Malls in Dubai are so much more than just another place to go shopping. In a city built on desert sand, air conditioned Malls are a haven from the scorching desert heat in the summer. They are also a social meeting spot for locals who sit and relax with their coffee, and a tourist attraction for visitors.
Dubai Mall is the biggest Mall in the world and my favourite mall in Dubai, simply for the range of awesome and fun things to see and do here. You can easily spend a whole day here and not get bored, and that includes people who hate shopping!
Dubai fountain show is quite simply one of the best things to do in Dubai, and even better it’s completely FREE to watch.
What is it?
Described on the official website as a ‘captivating, water, music and light spectacle’, it is a fountain show reaching higher than buildings, its water swaying and dancing to a different sound track every half an hour. My personal favourite is the Michael Jackson thriller show!
How to get there..
Simply follow the signs in Dubai Mall which will lead you outdoors to this spectacle.
Fountain Show Timings:
1.00pm and 1.30pm- Afternoon (daily except Friday)
6:00 PM to 11:00 PM Sun – Wed
6:00 PM to 11:30 PM Thu – Sat
To get up close and personal the floating boardwalk opened in 2017 and you will be a mere nine meters away from the fountains! Prepare to get sprayed by the mist of the jets! This will cost you 20 dirhams.
Lake ride around the fountains:
If you’re feeling romantic you can even get up close and personal to the fountains by getting a lake ride on a traditional style Abra. This costs 65 dirhams for a thirty minute ride, and you buy your ticket at the ticket office on site.
I suggest getting to a spot ten minutes before the fountain show starts, as you will see there will soon be hoardes of people straining for the best view.
Apple store, Dubai mall – out on the terrace you will see amazing views of the fountain show from above. It is a popular spot to watch the fountains doing their thing, so get here ten minutes before the show starts to claim your spot!
The bridge from Dubai Mall to Souk al Bahar- Stand on the bridge for another perspective of the fountains. Again it is a popular spot so make sure you get here at least ten minutes before the show starts.
Walk around the boardwalk past the Burj Khalifa until you reach Burj Park opposite Dubai Mall. Here you get to see the fountains from a different perspective.
Cafes with a view:
Joes cafe: This cafe does a range of drinks and food at reasonable prices, ask for a table out on the terrace for prime viewing.
Souk al Bahar restaurants which overlook the fountains..
Abd el Wahab for traditional Lebanese food. It doesn’t serve alcohol but does serve shisha. Reservations recommended.
Serafina for Italian food. Call ahead to request tables on the outdoor terrace. be warned in summer months it will be too hot.
The Burj Khalifa stands tall and proud as a beacon of human achievement. Standing taller than any other man made building in the world it is a statement of Dubai’s ‘we can do anything’ attitude.
I do recommend going up at least once, it really is one of the top things to do in Dubai. Inside are displays giving information about building this amazing creation and once you get up there the views are phenomenal. Make sure you choose a clear day to go up though!
To save costs I recommend getting them in advance from Groupon which always has an offer on.
The current offer is 155aed for a fast track ticket with a treat at the cafe. Don’t expect views at this cafe however- it isn’t the cafe at the top of the Burj. Plus this gets you access to floor 125. If you want to get to level 148 you must book on the official website or from the official stand in Dubai Mall.
If you’re after a luxury experience then try Atmosphere, a fine dining restaurant on floor 122 of the Burj Khalifa.
The Burj from the bottom..
Rather than actually going up the Burj, you may just want to enjoy gazing up at it from below. The walkway around Souk al Bahar and Dubai Mall give ample opportunity to do so and costs nothing!
Yes really! Dubai Mall is home to its own aquarium! Crazy right?! You can enter inside to see more, but you will see plenty of fish, manta rays and even sharks from standing outside. This is one of the top selfie spots in Dubai Mall!
If you eat at The Cheesecake Factory you can ask for a table facing this giant fish tank.
See the official website here for times and prices if you want to go inside.
The ice is a welcome sight in the heat of the summer months and is a top Dubai attraction! Ice skating is super fun and here you have children, teenagers and adults whizzing around the ice.
You can rent skates here, and if you forget your socks there’s a shop which sells some.
63aed per adult
36.75aed per child
Skate to cool music played by the resident DJ!
84aed per person.
Buy tickets online here.
% Arabica is my favourite place to get coffee in Dubai.
In the early evening expect a queue as it is very popular, especially with the locals.
My recommendation is the iced Spanish Latte- and get a large.
