60+ Amazing Things To Do In Abu Dhabi With Kids

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 and modern Islamic culture. But family-friendly?

A city built with the family in mind, absolutely Abu Dhabi is a great city to visit with kids.

Far more then just a Middle East stopover point, you could easily fill a week in Abu Dhabi from the beaches to theme parks, dining to desert sports on a family vacation.

Abu dhabi With Kids

As an expat family that has now lived in Abu Dhabi for 11 years, we have tried and tested everything on this extensive list of Abu Dhabi attractions for kids to help you plan your trip to the sun-soaked capital.

This guide is huge, so you may want to navigate down to the section you need and bookmark this page for later!

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If you’ve not been to Abu Dhabi since 2020, you’ll be truly amazed at the many new developments, attractions and dining spots across the city. Let’s dive into the best of Abu Dhabi with kids!

Major City Attractions in Abu Dhabi with Kids

Whatever type of traveller you are, the city’s main cultural highlights will impress old and young alike. We’d suggest not to miss off your Abu Dhabi itinerary these key Abu Dhabi attractions before we get further into the kid-centric fun in Abu Dhabi!

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The most popular Abu Dhabi attraction, without a doubt, is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This spectacular and beautiful white mosque is the largest mosque in the UAE, built in dedication to the country’s Founding Father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who is laid to rest on the grounds.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque reflective view over Wahat al Karama
View of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, taken from Wahat Al Karama

Entry is free to the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, and guided tours of the grounds and main prayer hall are free; you just need to make sure you’re dressed in a respectable manner (since COVID, the option to hire a free abaya and Shayla for ladies or Kandura for men has been removed, there are small shops on-site that will sell these to you instead).

You can find our complete guide how to visit the Grand Mosque with kids here.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

The sensational Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi is another unmissable feature of the city – and free for those under 18! Set on Saadiyat Island, the building itself is a masterpiece, leading you on a journey through humanity. Permanent exhibits take you through early civilization to the modern era of arts and culture.

Louvre Abu Dhabi outside view sunset light

A Children’s Museum awaits at the end of the main gallery with hands-on activities and several restaurants. Our favourite place to sit is with a take out from the café under the giant doomed roof that gently groans in the breeze, a truly magical experience.

You can find our complete guide to navigating the Louvre Abu Dhabi with kids here.

Qasr al Watan

Now, challenging the Grand Mosque as the city’s most beautiful structure, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to step inside the country’s Presidential Palace, Qasr al Watan. Put aside a few hours, even if you only have one day in Abu Dhabi, to tour the grounds and buildings.

You can join a guided group or pick up a headset and self-guide around this magnificent modern building (they have special guided sets just for kids!)

Qasr Al Watan UAE presidential palace
The incredible UAE Presidential Palace in magnificent gleaming marble is a must-see in Abu Dhabi | Image Supplied

It’s a working palace, so don’t be surprised there are occasional closures for diplomatic visits and not all areas are open to the public. Still, the Grand Hall alone is so spectacularly opulent that the kids won’t get bored on a tour.

If you stay until the evening (or return later), you can also enjoy the special sound and light show Palace in Motion. A truly awe-inspiring stop on your Abu Dhabi with kids itinerary – entry fees apply.

Our complete kid-friendly guide to tackling Qasr al Watan here

Qasr Al Hosn

Built on the original Al Hosn Fort site in Abu Dhabi, the recently restored national monument is the original home to Abu Dhabi’s government and consultative council. Qasr al Hosn is the perfect place to understand Abu Dhabi’s past through to the present, with a focus on history, in relative comparison to the modern architectural gems that surround it.

Qasr al Hosn

Witness handicrafts, drop in for talks, artisan demonstrations, workshops, and tours (some of their regular live events are still on hold due to COVID). The focus here is largely on the intangible cultural assets of the country. A small adult entry fee applies.

You’ll also find here the Abu Dhabi Children’s Library, a wonderful interactive indoor space; it’s one of the city’s hidden gems for kids. Free to browse and enjoy for visitors.

Emirates Palace

Often mistaken as the Presidential Palace, Emirates Palace is actually a luxurious 5-star hotel. You don’t need to be an overnight guest to enjoy the grandeur of the Palace (adults do, however, need to be respectfully dressed to enter the building).

