Best Museums in Dubai Worth Visiting

While Dubai itself is certainly not a hidden gem, most people know very little about its less flashy side. The city of dizzying skyscrapers and luxury shopping malls is also the city of rich history and tradition. Its introverted side has been somewhat unjustly neglected in favor of modern business centers and colorful nightlife. If you're looking to experience Dubai in its full potential, you could go the old-fashioned route and explore the city's not-so-old-fashioned museums. Not only will you update your history knowledge, but you'll also understand what it is that makes this city one of a kind. If you're wondering what the best museums in Dubai are, keep reading and get ready to pack your bags.

Dubai museum

To fully comprehend this part of the world, it is necessary to understand its history. Both for beginners and history fanatics, the Dubai museum is the perfect first stop.


United Arab Emirates' main museum is located in the Al Fahidi Fort, which is considered Dubai's oldest building. Built in 1787, the fort used to protect the town with its walls and towers. However, for the last 50 years, it has been protecting centuries of history by opening its doors to curious visitors from all over the world. Although not very big, the museum takes you on a 3000 years long journey, from nomadic Bedouin tribes to Dubai that you know today. Whether you choose to join a tour or simply walk around listening to audio guides, you'll be able to learn about boats, weapons, and musical instruments while strolling through perfectly replicated traditional street markets.

Etihad Museum

While Etihad probably makes you think of airplanes, this is the Arabic word meaning Union, and that is precisely what you can expect to learn about in this stunningly modern-looking museum. The Etihad Museum tells the story of how the United Arab Emirates was born – about the historical events that conceived the country and the people who helped shape it. Like most museums in Dubai, this one is also equipped with interactive audio-visual tours that are sure to spark your interest.

The museum was built in the shape of a manuscript with seven pillars representing the pens that signed this vital document. With that said, be aware that Dubai's captivating, gravity-defying architecture and culture are seriously addictive and have the power to make you want to move here. If you decide to call this amazing place your home, make sure you are thoroughly informed on how unique this city is and how that would affect your lifestyle.

Heritage Village

Once you've had enough of modern Dubai, consider visiting Heritage Village, where you will be able to see what the daily dynamics of traditional Dubai used to look like. This so-called living museum is another interactive experience Dubai has to offer as visitors can participate in the traditional Dubai lifestyle by eating local food and watching arts and crafts being made on the spot while surrounded by old mud houses and a 200-year-old mosque.


Naif museum

For those who are always on the lookout for unconventional and unique places, Naif museum is the perfect spot. Located in a fort that used to house a police station and a prison, the museum paints a picture of the city's justice system evolution. Because Dubai's police force is among the best ones in the world, seeing how it all started is fascinating, to say the least. From detention rooms to uniforms and weapons, you'll be able to see how everything changed over almost 100 years.

Coffee museum

If you can't imagine your life without coffee, make sure to visit the Coffee Museum. This cozy yet eccentric place will help you understand how coffee enchanted the entire world, starting from the Arabs. Ancient brewing methods, grinders, pots, and roasters are some of the things you can expect to see inside, but your sense of smell and taste won't be disappointed either. You'll be able to enjoy tasting different types of coffee alongside a spoonful of world-renowned Arabic hospitality. If you're still thirsty for more, you can head to the museum's library, where you can explore historical texts about (almost) everyone's favorite caffeinated drink.


If you happen to be traveling alone, don't forget to pick up a few souvenirs for your coffee-loving friends and family members at the museum's charming gift shop.

Pearl museum

Most people think Dubai has earned its wealth through the oil trade. While that is not wrong, the city used to depend on its pearling industry, and this museum is an homage to those times. The museum is located at the headquarters of the National Bank of Dubai. The stunning pearls you will be able to see on display used to be part of Sultan Al Owais's collection. There is no entrance fee, but visitors are required to go through a couple of security checks, just in case someone tries to sneak out a shiny souvenir.

Museum of Illusions

When you decide to take a break from the somewhat conventional museums in Dubai, you can head to the Museum of Illusions. While this museum is not unique to Dubai, what is impressive is its size. Whether you're traveling with kids or you just like to stay in touch with your inner child, the Museum of Illusions will indeed trick you and entertain you at the same time. The Instagram pictures you will end up with are, of course, a big plus as well.

Dubai's ability to please everyone's tastes and preferences is unmatched. You can choose between the cool, air-conditioned interiors or the scorching heat of the desert. The history and tradition or the modern and futuristic. The bustling business life or the slow living of before. The best museums in Dubai can surely offer whatever it is that you're looking for.


Photos used: