written by
Joe Boone

Dubai — Just the mere metion of this iconic global mertopolis conjures up a mesmerizing array of colossal images that onlu this great city can fulfull. Towering futuristic Skyscrapers, ultra-modern architecture, world-class beaches, luxury shopping, off-the-chart  opulence, and lively nightlife scene - If this isnt "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," Nothing is.

From the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, to the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest and most-visited retail and entertainment destination, Dubai is a world-class city unlike any other. Established as a small fishing village in the early 18th century, today’s Dubai is vibrant and awe-inspiring, exuding glitz and glamour at every turn. Sometimes called the “City of Gold” because of its stunning growth from a sleepy Gulf port to a worldfamous business crossroads (all in the span of a single generation), Dubai is a city that must be seen to be believed.

Making its Mark

Located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf, Dubai is the largest, most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the business hub of the Middle East. A major center of global transport for passengers and cargo, Dubai is also the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of seven emirates that make up the UAE. A growing base for regional and international trade since the early 20th century, Dubai’s economy today relies  on revenues from trade, tourism, aviation, real estate and financial services.

Dominating the Dubai skyline since opening in 2010, the Burj Khalifa is a global icon and an engineering marvel of gargantuan proportion. Standing 165-stories high, reaching up 2,717 feet toward the heavens, this glistening glass and steel structure is Dubai’s most popular sight, approaching nearly two million visitors per year. Even more spectacular is the view from the inside out, especially after sky rocketing up by way of high-speed elevator to one of its two observation decks — At the Top on the 124th and 125th floors; and the world’s highest observation deck at 1,822 feet on the 148th floor, At the Top, SKY. Once the doors open, visitors are greeted with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and the magnitude of what lies beyond through the unobstructed 360-degree view of the world they just left behind.

An Entertainment and shopping Leader

The world’s tallest building would not be complete without one of the world’s largest shopping malls and entertainment complexes next to it. Larger than 200 soccer fields, Dubai Mall is a showcase of over 1,200 retail stores, more than 150 restaurants, a virtual reality theme park, Olympic-sized ice rink, indoor cinema complex, huge indoor waterfall, and the mustsee Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.

Mall of the Emirates, another of the city’s famous malls, is home to more than
630 of the world’s most exclusive  brands, like Chanel, Burberry and  Missoni. Shop, dine and stroll beneath  the glamorous Fashion Dome, with its wrought iron ceiling reminiscent of European railways. Take in a movie, enjoy rides and games at Magic Planet, or hit the slopes at Ski Dubai, a surreal indoor experience complete with chairlifts and penguin enclosure.

Shopping is definitely a way of life in Dubai. Trendy and incredibly hip, Box Park’s shops and eateries are built inside shipping containers painted vibrant colors. Dubai Design District, known as  d3, will also appeal to the style-conscious. This is indie boutique shopping at its best, featuring independent boutiques brimming with on-trend fashion. City Walk, one of the most exciting shopping destinations in the city, is home to standalone boutiques you won’t find anywhere else in Dubai.

You can travel back in time and test your haggling skills in the heart of Old Dubai where the bustling souks treat your senses to rich sounds, sights and scents. Follow your nose to Spice Souk, then enjoy sensory overload at Perfume Souk — home to Arabian fragrances. Indulge your desire for sought-after jewels and precious metals at the Gold Souk. Venture across Dubai Creek, and wander through the Textile Souk to dig through swatches of brightly colored silks and embroidered fabrics.

Only in Dubai

Globally recognized for its world firsts, Dubai’s world-class architectural triumphs are everywhere. Palm Jumeirah, built from reclaimed land mass and a series of artificial archipelagos, is a man-made
island in the shape of a palm tree. One of the largest artificial islands in the world, it’s a triumph of human ingenuity. It is also packed with fantastic dining options like Nobu and 101 Dining Lounge. A monorail running down the “trunk” connects to the mainland’s tram system, making traveling there easy.

Dubai is also home to the world’s tallest hotel, the 1,165-foot-tall tall JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai. Comprised of two towers with 1,608 rooms, 14 dining options, a world renowned spa and 8,000 square feet of meeting space, it’s overwhelming. One of Dubai’s most famous landmarks, the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is one of the world’s most iconic hotels. Built on a triangular manmade island reclaimed from the sea, the hotel and its billowing sail-like structure rises 1053 feet above the sea, offering panoramic views. Since opening in 1999, it has thrust Dubai into the global luxury spotlight, taking accepted standards of luxury to a new level suitable for royalty. Burj Al Arab’s long list of superlatives including gold interiors, lush suites, fleet of Rolls-Royces, helipad, the finest delicacies, and an underwater aquarium restaurant reached through a simulated submarine voyage and heralded by famed awardwinning chef Nathan Outlaw, cannot  be matched.

While Dubai may be famous for the glitz and glamour of its sky-high towers, the real heart of the city is Dubai Creek. This saltwater estuary is the original site where the Bani Yas tribe settled, and its waters were vital for what used to be Dubai’s main forms of economy: pearl diving and fishing. Today, the area is awash with the history of the emirate, and home to the Dubai Museum as well as the labyrinthine alleyways of gold, spice and textile souks. After exploring, enjoy an abra ride to the souks on the other side of the Creek. A ride across the water on a traditional abra is a must, and at an unbelievable AED1 (27 cents USD) per ticket, it’s an amazing value.

Dinner and Dancing

Spending a vacation in Dubai would not be complete without experiencing some of the nearly 12,000 dining options available. Head to 2nd of December Street for a street-side taste of authentic Dubai. A melting pot of Far East, Levantine and South-east Asian influences, this street really comes alive after sunset. No fine-dining white tablecloths here, just delicious, affordable dishes served with a smile.
 If fine dining is on the menu, the best celebrity chefs from across the world are here to serve you. Brimming with gastronomic diversity, the list of culinary gems include the restaurants of Sean Connolly, Gordon Ramsay and Silvena Rowe, among others, each helping define Dubai’s fine dining scene.

When you’re ready to dance the night away, Dubai’s nightlife scene is far from ordinary. From nightclubs to bars to speakeasies, the city’s entertainment options are limitless. Some of the mustvisit nightclubs include award-winning White Dubai, the biggest and most exclusive nightclub in the city; Cirque Le Soirée, boasting an extreme circus theme; Armani/Prive - located in the luxurious Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa; and Billionaire Mansion, your best shot for partying like a billionaire.

Before visiting Dubai, keep in mind that summers there are extremely hot, windy, and humid, with an average high around 106°F. The perfect time to visit and explore the city is between October and April when the weather is warm and dry.

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