10 things to do in Dubai in September

From swimming in infinity pools to visiting an artificial island; from the tallest building in the world to a wooden boat ride. Here's what to do at this time of year

Nuria Rozas

Nuria Rozas

9 min read

10 things to do in Dubai in September

Souk Madinat Jumeirah | © Zosia Korcz

Although there are plenty of things to do in Dubai, in summer most activities are under cover or under water.

In September, temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius. However, this magical and contrasting city has many plans to cool you down. In this article I suggest ten things to do without getting scorched to death by Lorenzo in the attempt.

1. Take a stroll along the Dubai Estuary

On Abra in Dubai| ©Denise Chan
On Abra in Dubai| ©Denise Chan

If you want to feel like a Dubaiti, take advantage of one of Dubai's most popular means of transport, the Abras, for a 15-minute ride along the historic Dubai Estuary, where you'll enjoy a gentle breeze as you ride along. Abras are motorised water taxis that transport passengers between Bur Dubai and Deira, the old centre of Dubai, and have little or nothing to envy to the gondolas of Venice and its canals.

Take the opportunity to visit the Deira neighbourhood, visit the popular spice souk and contemplate its multicoloured aromas from the most remote and unsuspected places on the planet.

On the way back, I recommend you book a traditional sailboat cruise with dinner. A wonderful experience where you can enjoy the colourful sunsets and the busy lives of the fishermen and traders who ply the calm waters every day, and relive the old-world charm of Dubai!

Book a traditional sailing cruise with dinner

2. Have fun at the Atlantis Aquaventure water park

Family Fun at Atlantis Aquaventure| ©Jeremy Thompson
Family Fun at Atlantis Aquaventure| ©Jeremy Thompson

On my short but intense trip in the middle of September to the city of sun, desert and exoticism, one of the plans I liked the most was to spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre at the Atlantis Aquaventure water park, perfect for disconnecting.

The best thing? It has 79 slides to bring out your inner child, a kilometre-long private beach for lazing on and a wave machine for those who want to get fit and show off their six packs during their holiday.

Book tickets for Atlantis Aquadventure

3. Fancy a dolphin encounter?

Swimming with Sharks| ©Roman Odintsov
Swimming with Sharks| ©Roman Odintsov

The entrance to this water park includes free access to the aquarium where you can do a multitude of activities such as snorkelling or scuba diving surrounded by more than 65,000 marine animals, as well as an encounter with dolphins in Atlantis, a unique experience that you will never forget and in which you will learn all about dolphins thanks to the accompaniment of a professional guide. The swim is so real that you will think that you are immersed in the salty seas.

The swim is so real that you will think you are immersed in the salty seas. Are you up for it?

Book a dolphin encounter in Dubai

4. Skip-the-line entry to the world's most fascinating skyscraper

Climbing the Burj Khalifa| ©Jose Aliling
Climbing the Burj Khalifa| ©Jose Aliling

Visiting Dubai in the summer season has its advantages, not least of which is that you can book your ticket and climb the Burj Khalifa, an architectural icon and the world's tallest skyscraper at 828 metres, without waiting in the long queues that form in high season.

If you're curious and interested in going, check out this article with ticket prices for the Burj Khalifa observatories. From the observation deck on the 124th floor, you'll have a luxurious view of the desert and the architectural wonders of Dubai. The country has made the adage "big horse, whether it walks or not" its own, as evidenced by the fact that it holds 100 Guinness World Records.

Book tickets for Burj Khalifa

5. Get your boots on at the food festival

Arabian food| ©PHRS
Arabian food| ©PHRS

If you want to try some of the best restaurants in the Middle East, check out the Dubai Summer Surprises festival programme, which runs from July to September and usually includes a specific event dedicated to foodies called Summer Restaurant Week. I'm sure this will become a favourite choice for foodies looking for places to eat in Dubai.

During the festival, the city's restaurants create special menus for the occasion full of aromas, spices and flavours. What surprised me the most is how they combine traditional recipes and turn them into the most avant-garde and sophisticated dishes, but without breaking the bank. Doesn't it make your mouth water just thinking about it? Well, imagine trying it.

Restaurant Week prices

But... How much will a menu at this festival cost me? In the last edition, 30 restaurants joined the Summer Restaurant Week and agreed on the following prices (as a guideline to give you an idea):

  • Breakfasts: for 16 €. To start the day off right!
  • Lunch: two courses for 23 €.
  • Dinner: three courses for 36 €. Ideal to treat yourself!
  • Children's menu: 6 €.

Book a food tour of Dubai

6. Find bargains at the Dubai Summer Surprises festival

Women shopping| ©Arina Krasnikova
Women shopping| ©Arina Krasnikova

Almost as eagerly awaited as Black Friday is the Dubai Summer Surprises festival, which runs from 1 July to mid-September, when large shopping centres and small business owners prepare a special programme to offer discounts in shops, hotels, restaurants and entertainment complexes. Get ready to spend!

I suggest you take the opportunity to treat yourself or buy some souvenirs at a good price for your loved ones. What I liked most about the event was the fireworks opening, the big screen projections and shows inside the Burj Khalifa; at The Palm fountain and the galas organised by the Dubai Festival City Mall, which will make you feel like Julia Roberts in "Pretty Woman" loaded down with bags. Leave the thrifty in you at home!

