Dubai is quite an anomaly. Unlike many of its Middle Eastern neighbors, it exudes newness everywhere. Stunning and safe, it was a wonderful family getaway with amazing attractions and breathtaking scenes around every corner. To me, Dubai felt like a mix of Tokyo and Vegas, with just a bit of the Middle East mixed in. The beautiful and overwhelming cityscapes were my favorite aspect of the destination, but I was also impressed by the many activities to do in Dubai with toddlers.
My two-year-old daughter had a wonderful time. But as you can probably appreciate, toddlerhood can be a challenge. (Her epic meltdown on the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah may have been the biggest toddler meltdown on the entire planet that day!) Remember to time this trip well. The beginning of May was already reaching temperatures of over 100 degrees. A sticky hot little one does not a happy mommy make! Tantrums and heat aside, traveling to Dubai was a wonderful experience. Here are my top picks for what to do in Dubai with toddlers.
1. The Dubai Mall
Okay, at the end of the day, The Dubai Mall is a mall. But it’s worth the trip to see the amazing aquarium, as well as the sugar coma-inducing Candylicious, where they have a very insta-worthy lollipop tree. This is also the mall that houses the Bellagio-esque fountains every evening. It’s a beautiful attraction and a lot of fun for all ages.
2. The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence
Filled with American restaurants and European cafes, The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence can leave you wondering whether you’re still in the Middle East. Large pedestrian sidewalks with fun street art make walking here a lovely experience. My husband and I adored Bateel—famous for its dates and desserts as well as excellent light lunches and the best iced mocha ever. The hotels on this walk are highly recommended, as they allow easy access to the beach, food and nightlife! With toddlers, having everything so close at hand was a life saver.
3. Jumeirah beach
Pristine and sprinkled with beautiful shells, the clear warm waters at Jumeirah beach were a family favorite. I especially like it for young children because the waves are calm, and the water is shallow for at least 20 feet out.
4. Dubai Miracle Garden
Completely dream-like, Dubai Miracle Garden is not your typical garden. Amazing botanicals, heart archways filled with roses and much more await you… in the middle of the desert!
5. Bollywood Parks Dubai
Bollywood Parks Dubai, a lesser-known theme park, is a quirky and fun pick. It’s a treat just to walk around. You can touch everything—making this a two-year-old’s dream! Incidentally, if you are a fan of Indian food, Dubai is a great destination. Indego by Vineet was excellent.
Insider Tip 1:
Make sure you call ahead to any restaurant you visit. Many higher-end restaurants do not have high chairs or kids menus.
Insider Tip 2:
The metro is clean and above ground with great views—perfect for a fidgety toddler!
Insider Tip 3:
The 5-star hotels seem to be either very child-friendly or very child-UNfriendly. Among the best for kids are Atlantis the Palm, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai (Jumeirah Beach location) and Radisson Blu Hotel (Deira Creek location).