The best things to do in Dubai with kids (+ tips for your first visit): Dubai travel guide with insider tips to make the most of your family trip to Dubai, Dubai activities for kids and Dubai must-see for the whole family.
Tempted by a family city break in Dubai but wondering what there is to do in Dubai with kids?
We can help! Dubai has many child-friendly attractions and, in this guide, we share the best things to do in Dubai with children, Dubai children activities, family-friendly tours and share tips for a first-time family visit!
We have made this list with the help of local friends who live in Dubai and who have helped coming up with a mix of Dubai must see suitable for children and kid friendly attractions that are just for little ones.
After recommendations on what to do, we also share practical tips for visiting Dubai as a family as we know if this is your first time in Dubai, the heat and size of the city can be a bit daunting.
By the end of this guide, I hope you will agree with us in saying that Dubai is one of the best cities in the world to visit with kids!
Need to know: new rules and regulations apply in 2021 and they may affect your ability to enter and enjoy Dubai fully. Please check with your local consulate/embassy about specific rules at the time of your trip and always abide by local regulations.
Please note: this post contains affiliate links and, should you make a purchase through them, we might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
10 of the best things to do in Dubai with kids
Dubai for kids, Dubai attractions for kids, kids attractions in Dubai, places to visit in Dubai with kids, what to do in Dubai with kids.
1. Wander around Dubai historic district
It is very tempting to start this list of things to do in Dubai with children with fun places such as Ski Dubai or pure kid-friendly attractions (I’ll get to them later in this post!).
However, I believe it would be a shame to come all the way to Dubai and not experience its most historical part: The Al Fahidi District.
Dating back to 1870 the district is Dubai’s historical neighborhood and it is a wonderful place to visit with kids.
Located along the Dubai Creek, this area is a lovely maze of alleys and winding streets a world away from the image of Dubai as a place of glitzy skycrapers and ultra-modern architecture.
Here, the dominant colors are neutrals and whites and you can admire Dubai’s traditional houses, wind towers and get a taste of traditional Middle Eastern architecture.
This area is cool for kids as you can easily walk around and stop and peek into cafes, traditional restaurants, museums and shops.
Great placed to visit with kids in Dubai Historical District are the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Like the name suggests, this is a place where to learn about Emirati Culture through a local meal and a presentation.
While this is not a place ‘for kids’ as such, kids are welcome: if you are looking for an educational and fun activity for kids in Dubai, this is a good one!
2. Experience Dubai’s spice market and Gold Souk – beautiful cultural experience for kids in Dubai
Another wonderfl experience to have with kids in Dubai is a visit to the Dubai souks.
The souks are the traditional markets and they are wonderful at all ages as they are an explosion of colors and smells.
The souks are close to the Dubai Creek and the Historical district and make a wonderful destination for a first morning in Dubai.
You can see how to include this area in your Dubai itinerary with these recommendations for your first day in Dubai.
Top Tip: use a traditional abra to cross the Creek! An Abra is a traditional Dubai boat and you can hop onto one for just 1AED (US$0.27c). The boats now operate as water taxis and cross the creek connecting Bur Dubai and Deira.
3. Climb to the top of the world’s tallest building: the Burj Khalifa, the best thing to do in Dubai with kids who love record-breaking attractions
Dubai is home to the tallest bulding in the world, the Burj Khalifa, a skyscraper 828.8mt tall (2,716.5 feet)!
The Burj Khalifa has 180 stories and is a record breaking building in many ways: it is the tallest building in the world, the tallest free stain gin platform on the planet and it has the tallest observation deck in the world.
It goes without saying that this is a Dubai must see for kids (and adults) and one of the most exciting places to visit in Dublin for children who love records and high places.
Top tip: We recommend going late in the afternoon right before sunset: this way, you can combine a visit here with another children’s favorite: a visit to Dubai dancing fountains!
4. Dubai dancing fountains: a free family-friendly attractions in Dubai for all ages
Dubai dancing fountains are world-famous.
The fountains are at the feet of the Burj Khalifa and lit up every night with a fabulous light show that is magical for kids and adults alike!
The most popular place to admire the fountains is the Waterfront Boardwalk at the Dubai Mall however, you can see them from many locations around the lake and you can even get a cruise and admire them from the water!
The shows happen at regular times during the day but the most spectacular are in the evening. In 2021 the shows are at 6pm and 11pm.
5. Visit Dubai Miracle Garden
Dubai is a city where the impossible seems to become possible and there is not better place to experience this than visiting Dubai Miracle Garden, an extravaganza of flowers in the middle of this desert city!
Dubai Miracle Garden is the largest flower garden in the world and has a completely different approach to the idea of a flower garden than what you may be used to in Europe.
This place has huge sculptures made of flowers and when I say huge, I mean real-life-size-of-a-plane huge!
The garden has over 300 million flowers and plants and showcases display on the shape of animals, faces, planes, bridges and more. Unexpected and wonderful, this is a great place in Dubai for kids thanks to the woeful color and how unique the place is.
6. Visit a water park – one of the most fun things to do in Dubai with kids on a very hot day!
Dubai has wonderful water parks that kids are sure to adore and that are a lifesaver when the heat becomes excessive.
Some fabulous water parks for kids in Dubai are:
Wild Wadi Waterpark Dubai -outdoor water park in Dubai Jumeira, close to Burj Al Arab and Jumeira Beach Hotel.