This is the place to come for an opulent afternoon tea, an extravagant buffet or a luxury beach club day. At Christmas time, they have the most spectacular Christmas tree display – as do many of the large luxury hotels in Abu Dhabi.

If your going to spoil yourself with a luxury day out, this is the place to do it – the kids’ recreation area at Emirates Palace is amazing, complete with a lazy river and water slides!

Check out our favourite UAE hotels offering extras such as water parks!

Observation Deck at 300

Situated on Level 74 of Conrad Abu Dhabi, Etihad Towers is one of our favourite visitor-stopping points to get orientated with the ever-expanding city. Enjoy amazing 360-degree panoramic views of Abu Dhabi, particularly overlooking Emirates Palace and the Presidential Palace to one side, Downtown and Al Bateen Marina to the other.

Tickets are a little pricey to get in at 95dhs (kids under 4 free), but your ticket includes a coffee/meal voucher for 55dhs making it the perfect spot to stop for morning or afternoon tea. For the full afternoon high tea service, it’s 250dhs (including your entry).

Other places of interest to consider on your culture & sightseeing tour of Abu Dhabi

These Abu Dhabi attractions won’t necessarily be top of your kids’ Abu Dhabi bucket list but make interesting site-seeing stops on a complete Abu Dhabi itinerary:

  • The Heritage Village – usually the go-to place for tour buses and the like on the marina breakwater, but honestly, better places have opened across the city to learn more about Bedouin culture. See Qasr Al Hosn above (and there’s a few more we’ll mention below when you get to Al Ain).
  • Wahat Al Karama – found adjacent to the Grand Mosque, this important site – meaning “Oasis of Dignity” was built in honour of those who served and lost their lives for the country. It’s an interesting spot for adults, though kids are probably more interested in posing with the Grand Mosque as the backdrop.
  • Founders Memorial – found close to Emirates Palace, this is best visited at night to see the stunning light display depicting the country’s Founding Father. There’s a small park showcasing native plant species and an education centre that can be visited beneath. More a photo stop than a standalone visit, you could combine with an evening stroll or ride on the Corniche.
Wahat al karama - the oasis of dignity monument in Abu Dhbai with views of the Sheikh Zayed grand mosque
Wahat Al Karama, “Oasis of Dignity” is a poignant stopping point on an Abu Dhabi visit with a stunning backdrop

Beaches, Nature and Greenery in Abu Dhabi with Kids

Despite the city’s desert setting, you’ll be surprised just how spoilt for choice you are when it comes to parks and gardens in Abu Dhabi, not to forget mile upon mile of sandy beaches. The city is, after all, built on a series of islands.

Umm Al Emarat Park

Umm Al Emarat Park (Formerly Mushrif Central Park) is a wide expanse in the centre of Abu Dhabi island. Year-round features include play parks, a children’s wadi (stream), a petting zoo, a botanical garden and the great lawn, making it one of the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi with kids, toddlers and preschoolers especially.

Umm al Emarat Park

Over the cooler winter months, the weekend Market is a fabulous added feature in the afternoon/evening with not just fresh food but family entertainment, artists and a huge variety of stalls.

Winter months in the past few years have also seen an outdoor instalment of “Bounce” trampoline park and Movies in the Park every Friday to Sunday evening. It’s central location on Abu Dhabi Island makes it easy to access by bus or taxi. A small entry fee applies to enter the park for all over 3 years old.

The Corniche and A’l Bahar Beachfront

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 or try some of the hired equipment vendors.

There are also options to hire bikes or buggies and pedal your way along the Corniche.

Saadiyat Beach

Beyond just the Corniche, there are many other beaches to soak in the rays. The best public beach, if you want to experience real waves, can be found on Saadiyat Island.

If you want deck chairs, there re paid sections of the beach called Soul, and Kai Beach (which used to be called Saadiyat Public Beach). Alternatively, park at Mamsha, and you can walk along in front of the string of luxury resorts for free (that is, if you’re not staying at one of these superb family-friendly properties in Abu Dhabi!)

