Trying to find a family holiday that keeps everyone happy is no easy feat – but if you’re after somewhere with culture, beaches, great food and plenty to keep the kids busy, then Dubai might be just the place.

While the city is renowned for its glitz and glamour and nightlife, it also offers up a plethora of family-friendly activities from incredible sights to thrilling theme parks.

Then of course there’s the shopping to be had – it’s home to the world’s largest mall after all – not to mention the luxurious hotels and epic restaurants to be found.

We take a look at how to make the most of a city break in Dubai whether you’re after sightseeing, retail therapy, or an action-packed break for the whole family…

What’s included in the guide?

  • Best things to see and do
  • Shopping guide
  • Things to do with the kids
  • Best restaurants and bars
  • Extra travel tips


Best things to see and do in Dubai

Dubai’s skyline is filled with some pretty impressive skyscrapers but one building that stands out above the rest is the incredible Burj Khalifa.

The tallest building in the world, head to floor 124 ‘At the Top’ for phenomenal views of the city.

Also worth a visit is one of the city’s newer attractions The Frame, which offers picture-perfect panoramics, a brilliant photo opp and an observation deck.

Looking to soak up a bit of culture and history during your trip? Then you may want to add a trip to the Grand Mosque on the itinerary; it boasts beautiful architecture and plenty of artifacts not to be missed.

Traditional Abra ferries along Dubai Creek

Meanwhile, over at the Dubai Creek you’ll find plenty of traditional ferries for a boat ride unlike any other, while the Dubai Marina is home to a plethora of restaurants, boutiques and waterfront cafés.

Or of course you could check out one of the city’s many hidden gems from desert safaris to Las Vegas-style shows.

What it’s like inside Dubai’s luxury hotel Atlantis, The Palm

Shopping guide

If retail therapy is top of the list, you need to visit Dubai Mall. One of the world’s largest malls, it has everything from luxury boutiques to budget-friendlier stores – and then there are the souks.

The mall has its very own Gold Souk which never fails to floor tourists; even if you’re not planning on hitting the shops, it’s well worth a visit for the sight alone.

People walking in the gold souk of the Dubai Mall

With over 200 brands on sale throughout the mall you won’t struggle to get your shopping fix – but it’s worth setting aside a budget as it’s easy to while away hours in the seemingly never-ending offering of boutiques.

Water Fountain show at sunset outside Dubai Mall on Burj Khalifa Lake

Not to mention it’s also home to an ice rink, aquarium, A380 experience, a Kidzania, and even a virtual reality park – you can check out the full list of entertainment on offer here.

Feeling peckish? There’s a wide array of restaurants on offer too at the mall from fine dining options to quick bites.

Things to do with the kids in Dubai

Dubai’s iconic nightclub scene and luxury boutiques are great, but they’re not exactly ideal if you’re trying to keep the kids entertained.

Luckily, the city actually has some pretty great family-friendly attractions whether you’ve got small children or moody teenagers – and parents can enjoy the days out too!


Adults who want to explore the shops at Dubai Mall can also find ways to keep kids’ boredom at bay thanks to the attractions on offer including an ice rink, aquarium, and Kidzania.

Then there are the theme parks – and Dubai has a whole host of epic theme parks including Riverland, Legoland, Legoland Water Park, Bollywood Parks and Motiongate.

Need a day to relax after all of the excitement? Dubai has some pretty great beaches, but Jumeirah Beach never fails to wow holidaymakers thanks to its swimming-friendly waters and picture-perfect beaches.

Best restaurants and bars in Dubai

Dubai’s glitzy nightlife offering means that there are some seriously amazing restaurants and bars on offer.

One of the most famous is the Ossiana Restaurant at Atlantis, the Palm where diners can tuck into a meal in front of the hotel’s epic aquarium. (In fact, the hotel even has an underwater bedroom!).

However there are also plenty of lesser known restaurants in Dubai where you’ll find everything from fine dining to cheap eats.

Or of course you could wander through Dubai’s incredible Spice Souk and take in the aromas, colourful spices and mouthwatering offerings.

Dubai travel tips

Save up to 50% off attractions: It’s well worth looking into a Dubai Pass if you’re planning to hit the theme parks and attractions as you could save up to half price.

What to wear in Dubai: Swimwear is unacceptable unless you’re on the beach or by the pool.

Best time to go: The best time to visit is from November to March when it’s still hot, but temperatures are more bearable. Avoid the summer months if you don’t do well in heat as temperatures can soar as high as 42C.

Can you drink? It’s illegal to drink in the street or public spaces (including beaches), but you can drink in the hotels, licensed restaurants and private clubs.

Latest travel advice: You can see the latest updates on the FCO travel page here.



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