As a city that embraces modernity and history, Dubai is a dwelling place for museums and historical attractions. You’ll never run out of places to visit if you want to get acquainted with the culture, history, tradition, and modern progress of the city and the UAE as a whole.
Plan your Dubai museum-hopping activities with your family and friends through this guide. Research, read, and prepare before you book your tickets and set foot in the past.
Things to Know Before Visiting Dubai Museums
Dubai museums differ in sizes, offerings, themes. Not to mention that they are also located in different parts of the city. If you plan to visit the most popular museum in the city or plan a complete museum-hopping activity, here’s everything you need to know about museums in Dubai.
What Museums in Dubai Offer
Museums in Dubai open doors to the past, present, and future of the city and the UAE itself. Each establishment is devoted to preserving the city’s heritage and culture to serve locals and connect to other countries from around the world. As institutions with artifacts and other objects of importance, these Dubai museums guarantee a fun yet educational adventure for parents and children alike.
Who Can Enter Museums in Dubai
Museums are special spaces for education, research, reflection, experimentation, and creativity, so anybody is more than welcome to come here. Locals and tourists, regardless of age and background, can get access to Dubai museums.
Museum Age Requirements
Any Dubai museum is an excellent place to visit as a family. No museum in the city prohibits the entry of infants and children. This is, in fact, encouraged by the local tourism management. For a hassle-free museum tour, however, parents and guardians should bring strollers or baby carriers.
Museum Health Restrictions
Pregnant women and people of determination can enter museums as well. If you’re under these categories, it’s best to bring at least one companion with you for assistance. Museums have private spaces and wheelchair-accessible ramps for your convenience.
Are Museums in Dubai Safe and Regulated?
Everything inside a Dubai museum is valuable—from the bones of Ancient animals to the tapestry of a once-prominent ruler. As such, museums have strict security in place to protect these objects, as well as the staff and visitors. They have standard and advanced protocols for accidents, natural calamities, and crimes.
Dubai museums follow special health and safety measures to combat COVID-19. Non-profit organizations and local government units handling these establishments are required by the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities to ensure social distancing among guests, sanitize public locations, conduct temperature checks for staff and guests, and promote contactless payments.
Guests, too, are required to follow individual safety protocols. Guests should wear face masks inside the museum, avoid physical contact among staff and other visitors, and submit basic personal information for contact tracing purposes.
All these COVID-19 protocols in place are still subject to change daily, weekly, or monthly. The local and the national government could release amended safety protocols in the future as the pandemic progresses and new solutions arise.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Dubai Museums
The best time to visit a museum is on weekdays, during non-peak hours. Museums are less crowded during these days as most tourists and locals contributing to the visiting population are students and professionals. Rest days and free days are on weekends, so crowds usually flock on Saturday and Sunday.
How Long Can You Stay in a Dubai Museum
Since museums are for leisure and educational purposes, entrance tickets to Dubai museums usually have no time limit. You can explore and appreciate the museum’s collections as long as you want on your day of access. The duration, of course, depends on the size and collection of the museum.
Where are the Museums in Dubai Located?
Most museums in Dubai are strategically located in busy neighborhoods and historic districts. These locations allow easy access from the city center or any other areas of Dubai. To plan your museum hopping, here are the best areas in the city that feature the most popular Dubai museums:
Bur Dubai, which translates to “Mainland Dubai”, is a historical district that sits on the western side of Dubai Creek. The city is home to popular tourist attractions, including old museums, historical buildings, and shopping streets.
Deira was the former commercial center of Dubai. Despite being an old neighborhood, it still holds the history of Dubai with a touch of modernity. The city of Deira houses historical museums, shopping malls, and commercial ports.
Al Barsha is a relatively new neighborhood in Dubai. It stands as a modern collection of sub-communities on the west side of the city and south of Al Sufouh. Al Barsha houses modern museums, residential properties, and commercial hubs.
Preparation Tips And Booking Procedures
You’re now adequately acquainted with museums in Dubai and what to expect from them. However, each Dubai museum is different from another. As such, you need to plan your choices and visits carefully. Let’s head to the actual preparation and booking process of the activity.
How to Get to the Best Museums in Dubai
Navigating the city and visiting its main neighborhoods is relatively easy. Through public and private transportation, you can go anywhere and plan the perfect museum-hopping activity. Here’s a guide to get to the best museums in Dubai:
How to Get to Bur Dubai
Bur Dubai is near Dubai Creek. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the neighborhood from the city center through Sheikh Rashid Rd/E11 in approximately 11 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Bur Dubai and its surrounding areas. Take buses 21, 29, 8, 93, E306, and X13, depending on your location. If you want to take the metro, ride the Green Line to the Al Ghubaiba Metro Station or Burjuman Metro Station. From there, you can take a 6-minute to 25-minute walk to reach Bur Dubai.
