Things to Do in Dubai

Dubai’s top attractions and sights are largely wheelchair accessible. You can take a wheelchair travel selfie at the top of the Burj Khalifa, visit the Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort, then take a sightseeing cruise aboard the Dubai Ferry.

I was not able to visit every Dubai attraction, but I did hit all of the best spots, and can confidently report on their wheelchair accessibility here. As always, I only write about that which I have seen and experienced. Please share your own experiences in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Burj Khalifa – World’s Tallest Man-Made Structure

Standing at 829.8 meters (2,722 feet), the Burj Khalifa holds the record for the world’s tallest building and freestanding, man-made structure. The building dominates the Dubai skyline and, from a distance, looks surreal.

Wheelchair Outdoor Observation Deck Burj Khalifa Dubai

Tourists can visit observation decks on levels 124 and 148 of the building. Above, I am pictured on the 124th floor observation deck, in my power wheelchair. The views are stunning. The complete tour, which will take between 60 and 90 minutes, includes museum-like displays which tell the story of the building’s planning and construction. It was no small feat, and the building serves as one of the world’s best examples of human ingenuity.

I wrote an extensive blog post detailing my visit November 2015 visit to the Burj Khalifa here: Visiting the World’s Tallest Building, Burj Khalifa, In My Wheelchair — inside that post is information on the accessible experience, facilities available, and the cost of admission.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  1 km from Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall, Red Line (Through an elevated, air conditioned path with moving walkways).

Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall. It sits directly alongside, and is connected to, the Burj Khalifa. The Dubai Mall is more than just a shopping center, as it contains an aquarium and many western dining options. Brands represented in the mall range from mid-term to luxury. The mall contains 4 levels, spanning 5.4 million square feet. More than 1,200 shops are services conduct business there. It is also home to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, which features a shark tunnel. The SEGA Republic, an indoor video game amusement park, is largely accessible and located on the 2nd floor of the mall, above the ice skating rink. Elevators are spread throughout the mall, as are wheelchair accessible restrooms. For more information, visit the Dubai Mall website.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  0.75 km from Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall, Red Line (Through an elevated, air conditioned path with moving walkways).

Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Fort

The Dubai Museum, opened in 1971, occupies the Al Fahidi Fort, and is the primary historical museum of the Dubai Emirate. The fort itself was built in multiple phases to protect the city from invaders. The oldest tower, believed to be the city’s oldest building, was constructed in 1787.

Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Fort

Ramps exist throughout the fort to make publicly accessible areas wheelchair friendly. The majority of the museum’s exhibits are located underground, and can be reached by a spiral walkway. This walkway is fairly steep, so manual wheelchair users may need some assistance in going down, but particularly in going back up. My power wheelchair handled it very well.

The museum’s galleries depict the history and development of Dubai, from its early founding to the present day. It was amazing to see how the discovery of oil transformed the city, turning it into a world financial center. Admission is available to adults for AED 3, which is less than one U.S. Dollar. I spent about two hours touring the museum galleries, and was able to use a wheelchair accessible restroom midway through the tour. More information is available on the Dubai Museum website.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  0.9 km from Al Fahidi, Green Line.

Dubai Grand Mosque

The Grand Mosque, not to be confused with the larger Jumeirah Mosque, is located across the street from the Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort. Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter.

Dubai Grand Mosque

For my Muslim readers, wheelchair access is possible via a ramp to the left of the stairs pictured in the photograph above. Non-Muslims are allowed to access the arguably more beautiful (from an architectural standpoint) Jumeirah Mosque, which is described later in this guide.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  0.9 km from Al Fahidi, Green Line.

Deira Clocktower

Rated as one of the 17 most beautiful clocktowers in the world by The Telegraph newspaper, the Deira Clocktower is located at the center of a busy traffic roundabout in Dubai’s Deira area.

Dubai Deira Clocktower

The roundabout sits at the convergence of Umm Hurrair Road and Al Maktoum Road. Not far away is the Al Maktoum Bridge, which was the first connection between Deira and Bur Dubai. The clocktower was designed by architect Ziki Homsi and was constructed by his firm in 1965. It’s a cool architectural site and has a fairly standard fountain beneath it. If you’ve got a few minutes and want to check it out, it is a short walk from the metro – you will need to roll your wheelchair in the street for part of the journey.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  0.8 km from Al Rigga, Red Line.

