Dubai is a vast city that carries everything you need and want as a tourist. If you’re a family of tourists—that’s even better! Dubai offers hundreds of activities and attractions for families with kids, so it’s a perfect destination for a weekend getaway or a week-long holiday trip. Plan your itinerary with our list of top 10 things to do in Dubai with kids!
1. Go to Dubai’s Biggest Malls
The city of Dubai is every shopaholic’s dream destination, so if you want to treat your kids with anything they want—go shopping at the biggest malls in the city. These malls got everything you need to keep them spoiled and entertained for a whole day.
For malls with wide shopping options and attractions, we recommend the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates. Dubai Mall sits next to Burj Khalifa. This setup is fitting since Dubai Mall is also the largest mall in the world based on total area. Its size, 3.77 million square feet, offers many retail stores, restaurants, and leisure activities for children and adults. The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and Dubai Ice Rink are the best places to bring your kids inside the mall.
Meanwhile, the Mall of the Emirates is a luxury destination where adults and kids can buy anything designer. The mall houses some of the best retail stores and amusement parks for kids. Bring them to Magic Planet for some science tour, at DUCTAC (Dubai Community Theatre & Art Centre) for cultural exhibits and performances, or at VOX Cinemas for the latest local and international movies.
For malls with multi-purpose venues, nothing comes close to Dubai Festival City, a residential, entertainment, and business complex in Dubai. You and your kids will never run out of shopping and leisure activities here. For entertainment, bring them to Bounce-X, the world’s first freestyle terrain park, or Dream Aero, UAE’s first full-motion flight simulator. If you want to shop for the latest kids’ fashion, drop by Carter’s, Chicco, or Marks & Spencer.
Shopping is one of the best kids activities in Dubai, but it can also be the most stressful. So, make sure to take the hassle out of your shopping activities by planning your schedule and itinerary.
2. Visit the Burj Khalifa
What better way to introduce your kids to Dubai than to visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world? The building, which comprises 163 floors, is home to various establishments and attractions that can offer your kids once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Burj Khalifa At The Top, the building’s observation deck, is safe for children of all ages. You can just relax at the top of the tower and go sightseeing with the kids—a perfect morning or afternoon activity.
For a hassle-free experience, book tickets at least 90 minutes before you enter the observation deck. Bring strollers and cribs to navigate all floors with toddlers easily, and take full advantage of the fastest elevator in the world inside the building.
3. Book Kids-Friendly Desert Safari Adventures
Desert safari tours should always be on your list of top things to do in Dubai with kids. You wouldn’t want them to miss the beautiful sceneries of the Arabian deserts and the traditional forms of entertainment provided by the locals.
The tour is mainly composed of sightseeing adventures while riding a 4×4 vehicle. Complementing the ride are various moderate to extreme desert activities. We recommend trying camel trekking, sandboarding, and hot air balloon riding with your kids. If you want to try extreme activities like dune bashing, evaluate and improve your supervision methods throughout the activity.
Desert Safari tours are half-day to whole-day adventures under the heat of the sun. For a hassle-free experience, only book adventures and activities that your kids can handle and enjoy. We don’t recommend bringing toddlers for whole-day or overnight desert safari adventures.
4. Swim At The Beach
Dubai always offers the optimum beach weather, so you can easily have the best family weekend vacation and kids activities in Dubai at the beach. Dubai houses many private and public kid-friendly beaches.
If you have a huge budget for a weekend getaway or a luxurious family vacation, we recommend visiting Atlantis, The Palm, a private resort with an ocean-themed hotel that sits at man-made artificial islands, or Cove Beach, a famous beach club located at Caesars Palace, Bluewaters.
If you’re looking for budget-friendly beaches, we recommend La Mer, a free-access beach in Jumeirah 1, located between Pearl Jumeirah and Jumeirah Bay. Near the beach, there are dining options and entertainment activities for kids. Alternatively, you can also visit the Jumeirah Open Beach, a public beach near the Burj Al Arab Hotel.