How to Get to Deira
Deira is a popular historical neighborhood in Dubai. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the neighborhood from the city center through Abu Baker Al Siddique Rd in approximately 12 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Deira and its surrounding areas. Take buses 27, C10, C15, and X28, depending on your location. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to the Deira City Centre Metro Station or Oud Metha Metro Station. From there, you can take a 9-minute to 30-minute walk to reach Deira.
How to Get to Al Barsha
Al Barsha is a relatively new community in Dubai, but all main roads are connected to it. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the neighborhood from the city center through Al Khail Rd/E44 in approximately 25 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Al Barsha and its surrounding areas. Take buses 84, 93, and F33, depending on your location. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to the Sharaf Dg Metro Station. From there, you can take a 10-minute walk.
What Are the Things Visitors Need to Prepare?
When you go to a Dubai museum, you immerse yourself with history, art, and culture. To make your exploration and experience more meaningful, keep in mind what you should and shouldn’t bring inside a Dubai museum.
Expect a lot of walking if you’re planning a museum-hopping activity in Dubai. It’s best to wear fashionable yet comfortable clothes and footwear that follow the UAE’s general rule for public dressing. For the perfect OOTD, add some jewelry and accessories to your outfit.
Food and Drinks
No Dubai museum permits eating or drinking inside the establishment. After all, this is a walking tour with lots of valuable artifacts and objects nearby. You can pack a bottle of water or a light snack, and consume them in the designated dining areas of the museum.
Many museums are strict about recording equipment as they follow copyright restrictions. Still, you can bring regular cameras and smartphones to take photographs and videos in some areas of the museum. There are signs prohibiting photos on valuable pieces, so you should keep an eye on those.
Baggage and Luggage
Pack light. You’re visiting a Dubai museum, after all. All you need to do is explore your surroundings and the collection. Bring a small purse, handbag, or backpack that you can easily carry while walking.
Is Pre-Booking Necessary?
No. Pre-booking is not necessary. You can buy tickets at the entrances of these museums. However, if you want to avoid queues, it’s best to purchase tickets online and present them at the gates.
What are the Best Museums in Dubai?
The UAE has a total of 47 museums, and Dubai houses over 15 of them. Given this number, you’ll most likely allot a whole day or a few days to visit the best museums in the city. For reference, here are the most recommended modern and historical museums to visit for first-time tourists in Dubai:
Coming on number one is none other than the Dubai Museum, the main museum and the oldest existing building in the city. The museum was established in 1787. It currently carries 3,000 years’ worth of history through its collection of objects, artifacts, and documents.
The architecture of the museum looks very old, but it speaks true history. Outside, it features a large model of a wooden dhow, a traditional Arabic sailing vessel. Inside, visitors can learn about the past and existing marine, coastal, desert, mountain, and agricultural life in Dubai.
Some of the most popular areas and collections of the museum include the Monuments Wing (ancient weapons and pottery), Markets from 1950 (life-size display of the old market), and Oasis Wing (natural resources of Dubai).
Ticket prices: 3 AED for adults and 1 AED for children under the age of 6
Timing: 08:30 AM to 08:30 PM from Saturday to Thursday; 02:30 PM to 08:30 on Friday
Location: Al Fahidi area – Bur Dubai
Etihad Museum is one of the modern museums in Dubai. It’s the very establishment that explains and represents how Dubai and the UAE combined modernity and history to reach great heights.
Outside, the Etihad Museum shows the masterpiece of the Moriyama & Teshima Architects, a building in the shape of a manuscript. Inside, the museum takes you on a journey showcasing the modern history of the UAE through life-size displays, documentaries, photographs, and artifacts.
Some of the most popular areas of the museum include three of its eight permanent pavilions, Pavilion Two with its panoramic interactive map of the formation of the UAE, Pavilion Three with its interactive timeline of historical events, and Pavilion Eight with its open gallery celebrating the modern nation.
Ticket prices: 25 AED for adults, 10 AED for students ages 5 to 24, 20 AED for groups of 10 and up, free for children below five and people of determination.
Timing: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM from Tuesday to Sunday
Location: 1 Jumeirah St – Al Mina – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Museum of Illusions
Museum of Illusions in Dubai is a modern museum containing mind-blowing displays of optical illusions. The museum is part of a global chain of museums featuring visual, sensory, and educational attractions—and the biggest one at that.
Outside, the museum can pass as a simple establishment with a historical touch in it. Inside, the museum houses over 80 tricks and illusions to tickle your brain and feed your eyes. The Museum of Illusions is one of the best places in the city to bring your children to.
