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Dubai Landmarks

Updated: October 12, 2021
 By Pri

Iconic and Famous Buildings in Dubai

Dubai is known for its incredible skyline of towering skyscrapers, many of which are record-breakers in some form or the other. Most of these skyscrapers feature distinctive architectural features to make them stand out against the already impressive crowd. Any visitor to Dubai with a passing interest in architecture (or even someone who just likes landmarks that look cool) will be impressed by what the city has to offer. Here, we have given a list of the top ten skyscrapers in Dubai.

Almas Tower

Almas Tower is also known as Diamond Tower. It is a flagship building in the Jumeirah Lake Towers area of Dubai. The building is home to the Dubai Multi Commodities Center and includes facilities for the region’s rich gemstone industry – particularly, pearls, cultivated from the Arabian Gulf, and diamonds. This is the reason for the buildings colloquial name. In fact, the podium where the diamond exchange takes place was designed to resemble the triangular facets of a cut diamond. Security for the building is intense, due to the nature of the work carried out inside. You can still take some beautiful exterior shots.

Cayan Tower

The official name for this building is Cayan Tower. However, you’ll still find people referring to it by its previous name, Infinity Tower, or by its colloquial name, Twisting Tower. No matter what you call it, the fact remains that this is one of the most architecturally unique skyscrapers in Dubai. The building was designed to twist at a 90 degree angle, so the entire structure resembles a helix.  You’ll often see tourists looking to take a photo with the building – it’s that striking. Another interesting fact is that the building is also environmentally sustainable – the architects carefully placed the rooms in the structure in order to prevent overheating. It’s a great example of sustainability and style.

Princess Tower

Princess Tower is the second tallest skyscraper in Dubai and the 24th tallest building in the world. What is more, up until 2015, it additionally held the distinction of being the tallest residential building in the world as well. The tower is named ‘Princess’ because the roof resembles a crown placed atop the building. It’s located in the same area as Cayan Tower, so if you’re doing an architectural tour, you can easily fit both into your itinerary.

Cayan Tower and Princess Tower are two stops on our self-guided tour of JBR/Dubai Marina.


If you’ve ever enjoyed the Little Mermaid, you’ll adore this luxury hotel resort. For one, it is located on the Palm, a man-made island shaped like a palm tree. That’s pretty interesting on its own. However, when you reach the hotel itself, you’ll truly feel that you’ve stepped into an oceanic paradise. The hotel itself resembles a palace, with turrets and sweeping arches. Inside, you’ll find a combination of Moorish architecture with a distinctly nautical twist – think twisting spires embossed with a fish-scale pattern. The hotel is definitely worth a visit to see the cross between of whimsy and tradition.

 Burj Al Arab

The hotel is world-famous for a good reason. It’s resembles a majestic sail rising up from the beautiful blue water. Inside the hotel, you’ll witness the height of luxury, from the luxurious dancing fountain to the rainbow atrium. However, entrance to the hotel is restricted. We’ve written a guide to how to get inside the Burj Al Arab here, but if you don’t want to go that route, you can still take gorgeous photographs of the hotel exterior. For the best photos, we recommend heading out to Kite Beach, where you can get sun, sand and structure in one shot.

 JW Marriott Marquis

This hotel in Dubai boasts a unique architectural feature. The shapes of the twin towers were inspired by that of the date palm. Consequently, the building has ‘fronds’ that ‘grow’ out of the structure, creating an interesting textural look against the Dubai skyline.

Burj Khalifa

This is one of the most famous skyscrapers in both Dubai and the world.  At a staggering 830 meters in height, the Burj Khalifa is, quite simply, the tallest building in the world. In fact, it’s a bit of a challenge to get a photograph that encapsulates the entire thing! The spiraling design of the building is inspired by Islamic architecture, especially the Great Mosque of Samarra. The Mosque is an ancient Iraqi monument that was built in the 9th century. If you’re hoping to check out the view from the top, our guide to visiting the Burj Khalifa will tell you everything you need to know.

The Address Hotel

This is a luxury hotel situated in Downtown Dubai, just minutes away from the Burj Khalifa. The skyscraper is about 300m tall. It follows the Art Deco style architecture and includes many luxury amenities. However, the hotel is probably most famous for being the site of a 2015 blaze on New Year’s Eve. The Downtown Dubai area is the site of an annual fireworks show, every New Year’s Eve. The pyrotechnics are extraordinarily impressive, and usually millions of people watch the show live or on television. In this case, however, an electrical short caused the building to catch fire, meaning that viewers were left to see the broadcast of the blazing building with the bursting of fireworks behind it. Thankfully, there were no fatalities from the incident, so the incident can simply be taken as an interesting bit of Dubai’s modern history.

Emirates Tower Hotels

The Emirates Towers Hotel is sometimes called Emirates Tower Two – because the hotel is in fact made up of two buildings. The glass-and-steel buildings resemble a triangular prism, with the two buildings mirroring each other. Thanks to their location in Dubai’s Financial District, the atrium of this building is a popular place to do business. In terms of Dubai skyscrapers, this is actually one of the older ones on the list- the towers were completed in 2000. This just goes to show how far back Dubai’s commitment to fine architectural design goes.

Dubai Frame

The last structure on our list is a bit different. For one, it’s not a skyscraper. It’s a towering structure that resembles a picture frame. For the other, it is not yet complete, although it is due to open to the public before the end of the year. Once complete, visitors will be able to see Old Dubai from one side and New Dubai from the other. And if the view piques your interest – Dubai by Foot offers walking tours of both.


Dubai is home to a variety of gorgeous skyscrapers that push the boundaries of architecture while paying homage to the roots of Islamic architecture. They truly encapsulate the heart of the city. So make sure to try and photograph the skyline when you visit Dubai.



About The Author


Pri is a true believer in the Rule of Three - she lives between Dubai, Bombay and Washington DC, speaks three languages and has 3 kids under 3. She graduated from Connecticut College and has a Masters Degree from New York University. Pri is a licensed Dubai tour guide, travel blogger, art aficionado, foodie and curious to check out all things new in her city. Pri has been part of the Free Tours By Foot team since 2015 and loves to make customized itineraries for her guests.
Updated: October 12th, 2021
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