15 Things to Do at Dubai Airport

15 Things to Do at Dubai Airport

The Dubai International Airport fascinatingly connects millions of passengers to the rest of the world by hosting over a hundred airlines. With yearly traffic easily exceeding tens of millions, it’s one of the most critical transport hubs on the planet. It also provides a wide range of facilities and sources of entertainment to its passengers to proudly maintain a 3-star rating.

As such, a layover or a flight delay shouldn’t be a cause of concern — it’s an opportunity to discover its many exciting amenities or the city itself. Whether you’re a habitual traveler or it’s your first time in Dubai, you’ll find something to do until you’re back on track. 

We’ve compiled this list to suggest 15 things to do at Dubai Airport while waiting for your flight. Our recommendations will also consider how much time you have to spare. So, it doesn’t matter whether your next flight is in 3, 8, or 12 hours; we’ve got your back!


What to Do in Dubai Airport for 3 Hours?

If your next flight is due in 3 hours, there are several things you can do without worrying about missing your flight.

1. Go Online

If you have a few hours to spare, consider indulging in an online activity. Thanks to the hyperfast 100 MBps Wi-Fi, you’ll have no trouble streaming a movie or surfing the web. If you’re diligent toward remaining up-to-date, business video calls will be lightning fast. Remember that the Wi-Fi is free for 60 minutes, after which you must pay.

  • Location: Airport premises
  • Price Range: Free for 60 minutes, then $5.43/hour for any mobile device and $8.15/day for any laptop.


2. Relax at the Zen Gardens or a Lounge

The Zen Gardens are the best place to read a book or play around with your children. There are benches spread around to sit on and bask in the sunshine, and you’ll be presented with a view of a beautiful fish pond and lush greenery.

But, if lounges are more your cup of tea, there’s that option too. The Marhaba Lounge provides various service packages at varying costs. Business and premium lounges are much more expensive, but they provide first-class services. Note that some partner banks offer their customers free access to some lounges, so, if you have the right card, you needn’t pay!

Zen Gardens

  • Location: Terminal 3, between Gates B7 – B27
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Price Range: Free 

Marhaba Lounge

  • Location: Terminal 1, between Gates C23 – C25 and D; Terminal 2, between Gates F2 and F2; Terminal 3, between Gates A2 and A3 and near gate B21 on the 4th floor
  • Contact: +971 4 298 9974
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Price Range: Starting at $52.82 for 2 hours


3. Satiate Your Hunger

Dubai International offers a wide range of food and beverage outlets for the hungry. If your tastebuds are adventurous, skip Mcdonald’s or KFC and consider the restaurants specializing in specific cuisines. For example, The Gallery will entice you with its Indian and Arabic dishes, and Cho Gao will awaken a new love for Asian cuisine in you. We recommend giving them a try!

Cho Gao

  • Location: Terminal 3, between Gates A6 – A7
  • Contact: +971 4 505 2830
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Price Range: Varies
  • Location: Terminal 3, near Gate B09
  • Contact: +9714 505 2000 — 52719
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Price Range: Varies


4. Take a Shower

If you need to refresh before your next flight, consider taking a shower. Dubai International lounges and gyms contain showers, but you’ll have to pay to access them — more on gyms later. However, there are also a few free shower facilities in some terminals. You can buy a shower kit for $14.43 in case you need one.

  • Location: Between Gates A1 – A24 and Gates B13 – B19 at Terminal 3 and between Gates C18 – C22 at Terminal 1
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Price Range: Free, but $14.43 for a shower kit


5. Go on a Shopping Spree

Dubai International Mall has the largest number of duty-free stores. There’s an outstanding selection of items and brands on offer, from casual to luxury. Aside from buying souvenirs, clothes, perfumes, and jewelry, you can try your chance at winning a million dollars or a supercar in the raffle hosted therein. It’s also the only place where you can officially buy alcohol.

  • Location: Terminal 3
  • Contact: +971 4 216 2453
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Price Range: Varies



What to Do in Dubai Airport for 8 Hours?

Roaming around the airport for several hours may not be entertaining. If your next flight is in 8 hours, here’s what you can do.