Aquadventure Atlantis – waterpark on The Palm
Legoland Waterpark Dubai – no presentation needed for this Lego waterpark, that can boast the claim to be the only UAE water park designed specifically for kids aged 2-12.
Laguna Waterpark – located n lovely La mer, this is a wonderful waterpark for kids with several areas for high excitement activities or a relaxing break.
If you are looking for attractions in Dubai for kids to take a break from sightseeing, these are just the ticket!
Good to know: another wonderful waterpark is Yas Waterworld in Abu Dhabi, which is about 1h by car from Dubai. If you are hiking of heading that way, don’t forget to check our guide to the best things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids.
7. Experience the desert
A family visit to Dubai must include a trip to the desert, the mighty presence that surrounds the city.
There are many ways to enjoy the desert with kids in Dubai, depending on your children age and how adventurous they are.
Cool ways to see the desert in Dubai as a family are:
Go sandboarding – just what it sounds like, this is super fun for kids as they get on a sandboard and slide down sandy dunes! Sandboarding is usually included in desert tours like this one
Take a desert tour – desert tours come in all shapes and sizes in Dubai and many are kid friendly.
Some to consider are:
- Full-day desert safari with sandboarding, dune-bashing, BBQ dinner, shows and more (Long day, suitable for older kids)
- Morning desert safari with camel ride
- Dubai desert adventure with quad biking (children over 5 only)
Dubai is a great place to have a desert adventure with kids, one of our favorite!
8. Enjoy Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina is a wonderful, family friendly area in Dubai with a stroller friendly promedade and tons of restaurants and cafes.
You can come here for a relaxing walk, a break at the playground and, if you have it with you, to scoot to your heart content!
9. Go to the beach – family-friendly beaches in Dubai
Dubai has fabulous beaches and, when the weather allow, they are a child-friendly place for a break and playtime.
Great public family friendly beaches in Dubai are:
Kite beach – huge and sandy, this is wonderful for kids as it has lots of activities for kids, water sports and lots of cafes/ for refreshments. Lounge chairs, umbrellas, restrooms and showers available.
La Mer Dubai – another lovely beach perfect for kids and adults, it is equipped with an outdoor trampoline park and it is close to Laguna Water Park too! La Mer is wonderful as it looks like a traditional beachfront neighborhood – super charming!
Sunset beach – located close to Jumeira beach hotel, this is a lovely beach for families with kids playground and BBQ area.
If you are looking for easy, fun, outdoor activities for kids in Dubai, Dubai beaches are great!
10. See Dubai’s Aquarium(s)
Dubai has two big aquariums a visit to which can easily be added to your sightseeing itinerary.
Cool Dubai Aquarium to visit with kids are the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo in Dubai Mall and the Lost Chambers Aquarium at The Palm.
Top tip: you can see the outside part of the Aquarium in Dubai Mall for free from the mall itself – very impressive if you don’t have time for a full visit!
11. Go Skiing at Ski Dubai
Dubai is the home of the wird and wonderful and what can be more weird and wonderful than skiing in the Dester? At ski Dubai you can do just that – or almost!
This is an indoor ski park Dubai when you can experience powdery slopes whatever the weather. This is a super fun place for kids in Dubai and one that is sure to stay in their memory for a long time! Check price and tickets here.
The best time to visit Dubai with kids
Heat is the biggest problem when planning a family visit to Dubai as not all seasons are good for seeing Dubai, especially with kids in tow.
The best time to visit Dubai as a family is between October and November when the qwether is at its most pleasant.
The ‘coldest’ months in Dubai are December and January, March is still pleasant and April starts to get hot, the heat becoming a little too much for sightseeing from mid-April on.
Where to stay in Dubai with children: family-friendly hotels in Dubai
Family friendly areas in Dubai are JBR, Dubai Marina, Jumeira beach and Palm Jumeira, all nice for families and conveniently located for sightseeing and rerlaxing in the evening.
Hotels we can recommend are:
Hilton Doubletree at JBR – we love Hilton hotels for kids and this one makes it easy to go to the beach, the pool, restaurants
Rove Dubai Marina, which is a family-friendly and budget-friendly hotels in the Dubai Marina area, one of our favorite
Atlantis The Palm Hotel – just for the appeal of such a famous landmark and, of course, the aquarium and waterpark onsite!
How to get around Dubai with kids in tow
The best way to get arond Dubai is by car. The distances in the city are hige and while there is a modern and clean metro system, taxis and private drivers are your best bet.
A good way to cover long distances in Dubai with kids is using one of the hop on hop off bus tours, which are fun at any age and super convenient if you want to see a lot in a short time.
What to pack for a family trip to Dubai
Make sure your family packing list for Dubai includes:
- Light, breathable clothes to survive Dubai heat: maxi dresses, linen coursers and jumpsuits all work well (opt for modest, conservative clothing, avoid mini skirts and revealing outfits)
- A cover up for air conditioning spaces
- Good walking sandals for the whole family – you can find our favorite travel shoes for kids here
- Sunscreen, sunglasses and sun hats for the whole family
- Swimming and beach gear for kids and adults
- A baby carrier suitable for hot weather
- An easy-to-fold stroller (we found good strollers for Europe worked well here between planes and taxis too!)
- A good crossbody bag for travel for all your daily essentials
- All your documents and tech
I hope you found this essential guide to visiting Dubai with kids useful. Safe travels!