How to Travel to Dubai with Kids

There are places you’ll visit and adventures you’ll take that will always stay with you. Our family adventure to Dubai is one of those places.

Before boarding our 16 hour direct flight with Emirates from Los Angeles to Dubai, I had no idea what was in store for us in this land far away.  I had my ideas about what Dubai could be like. But I could never have imagined the beauty, wonder and culture that awaited us!

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We started our trip on one of the best airlines in the world, Emirates Airlines. They made the 16 hour journey with a 4 year old and 6 year old seamless. They have special kids meals all flight long, and little bags with toys for the kiddos. They also have one of the BEST entertainment systems i’ve ever seen. My kids watched movies, played video games, ate and slept the whole journey.

My packing MUST HAVES for an international trip with kiddos are these packing cubes on amazon, jujube backpacks for the kiddos packed with snacks, these headphones we bought and their ipads. We also bring small bags of Magnatiles and Plus Plus blocks. I also made sure to bring my Honest Company leather backpack which is the perfect travel bag for my laptop, personal items and is super durable and comfortable.

Upon arrival we were whisked away to our hotel in Downtown Dubai. Along the way we got a nighttime view of the skyline, which included the world’s largest building, The Burj Khalifa! The city sparkled.

Our hotel, The Minzel Downtown is situated right in downtown Dubai, across from The Dubai Mall, the Burj Khalifa and is convenient to pretty much anywhere you need to go. The hotel itself is the perfect spot for a family to stay. They have numerous restaurants, 24hr room service, a pool, gym and more!

The staff was beyond gracious and hospitable, always greeting my little boys with a smile and asking how our day was!

Every morning the staff at the Boulevard Kitchen situated in the lobby, custom made my 4 year old his “shake” and would bring my picky eaters anything their hearts desired!

Here is my “cheat sheet” to visiting Dubai! There are truly endless activities and places to explore but I’ve done my best to narrow it down.

City Walk:

City walk is this beautiful outdoor collection of stores, restaurants and more. We had so much fun exploring. This is a perfect spot to spend an afternoon with the kids.

Location: City Walk - Al Safa St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Green Planet:

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Green planet is an indoor rainforest situated at City Walk. My kiddos had a blast walking through the batcave, meeting exotic birds and insects and we all got to pet a snake! We spend almost 2 hours inside, feeling transported into a real rainforest. I highly suggest getting a guided tour.

Location: City Walk - Dubai - United Arab Emirates




La Mer Beach:

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La Mer Beach is a hip beach locale, complete with a boardwalk, chair and umbrella rentals, restaurants, shops and cafes. There is also a jumping park, where little ones can safely jump on hillshaped trampolines wearing sticky socks. My kiddos spend 40 minutes getting their energy before we relaxed beachside.

Location: 2 A St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

La Perle:

We love Vegas shows like Cirque Du Soleil and this show was surprising because it was completely unique, differentiating itself from other acrobatic shows. This show incorporates music, acrobatics, theatre and stage design to wow it’s audiences. It’s a great date night idea or perfect for kiddos too!

Location: 260 Sheikh Zayed Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Dubai Frame:

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Want to take a harrowing walk across a glass floor 100’s of stories high! The famous Dubai Frame which frames old and new Dubai. If you look out one side you see historical Dubai and the other side has views of modern Dubai with it’s tall skyscrapers and stunning architechture. The Dubai Frame also has a museum where you can learn a little about Dubai’s past, present and future.

Location: Al Kifaf, Zabeel Park Jogging Track - Dubai - United Arab Emirates


Shindgagha Museum/Dubai Museum:

Dubai’s historial neighborhood is full of museums rich with history, art and more. We walked through galleries and dove deeper into early life in the desert, the art, food and culture that is Dubai. Our kids loved seeing all the artifacts and getting more context about Dubai. You can visit a few museums in just under 2 hours!

Location: Opp. Grand Mosque - Al Fahidi St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates


Dubai Mall:

Dubai Mall did not dissapoint! The largest mall in the world, Dubai mall is so big, you can’t walk the whole place in one day. We had fun checking out the indoor ice rink, the many amazing restaurants, snack shops and stores dotting the multiple levels of this indoor “city”. My favorite part of Dubai mall is how the shops are organized. Every floor seems to have a theme, electronics, childrens, womens...it made shopping so easy and streamlined. Dubai mall also has endless activities for kids including Kidzania, a virtual reality park and more!

Location: Financial Center Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

The top of the Burj Khalifa:

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Continuing our theme of great heights in Dubai,  we visited the tallest building in the world - The Burj Khalifa. This building is exhuisite. We took several elevators right to the very top. We looked out the grand windows that overlooked the city, staring out as far as the eye can see in every direction. There is even a deck you can step out on (if you are brave enough) to get some instaworthy pics! You can’t miss this stop on your Dubai adventure!

Location: 1 Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates


Kidzania:

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Kidzania is like nothing we’ve ever seen, it’s an indoor playspace that has created a whole world where kids are the adults. They have to get jobs, earn money and learn the value of hard work all while having a blast! We watched our two little guys hit the bank to get their money, take a job as chefs in a pizza kitchen and as EMT’s and then get their drivers licenses. This was an afternoon of pure fun and joy and it was hard to get the kiddos to leave! I wish we had one of these in LA!