6. Catch Up on Pending Work

If you’re a busy, work-oriented person, Dubai International Airport provides a specialized facility that’ll meet all your business needs. It offers many services, such as meeting rooms, secretarial services, conference facilities, and much more, to ensure that you can conduct your business on the go without hassle. 

  • Location: Arrivals level in Terminal 3, near C15; hotel level 5 in Terminal 3, near A1 – A24 and B12 – B22
  • Contact: 35566 — Fax +9714 224 5955
  • Opening Hours: 24/7


7. Exercise 

Dubai International hosts several fitness facilities. If you’ve got time to spare, consider working out to burn calories before indulging in your vacation spot’s cuisine. And by the time your next flight arrives, you’ll be too tired to worry about its length. It’d also help if you bring your resistance bands or lightweight exercise gear with you if you’re a beginner.

We recommend the G-Force Health Club. It hosts showers, jacuzzis, and top-of-notch exercise equipment. Note that you’ll be paying per hour, with an additional fee if you wish to use the shower facilities.

  • Location: Terminal 3, Concourse A above Emirates Business & First Class lounges; Concourse B between Gates B16 – B20; Concourse C between Gates C15 – C17
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Price Range: Tickets start from $18 to $64 per adult, depending on your package. (E-Tickets are also available starting at $19)


8. Take a Nap

If you were exhausted by your previous flight, you could take a nap to reenergize and prepare for your next trip. Dubai International hosts a few sleeping facilities so you can catch a quick shut-eye or power nap. The Sleep ’n Fly lounge provides igloo-styled sleep pods and double cabins. You pay per hour, and it’s much cheaper if you sleep during the day.

  • Location: Terminal 3, opposite Gate A1
  • Contact: +971 52 355 1477 — WebsiteReservations
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Price Range: $17 to $271, depending on room type and period. $20 for an additional hour (E-Ticket prices frequently change)


9. Check Out the Gaming Lounge

A gaming lounge has recently opened in Dubai International offering forty stations and a wide range of video games to meet the interests of every passenger. The hardware presented is high-end, with side-by-side seating for smooth multiplayer experiences. You can also order drinks and food so as not to interrupt your gaming session while waiting for your next flight.

  • Location: Terminal 3, near B Gates
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Price Range: Varies, unless you’re a Priority Pass member


10. Visit a Spa

If showering doesn’t cut it and you’re looking for a luxurious experience, consider visiting the Timeless Spa. You’ll be presented with a selection of treatments, including body, facial, and nail therapies in a soothingly atmospheric ambiance. Your mind, body, and soul will be completely rejuvenated and ready for another trip before your next flight arrives.

  • Location: Terminal 3, Dubai International Hotel
  • Contact: +971 4 505 2835 — WebsiteEmail
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Price Range: $102.42 to $283.93, depending on your package

What to Do in Dubai Airport for 12 Hours

12 hours is a very long period. Thankfully, there are many things you can do at or outside of Dubai International Airport to fill up your time while waiting for your flight out.

11. Book a Hotel

We recommend you book a hotel if your next flight’s about 12 hours away for your utmost comfort. Not only will you have a spacious room to stay in, but you’ll also be provided state-of-the-art services, from spas and exercise centers to mouthwatering menus and premium lounges. 

There are nearby hotels that provide chauffeur services to ensure that you’re back at the airport on time. However, we recommend the 5-star hotel within the airport, the Dubai International Hotel. But, before booking, read the important information presented to you on their website!

  • Location: Terminal 3
  • Contact: +971 4 224 4000 — WebsiteEmail
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Price Range: Starting at $190.58 for a single adult and room. Price varies depending on the check-in and check-out date, number of rooms, and number of guests


12. Go on a Tour

If your layover is considerably longer and it’s your first time in Dubai, consider booking a tour to discover the vibrant city. You’ll be guided by a professional as you visit stunning architectural marvels such as the Burj Khalifa and Palm Island. The best place to book a tour is on an online website, and the price will vary depending on the tour length and provider.

