Doha is a modern city with a desert backdrop, bringing with it an intriguing mix of surprising family-friendliness. The Qatari’s themselves have large families, as well as a large expat community of families to serve so it’s no surprise there are plenty of perfect places for visiting families to take their children.
We also recommend if you are planning a trip to Doha to check out our guide to Qatar with Kids which has all the basic visitor information you will need, and our guide to Doha Stopovers – if you have less than a day to explore Doha is it worth leaving the airport for some sightseeing, or do you try grab some shut-eye at the airport?
Now on with a deep-dive into Doha with your kids! We will cover:
- Cultural activities with kids in Doha that can still be fun
- Parks and outdoor spaces
- Indoor activities in Doha with kids
- Family day trip ideas from Doha
Cultural activities in Doha with Kids
Museum of Islamic Art
All the guide books are telling you to go there, but with kids? Yes! This is one of those occasions where building in a trip to an art & history museum will definitely work with the kids.
If the stunning views of the Doha skyline and amazing displays aren’t enough for them, head onward to the kid’s gallery. There are walk-in workshops held on a Saturday and a monthly storytelling session (English and Arabic). Check out their family tour idea on their site (like a scavenger hunt). Entry is free for your under 16’s.
Another very touristy suggestion but nonetheless plenty that the kids will enjoy strolling the fully restored market place, Souq Waqif. From shopping to dining and searching for knickknacks, get lost in the small laneways and enjoy the sights and smells. Don’t miss the falconry section for something unique.
Katara Cultural Village
A great place to combine learning about the country’s culture, along with entertainment and a shopping opportunity. On site you will find not only a heritage centre, but an opera house, library, amphitheatre, art galleries and a souk, as well as cafes and green spaces for the kids to run around.
Take a dhow cruise
What better way to get the full Doha experience than heading out on the waters that surround Doha. They leave from near the Museum of Islamic Art. You can either join a group tour or charter your own boat and an Arabic BBQ lunch – plenty of choices.
You may want to try these tour options whcih will also help you get between some of the sites above:
Parks and Outdoor Spaces in Doha with Kids
The wintertime when the weather is cooler is, of course, the best time for Qatar in the outdoors, here’s a selection of our favourite outdoor spots to try.
This wonderful green space is the most likely one that tourists will stumble upon with their kids. As the name suggests, you are outside the Museum of Islamic Arts, a beautiful green parkland overlooking the West Bay skyscrapers in the distance. There’s a nice cafe on the waterfront, a couple of large playgrounds and on weekends there’s also a pop-up souq (market) in the cooler months.
This is the biggest parkland in Doha, near to Villaggio Mall and Hyatt Plaza. It’s also known as the Green Zone for its trees, fountains and gardens – a real oasis in the midst of city and desert and social hub with walking tracks, playgrounds and a cafe overlooking a large lake.
You will also find here the Torch Tower, from the 2006 Asian Games – now a hotel! There’s even a rotating restaurant located at the top for stunning city views.
Walk along the cities 4km shoreline on this multi-purpose promenade, spectacular views of the city and the ocean. Nighttime views as the West Bay lights up in the distance are truly special.
Cool Down at the beach
There are plenty to choose from in a country that’s pretty much surrounded by the sea! Family favourites include:
- Katara Beach – a 1.5km beach line as well as attached gardens close to the city.
- Simaisma Family Beach – about a 25-minute drive there are some beach shelters which can be used for free as well as toilets and a playground nearby.
- Fuwairit Beach – further north from the city but known to be calm, not many facilities so go prepared with everything from food and beach toys to sunshade (Note the beach is closed during turtle nesting season, roughly April to August)
Alternatively, arrange your family stay to be at one of Doha’s top family resorts that include private beach frontage. Some of the best for their family facilities are The Intercontinental Doha Hotel West Bay, The Grand Hyatt & Villas, West Bay Lagoon or Marsa Malaz Kempinski on the Pearl.
Aqua Park Qatar
This massive waterpark covers a huge 50,000 square meters and includes everything you’d want from a family water park from the classic lazy river and wave pool through to tube slides, Pirates Bay for the kids and a bumper boats driving school. Watch out for families and ladies only days.
Outdoor Leisure Trail at Doha Festival City
The area surrounding the giant Doha Festival City (read plenty more about what you’ll find inside below), has been set up for fitness fanatics to enjoy for free. You will find mountain bike courses for beginners through to advanced as well as exercise stations and walking track.
Slightly further off the normal tourist trail, you will find this neat little park perfect for exercising, riding bikes and a shaded play park. It is in the Ar-Rayyan area of Doha and this year played host to the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), one of the city’s most popular international events.
Here you will also find the Qur-anic Botanical Gardens, Qatar National Library, Torba Farmers Market and Minaretein building.
Sheraton Hotel Park
Bringing some greenery to the West Bay business district side of town, you will find this one as the name suggests in front of the Sheraton. Beautifully laid out gardens with plenty of greenery, exercise stations as well as a playground; and its bonus feature – water fountains!
Al Khor Park
Enjoy aviaries to water fountains and lovely green spaces to run around or take a picnic. Although technically not called a zoo, here you will find goats, zebra, oryx, emus and other exotic birds. There’s also a small train and a mini-golf course. Tuesday women & Children only.
