Skip to content

Dubai Opera House: Things to Know, Tours & Visit Guide

    The Dubai Opera House, the first Emirati opera house, is a modern, world-class performing arts venue situated in the heart of the most futuristic part of the city, a stone’s throw from the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. It can be reached with a short walk around the Burj Khalifa Lake and it’s worth admiring its iconic contemporary architecture. But if you stay in Dubai a little longer, you might also want to check out its rich program of events and concerts, which make it a symbol of Dubai’s growing influence in the world of performing arts.

    Designed by Janus Rostock of the renowned architecture firm Atkins, the Dubai Opera House is dominated by transparent and bright surfaces that attract the curiosity of passers-by. Its shape resembles a dhow, the traditional wooden boat, a design choice that pays homage to the UAE’s rich heritage. Located in what’s billed as “the most prestigious square kilometre in the world” in Downtown Dubai, the Dubai Opera House is the radiant centre of culture and arts and hosts a varied program of shows and events including opera, musicals, ballet, theatre, rock, pop, jazz, and comedy.

    Dubai Opera Tour: How to Visit the Dubai Opera House

    The Dubai Opera House is not just a venue for performances, it’s a destination that offers a rich and immersive cultural experience, as well as being an icon of contemporary Middle Eastern architecture. Designed by renowned architect Janus Rostock of Atkins, it is easily recognizable for its soft and rounded shapes and its large transparent surfaces that let light filter from the inside and attract the curiosity of passers-by.

    Dramatically illuminated at night, it is a masterpiece of engineering and state-of-the-art sound and light equipment, with large concert halls and venues for events and exhibitions, as well as corridors with captivating design adorned by sculptures and artworks, not to mention a dramatic multi-story glass chandelier containing 2900 LED lights.

    Its construction began in April 2013 and was completed by August 2016, making it the first and only opera house in the UAE. The building’s iconic dhow-shaped form is a tribute to the city’s maritime history, and is certainly something well worth admiring when you are in Downtown Dubai. But you could do more: you could participate in the Dubai Opera Tour, daily guided tours lasting about 1 hour that are the best way to explore this architectural masterpiece and learn about its history, the secrets of the backstage, and the impressive technology behind the shows.

    The Dubai Opera Tour (also known as the Dubai Opera Grand Tour or Architectural Tour) is an official guided tour, conducted by the guides of the Dubai Opera House. You can opt for a tour in English or Arabic, which usually starts from the areas that normally welcome spectators and then delves into the intricacies of the backstage, usually not accessible to the public.

    In our opinion, the Dubai Opera Tour is the best way to visit the Dubai Opera House. Sure, you could buy a ticket for one of its internationally acclaimed shows (often there are really remarkable ones on the program, especially regarding contemporary classical music) and it would undoubtedly be sensational, but you wouldn’t have the chance to see what you can see with the tour.

    Indeed, the Dubai Opera Tour is an exclusive experience that offers a rare glimpse into the normally hidden backstage areas, behind-the-scenes encounters with the iconic architecture of the Dubai Opera, with the orchestra and with the scenic and technological secrets behind the shows. You can explore the Dubai Opera’s backstage, walk through dressing rooms and discover the most hidden areas, where everything that allows the show to go on stage takes place.

    The Dubai Opera House is an engineering marvel, equipped with sophisticated sound and lighting systems and a versatile stage that can adapt to the performance. The main hall, known as the Auditorium, is a multi-form theatre that can effortlessly transform from a stage for concerts and theatrical shows to a concert hall, or even an event or banquet hall. For instance, in its banquet configuration, it hosts an exclusive party held every year on the occasion of Dubai’s New Year’s Eve. Its chameleon-like versatility guarantees an extraordinary experience for every occasion, making it a cornerstone of Dubai’s vibrant cultural scene.

    Tickets for the Dubai Opera Tour are priced at 150 AED (approximately $40), while tickets for children under 16 are 75 AED (around $20). Admission is free for children up to 2 years old. Tickets can be purchased online, and as only a limited number of visitors are admitted for each tour, it’s recommended to book in advance to secure your spot. Entry is free for Go City Dubai All-Inclusive Pass and Dubai Explorer Pass holders.

