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The New Dubai Landmark You Need to See Now

The city’s just-opened Water Canal offers a whole new area to explore—and there’s much more to come.

Dubai has an exciting, brand-new landmark, and it’s already starting to attract visitors.

The Dubai Water Canal opened in November 2016—a two-mile-long waterway that not only links Business Bay to the Arabian Gulf, but also reimagines the kingdom’s geography. And the canal’s boardwalk, which runs on both sides of the waterway, remakes the experience of visiting once you arrive on Emirates Airline.

Construction on the canal started in 2013 and was no small undertaking: It’s almost 400 feet across and up to 20 feet deep, with more than 1.8 million cubic meters of water.

Traverse the walkway (hint: sunset’s a great time to go), either on foot or aboard the water taxis that ply the canal. Start anywhere; if you begin out toward Jumeirah Beach, you’ll walk toward Dubai’s iconic skyline, which grows larger and larger the closer you get. You won’t find shops or restaurants quite yet, but they’ll start popping up soon. Appreciate the relative calm: When completely built out, this new area is expected to attract more than 30 million visitors per year.

This area is expected to attract more than 30 million visitors per year.

Stop off at the 158-acre Safa Park, Dubai’s most popular green space and a great escape from the bustle. Go for a paddleboat ride on the lake and grab a bite at the café, The Archive. And you won’t be able to miss the pedestrian bridges along the park’s waterfront; one of them is more 670 feet long and built in a dramatic “s” shape, with an oval arch that stretches 164 feet into the sky.

The new canal’s most spectacular element, though, is a waterfall that cascades from the bridge at Sheikh Zayed Road. Each night, 80 water pumps create a pulsating wall of water, lit up with multicolored light displays. There’s also a sensor that parts the water when a boat approaches.

And that’s just the beginning of the new area’s technology. If your phone runs out of juice, look for one of the lamppost charging stations. Safety is also high tech, with smart surveillance cameras that use face-recognition technology.

There’s much more to come in the months and years ahead. Major development is headed for the canal banks, with hundreds of new hotel rooms, along with hundreds of new shops and restaurants. A massive bridge will contain a three-level mall, with hundreds more places to shop and eat, and a park on top. And look for an expansion of Jumeirah Beach Park, where an artificial peninsula will extend from the canal into the Arabian Gulf.

Hurry to Dubai on Emirates Airline to See the New Water Canal.

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Courtesy of Ski Dubai
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3 Exciting Indoor Activities in Dubai

When Dubai heats up, you can cool off—and have a blast—at these fun indoor spots.

In Dubai, everything is big and thrilling—and that includes ways to have fun indoors. So forget about some small movie theater or a mall that offers only shopping.

Enjoy Dubai’s amazing indoor playgrounds after your Emirates Airline flight, when kids can dig into educational books, healthy meals, and inflight entertainment tailored just for them.

Courtesy of Ski Dubai
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Mall of the Emirates

Chairlifts, multiple slopes, a ski school, and a 492-foot zip line make up the 32,000-square-foot wonderland that is Ski Dubai. Visitors to this snowy escape can also get up-close-and-personal with Ski Dubai’s resident penguins by booking a Penguin Encounter. But the Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and penguin playground is just one piece of the sprawling Mall of the Emirates. There’s also a 14-screen movie theater, a 500-seat performance theater, two adjoining hotels, and (of course) shopping galore. For kids, the Magic Planet area features a 4D theater (where movies come to life with water, wind, and motion) as well as a rock-climbing wall, bowling alley, and racing simulators.

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Children’s City

Dubai’s coolest option for learning while playing is at Children’s City—a three-story activity center specially designed for kids aged 2 to 15. Exciting, interactive exhibits in multiple galleries offer an in-depth look at things like planets, animals, plants, and the human body. In the Play Space area, for example, kids can learn skills like how to build a house or a bridge, while the Planetarium puts the wonders of outer space in plain sight.

