When we think of Dubai, the first thing that comes to mind is the glitz and glam, the luxurious malls, and the exciting nightlife. While our city is young, vibrant, and home to people from innumerable cultures, it also has its own rich heritage and traditions that deserve the spotlight.

A city filled to the brim with history and soul, Dubai is teeming with museums, libraries, parks, and art (if you know where to look). Here are 11 of the city’s best cultural experiences.

Mosques, Museums & Parks – Immerse yourself in Emirati Culture

Disclaimer: Opening hours, ticket fares, and other prices may be subject to change due to policies.

Quranic Park

What: A 60-hectare park that houses plants and miracles mentioned in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, the Quranic Park is a calm and beautiful, and great space to learn more about the official religion of the UAE and is ideal for a family’s day out.

Where: Al Khawaneej, near Al Mushrif Park and Last Exit Al Khawaneej by Meraas

Watch out for: Cave of Miracles, Glass House, Islamic Gardens, Arabic Calligraphy

Ticket Fare: Entry to the park is free, AED 5 each for entrance to Cave of Miracles and Glass House

Contact: 050 2966012, 800900

Etihad Museum

What: With the story of how the UAE came to be at its very core, the Etihad Museum is an inspiring and serene 25000 m2 space that contains various pavilions, exhibitions, education initiatives, and interactive programmes that focus on the Unification of the Emirates in 1971 and the Constitution of the UAE. Architecturally magnificent, and a must-visit for all history buffs in Dubai, this museum is also a tribute to the seven founding fathers of the UAE.

Where: Jumeirah 1 Road

Watch out for: Union Tree Garden, Dreams of Unity, 3D Hologram displays – Seeds of Unity section

Ticket Fare: Adults – AED 25, Group – AED 20, Student – AED 10, Free for People of Determination and Children

Contact: 04 5155100, 80033222

Al Shindagha Museum

What: Located on the Dubai Creek, the Al Shindagha Museum tells the story of how Dubai transformed itself from a creek teeming with life to one of the world’s most vibrant, exciting cities in the world. Discover the story of how trading began, what it took to raise a family, the sacrifices that were made for the growth of the nation, and the sheer power of the human spirit.

Where: Dubai Creek, Al Shindagha

Watch out for: Story of the Creek, Perfume House

Ticket Fare: Adults – AED 15, Students (5-24) – AED 5, Groups and Families – AED 10, Free for People of Determination and Children below 5

Contact: 04 5155100, 80033222

Saruq Al Hadid Archaeology Museum

What: Saruq Al Hadid Museum tells the story of one of the most mysterious and exciting archaeological sites discovered in Dubai. Using state-of-the-art technology, Saruq-Al-Hadid or The Way of Iron, a metalworking site that has a three thousand-year history is explored. You can also learn all about the artifacts discovered and about the excavation efforts that are still underway.

Where: Al Shindagha

Watch out for: Distant Lands exhibit, Precious Things: Jewellery & Adornment, Into the Future

Ticket Fare: Adults – AED 20, Children (7-12): AED 10, Free for Adults over 60 and Children under 6

Contact: 04 3595612

Falcon & Heritage Sports Center

What: One of Dubai’s heritage sites, the Falcon and Heritage Sports Center is a must-visit for those who love falcons. The museum consists of many sections, including a hall to learn about falcon anatomy and species, about falconry, and films and lectures on the nation’s deep love for falcons and the sport of falconry.

Where: Nad Al Sheba, Near Meydan Hotel

Watch out for: Falcon Museum, Falcon Lounge,

Ticket Fare: Free

Contact: 04 3272854

Jumeirah Mosque

What: One of the most engaging cultural experiences in Dubai, the doors of the Jumeirah mosque have been open to guests since 1998. A breathtaking architectural treasure, the Jumeirah Mosque visit is a key activity under the Open Doors, Open Minds program, to build cultural awareness, understanding, and tolerance.

Where: Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 1

Watch out for: Mosques of the World Exhibition, Q & A

Ticket Fare: Adults – AED 20, Children under 12 – Free

Contact: 04 353 6666

Food Experiences

Cultural Meals at Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Center for Cultural Understanding

What: Hosted in the traditional houses of the Shiekh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding, guests enjoy traditional Emirati cuisine and conversation with Emirati presenters who offer an interactive cultural experience. If you want to learn about Emirati traditions, and culture, and treat yourself to wonderful new tastes, this is the place to be.

Where: House 26, Al Fahidi

Cost per person: AED 130, AED 65 for children below 12.

Contact: 043536666

Al Fanar Restaurant

What: If you want to turn back time and experience Dubai in the 1960s, Al Fanar is your best bet. With authentic Emirati cuisine, Al Fanar will introduce you to or revive your memories of old Dubai, when it was a small town by the Badia oasis, with a bustling souk inhabited by pearl merchants, traders, and fishermen.

Where: Al Seef and Al Barsha

Watch out for: Emirati Breakfast Tray, Machboos Tray

Cost for two: AED 250

Contact: 04 3966669

Arabian Teahouse

What: A quaint, authentic teahouse complete with lace curtains, white rattan tables, and turquoise benches, the Arabian Teahouse has all the old-world charm of the Dubai’s past. Frequented by locals, residents, and tourists alike, Arabian Teahouse’s best offerings lie deep in its pride in tradition and heritage.

Where: Al Fahidi

Watch out for: Emirati Kebab Laham, Leqaimat

Cost for two: AED 175

Contact: 04 3535071

Al Serkal Avenue

What: Housing over 70 contemporary art galleries, and visual, and performing art organizations, Al Serkal Avenue is a vibrant, thriving cultural district. Seeking to incubate creative thinking and contribute to the region’s cultural sphere, Al Serkal Avenue provides a unique cultural experience for local, regional, and international audiences.

Where: Al Quoz

Watch out for: Grey Noise, Elmarsa Gallery

Ticket Fare: Prices vary according to the galleries

Contact: 04 333 3464

Coming Soon

Museum of the Future

What: A showcase for a new chapter in Dubai’s history, the Museum of the Future will be a center for creativity and hope. A place of tolerance, learning, and exploring new ideas, cultures, and philosophies, the Museum of the Future represents a dynamic mix of experiences, and there’s something for everyone.

Where: Trade Center

Mohammed bin Rashid Library

What: A cultural landmark where knowledge, culture, and tourism intertwine, the Mohammed bin Rashid Library is an architectural milestone where the nation’s heritage and world civilizations interact. Housing more than four million books and a collection of articles, documents, publications, lectures, and more, the Mohammed bin Rashid Library is one of the world’s most impressive libraries and cultural destinations.

Where: Dubai Creek, Al Jaddaf

Dubai Museum

What: Opened in 1971 under the reign of the late Shiekh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Dubai Museum displays the history and heritage of Dubai. Visitors get the opportunity to explore different rural and urban environments of old Dubai, and also the sea and astrology wings. The venue is currently under renovation.

Where: Souk Al Kabir, Al Fahidi