A land that started off with glittering souks and pearl merchants, the district of Bur Dubai truly captures the essence of Dubai’s journey. A metropolitan city that now boasts of high-rise buildings, sensational malls, street-side textile and gold jewellery stores, Bur Dubai is considered one of the city’s biggest shopping and residential hubs. Being such a busy town centre, are you curious about the best things to do in Bur Dubai? Read on to find out how you can make the most of your trip there.
Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Whether you are renting an apartment in Bur Dubai or visiting the area for the first time, your first stop should be the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. Take a trip back in time and see what traditional life was like for residents in Old Dubai during the mid-19th century at one of the best things to do in Bur Dubai.
Located near Dubai Creek, this is a key heritage site in Bur Dubai. Preserving much of the original architecture of the age, structures here were built with traditional building materials like gypsum, stone, teak, sandalwood and stone.
Take a trip back in time
One of the best Bur Dubai areas of interest, this historic district is steeped in traditional values. Each breezy tower, building and twisting alleyway tells a story of a time before the development of the emirate into the glittering metropolis that it is today. A closer look at the design of the buildings and the way they are distributed speaks volumes about the rich values prevalent in the day.
For example, the community’s care for privacy can be seen in the absence of front windows, their highness and narrowness. Additionally, the district’s buildings were erected to face the qibla and face southwest. More values and principles will unravel themselves once you experience the Al Fahidi Neighbourhood for yourself. There are some residential flats for rent in Al Fahidi too, so culture vultures would enjoy living in the midst of all that historic charm.
Once you are done exploring the historic atefacts, one of the best things to do in Bur Dubai is to follow the winding streets to the plethora of museums, traditional food stalls, cultural activities and special events.
Seasonal cultural events to look out for include heritage events and National Day events. Other areas of interest are art galleries, cultural exhibits and craft shops. The Sikka Art fair in the district attracts a sizeable number of visitors every year.
After your sightseeing trip, grab some refreshments or rest those tired feet at any of the motels, cosy courtyard cafes and restaurants littered throughout the district. All in all, the experience is a good way to escape the skyscrapers and catch a glimpse of how Emiratis from generations past used to live — and a good start to your Bur Dubai activities tour.
- Location: Near Dubai Creek
- Contact: 0600-560000
The Majlis Gallery
For art lovers, another exciting thing to do in Bur Dubai is a visit to The Majlis Gallery. Located at Al Fahidi, this art gallery is a haven for fine art lovers. Hosting numerous group and solo exhibitions over the years, this place has introduced the works of a number of local and international artists to the cultural stage. The Majlis Gallery is a great place for aspiring artists or tourists to visit.
- Opening hours: 10:00 am to 06:00 pm (Winter timings, Saturday to Thursday) /10:00 am to 02:00 pm (Summer timings, Saturday to Thursday)
- Location: Al Musalla Roundabout, Al Fahidi Neighborhood, Bur Dubai
- Contact: 04-353-6233
Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort
For more insight into the city’s history, head to the Dubai Museum “Al Fahidi Fort.” Located south of Dubai Creek, the fort was used to store artillery and weapons 200 years ago. Today, the preserved site is home to the Dubai Museum which is comprised of wings that reflect how people lived in different eras. For example, there is the markets wing which displays the market atmosphere, vendors and shops during that time. For additional information regarding Dubai Museum entry fee and opening hours, here is what you should know:
- Price of admission: AED 3 for adults, AED 1 for children
- Opening hours: 08:30 am to 08:30 pm, 02:30 pm to 08:30 pm (Fridays)
- Location: Al Fahidi Street, Al Fahidi Fort, Bur Dubai
- Contact: 04-353-1862
Visit the Shopping Districts
Still unsure of what to do in Bur Dubai to make your trip memorable? Visit the shopping districts in Bur Dubai which are full of vibrant fabrics, beautiful jewellery and fragrant perfumes.
This old trading centre in Bur Dubai is a treasure trove of textiles, colourful garments, souvenirs and handmade weaves from around the world. Situated near other souk districts, the district’s Textile Souk has dozens of markets and stalls —a definite go-to place for fabric lovers.
Skim through the nearly endless collection of raw silks, embroidered fabrics and cotton garments for the prints you are looking for. You are bound to find the material and colours you want amongst the hundreds of reels of cloth strewn across the stalls.
