Things to do at Dubai Airport

Your Guide to Making the Most of your Layover in Dubai Airport

Dubai Airport (DXB)GuideLayover at the Airport

Your Layover in Dubai Airport will be Proven a Blessing in Disguise

Dubai Airport is huge. It is innovative. It is the epitome of luxury. And it is basically one of the few airports in the world where a boring layover can turn into the time of your life! Long story short, DXB Airport holds the key to a perfect between-flights experience. Hence, check out how you will make the most of Dubai airport’s amenities:

The Best Things to Do at Dubai Airport During your Layover

1. Shopping at Dubai Airport is a Must

No matter your terminal (of course, terminal 3 houses a vaster shopping area), you’ll find such a variety of shops and retail options that you might wish for a longer stay in the airport. From major brands to local shops, the DXB shopping experience resembles no other. The duty-free zone of Dubai Airport is considered one of the biggest worldwide, with terminal 3 unsurprisingly sheltering the largest selection of duty-free shops. From beauty products to clothing and from perfumes to bags and chocolates, the shops are open around the clock, offering a 24/7 experience, with alcohol being their top-selling category. The fact that gold is also listed among the best sellers comes as no surprise if you take into account the luxurious character of Dubai. It is the “city of gold” after all!

Our Tip: Is your layover short? Pre-order your fav products and collect them as soon as you land at DXB. On the other hand, if you don’t want to carry your purchases during your journey, you can buy them at the Departures area and collect them at Arrivals once returning to the airport.

2. Eat and Drink the World!

Dubai International Airport is living proof that dining at the airport can be a real delight. With restaurants specializing in almost every cuisine of the world, along with fast-food chains, coffee shops, and bars, feel free to explore the airport’s options, and you won’t regret it!

3. Stay Connected with the Free Airport Wi-Fi

Whether you want to finish some loose ends, catch up with your loved ones, check your social media or even watch a TV series or a movie, DXB Airport offers you free Wi-Fi to help you stay connected! Are you traveling without a mobile or an electronic device? You can still browse the internet by heading to the pay-to-use internet zones.

4. Do you Have Important Business to Take Care of?

You can exploit your free time at DXB Airport by using the business center facility of Dubai International Hotel, the airport hotel located in terminal 3. The business center is fully equipped, while the meeting rooms lie in Concourse C (near C15), in Concourse A (in the area between Gates A1-A24), as well as in Concourse B, between Gates B12 and B22.

5. Pay your Religious Duties

Muslim prayer areas are to be found in all three airport terminals, as well as some car parks. Moreover, ablution rooms are also available.

6. Are you Feeling…Artistic?

Dubai International Airport is very proud of its logo, inaugurated back in 2019. Thus, terminal 1 hosts an exhibition dedicated to the artists that make that logo reality. Head to T1 Arrivals and admire the local artists’ works of art. You can even buy some of the currently displayed artworks if you feel like it.

7. Enjoy your Layover with your Little Loved Ones

Are you traveling with children? Rest assured that your little ones will relish their spare time at DXB Airport while you will enjoy their playtime (and your peace of mind!). Apart from all the necessary baby and kids facilities, the airport has designated play zones in terminal 3, kitted with trampolines, toys, a climbing area, and even TVs displaying children’s movies. The playgrounds are surrounded by enough seating for parents, along with irresistible candy shops!

8. Exercise Yourself at DXB Airport

If you are a “gym addict” or you simply want to blow off some steam while waiting at the airport, you can visit the Dubai International Hotel’s Health Club. Choose the right package for you and make use of the top-rated gym facilities, the jacuzzi, and sauna amenities, or even opt for the swimming pool!

9. Your DXB Layover is the Perfect Time for Rejuvenation

With tens of spa and beauty facilities scattered around the three Dubai airport terminals, why miss the opportunity to offer a gift to yourself? From spa options to beauty treatments and special therapies such as reflexology, you will love every second spent in one of the DXB spas.

10. Become “Zen” in DXB Zen Gardens

The Zen Gardens, located between Gates B7 and B27 of terminal 3, are the ideal spot if you want to let your mind escape from the entire traveling experience. With plenty of trees, the literary green airport area has an actual fish pond and benches where you can make yourself comfortable and enjoy the scenery.