    Things to Know About Dubai Opera House

    The Dubai Opera House is located in the heart of Downtown Dubai and merely a stone’s throw from the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall, and is one of the city’s most iconic and recognizable buildings. It serves as a global hub for local and international music and, with its ability to host up to 2000 spectators, it ranks among the Middle East’s most important concert halls. But it’s not just a venue for performances.

    It boasts a unique ability to transform into at least three different configurations: a theatre, a concert hall, and a flat floor mode that serves as a banquet or event hall. Hydraulic systems deftly relocate the seats to designated storage areas, altering the room’s layout. This seamless adaptability allows the Dubai Opera to accommodate a broad spectrum of performances and events, including theatre, opera, ballet, orchestras, concerts, fashion shows, parties, banquets, live entertainment, conferences, galleries, and art exhibitions.

    Its exceptional acoustics enhanced by cutting-edge and sophisticated sound technologies, coupled with its contemporary architecture, make it an irresistible attraction for enthusiasts. The interiors, a blend of elegance and modernity, are highlighted by a transparent glass foyer designed to maximize natural light.

    Inside, the Dubai Opera House is a marvel of modern design. Wood is the predominant material, providing strong acoustics. The waiting areas across all three floors feature an open-plan design and are collectively illuminated by a spectacular chandelier, a standalone piece of art. This lighting installation, crafted by Libor Sošťák, in-house designer at the Czech glass manufacturing company Lasvit, maintains a connection with Dubai’s history through strings of individually crafted glass pearls. This masterpiece comprises thousands of handcrafted glass droplets from Bohemian glassworks, dramatically lit by over 2000 LED lights within.

    Upon entering, visitors are immediately captivated by the Grand Circle Foyer, which also accommodates a restaurant and cocktail bar, and a lounge. From the foyer, visitors can access the Auditorium and other smaller rooms, such as the Studio at Dubai Opera, a concert hall frequently used for conferences and corporate events.

    Additional spaces extend into the open-air venues of the Promenade and Garden, situated in the heart of Dubai, providing a breathtaking view of the Dubai Fountain and the Burj Khalifa. The surrounding Dubai Opera District is a vibrant and modern collection of venues for exhibitions, art galleries, performing arts schools, and numerous other artistic and cultural landmarks.

    Dubai Opera Dress Code

    There is no specific dress code for participating in the Dubai Opera Tour.

    However, if you plan to attend a show at the Dubai Opera, it is advisable to dress formally. Men typically opt for closed shoes, a black tie, and a suit, while women often choose an elegant dress paired with heels or sandals.

    Dubai Opera House Opening Hours

    The Dubai Opera House can only be visited on a guided tour. Tours are generally held at least 2-3 times a day, usually around noon, 2 PM, and 4 PM. However, please note that tours may not be available every day and availability is very limited, so they may be sold out weeks in advance. You can check real-time availability here.

    If you wish to purchase tickets for a show, the Box Office is located in the Dubai Opera Plaza and is easily accessible from the car park. The Box Office is open from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM.

    How to Get to the Dubai Opera House

    The Dubai Opera House is in the very heart of Dubai: don’t miss a visit to the nearby Burj Khalifa, the city’s most iconic landmark, and the Dubai Mall. To reach the Dubai Opera House, simply follow the walkway from the Dubai Mall, and you’ll easily spot its recognizable silhouette.

    To get there by Dubai Metro, disembark at the Burj Khalifa Station (Red Line) and follow the signs for Dubai Opera (about a 30-minute walk). If you prefer to take the bus, the nearest stop is the Dubai Mall Metro Station. You can also conveniently get there with the Hop On Hop Off double-decker buses, which stop right outside the entrance to the Dubai Mall, providing a practical and comfortable way to navigate between the city’s main attractions.

    Planning your trip to Dubai? Check out our guide to the best THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN DUBAI.