37 Hours in Dubai

Atop the Burj Khalifa Dubai. One of the best things to do in Dubai

Dubai grew from the desert in the last two decades. Everything is massive and in the record books. While the New York Times will give you 36 hours in one place, we at Somewhere Or Bust give you 37. Without further ado, here are the best things to do in Dubai if you only have 37 hours. (Since the New York Times’ 36 Hours never adds up to a day and a half, neither will this, if you’re keeping score at home.)

The Best Things to do in Dubai in 37 Hours


Boating in Dubai


Friday 9:00 am: Shop The Souks

Unlike most Arab markets, where the men use grabby tactics to get you into their stalls and it’s a battle of wits on the negotiation front, the Dubai souks are much more tempered. Vendors at the textile souk will politely call, “I have very nice copy of handbag for you sir,” not even attempting to pass off their knock-offs for the real thing. After you get your clothing, head across the river to the photogenic, traditional spice market and the impressive gold souk, which features a collection of 300-plus storefronts with competitively-priced gold and some precious-metal marvels, like the world’s largest gold ring that sits in one shop out in the open.

The best way to get across is by boarding an abras, a traditional boat that will cost you one dollar. If shopping is not your thing, take in more of the city by stretching your dollar and taking the abras all the way downstream.


Eating Camel in Dubai Local House


Friday 12:00 pm: Eat Camel at the Local House

Dining options at the Local House include a rooftop, a shady courtyard, or air-conditioned eating at tables or on the floor. With all of the camel sculptures and humped artwork, it might feel sort of strange to order camel meat, but the Local House has a delicious recipe for tenderizing this notoriously tough meat.


Friday 2:00 pm: Walk Through Old Dubai

The old city has everything from artisans to mosques to a cultural center. There are beautiful murals at the end of some alleys and the architecture itself is a piece of art, fusing together both coral and sand.


Friday 4:00 pm: Dubai’s Desert

One of the best things to do in Dubai is actually outside the city. Travel by four-wheel drive over red and gold sand dunes with Desert Gate’s stuntmen who spin out tires and tackle massive drops. The exhilarating ride ends at a Bedouin camp, where neglected snowboards have been turned into sandboards for dune-riding, attractive camels walk in boring circles, and a sumptuous feast is served up with festive performances from a belly dancer and an illuminated spinner. The festivities last all night.


Buildings in Dubai on Gulf


Saturday 8:00 am: Heat Up on the Gulf

Head over to Palm Jumeirah Island and take a dip in the salty Gulf. The heat is tolerable at this time of day and the beaches are empty.


Snowboard at Ski Dubai


Saturday 10:00 am: Cool Off on the Slopes

While the skiing and snowboarding at Ski Dubai could never compete with natural slopes, the irony of snow inside a mall when the temperatures outside is capable of frying eggs on sidewalks is worthwhile. Despite the irony, the slopes have two fun runs, equipped with little launch pads and terrain parks. Plus, you’ll get a kick out of watching the locals ride the lifts for their entertainment. Ski Dubai also has penguins on display, sleigh riding, and Zorb rolling.


Saturday 1:00 pm: Lunch at Fibber Magee’s

At only seventeen years old, this is the oldest pub in Dubai. Join the rowdy expats for some Irish vibes, affordable beer, and rare serving of pork, if you’re craving pig.


Saturday 3:00 pm: Standing at the Top of the World in the Burj Khalifa

Ride the fastest elevator in the world to the top of the tallest tower in the world to see how Dubai has transformed from endless desert to moneyed metropolis.


Saturday 5:45 pm: Standing Below the Top of the World

Outside the Dubai Mall, or in a seat at Souk al Batir, watch the fountains shoot up to over 150 meters, which is quite impressive so long as you don’t contrast it with the Burj Khalifa. The fountains go off at 6:00 pm.

JW Marriott Dubai Tallest Hotel in the World

Saturday 7:00 pm: Up High At Night

After checking out the views from atop the Burj Khalifa, head over to the JW Marriott, the tallest hotel in the world, and enjoy a drink at Vault Bar on the hotel’s top floor. There, you’ll add the Burj Khalifa to the view and maybe you’ll get a quicker buzz thanks to the altitude.

Tallest Twisted Tower Dubai

Sunday 9:00 am: Stroll the Marina

The Marina has nightlife and shopping, but is also a great place for a stroll to marvel at some of the city’s other tal towers. There, you’ll find the world’s tallest residential building and the world’s tallest twisted tower.


Sunday 12:00 am: Sunday Brunch

Sunday brunch in Dubai is like Sunday football in America. It’s a big deal. Set aside your appetite and a good portion of your day for this feast.


Sunday 5:00 pm: Sunset in Front of the Burj Al Arab

Before heading off, enjoy a sunset on the beach with the seven-star Burj Al Arab as your back drop.




Posted on by Noah Lederman in 37 Hours, Middle East, Somewhere

3 Responses to 37 Hours in Dubai

  1. Nicholas Bluhm

    I’m stopping over in Dubai

    How best to get from airport to the souks and back ?

    I’d like to buy a nice rug not much bigger than a prayer rug; any suggestions?

    • Noah Lederman

      Hi Nicholas. Sorry, I’m not sure about the best method for a quick in-and-out to the souks. Let me know what you discover.

  2. Andrew Darwitan

    Excellent list. For those with more time, I think Dubai is also a great base to explore nearby attractions, with a day trip easily done to Abu Dhabi to admire the grand mosque and thrill in Ferrari World. And also to cruise the nearby Musandam Peninsula of Oman, with its beautiful rugged fjord-like landscape!
    Andrew Darwitan recently posted…Top 10 Things to Do in DubaiMy Profile

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