If you’d prefer all the facilities of a beach club, there are plenty of great family-friendly beach clubs in Abu Dhabi where you can grab a day pass. Saadiyat is the prime spot for waves and real wide sandy beaches, whilst others around the city are more focused on the pools and facilities (“beaches” can be imported sand – simply not as nice!).

You can find all the best beach clubs welcoming of families in Abu Dhabi here

The Corniche and A’l Bahar

A favourite past time for locals and visitors alike is strolling along the beautiful Corniche – the city beachfront. The best part is it’s free, with only a minimal fee payable if you want to use the private family beach area or try activities in the newer section of the beach known as A’l Bahar.

Here you’ll find container-stile street food dining, sports courts and a huge playground. Unfortunately, it looks like the inflatable waterpark Aqua Fun is permanently closed.

There are also options to hire bikes or buggies and pedal your way along the Corniche.

Eastern Mangroves National Park

Eastern Mangroves National Park is a protected area of around 70 square kilometres, sitting off the eastern side of Abu Dhabi island. The best way to explore the mangroves is to rent a kayak or paddle board from the Eastern Mangroves Marina.

There are also eco-donut boats for hire and slightly larger boats for guided nature tours.

Kayaking the Eastern Mangroves in Abu Dhabi

Find a complete guide to exploring the Eastern mangroves with best hire companies here

Jubail Mangroves

A beautiful raised boardwalk over the mangroves of Jubail Island (next to Saadiyat Island) is the perfect urban escape and one of the best things to do with kids in Abu Dhabi. In addition to walking the boardwalk, you can join kayak tours and eboat tours.

Just watch your tides! The marine wildlife is at its most interesting at low tide, when you can see the mangrove ecosystem at its finest. Still, it certainly looks much prettier at high tide! If time permits, it’s a great idea to see it at both high and low tide for different mangrove experiences.

Check your Abu Dhabi tide times here.

Splash Parks & Playgrounds

The city is dotted with many more sizeable playgrounds and splash parks – some easier to find than others unless you are local in the know!

Travelling to Abu Dhabi with children, we know just how important it is to seek out some of these little gems for some downtime, so sharing with you here our list of favourites:

  • Sheikha Fatima Park – newly opened near the Corniche, this revitalized inner city park brings a fabulous blend of play and dining with skateboarding, blading, cycling, splash play and boulder climbing all included.
  • Reem Island has a few parks – Reem Central Park is quite large, also seek out the smaller gateway park and Al Fay Park – with a focus on local diversity and sustainability.
  • Galleria Mall on Al Maryah Island has a couple of hidden rooftop parks, ideal if you’re staying in this part of the city.
  • All along the Corniche, you’ll find several different playgrounds, both on the waterside and take the underpasses to the city side.

You’ll find a comprehensive guide to parks and gardens in Abu Dhabi here.

Hudayriat Island

The new home for sports and recreation in Abu Dhabi, this large sand island lies to the west of the main Abu Dhabi island. Some of the highlights of Al Hudayriyat with kids include:

Circuit X Splash park structure at Marsana, Al Hudayriyat Island
Beachfront Splash Park Circuit X is a great place to cool off after a long day exploring on Hudayriyat Island

Yas Marina Circuit

Best known as the home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (held annually in November), you’ll find year-round motorsports and fitness action in this all-rounder entertainment venue.

Whilst most kids are probably too young and small to partake in the action on the track, its possible to do behind-the-scenes tours, take on the go-kart track and even cycle or walk the track on open nights!

Yup, twice a week TrainYas is open to the public on Monday and Wednesday evenings for most of the year (except GP season) – and it’s completely free!! You can hire bikes for free too, or if these have all been booked there are better track bikes to hire for a fee.

Staying at any of the Yas Hotels, there’s a free shuttle service to get you around the key attractions on Yas Island.

Theme Parks and Indoor Attractions in Abu Dhabi

How have we got this far into talking about Abu Dhabi for kids without mentioning the theme parks!

There are plenty of them to choose from now, all on Yas Island, all world-class, award-winning theme parks. If you visit in the quieter seasons, you’ll be amazed you can enjoy such incredible places almost queue free.

We have a complete guide to Yas Island theme parks for families here – highlighting for you here the important bits!

