Dubai is an amazing city with so many great places to visit and explore with your family. Dubai offers so many options for families to enjoy and we were pleasantly surprised by the number of activities for the entire family. So many things to do in Dubai for the kids the tough part will be trying to choose what fun activities to do and which ones you will have to plan for your next visit!
We stayed in Dubai for 5 days on our 1 year of full-time travel. Our first visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and our first to a middle eastern country. With a bit of unknown, we walked into a city that is full of state-of-the-art technology, buildings and modern luxuries while still keeping the authenticity of their culture and heritage. The city is a blend of both old-world charm and new world age; which we absolutely loved. To our surprise, it was one of the BEST cities that we went to with so many kid-friendly and family-oriented things to do.
If you have already booked your flight, planning your trip or just arrived in Dubai today, here are the best places to visit in Dubai with kids (or without). All this information should help you with what to do in Dubai when you are visiting.
What You'll Find in This Post
- Top 10 Things to do in Dubai for Kids
- 1. Going to the top of Burj Khalifa
- 2. Visit the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
- 3. Learn about Dubai at Dubai Museum
- 4. Take an Abra boat ride on the Dubai Creek
- 5. Wander through the Gold Souk, Spice Souk and Textile Souk
- 6. Take the kids on a Camel Ride and Desert Safari
- 7. Visit the Dubai Mall
- 8. Beach Day
- 9. Go Check out Palm Jumeirah Islands
- 10. Take the kids to Bounce Dubai
- Other Places to Visit in Dubai for Kids
- Best Time to Visit Dubai
- Best Family Hotels in Dubai
- What are the Best Things to do with Kids in Dubai?
- Dubai for Kids Insiders Tips:
- What to wear in Dubai?
Top 10 Things to do in Dubai for Kids
Below is the list of items that we did with our kids in Dubai, as I mentioned before there is so much to do in Dubai that we had to choose which things to do. We also only did 1 to 2 things per day as we knew our kids typically can’t handle more without completely losing their minds. But, having a good blend of kid activities and more adult-oriented places to see in Dubai can provide a bit of encouragement to comprising to have an exciting day exploring Dubai.
1. Going to the top of Burj Khalifa
You have to do it, yes it is one of the top things to do in Dubai and the most touristy spots but it is a must! How cool is that to go up the elevator within a few minutes up to the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa. The kids were amazed when the elevators opened and we looked through the observation deck to see the entire city of Dubai and the flat desert that surrounds it. It is a whole new world with the viewpoint of a bird so high in the sky.
It can be expensive, so we ventured to only go to the 124 & 125 floors, which cost approximately $50 CDN per person to go up. Honestly for the extra cost to go higher was not worth the value to us. We also booked in advance and tried to time it with the sunset so we could see a bit of the city in the daylight and also the lights down below.
2. Visit the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
This was by far one of the BEST aquariums we have ever seen. As you enter the aquarium you will be greeted with a towering high aquarium tank in the middle of the Dubai Mall. We spent a few hours here and even did the glass bottom boat experience with the kids. This might be their favourite thing to do in Dubai.
3. Learn about Dubai at Dubai Museum
So much information at this smaller size museum makes in manageable for kids at Al Fahidi Fort. We went first thing in the morning when they opened and knew we were in the right place for kids when a busload of school-age kids had come there for a field trip. We were fortunate enough to get a Dubai tour guide to walk us through the exhibits and explain so much of the stories, history of Dubai and their culture. This tied in well with our homeschooling plan for the kids, and us parents learned a lot too. Go early to beat the heat!
4. Take an Abra boat ride on the Dubai Creek
After we finished at the Dubai Museum we walked around the Bastakiya quarter over to where we could catch an Abra boat to take us across Dubai Creek, it’s basically a water taxi. The waterways are alive with all the merchandise being moved and shipped to the local souks in the area. We loved just taking the short ride across to get another perspective of the river.
5. Wander through the Gold Souk, Spice Souk and Textile Souk
A visit to Dubai with kids is not complete without exploring the gold souk, spice souk and textile souk. These markets are busy with locals and tourist alike wandering and getting lost through the streets. Admire the gold, traditional textile and so many wonderful color of spices in the souks.
6. Take the kids on a Camel Ride and Desert Safari
An experience that our family loved was just outside the city. Within an hour or two outside of Dubai, you will be able to experience a desert safari where you can ride a camel, sandboard, dune bashing, visit a camel farm and so much more. A highlight to our trip we booked for 2 nights after our stay in the city, but there are many tour operators that have a 1-day tour that can be arranged. This is one of the best things to do in Dubai and while you are in the United Arab Emirates.
7. Visit the Dubai Mall
The Dubai mall is huge and can be a bit overwhelming, usually, the last place I want to go while on vacation is to a mall. But, this mall is not a typical mall. Our kids love going into the section of the toy stores and checking out the specialized kid’s stores including the Lego store. This is also a great spot for when it is too hot outside.
8. Beach Day
Spend a day or half-day at the beach, especially if visiting during the summer months. Our resort had a wonderful beach on Palm Jumeirah, so we just used our beach at the resort with warm water and white sand. But, another option, if you aren’t staying on the Palm Islands, is to go to City Beach (Kite N Surf) which offers beach amenities to spend the day on the beach in Dubai.
9. Go Check out Palm Jumeirah Islands
The man-made island that when seen from the sky looks like a palm tree. We asked our driver so many questions and took a drive through the area, then went for a walk along the pathways. You can also go check out one of Jumeirah beaches too for the day or afternoon.
10. Take the kids to Bounce Dubai
An indoor trampoline park will burn off the energy of the kids in a cool indoor climate to beat the heat. They have trampolines that line the walls of this huge indoor park for the kids to play and have some fun while you can either join them or sit and have a coffee or snack.
As I mentioned above there is so much to do in Dubai that we had to limit what we could do with our time. We tried to split our places to see in Dubai between the cultural activities and some of Dubai’s tourist places. Trying to see as many of the must-do things in Dubai, but it is just impossible! But, if you are looking for more activities in Dubai, check out some more fun things to see in Dubai below that we just didn’t get the chance to go do.
Other Places to Visit in Dubai for Kids
- KidZania Dubai – Indoor learning activity center for kids to learn and pretend play about jobs.
- Ski Dubai – Why not ski in Dubai? We decided against this just because we do so much skiing in Canada, but if you have never tried skiing this can be a very cool experience for the kids.
- Dubai Ice Rink – Another fun experience for the little ones to go ice skating on an indoor rink. Being Canadian, this wasn’t a novelty for us, but it was fun to see and watch the kids on the ice rink.
- Note: There are so many of the best Dubai attractions for kids at the Dubai mall including KidZania, Ski Dubai, Ice Skating, Aquarium, etc. These are also great ideas for indoor activities. Dubai can be really hot during their summer months so you are going to have to find things to do in Dubai mall (which the heat was honestly unbearable for us and the kids to be outside for long periods of time). So many Dubai mall activities that don’t make it a traditional shopping center.
- Camel Racing – There was none scheduled when we were there but would have been neat to go to something unique like this. Check into it and see if it aligns when you are there.
- Legoland Dubai – This one is a great option for all your lego loving kids. We decided to skip this one honestly because it was too hot when we were there. I have also heard it is more geared for younger kids too, so check into the details of what is all available since it may be different than other Legolands in the world.
- Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis on the Palm Island – We honestly ran out of days to go to the water park. This is a great way to spend the day with a day pass to enjoy the waterpark at Atlantis. This can also give you a reason to go check out the Palm Islands too. The price is typical for a waterpark pricing, so expect to stay for most of the day to get your value. This waterpark looks awesome!
- Wild Wadi Waterpark – Another waterpark located by the famous Burj Al Arab Jumeirah (the most iconic hotel in Dubai that looks like a sail of a boat). The waterpark looks like another thrill-seeking day that lets you cool off.
- IMG Worlds of Adventure – The world’s largest indoor theme park which every kid who is a Marvel superhero fan will love. Rides are a big attraction at this Dubai park. If you are wanting more parks you can go to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi as well for the day.
- The Dubai Fountain – These fountains have light shows and music to go along with it as the fountains dance. They are located close to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai downtown by the Dubai Mall. If you are looking to enjoy the show try finding a restaurant along the Souk Al Bahar (downtown souk) to watch from. Unfortunately, when we were there the fountains were not running. But, I think they reminded me of the Bellagio fountains I have seen in Las Vegas. Next time! This is also one of the cheap things to do in Dubai.
- Dubai Marina – If you are looking for an area to go check out this was one place we will go to for sure next time. With restaurants, shops and the waterside promenade Dubai Marina Walk all while checking out the high-end superyachts would be a great way to spend an afternoon.
- Dubai Miracle Garden – This gorgeous flower garden looks truly amazing, but with the heat, it would have been not enjoyable for us to walk through these gardens.
- Dubai Garden Glow – If you are looking for a unique experience in the evening this is a cool place to go visit. But, they are usually closed during the summer months.
- Mall of the Emirates – If you are looking for more shopping this is another option and a cinema located inside too!
- Sheikh Mohammed Centre – I really wish we would have gone here. It is a cultural understanding center where you can learn and experience visiting a mosque and try traditional food.
Best Time to Visit Dubai
As you can see there are a ton of places to visit in Dubai for kids. So regardless of when you go there will be something for you to do and places to go in Dubai. It just depends on the time of year that you are there on what activities would be best for your family.
The weather was on average 40 Celsius every day when we were there in September! HOT, like really HOT! We were not used to the heat, so we would do something early in the morning outside and then either go for an indoor activity in the afternoon or beach/pool. Then again back out in the evening for a stroll and go to playgrounds and parks. All the parents with their kids come out in the evening during the heat and take the kids then. Only us crazy tourist who had limited time were wandering in the heat during the day.
The climate is a desert, mainly hot and dry conditions with little rain. But, the extreme heat can also be unbearable and limit what you can do outside. So to avoid the worst of the heat, if you can make it work, the best time to go to Dubai is between November to March. The shoulder season or off-season when we went did make it cheaper for accommodations, so it just depends on what works best for you.
Best Family Hotels in Dubai
There are many kid friendly hotels in Dubai and the people in UAE absolutely love kids. So try to decide what kinds of things you would like to do in Dubai and then try to find an area that works best for your family. Depending on the age of your kids, your family may be interested in different things that are important to you.
We wanted to be able to access a beach and pool every day so we stayed at a condo from Airbnb that was attached to a hotel so we could get the best of both worlds. We also wanted to say that we had “stayed on the Jumeirah Palm”, so we found one that worked with our budget.
If you haven’t used Airbnb you can get credit from Airbnb the first time you use them (We get credit too just so you know :) But hopefully you found the info we shared useful to share the love with no extra cost to you Win-Win).
In my opinion, the best place to stay in Dubai with family would be either Jumeirah Palm, Dubai Marina, Downtown Dubai or by Jumeirah beach areas. As compared to other big cities in the world, we found on average the price we paid was very reasonable for what you got.
Here are some options below for some of the latest deals on where to stay in Dubai with family. Go check it out!
What are the Best Things to do with Kids in Dubai?
A quick overview of all the Things to do in Dubai with kids! Trust me there is even more than this but this will give you a good starting point for your next family vacation.
- Burj Khalifa
- Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
- Dubai Museum
- Abra boat ride on the Dubai Creek
- Gold Souk, Spice Souk and Textile Souk
- Camel Ride and Desert Safari
- The Dubai Mall
- Beach Day
- Palm Jumeirah Islands
- Bounce Dubai
- KidZania Dubai
- Ski Dubai
- Dubai Ice Rink
- Camel Racing
- Legoland Dubai
- Aquaventure Waterpark
- Wild Wadi Waterpark
- IMG Worlds of Adventure
- The Dubai Fountain
- Dubai Marina
- Dubai Miracle Garden
- Dubai Garden Glow
- Mall of Emirates
- Sheikh Mohammed Centre
Dubai for Kids Insiders Tips:
- We travelled around by taxi, the prices weren’t too expensive, but it’s a vehicle driven destination. There is a monorail and buses but everyone suggested a taxi for our family of 4 with our travel along Sheikh Zayed Road. Plus, the instant air conditioning is worth the bit of extra money for us.
- Uber was also available, a bit more than a taxi but we didn’t have data to use this other than for our transfer to Abu Dhabi. They did have a helicopter option though for Uber which was the first time I had ever seen that on the Uber app – wild!
- The workweek is generally Sunday to Thursday, so some things may be closed on Friday for the holy day. Plan your days accordingly and confirm where you want to go to is open on Fridays.
- Currency used is AED Dirham. Credit cards are widely used and accepted. Except we found not all taxis could we pay by credit card.
- Current exchange offices are easily found at the airport and malls. Not all currency can be exchanged but Euro, US and CDN were fine. But our extra Croatian and Bulgarian money we weren’t able to exchange. Oops!
- There are playgrounds and parks for children in Dubai scatter everywhere. They have the sunshades that usually cover most of the play structures so it helped a little from the sun.
- Alcohol – Yes you can drink alcohol in Dubai! We do like to have some alcoholic beverages but for us, we weren’t spending time out with friends or clubbing. But, we did buy a 26oz of rum at the duty-free at the airport when we arrived in Dubai. We had our drinks on the Airbnb balcony and listened to the supercars drive by. We didn’t go out for expensive dinners so I can speak to what you could order at a restaurant. It is available to purchase at specialty shops. Poolside was very expensive at our resort ($14 CDN for a pint of beer) so we skipped on the pool beers.
- More information about Dubai can be found on their tourism site – Visit Dubai.
What to wear in Dubai?
This was a concern for me, I had no idea what would be acceptable in order to be respectful. I also got a ton of questions from friends and family on this one, so I figured I would include it. Here are the guidelines I went by and it seemed to be just fine.
- Kids are fine with whatever they would typically wear in North America.
- For women (that’s me):
- On resort or by the pool regular swimwear was fine. I wore a bikini but when walking to the bathroom or back to my room I put my coverup on.
- For malls and other attractions, I covered my knees and shoulders. I wore Lululemon leggings and loose-fitting tops when I could. Yes, there were some ladies that didn’t but I did to show respect. There is air conditioning everywhere inside and I needed a sweater anyways. So I was only warm outside, but let us be honest I would have been warm in a tank top and shorts too with 40C!
- For mosques: The one we went to was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, where they had covers that could be rented/borrowed/hired for the time that you are in the mosque if you are not dressed appropriately.
- For Men: No beachwear when going out. Jamie wore a t-shirt and shorts everywhere except at the mosque when he wore pants.
We travelled to the Dubai, United Arab Emirates from September 17 – 22, 2017 and going to the top of Burj Khalifa in Dubai was one of our highlights for the year. The kids were ages 5 & 7.