If you have a layover at Dubai airport and wondering what to do at Dubai Airport, this guide has all the fun things you can do to pass time. Whether your layover is 3 hours, 8 hours, or even overnight, we have compiled this list to gather for all travelers looking for things to do at Dubai Airport.

As you go through the list, you should also note that Dubai Airport has several terminals so you need to know what you can potentially do depending on the terminal you are in and the time you have before your next flight. For example, things you can do in terminal 8 are different from what you can potentially do if you are in terminal 1 or 3 at Dubai Airport.

10 Things to at Dubai Airport

Find Food and Eat Up: McDonalds, Shake Shack and more

Eating local food is my favorite thing to do at Dubai Airport and it’s probably because I have a knack for Mediterranean food. There are plenty of food options when it comes to places to eat at Dubai Airport. You may decide to check in some of the hotels around or Lounges for your tasty delicacy or make an order for delicacies from around the world as they are available. There are a few food courts inside Dubai Airport including some in terminals 1 and 3. There are several McDonald’s good outlets inside the airport and you can use this link to give you directions depending on the terminal and concourse you are in. My favorite is the McDonalds in terminal 3.

If you are American or from the West, there are also several Western food options and a whole list of Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai, Italian, Irish, Tex Mex, and Japanese cuisines. The western options include McDonald’s, Pret a Manger, Jack’s Bar and Grill, Shake Shack, Pinkberry, and Starbucks. Check out our post on the best restaurants inside Dubai Airport and if you have a long layover, you can check our best hotels near Dubai Airport.

Dubai Airport has a dedicated site for travellers and this page has all the restaurants within the airport.

Relax at any of Dubai Airport Lounges

Instead of walking around, you can also relax in any of Dubai’s airport lounges. Emirates has a great lounge in terminal 3 of Dubai airport. You can go to the info desk and get information packets that you can read or use WiFi to browse the internet. Dubai Airport offers all their travelers access to their airport lounge, regardless of the traveler’s ticket – they do not limit lounges to just business and first-class individuals as some airports such as Heathrow do.

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You may need to part with a few dollars to access the Dubai lounges operated by Marhaba, Ahlan, and Plaza Premium Lounge. If you are Emirates Silver, Gold, or Platinum member, you can use the Emirates lounges in Terminal 3.

Here are all the Dubai Airport lounges you can relax in:

  1. Plaza Premium Lounge
  2. Dubai International Business Class
  3. Dubai International First Class
  4. Marhaba Lounge
  5. Ahlan Lounge
  6. Emirates First Class Lounge
  7. Emirates Business Lounge
  8. British Airways Lounge
  9. Lufthansa Lounge
  10. Sky Team Lounge
  11. Gulf Air Lounge
  12. General First Class Lounge
  13. General Business Class Lounge

You can also read our interest guide of Dubai Airport with super helpful info on where to sleep, hotels, history of Dubai Airport, and more.

Shop at Duty-Free Shops and Get Promotional Prices

Keeping in mind that there are duty-free areas within Dubai Airport and you can spend your 1, 2, or 3 hours shopping at various local shops. If you are not aware yet, Duty-free shops can allow you to buy Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Rolex watch, or any other designer bags at a significantly reduced cost, thanks to the duty-free shops within the airport. There is a very large duty-free shopping area on Terminal 3, Concourse A.

Dubaidutyfree.com allows you to even shop before you arrive at the airport and they occasionally run promotions to entice people looking for things to do at Dubai Airport. Check out the ad below for up to 50% off on Rolex watches, Michael Kors and Dolce and Gabbana.

Go Sightseeing If you have more than 3 hours layover

With plenty of attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, one thing you can do is to visit these areas and experience firsthand by yourself either independently or Jointly as a group under a tour guide.  

Burj Khalifa has been the tallest structure and building in the world since its topping out in 2009 with a height of 828 meters. You can book a sightseeing experience with a tour guide for a full or half-day excursions and you’ll be picked at Dubai Airport’s arrivals section. It will take you about an hour to get to Burj Khalifa.

You can also go sightseeing yourself without the help of tour guides and I personally did this back in 2016. You’ll need to use Dubai Metro, a train service s that service T1 and T3 at the airport and can take you to downtown Dubai/city center. My favorite place to visit is the Dubai Mall which has over 1000 shops within it and is a perfect place to purchase a souvenir to remind yourself of your visit to Dubai. You can also go to Old Dubai to see the traditional souks and buy some local goods.

Freshen up with a shower

After a long flight or before that flight, freshening up might be needed and a shower might just come in handy, there are lounges that offer the services at a fee or use the showers around Terminals 1 and 3.


Enjoy the Wifi services offered and get updates, latest news, or get connected with friends. There are internet kiosks available for travelers without mobile phones.


You might also decide to get some sleep either in the rest zones, or the reclining chairs at the airport. There is a wide range of luxurious hotel you can check in onsite of the airport and have some sleep.

Stop by the indoor gardens

There is an indoor oasis known as the Zen garden where you can enjoy some perfect quiet time for meditation. The oasis is located in terminal 3 Gates B7 and B27.

Take a shower

There are free showers located in terminal 1 and 3 where you can choose to freshen up after a long flight. There is a health club in terminal 1 and 3 that also provide shower only package.

Go to a spa

There are a number of spas located along with all the terminals you can choose to unwind at the spa during your layover. They provide services such as massage, aromatherapy, body scrubs, reflexology, haircut and style, and manicure and pedicure.

Things to do Near Dubai Airport

According to TripAdvisor, there are at least 200 things you can do near Dubai Airport. Here are my favorites:

  1. Take a desert fun tourism expedition about 2 miles from Dubai Airport
  2. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club – 2.3 miles from Dubai Airport
  3. Dubai Festival City Mall – 2.3 miles from Dubai Airport
  4. Dubai Stopover Tours0.7 miles from Dubai Airport and can be picked from terminal 3
  5. Al Faris Floating Restaurant – Amazon Tours
  6. Deira City Center Shopping Mall
  7. Dubai Dolphinarium
  8. Dubai Tennis Stadium – Al Garhoud, Dubai United Arab Emirates1.7 miles from Dubai Airport
  9. Asfar Yacht2 miles from Dubai Airport
  10. Kiyzo2.8 miles from Dubai Airport
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