Yas Waterworld

OK, this one is entirely outdoors still but fits best with the Yas Island theme park trio.

An award-winning Emirati theme park, home to over 40 rides and attractions. We love that so much of this water park is dedicated to children but equally balanced with thrilling rides for your big kids!

Yas waterworld
The incredible Yas Waterworld – one of the best things to do with kids in Abu Dhabi | Image Supplied

Height limits are generous, so there’s not too much your little ones will miss out on and plenty of smaller slides and splash areas, along with a 5D Cinema, family rides, a wave pool and free-fall Liwa Loop, if you dare!

Check out ticket prices for Yas Waterworld

Ferrari World

Home to not just the world’s fastest roller coaster – Formula Rossa – but we’d argue one of the best for having the world’s highest roller coast loop, Flying Aces. Oh, and plenty of focus on fast cars and simulator experiences. This is the one for little thrill seekers!

We used to be quite critical that although this theme park had the brand name, it lacked anything really fun for smaller kids. The new Family Zone extension opened in 2020 and has changed our perception – though we’d say wait until they’re over 1.3m to fully benefit from the best of Ferrari World (ideally 1.4m then they can do almost everything!)

Check out ticket prices for Ferrari World

ferrari World Family zone in abu dhabi, overhead theme park view of new family rides
The new family zone in Ferrari World Abu Dhabi really opens up opportunities for younger kids | Image supplied

WB World Abu Dhabi

One of our favourite UAE theme parks, enjoy a combination of cartoon classics and DC Comics Heroes and Villains as you roam the streets of Metropolis and Gotham City. Currently holding the crown as the world’s largest indoor theme park, at Warner Bros World you’ll find a great mixture of thrilling rides and interactive shows. (We’d recommend best if kids are over 1.1m for the most possible number of rides).

Harry Potter fans should stay tuned as a new Harry Potter World addition is expected to the park in coming years – open date TBC.

Complementing Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi is The WB Abu Dhabi, a themed hotel that would make the ideal stopping point for a family theme park vacation on Yas Island (and will include your theme park tickets!). Here, you’re only a short walk to both Warner Bros and Yas Waterworld.

Check out day tickets for WB World Abu Dhabi

SeaWorld Yas Island

Freshly opening in time for summer 2023, prepare to be wowed by the world’s largest indoor aquarium tank at this brand-new Marine life theme park. Set over 5 floors; there are 8 ‘realms’ to explore in Seas World Yas Island’s One Ocean experience.

Seaworld Abu Dhabi
Micro Ocean is perfect for little ids at SeaWorld yas Island

A combination of over 100 animal exhibits, hands-on experiences and entertaining shows and rides make this one of the most unique theme parks yet to open on Yas Island and good fun for kids of all ages..

Get your tickets to SeaWorld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Want more savings on Yas Island Theme Park tickets? Big discounts can be hard to find, but we’ve found one of the best value if you’ll be touring Dubai & Abu Dhabi is the Dubai GoCity Pass. Despite it’s name, it covers the big Abu Dhabi attractions for kids, too – learn more on our partner site here how the GoCity passes work.

CLYMB Abu Dhabi

Home to the tallest indoor skydiving chamber globally and the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall, CLYMB is the perfect spot to keep your cool while keeping active in Abu Dhabi. Kids can undertake the skydiving from as young as three and the climbing walls from 4 years old.

Clymb indoor skydiving Abu Dhabi
One of our littles in action at CLYMB Indoor Skydiving

You can find a complete review of what to expect at CLYMB with Kids here

Al Qana

Situated just “off island”, pretty much opposite the Grand Mosque in the Radban Al Maqta area of the city, Al Qana is home to a plethora of family entertainment options. You’ll find plenty of indoor activities in Al Qana that could keep you busy for days.

Al Qana Entertainment complex Abu Dhabi

The National Aquarium

Opened in 2021, the National Aquarium Abu Dhabi delivers animal encounters to diving experiences making it a great new indoor activity for kids in Abu Dhabi. Feeding times are a highlight as you journey through 10 thematic zones. It’s not the biggest aquarium in the world but highly informative and well laid out.

