Dubai, a part of the United Arab Emirates, is one of the richest cities in the world. The city is expected to attract about 15 million tourists by 2015. Euromonitor – the London-based marketing intelligence firm - ranked Dubai as the 7th most visited city in 2009.
The city has numerous tourist attractions, and is often referred to as the 'shopping capital of the world'. Sensing the widespread appeal for shopping in Dubai, the tourism department started the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), an annual retail event, which became so popular over the years that it attracts millions of people every year. In 2014, the Dubai Shopping Festival will commence on 2nd January and end on 2nd February. This month long affair is one of the highlight events of Dubai, and this time around, it promises to get bigger and more extravagant. What started as a trade event in 1996 has now become a marquee event, attracting around 3 million people every year to Dubai.
What’s Special About the 2014 Edition?
The events scheduled for the upcoming festival will include shopping and entertainment activities, international shows, and art shows. The festival is not only a great place to shop till you drop, but over the years, it has emerged as a favorable family holiday destination, courtesy its film festivals, street shows, and plays. In 2014, there will be about 150 attractions for people travelling to the DSF including activities at some of the most prominent locales of Dubai including Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Al Seef Street, and Al Rigga Street.
The most enticing feature of DSF 2014 is the festival theme “Shop at Your Best”. The opening day of the festival will stage performances and spectacular fireworks to start a month-long activity of shopping and sightseeing. Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil will start two days prior to the commencement of the DSF and will last until January 14. The tour will be a tribute to the legend of Michael Jackson and will feature dance, music, and breathtaking visuals. The DSF Carnival, touted as the biggest carnival in the history of DSF will see performers in funky dresses at prominent destinations of Dubai. On January 20, fashion aficionados can gather at the mighty Burj Khalifa to see the Vertical Fashion Show. The Music Nights will be held on the 2nd, 9th, and 16th of January at Burj Park. The Music Nights will have some of the top performers of Dubai including Rabeh Saqer and Hatem Al Iraqi. Other important events that you can look forward to in the DSF 2014 are,
• Bedouin Lifestyle (Month Long)
• Carpet & Art Oasis (January 2 to February 2: Dubai Festival City)
• Market Outside the Box (Burj Park, Downtown Dubai: January 23 – February 2)
• Fashion Squad (Month Long)
• IT Closet (Month Long)
• The Cocoon (January 13-14: The Dubai Mall)
• The Abaya Select (January 22: Emirates Towers)
• The 7 Sopranos Show (January 2-11, The Walk — Jumeirah Beach Residence)
• Bubble Gum Show (January 12-21, Mall of the Emirates)
• Flying Superkids Show (January 9-18, Al Mamzar Park)
• Infiniti Mega Raffle (Month Long)
• Gold Raffle (Month Long)
• Omar Khairat Concert (January 16, Emirates Golf Club)
• Zakir Hussain Nirvana (January 25, Madinat Arena – Jumeirah)
• Naseeruddin Shah Theatre Fiesta (January 16-18, Centrepoint Theatre, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates)
These are some of the major attractions in the upcoming DSF 2014. The sheer magnitude of the activities in DSF 2014 promise to make it the biggest DSF held till date. If you are planning to visit Dubai in the near future, Jan-Feb 2014 is definitely the best time to go. You will see Dubai in its full vibrancy and color, and it will be the best New Year’s gift for your family!
Apart from DSF, Dubai is a year round tourist destination where there are a number of parks, zoos, museums, artificial islands, etc. which have made Dubai a premier family holiday destination over the years. Lets look at a few major tourist attractions that you can enjoy not only during DSF, but any time of the year.
Major Tourist Attractions in Dubai
Dubai has an eclectic mix of the old and the new. The cosmopolitan culture of the city can be gauged by the fact that its population of 2 million is made up of people from more than 200 nationalities. From some of the most revered mosques to the most grandiose shopping malls in the world, Dubai offers something to every visitor. Here’s a list of the top things to do in Dubai.
