Dubai always does it bold. From the largest, tallest and glitziest architectural marvels, the emirate’s landmarks do not by any means go unnoticed. Here’s a list of some of the most iconic of the many that define its skyline and adds value to the city’s culture for its residents and visitors; and therefore offers reason to be in your list of must-sees when visiting Dubai.
Deira Clock tower
The Deira clock tower was built in 1964 to mark the first oil exports from the Emirate. It sits in the intersection of Umm Hurair and Al Maktoum Roads, bearing witness to the changing face of the city over the years. It was the most iconic building in Dubai for years, and although other buildings and monuments have now surpassed the Deira clock tower as the face of Dubai, the tower still stands sentinel to the passage of time and history.
Palm and World Islands
Modelled after a palm tree and the map of the world respectively, these man-made islands have become synonymous with Dubai and its stupendous development in a remarkably short period. These islands are home to the most luxurious and opulent hotels and villas in Dubai. An aerial view of the islands is sure to take your breath away with the sheer imagination and determination that made this artificial island dream, a possibility.
Dubai is often called the City of Gold for the amount of the precious metal that is traded here on a daily basis. Even if you are not planning on buying any jewellery, the Gold Souk is worth a visit for the atmosphere and ambience that you will not find anywhere else in the world.
For a sense of history and culture of Dubai, visit the Dubai Museum that is housed in a centuries-old historic fort. This museum has an enviable collection of exhibits depicting everyday life before the oil boom and many artefacts from archaeological expeditions in the area.
Horseracing is a passion in the UAE and nowhere is that more evident than at the Meydan Racecourse, home to the world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup. The Meydan experience is not limited to just horseracing; there is even a well-appointed posh Meydan Hotel that adjoins the tracks. You can also catch live concerts, events and exhibitions at the Meydan Grandstand.
Sheikh Zayed Road
Another important landmark in Dubai is the Sheikh Zayed Road. This iconic road (also known as E11) is not an ordinary road or highway; it is the lifeline of Dubai. The E11 is the longest highway in the UAE, stretching 558 km from Abu Dhabi to Ras Al Khaimah. Many parts of this stretch allow driving speeds up to 139 kilometres per hour. A drive down this iconic road, especially at night, is a must-have experience for every visitor to Dubai.
At Interchange 4 of Sheikh Zayed Road, within the Mall of the Emirates you will find another fantastic landmark of Dubai, Ski Dubai. This incredible 22,500 square metre space is Middle East’s first indoor snow park and ski zone, planted in the desert. Adjacent to the ski run, there is a 3,000 square metre Snow Park play area with sledding, ice slides, climbing towers and ice caves. The newest attraction at Ski Dubai is the Snow Penguins. For those of you who want a more hands-on approach, there are personal penguin encounters where you can meet and play with these stately birds.
Revel in this wondrous area that offers a mountain-themed wintery setting for skiing and snowboarding. You can also enrol for the basics and the finer points of skiing, with the Ski School or else, book your turn for memorable penguin encounters!
The Dubai Marina is a one-of-a-kind canal city in Dubai that consists of residential towers, villas, beachfront walkways, restaurants, cafés and shopping malls set in a 2 mile stretch along the Persian Gulf. It offers top-quality living within a modern and stylish environment. Dubai Marina also features the Dubai Marina Mall, the Jumeirah Beach Residence, the Marina Walk, the Yacht club and many other marvels.
Dubai is a melting pot of different cultures and people from around the world. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Global Village. This leading family entertainment centre in Dubai is a destination one should not miss. There are more than 37 different country pavilions with live performances, authentic food, traditional crafts, game parks and products from around the world showcased in it.
Now for those young and old who are reasonably fit and healthy with a dream of being airborne, defying gravity, iFLY at City Centre Mirdif is the place you must definitely check out. It has the world’s first double vertical 10 metre tall acrylic wind tunnel that is powerful enough to raise the flyer up to 3 metres high. Take the courage, put on your flying suit, goggles and helmet and let the soaring begin. No one should miss out on the iFLY experience.
Unlike most hotels that advertise themselves as being close to the landmarks of the city, the Raffles in Dubai is considered one of the iconic landmarks of this remarkable city. The towering pyramid-shaped hotel is a favourite with royalty and celebrities for its luxury, space, service and style. Try the sumptuous fare at its many restaurants and chill out at the pool and spa. The glorious views from its well-appointed rooms will certainly take your breath away.
So the next time you are in Dubai, take the time to visit some of these iconic landmarks. Take a walk along Dubai Marina, watch the magical dancing fountains and race down the slopes at Ski Dubai. You can be certain to take back memories and experiences to treasure for a lifetime.