Best places to see and do in the United Arab Emirates


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a popular tourist destination known for its modern cities, iconic architecture, and thrilling activities. From the glitzy metropolis of Dubai to the historic sites of Abu Dhabi, there is something for everyone. 

One of the top family-friendly attractions is KidZania Abu Dhabi. With a KidZania Abu Dhabi ticket, kids can roleplay and explore a mini indoor city designed just for them. 

But beyond KidZania, here are some of the best places to see and do across the UAE.


Dubai is the most famous emirate, renowned for over-the-top luxury experiences. At the top of any Dubai itinerary is the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building towering over downtown. 

Ascend to the observation deck on levels 124 and 125 for unmatched 360-degree views over the glittering skyscrapers. Wander the lively Dubai Mall at its base, one of the world’s largest shopping centers featuring an aquatic zoo and ice rink.

Just offshore, Palm Jumeirah is an artificial archipelago in the shape of a palm tree, with high-end hotels and villas perched on fronds stretching into the Persian Gulf. 

Glide above the palm on the Palm Jumeirah Monorail for great photos. No trip to Dubai is complete without haggling in the old Gold Souk and Spice Souk near the historic Al Fahidi neighborhood. 

At sunset, take an abra (traditional boat) across the creek to dine on Arabic mezze and shisha as the dazzling skyline lights up.

Abu Dhabi

Though Abu Dhabi has flown more under the radar than Dubai, the UAE capital has spectacular mosques, museums, theme parks, and natural areas to explore. 

Topping most people’s wish list is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a monumental white marble structure embellished with ornate carvings and the world’s largest chandelier. Ensure shoulders and knees are covered before entering.


Steps away is the newly opened Abrahamic Family House featuring a mosque, church, synagogue, and educational center aimed at tolerance and understanding between faiths. 

Ferrari World indoor theme park on Yas Island will satisfy thrill-seekers with Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest rollercoaster. 

The nearby Warner Bros. World is packed with rides, shows, and interactive areas themed on DC comics and Hanna Barbera cartoons.

Nature lovers shouldn’t miss the miracle garden with whimsical flower displays inside a 72,000 square meter area. 

Get back to Abu Dhabi’s Bedouin roots with Heritage Village, a reconstructed traditional oasis village with exhibits on pearl diving and falcons. 

Of course, no mention of Abu Dhabi is complete without highlighting Yas Water World Waterpark and KidZania.

KidZania Abu Dhabi

KidZania is an indoor theme park designed to empower, inspire, and educate kids through roleplaying real-world jobs. 

The Abu Dhabi location spans over 75,000 square feet with over 100 kid-sized roleplay activities from firefighting to construction. Kids can earn Kidzos money for goods, food, and entertainment. It’s a one-of-a-kind edutainment experience.

Some of the most popular areas in KidZania Abu Dhabi include:

  • Aviation Academy – Kids can take pilot lessons on a simulator and then work at the airport control tower directing toy planes on the runway.
  • Fire Station – Mini firefighters respond to an emergency alarm, ride a firetruck, and put out a fake fire with actual water hoses.
  • Pizza Point – Budding chefs learn to toss pizza dough, take orders, and deliver pizzas throughout the city.
  • Radio Station – Aspiring DJs play music, record advertisements, and read news bulletins.
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  • The Farm – Kids harvest fruits and vegetables, then make smoothies from their produce.

With interactive roleplaying, KidZania brings learning to life. Kids can explore careers, build real-world skills, and develop financial literacy. 

The Abu Dhabi location is ideal for kids aged 4-16, blended with entertainment, creativity, and adventure. Grab KidZania Abu Dhabi tickets in advance, as slots sell out, especially during peak seasons. KidZania is easily one of the most unique and engaging family attractions in Abu Dhabi.

Northern Emirates

Though often overlooked for Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the five smaller emirates to the north offer spectacular scenery from the mountains to the sea. Here are some highlights of the Northern Emirates:

  • Sharjah – Dubbed the cultural capital, Sharjah has an excellent science museum and lively heritage areas like the Al Majaz Waterfront.
  • Ajman – Peaceful beaches and lush parks dot Ajman, the smallest emirate. Don’t miss the Manama Food Festival with Emirati dishes.
  • Umm Al Quwain – The relaxed, rural emirate of Umm Al Quwain enjoys dreamy lagoons, mangrove forests, and deserted beaches.
  • Ras Al Khaimah – Ras Al Khaimah is an adventure center with terracotta dunes, wadis for hiking, and the UAE’s highest peak, Jebel Jais.
  • Fujairah – Lastly, on the east coast, Fujairah has dramatic cliffs, old forts, hot springs, and top diving.

The northern emirates reveal more traditional Emirati culture and stunning landscapes, from golden dunes to the Hajar mountain range. Slow down and experience nature and history.

Outdoor Adventures

Beyond the headline attractions and theme parks, the UAE is ideal for outdoor adventures with desert safaris, water sports, and hiking. 

Dune bashing in the deserts brings thrills sliding up and down towering red and brown dunes in SUVs. Better yet, glamp overnight at a luxury desert camp under the stars after camel trekking, falconry displays, henna art, and feasting on BBQ.


The UAE also boasts over 600 miles of coastline. From Dubai, cruise the turquoise waters by luxury yacht, spotting Atlantis Palm Resort along the city skyline. 

Try jet skiing, flyboarding, paddleboarding, or deep-sea fishing. For swimming and sunbathing, Saadiyat Public Beach in Abu Dhabi is stunning with white sand, while Kite Beach in Dubai has water sports galore.

Finally, trekking adventures await amid the Hajar Mountains. Challenge yourself by scrambling over boulders up the Wadi pools on the three-hour hike to Jebel Jais peak, packing sturdy shoes. 

Or take the family on milder hikes through the valleys, spotting camels and gazelles along the way. The great outdoors always enlivens a UAE itinerary.

Final Words 

The United Arab Emirates continues to capture imaginations with record-breaking architecture, lavish attractions, and natural spectacle. Beyond the souks and skyscrapers, dig deeper to discover Emirati heritage, from Sharjah’s museums to Al Ain’s ancient tombs. 

KidZania Abu Dhabi adds interactive learning fun for kids. Whether your first or fifteenth visit, the diverse emirates promise magic and memorable adventures.


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