The best things to do with your friends in Dubai

Travelista editor, Jessica Ruth Gibson, headed on a Dubai trip with friends and has done a round-up of the top 10 things to do with your friends in Dubai, including the best hang out places in Dubai with friends and cheap things to do with friends in Dubai.

Dubai is like marmite, you either love it or hate it. It sparks debates and leaves the world divided, but whatever your opinion on it, you can’t deny that Dubai is the perfect destination for year-round guaranteed sunshine. No, it doesn’t have any culture or history and is often described as ‘soulless’, but Dubai can also be a lot of fun. If you’re planning on going to Dubai with friends, you’re in the right place.

In my popular post ‘7 Things to Know Before Visiting Dubai’, I talked about how Dubai is not a place where you can go and be spontaneous. You need to make plans, book restaurants and know exactly where you’re going. But don’t let that put you off. If you’re willing to do a bit of research (such as reading this blog post), you can have the time of your life in Dubai. Here are my Top 10 things to do on a trip to Dubai with friends…


In order to help you plan your holiday to Dubai with friends, I have put together my Top 10 things to do. Everything in this list is based on my own experiences, many of which were introduced to my best friend Fi who now lives in Dubai – local recommendations right there! I am going to be as specific as possible so this post can help you plan your trip. Here they are;

Experience a Desert Safari

For an exhilarating experience with a difference, book yourself on to a desert safari. The tour starts with dune bashing through the desert in 4×4 jeeps which is both terrifying and hilarious in equal measure. After the dune bashing, the convoy of jeeps pull up to watch a perfectly timed sunset over the sand. Following sunset, you’re driven to an outdoor Arabian camp in the middle of the desert.

Here you enjoy a delicious Arabic buffet dinner, belly-dancing entertainment, camel rides and henna tattoos, which is all included in the price. The whole experience was so unique and something I will remember for a long time. I can highly recommend it. Click here to see the exact tour we booked.

Dubai with friends - Desert Safari

Take a Boat Trip

Another great way to get out of the city is to go on a boat trip. You can either book individual places on a group boat trip or if you’re in a larger group (6+), you can hire a smaller boat privately. As there were 7 of us, we booked a Groupon deal for a 3-hour private yacht charter, which took us out of Dubai Marina and around The Palm. We saw the iconic Burj Al Arab as well as The Atlantis from the sea and stopped for plenty of photo opportunities. It’s a perfect activity for a trip to Dubai with friends, and by using these deals, it’s one of the great cheap things to do in Dubai with friends

Travelista Tip: Check out Groupon for some great boat charter deals in Dubai


Sip Champagne at a Friday Brunch

No holiday to Dubai with friends is complete without experiencing a Friday Brunch. Dubai’s working week runs from Sunday to Thursday, so Friday is the equivalent of Saturday out there. There are so many brunches to choose from, and new ones are popping up all the time.

For a classically luxurious brunch with the most outrageous choice of food and unlimited Moet champagne, head to Al Qsar which is part of the Madinat Jumeirah complex. The hotel overlooks The Burj Al Arab and is designed to feel like an opulent Arabic palace. For a no expense spared Brunch blow out, Al Qsar is the one!


Party at Nasimi Beach at Atlantis The Palm 

Beach clubs are huge in Dubai, and there are quite a few to choose from. I recommend going to Nasimi Beach, which is located within Atlantis on The Palm. Nasimi paints an incredibly cool scene with beautiful people and the DJ sets to match.

Although it is a high-end beach club, you can still spend the whole day barefoot in your bikini, sipping cocktails, grazing on food and feeling absolutely chilled out. The best way to do Nasimi Beach is to reserve a table or a beach bed. I must state that Nasimi Beach is by no means cheap, but the cost of the rental is redeemable against food and drink you order. This is one of the best things to do on a holiday to Dubai with friends.

Dubai with friends - beach club

Go up The Burj Khalifa

A trip to the top of the tallest building in the world surely deserves a mention in my top 10 right? If you love ticking things off your travel bucket list, this is the ultimate activity in Dubai. At a staggering 555 meters high, the At The Top Burj Khalifa Sky observation deck gives you the most mind blowing view of the city of Dubai. The observation decks are spread across levels 125 and 148 of the tower. Alternatively, head for a drink at at.mosphere bar, which is located on the 122nd floor of the Burj Khalifa

Travelista Tip: Book your tickets in advance online to make a generous saving off the admission price.


Dine on Sushi at Zeta, The Address Downtown

If you want to splash out on an opulent dining experience Dubai-style, no restaurant can beat the setting, views and food of  Zeta, an al fresco Japanese restaurant within The Address Downtown. This is an unforgettable place to hangout with friends in Dubai.

 In the foreground of the spectacular view is the famous Dubai fountains, which perform a beautiful sequence to music every 30 minutes. In the background is the breath taking Burj Khalifa, which magically glitters and twinkles at night.

The sushi at Zeta is the best I have ever had in my life and combined with the chic atmosphere and balmy evening heat, it was a truly unforgettable dining experience.


Dance at Barasti Beach Club

If you’d rather be in flip flops and denim shorts over a heels and a dress, Barasti Beach Club is your absolute paradise and the perfect place to hang out with friends in Dubai. This casual beach bar and club on Jumeirah Beach spreads through various levels and bar areas down to a DJ stage on the beach. Yes, that’s right, it’s a club on a beach. Spend the entire day there or arrive for the night of your life. Either way, Barasti is a must-visit for really letting your hair down in Dubai.


Aquaventure Water Park at Atlantis The Palm

Adrenaline junkies will absolutely love the Atlantis Marine and Water Park. The Aquaventure water park has more rides, flooms and water slides than you could ever imagine, which is next to the impressive Lost Chambers Aquarium. You can also swim with dolphins and sea lions, as well as go scuba diving – all amazing experiences to tick off that bucket list!

Photo credit:

Shop til you Drop in Dubai Mall

Dubai have to be the best at everything, so it comes as no surprise that it’s the biggest mall in the world. With its very own aquarium, fountains and never ending labyrinth of shops, it’s one of the most strangely futuristic and materialistic places I have ever been.

From luxury designer brands to independent Arabiac shops and everything in between, the amount of choice in this place is simply outrageous. Go and see it for yourself.


Feast on Delicious Lebanese Food 

If you’re visiting Dubai, I urge you to go out and enjoy at least 1 Lebanese feast! The Lebanese food in Dubai is simply phenomenal and best enjoyed when you can share lots of different dishes in a group. Be sure to try the hommous with lamb, grilled halloumi cheese and fattoush salad followed by a freshly grilled chicken shisk taouk.

Lebanese is my all time favourite food, and during my time in Dubai I discovered a fantastic restaurant on Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) called Jedoudna. It’s wonderfully casual and perfect to visit for lunch or after a day at the beach.


So those are my Top 10 things to do on a holiday to Dubai with friends. Even if you only pick a handful of the things in this post, I guarantee you will love them and have an incredible time in Dubai.

Are you visiting Dubai soon or have you recently been? I would love to hear your thoughts about my list and feel free to ask me more questions! Simply leave me a comment in the box below x 

Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.


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