11. Are you a Music Lover?

Then you will definitely adore your DXB layover. The airport has its own DJs and offers free around-the-clock access to four playlists via the airport’s Wi-Fi. Additionally, plenty of concerts take place at Dubai International Airport from time to time. With a little luck, you will find yourself at the airport just in time for the next one!

12. For Smokers…

The bad news is that, as expected, the airport is smoking-free. You are not allowed to smoke inside the airport’s facilities. Nevertheless, it has spacious, designated smoking areas in all three terminals. T1’s smoking zone lies near Gate D12, while terminal 3 houses smoking rooms in Gates A2, A23, B7, B27, C9, and C23. Lastly, in terminal 2, smoking is allowed in a special area close to departures.

13. Do you Need a Shower?

You can choose among the free airport shower facilities or opt for a pay shower package. Complimentary shower services are provided between Gates B13 and B19 of terminal 3. Alternatively, you can choose a spa salon or a lounge with shower amenities, check in to the airport’s hotel or pay for the shower package of the hotel’s Health Club. 

Our Tip: The Sleep’n Fly facility lying in terminal 1 also provides shower services.   

14. A Lavish Lounge is Always a Good Idea

With a wealth of lounges lying in all the airport terminals, relishing luxurious and relaxing moments in one of them is an easy task. Depending on your terminal and requirements, you will find everything you are looking for while revitalizing yourself, and de-stressing before your upcoming flight. Please note that all the lounges are accessible to all passengers, regardless of their flight class, upon payment.

15. Discover the Al Majlis VIP Terminal inside Dubai Airport

The Al Majlis Lounge is also available for anyone wishing to pay the entrance fee and is by far the ultimate layover experience in Dubai International Airport. Located near Exit 4 of the terminal’s 3 departures, it provides numerous high-class services. If opting for the Al Majlis Lounge, you can forget all about the traveling procedures (check-in, immigration, etc.) while the lounge’s staff will handle your documents and transport you to your Gate. The Al Majlis Terminal has its own duty-free zone, prayer rooms, and separate VIP entrances and exits to the gates. Nevertheless, to use the lounge’s facilities, you will have to make a reservation at least 24 hours before your arrival.

16. Sleeping at Dubai Airport

While Dubai airport’s sleeping zones are comfortable enough, the rest of the airport’s seating is far from convenient to sleep in. In fact, most of the DXB chairs have armrests. Thus, relaxing in one of them should be your last option. Hence, what can you do if you want to enjoy a good rest? You can either head to the airport’s sleeping pods or check in at Dubai International 5-star Hotel, lying inside terminal 3. The more affordable option of sleeping pods includes the Sleep ’n Fly, consisting of small rooms with 82 beds in total, decorated in a minimal, Scandinavian style. What’s more, they offer office pods too. The Sleep’n Fly facilities are open 24/7 and are to be found opposite Gate A1 of T3, between Gates C14 and C16 of T3 Concourse C, and between the D6 and D7 Gates of terminal 1.   

Important Note: Whereas T2 lies apart, at a 7-km distance, terminals 1 and 3 are located right next to each other. Passengers can move from one terminal to the other freely, without passing through customs. Therefore, the terminal’s 3 services are basically available to the terminal’s 1 passengers as well.

Long Layover in Dubai Airport? You are in Dubai! What are you Waiting for?

Whether you will fall head over heels for Dubai or not in the end, you won’t, in any case, be able to deny the fact that it is unique and looks like no other place. Thus, if you have a long enough layover (at least 7-8 hours), you should leave DXB Airport to get a glimpse and make up your own mind about the “City of Gold”. Completely surrounded by desert, Dubai is an actual oasis, waiting -just a few kilometers from the airport- for you to explore it! Check out some of the top city’s attractions, plan your spare time wisely, and…have fun!

Our Tip 1: Are you wondering what to do with your luggage? Terminals 1 and 3 have designated baggage storage areas.

Our Tip 2: A visa will be required to visit Dubai. For some countries, the issue of a visa on arrival is possible, even without charge. Please check the visa requirements for your country of origin if you are planning on a Dubai layover.