Of course, Bur Dubai’s famed textile market isn’t for popular fabrics and readymade clothes alone. There is also a slew of stores selling sequins, buttons, lace, stone and other accessories for anyone who wants to jazz up their clothing with an Arabic flair. Before you go, just make sure that you polish up your negotiating skills to haggle for the best prices.
Arguably the busiest shopping district in Bur Dubai, Meena Bazaar is sure to be a crucial part of your itinerary during your time in the city. Comprised of a labyrinth of streets around the Bur Dubai Souk, this shopping area features a variety of quaint shops selling everything from handicrafts to textile products.
Meena Bazaar, Bur Dubai is especially a haven for shopaholics on the hunt for trinkets, accessories and unique pieces of jewellery. And if you get a bit peckish, you can always grab a bite to eat at the (mostly Indian) restaurants and street food stalls for a few dirhams.
- Location: Close to Khalid Bin Waleed Street, Bur Dubai
Other Attractions in Bur Dubai
Bur Dubai is also home to Dubai’s second-largest park —Creek Park. Located between the Garhoud and Maktoum bridges, the park covers around 96 hectares and is one of the best things to do in Bur Dubai.
The park can be accessed by boat and even has a landing pad for helicopters. Asides from that, there are several activities in Creek Park for the whole family to enjoy. Apart from the local flora, Creek Park has a couple of mazes and a nature walk for visitors to enjoy. Additional facilities to look forward to include the Dubai Dolphinarium, Children’s City, bbq areas, cable cars, train rides, rental bicycles, cafes and food stalls.
- Price of admission: AED 5
- Opening hours: 08:00 am to 11:00 pm, 08:00 am to 10:00 pm (Sunday to Wednesday)
Next on your list of places to see in Bur Dubai is the Dubai Dolphinarium. Located at the edge of Bur Dubai, this attraction features a number of animal attractions and is a perfect stopover for families with kids. From belly rides on trained dolphins to bird shows and other educational activities, this place has it all.
Additionally, the Dolphinarium also features other fun attractions. Notable ones include VR (virtual reality) rides, seal show, an indoor trampoline, a mirror maze, 5D and 7D cinema. Want to remember the experience forever? Head onto the souvenir shop to get your own plush dolphin or seal. For more information regarding show bookings and price of shows, refer to the following details:
- Location: Riyadh Street, Inside Creek Park Gate 1
- Contact: 800-3657446
- Opening Hours: 11:00 am to 06:00 pm (Closed on Sundays)
Take a Dhow Cruise
The best way to experience Dubai Creek, and of the best activities to do in Bur Dubai, is to ride a beautiful dhow at night. It’s one of the more popular things to do in Bur Dubai. Traditionally decorated, the boat cruise features breath-taking views of the creek. A ride is typically accompanied by a buffet dinner on the waters with a selection of various international and traditional dishes on offer.
Zabeel Park comes to mind first when it comes to Bur Dubai places to see. From sports courts, a fitness centre, jogging track, acres of wide green spaces and a mini-golf course, Zabeel Park is the perfect stopover for a fun weekend with the family at Bur Dubai. One of the largest parks in Dubai, the park equals in size to around 45 football fields and is popular for its expansive edutainment centre and amusement complex for kids.
One of the many reasons why Zabeel Park is so popular is the availability of technology-driven activities. Divided into 3 zones — Communications Zone, Techno Zone and Alternative Energy Zone — the park offers several educational and interactive exhibits for the whole family to enjoy.
- Price of admission: AED 5 for adults / Free for kids under 2 and people with special needs
- Opening hours: 08:00 am to 10:00 pm (Sunday to Wednesday) / 08:00 am to 11:00 pm (Thursday to Saturday)
Visitors often visit Zabeel Park to visit the Dubai Frame — a spectacular architectural landmark that provides sweeping panoramic views of the city. Resembling a picture frame, the 150m tall and 90m wide structure allows visitors the chance to explore the city’s past, present and future. For example, there is the Future Zone which features an immersive time tunnel that predicts what Dubai might look like in the future; complete with flying taxis and space missions.
- Price of admission: AED 50 for adults, AED 20 for kids 3 to 12 | free for kids under 2 and disabled people
- Opening hours: 09:00 am to 09:00 pm
That’s a wrap of all the exciting things to do in Bur Dubai. Planning on taking in everything else that Dubai has to offer? Make the most of long weekends in Dubai with brunch, luxury vacations, desert safaris and more. There are also several free family activities you can enjoy in the city.