If luxury and grandeur could pick just one place in the world to call its capital, it would be Dubai. It is probably the most well-known of the seven emirates that comprise the United Arab Emirates (UAE for short). Once a sleepy region in the Middle East, the UAE, and specifically Dubai, quickly became an epicenter of commerce and wealth thanks to the discovery of oil in the 1950s. Since then, Dubai in particular has used its economic providence to showcase their importance on the national stage with the construction of impressive buildings and attractions that rival anything else in the world. Don’t believe us? Check out these jaw-dropping attractions that can only be found in Dubai.

Burj Khalifa

Credit: dblight / iStock

Currently, the Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world. But it holds more titles than that. As of 2019, the Burj Khalifa also holds records for:

  • Tallest freestanding structure in the world
  • Highest number of stories in the world
  • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
  • The longest elevator travel distance in the world
  • Highest occupied floor in the world
  • Tallest service elevator in the world

Construction on the impressive tower was completed in 2010. The Burj Khalifa is best known for being so tall that you can watch a sunset twice thanks to a quick elevator ride. The towering building stands 2,716.5 feet high and includes three observation decks on levels 124, 125, and 148. In addition to being the tallest building in the world, it’s also considered an architectural gem that represents Dubai’s place as a member of the global community and a prosperous and progressive Middle East.

The World Islands

Credit: Jag_cz / iStock

Imagine living in a land that was designed to look like a map of the world. Stop dreaming, because it’s real and it’s called the World Islands. Officially, the islands aren’t in Dubai proper, but rather 2.5 miles off the coast in the Persian Gulf. They span just under 6 miles long and slightly less than 4 miles wide. The archipelago sits within visual distance of the other manmade island chains: Palm Deira, Palm Jumeirah, and Palm Jebel Ali. The idea of creating real landmasses came from the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and construction began in 2003.

While there were some development hiccups in the ambitious project, as of today only Lebanon Island is complete and actively used for commercial purposes such as restaurants, resorts, and nightlife. Dubai tourists can book tours to visit the islands and enjoy the shops and eateries or spend time by the luxury pool. Or, you can book a stay at The Island resort on Lebanon Island.

Ain Dubai

Credit: Delpixart / iStock

Ferris wheels are nothing new, but in Dubai, everything is bigger. Don’t ask questions, it just is! As of the publishing of this article, Ain Dubai is the world’s tallest observation wheel, with a span of 689 feet. The name “Ain Dubai” translates to Dubai Eye, which makes the name an affectionate nod to the London Eye — a structure that started the international race to nab the title of the world’s tallest observation wheel. Ain Dubai is still under construction, but there is speculation it could open sometime this year. However, it is officially slated to open in 2020 ahead of the EXPO 2020 that will be held in the city.

The structure will feature 48 capsules with the ability to accommodate up to 1,400 passengers at any given time. And a full rotation on Ain Dubai will take roughly 48 minutes to complete. But don’t worry, rumor has it that there are plans for in-pod concessions ranging from traditional amusement fares like popcorn and hot dogs to more high-brow dishes as well.

Ski Dubai

Credit: Glen_Pearson / iStock

Unless your geography is that bad, you know that Dubai (and the UAE in general) is a relatively warm-weather locale. So, what do you do when you want to go skiing, but you live in a desert climate? Of course, you build a massive indoor ski resort. Ski Dubai opened in 2005 and it’s still a fan-favorite for locals and visitors. In both 2016 and 2017, the resort snagged the title of the world’s best indoor ski resort. The space features almost 15,000 square feet of slopes, runs, rides, and ice caves.

If the idea of just playing in the snow isn’t exciting enough for you, Ski Dubai also offers thrill rides such as the Giant Ball Run or more low-key options like enjoying an aerial view with their chairlifts. But if that all still sounds mundane to you, then the Mountain Thriller ride might be more your speed as it moves you a distance of 492 feet with speeds as fast as 25 miles per hour.