If you have followed me on a Instagram for a while now you will know that we visit Dubai fairly regularly. My parents moved there a few years ago so we go to visit them though we love it so much even if we had no family there I’m certain we would still go all the time.
Dubai is such a fast developing country, so fast in fact, entire skyscrapers are built between our visits and new roads and attractions are built faster that we in the UK can apply for simple planning permission!
I’ve received a lot of requests on my Instagram for recommendations of where to visit and where to eat with kids so I decided it would be best to write a post with my personal recommendations. Bare in mind these are places that worked for us as a family and the areas that were easy for us to get to, it may not work for all but I feel like these are a great starting point to help explore.
Eating out in Dubai with kids is a pleasure, whether you are eating at cafe in a mall or fine dining in the Financial District, they make it super easy! Pristine high chairs, extensive children’s menus and even small details such as child friendly plates and cutlery are taken into account. I know these things don’t sound like much but it really makes a difference to your dining experience with young kids!
So here we go..
Located between Pearl Jumeriah and Jumeirah Bay (check website for more details on how to find it)
This beach front development very recently opened and although not every part of it is open yet, it’s a beautiful set up of beach side restaurants and eventually shops as well. Super kid friendly with outdoor play areas, a kids club and the cleanest facilities I’ve come across. We ate at Maison de Juliette, an artisan style cafe with a menu so tempting it was actually hard to choose. The children’s selection was great and super delicious.
2. Ski Dubai
Located inside the Mall of the Emirates, this vast indoor ski slope is one of the largest in the world and with the temperature inside averaging at -4 degrees Celsius it’s a big adjustment from the outside sun! For kids this place is magical.
My top tips for this place is, allow yourself plenty of time, don’t do what I did and expect this to take an hour or so…! We booked the polar express ticket which includes a group discovery lesson for my 6 year old which is the ultimate beginners class and a chance to spend time in the snow after trying out the different rides such as bobsledding, tubing and snow caves. There are even real penguins!
It’s not the most relaxing day out with the kids due to the gear they need to wear etc but it’s a unique and fun experience.
3. City Walk
Located at the junction of Al Wasl and Al Safa road this place is different from any of the other shopping and dining locations. It’s almost all on one level and it’s partly indoors, partly outdoors.
While the range of shops is good , I would say their selection of restaurants is better with one in particular that I continue to go back to with the kids – Serendipity. This place is one of New York’s most iconic restaurants that opened back in 1954 and famous for its comfort food and it’s frozen hot chocolate :)) the hot dog with cheese is a must!
Other places to check out in city walk with the kiddos is The Green Planet and Play Town.
The Green Planet is an enormous indoor vertical tropical rainforest – I kid you not! With 4 levels of exploration walking over rope bridges and in between tropical birds flying over your heads. It feels as real as you can get without actually going to South America!
This Children’s indoor play zone is created by toy manufacturer Mattel. This place is geared mostly to the under 6’s due to the nature of the TV shows that have attractions there . If your kid is into Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina or Thomas the Tank Engine then this place is ideal to spend some time in. Designed like a small village (very Disney vibe inside) each zone is designed for each character and there’s ample for them to do. Check the website for further details.
Level Kids is a 3 level department store dedicated purely to children’s designer clothing ranging from Gucci to Tartine et Chocolat. Even if you are not looking to buy the whole experience is unbelievable! They have a spa for kids too if they need pampering and they cater for amazing birthday parties in their dedicated function spaces. They have spaces around the store where they constantly set up seasonal activities for kids such as Gingerbread House decorating, arts and crafts etc as well as a room just for kids to build Lego! So even if you’re not shopping it’s still fun for the kids.
4. Day Pass at One&Only Royal Mirage / The Palm.
If you are staying in an apartment or you fancy a change from your own hotel pool and beach facilities then I high recommend booking day passes to use the facilities at these hotels. For the Royal Mirage book for the Arabian Court and spend the day by the beautiful pool and stroll on the white sandy beaches. You can’t order food by the pool but there is a casual pool side restaurant Eau Zone where you can grab a bite as well as great menu for the kids! If you want a more formal dining experience you can book the complimentary boat ride to take you to the One&Only The Palm for dinner at 101 for the most decadent view at sunset – FYI kids are very welcomed here with the same children’s menu and facilities.
Located in the Golden Mile Mall on The Palm Jumeirah this cafe doesn’t just provide great breakfast, lunch and dinner but also provides what every parent wants – a break from their kids! To the side of the restaurant is a glass sectioned area where they take kids (booking required) for cooking and baking lessons. Parents can enjoy eating their meal while their kids enjoy making one – win win in my eyes!
This place is basically the Universal Studios of Dubai, however if you have thrill seeking teens looking for those hardcore roller coasters, this is not the place for them. Motion Gate is more geared to the 14 and under in my opinion, if you are looking for more intense rides then IMG world is more for you.
Motion Gate is divided by film studios and for the first time my 6 year old was able to go on the majority of the rides, even the more daring, faster rides. From Madagascar to Kung Fu Panda, this is a truly fun day out. PS don’t forget the sun cream as half the park is outdoors.
Feel free to contact me with any questions about these places you may have!