Visiting Dublin with kids in 2022: all you need to know for a perfect stay (by a local mum!)

Dublin Castle, Ireland

All you need to know to plan a perfect family trip to Dublin with kids! Includes best things to do in Dublin with kids, tips on where to stay, eat and how to get around. Updated November 2021.

If you are planning a family trip to Dublin or wondering how to spend an afternoon in town with your little ones, you might be wondering what are the top things to do in Dublin with kids.

I am here to help!

I have been living in Dublin for over 10 years (make it 15, since I first published this guide!) and my kids were born here so we know a thing or two about enjoying Dublin as a family.

We have explored the best things to do in Dublin with toddlers, we have seen city landmarks pretending we were visitors, we have played in play centres, run in the park and do anything and everything in between.

In this guide, we share our insider knowledge of the city to help you find the best things to do in Dublin with children and practical tips to make the most of your time in the city as a family.

The Rabbit and the Bear, as I call them, are now respectively 9 and 11 and together we always try to explore our city with the same curiosity we show for far away places.

Sometimes we go into town for a walk, sometimes we visit museums, some other times we just go to the park and stop for lunch out.

Over the course of the years, we have discovered together many fun family things to do in Dublin with kids, and now I believe the time has come to put them into a mini guide for parents.

So here it comes, my mini guide for families visiting Dublin with kids, packed with fun things to do in Dublin with children, family activities in Dublin, attractions and things to do in Dublin for kids and fun places for kids in Dublin.

This article is part of our series: visit Ireland with kids

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. 

Dublin has many family friendly attractions: some are main sightseeing locations you can visit with kids and some and attraction that are specific for children.

Why visit Dublin with kids

The capital of Ireland is a lovely city to visit with children.

Dublin city center is compact and easy to explore on foot (even with little legs and a stroller!), there are many beautiful city parks and playgrounds to meet other kids and there are nice attractions and workshops kids can participate into.

Dublin is also close to the coast, where your kids can see seals and you can enjoy pretty scenery and cliffs.

11th century Gothic style Christ Church Cathedral (Cathedral of the Holy Trinity) in Dublin, Ireland with pink flowers on tree
11th century Gothic style Christ Church Cathedral (Cathedral of the Holy Trinity) in Dublin, Ireland

How many days to see Dublin with children?

As you will see from the list below, there are many things to do in Dublin with kids.

You can easily spend a week here and not run out of things to do, especially if you tap into the many activities on offer for local families.

As a tourist, however, I believe you will be satisfied with a couple of days in Dublin.

With kids, a weekend in Dublin will allow you to see the city center, enjoy the parks and stretch to Howth to enjoy the coast.

This is the amount of time I recommend spending in Dublin if you are coming to Ireland for a road trip starting from the city.

You can find here >>> my recommended Ireland itinerary.

Where to stay in Dublin with kids

The best area to stay in Dublin with kids is the city center.

More precisely, I am fond of the area around St Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square, well located for sightseeing and close to playgrounds and green areas.

I am also fond of the areas of Dublin 4 and 6, on the Southside: these are beautiful residential area, well connected to the main attractions in the center, perfect for a relaxing family stay.

You can find here >>> my guide to the best family hotels in Dublin

The kids bed in the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom house, with the children's welcome presents waiting for them
The kids bed in the Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom house, with the children’s welcome presents waiting for them

How to get around Dublin with kids in tow

You can visit Dublin city center on foot. However, you will need to bus, tram or train to reach other parts of the city such as the zoo, the Guinness storehouse and Howth.

You can find here >>> all the ins and outs of using public transportation in Dublin with children in tow

The top things to do in Dublin with kids

The best things to do in Dublin with kids are:

Name of attraction Type of attractionsAge suitabilityIndoor / Outdoor  Free
Imaginosity Children MuseumChildren Museum / Kids attractionAllIndoor with terraceNo
DubliniaViking Museum: children attractionToddlers and up (most suited for primary school kids)IndoorNo
The Ark Cultural Hub for kidsChildren venue / workshop venue for kids AllIndoorNo
Dublin ZooZooAllOutdoorNo
Natural History MuseumNatural History Museum – child friendly museumPreschoolers and up, toddlers my find some of the animals scaryIndooryes
Airfield EstateFarmAllBoth (mostly outdoors)Yes
Epic Immigration MuseumMuseumAllIndoorYes
Hop on Hop off bus tourBus tourAllBus with open top deckNo
Trinity College Library and the book of KellsMuseumSchool age kidsIndoor Yes
Dublin castleMuseumSchool age kids, the outside is suitable for toddlersBoth  Free courtyard / Ticketed entry
IMMA, Museum of Modern ArtMuseumAll, lovely play cafe insideIndoor with large groundsNo 
Guinness StorehouseBrewery / museumSchool age kidsIndoor No 
 Kilmainham GaolGaol / MuseumOlder kids / teenagersIndoorNo 
 City ParksFree public gardens with playgroundAllOutdoorYes
Giddy studios pottery paintingPottery studio for kidsSchool age kids IndoorNo
 Jump Zone Trampolines Trampoline center5 and up (height restrictions apply) Indoor No
 Rain forest crazy golf play centreCrazy Golf all Indoor  No 

Let’s look more in details at each of these attractions and discover more things you can do in Dublin with kids.

Top 10 things to do in Dublin for kids

If you are looking for fun family actitivisites in Dublin that are just for kids, these are our recommendations:

Imaginosity Children Museum of Dublin – the most fun place in Dublin for toddlers and primary school kids

For little children Imaginosity is a  piece of heaven.

Here you can play supermarket, doctor, rock star, you can drive a real car (kind of), build a house with foam bricks and even pretend to work at the post office.

They also have soft play areas for children under 3 and a nice cafe.

This is a super fun place in Dublin for kids and adults like it too as they can play with their kids or relax in the cafe while little ones make discoveries and friends in this fun, safe space.

Address: The Plaza Beacon South Quarter Sandyford Sandyford, Dublin 18 Family membership available.

Dublinia – Viking museum of Dublin for kids (and adults) who want to be Viking for a day

If your kids are into Vikings and history, this can be the most fun museum of all as it recreates the streets of Dublin as they would have been during the middle ages!

A full immersion in history, here you can try on Viking clothes, visit a medieval kitchen and learn medieval games.

It strikes a great balance between fun and education and both my kids adore it.

You can read our  full review here.

The museum is connected to Christchurch Cathedral with is also interesting to see with kids.

Address: St Michaels Hill Christ Church, Dublin 8

our kids playing in Dublinia museum Dublin

The Ark – best place in Dublin for creative kids

Located in temple bar, right in the centre of Dublin, The Ark is a space dedicated to teaching art to children.

A good address especially on a wet day, their programme involves workshops for kids to familiarise and experience theater, literature, art and creative endeavours of all types.

A wonderful creative space just for kids with amazing facilitators.

Address: 11a Eustace St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Top tip! The Ark is close to Temple Bar and the Ha’penny bridge so you can easily combine time here and sightseeing of some of Dublin’s main attractions!

Dublin Zoo – perfect for family fun in Dublin

What child doesn’t love a day at the zoo? If you are in Dublin with kids and need a fun family activity for toddlers and older siblings alike, you cannot go wrong with a day at the zoo.

Located inside beautiful Phoenix Park, Dublin zoo has plenty of space for kids to run around, several animal-themes playground, of course many opportunities to see animals both local and exotic and it also has a nice restaurant with a window over meerkats!

Stroller and toddler friendly, the zoo and restaurant also have good changing facilities, making a family day here super easy.

Get ticket here

Address: Saint James’ (part of Phoenix Park), Dublin 8. yearly family membership available (and convenient for anything more than an occasional visit)

Natural History Museum – unique and spooky museum for kids in Dublin City center

The Natural History Museum of Dublin is known by the locals as the ‘dead Zoo’, a spooky name that describes it perfectly!

Located in the city centre, this is a museum with skeletons and stuffed specimens of many species of animals, most of them preserved in the museum since the last century.

I brought my kids there when they were tiny and the reaction was mixed: fascination and a bit of fear – some of the animals are immense! Entry is free.

Address: Merrion St Upper, Dublin 2

Little girl pointing at stuffed bat in the natiural history museum in Dublin Ireland

Airfield Urban Farm – a great place for kids in Dublin to explore the country without leaving the city!

