Exhibition View Exterior at Art Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Art Dubai

This annual art event featuring regional and international artists takes place in the spring at Madinat Jumeirah. Since its inception in 2006, Art Dubai has grown tremendously as a showcase of contemporary art in the region. Collectors, artists and art patrons gather on the opening night to celebrate winners of the Abraaj Group Art Prize and the Global Art Forum. Over the next four days, the general public can view the galleray halls at a cost of 50 dirham (about $13) for a one-day pass. Art Dubai’s program also encompasses commissioned projects and performances, artists' and curators' residencies, and educational workshops.

Aerial View - Burj Khalifa Observation Deck,Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Burj Khalifa Observation Deck

Visit the Burj Khalifa while it’s still the tallest building in the world, before the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia steals that record. The Burj Khalifa’s apex is at 2,772 feet, well past the building’s 163 floors. The observation deck, surprisingly, is nowhere near the highest floor; while still very high up on the 124th floor, visitors don’t actually get to be at the top of the tallest building in the world. (The 39 floors above the deck are accessed only by office workers and the Royal Family who commissioned the building.) Still, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience, starting with an elevator ride that ascends at a rate of one floor a second, accompanied by a multi-media presentation. The viewing deck has indoor and outdoor areas, which provide 360-degree views. Reserve your ticket in advance, as walk-ins are charged three times as much as online reservations and space runs out.

Indagare Tip: At.mosphere is just one level below the observation deck at Burj Khalifa. While it might not have viewing platforms, it does have panoramic views from its floor-to-ceiling glass windows. There is no entrance fee, but reservations are required and there is a food and drink minimum.

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Classical music and opera aficionados can check the roster of concerts held at venues such as the Madinat Theatre at the Souk Madinat and Sheikh Rashid Hall at the Dubai World Trade Center. For pop concerts and contemporary performances, check out Music Hall at Jumeriah Zabeel Saray.

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Dubai Aquarium

The expansive Dubai Aquarium is renowned for underwater experiences. Visitors can plunge into one of the world’s largest suspended aquariums to scuba dive.
Ariel View - Dubai Fountains,Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai Fountains

Taking a cue from Las Vegas, Dubai built its own iconic fountain outside the Dubai Mall. Set to Arabian music, as well Andrea Bocelli’s “Con Te Partiro,” the world’s largest dancing fountain show was designed by the team behind the Bellagio fountains. Shows are free and happen several times a day: at 1:00 and 1:30 PM, and every half hour in the evening from 6:00 to 11:00 PM.

Aerial View - Dubai Museum, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai Museum

While Dubai’s arts and culture scene still leaves much to be desired, history buffs will enjoy a stop at the small Dubai Museum at Al Fahidi Fort in Bur Dubai. Here you’ll find displays and hands-on exhibits that show what life was like here during pre-oil days.

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Being in a desert never stopped Dubai’s developers, so it’s not surprising that the city has plenty of golf courses. Whether they are part of country clubs, residential communities or attached to hotels, tourists can generally pay a green fee to play. Indagare members can contact the Bookings Team to make arrangements.

Exterior View - Indagare Tours: Abu Dhabi,Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 - Courtesy Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority

Indagare Tours: Abu Dhabi

If you have time, a day trip to Abu Dhabi is highly recommended, a one-and-a-half hour drive from Dubai. On the way, stop at the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, a sumptuously designed, modern monument which boasts white domes that are reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. In fact, the foyer’s white marble walls inlaid with gorgeous floral patterns were designed by descendants of the Taj’s original artisans. The world’s largest rug, handmade over two years by a group of Iranian women, decorates the prayer hall, where the high ceilings are bedecked with enormous Swarovski crystal chandeliers. Clearly, no expense was spared in the building of this mosque, and it is worth a visit just to see the monument’s craftsmanship.

Central Abu Dhabi is actually composed of several islands. Drive through the UAE’s capital city, the seat of power and the country’s oil wealth, and gawk at the highly conceptual and cutting-edge architecture, including a slim glass building in the shape of a perfect circle, a leaning tower that puts the Tower of Pisa to shame, and twin towers that look like Transformers, mid-transformation. Stop for lunch at the Emirates Palace, perhaps the most gilded hotel there ever was – it even has a gold ATM in the lobby.