Courtesy of Atlantis, The Palm
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Lost Chambers Aquarium

You’ve probably never done yoga inside an aquarium, but that’s what you’ll find at Atlantis, The Palm—moving into warrior pose as a shark glides silently in a tank next to you. Hatha yoga classes here cater to all skill levels. Afterward, rendezvous with the whole family to enjoy the rest of the aquarium’s 65,000 creatures, including the newest additions: two rare albino baby alligator siblings.

Book your flight on Emirates Airline and enjoy Dubai’s endless options for indoor fun.

Courtesy of Jumeirah Group
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Make a Splash in Dubai

From beaches to big slides, the city makes it easy to get out on the water.

Miles of white sandy shorelines and year-round sunshine make any day perfect for diving into Dubai’s many water-based activities. Whether you’re looking for a day at the beach or a water park adventure, here are a few ideas to get started.

Hit the Beach

The crystal-clear waters and pristine sands of Sunset Beach make for a fun day of sunning and swimming, all with perfect views of the iconic Dubai skyline. Bustling with revelers, the beach features free admission as well as one of the area’s few winter swells—making it the go-to for local surfers. Care to catch a wave? Rent a board and get the latest information on tide conditions at the nearby Surf House Dubai.

At Kite Beach, you’ll find sparkling water full of the colorful kite surfers who give this beach its name. But kiteboarding isn’t the only activity available for those not content to lie in the sand: Join a game of beach volleyball or beach tennis, or hit the water for some paddleboarding and kayaking. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to one of Kite Beach’s many eateries, like Park House—a local favorite that has something for everyone.

At Kite Beach, you'll find sparkling water full of the colorful kite surfers who give this beach its name.
Courtesy of Atlantis, The Palm
Courtesy of Jumeirah Group
Courtesy of Park House

Get Some Water Park Thrills

Adrenaline junkies flock to Wild Wadi Water Park, which is home to the Jumeirah Sceirah, tandem slides nearly 400 feet in length that send riders flying down at almost 50 miles an hour.

While Wild Wadi offers tons of rides, it’s not Dubai’s largest water park. That honor is reserved for Aquaventure, set inside the breathtaking Atlantis, The Palm resort. Spend a day at this hotel named for the legendary lost ocean paradise and you may well feel like Poseidon himself. For those seeking the ultimate thrill, a Cownose Ray Feeding at the Mesopotamian-styled Tower of Neptune in Aquaventure is the definitive feeding experience. Guests (up to 6 per feeding) join an Aquarist in the shallow waters of the Shark Lagoon for a 35-minute, hands-on experience, learning about the anatomy of these graceful species while the hungry rays emerge for their food. When you’re done, race your partner down the Slitherine, the world’s first dual waterslide-within-a-waterslide. Traveling with little swimmers? Splashers Children’s Play Area is filled with slides and water cannons tailor-made for smaller visitors.

Cool off on the water when you travel to Dubai on Emirates Airline.

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Courtesy of Wolfi's Bike Shop
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Dubai on Two Wheels

From downtown to the desert, exploring by bike gives you a whole new perspective on the area.

Here’s something you may not know about Dubai: This bustling city is surprisingly bicycle-friendly. You’ll find a variety of trails that lead you to must-see sites, along with landscapes to suit any mood. Pedal through sand dunes, scenic parks, beachfronts, off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods, and even an enclosed racetrack. And it’s easy to find bike rentals for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

Just don’t forget that you’re in the desert. Time your rides to take advantage of the cooler mornings and evenings, pack sunscreen, and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Kid-Friendly Track

Rent a bike and head to Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park, a former camel-racing track, now reimagined as a park for cyclists and runners, with paths ranging from 2.5 to 5 miles. The ride includes sweeping vistas of the glimmering Dubai skyline. This park is a favorite among families with kids of all ages—there’s even a course that’s been specially modified for children. The park is lit at night, and includes facilities like restrooms, air-conditioned changing stations, showers, and lockers.

