Hello! Recently while traveling, I had a layover in Abu Dhabi which I extended for the weekend so I could meet my cousins. This also allowed me time to explore a city I haven’t been to in about four years, which in Dubai years, is lightyears, because it is always evolving rapidly.

There are some very clichéd “Dubai things” you can do while you’re there which I would recommend if it’s your first time in the city. You may have seen some of this stuff on your friends’ snapchats, which typically look like dune bashing, indoor skiing, chilling at the beach, taking pictures at the top of the Burj Khalifa, or hanging out at Dubai mall. But there’s some other stuff you can do aside from that which I wanted to share. These are also places that my cousins hadn’t visited before despite living there, but really enjoyed.

Green Planet Dubai


As Dubai is excessive in basically everything, this is no less. Green Planet (linked in the header) is an indoor rainforest with about 3,000 plants and animals. The architecture of the building is super cool, and it just gets cooler when you go in. You get to interact with these huge, crazy parrots and also smaller, exotic birds. Don’t get too close to the parrots because we saw someone do that and the parrot nearly nicked him. There’s also an actual bat cave. I didn’t go in because bats creep me out, but my cousins did and thought it was pretty cool.

We also saw sloths! I saw a sloth yawn and if that isn’t one of the most sloth-y things ever. There were also a bunch of snakes. A lady who touched the snake and felt its texture loudly exclaimed, “this would make such a nice purse!” (That’s Dubai for you)


There were a bunch of other really cool creatures as well, and then some not so cool ones, like spiders and lizards. But this is an experience you’ll enjoy if you like nature.

Aventura Park


Aventure Park is a treetop obstacle course with ziplining, rock climbing and tightrope walking, etc. It was my first time going to a treetop park like this one, and it was definitely a challenge but one that was so much fun and memorable! It gets quite difficult as you move on to the harder levels and I struggled with some of the obstacles, but the easier levels are good for beginners of all ages.

Escape Rooms


There are a bunch of Escape Rooms in Dubai, including some horror ones. Unfortunately, they were all booked while I was there, but if you’re looking for something fun to do with your friends, this would be it.

Madinat Jumeirah


This one is a bit unrelated, but it’s a great Dubai experience that isn’t TOO touristy. Madinat Jumeirah is this resort that is made to look like an Arabian style mini-city and it’s just beautiful. I haven’t seen all of it, but we played cards and ate at one of the restaurants and the views are just amazing. You can even have sheesha here or snacks, or just walk around the area. It’s a bit upscale, but the views, food and ambiance are worth checking out!

The rest of my time was spent with family and friends just going to cafes and chilling at home, but I hope these few ideas will give you some variety on things to do in Dubai that go beyond the usual malls and beaches. Take care!