With a reputation as the dreamland of the Arab world, the UAE are seven Arab emirates that were grouped into a unified federation - where oil and gas money literally made the desert bloom. Those revenues transformed the UAE into a modern state characterised by lavish wealth and opulence.
Do not go to Dubai if you are seeking culture and history, it is obvious before you go there that it is a destination solely built for people who like beaches, luxury shopping, dining, Vegas-style clubs, perfectly manicured promenades and general mind-boggling extravagance. I met people who felt it was overpriced, superficial and has no culture, but Dubai is exactly like what it advertises itself to be. If you want culture, simply drive along to other parts of the UAE.
Despite Dubai being in Arab country, you will rarely hear Arabic with English being much more prevalent. That's because only 15% of the Dubai residents are Emiratis, typically extremely wealthy. The bulk of the rest being made up by a huge working-class population from the Indian subcontinent. Sitting between the two groups is a burgeoning band of expats, mostly from the West, who are profiting to varying degrees from the city's modern day gold rush.
From the Arabic word meaning "Father of the gazelle", Abu Dhabi is the capital, it's much less visited but still modern.
Al Ain, close to the border with Oman, is the city for culture and a more authentic Arabian experience.