Airfield is a lovely farm in Dublin, a wonderful piece of countryside in the heart of Dublin South!

You can spend a few hours or a full day here and the kids can see animals, participate in workshops, run, play at the zipline and the whole family can indulge in cake and food at the local cafes.

Events and camps are organised regularly and they are always fun and educational. By far, one of the best family activities in Dublin for all ages! Website here.

Address: Airfield estate, Overend, Dundrum, Dublin 14

EPIC – Fanstastic educational museum for kids in Dublin

EPIC Ireland is a fantastic museum in Dublin city center about Irish Emigration.

The museum opened few years ago and has spacious, beautiful halls where kids and adults can lear about the history of Ireland and research if they have Irish origins!

This is a must see in Dublin for kids, especially if they know they have Irish connections near or far back on their family like!

You can get tickets here >>> EPIC Museums of Ireland tickets

Address: The Chq Building, Unit 32 /33, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1

Tall ship in Dublin river, Ireland
Mondern buildings and tall ship in Dublin – Ireland.

Dublin Hop on Hop off bus tour

We learned how good hop on hop off bus tours are when visiting a city with kids when we visited Barcelona and the hop on hop off tour of Dublin reinforced our love for them.

They are a fantastic way to familiarize yourself with the city and the location of main attractions and it is great to let little legs rest for a while!

Perfect with tired toddlers and school age kids.

You can get ticket for the Dublin Hop On Hop Off tour here

See the seals in Howth – best place in Dublin for kids who want to see animals in the wild

If you are looking for ideas for family days out in Dublin and not just an attraction, then I highly recommend you spend the day in Howth.

Howth is a costal area of North Dublin and is one of the best places in Dublin for toddler, kids and even teenagers under a few accounts: here, you have fab playground, a lovely beach, seal you can spot from the pier and lovely coastal walks (the Howth Cliff Walk) which is perfect for older kids and teenagers.

Lots of local restaurants and cafes make it great for adults too! You can read all our tips for visiting howth with kids here.

Howth playground is oone of the many things that make Howth one of the best day trips from Dublin with kids
Howth playground is a safe enclosed space with toys perfect for young children including slides and swings

Go trampolining

Looking for a fun thing to do in Dublin with kids who need to use up a bitr of energy? Then head to Jumzone, Dublin’s Trampoline center!

Large and fun for kids and adults (there is also a cafe), this is a grea place for kids 5 and up – height restrictions apply.

Address: several locations in Dundrum, Santry, Liffey valley. Website here

More fun things to do in Dublin with children

Have family friendly afternoon tea at the Shelbourne hotel

If you want to experience afternoon tea in Dublin with your kids, then you have to go to the Shelbourne hotel!

A Dublin landmark, the hotel has wonderful Alice in Wonderland themed high tea for kids: pricey but so fun and elegant and indulgent, if you can go, you won’t regret it!

Find our review of children high tea in Dublin here.

Top Tip: right in the city center, you can combine this with a visit to St Stephen’s green or a stroll among the buskers of Grafton street (and the Disney store!)

Address: 27 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin

My son having afternoon tea in Dublin ireland

Go Pottery Painting at a kids Pottery studio

This is a fun family activity in Dublin for locals or people who have a few days in the city as you need to collect your creation a few days after making it: a potery studio for kids to pain their favorite piece of pottery!

Address: Dundrum Shopping center, Dundrum, Dublin 14 Website here

Play crazy golf

Another fun family thing to do in Dublin is playing crazy golf: we like rainforest adventure indoor mini gold course in Dundrum, handy to mix with a day shopping in the attached shopping center!

Address: Dundrum shopping center top floor, Dundrum, Dublin 14. Website here.

Go to a museum: Museums in Dublin also suitable for kids

There are numerous museums in Dublin, covering topics as varied as art and drink manufacturing and, among the many, I believe the following are the most fun for kids:

Trinity College and the book of Kells – good museum with free worksheets for kids

A historical and active University, Trinity College is a must see for all visitors  both for its beautiful grounds and its historical library.

Home of many important manuscripts and the famous Book of Kells, it is a good stop with children.