Continue on to Saadiyat Island, the UAE’s planned culture capital. The Louvre and Guggenheim are set to open here in coming years, and some of the most expensive condos, villas and homes are being built here, along with a large marina for the inevitable arrival of yachts from around the world. At the moment, there isn’t much to see or do here, but the Saadiyat Island Exhibition Center has a very cool, interactive exhibit on this city of the future.

If traveling with young kids, consider Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park on Yas Island.

Aerial View - Indagare Tours: Desert Safari,Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Indagare Tours: Desert Safari

Drive 45 minutes outside the city to see what life was like before Dubai’s monolithic skyline arose. Explore the sand dunes by 4x4 vehicle or camel, and be on the lookout for gazelles, oryx and birds of prey. See a falconry demonstration, or go sand skiing or sand boarding. You might even see some bored locals “dune-bashing,” a cool term for off-roading in their private vehicles. For a more intensive and private desert experience, stay at Al Maha Desert Resort, set in a desert reserve where guests can go on game drives.

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Aerial View - Indagare Tours: Helicopter, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Indagare Tours: Helicopter

The audacity of this desert-turned-ultra-modern-city can only really be appreciated from up high. A 25-minute helicopter ride shows the scale of Dubai’s ambition as you see hundreds of glass-and-steel towers next to wide swathes of empty desert. Plus, you’ll fly over the man-made islands to get a very cool shot of The Palm and The World’s shapes (from land or even from the Burj Khalifa’s observation deck, the islands look like shapeless clumps of sand). You’ll also confirm that the Burj Khalifa is in fact two to three times taller than the surrounding skyscrapers.

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Indagare Tours: Yacht Charter

The Persian Gulf’s brilliant turquoise waters are best explored by private yacht. Cruise around Dubai’s man-made islands in style, and sip on Champagne as you circle past the continents of The World.

Exterior View - Old Town (Al Bastakiya),Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Courtesy Diego Delso

Old Town (Al Bastakiya)

This centuries-old section of Dubai is full of sand-colored buildings made from coral harvested from the Persian Gulf, as they are highly effective in regulating temperatures indoors. More recently the area has become an artistic enclave with a few galleries and cafés. Bastakiya is not particularly pretty or striking to explore on one’s own, so it is essential to book a tour with the Sheik Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU), an organization created specifically to address tourists’ interest in Emirati culture, history and lifestyle. The hour-long walking tour is led by an engaging local who will discuss everything from dress, religion, gender roles and education. This enlightening exchange includes a mosque visit and ends in SMCCU’s majlis (seating area) where participants can ask any questions about the Emirates and its people over tea and candied dates.

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Interior View - Ski Dubai,Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Ski Dubai

You wouldn’t expect to go snow skiing or snowboarding in the middle of a desert in the Middle East, but that’s what makes it particularly fun. Ski Dubai, located at the Mall of the Emirates, features a chairlift and almost 74,000 square feet of real snow and five different runs varying in difficulty, height and gradient (the longest run is about 1,312 feet with a 197-foot fall). Winter clothing (with the exception of gloves, which you do need and should purchase bring with you or buy at the sporting goods store next door before entering the complex) and equipment are included in the pass. Visitors can stay for two hours or all day. Curiously, there are also penguins in this winter wonderland.

SkyDive Dubai

Thrill seekers visiting Dubai will want to experience the world’s number one sky dive drop zone that is located in the shadow of the famous Palm Island.
Pool Launge - Wild Wadi Waterpark,Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Wild Wadi Waterpark

Guests of Jumeirah enter for free at this outdoor water park on Jumeirah Beach, easily accessible from Burj al Arab and Madinat Jumeirah. Spend a fun day zipping down waterslides, tubing on a lazy river and lounging in a wade pool. Thrill seekers will love the latest addition of the Jumeirah Sceirah (pronounce as scare-ah), a 393-foot drop on a nearly-vertical slide.

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