Many years ago, Dubai was little more than a tribal settlement dependent on pearl, trade and limited oil reserves. Today, Dubai has evolved to become of the world’s leading tourism destinations, and it has done so despite many notions of sustainability tourism planning, tourism resource require and demand for authenticity. The city is now regarded as one of the most futuristic cities as it has rapidly expanded its global outreach and undertaking a range of high-profile and historic development projects like the Burj Khalifa; not to forget that it’ll also be hosting a World Expo later this year.
Dubai has roots, some of which dates back to thousands of years ago and the fact that it is unarguably the most modern city in the Middle East doesn’t make it less in culture.
The fact that Dubai cherishes culture a lot means there are lots of museums located everywhere in the city, and if you’re willing to dig deep into the history and culture of Dubai, we’ve put together the best museums you should visit when you’re in town.
Here are the top 10 best museums in Dubai to visit.
1. Etihad Museum
The Etihad Museum is one of best modern museums in Dubai and if you’re more interested in learning about rich history and culture of the United Arab Emirates, there’s no better place to do that than the Etihad Museum. The fact that the museum was built on the same spot where the UAE was founded in 1971 speaks a lot about the museum’s reputation as it is also filled with artifacts that are very interesting as well as pleasing to the eyes. Admission to the museum cost 25 AED for adult, 20 AED for group, 10 AED for student, Free for People of Determination and children. Museum opening hours is 10:00 AM – 08:00 PM daily, and for guided tours: 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm daily.
2. Dubai Museum
If you ever find yourself in Dubai, one of the most important places you need to visit is the iconic Dubai Museum. The museum is regarded as one of the oldest buildings in the whole of the UAE and a trip to this museum will give you the view of life-size dioramas and recreated villages that give you a glimpse of what Dubai looked like before oil reserves started to make economic impact. Also in this museum is an artifact gallery which features thousands of items and antiques that can be traced back to 3000BC. Entry into the museum cost 3 AED for adults and 1 AED for children (under the age of 6), and it is opened from Saturday to Thursday, from 8:30 AM until 8:30 PM, and Fridays, from 2:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Ramadan timing is from Sunday to Thursday: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
3. Museum of The Future
The Museum of the Future is an eye-catching structure located in the Emirates Towers area near Sheikh Zayed Road, and it serves as a visionary cultural institution that combines element of exhibition, immersive theater and themed attraction for visitors to see beyond the present. The museum’s window designs are made in the form of intricate Arabic calligraphy, based on the quotes of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and ruler of Dubai. The giant building which is set to officially open to the public any moment from now, will accommodate 6 exhibition floors with auditorium, retail, and more; and will be a permanent home for many innovations which will bring researchers, designers, inventors and financiers together under one roof.
4. Al Shindagha Museum
Al Shindagha Museum tells the universal tale of human innovation, resilience, and the desire for progress which shaped the Dubai of today, and the museum has been divided into sections that focus on some certain elements of the Emirati life. Located beside the Dubai Creek which is unarguably the oldest part of Dubai where early traders settled at, the museum welcomes many visitors to learn more about the city’s and the whole UAE’s history and culture. The museum is open daily except for Tuesday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and on Friday from 2:30 PM to 9:00 PM.
5. Pearl Museum
You cannot talk about Dubai’s past and history without talking about pearls because those things brought great wealth to Dubai for centuries before the talks of oil reserves. A trip to the Pearl Museum will give you the chance to learn how Dubai made fortunes for itself through pearl. Dubai’s most renowned philanthropist, poet and pearl merchant, Sultan Al Owais, donated some of these pearls on display in the museum.
6. Coins Museum
A visit to this museum will take you down the memory lane and you will get to see Dubai’s different eras and its transition to what it is today. In the Coins Museum, there are about 500 individuals ranging from Arab-Sasanian Dirhams to Abbasid Caliphate Dinars and Dirhams. Tour guides are always there to answer your questions because you’ll sure have a couple of them to ask. Admission to the museum is free, and it is open from Sunday to Thursday, from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM. On Friday and Saturday the museum is closed. Ramadan timing is Sunday to Thursday, from 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM. On Friday and Saturday the museum is remain closed.
7. Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House
Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House was built in 1896 and going to this historic place will educate you about Dubai’s royal family and more. It was the residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum until his death in 1958, and the site is also birthplace of his sons and grandsons; and has since been converted into a museum filled with photographs and artifacts from the family. Admission fees are AED 3 for adults and AED 1 for children (under the age of 6); and visiting hours are from 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM on Saturday to Thursday, and 3:00 PM to 9:30 PM on Fridays.
8. Naif Museum
Built in 1939 in Deira, Naif Museum is the first police station in Dubai, and the headquarters of Public Prosecution and the Civil Court at the time, where it included the office of the Commander-in-Chief of Dubai police, the offices of the Dubai Police, Investigations, Court and Detention Rooms. The Fort was later renovated in the early 1990s, while preserving its archaeological features. In 1997, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum ordered to convert one of the wings of the fort into an official museum, open to visitors to know about the history of the police and security services in the Dubai. Entry into the museum is free of charge, and opening hours are from 8:00 PM – 2:00 PM from Sunday to Thursday. The museum is closed on Friday and Saturday. Ramadan timing is 9:00 AM until 2:00 PM from Sunday to Thursday.
9. Coffee Museum
If you are a coffee lover, you sure cannot afford to miss the opportunity to go to Dubai’s famous Coffee Museum. At the Coffee Museum, you’ll get the chance to learn about local and international coffee production in the city, and also a couple of antique brewing and roasting machines. You might just be lucky enough to learn about different toasting styles such as Arabic, Japanese, and Ethiopian. Opening hours is 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM everyday except Fridays.
10. Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions is an ideal museum for kids and adults likewise to keep their brains in check. You won’t be able to resist the credibility of magic after paying a trip to this museum with over 80 different exhibits to help convince you. It has optical illusions, interactive brain teasers, and a gravity-defying room that is must check whenever you pay a trip to the museum. Ticket price is AED 80 per adult, AED 60 per child (5-15 years), free for any child below 5 years, and AED 225 for a family which includes 2 adults and 2 children. Timing is Sunday to Wednesday from 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM, and on Thursday to Saturday from 10:00 AM – 12:00 midnight.