Dahl Al Hamam Park
When all else fails there’s always a playpark, right? A large park situated between Landmark Mall and Al Markhiya Street there’s plenty of space for kids to run around.
Get a taste of modern Doha strolling the luxurious offshore development of The Pearl, Qatar. Luxury yachts in the marina to restaurants and cafes along the promenades.
Indoor Idea with Kids in Doha
Make no mistake, the summers in Doha can be HOT! There are plenty of ways to keep your cool though with kids in Doha’s abundance of shopping malls and indoor play spaces. Here are some of the biggest and best you can check out during your stay in Doha.
Gondolania Theme Park
Located in Villaggio Mall, this is the city’s largest indoor entertainment centre. You’ll find everything from roller coasters to a Ferris wheel in this indoor family entertainment centre – or take a boat ride, skate on the ice rink, play bowling, laser tag, you name it! It is a great one-stop-shop for your hot days where you still want to keep the family entertained. Don’t miss 4D movie experience and a huge soft play for your smaller kids.
Angry Birds World
Located in Doha Festival City you will find everything from educational activities to rides for all the whole family to enjoy. The park is partly indoors, partly outdoors to maximise year-round enjoyment. Plenty of food on-site and opportunities to spend on Angry Birds merchandise, of course!
Another spectacular new opening at Doha Festival City will take you on an Arabian themed snowy wonderland (yes apparently that is possible!) From Snow slides to racing rides and an icy-themed merry-go-round, they have truly brought sub-zero life to the desert.
A real-life city where kids are in charge. They must work hard at different “jobs” and learning new skills in order to acquire kidZoos to spend on leisure activities. It’s hands-off for the parents as kids rule in Kidzania under the Zupervisors careful instructions. Found in Aspire Zone.
Your more budding creatives may prefer Cafe Ceramique, located in Old Airport Area (The Mall), food and drinks are served but you bring your own creativity, and something the kids can take home.
Found in the Gate Mall at West Bay, the aim of this indoor play centre is to keep kids active with a new approach to digital games. There will be plenty of rowing, jumping, cycling and dancing to get them up and moving, not your average tech arcade!
Kids entertainment for your littlest ones in a pleasant setting that encourages role-play through to climbing and small group activities. Caboodle can be found in Doha Festival City.
Jungle Zone in Hyatt Plaza is an indoor jungle-themed playground with amusement style arcade games through to a mini fun coaster. Enjoy the 7D multisensory ride, and even a zipline!
Found in Landmark Shopping Mall, this indoor experience includes carousel rides, an inflatable slide, trampolines and bumper cars – as well as a giant soft play as you expect in Middle East malls! You can also get your hair cut and grab a bite in the food court.
Found in the Pearl, this is where you’ll get your fix of arcade-style entertainment. There are plenty of indoor sports too including bowling, darts and billiards, or try your vocal cords in the Karaoke room.
A giant indoor gaming centre to be found in the impressively large Doha Festival City. Includes racing simulators through to escape tooms and arcade games, and not to miss the eSports arena. Best suited to your teens and adults.
Still to come in Doha for kids…
Watch this space, as the city is rapidly expanding we are aware of some newcomers which we’ll update here. One we are really looking forward to is Juniverse – yet another amazing indoor opening at Doha Festival City. Similar to the Kidzania concept of a small city but set in the future.
Doha Day Trip Ideas with Kids
Dune Bashing in the desert
A fun experience for desert first-timers, and residents alike. A typical dune bashing experience will see you picked up from your city hotel and then whisked off to the desert dunes for a thrilling ride before being treated to a traditional Bedouin evening under the stars.
Some operators will throw camel rides and sandboarding into the mix, along with a traditional meal, henna painting and musical entertainment. Best done in the cooler winter months.
Another tourist favourite, this is a bit out of Doha city, so you’d best organise your own transport or see it as part of an organsied tour.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is now a museum in the ancient town of Zubarah, in the north of Qatar. This amazingly well-preserved building is a great place for kids to learn more about Bedouin life and Arabian trade from centuries past.
This guided tour of North Qatar will take you to the fort as well as Umm Salal Fortress and Al Khor Museum.
Khor Al Udeid
The inland sea is another hugely popular attraction families love to add to a Doha itinerary. Where the desert meets the beach; perfect for camping and enjoying a night under the stars. Check out these companies that operate tours to get you off road and enjoying one of the country’s most spectacular sites bordering Saudi Arabia:
Getting Around in Doha
Most attractions in Doha are too spread out to walk in between, so you will find yourself needing a taxi to get from place to place, unless you join a guided tour.
Many hotels will offer a shuttle service from the airport, so do check this when booking but expect to use a taxi in most cases to get around in Doha. They will not come equipped with car seats so bear this in mind if making a stopover and planning what gear you will need with kids.
Have you got any more suggestions of fun things to do with kids in Doha? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Read more here about Doha & Qatar
- Best time to visit Qatar
- What should I wear when visiting Doha?
- Top attractions and places to visit in Qatar
- How to tackle a Doha layover