Tour providers will also pick you up and drop you off at the airport. However, make sure you can re-enter the airport with your flight ticket. Some airlines, for example, only allow reentry three hours before the flight’s due!

  • Location: Varies, with pick-ups and drop-offs at the airport
  • Contact: Tripadvisor Tours Booking
  • Price Range: Varies depending on the tour provider


13. Go Sightseeing

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can always go on a tour all by yourself. Dubai is one of the most magnificent cities in the world. It’s renowned for its architectural marvels and breathtaking views. Many famous attractions are located near the airport. You could shop at the Dubai Mall, take pictures at the Dubai Frame or Fountain, or visit the Miracle Garden.

However, make sure you plan your transportation and allocate time for going through security and customs. Additionally, recheck to ensure that your flight ticket will allow you entry back into the airport before your flight is due!

  • Location: Varies
  • Opening Hours: Varies
  • Price Range: Free, unless visiting a paid location


14. Board the Metro

For a small cost, you can board Dubai’s hyperfast metro that’ll take you directly to the most popular attractions. Located within the airport, it’s a quick way to go out and back in and experience the best the city offers through the course of about 32 miles. Locations include the Emirates Towers and Jebel Ali. But make sure that you have the right visa before boarding!

  • Location: Terminal 1 and 3
  • Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday, 5 AM until 12 AM; 5 AM -1 AM (the next day) on Friday, and 8 AM until 12 AM on Sunday
  • Price Range: $1.09 to $4.08, purchased in the form of a Nol card 


15. Meet New Friends

You’d be surprised by the number of like-minded people you could come across at an airport. If you’re not too shy to strike up a conversation, you could easily make several new friends and turn your layover from a bothersome delay to a memorable experience. Lounges are the best place to start, especially if you share common interests such as drinking or smoking.

Closing Thoughts on Things to Do at Dubai Airport

Regardless of how long your layover is, there are always things to do at the Dubai International Airport. If you’re a first-time visitor, we recommend that you review rules and regulations often and contact service providers if you have any inquiries. However, if layovers are frequent in Dubai for you, we guarantee that there’s always something new and exciting to discover. As always, make sure you review your visa permissions and accommodate time for security and customs before leaving the airport so as not to miss your flight!



Frequently Asked Questions on Things to Do at Dubai Airport

Can I leave Dubai Airport during a layover?

It depends.

Your nationality is the deciding factor. If your nationality is that of a visa-exempt country, you can freely venture out of the airport. However, most travelers require a visa to enter Dubai, and regulations frequently change. Additionally, travelers from some countries are eligible for a visa on arrival. So, remember to check with your local UAE embassy before starting your journey.

Visa aside, another factor to consider is time. Leaving the airport may not be worth it if your flight is due in a few hours. Also, some airlines’ tickets only allow reentry to the airport during a specific period, which can range between 3 and 24 hours before your flight’s due.

You’ll have to go through customs and security and navigate the airport to find your departure gate and exit, which is time-consuming. Moreover, depending on your destination, it might take a long time to secure transportation, and you might get into a traffic jam. As such, if you’re not careful, you may find yourself hurrying to meet your flight or even miss it.

So, if you’re stopping in Dubai for a short time, the airport provides innumerable facilities to ensure comfort and entertainment. However, if you have a long stopover, leaving the airport is fine as long as you have the appropriate visa. But make sure you carefully plan your leave!


What is special about Dubai Airport?

Dubai International is the third largest airport in the world. It’s one of the most important transport hubs since it’s only a four-hour flight from one-third of the world’s population. It’s also one of the busiest places in the world due to its yearly traffic of tens of millions. 

To cater to the travelers’ needs, the airport hosts exceptional staff, services, and facilities that maintain a world-class 3-star rating. If you’re not amazed by the incredible Wi-Fi speed of 100 MBps to keep you connected during layovers, you might be surprised to hear that it has the greatest number of duty-free stores to provide you with the best shopping experience. 

From the 5-star hotel, Zen Gardens, and premium lounges to the gyms, restaurants, and business centers, there’s always something for you to do at Dubai International. Admittedly, it’s safe to say that your vacation started after you stepped out of your plane and into its premises.

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