5. Plan A Day-Trip To Theme Parks
Dubai is home to many record-breaking theme parks, so you have a lot of options to choose from if you want to bring them to a land filled with rides, adventures, and fantasy. Plan a day trip to theme parks if you want to experience the best kids activities in Dubai under one roof.
For glitz and glamour, you can bring them to Motiongate Dubai, a huge park inspired by Hollywood movies and trends. It features characters and films produced by top Hollywood studios, like Lionsgate, Dreamworks, and Columbia Pictures. If you want a more local approach, bring them to Bollywood Parks, the first-ever theme park dedicated to Mumbai’s movie industry.
For fantasy adventures, bring them to IMG Worlds Of Adventure, the world’s largest indoor theme and amusement park. IMG offers different sections dedicated to the Marvel Universe, Cartoon Network, IMG Boulevard, and Lost Valley. Each comes with its own interactive rides and attractions.
For kid parks offering a single, unique theme, don’t miss Legoland, an air-conditioned park filled with legos; Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort; and Kidzania, a learning and entertainment park inspired by a real city. These theme parks offer whole-day activities, adventures, and interactions.
6. Plan A Day-Trip to Waterparks and Aquatic Parks
If your kids are more fond of water sports or marine life experiences, bring them to waterparks, aquariums, or marine parks—depending on your intended family activity. All these venues have the same theme, but they offer different attractions and adventures.
Waterparks are large amusement parks that also function as resorts. They offer swimming pools, water playgrounds, wave pools, and other facilities. Some of the best waterparks in Dubai are Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark, Wild Wadi Waterpark, and Yas Waterworld.
Aquariums and marine parks, meanwhile, are interactive free-choice learning facilities for children and adults. If your kids want to interact with marine animals, visit Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, Dubai Mall Aquarium, and Dubai Dolphinarium.
For a hassle-free experience, book tickets to these waterparks, aquariums, and museums online and avoid queues.
7. Drop by the Best Family Restaurants
Tourists should never miss the best family restaurants in Dubai. These local restaurants have rich cultural and historical backgrounds rooted in past generations, offering authentic food selection and dining experiences. On top of that, some of them feature updated menus with international influences to cater to tourists worldwide.
For buffet dining options, we recommend The Market Place and The Talk. The Market Place at Marriott Hotel Al Jaddaf offers an unlimited choice of all-day dining options—with an open kitchen and buffet. They feature Arabian, Middle Eastern, and Caribbean cuisines. Meanwhile, the Talk in the Jumeirah Beach Residence offers the same setup but with vast international selections and themed dinner nights.
For weekend lunch or breakfast, we recommend Carluccio’s, an authentic Italian restaurant that features a menu inspired by the famous Italian chef Antonio Carluccio. Other restaurants with relaxing dining experiences and spaces dedicated to kids are Shakespeare and Co., Bombay Bungalow, The Farm, and The Lime Tree Café and Kitchen.
For a hassle-free experience, reserve seats at fine dining and buffet restaurants before visiting the actual location. This step could prevent you from wasting time in queues.
8. Take A Historical City Tour
Some may say that history lessons are boring kids activities in Dubai, but not if you’re in the right place. Dubai houses a variety of places and landmarks that can introduce your kids to the history and culture of the UAE. Book or take a historical city tour featuring ancient buildings and Gulf Arab traditions that are still standing today to teach your kids some history lessions.
Stroll around the historic neighborhoods and districts of Dubai, such as the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Al Seef, Deira, and Bur Dubai. Al Fahidi district or the ‘Old Town’ is the most popular and accessible neighborhood on the list. It’s one of the oldest heritage sites in Dubai. It houses the Dubai Museum, Coins Museum, the textile market, and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU).
After roaming around these neighborhoods, take the chance to discover and take part in the local culture. Have your kids try the traditional Abra Ride in a wooden boat, or encourage them to wear traditional Arabian dresses in the textile market. There are endless local kids activities in Dubai that can help them understand and appreciate the culture of the UAE.