Book your ticket to the Burj Khalifa

7. Cool off in the world's largest infinity pool

Aura Skypool suspended 200 metres above the city| ©Aura Skypool
Aura Skypool suspended 200 metres above the city| ©Aura Skypool

Would you swim in an infinity pool on the 50th floor of a skyscraper? If you don't have vertigo, this summer plan is perfect for you. In this emirate, where it's hot 365 days a year, the pool, especially in July in Dubai, August in Dubai and September, is a must. So put on your swimming costume and... duck into the water!

In Dubai it's all about going big, which is why they have created the Aura pool in the Palm Tower, which is suspended 200 metres in the air and is the highest infinity pool in the world. If you take a dip in it, you'll be able to take in the incredible panoramic views of the Dubai skyline, the man-made Palm Jumeirah Island and the Persian Gulf.

Although it's not cheap, if you want to treat yourself to a refreshing dip in this pool with a view, it's best to do so after lunch, when you'll be treated to one of the most beautiful and breathtaking sunsets you've ever seen. Believe me, you won't want to put your feet on the ground (literally). And if you liked the plan, don't hesitate to book your ticket for Aquaventure.

Useful information about the Aura pool

  • Where: Entrance to the pool from the St. Regis Hotel. At The Palm Tower, 50th floor, Palm Jumeirah.
  • Price: From £40 for a morning pass, £48 for an afternoon pass and £88 for a full day pass.
  • Timetable: morning session (10am to 2pm), afternoon session (3pm to 7pm) and full day.

Book your ticket for Aquaventure

8. Discover the neighbourhood of Madinat Jumeirah

Madinat Jumeirah by Night| ©PhareannaH[berhabuk]
Madinat Jumeirah by Night| ©PhareannaH[berhabuk]

At night in Dubai, temperatures drop to 32°C in September and it's the best time of day to explore the city and Dubai's different neighbourhoods. I recommend a tour of Madinat Jumeirah, a huge shopping, hotel and restaurant complex designed to recreate a typical city with Arabian houses.

The aim of the architects, who took three years to build this neighbourhood, was to show what life was like for the inhabitants of the Creek area before Dubai became a city of skyscrapers. Who has seen it and who will see it! You can take advantage of the walk and sit down to enjoy dinner at one of the charming outdoor tables overlooking the canals and traditional boats.

Tip: Don't miss the sea turtle hospital located in the canals, whose mission is to care for these injured animals before returning them back to the sea.

Book a night bus tour of Dubai

9. Immerse yourself in the local culture and visit the Jumeirah Mosque

Jumeirah Mosque| ©PhareannaH[berhabuk]
Jumeirah Mosque| ©PhareannaH[berhabuk]

Amidst the concrete masses lies a secret and largely unnoticed gem, the Jumeirah Mosque, where you can learn about the history of the region and escape the summer heat.

The mosque is open from Saturday to Thursday, but is only open at 10am. Admission costs around 6 euros and it is closed to the public on Fridays, as this is a holy day in Islamic culture.

Is the guided tour worth it?

One of the things you should know before you go is that you cannot visit it on your own, but that access is allowed as part of a guided tour programme. The tour lasts 1 hour and 15 minutes, during which you will appreciate the architecture of the temple, learn about the culture of Islam and even taste some typical products. And of course it's worth it.

10. Sun protection in the shopping malls

Dubai Mall| ©mostafa meraji
Dubai Mall| ©mostafa meraji

The best way to beat the high temperatures in Dubai in September is to take shelter from the sun at any of its iconic malls, where you'll enjoy a pleasant climate thanks to air-conditioning. These tempting places are packed with shops, restaurants and attractions for travellers.

Visit Dubai Mall

Shopaholics will find Dubai Mall to be their own personal paradise. The mall has become the largest in the world and is home to more than 1,200 shops of all tastes and price ranges, from the popular brands Topshop and Zara to the most luxurious designer labels such as Chanel, Dior and Louis Vuitton, among others.

Also, if you don't intend to shop, don't worry, because this mall is like a museum. My favourite spot was the Gold Souk on the ground floor, where you are transported back to the Arab palaces with its elegant decorations and camel statues.

Inside the mall you can also see a huge aquarium filled with thousands of species of fish, an Olympic ice-skating rink (yes, you read that right, ice in the middle of the desert), Dubai's largest cinema, and the Kidzania playground, where children play at becoming different professions.

Nuria's Traveller Tip

Dine at a restaurant in the mall and choose one with a view of the 'dancing fountains' show for an unforgettable evening!

Temperatures in Dubai in September

Touring Dubai| ©Dan Bentley
Touring Dubai| ©Dan Bentley

The weather in Dubai is still very warm in this month, especially in the first half of the month, so if you have a choice, I recommend travelling in the second half of September, when the sun begins to give a slight respite. In general, temperatures during this period range from a low of 28°C to a high of 40°C, while the average is 35°C. But who says you're afraid on holiday?

Although the sun can be scorching, it's one of the most modern and cosmopolitan cities in the world and there are plenty of things to see and do in Dubai. Therefore, the city's leisure offerings are set to provide visitors with a fascinating summer in its restaurants, shopping malls and air-conditioned playgrounds (the highlight of the summer period).

Book a night bus tour of Dubai

What can I pack for September?

Packing your suitcase| ©Vlada Karpovich
Packing your suitcase| ©Vlada Karpovich

Remember to pack a hat or cap for your head, sunglasses and high factor sunscreen. Because, as my mother used to tell me, skin remembers. Also, I suggest that before you start packing your suitcase, take note of how to dress in Dubai:

  • Avoid shorts.
  • As a traditional country with a strict dress code, it is frowned upon.
  • Dresses are fine, but long dresses are better.
  • Wear linen or cotton clothes that perspire in the heat.

Book a private transfer from Dubai airport