in the Middle East how many actually have large ice rinks in the centre. Dubai mall is no exception. Dubai Mall boasts an Olympic size rink and is one of the best things to do indoors in Dubai especially if you are visiting in the summer and want to escape the heat.
The world’s largest Virtual reality park is actually in Dubai Mall. So if VR and video games are your thing this experience you will love.
My little girl wasn’t the target age for this experience last time we visited Dubai but it is certainly on the list for our next trip. Kidzania features a kids city where your children (advised for ages 4-12) can try their hand at a variety of jobs and earn Kidzania money.
Get Scared at Hysteria
I personally hate being scared so this one is not for me but if you want to get the fear factor this haunted house experience may be a great thing for you to do at Dubai Mall.
Free Things to do in Dubai Mall
Let’s face it Dubai can be an expensive place to visit but a visit to Dubai mall doesn’t have to be expensive. Yes Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall, so it can get expensive if you want to indulge in a bit of retail therapy especially if you head to the Fashion Avenue and hit the luxury brands. However there are plenty of free things to do in Dubai Mall – here are my favourite
Watch the Dubai Mall Fountain Show
In my opinion the Dubai Mall fountain show is the best free thing to do in Dubai Mall. The Fountains are brilliant to watch any time of day and will be set to music but if you are there in the evening there is something extra special as there will also be a light show component to the fountains that you can’t appreciate during the day. I have heard that the music change the fountain dances and ranges from Arabic to English pop classics but most admit that we have only ever heard them dance to Arabic music but I really enjoyed the more local flavour this added. The fountain show lasts for around 5 minutes but it is recommend if you are there at weekends or busy periods such as holidays that you arrive up to 30 minutes before to make sure you get a good viewing spot.
Another option for watching the fountains is to reserve a table at one of the Dubai Mall Restaurants that overlook the fountain show to create your own dinner theatre.
And if you don’t mind spending a bit of money on the experience you could alternatively hire one of the Abras and see the fountains from the water itself.
Visit the Dubai Dinosaur
If you have a budding palaeontologist in the family be sure to head to see the Dubai dino. This dinosaur from the diplodocus family was discovered in 2008 in Wyoming and occupies the domed areas of the mall. At 8metres tall and 25metres long, this quick thing to do in Dubai is worth adding to your Dubai Mall itinerary.
Visit the Dubai Aquarium from the outside
As I have said before, the Dubai Aquarium is my toddlers favourite place to visit in Dubai. However if you don’t want to splash the cash on an entrance ticket it is possible to see the large tank from the outside and many people do indeed just see the aquarium from the outside.
View the Burj Khalifa from the Ground
There is no denying the going tot he top of the Burj Khalifa is expensive so for those looking to visit Dubai on a budget just admire the building from the base. You still get a sense of its size and it is truly a beautiful building.
See the Human Waterfalls
I’m a huge fan of public art and the human waterfalls at Dubai Mall is a great example. This striking water feature features a series of free diving human statues that span the length of waterfall. Although it won’t take long to see it is certainly worth adding to your Dubai mall itinerary.
Best places to eat in Dubai Mall
The great thing about eating in Dubai Mall is there is something for everybody no matter what type of traveller you are and no matter what your budget.
When we are travelling to Dubai as a family my daughter loves eating at
- The Cheesecake Factory
- The Rainforest Cafe
- Joe’s Crab Shack – as this has an aquarium view.
However if us adults get our choice our favourites are:
- Tribes – African eatery. This is also a great choice for those wanting to find a Dubai Mall restaurant with fountain views.
- Social House – located near the exit to the fountains we have never had a bad meal here.
Where to Stay Near Dubai Mall
There are many hotels that are based around and are in walking distance of Dubai Mall. The hotels near Dubai Mall tend to be in the luxury price bracket but offer great experiences. If you are looking for where to stay near Dubai Mall then you should consider
- Palace Downtown
- Armani Hotel Dubai
- Address Dubai Mall
If you don’t mind staying a couple of Metro stops away, then we also recommend the Conrad Dubai as it has a great pool and we love their breakfast offerings. For our full Conrad Dubai review click here.
If you are travelling to Dubai as a family and aren’t sure if you want to stay in a hotel near Dubai Mall or elsewhere then be sure to check our our guide to where to stay in Dubai for families.
How to Get to Dubai Mall
How to Get yo Dubai Mall by Metro
Dubai Mall can be easily reached on the red line of the Dubai Metro. The stop is Dubai Mall / Burj Khalifa.
By Taxi, Uber, Careem
You be hard pushed to find a taxi driver that doesn’t know how to get to Dubai Mall and they are plenty of taxi ranks at most entrances / exits of the Dubai Mall.
Things to Know before visiting Dubai Mall
- Although you will see many people in Dubai Mall in inappropriate clothing, I recommend that you follow all of the Dubai customs regarding clothing. Click here for our complete guide on What to wear in Dubai!
- There are many things you might do at home that aren’t culturally accepted or allowed in Dubai. Be sure to familiarise yourself with the local customs before going.