For a hassle-free experience, we recommend booking affordable walking tours with local city guides from travel agencies. They have all-inclusive itineraries that feature the best local tour locations, landmarks, and activities.
9. Book Boat Cruises and Water Tours
Dubai Creek and Dubai Marina offer boat cruises and water tours perfect for families. These cruises may be simple sightseeing tours in the afternoon or luxury dining experiences. Either way, they can give you the different side of Dubai, reflected in the water.
You can book a private tour or a shared charter boat if you want to cross the river and go sightseeing. The tour already includes multilingual local guides ready to introduce landmarks and discuss history.
If you want to go sightseeing, eat local and international cuisines, and watch traditional live performances all at the same time, book a complete dinner cruise at Dubai Creek or Dubai Marina. Most travel and tour companies host buffet and dining options in a vast dhow, a traditional sailing vessel invented by Arabs and Indians.
For a hassle-free experience, book boat cruises and water tours from reputable travel agencies at least a day in advance. You may encounter delays or cancellations, depending on the weather.
10. Spot Free Public Entertainment and Attractions
Visiting free public attractions is one of the top things to do in Dubai with kids if you’re a family of tourists. Many popular establishments in the city, such as the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall, and The Palm host free live shows at night or during special occasions.
The Burj Khalifa Fountain Show and Palm Fountain at The Pointe host free dancing fountain shows with thousands of LED lights, giant floating platforms, and loud music. Get an unobstructed view of the live shows by coming to the venue early.
Other than public entertainment, there are also free attractions in Dubai that welcome kids of all ages. There’s the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, a wetland reserve that shelters and protects migratory birds for nature lovers. Another one is the AlSerkal Avenue, a cultural district in the heart of the city that features free art exhibitions housed in warehouses.
For a hassle-free experience, we recommend visiting some of these free attractions and entertainment during non-peak hours. It’s difficult to observe children in crowded areas.
How To Navigate Dubai With Kids
Dubai is the largest and most populous city in the UAE, but it’s still easy to navigate because of its transportation system and topography. With maps and assistance from locals, you can go to popular destinations and hidden gems in Dubai.
The best option if you have kids, of course, is to rent private vehicles. The designated driver will need an international license or proof of identification proving that he or she is a licensed driver from one of the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (GCC). Another private option is to book a cab or an Uber from your location to your destination of kids activities in Dubai.
If you plan to get around the city through public transportation, you can ride the Metro, bus, tram, monorail, or Dubai Ferry with your kids. The options may be overwhelming, but these transportation modes are all managed by the Road Transport and Authorities (RTA). They use the same NOL card or NOL ticket, which you can purchase from stations and vending machines.
How to Stay Safe With Kids in Dubai
Parents would be glad to know that Dubai has a really low crime rate—one of the lowest in the world, to be exact. As such, you don’t have to worry too much about theft, robbery, physical assaults, and other crimes. On top of this, the city also has an excellent transportation and road system for private and public vehicles. All sorts of accidents can easily be avoided and solved by local authorities.
All travel and tour companies in Dubai follow special health and safety measures to combat COVID-19. All attractions and establishments in Dubai are required by the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities to ensure social distancing among guests, sanitize common places, conduct temperature checks for staff and guests, and promote contactless payments. Some operators and establishments may limit the number of visitors in a day.
Guests, too, are required to follow individual safety protocols. Visitors should wear face masks in public, avoid physical contact among other people, and submit basic personal information for contact tracing purposes.
General Tips for Parents or Guardians Traveling With Kids
Kids are a handful—that’s a fact. Given this, we advise you to plan ahead and carefully draft your itinerary before you cross items off our list of things to do in Dubai with kids. You need to take the stress out of the equation and add more fun to the mix.
When it comes to pre-planning, always take advantage of discounts and pre-booking options. This step will save you time and money. During the actual trip, make sure to take everything slowly. Leave plenty of time for the kids to appreciate the attractions and activities.