A Day in Dubai Festival City: How to Spend 24 Hours There

There are so many things to see and do in Dubai Festival City that 24 hours is hardly enough. Still, those who live there can attest that even just one full day would suffice for you to appreciate what the city has to offer.

Furthermore, many people spend their flight layovers and even get into quick trips there for the sheer pleasure the place can provide because of its numerous attractions and prime location.

Planning on experiencing the same? Use this guide on how to spend the best 24 hours of your life in this bustling entertainment hub in Dubai.


You can spend the earlier part of the day outdoors, especially during the cooler times until the sun reaches its strongest at around 10 a.m. And since Dubai Festival City is practically near everything, you have a wide variety of choices:

1.     Get fit at Al Areesh Club

There’s no better way to start the day than to get fit. You can do just that at Al Areesh Club.

This fitness club in Dubai Festival City offers amenities for an array of health and wellness activities, including:

  • A gym with complete workout equipment.
  • A multipurpose court.
  • An aerobic studio.
  • Several swimming pools.
  • Provisions for racket sports.
  • All-weather hard courts.

Located in the Al Badia District with a beautiful landscape surrounding it, Al Areesh Club gives Dubai Festival City residents, its members, and their visitors a prime entertainment and leisure destination perfect for families.

It also has a wide range of dining selections, including cafes and restaurants for a quick coffee and basic amenities such as groceries, dental services, a pharmacy, beauty salons, and even a playground for the little ones.

2.     Shop at Dubai Festival City Mall

After pumping yourself up with workouts at Al Areesh Club, you can head next to Dubai Festival City Mall.

There, you’ll find what is arguably the best shopping experience and more.

Dubbed as one of the most famous malls in Dubai, the establishment is home to many fashion brands, including renowned designer selections and high street staples. In fact, it houses over 400 outlets, so you can certainly “shop ‘til you drop.”

Of course, you could also reserve your energy for other attractions in Dubai Festival City. Instead, try out food businesses that serve both local and international cuisine while enjoying gorgeous vistas of the Dubai Creek.

The mall opens at 10 a.m. every day and closes at 10 p.m. every Sunday to Wednesday or at midnight on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.


Continue your 24-hour excursion with a delicious lunch at any of the fabulous dining options at Dubai Festival City Mall, ranging from notable eateries to high-end restaurants. Many of these can be found on the mall’s Festival Bay wing, right in front of wonderful Dubai Creek views.

After that, you can proceed with some of the most popular tourist activities in the city:

3.     Watch a film at NOVO Cinemas

Bask in the magic of the movies at Dubai Festival City Mall’s NOVO Cinemas. The theater is famous for its 18 screens and is deemed the biggest, most visited theater chain in the Middle East.

Offering the very first IMAX in the UAE, NOVO Cinemas comes with a rich legacy of cinema firsts. It also houses the luxurious Novo 7 Star Experience, which gives visitors the best seats in the house – literally. The most comfortable viewing experience it offers includes anything from plush leather seats and pillows to waiter service.

4.     Fly a plane at the Dream Aero

Whether or not you have dreamed of becoming a pilot is out of the question. The Dream Aero flight simulator will make you love the experience, regardless of what you wanted to be when you were little.

Perfect for adventure enthusiasts, this attraction offers the first-ever full-motion flight simulator in the UAE in a 100 percent enclosed cockpit of the B737 airliner. Thanks to the detailed visualization system, pretend pilots will get the closest possible experience to actually flying the plane – thrills and all – from takeoff straight to the landing.

Assisted by a professional pilot, you can take the captain’s seat and bring up to two people with you up, up, and away. Your kids can even tag along as long if they are six years old and above.

Dream Aero is open between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to midnight on Thursday, Fridays, and Saturdays.

5.     Ride the Festival Wheel

Sure, you can find lots of good views from hundreds of skyscrapers in Dubai, but there’s a certain magic to beholding the city’s skyline from the highest point in a Ferris wheel. And not just any Ferris wheel – the Festival Wheel.

Head to South Bay in Dubai Festival City to get a chance to ride the massive 40-meter-high wheel that carries visitors to a sky-high experience. Riding one of its 30 capsules, you will be able to behold not just the city but Dubai Creek, too.

If you time it right, you can even witness the most magical sunset ever.

The Festival Wheel opens every 2 p.m. daily and closes at 11 p.m. from Sunday to Wednesday or at 12 midnight on Thursday to Saturday.


The day isn’t over as Dubai Festival City offers one more exciting activity into the evening:

6.     Witness awe-inspiring entertainment displays at IMAGINE

A quick search online for the best events in Dubai today will show you one of the best light shows in the country: IMAGINE.

Combining lights, lasers, water, and music, IMAGINE is a record-breaking and ever-changing multisensory show you’ll get to enjoy every night on Festival Bay.

Head there after sunset and see how the state-of-the-art show marries technology, science, and art for a spectacular performance you won’t find elsewhere.

Earning two Guinness World Records awards during its first year of operations, IMAGINE Dubai’s magical shows composed of 30 fountains, giant aqua screens, and surround sound effects are definitely a great way to end your 24-hour trip in Dubai Festival City.

IMAGINE Dubai performances are scheduled to commence at the following times:

  • Saturday to Wednesday – every half hour between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
  • Thursday to Friday – every half hour from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

A Day to Remember

Even with just 24 hours, every moment you spend in Dubai Festival City will be worth it. Try out the activities listed here or curate your own itinerary for a day trip that you will never forget.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

Check Also

London Is Never Just a City Center

Millions of us have enjoyed short break holidays in many of the world’s greatest cities, …