Dubai’s Deira Creek Area

The areas along the banks of the Deira, or Dubai Creek, are some of the oldest in the city. The Dubai Metro offers service to either site. In the photo below, I am pictured having an afternoon snack and enjoying a shisha pipe at the Blue Barjeel Restaurant on the western side of the creek.

Enjoying Lunch and Shisha Along Deira Creek in Dubai

On the eastern side of the creek, near the Al Rigga Metro Station, are the Gold and Spice Souks. To the west is the boarding area for the Dubai Ferry (discussed below), the Bur Dubai Souk, Al Fahidi Fort, and more. Every tourist should spend time touring the Deira Creek area. Perhaps you’ll have time to grab a quick bite as I did here. Outdoor seating is wheelchair accessible, but finding a nearby bathroom may be difficult.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  0.75 km from Al Ghubaiba, Green Line.

Bur Dubai Souk

The Bur Dubai Souk, located on the western side of Deira Creek, is only a short walk away from the Dubai Ferry Terminal and Al Ghubaiba Metro Station. This souk is covered throughout (see the photo below) and features retailers of textiles, linens, footwear and souvenirs.

Bur Dubai Souk, Fashion and Souvenirs

I spent about 30 minutes rolling through the market, and purchased a traditional Arab keffiyeh – the headwear that is traditional for local Emiratis. The merchants and vendors are salespeople, and they will make every effort to reel you in. Feel free to barter – I was able to purchase my keffiyeh and the accompanying agal (a black cord that sits atop the keffiyeh) for AED 35 (~$9.50 USD). The keffiyeh, when worn, did keep my head and neck cooler during the intense midday heat.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  0.75 km from Al Ghubaiba, Green Line.

Sightseeing Tour on the Dubai Ferry

The Dubai Ferry, operated by the city’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA), is a wheelchair accessible and inexpensive sightseeing cruise. One-way and circular trips are available at different points of the day. Surprisingly, demand is not very high, so a minimum of 10 passengers are required for the 100-seat boats to cruise on a circular journey.

Wheelchair Accessible Dubai Ferry

I attempted to take the 5 p.m. departure for a circular trip from the port at Al Ghubaiba, but there were not 10 people to take the trip. I then took the 6:30 p.m. one-way trip from Al Ghubaiba to the Dubai Marina. All journeys, whether circular or one-way, take about an hour. The ships are wheelchair accessible, and boarding is made possible via a ramp. Since the “curb” of the ramp is about 4 inches, some power wheelchair users may need assistance. The ship’s staff were more than happy to help, and I was able to board without issue.

Two classes of service, Gold and Silver, were available. Tickets in Gold class cost AED 75, while Silver is 50 AED. Two dedicated wheelchair spaces are available in the Silver class of service. The ship’s captain allowed me to sit in the Gold class, which was empty during my journey. I recommend purchasing Silver, as I did, because you’ll be on the open-air deck at the rear of the ship for most of the journey. There is no restroom onboard the ship, but there is a snack bar, where snacks and drinks are available for purchase. Alcohol is not sold.

One-way journeys are available departing both the Al Ghubaiba and Dubai Marina ports at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., daily. These frequencies run regardless of the number of passengers. Circular trips run from both ports at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., daily, but do require the minimum 10 passengers. The Al Ghubaiba ferry terminal is approximately 0.5 km from the Al Ghubaiba Metro Station, served by the Green Line. The Dubai Marina ferry port is 1 km from the Dubai Marina Mall Tram station. The tram offers connecting service to the Metro’s Red Line at the DAMAC Properties Metro Station. For more information on the Dubai Ferry, the boats, schedules and ticket prices, visit

Dubai Dolphinarium

The Dubai Dolphinarium is the only indoor, air-conditioned dolphinarium in the Middle East. The facility is home to 5 black sea bottlenose dolphins and 4 Northern fur seals. I saw the 6 p.m. show, which features an Illusionist and performances by both the seals and dolphins. The Illusionist was entertaining, but he was not a Vegas-quality performer. Thankfully, the evening show quickly pivots to the animals, after about 20 minutes.

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Wheelchair “accessible” seating is, oddly, a few steps from the ground. Wheelchair users won’t be able to access this area, and will be forced to sit in one of the concourses between seating sections.