• Al Mamzar Park, Dubai
Al Mamzar Park in Dubai ranks highly as one of the major family holiday destinations in Dubai. The park has been around since 1994, and was inaugurated during the celebration of Arab Cities Organization. Covering an area of 106 hectares, Al Mamzar Park presents itself as the ideal location for a family outing. One of the main reasons Al Mamzar Park appeals to tourists is because it is a beach park. The mesmerizing white sandy beaches promise a great day to spend outdoors, playing some sport or spending some quality time with your family members. There are a host of other attractions such as a swimming pool, barbeque sites, and a sheltered beach besides plenty of space for children to play including a wooden castle. One tip - if you want to make the best of spending a day at the Al Mamzar Park – try visiting the park on weekdays except on Fridays as the park gets overcrowded on account of local holiday.
Address: Al Mamzar Beach Park, near Al Hamriya Port Metro: Salah Al Din
• Safa Park
Safa Park is a favorite among family tourists owing to its pristine surroundings and popular hotels in its vicinity. The park is known for being home to more than 200 species of birds. According to the Dubai Municipality, the park has 16, 924 varieties of trees and bushes and has enough space to accommodate sporting activities like volleyball, basketball, and tennis.
Address: Al Wasl Road, Dubai
• Dubai Dolphinarium
Dubai Dolphinarium was opened on May 21, 2008, and since then, it has emerged as a favorite tourist destination in Dubai. It has the reputation of being the first fully air-conditioned indoor dolphinarium in the Middle East, which provides natural habitat to dolphins and seals. The dolphinarium can host 1,250 people and the activities offered include dance school, kids’ activities and a mini 5-D cinema theater. As a family holiday destination, Dubai Dolphinarium is a great option, especially for the sheer number of children's activities it has to offer.
Address: Creek Park Gate No.1 - Riyadh Rd – Dubai
• Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is the world’s most visited and largest shopping and entertainment destination. With 1200 retail outlets, two anchor department stores and 200 food and beverage outlets, Dubai Mall is your ultimate shopping, dining and entertainment destination in the city.
Kids can easily spend an entire day at the mall with entertainment options that include Kidzania, a unique ‘edu-tainment' concept where they learn how to be an adult in a fun, meaningful way, SEGA Republic, an indoor theme park and kids can enjoy learning how to skate at the indoor Dubai Ice Rink. Everyone can watch the Dubai Aquarium or visit the Underwater Zoo to learn something new, all before visiting At The Top, Burj Khalifa, the gateway to the tallest building in the world. Or, be spoilt for choice at the 22-screen Reel Cinemas playing the latest films from around the world. The Dubai Mall is a family destination for all ages, all year round.
Address: 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard – Dubai
• Burj Khalifa
Along with Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa is another marvelous symbol of Dubai. It is the world’s tallest tower at 829 meters. The major tourist attraction for families in the Burj Khalifa is the outdoor observation deck, At the Top, located on the 124th floor. The observation deck gives you a breathtaking view of the city of Dubai in its vibrancy. You will get to see the surrounding landscape in real-time through the ‘Behold Telescope’ at the observation deck. Burj Khalifa’s outdoor observation deck is a hit amongst the tourists and locals alike, as a result of which, most tickets are sold in advance. We advise you to visit Burj Khalifa just before sunset to see some of the most beautiful sights from the outdoor deck.
Address: 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard – Dubai
• Wild Wadi Water Park
The Wild Wadi Water Park is a major tourist attraction in Dubai. It is especially known for its high-adrenaline water rides. The rides are themed on Arabian folklore characters, Juha. There are rides for people of all ages. The children get to enjoy themselves in the gentle rides, while for adults, the Jumeirah Sceirah slide can be simply exhilarating. The slide is known all over the world for its 80kmph speed from a height of 33 meters. So, if you are in Dubai with your family, visiting Wild Wadi Water Park should definitely be on your itinerary.
Address: Jumeirah Road,Next to Jumeirah Beach Hotel,Jumeirah,Dubai
• Dubai Museum
As we mentioned before, one of the reasons why Dubai has found favor with international tourists is the diversity it has to offer. One of the finest examples of this diversity is the Dubai Museum, situated inside the Al Fahidi Fort. The fort, built in 1787, will introduce you to city's glorious past through a series of dioramas. Visiting the Dubai museum is a great experience in knowing the history of Dubai. From a laid back desert before the advent of oil to one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world, you can watch the entire journey of Dubai in the 'video room'. You will also see the representations of a mosque and a traditional home in the desert museum. The Dubai Museum is replete with symbols of the traditional way of life in Dubai, and visiting it with your family can be quite interesting.