Learn more about the National Aquarium here

Pixoul Gaming

Delivering a massive Virtual Reality and esports playground, this is a one-of-a-kind indoor experience in Abu Dhabi. From digital games to their E-Sports Academy, three are 10 different games to try in the VR pavilion, plus an events hall which will be home to esports tournaments.

Newly released, you can now get combo tickets on the Aquarium and Pixoul

Adrenark Adventure

Another “biggest and best” opening for Abu Dhabi this past year has been the indoor adventure park Adrenark Adventure. From Parkour and zip lines to dodgeball courts, wall running and foam pits – if it’s a place to run off steam and keep the kids moving through the peak of summer, this is it!!

Try one or try them all, there are various packages allowing you to try different combinations of hands-on experiences every time.

Snow Abu Dhabi

Another newbie to the indoor entertainment lineup in Abu Dhabi this summer, Snow Abu Dhabi in the newly opened Reem Mall, is set to deliver some of the most incredible indoor experiences. Set at a constant -2C, the largest indoor snow park in the world (of course!), has 20 rides and attractions to enjoy, including giant ice slides, toboggan racing and indoor skiing.

More Indoor Entertainment in Abu Dhabi

As you can imagine, due to the extreme temperatures experienced in Abu Dhabi, there are numerous indoor entertainment centres, and districts dotted around the city – most can be found in shopping centres.

Just some of the best indoor venues in Abu Dhabi for kids include:

  • Kidzania – Yas Mall
  • Bounce – Marina Mall
  • AirManiax – Yas Mall & Marina Mall
  • National Geographic Explorer – Galleria Mall
  • Xtreme Zone – Deerfields Mall, Galleria Mall & Abu Dhabi Mall
  • Orange Wheels – Al Raha Mall & Al Wadha Mall
  • Caboodle – Galleria Mall
  • Zayed Sports City – Bowling, Ice Skating

You can find a complete guide to all the best indoor activities with kids in Abu Dhabi here.

Family Attractions Just Outside Abu Dhabi City

You will likely need a taxi to get to these locations if you don’t have your own car, or join in as part of a tour group.

Look out for these interesting attractions sure to keep the kids happy on a trip to Abu Dhabi:

Desert Safari in Abu Dhabi with kids

A desert safari is up there in the “must-do” category when travelling with kids to Abu Dhabi! You can expect a hotel pick up by 4×4; then dune bash your way through the rolling sand dunes outside the city to your evening campsite.

An evening safari experience will likely include a BBQ dinner, the opportunity to have your hands painted in henna, optional camel rides, dune biking or fat tire biking, sand boarding and an evening of entertainment under the stars. The lineup might include traditional Oud playing, belly dancing and tanoura dance.

There are a few more tips over here on how to choose the best desert safari operators in Abu Dhabi

NB – not all elements of a desert safari are designed for young children or if you’re pregnant. Operators may be able to offer you can altered program.

Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital Tour

The name may be a little deceiving for exactly what you can expect to uncover at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital in Al Sweihan, on the outskirts of the city. A chance to get up close and personal and learn more about the important role falcons have played in the Bedouin life for centuries.

We’d warn that the tour may not hold the attention of really young children and those who still like to grab, poke, put things in their mouths etc! But for your slightly older kids, a fabulous opportunity to see a real-life falcon hospital in action and get some superb photos from your time in Abu Dhabi.

Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital in Sweihan provides a fascinating side trip to learn about falconry

Emirates Park Zoo & Resort

A quaint small zoo that can be found in the outer area of the city Bahia. Emirates Park Zoo is not huge but the perfect size for younger children with plenty of interactive opportunities and feeding times.

They have recently added to their offering breakfast with the giraffes and other overnight opportunities for guests in the small onsite resort. There’s also a mini zipline for smaller kids.

Beyond the Capital – Al Ain & the Western Region

If you’ve got more time to explore Abu Dhabi, head out and see the rest of Abu Dhabi emirate. Not all attractions will appeal to kids, but we’ll give you a rundown of what to expect and the best children’s activities:

Al Ain With Kids

The second largest city in Abu Dhabi emirate is Al Ain, also referred to as the Oasis City. Steeped in history, this is an unmissable stop on your UAE itinerary if you want to learn more about the country.