Desert Cycling

Al Qudra Cycle Path is your chance to soak up the desert landscape on two wheels. The uninterrupted roughly 50-mile loop cuts through postcard-pretty sand dunes along terrain that is mostly straightforward with a couple of small hills, making it a great place for riders of all abilities. Keep your eyes open for wildlife, including oryx and camels. No bike? No problem. The Trek Bicycle Store next to the path rents bikes for all levels and has expert mechanics on hand to offer advice or make adjustments. There’s even a coffee shop and a medical center next door.

Courtesy of Dubai Autodrome
Wednesday nights, the Autodrome turns into a haven for cyclists.

The Dubai Autodrome Circuit

Most days, the Dubai Autodrome Circuit buzzes with fast cars circling the nearly 3.5-mile track. But every Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the Autodrome turns into a haven for cyclists, with free access to those on two wheels. It’s an exciting way to get up close and personal with a FIA Grade 1 Circuit built for Formula One™ cars.

Where to Rent

Rental shops throughout Dubai offer bikes, service, trail recommendations, and tips on how to safely navigate the city. Here are some of the most popular.

  • Wolfi’s rents high-quality road bikes, and gear including helmets, saddle bags, lights and a pump. They also sell clothes for kids and adults.
  • The Bike Shop has an impressive range of bikes to rent to suit the whole family.
  • Adventure HQ is a sports enthusiasts’ megastore, featuring an impressive selection of biking gear for all ages and fitness levels.
  • Probike is known for quality bikes, a personal touch and an excellent service center. They also sell accessories, gear, and nutrition products.

Book your flight on Emirates Airline and pedal your way through Dubai.

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Courtesy of Wire World
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High-Wire Family Fun

Bungee and zipline your way through Wire World, a kid-friendly adventure park.

One minute, your feet are planted solidly on the ground. The next, you’re hurtling skyward, weightless, the glittering cityscape of Dubai on the horizon. In a heartbeat, you're freefalling back to earth, flipping and turning as you go. Then, within seconds, you’re headed back upwards, soaring to new heights. The adrenaline is pumping, and you’re loving every minute.

“Bungee Ejection” is the thrilling signature attraction at Wire World Kite Beach Adventure Park, a unique amusement park nestled along the shoreline in Jumeirah 3 district. The bravest visitors can get tethered to a huge contraption made up of two poles, a harness, and bungee cords. Operators wind up the bungees—stretching the cords to the max—then flip a switch that releases the tension, and it’s up, up and away! Fly with the whole family on Emirates when you visit Dubai, because everyone will have a blast.

The park's name is no mistake: Wires really are the focus here.
Courtesy of Wire World
Courtesy of Wire World
Courtesy of Wire World

More Than Bungee

The park’s name is no mistake: Wires really are the focus here. Across the playground, adventurers ages 3 through 65 can challenge their senses with different types of wire-based action. The “Swinging Tarzan” obstacle rope course, for example, features 131 feet of zipline to fly down, as well as 26 obstacles set as high as 20 feet off the ground. Climb, jump, drop, hang, and zip your way at your own pace.

For the littlest thrill-seekers, who may not be ready for the full Tarzan experience, the park also features the “Accrobranche Junior,” a beginner ropes course full of caterpillar nets, bridges, ropes, and barrels 10 feet above the earth.

These activities are also a great workout. You'll have to use your muscles quite a bit to get through many of the obstacles, and you'll likely work up a sweat along the way. In fact, ropes courses and adventure training are cited as some of the hottest fitness trends these days. Of course, they’re also a fun way of getting the whole family out and about.

Safety First

While fun and fitness are the ultimate priority for visitors, the park takes safety very seriously. You’ll find operators and instructors everywhere, ensuring that harnesses are secure and safety guidelines are strictly followed. The park also counts sustainability and environmental consciousness among its core values, claiming to use as much wood, rope, recycled water, and low-maintenance irrigation as possible in its daily operation. And its mascot—a nimble gecko—not only represents the park's active climbing and jumping energy, but also gives a nod to one of the UAE’s most common desert creatures.

Book your flight to Dubai on Emirates and swing like Tarzan at this high-wire adventure park.

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