100+ Family Things to do in the United Arab Emirates • Our Globetrotters

Looking at a family holiday in Dubai? After ideas about what to do in Abu Dhabi?  

If you’re seeking to explore the United Arab Emirates with your kids, we’ve got exactly the information you need.

With 10+ years experience living in the UAE with kids, and a little help from some local blogging mums, this is your ultimate guide to well over 100 places across the seven Emirates of the UAE to take your kids – from the obvious to the slightly obscure and links to any tips we have to make your journey as pleasant as possible.

This post is part of our series Discover the UAE

See our summary here for some quick ideas, or use the jump links for a detailed guide to family things to do in each Emirate.

Al Ain Camel Market | Al Ain Zoo | Al Bateen Beach | Al Dhafra Festival | Al Hudayriyat Island | Bounce Marina Mall | Circuit X | CLYMB | Corniche | Dalma Island | Desert Safari | Eastern Mangroves | Emirates National Auto Museum | Emirates Palace | Emirates Park Zoo | Falcon Hospital | Ferrari World | Green Mubazzarah | Heritage Village | Hili City | Jebel Hafeet | Jubail Mangroves | Louvre Museum | Manarat al Saadiyat | Observation Deck at 300 | Qasr al Hosn | Qasr al Sarab | Qasr al Watan | Ripe Market | Saadiyat Beach | Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque | Sir Baniyas Island | Umm al Emarat Park | Wadi Adventure | WB World Abu Dhabi| Yas Bay | Yas Beach | Yas Gateway Parks | Yas Mall | Yas Marina Circuit | Yas Waterworld | Zaya Narui

Ajman Museum | Al Neseem Nature Reserve | Al Zorah Nature Reserve | Corniche | Dhow Building Yard | Fish Market

Al Mamzar Beach Park | Al Qudra Lake | Aquadventure | Atlantis the Palm | Aventura | Bastakiya | Bollywood Parks | Bur Dubai | Burj al Arab | Burj Khalifa | Butterfly Garden | Camel Racing | Dolphin Bay | Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo | Dubai Creek | Dubai Creek Park | Dubai Garden Glow | Dubai Ice Rink | Dubai Mall | Dubai Mall Fountain | Global Village | Gold Souk | IMG Worlds of Adventure | Jumeirah Beach | Kidzania | Kite Beach | Le Petit Palais | Legoland | Lego Water Park | Little Explorers | Lost Chambers | Madinat Jumeirah | Mattel PlayTown | Miracle Garden | Motiongate | Safa Park | | Spice Souk | Souk Madinat Jumeirah | The Beach | The Green Planet | The Frame | The Walk | Wild Flight | Wild Wadi | Zabeel Park

Al Aqah | Al Hayl Fort | Dibba al-Fujairah | Fujairah Fort | Fujairah Heritage Museum | Hajar Mountains | Madha (Oman) & Nahwa | Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Al Wadi Equestrian Adventure | Awafi Desert  | Al Saqr Park | Bassata Desert Village | Dahyah Fort | Jazirat al Hamra | Jebel al Jais | Banyan Tree Al Wadi | Marjan Island  | Seawings Plane | Suwaidi Pearls

Al Hefaiya Mountain Conservation Center | Al Hamra Village | Al Hisn Fort | Al Majaz Waterfront |Al Montazah Park | Al Naboodah | Khor Fakkan | Khor Kalba | Old Market | Sharjah Desert Park | Sharjah Maritime Museum & Aquarium | Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization | Sharjah National Park | Wasit Wetland Nature Reserve

Dreamland Water Park

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates and by far the largest of the seven Emirates (“states”) that make up the UAE.  A real mix of peaceful grace, stunning architecture, modern Islamic culture and the most family-friendly of them all (we are a little biased, we live here!).

Pro Tip: Abu Dhabi is a beautiful city filled with lots of kid-friendly tourist attractions. Visiting many places by self-drive car might be a bit difficult task, especially if you are with a big family and unfamiliar with Abu Dhabi. If you are planning to visit Abu Dhabi for a family day trip and want to minimise the stress, we recommend you book a private Abu Dhabi tour and let your tour driver take you to a selection of the below-mentioned kid-friendly attractions with ease.

Major City Attractions in Abu Dhabi

Around the city, the most popular attraction without a doubt is the absolutely unmissable and spectacular Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque  – come covered or hire an abaya/kandura there for free and be prepared for the breathtaking architecture and design. Joining a free mosque tour is a great idea to learn more.

A favourite pastime for locals and visitors alike is strolling along the beautiful Corniche – the city beachfront. The best part is it’s free, with only a very small fee payable if you want to use the private family beach area. Hiring bikes or buggies and pedalling your way along the Corniche is another great way to see the city.

Abu Dhabi's Corniche
Abu Dhabi’s famous Corniche beach is one of the city highlights for tourists

Those wanting to learn more about the history of the Emirates and Bedouin culture may want to visit the Heritage Village, located near Marina Mall. There are small workshops here displaying traditional handcrafts, Bedouin housing and sometimes a Falcon (though disappointingly, not all displays are open all the time).

In a much newer addition to the city – but surrounding the city’s oldest building – you will find a new cultural hub of Qasr al Hosn. It is also home to a new Abu Dhabi Children’s Library, part of the Cultural Foundation.

Where to stay in Abu Dhabi

Observation Deck at 300, situated on level 74 of Conrad Hotel, Etihad Towers, is one of our favourite visitor stopping points. Amazingly good views over the city, particularly overlooking the new presidential palace complex and Emirates Palace. Tickets are a little pricey to get in at 95dhs (55dhs redeemable on F&B, kids under four are free), or try afternoon for 250dhs per person.

Speaking of which – if it’s a fancy afternoon tea you want, or a chance to check out the gold vending machines, head on down to Emirates Palace itself (go in even just for a nosy and take some photos for free – note you need to be well dressed to do this).  At Christmas, they have the most spectacular Christmas tree display – as do many of the large luxury hotels.

And as of 2019, the new Presidential Palace – Qasr al Watan – is now open for public visits! You can learn more here on Family Travel in the Middle East.