Peel back the shiny sweetie wrapper that defines modern-day Dubai and discover the city’s rich cultural heritage. Step back in time with a visit to Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood on the banks of Dubai Creek. In the early 1900s the area was populated by affluent merchants and traders and bordered by Al Fahidi Fort, which now houses Dubai Museum. Its collection of beautifully preserved traditional wind tower homes have evolved into museums, art galleries and cultural spaces connected by a maze of winding alleyways and quiet courtyards.
Over in Jumeirah, Etihad Museum offers a review of contemporary history by telling the story of the 1971 formation of the United Arab Emirates through a compelling curation of photographs, films, documents, artefacts and interactive displays. Located next to Union House, the striking structure resembles a manuscript, with seven tapering columns representing the pens used to sign the unification agreement. Open daily from 8am-10pm. Dhs25 for adults, Dhs10 for students and free for children under five.
At Dubai Frame in Zabeel Park, you’ll be guided through a multimedia exhibition charting the city’s rapid transformation from fishing village to modern metropolis, before scaling the 150-metre-high observation deck, and then exiting via a swirl tunnel depicting the future of the city. Open daily from 9am-9pm. Dhs50 for adults and Dhs20 for children (aged 3-12). Under threes go free.