It is a manageable size, it is impressive and if you have Star Wars lovers they will not miss the resemblance of its main library with the Jedi archive temple!

before you go, you can download free worksheets for kids from the Trinity College Website. The visit is suitable for school age kids and up although toddlers have plenty of space to run outside in the College yard!

One of the top things to do in Dublin with kids is a visit to Trinity College with its large green spaces and elaborate buildings
The grounds of Trinity College Dublin

National gallery – most toddler friendly museum in Dublin

One of Dublin’s main museum and home of a wonderful Caravaggio, as well as of some interesting Irish paintings, the National Gallery enters this list because of good family friendly activities offered at the weekend and because of its cafeteria.

Located on the ground floor, it is a popular spot for families with children as it is spacious, airy and buggy friendly. Entry to the National Gallery is free.

The Chester Beatty library garden

The Chester Beatty is a beautiful museum in the grounds of Dublin castle.

Home to fabulous collections of art from Asia, the Middle east and Europe, the Chester Beatty library is not interesting for children per se but has a lovely outside space perfect for running around.

With no cars allowed, we often go there to let off steam and the free entry to the gallery means you can visit at your own pace. They also have a nice coffee and gift shop and facilities.

Running outside Dublin castle

Guinness storehouse – family friendly Dublin must see

What’s a brewery doing in a list of attractions for families?

While kids will not be allowed to taste Guinness, the visit to the factory is a fun tour accessible to buggies and very much enjoyed by teenagers as well as adults.

When I worked for a school of English we used to bring all our students there and they always loved it.

A well stocked merchandising shop and a fantastic view over Dublin from the gravity bar, where the visit ends, are strong reasons for that. If you are over 18, you’ll have there the best pint of Guinness in the world.

Imma museum of modern art – great for families with toddlers

Maybe the most family friendly museum of the whole of Dublin, Imma has wonderful landscaped gardens and a fabulous cafe with toys and free play area.

The exhibitions themselves are not usually for kids but the grounds are so pleasant and beautiful, a visit here is easily one of the besyt things to do in Dublin with toddlers.

Address: Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Military Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8

Kilmainham gaol – one of the best things to see in Dublin with teenagers

With caution, I am including Kilmainham gaol into this list, as suitable and interesting for families with older kids (teenagers).

A place like no other to learn about Irish history, Kilmainham is Dublin’s historical jail.

It’s a chilling site and one younger kids might find disturbing, but an incredible insight into the dramatic and complex history of Ireland.

One of the many things to do in Dublin with kids: a stroll through Temple bar, Dublin city centre
One of the many things to do in Dublin with kids: a stroll through Temple bar, Dublin city centre

More things to do for kids in Dublin: the best parks, playgrounds, and play centres in Dublin for children of a

Dublin has some wonderful parks. Some of our favourites are:

St Stephen’s Green – large city center park and a Dublin City Landmark, St Stephens’ Green has a lot of space to run around, a nice playground for toddlers and older kids and a pond with ducks

Merrion Square – lovely city center park close to the National Gallery and the Government buildings, with a lovely playground

Phoenix Park – the largest park in Dublin with large lawns, free roaming deer, the zoo and playgrounds.

St Anne’s Park – wonderful, large park towards Howth, with gardens, playground, cafe and farmer’s market

Bushy Park – nice park in Dublin South with duck pond, playground and sportfields

Marley park – large park in Dublin South with large playgrounds, cafes and farmer’s market.


Go to a playcenter

If you are a local or you are lookig for a fun activity in Dublin that is just for kids, then you may want to consider one of the city’s many planters and indoor attraction.

From crazy gold to pottery painting, these are the best things to do in Dublin indoors on a rainy day.

Go on a family a hike

I can hear you: what? I look for things todo in Dublin with kids and you tell me to go hiking? Yes, becasue if you are not from Dublin you may not know that Dublin has lovely family hikes in close proximity to the city center!

The are perfect for kids and can easily be mixed with a morning in town, they are so near!

You can find our favorite spots for beautiful walks in Dublin here.

Go to the beach: family friendly beaches near Dublin to visit with kids

Dublin is on the coast and has some beautiful large, sandy tidal beaches that are great for kids.

