20 Non-Touristy Things to do in Dubai | Solo Female Travel


Nicknamed the “Land of Dreams,” you will see many people moving to Dubai to start afresh or just go on a trip to explore their culture. Famous for the lively nightlife scenes and parties, beautiful architectural buildings, and luxury shopping, Dubai experiences a huge number of tourists visiting the country from all around the world every year.

You must have done your research on “things to do in Dubai on a solo trip” before planning your trip. However, do you know that there are plenty of non-touristy things that you can actually do on your trip to Dubai? Everyone knows about the malls, restaurants, and beaches in Dubai, but very few know about the hidden gems in the country. 

Along with exploring the malls and monuments (which Dubai is globally famous for), doing certain things that very few people know about will only make your trip a memorable one!

1. Ride an abra ride

what to do in dubai

Old Dubai is one of the must-visit places in Dubai. Not only is it the place where the history of the now-glamorous country began, but it is also the place where you will truly get to experience the culture of Dubai. And the best way to do that is by riding an abra ride. These are small water taxis, which start from Dubai Creek.

You can hop onto the abra and explore places like Bur Dubai and Deira. Also, these abra rides are quite inexpensive – 1 AED each way! You will be assigned a boat driver on the ride. However, if you wish to have the boat to yourself, you can always ask the driver.

2. Indulge in a warm stone massage

Who doesn’t love a good massage, right? All the exploring and sightseeing in the country will definitely take a toll on your body. And what better to relieve it than rejuvenate with a good warm stone massage in Dubai?

These massages are done by professionals, and you can check online which ‘massage parlour’ is convenient for you to visit. During the massage, the professional will place warm stones on parts of your body that are stiffened or strained. It also helps to lower stress levels and improves blood circulation in the body. After your warm stone massage, you can even opt for a full-body massage.

3. Visit the Global Village

The Global Village of Dubai is considered the one-stop solution for food, culture, and talent from across the globe.

You can stop by any number of stations to enjoy the cultural and authentic cuisine from different countries. You will be presented with endless cuisine and shopping options that you will be spoiled for choices. Also, many people visit the Global Village with their families, so it is most likely will be crowded. But the view and the experience are definitely going to be worth it!

I would recommend you visit Dubai in the months of winter (although it may not feel like winter in the country) because of the slightly cooler temperatures than the rest of the year. Also, if you visit Dubai in the months of summer, the Global Village may not be open for visitors. And trust me, you do not want to miss out on an opportunity like this one.

4. Explore the Farmer Markets

Visiting a farmer’s market may not sound like something one would do on their trip to Dubai, right? But you do not want to miss exploring the Ripe Night Market in Dubai. It is located in Al Barsha Pond Park and offers a similar experience to an original farmer market. 

You will come across different stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables from all around the world. There are also plenty of stalls that offer the arts and crafts of artists from different parts of the world. This will be a great opportunity to explore different cultures of nations in just one city. 

The view of the Ripe Night Market is quite picturesque as well. There are fairy lights atop the stalls, live music where local musicians play different types of music, and movies on big screens at the park.

5. Experience an outdoor rooftop movie theatre

If you are a movie buff, then this is something you must definitely try on your Dubai solo trip. You can find the rooftop movie theatre in the Galleria Mall. Also, note that the rooftop theatre is open only during the winter season. So, if you happen to visit Dubai in the month of summer, you may not be able to experience this.

The theatre provides a number of seating options where you can make your pick from the bean bags, single seats, or the couches. No matter which option you pick, you will be provided with a warm blanket as well. And with each ticket, you will get food and beverages free!

6. Experience sleeping on a beach

Even though this may sound a bit weird, trust me, sleeping in colourful tents on the beach will be a memorable experience for you. This facility is offered by Banan Beach in Jebel Ali. You can get to the beach via a cab as it is only 20 minutes away from the main Dubai Marina area. 

The beach offers simple accommodations in colourful tents. You can also opt for modern options offered in the form of chalets. There are so many things that you can do on the beach, including yoga, water swings, and enjoying pizza cooked in firewood at the campfire.

Not a lot of people know about Banan Beach and its colourful tents. So, if you get a chance to experience this, you should definitely go for it.

7. Visit the Amusement Parks

You must have heard about the numerous shopping malls in Dubai. Well, Dubai has plenty of something else as well – amusement parks. Yes, Dubai has several amusement parks that suit people of every age group and taste. If you are an Indian and a Bollywood lover, you will find an amusement park based on the Bollywood theme. For movie lovers, there is Motiongate Dubai. 

Like most things in Dubai, amusement parks are also best enjoyed during the winter season. So, I would recommend you plan your solo trip accordingly.

8. Visit the Miracle Garden

The Miracle Garden in Dubai is the largest flower garden in the world. It has more than 109 million flowers planted. What makes this garden unique is the flowers planted in aesthetic designs.  

Here is a point to keep in mind though, the Miracle Garden is only open during the months of October to April. If you are a nature lover, then you must not miss out on this opportunity to explore the Miracle Garden.

At the Miracle Garden, you can also visit the Dubai Butterfly Garden. It is the world’s largest indoor butterfly garden! It houses thousands of different butterfly species and is a must-visit for nature lovers.

