Few words can describe the true phenomenon that is Dubai. Rising up from the desert almost from next to nothing over the past 20 years, some say that seeing the city is like stepping into the future. Pouring billions into transforming itself as a business hub and tourist mecca, the city is an ambitious over-achiever of sorts. But take a closer look beyond the mega malls and 5-star hotels and there’s a whole lot more to the city than meets the eye, from a constantly changing food scene to thriving art, there’s always something exciting and new happening. Here, we have gathered the top 7 things to do/experience that cannot be missed if you’re ever in Dubai.

Experience Top Of the World At Burj Khalifa This magnificent building ascends from the desert into the sky, towering past the surrounding skyscrapers like they were miniature toys. Its needle-like tower reaches towards the clouds, casting a shadow for a mile. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, standing at 2,722 feet and it is definitely worth exploring. While you can experience spectacular views during any time of the day, most people would agree that the most ideal time to visit the Burj Khalifa is just before sunset. If you get there early enough you can capture pictures from the top during the daylight hours, throughout sunset and then into the evening.

Water Fountains Have Never Been So Much Fun Enjoy the beautiful captivating water, music and light spectacle in Downtown Dubai that is the Dubai Fountains. This is definitely one of the city’s most fascinating tourist attractions that delight hundreds of visitors each day. The fountain has a unique design made up of five circles of different sizes and two arcs and features powerful water nozzles that launch water up to extraordinary heights. Not only are the fountains the world’s tallest at over 900 ft in length, they also exhibit a variety of different melodies making this a display that is sure to please everyone.

Get Ready For Some Serious Fun at Aquaventure Waterpark This is the No.1 waterpark in the Middle East and Europe, located at the luxurious Atlantis Palm Resort. Consisting of slides, rivers, rapid waves, pools plus a shark lagoon as well as a private beach, all set in 42 acres of opulent tropical landscape, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Race your way down seven heart-pounding water slides, two which take you through the Shark Lagoon. 10 slides, water jets, cannons, two dumping buckets, rope bridges and climbing frames are in the children’s play area. If fun is what you’re looking for, then look no further than Aquaventure waterpark.

Flower Power at Dubai Miracle Garden Dubai probably isn’t the first place that pops into mind when envisioning the most beautiful and largest natural flower garden in the world, but then again the city is known for the unpredictable such as the world’s tallest building and the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. Situated close to the Arabian Ranches, the Dubai Miracle Gardens opened on the 14th February 2013 and is home to an eye-catching color combination of 45 different flower varieties and as well as traditional flowerbeds, its attributes include blooms formed into the shapes of igloos, pyramids, hearts and stars. Miracle Garden is unique in the region and in the world for such a marvelous display and lavish outdoor recreational haven. Flower displays also transform with each season which means that visitors going again will have a new experience each time.

Shop Till You Drop at The Dubai Mall If you’re a shopaholic then The Dubai Mall will most likely be the first place you’ll want to visit. Even if you’re not into retail therapy, this is the world’s largest shopping, entertainment, and leisure destination so surely you would be curious? Located at the foot of the Burj Khalifa and spanning across 1.1 million sq/m you can be sure that you’ll find everything you need and want at more than the 1,200 retail outlets on offer.

Be One With Nature at Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and discover the pure desert eco-system inside the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. The reserve is the UAE’s first National Park and the Dubai government is aware of the need to preserve the unique and wonderful desert habitat whilst also protecting endangered species. Enjoy a real desert experience such as horse riding, camel treks as well as sand skiing!

Take a Step Back in Time at Dubai Creek The Dubai Creek flows between Deira and Bur Dubai and is the reason for the city’s very essence as it used to be the central hub for the Emirate activities. From the creek, you can see mosques, palaces and other Dubai landmarks such as the Gold Souk. Visit the Dubai museum – the oldest building in Dubai, take a cable car across the creek, experience live music shows and fireworks and end the day with a meal in one of the many restaurants while watching the sun set over the creek.

Dubai is clearly a city that specializes in superlatives. Everything is big, bold and fabulous and it would be difficult to not be intrigued by this huge tourist destination. If you haven’t been yet, book your flight tickets now and prepare to be in awe of this incredible city. After this, why not check out ‘How to have the best 3 days in Geneva’ and ‘Top 5 things to see in Ecuador’; after all the world is your oyster!