Where to find it:
On the ground floor by the Aquarium, go round the corner past The Cheesecake Factory and it is the next shop along.
People watching is one of the best pastimes in Dubai. You will get a glimpse into an insight of the locals as they sip Arabic coffee, widen your eyes at the women who flout Dubai’s courtesy policies with their revealing clothes, and gaze open mouthed at the wealthy with their luxury shopping bags of Chanel and Gucci. It is definitely one of my top things to do in Dubai.
1. The Apple store at Dubai Mall– standing on the terrace you can watch the tourists below snapping away taking their selfies. it is actually hilarious to watch.
2. The walk from the Metro to Dubai Mall. I love watching the tourists taking their selfies by the windows and photographs en route.
3. The Fashion Parade Avenue. Here is where you’ll se the rich and famous do their luxury shopping.
Of course Dubai Mall has a cinema: Reel cinema which conveniently is opposite the foodcourt.
Yeah, yeah its just a cinema what’s the big deal?
Well, this doesn’t offer just any old cinema experience, in typical Dubai style, there is a luxury experience on offer: The Platinum movie suite experience!
For 136.5 dirhams you will be treated like a VIP – simply sit back on a leather armchair with a pillow and blanket for the ultimate comfortable cinema viewing experience. Want drinks or snacks brought to you? By your side is a button to press. Your wish is their command!
So, okay maybe it is a little pricey to do every day of the week. But it is a great one off luxury experience. Or a fab date night idea!
Of course it has a standard experience too for the price of 36.75 dirhams.
Book now here.
Yup, this impressive, real life skeleton almost 25 meters in height, unearthed in the US stands proudly on display in this Mall.
There are so many cafes and restaurants in and around Dubai Mall that you won’t go hungry. There is a huge fast food court with the usual fast food joints plus a few others, although it gets extremely busy. I prefer to eat at smaller restaurants with a more intimate atmosphere.
Some of my favorite places to grab a bite to eat:
iHop: If you love pancakes come here…you can sit out on the terrace for great views.
The Cheesecake Factory: Nope it doesn’t just serve cheesecake. The main meals are amazing and you can request changes, e.g. I ask for my favourite Louisiana chicken pasta too be served without the chicken. In typical American style, portions are ginormous and they provide free refills for soft drinks. One side looks out to the Aquarium and the other looks out to the Dinosaur. This side is quieter.
Joes cafe: Don’t come here if you’re in a hurry as service can be slow, but the views overlooking the fountains and the Burj are great. Come here to watch the fountain show.
Outside Dubai Mall across the walkway is Souk al Bahar, many of these restaurants are licensed to serve alcohol. I like Loca which is a Mexican restaurant and Serafina an Italian.
You don’t need money to shop. Window shopping and browsing can be just as fun. Check out these stores…
Daiso: The weird and the wonderful. A Japanese shop which sells all manner of bizarre bits and bobs! Everything is 7.50aed unless marked otherwise!
Stroll down the ‘Fashion Avenue’ and gawp at the fabulous window displays!
There’s a whole section of kids designer shops. Again the window displays are incredible.
Buy a souvenir from The Camel Company.
There is a Dubai Mall courtesy policy. I just make sure my shoulders are legs are covered which I do anyway unless at the beach.
Dubai Mall has access to wifi.
Personally I recommend getting here by Dubai Metro. The stop is called Dubai Mall and it is on the red line.
The driverless Metro is cost effective, environmentally friendly, saves you getting stuck in the infamous Dubai traffic, and gets you right to the door of the mall. Well…almost. Getting from the metro to inside the mall is actually a ten to fifteen minute walk so be prepared for that!
But really, the Metro is my favourite mode of transport, mainly because it is ALWAYS on time.
If you’re female use the pink section for ladies and children only. Men be careful not to get in this section as you may be fined.
Taxis in Dubai are widely available. Make sure you get a receipt for your journey as if you needed to contact the driver, e.g. you lost something this is the best way to do so (I found this out the hard way see my post here)
There’s plenty of parking available at Dubai Mall. just make sure you know how to get here and prepare for the traffic if travelling any time between 6pm and 8pm.
I hope that this post was helpful and gave you lots of reasons to go to Dubai Mall!
Check out my other Dubai posts:
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Hi, I live and work in Dubai. I enjoy getting out and about and seeing what Dubai has to offer, travelling in my holidays and spare time – prepare for blog posts about this, and cooking vegetarian recipes. I am passionate about travel and animals.