Location: Level 2, The Dubai Mall - Dubai - United Arab Emirates


Seawings Seaplane Ride:

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Board a  SeaPlane by Seawings to soar above the city for 30 minutes while taking in views of Palm Islands, Burj al Arab, The Burj Khalifa and more! My kiddos had the best time and landing on water was one of the coolest experiences ever!

Location: Dubai creek Baniyas Rd Near Park Hyatt Dubai - Dubai - United Arab Emirates


Dubai Parks and Resorts:

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You can’t visit Dubai with kids and not visit Dubai parks and resorts, home to THREE amazing theme parks! (Bollywood Resorts, LEGOLAND/Legoland water park and Motion Gate).  We only had time to explore one but it just means we have to come back!

Location: Sheikh Zayed Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Madinat Jumeriah/Souk Madinat:

Madinat Jumeriah is a resort with beautiful grounds, many coffee shops, restuarants, shopping and a creek where you can board an Abra. We checked out the souk and purchased some scarfs, and keepsakes. This is the perfect spot to spend a morning exploring and relaxing.

Locations: 6 King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Platinum Heritage Desert Safari:

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Our big adventure in the desert with Platinum Heritage - a desert Safari experience, began when our guide Jamie picked us up right from our hotel and swept us away from the city (taking a quick detour to show us Dubai’s national sport - Camel Racing!)

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We then made our way into the beautiful desert. Immediately we were transported into another time and place - there truly is nothing like the desert in the UAE. Upon arrival we were offered scarves for our heads and canteens for water as they don’t allow anything in the desert that could damage it’s natural habitat like plastic. Next we jumped aboard our vintage Landrover with Jamie as our guide to take us on a 45 min tour through the desert to check out animals, and plants that are native to the land. We tasted local plants with medicinal properties, spotted a few creatures and made our way to the falconry show. At the show, we all enjoyed sparkling apple juice and sat on cushions as the sun began to set and we watched one of the most amazing hunters in nature do its thing. After that as the sun went down and darkness set upon the desert, we made our way to a bedouin camp and enjoyed a night of music, amazing local food and desert life. This was truly a night to remember. Oh, we even all rode a camel! We discovered these adorable creatures are so sweet and that when getting on one, you have to lean back as they stand up :)!

Location: Office 1303, Control Tower, Motor City - Dubai - United Arab Emirates



Al Seef/ Museum of Illusions/ Abra Ride on Dubai Creek / Spice + Gold Markets:

This historical district is right on Dubai Creek and home to The Museum of Illusions. We had fun perusing and checking out all the Instaworthy exhibits and unleashing our inner Illusionists. Next we took an Abra ride across the creek to the spice and gold markets where we bartered our way through the stands of endless spices, scarves, knick knacks and more. We bought some Zatar and fresh ginger and my boys picked out keychains.

Locations: Al Seef - Dubai Creek - Dubai - Dubai - United Arab Emirates



Atlantis The Palm / The Waterpark / The Lost Chambers Aquarium:

We’d never been to Atlantis and heard it was incredible and incredible it was! Upon arrival we had lunch at Bread Street Kitchen and Bar and then made our way to the waterpark where we headed right for Splasher Island where my boys played happily for hours while I watched from a loungechair, sparkling water in hand. This is the PERFECT water park with rides and play areas for all ages! My boys are 4 and 6 and Splasher Island was the best area for them to safely explore, go down slides and splash around.

After the water park we had a tour of one of the coolest aquariums I’ve ever visited - The Lost Chambers. We saw every type of fish we knew existed and more. We visited the fish hospital and attended a feeding and then explored the stunning hallways with floor to ceiling aquariums.

Location: Crescent Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

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Eat:

Ninive: Arabic cuisine. A stunning rooftop patio with music, great service and delicious menu.

Location: Emirates Towers Hotel - Sheikh Zayed Rd - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Gaia: Upscale Greek. This restaurant was such a treat! Best Greek food I’ve ever had. Amazing service and so pretty.

Location: Gate villlage 4 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Nobu: Just like the Nobu we know and love in LA, this one is at Atlantis the Palms and is a perfect spot to grab dinner after a fun filled day!

Location: Ground Level, The Avenues, Atlantis - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Bread Street Kitchen and Bar: We ate lunch at Bread Street upon arrival to Atlantis and it was perfect with the kiddos. There is a park right in front of the restaurant for the kids to play at as we waited for our food and they have a full kids menu and are great with food allergies.

Location: Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, Crescent Road - Dubai - United Arab Emirates

Boulevard Kitchen: We ate breakfast here every morning at the hotel and some lunches and dinners too. This menu has so many local options. Boulvevard also catered to our little travelers and made special items that they would eat too.

Location: Manzil Downtown Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, 114822 - Dubai - United Arab Emirates



As I love to quote “I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met”. This could not have been more true about our adventure in Dubai!

Until next time Dubai! You have left a lasting impression on us.



Thanks as always for stopping by!

Xo

Sam





Samantha Gutstadt