The Ultimate Travel Guide to Planning a Family Holiday in Dubai

Dubai | © the_dead_pixel/Flickr
Dubai | © the_dead_pixel/Flickr
Photo of Thais Kelly
5 May 2017

Dubai is the ideal place for a family holiday. With attractions that will make every member of the family happy, the city has everything from unique shopping experiences, relaxing venues, and thrilling parks. Planning a family holiday in Dubai is exciting, and our tips will help you out.

For Mom

Dubai Mall

There’s no better place in Dubai to shop than the Dubai Mall, the largest shopping mall in the world with 1,200 retail outlets. From international labels to regional boutiques and luxury to ready-to-wear, this mall has everything. While parents are shopping, the kids check out the aquarium, or be dropped off at KidZania to play safely.

Dubai Mall, Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, +971 4 438 8888

Gold and Spice Souks

Map View
This is the best place to better understand old Dubai. The city really started from here, and is a contrast to the modern skyscrapers. The Gold and Spice Souks (‘souk’ means market in Arabic) are only a five-minute walk from each other. The Spice Souk is perfect for those who love cooking, as it sells the best quality spices. The Gold Souk is heaven for jewelry lovers, as it sells all kinds at reasonable prices.

For Dad

Emirates Golf Club

For dads looking to have a day off and relax, Emirates Golf Club is the perfect destination. Opened in 1988, it was the first championship golf course in the Middle East, which makes golfing here a historical experience of its own. Emirates Golf Club’s Faldo Course also offers night golfing, for a unique night out.

Emirates Golf Club, Emirates Hills 2, +971 4 417 9999

The Irish Village

This one of the best places in Dubai to just chill and have a beer outdoors. The Irish Village mimics a traditional Irish bar and is a favorite among Dubai’s expats. At this pub, parents can sit and sip a pint of beer while the kids run around the vast outdoor space. As Dubai is safer than most cities around the world, this is a perfect place for parents to relax and drink without worrying about their children. Additionally, this is where the annual Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship takes place, giving visitors the chance to rub shoulders with some of the biggest tennis players in the world.

The Irish Village, 10 31 A Street, Al Garhoud, +971 4 282 4750

For the Kids

Dubai Parks and Resorts

The recently opened Dubai Parks and Resorts is every child’s dream playground. With several different parks in one, children can spend their whole day here and still not have time to go on all the rides. Visitors can purchase tickets for one of the three parks — Legoland Dubai, Motiongate Dubai or Bollywood Parks Dubai — as well as a multi-park entrance for all three venues. Putting amusement parks everywhere to shame, Dubai Parks is the perfect place to let the kids run around and have the time of their lives.

Dubai Parks and Resorts, Sheik Zayed Rd, Jebel Ali, +971 800 2629464

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Wild Wadi Waterpark

Map View
Wild Wadi Waterpark
Wild Wadi Waterpark has a great view of the Burj Al Arab | © Jumeirah
Wild Wadi is Dubai’s most traditional waterpark, and has some unique and thrilling rides. There are 30 different rides, and children even have the chance to learn to surf in a pool that mimics the real surfing experience. With plenty of beach chairs for parents to enjoy Dubai’s ever-sunny weather, Wild Wadi has rides for all ages and bravery levels. Additionally, the park offers a unique view of the Burj Al Arab, as a constant reminder of how great it feels to be in Dubai.

For All

Ski Dubai

This indoor skiing slope offers fun for the entire family. Located in the Mall of the Emirates, Ski Dubai provides visitors with the chance to ski or snowboard while in the desert! It’s ideal for all ages, as it offers skiing classes for the youngsters and two different slope heights, for beginners and more advanced, as well as a ramp to jump over. There’s also a winter cafe inside the slope for a nice break with some hot chocolate. Ski Dubai also has a winter park, where the kids can play, go on slides and have snowball fights. All clothes and equipment are provided at the space, so there’s no need to pack winter gear when visiting the desert.

Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates, +971 800 386

Desert Safari

This is one of Dubai’s most unique experiences, as visitors can dune bash and see a replica of a Bedouin camp. Almost every tourism agency offers their own desert safari. Here, families can ride camels, dress in traditional Emirati clothing, try an Arabic barbecue, watch belly dancing shows and get henna done, all included in one package. Desert Safaris are a must when visiting Dubai, as they offer the full experience of what the city was like before it became an international hub.

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