  • Al Ain Zoo is a must! It is simply huge with new features constantly being added. Entry is really cheap for the main zoo, or a bit pricier if you wish to add a safari tour for up close encounters, including lion feeding experiences. Do take strollers for little legs and a change of clothes helps for the Children’s Discovery Garden.
  • The Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre inside Al Ain Zoo is arguably one of the best museums/education centers in the country (for all age groups!). It covers not just the geology and native habitats of the UAE but Bedouin life, falconry and pearl diving through to the country’s modern formation and looking to a sustainable future.
Al Ain Zoo one of the best in the region and a guaranteed winner with kids exploring Abu Dhabi emirate
  • Al Ain Oasis – chill out at this vast 1,200-hectare site in the centre of the city – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are actually 7 oasis around the city, perfect for a picnic but this is the largest for kids to explore.
  • Depending on how long you think it will hold the kids attention, there are plentiful museums and historic sites in Al Ain too – try the Al Ain Palace Museum, Al Jahili Fort and Qasr Al Muwaiji, in dedication to the country’s current leader Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed al Nayhan.
  • How about making it an overnighter and go glamping at the magnificent dome tents in Jebel Hafit Desert Park? Home to another of the UNESCO sites, the Beehive Tombs, believed to date back to the Neolithic period, the protected desert park also offers hiking and biking along with horse and camel rides.

We have a complete guide to visiting Al Ain with Kids here if you’d like to learn more – plus a guide to the best family-friendly accommodation in Al Ain.

NB – We have removed Wadi Adventure – outdoor water sports park, from our list of outdoor adventures in Al Ain as it appears it will sadly not be reopening post-COVID.

Western Region Abu Dhabi with Kids

Getting well beyond the capital now, let’s head into the vast desert plains of the country – that actually make up the larger part of the country’s land mass – welcome to “the Empty Quarter” – the name will be fairly self-explanatory once you get beyond the city outskirts!

Desert Resorts in Abu Dhabi

The Western Region is also home to some luxury desert resorts like Tilal Liwa and Qasr al Sarab – they include many of the activities that you can also access on a desert safari mentioned above, with an abundance of luxury, kids clubs – you name it, a real Arabian experience!

Qasr al Sarab Anantara Desert Resort
The beautiful Qasr Al Sarab desert resort is the best place to visit with kids in Abu Dhabi’s western region

Emirates National Auto Museum

Want something really quirky? Why not visit the Emirates National Auto Museum? Based inside a giant pyramid on the E65, about an hour from the city it is a really fun and unique experience for kids. The world’s largest caravan? A Dodge truck with a 4-bedroom apartment?  And, of course, the Sheikhs collection of over 200 classic and – unusual cars! There’s an entry fee for over 10’s.

Desert Islands of Al Dhafra

Sir Baniyas Island (aka Sir Bani Yas Island) sits a good 2.5-hour drive west of Abu Dhabi city and a boat ride away. Here you’ll find over 17 000 free-roaming animals, including Arabian oryx, gazelle, hyenas and cheetahs, as part of the Arabian Wildlife Park.

Given the distance from the city, you really need to make it at least an overnighter. There are three Anantara resort options to stay on-site for varying budgets and group sizes. Some offer private villas with their own pool – wildlife can roam to your door!

On-island activity options include nature walks, mountain biking, snorkelling and scuba diving, deep sea fishing, kayaking and horse riding to name a few options.

Dalma Island is another truly unique experience – sitting in the Persian Gulf, 42 kilometers off the UAE coast it’s accessible only by boat from Jebel Dahnna. Recommended for those travelling locally with their own vehicle and camping equipment!

Dining with Kids in Abu Dhabi

It’s pretty hard to pick a spot in Abu Dhabi that’s not family-friendly! Sure, we’d skip the fine dining, but there are lots of places you can easily grab a bite with the kids.

It can be a little weather dependent (i.e., you may not want to be strolling outside in the peak of summer – hotels and mall food courts can be the winner on those occasions!)

