Quick Itinerary Guide: Dubai, UAE

Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East. It was founded in 1833 but has grown and modernized rapidly more recently. Dubai is now known for money, luxury experiences, modern architecture, and nightlife, but even still we found it to be a great place to travel with kids. Any destination can be family-friendly. Below you’ll find family-friendly itinerary suggestions for a trip to Dubai, UAE.

Before you dive into the guide, you may want to first read Understanding a Quick Itinerary Guide. This will provide you with details on our trip planning philosophy, why it’s a quick guide, and what resources we use to plan. It also details what we mean by family-friendly, and further explains each of the sections included in a Quick Itinerary Guide.

Our trip details

  • Length of stay: 4 days, 4 nights
  • Accommodation: Taj Dubai – great service and impressive views of Burj Khalifa / Jumeirah Dar Al Masyaf – Madinat Jumeirah – stunning resort property with a lot to offer
  • Type of trip: family trip with baby/toddler (15 months old)
  • Month visited: May 
  • How we got in/out: fly in/fly out
  • How we got around: taxis, Uber 
  • Additional places visited on the same trip: Abu Dhabi, Oman

Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas for Dubai, UAE

  • Burj Khalifa – world’s tallest building since 2009
  • Explore Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood & Al Fahidi Fort – peek into old Dubai, a restored historical neighborhood
  • Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding – a nonprofit organization aiming to break down cultural barriers and help educate anyone interested in Emirati culture in explorative, conversational and 
  • Take a boat across Dubai creek
  • Ignite your senses at the souks – spices (including saffron – world’s most expensive spice), tea, perfume and gold galore
  • Watch the Dubai Fountain show – the world’s largest fountain, in front of the mall
  • The Dubai Mall – one of the world’s largest shopping malls with a wide array of shops, restaurants, and attractions
  • Burj Al Arab – known as the world’s most luxurious hotel, the famous sail-shaped building is a sight to see. You can’t walk right up to it if you’re not staying there, but you can view it from Jumeirah Public Beach, Madinat Jumeirah or a boat ride 
  • Mall of the Emirates – shopping, dining, and attractions – including indoor skiing
  • Hang out in the Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) area – a modern beachfront residential and tourist district
    • The Walk at JBR – popular place to walk around, trendy shops and restaurants
    • JBR Beach – vibrant lively beach just off from The Palm
    • Various amusement attractions: AquaFun – floating inflatables water park, Flying Cup, water sports (jet skis, pedal boats, parasailing, etc.), Ain Dubai – world’s largest observation wheel (opens 2020), Skydive Dubai 
    • For kids – splash pad
  • Palm Islands
    • Take the Palm Jumeirah Monorail – get a quick tour of the island and end at Atlantis
    • Atlantis Dubai – picturesquely perched at the top of the palm island offering guests a variety of fun experiences
    • Boat ride – take in the Palm from the water
  • Head to the desert for dune-bashing, camel rides and dinner – numerous options, research to find the best fit for you, some overnight options too

Food Ideas for Dubai, UAE

  • Arabian Tea House Cafe – an authentic glimpse back to old-world Dubai, traditionally decorated and set up to promote relaxing, eating and chatting
  • Markette – casual market/cafe international food, in The Dubai Mall
  • Aroos Damascus – casual, fresh Syrian/Arabic food popular with locals
  • Al Nafoorah – top-rated Lebanese cuisine in the Emirates Towers
  • Trattoria Toscana – casual Italian restaurant in the Souk Madinat Jumeirah
  • Zaatar w Zeit – quick, casual Middle Eastern chain
  • Operation Falafel – The Beach, JBR – cafe style street food
  • Al Qasr Big Friday Brunch – an extravagant and indulgent brunch experience in Madinat Jumeirah

Top Tips for Dubai, UAE

  • Think about the timing of your Dubai visit, whether the weather will be bearable and if it will be Ramadan. 
  • Weekends are Friday and Saturday and often start with expansive Friday brunches.
  • Dubai is not a pedestrian-friendly city. There are areas, like around the souks and JBR that you can wander around, but most of the city is not set up this way and you can’t really walk from one area of interest to another. 
  • Dubai is the most liberal of the emirates, and as a tourist, you are exempt or pardoned from certain rules and expectations (usually within your hotel or popular attractions), but do try to be aware and respectful of local customs (these pardons may not be as excused outside). 
  • Most everywhere is family-friendly and kid-friendly in Dubai, even fancier establishments.
  • It’s easy to only experience the new world glitz, glamour, and money in Dubai, but don’t miss out on discovering some of old-world Dubai.

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