9. Attend entertainment shows at Dubai Opera

One of the most beautiful buildings in Dubai – the Dubai Opera is located on the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd. It holds plenty of entertaining shows such as fashion events, art exhibitions, ballet, theatre, among others. 

Also, the building capacity is quite huge, accommodating about 2,000 visitors at once. The entertainment shows are really popular in the country and are obviously more interesting than visiting a mall!

10. Try the high tea in Dubai

Considered an extravagant affair, the high tea in Dubai is something you must definitely try out at least once. I liked the one at the hotel complex of Madinat Jumeira. When I took an abra ride to the Al Fayrooz Lounge of the hotel, the waiters served the visitors with tea, scones, pastries, sandwiches, savoury, and so many other delicious desserts.

The food items offered are unlimited, so you can eat your favourite food till your tummy fills!

11. Visit the art galleries at Alserkal Avenue

Situated inside a large industrial area, Alserkal Avenue is home to plenty of contemporary art galleries, business, and non-profit organisations. At all times, there is some or the other event going on at Alserkal Avenue. Some of the events that Alserkal Avenue hosts include Social Saturdays, Quoz Arts Fest, and Art Week.

You will find plenty of local and international artists at Alserkal Avenue. If you have a keen interest in art, then you must definitely check this place out.

12. Visit the mosques

what to do in dubai

Abu Dhabi, famous for the beautiful mosques, is located just at a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Dubai. One of the most famous mosques – Sheikh Zayed Mosque, is known for its beauty and elegant designs. It is the largest mosque in the country and also a famous landmark in the United Arab Emirates. 

Featuring semi-precious stones, gold, marble stone, and crystals around the development, Sheikh Zayed Mosque is a true epitome of beauty. The mosque also has beautiful fountains set up outside that light up the mosque at sunset. You can read my guide on what to wear in Dubai to have a better understanding of clothing that will be allowed inside the mosque.

13. Explore the mountains

You may find it difficult to believe that a country like Dubai, which is known for its hot temperatures and sand dunes, can have mountains. But yes, it is true. You can take a taxi to Al Ain, located just an hour away from Dubai. There, you can visit Jebel Hafeet, the mountain that borders Oman and also the second-largest mountain in the United Arab Emirates.

If you prefer peace over the hustle-bustle of the city, this is something you must definitely do on your solo trip to Dubai.

14. Zipline over Dubai Marina

The largest zipline in the world is located in Dubai Marina and measures about 1 kilometre in length. It will take you over the Dubai Marina and the surrounding landscapes. Trust me, the view is very beautiful and surreal!

The zipline changes its locations frequently, so before you book your tickets for the same, check with the operator. Also, the timings of the zipline may change because of the temperature, so keep that in mind as well.

15. Visit the water parks

Just like amusement parks, Dubai has plenty of water parks as well. And each one is better than the previous one. One of the most famous water parks is Aquaventure Waterpark, located near the Atlantis Hotel. 

This water park is huge and sits on a beach, which makes it all the more interesting to visit and have a relaxed day. 

16. See a camel race

How often does one get to see camels running? But, you can find a few in Dubai. The Dubai Camel Racing Club hosts traditional camel races regularly, but with a twist. The jockeys for camel racing have been replaced by robots, and their owners ride alongside them in SUVs. Pretty cool, right?

Seeing a camel race is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you must visit on your solo trip to Dubai.

17. Spend a day exploring the palace

It would be unfair to visit Dubai and not visit the palace. The Emirates Palace is about 1.5 kilometres away from Dubai. Currently, the palace operates as a hotel. So, if you have the budget, you can spend a night at the hotel, or more, if you like. Or, you can explore the huge palace in the morning or evening, at your convenience.

If you want to eat like royalty, you can try out the ice cream topped with 24-carat gold served by a small cafe outside the palace!

18. Visit the Dubai Water Canal

Although considered a paradise for shopaholics, Dubai is also a country where you can spend no money at all and still have fun. One of the country’s recent development, the Dubai Water Canal, runs through the major districts of the country, including Sheikh Zayed Road and the Arabian Gulf.

What makes Dubai Water Canal a must-visit is the beautiful waterfront and stunning waterfalls! You can stroll along the water canal and spend a relaxing day.

19. Camp out in the desert

One of the must-have experiences in Dubai is to camp out in the desert. You can speak with tour operators and decide which desert and accommodation you want to choose. These camps offer overnight accommodation along with barbeque nights. It makes for a beautiful experience as you spend the night under a sky full of stars. 

Read my guide on solo female travel to Dubai.

20. Explore the street art in Karama

Dubai is quite a clean and organised country where you will barely find things out of order. So, it is unlikely you will come across a graffiti wall in the country. But, if you wander around enough, you may just be able to find something. Karama street has some edgy and colourful street graffiti that you can check out. 

You can spend an afternoon here just exploring stunning street art on the walls of the busy shopping street!

There are plenty of non-touristy things for you to explore in the country without having a dull moment. Even if you plan your solo trip for a whole month, you are still going to love every moment of it. 

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An introverted solo female traveller on an adventure around the world.

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