Dubai Dolphinarium Wheelchair Accessible SeatsThis will separate you from your group. Since the earlier, daytime shows do not feature the illusionist, it is possible wheelchairs will be able to sit in front of a seating section. The illusionist’s equipment requires that space be free, as it is moved in and out of the arena. See the picture to the left – these are the accessible seats.

The animals are very talented, as you see in the video shared above. Ticket prices for adults are AED 100, or either AED 120 or 140 to sit in the “VIP” center section. Given the challenges to wheelchair accessibility, wheelchair users should purchase a standard ticket. The view of the animals is excellent from all angles/vantage points. There is no written policy for discounted tickets for the disabled, but I was charged only AED 20, and assigned to one of the “accessible” seats in the VIP section, pictured to the left. The Dolphinarium includes a food court, as well as wheelchair accessible restrooms. For more information on the Dolphinarium, shows and other attractions, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  1 km from Dubai Healthcare City, Green Line. The C7 Bus offers service between the metro station and Dolphinarium.

Dubai Fountain Water Show

If you’ve been impressed by the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, the Dubai Fountain takes the game to a new level.

Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountains

Some quick facts: The fountain measures 275 meters (~902 ft.) in length and can shoot water up to 500 feet in the air. More than 6,000 lights and 25 color projectors add to the performance, which is choreographed to a wide variety of music. Shows take place at 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. and every 30 minutes between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on weekdays. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the performances run an extra hour, to 11:00 p.m. The Dubai Fountain sits amid a 30-acre mn-made lake, directly outside the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  1 km from Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall, Red Line (Through an elevated, air conditioned path with moving walkways, and through the Dubai Mall).

Dubai Zoo

The Dubai Zoo is, sadly, a relic of the past that will soon close, I hope. 230 species of animals are kept in cages which are oftentimes too small a habitat for their comfort, health and safety. The zoo takes up only 3.7 acres of space. Prior to visiting, I was not aware of the concerns raised by animal rights groups in Dubai and around the world. In the video above, you get a glimpse of two lions and their small caged area. There is no room for them to run. The same is true for other animals, which include bears, foxes, monkeys and tigers, among others.

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There are plans to open a new zoo, and it is my hope that it will be completed soon. The most exciting zoos offer a glimpse of animals in habitats that replicate their natural ones. The Dubai Zoo is a collection of small cages, in which the animals are essentially prisoners. I’m not typically an animal rights activist, but it’s easy to recognize that the present set-up is wrong. If you do decide to visit the Dubai Zoo, its pathways are friendly to wheelchairs. Accessible restrooms are also available. Admission for adults is AED 2, but I was granted free admission on account of my disability.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Buses:  8, 88 and C10, directly outside the zoo’s entrance.

Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo in the Dubai Mall

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo at the Dubai Mall

The main draw of the Dubai Aquarium is its incredible underwater shark tunnel. As you walk through the tunnel, you’ll have the opportunity to admire the more than 140 species of marine life, which include more than 300 sharks. In keeping with the Dubai theme of “biggest,” the aquarium’s 2.6 million gallon main tank is the largest suspended aquarium in the world. Sadly, much of the tour is not wheelchair accessible. Of the entry-level tour package, which costs AED 100 for adults, only half of the experiences were accessible. I decided to pass on the ticket, but the staff were kind enough to grant me free entry into the underwater shark tunnel, pictured above. The entrance to the shark tunnel is on level 1 of the Dubai Mall. For more information on the aquarium, visit
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Metro station:  1 km from Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall, Red Line (Through an elevated, air conditioned path with moving walkways).

Jumeirah Mosque

The Jumeirah Mosque may be the most beautiful in the City of Dubai. It is located near to the Jumeirah Public Beach which, sadly, was closed during my November 2015 visit to the city. The Pearl Jumeirah island is also within close proximity. The mosque is the only one in the Dubai Emirate that is open to the general public.

Jumeirah Mosque Dubai

Tours are provided 6 days a week (Saturday through Thursday) at 10:00 a.m. These tours are sponsored and hosted by the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Visitors are given free rein to ask questions of the hosts – about the city, Mosque, and the Islamic Faith. In keeping with their mission of “Open Doors, Open Minds,” the center places no limits on discussion and seeks to share insight into Islam with foreigners and those of other faiths. For more information on the tours, visit There is a great video highlighting the tour experience at the link.
Subway Metro Icon Nearest Buses:  8, 88, C10 and Z28, 1 block from the Mosque.