Skip to content

Dubai: At A Glance

Full disclosure: I’ve only been to Dubai pre-kids and when my first child was still in the womb. But we lived in Abu Dhabi for two years and did lots of family friendly things!

Where to Stay

Overlooking Jumeirah Beach
Overlooking Jumeirah Beach

Any reputable hotel will treat you like gold. We’ve enjoyed the Sofitel on Jumeriah Beach Road, as it’s as close to a walkable neighborhood as you’re going to get. Further into the center of Dubai, we love the Palace Old Town. It is very close to the Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, souk, and Dubai Fountains.

And somewhere in the middle, the 3 hotels at Madinat Jumeirah are great. They also provide a bit of a village to walk around with views of Burj al Arab. We stayed at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, and while a bit isolated out on Palm Jumeirah, the service was great and lots of families around with a calm beach area and restaurants onsite (book ahead as they don’t seem to hold spots for hotel guests per se!). Finally, for a bit of a desert experience, spend time at the Bab al Shams resort — lots of activities related to the sandy surroundings and other onsite activities since it’s a bit remote.

Favorite Restaurants

Dubai Desert
Dubai Desert

The best “places” seem to be Dubai Mall and Mall of Emirates food courts, just given the many choices! But there are also lots of chains you find in the US and UK there. The brunch experience on Fridays is pretty spectacular — there are so many to choose from! Our favorite was probably at the Al Qasr Hotel in Madinat Jumeirah. It had a lot of high quality menu items.

Favorite Kid-Friendly Things To Do

Bab Al Shams Resort Night Show
Bab Al Shams Resort Night Show

Atlantis Waterpark and Wild Wadi Waterpark are great ways to stay cool — lots of families about. Dubai Mall offers the gateway up the Burj Khalifa, and Mall of the Emirates provides indoor skiing at Ski Dubai. It wasn’t quite open when we were there, but would be interested to take our kids to the Warner Brothers theme park. A desert safari is a must do as well, though better for older kids. Old Dubai offers lots of sights, sounds, and smells (spice souk, gold souk, and more). The Dubai Museum is small but gives a hint at what life was like before the city grew into what it is today.

Tips and Advice

Old Dubai
Old Dubai

In the past five years, the UAE has made huge strides. Car seats were long viewed as optional. But laws are evolving — whereby now any child under 4 must be in a child safety seat or the drivers face a fine. Since we lived in the UAE, most friends with children had nannies as that’s the cheapest and most convenient child care option. It isn’t legal to hire them on the side, so recommend going through the hotel to find care.

Helpful Local Apps

Careem is a localized/regional version of Uber, though Uber still works here. However, both are more expensive than the government-backed, metered taxis which your hotel can get for you or which you can find lined up at major malls and attractions.

Anything else?

Read more about our experiences in Dubai here.

Popular Reads
A mom and two boys hike along a shaded path amongst lush greenery.
The Best Hikes Near DC For Families

Searching for the best hikes near DC for families? Washington DC isn’t just a home base for our nation’s capital, Read more

Several colorful macrons decorate a white background.
9 Amazing Places for Pastries and Desserts in Paris For Families

Sample some of the best desserts around when you visit these destinations in Paris, each perfect for families! Of course, Read more

Boy looking at Empire State Building New York through telescope.
14 Best New York City Outdoor Activities For Kids

If you’re lucky enough to visit New York City during great weather, we have the perfect list of outdoor activities Read more

Mom with two girls sitting on a rock wall with a charming English town behind them.
A Comprehensive Guide on How to Travel with Kids

Families seeking tips for travel with kids often wonder about the cost of traveling with children, the best age to Read more

Latest Articles

Child hiking trail through Yellowstone National park.

How to Plan a Yellowstone National Park Family Vacation

Everyone knows that Yellowstone National Park makes for a classic family vacation. Strolling the boardwalks...

Read More...
Amanda-Hodey-Family-turks-caicos-600

Beaches Turks & Caicos Review by UK Family

My family and I (husband, two girls ages 8 & 11) have now traveled to...

Read More...
Family with daughter playing in waves on beach

Best Blogs for Visiting the Cayman Islands with Kids

The Cayman Islands/Grand Cayman is a beautiful and vibrant vacation spot in the Caribbean. Below,...

Read More...

Travel Gift Ideas

National Park With Kids

Family Travel Tips

Use These 10 Tips For Your Baby’s First Flight

Families Who Love To Travel contributor Meghan Oaks provides her 10 best tips for your...

Read More...
Boy wearing bowtie playing with magna tiles at New York toy store

10 of the Best Toys for Travel with Little Kids

In our group, we often get questions about keeping little ones occupied in transit, especially...

Read More...
crusing with baby

Tips for Cruising with a Baby

Cruising is a great option for families with babies who want to relax and not...

Read More...

Megan Tucker

Megan Tucker is a public relations professional, wife, mom and lover of all things travel and travel planning, based in Arlington, Virginia. While she grew up in New England, she's lived in the Washington, DC area, London and Abu Dhabi, and has traveled across the United States, the Caribbean, Western Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania with and without her husband and two sons.
Scroll To Top