You can run, spot birds, collect shells and on very good days even splash about (this depends very much on what kind of climate you are used to: I don’t go near the water here but kids and locals do). Some lovely spots are:

Sandymount: close to the city centre, great for collecting shells and close to Sandymount village, a pretty residential area with shops and restaurants

Killiney: in the south of Dublin and reachable by DART, one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, because of the wonderful view that stretches all the way to the Wicklow mountains

Howth: Just beside the Dart station, a fabulous soft sandy beach

Portmarnock and Malahide, on the North Side of Dublin, an area worth seeing also for the nearby Malahide castle

Bull island: windswept and wild, perfect for flying kites and watching kitesurfers

My daughter playing vikings in Dublin!
One of the most fun things to do in Dublin with children? Play Vikings!

Go on a Dublin Bay Cruise

If you want to get an idea of how Dublin looks for the water, a fantastic thing to do in Dublin with children is to do a boat tour.

Some operate along the river Liffey and others bring you into the open sea, for great views over Dublin Bay.

(You can read about our day on a bay cruise here)

Where to eat with kids: family friendly restaurants in Dublin

Dublin, especially in the last few years, has reinvented itself as a foodie paradise and the choices of where to eat are endless. Unfortunately not everywhere is child-friendly so it’s handy to have some addresses you can count on.

My favourites are:

  • Milano (Italian, with child menu)
  • Dunne and Crescenzi (Italian, no child menu but they do small portions on request)
  • Carluccio’s (Italian)
  • Yamamori (Japanese)

You can find my full selection of favorite family friendly restaurants in Dublin with address and additional info here 

It is always difficult to wrap up a post about your current city, but after over 3000 words I probably need to accept I will never feel I included all I wanted to include and trust I wrote enough to give you some ideas on what to do in Dublin fair city.

I hope you found this family guide to Dublin useful. Safe family travels!

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23 thoughts on “Visiting Dublin with kids in 2022: all you need to know for a perfect stay (by a local mum!)

  1. Rob Taylor says:

    There are some wonderful sights to see on this list. The Natural History Museum and Trinity College are at the top of our list to take the boys to.

  2. mark says:

    Dublinia for my kids would be excellent they would get right into that for sure. As for me Guinness for sure the storehouse has been somewhere i have always wanted visit. Great article with plenty of tips

    • Marta says:

      Dublinia was super fun: we went again last week and I’m writing a proper review about it – we had a blast! The Guinness at the storehouse is just amazing, I am sure you’ll love it (I’ll come with you of course 😉 )

  3. Keri says:

    We’ve only ever done Dublin in the pre-kids Guinness drinking days; so glad to know there’s so much more to the city and plenty to keep kids happy

    • Marta says:

      There really is and, to be honest, I find it nicer with kids: you discover a softer side of the city and very friendly people!

  4. Maria (one tiny leap) says:

    Fantastic guide, thank you Marta! I’d love to visit Dublin, and explore Ireland as my great grand-father was Irish (hence my freckles!). I’ll bookmark this post for later 😀

  5. Liesbeth says:

    I’ve bought a guidebook to Ireland like 6 years ago. Luckily tourist attractions generally don’t move over the years 🙂 I have to go there someday, it looks great!!

    • Marta says:

      Haha, absolutely! Historical sites in particulal tend to stay put 😉 Hope you can make it one day: Dublin is a great base to discover the rest of the country too

    • Marta says:

      I hope she can come here and discover the roots of her beautiful name! I find Dublin really good for families: I know people tend to associate it more with pub life, but I do believe this softer side of it is what makes it really special.

  6. Sarah says:

    I love all of the inside information about Dublin! When my husband and I went to London a few years ago, we got some of the best restaurant recommendations from a friend who lived there. It’s not always easy to know which places are kid-friendly, so thanks for sharing!

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  11. Lisa says:

    Thank you for all the great information! Would you say that it is possible to make a trip to Dublin without bringing car seats for our 2 and 4 year old? You mentioned the bus and the rail system. If we could get away without needing to rely on cars and car seats, that would be great. Thank you!

  12. Rina says:

    Great article and top Dublin attractions. Dublin is great kids friendly city, filled with so many things to do. What we love the most about Dublin is that is always something to do for free as well.
    For those, who have never been in Dublin, Trinity College ,Old Library and Book of Kells is a must. It’s a unique attraction,that is not found anywhere else.

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