Address: Al Fahidi Fort, Al Fahidi Street
• Dubai Heritage Village
Dubai Heritage Village, also known as the Hatta Village, is another tourist attraction, courtesy, its depiction of the traditional style mountain villages. The Heritage Village gives the visitors the opportunity of experiencing the life around palm trees and mud houses, and spend some quality time in the vegetated seating areas outdoors. The village hosts a 200-year-old mosque as well. Along with the Dubai Museum, the Dubai Heritage Village is a good place to know about the Emirate’s impressive architecture and pastime.
Address: Entrance of the Dubai Creek, Dubai
• Dubai International Arts Centre
The Dubai International Arts Centre (DIAC) was founded in 1976, and since then, it has become one of the most recognized places for encouraging art in the Emirates. It is an ideal place to visit if you are an art aficionado. Although the DIAC is a school of learning, offering language courses, art workshops, and gallery exhibitions, it appeals to visiting tourists because of ‘Gallery 76’ which is located inside the DIAC. Gallery 76 was inaugurated in 2005, and since then, it has been showcasing the local and international talent to the world. You can see some of the finest paintings, photographs, and sculptures from well-known and emerging artists in the DIAC.
Address: Villa #27, Street #75 B | Jumeirah 1, Dubai
• Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Well, Jumeirah Beach Hotel is arguably the most easily identifiable symbols of Dubai. Many tourists prefer staying in the Jumeirah Beach Hotel as it provides amazing value and numerous options for a family holiday. One of the main attractions of the hotel is the enormous beach space it offers to its patrons. The patrons also get unlimited access to the Wild Wadi Water Park, another major attraction in Dubai. The hotel has 617 rooms, along with luxury suites and villas that promise a pleasant and memorable stay. In addition, there are numerous options for indulging in activities such as swimming pools, floodlit tennis courts, scuba diving centre, squash courts, Talise spa with saunas, etc. The hotel has a special club completely devoted to the children, known as the Sinbad’s Kids Club, which has a host of fun activities for children such as aqua fun and face painting. If you cannot stay in the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, you can choose to dine in one of the many fine restaurants in the hotel.
Address: Jumeirah Beach Road - Um Suqeim – Dubai
• Woollongong Beach
Woollongong Beach, also known as the Kite Beach, can really be a good place for spending a day in the sun. The beach is just behind the University of Woollongong and is devoid of any facilities, and most people bring their own refreshments. You will see a lot of kite surfers congregating on the beach and their activities provide for some fun times. If you are out with your family, getting into a kite competition can really become a memorable experience. The beach is close to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, so if you are in the area, ensure that you take your family to the Woollongong Beach. One important thing to remember is that kiting is not allowed on Fridays and other public holidays.
Address: Umm Suqeim 4 - 2 D St – Dubai
• Burj Al Arab
Well, no travel article on Dubai is complete without mentioning the Burj Al Arab. It is not only the world’s only seven-star hotel (technically, a five-star), it also has the reputation of being the fourth tallest hotel in the world. Needless to say, for an average tourist, staying in Burj Al Arab is out of question. However, it doesn’t mean that you rule out Burj Al Arab completely from your itinerary. It is one of the most majestic symbols of Dubai, and for many locals, it is a symbol of Dubai’s pride and wealth. The Burj Al Arab is one of the most photographed structures in the world, and you can too take a picture of it from the public beach next to it. For a more intimate experience, you can book a table at some of the eateries in the hotel, but keep in mind, even an afternoon cup of tea can cost you more than $100!
Address: Jumeirah – Dubai
• Dubai Creek
Taking an abra ride on the Dubai Creek is an experience in itself. Ask any of your friends who has had the opportunity of visiting Dubai Creek; he/she will tell you about the tranquility and the serenity that the place has to offer. Taking your family out on the Dubai Creek can be a wonderful experience as it is not hard on the pocket. On the other side of the Dubai Creek is the famous spice souk. The aromas of the spice souk are really enthralling and will invigorate you. The Dubai Creek is an excellent place to experience the old-world charm of Dubai.
Address: Creekside Park.
About Odyssey Travels
Odyssey Travels is a leading IATA accredited Travel Company, established in 1992. We specialize in planning customized holidays in India and abroad for our clients which includes air ticketing, worldwide hotel reservations, inclusive tours, sightseeing activities, visa assistance & travel insurance services. For further information or to make a booking contact 020-66442929 or visit http://www.odysseytravels.net/