All displays and attractions in the Museum of Illusions in Dubai are mind-blowing, but some of the most visited areas are the Ames Room, Chair of Illusion, Vortex Tunnel, and Anti-Gravity Room.
Ticket prices: 65 AED for adults, 50 AED for children, and 200 AED for families
Timings: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM from Sunday to Thursday; 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM from Friday and Saturday and during Public Holidays.
Location: Al Seef – Dubai Creek – Dubai – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Al Shindagha Museum
The Al Shindagha Museum proudly tells the history and traditions of Dubai, including all the human innovations that contributed to its progress. The museum is a relatively new establishment standing on the banks of Dubai Creek.
Outside, the Al Shindagha Museum features the design of a huge traditional house in the UAE. After all, it was the home of Sheikha Shaikha Bint Saeed Bin Maktoum, a talented perfumer. Inside, the museum showcases an innovative multimedia experience.
Some of the most beautiful areas of the museum, according to visitors, are the Windows of Dubai, an attraction showing the past and future of Dubai, and the Creativity and Well-Being, an area showcasing the traditional arts and crafts of Dubai.
Ticket prices: 15 AED for adults, 5 AED for students ages 5 to 24, 10 AED for groups of 5 and up, free for children below five and people of determination.
Timing: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM from Saturday to Thursday; 02:30 AM to 09:00 PM on Friday
Location: Al Shindagha, Bur Dubai (Dubai Creek area)
Pearl Museum is a unique museum in Dubai. It centers around marine life and commercial business in Dubai. This includes the lives of divers, the use of instruments and tools, and the various techniques in harvesting pearls.
The museum is located at the Emirates NBD Bank, so it’s a simple modern architecture from the outside. Inside, the Pearl Museum tells a different story that came from underwater. The museum features an exquisite collection of natural aquatic wonders and man-made resources.
The most beautiful section of the museum, of course, is its collection of authentic Emirati pearls in different shapes, colors, sizes, and weights. The majority of the collection was donated by the late Sultan Ali Al Owais, the son of Ali Bin Abdullah Al Owais.
Ticket prices: 125 AED to 500 AED per visitor (price depends on the time of visit)
Timing: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily
Location: Emirates NBD, 10 Baniyas Road, Port Saeed – Dubai
Coins Museum, as the name suggests, is a Dubai museum showcasing a large collection of coins from different sources and locations, such as Egypt, Turkey, the UAE, North Africa, and Islamic Spain. It’s one of the free-entry museums in Dubai’s Al Fahidi historical neighborhood.
The two-story building in the Al Fahidi district was transformed into Coins Museum in 2004, built with unique and strong materials like coral, stone, plaster, chandal wood, leaves, and trunks of palm trees and teakwood. The museum screams history inside and out.
The Coins Museum currently consists of eight rooms—each carrying a different theme. The most popular sections feature the history of coins, the 16 coins of Arab-Sasanian Dirhams used in the Rashidun Caliphate and Umayyad Caliphate, the 64 Dinars and Dirhams used in the Umayyad Caliphate, and the 22 pieces of coins minted in North Africa and Andalusia.
Ticket price: Free
Timing: 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM from Sunday to Thursday
Location: Al Shindagha area – Bur Dubai
Coffee Museum is one of the relatively new museums in Dubai’s heritage districts. The museum traces back the history and origin of coffee from the perspective of the Emirati Culture, taking inspiration from the story of Khaldi, a legendary Ethiopian goatherd who discovered the coffee plant around 850 AD and introduced it to the Islamic world.
The museum stretches over two floors, featuring multiple rooms dedicated to coffee beans, equipment, foreign antiquities, and majlis. Visitors may encounter coffee variations, habits, and tools inspired by Egyptian, Ethiopian, and Arabic traditions.
Aside from Coffee Museum’s precious collection, there’s also a cafe, coffee library, kid’s corner, and souvenir shop inside. Everything, of course, is coffee-themed. You don’t want to miss tasting a traditional Arabic coffee here.
Ticket price: Free
Timing: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily
Location: Historical Neighborhood, Bastakiya, Villa 44 – Al Hisn St – Al Fahidi, Dubai
Final Tips for Dubai Museum Visitors
Museum tours should be a quiet, relaxing, insightful, and educational experience. It can be a little overwhelming, especially to children. For this reason, we highly advise you to plan your visit based on your schedule and your chosen museum’s busiest hours. In this way, you can take your time exploring all areas and collections of the museum.
What to Do After Visiting a Museum in Dubai
Museums in Dubai can offer you centuries of history, but these are not the only places in Dubai where you can get acquainted with the culture and heritage of the UAE. After visiting museums, we highly recommend visiting the Burj Khalifa, Burj El Arab, and the various historical districts of the city.