1. Dubai Downtown 

  • The sky-high Burj Khalifa: The world’s tallest building lies in Dubai. Hence, it’s up to you to decide on checking Dubai from really-really high. With a height of 828m, the impressive Burj Khalifa is open to the public while equipped with observation decks on its highest levels. Guided tours are also available. Please note that there are usually long lines to enter the building. Thus, pre-booking is a clever idea, especially when having a plane to catch!
  • The Dubai Fountain: Near the Burj Khalifa lies perhaps the largest fountain in the world, which “dances” to the rhythm of Arabic and international music, offering an amazing spectacle. Admire the breathtaking music fountain -the size of two football fields-, wander around Burj Park passing through the “Boardwalk” -the platform crossing the lake right next to the fountain- or even take a lake ride with one of the boat tours.
  • The Dubai Mall: One of the largest malls worldwide needs no introduction. The lavish Dubai Mall is unsurprisingly an ultra-luxurious complex, not only sheltering more than 1500 shops but also housing an ice rink, an aquarium with almost 140 sea species, a children’s theme park, and many fancy dining options. Ideally located, you can enter the Burj Khalifa building right from its ground level or exit the mall and find yourself in front of the Dubai Fountain.

2. The Magnificent Dolphinarium

If you felt excited hearing about Dubai Mall’s aquarium, you will certainly get thrilled about the Dolphinarium, situated in Dubai Creek Park. The Dolphinarium, as already suggested by its name, is well-known for its dolphin performances, yet it also hosts seals and many bird species. Watch the dolphins shows, enjoy the seals in action, or even opt for a swimming-with-the-dolphin experience!

3. The Al Fahidi

If you want to get in touch with the original Dubai, to discover its character before becoming the dazzling city of today, then the Al Fahidi district should be your destination. Here, you can witness a simpler and “quieter” part of the city, revealing its historic nature. The authentic Arabic style of buildings, the art galleries, and the traditional restaurants will definitely catch your attention, while the neighborhood shelters many museums, with AlShindagha Museum being one of the most worth visiting. Indeed, AlShindagha Museum is actually a glance at the city’s history, explaining its transformation to its current miraculous morphology. If you want to explore more of Dubai’s regions, head to the beach and take the boat to the opposite side and the beautiful La Mer beach district. There, you will enjoy some beach time, a delicious meal, or even some shopping.

4. The Jumeirah District and the Burj al Arab Hotel

You can’t leave Dubai without taking a picture of yourself with the Burj al Arab Hotel in the background. The 7-star hotel, lying in the Jumeirah area, is considered the tallest hotel in the world and is an actual city landmark attracting numerous tourists. Nearby, you will find the popular complex Madinat Jumeirah, resembling a small Arabic village, as well as the Souk Madinat Jumeirah, the remarkable -authentic and modern at the same time- bazaar. 

5. The Deira Area

If souks (markets) are the goal, Deira should be the destination. From the famous gold souk to the exotic spice bazaar, Deira even houses a shopping mall. Enjoy a unique shopping experience, getting familiar with the city’s original smells and colors. Additionally, if you are in for delving into the local lifestyle, head to the Women’s Museum, a truly unique cultural place in Dubai, presenting the role of women in Arab society through the years.

6. What about the Utmost Exotic Experience? Opt for a Safari!

Can you think of anything more exciting than a safari in Dubai’s surrounding desert? If time is on your side (it is recommended for at least 12-hour layovers), schedule your itinerary accordingly and book a safari tour. It will prove to be one of the most memorable experiences of your life.

7. Get to See as Many Dubai Attractions as Possible

The best way to fully exploit your layover in Dubai is to book a tour. Depending on your budget, free time, and interests, you will find plenty of options, securing a totally hassle-free Dubai time. If you want to combine self-guided exploration with sightseeing tours, you can opt for a hop-on hop-off bus. Alternatively, boat tours are also on tap around Dubai. Last but not least, Dubai is a city of exaggeration. Therefore, the ideal way to get a quick glimpse of the city is undoubtedly a helicopter tour!

Important Note: Whatever the decision about your DXB layover might be, please keep in mind that Dubai International Airport is a huge aviation hub, with terminal 3 being among the largest terminal buildings globally. Thus, to leave the airport and head to Dubai, you should have enough time (approximately 2-3 hours) to be back at the airport, pass through all the procedures, reach your gate, etc.