The 10 Best Museums in Dubai

Entrance to Al Fahidi fort with cannons in front
Frans Sellies / Getty Images

Dubai has an abundance of activities to do, and interesting places to explore from massive shopping malls to top beaches for relaxing to indoor skiing complexes. There are also a plethora of museums covering the city's history, showcasing its exquisite architecture, along with famous exhibitions and plenty of art galleries. Discover the top ten museums in the City of Gold.

01 of 10

Dubai Museum

entrance to the stone fortress that is the Dubai Museums with two black cannons facing the camera

Jake Warga  / Getty Images

Al Fahidi Fort - Al Fahidi - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Originally built in the late 18th century, the Dubai Museum is housed in a historic fort that was once used to protect the city. It is occupied with massive watchtowers, and transformed into a museum to feature the traditions of Dubai to visitors and locals. It boasts ancient canons, a stunning courtyard, and a boat. It also features a dazzling spiraling ramp that takes you underground to the main part of the museum. Here it houses galleries and miniature models displaying depictions from the past such as typical Arab houses. History lovers will enjoy the section dedicated to notable archeological findings like tools used more than 4,000 years ago by ancient civilizations. 

02 of 10

Etihad Museum

people sitting on a lawn in front of a futuristic building

JuliaKa / Getty Images

1 Jumeirah St - Al Mina - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Architecture lovers will marvel at the stunning contemporary design of the Etihad Museum. It is located in Jumeriah next to The Union House where the constitution was signed. The Arabic word Etihad means Union. The purpose of this museum is to focus on the journey uniting Dubai’s rise to a forthcoming destination after the oil boom. It hosts documents, photographs, and artifacts showcasing the formation of the United Arab Emirates between 1968 and 1974. A library with more than 3,000 titles, a gorgeous garden, and a cafe are also located on the museum grounds. 

03 of 10

Museum of Illusions

Close up of a wooden logo mounted on a weathered, tan stone wall

Courtesy of Museum of Illusion


Al Seef - Dubai Creek - Dubai - الحمرية - دبي - United Arab Emirates
Phone +971 4 357 3999

This huge museum is one of the biggest of its kind, housing more than 80 mind-boggling activities and illusions. It is a great fun-filled escape for children and families to enjoy. Visitors can enjoy the Slanted room, the Ames room (which distorts your image to look bigger or smaller), and the Vortex Tunnel. For those who desire to get the perfect Instagram shots, you’ll enjoy this museum because you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get those creative shots. No filter needed. 

04 of 10

Pearl Museum

10 Baniyas Rd - Port Saeed - Riggat Al Buteen - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Phone +971 4 201 2713

While Dubai has coined itself as the "City of Gold,” it has a long-standing history with the pearl trade. While the pearl diving no longer reigns supreme the Pearl Museum pays homage to the glorious jewels and the divers that collected them. Located in the National Bank of Dubai headquarters in Deira, the museum's main gallery features a collection of luxurious pearls in unusual shapes and colors and some stunning jewelery. The museum also features various tools used for pearl diving like the traditional dhow boats by Arabian divers. Visitors can enjoy an informational presentation discussing different pearl beds and the array of oysters found in the Gulf waters.

Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10

Coffee Museum

two Arab men in long white shirts and white keffiyeh walking in front of the stone Dubai Coffee Museum

Veronica Garbutt / Getty Images

Historical Neighborhood, Bastakiya, Villa 44 - Al Hisn St - Al Fahidi - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Phone +971 4 353 8777

The word coffee originated from the word Arabic word kahva. It is no wonder that Dubai would be home to a coffee museum, considering that coffee is the main recreational drink in Arabic households in the Middle East. The stunning Coffee Museum is situated in a traditional heritage house in Al Fahidi historical neighborhood. The extravagantly decorated museum has rooms showcasing ancient artifacts for brewing coffee, as well as ancient pots, grinders, and rotating rosters. It also houses a small library full of historic collections related to coffee. Additionally, of course, you can sample a variety of coffees from around the world. 

06 of 10

Women’s Museum

paintings and drawings on the walls of small gallery room

Courtesy of Women's Museum 

Al Sabkha, Gold Souq, Near - Al Khor Street - ديرة - السبخة - دبي - United Arab Emirates
Phone +971 4 234 2342

The Dubai Women’s Museum highlights the various roles that women have played in making the UAE a monumental country. Exhibits include female drawn artworks from all over the country and historic belongings of women from the past in the UAE. It is located in the center of the gold souk, behind RAK Bank building. 

07 of 10

Al Shindagha Museum

stone courtyard with flowering planters at Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House in dubai

Emad aljumah / Getty Images

288 - Al Fahidi - دبي - United Arab Emirates

Positioned on the banks of the Dubai Creek, Al Shindagha Museum plays host to a variety of interactive displays, photos, and historic artifacts dating back to the 19th century. It also features a section called the Perfume House, where you can discover lavish scents and experience traditional methods used for making perfume. The Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House, which is one of the oldest buildings in Dubai and was the official residence of Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum, is also a part of the Shindagha Museum complex. 

08 of 10

Saruq Al-Hadid Museum

child running in front a sand colored buildings with the UAE flag. A mother wearing a black dress and head scarf with two children is walking behind the running child

Tibor Bognar / Getty Images

778Q+PVV - Al Fahidi - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Phone +971 4 359 5612

Saruq Al-Hadid Museum is an archaeological museum close to the Al Shindagha Museum. It houses artifacts from the recently discovered archaeological site of Saruq Al-Hadid, which dates back to the Iron Age. It displays more than 8,000 pieces of iron, gold, and pottery, which were discovered by his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum while traveling by a flight over Rub Al Khali desert. 

Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10

History of Cinema Museum

antique wooden and metal magic boxes in a glass display case

Courtesy of History of Cinema Museum 

MCN Hive, 1st Floor, TECOM - Barsha Heights - دبي - United Arab Emirates
Phone +971 4 421 6679

Movie fanatics will rejoice at the History of Cinema Museum situated in the Al Barsha community in Dubai. It displays more than 300 compelling photo and video relics—dating back to the 1730s through the 20th century—that were collected over the course of 25 years by Lebanese-Bahraini businessman Akram Miknas. Visitors can enjoy fun-filled interactive experiences on the history of cinema throughout the museum. 

10 of 10

Heritage Village

historical stone complex bathed in golden lights in Dubai

John Elk / Getty Images

3110233 - Al Khaleej St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Phone +971 4 515 5000

The Heritage Village in Dubai displays the area's traditional customs and arts through loads of demonstrations and unique activities. It is famous for its primeval architecture which is pretty distinctive to the region. Family-friendly activities include shipbuilding talks, traditional cookery training, and Heritage Village hosts the annual Dubai Shopping Festival. Additional unusual happenings include rifle throwing competitions, weaving, and other live craftsmen are on display which takes visitors through a walk through Dubai’s past. 

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The 10 Best Museums in Dubai