Dubai, one of the seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates, is famous for many things – muscle cars, wealthy celebrities, swanky hotels – as well as constructing the tallest building in the world, man made islands and the only seven-star hotel in the world. These Dubai landmarks are among the reasons Dubai sees almost 16 million tourists each year.
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The UAE strives to be the biggest and best in the world, and these Dubai landmarks prove just that.
One of the most famous landmarks of Dubai, the Burj Khalifa stands at 2,716.5 feet (828 meters) as the world’s tallest building.
But holding the record for the tallest building in the world isn’t the only record this majestic building holds. In total, the Burj Khalifa holds seven world records:
- Tallest building
- Tallest free-standing structure
- Highest observation deck
- Elevator with longest travel distance
- Tallest service elevator
- Highest number of stores
- Highest occupied floor
You can purchase tickets to go up to the observation deck on the 125th or 148th floor for 360 degree views of desert landscape, high rise buildings and the coastline, or if you’d like to treat yourself, book in for breakfast, afternoon tea or sundowners at Atmosphere on the 122nd floor (you guessed it, it’s the world highest restaurant!).
Be sure to check the weather before buying your tickets as you’ll want to go up on a clear day for the best views.
Twice nightly, you can witness stunning light shows reflecting off the Burj Khalifa and if you happen to be there over New Years, you will see the most incredible fireworks display at midnight.
Located outside of the Dubai Mall, at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, are the Dubai fountains, the largest choreographed fountains in the world.
The fountain shows run every 30 minutes daily between 6pm and 11pm (best to see at night with the lights).
If you’re visiting Dubai on a budget and looking for free things to do in Dubai, the fountain show is a must see.
For a front row view of the Dubai fountains, hire an abra for a 30 minute cruise on the lake.
You might also like: Can You Visit Dubai On A Budget?
Ain Dubai (Dubai Eye)
Ain Dubai, commonly known as the Dubai Eye, is – you guessed it – the largest observation wheel in the world and is one of the newest Dubai landmarks to be constructed.
In fact, the Dubai Eye hasn’t been completed but is set to be ready for the public later this year (2021). Once open, you’ll have panoramic views of the Gulf and Dubai Marina.
Standing at a height of 688 feet (210 meters), Ain Dubai will be the largest of it’s kind once completed.
Ain Dubai is set on one of Dubai’s newest man-made islands, Bluewaters Island, and is surrounded by hotels, restaurants and shops.
One of the tallest hotels in the world (the tallest being the Gevora Hotel on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road), this Dubai landmark – the Burj Al Arab – was built to resemble the sail of a boat.
While it is one of the tallest buildings in the world, taller than the Eiffel Tower and just shy of the Empire State Building, almost 40% of its height is non-occupiable.
It was constructed on a small man made island which is only accessible by private bridge. The only way to get past security is if you have a reservation at one of the restaurants or are staying at the hotel.
A stay at the all suite Burj Al Arab will set you back anything from $1,000 a night in one of their ‘basic’ suites to $24,000 in the Royal Suite.
The helipad, high above the ceiling of the hotel, juts out onto the gulf and is famous for various stunts over the years. It has been turned into a golf course for Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, a tennis court for Roger Federer and a boxing ring for Anthony Joshua.
Possibly the most daring stunt performed was when a Formula 1 race car was airlifted onto the helipad for David Coulthard to spin ‘doughnuts’ 212 meters in the sky.
This Dubai landmark gives you spectacular panoramic views of both old and new Dubai from the top.
At just AED50 for entry, this is a great way to see Dubai on a budget.
If you dare, walk across the glass bottomed walkway!
Dubai Marina has the tallest cluster of skyscrapers in the world and is one of the picturesque sights in Dubai.
The best view can be seen from one of the towers in the neighboring community of JLT or from a boat cruise through the Marina.
The Torch Tower in Dubai Marina is famous for catching fire not once, but twice in three years. Perhaps the name should have been changed after the first fire…
The Cayan Tower is the most iconic of the skyscrapers, with it’s twisting structure, designed by the same designers as the Burj Khalifa. It is 75 floors high, with 7 elevators and twists to a full 90 degrees.
Princess Tower is the tallest in the cluster and the second tallest residential building in the world (the first being 422 Park Avenue in New York). This tower has a whopping 107 floors – 7 underground car parking stories and 100 above ground. For panoramic views of Dubai, there is an observation deck on the 97th floor.
The Palm Island
There’s only one way to really take in the brilliance of Dubai’s Palm Island, and that’s from above! Skydiving in Dubai not only offers views of the entire city of Dubai, it’s the only way to see the true palm tree form of this man-made island.
This artificial island was constructed in the shape of a palm tree, thus the name Palm Jumeirah. The main trunk of the tree runs the length of the island and branches off to either side.
The island has over 20 luxury hotels and resorts, numerous malls and restaurants, a monorail running from Dubai Marina to the Atlantis Hotel, and a boardwalk rounding the coastline.
Located at the end of the ‘trunk’ of the palm tree, the Atlantis Hotel is the most iconic landmark on Palm Jumeirah.
The hotel is a luxury five star hotel, themed on the lost city of mythical Atlantis, with sandy beaches, a water park and an aquarium, among other activities like diving and snorkeling.
Even if you’re not staying at this Dubai landmark, you can take the monorail out and have a walk around the hotel or visit The Lost Chambers Aquarium.
You might also like: 18 Things You Should Know Before Moving To Dubai
Planning a trip to Dubai? For help planning your trip, here are my go to websites:
For activities: Get Your Guide
For hotels: Booking.com
For flights: Skyscanner
For travel insurance: World Nomads
Have you seen any of these Dubai landmarks? Which one was your favorite? Have I missed any loved? Let me know in the comments!