Some favourite areas of the city to try:

  • Yas Bay – newly opened with international cuisines to meet all tastes. With kids, try Central with brews, bowling and arcade games in one location, the first of its kind in Abu Dhabi to allow this!
  • Yas Marina – a more established dining and entertainment area off island with magnificent marina views. Try Stars N Bars American dining, welcoming of families until late evening. Sticking to Yas Island, you can also try Hickorys at Yas Links Golf Course; kids will love the large lawn here to run around with superb sunset views back to the city.
  • Al Maryah Island – along the waterfront between the Rosewood Hotel and the Four Seasons, you’ll find a great range of restaurants, some a little more pocket and kid-friendly than others! Try Eat Greek, PF Changs, Texas Roadhouse or The Cheesecake Factory.
  • Saadiyat Island – all the resort hotels along the beach have family-friendly international dining options, many with beautiful beach views. There’s also a great selection of dining to be found in Mamsha – try Black Tap, Beirut Sur Mer, Ten 11 Beach.
  • Hudayriyat Al Marsana – after visiting the beach or trying some of the sports on offer, enjoy fabulous beachfront views and dining here as the sun goes down.
  • Al Maqta Area – Attached to the Shangri-La, you’ll find the area known as The Souk at Qaryat Al Beri with a range of dining options, many with fab views overlooking the mosque, as well as the new Al Qana Development promising plenty of wonderful healthy lifestyle options for dining.

Best Family Hotels in Abu Dhabi

The options are really plentiful when it comes to amazing family accommodation in Abu Dhabi, so it’s really a question of where you want to stay, and how much you want to spend.

If it’s a beach holiday you’ve come to the UAE for, make sure you see our pick of the best family-friendly UAE Beach Resorts.

Want something more unique? Check out these glamping options in the UAE.

Getting Around in Abu Dhabi with Kids

One thing we should point out about visiting Abu Dhabi with kids, it’s not always the easiest city to get around! There is a public transport system – largely buses – with no metro. However, you may frequently find yourself using taxis to get about with kids.

The bus system, in our opinion, is still overly convoluted for visitors needing a pass that must be purchased from the central bus station.

We’d only get your own hire car if you’re planning to head to Al Ain or the Western Region; it’ll work out cheaper to have your own wheels.

Taxies in Abu Dhabi are not fitted with car seats, so if you’re not travelling with your own, try the service Careem Kids, which come fitted with an Iso-fix Cybex Sirona. It is compulsory to use a car seat for under 4’s (though sadly, this rule is flaunted and not enforced).

Looking to travel onwards to Dubai? Here’s how to get between Abu Dhabi and Dubai

When to Visit Abu Dhabi

Last but not least, we should talk about the weather! OK, yes, the city is in the desert. It can get hot (like really, really hot!) from around late May and lasting through until October like much of the Arabian Peninsula. You’ll want to limit your outside time to mornings and evenings, especially with babies and toddlers.

On the plus side, the winters in Abu Dhabi are truly magnificent and the best time to visit. Expect mild days with the lows in winter barely dipping below 25°C. Rain and sand storms can occur, but they’re a rarity.

The seawater temperature does dip in the winter (to a level we desert dwellers find nippy but coming from Europe in December no doubt feels glorious!); conversely, in mid-summer, the ocean water is like taking a spa and walking to a steam room!

The ideal time to visit Abu Dhabi, if you love your heat and want a mixture of beach and outdoor adventure, is March to May and mid-October to early December.

Nowhere near as crowded as neighbouring Dubai, but the weeks around the Grand Prix, Christmas-New Year, Easter, and the two Eid’s are the busiest times in Abu Dhabi. Accommodation prices tend to rise at these times.

Our complete guide to the best times to visit the UAE, plus public and religious holidays to be aware of can be found here.

Further resources for visiting Abu Dhabi

To further help you plan a trip to Abu Dhabi with kids you may find these resources handy

If you’ll be heading further around the Emirates, you may also find helpful:

Still got questions or want further recommendations to fit your perfect UAE itinerary? Pop on over to our friendly Facebook group to have a chat

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Fun Things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids - grnad mosque and Ys Island pictured

Take me back to the UAE with Kids home page


This post has been compiled by our editor Keri, a travel writer and mum of three based in Abu Dhabi. You can see more of her UAE and overseas adventures on her personal blog Our Globetrotters and on Instagram. This page contains affiliate links to our recommended partners; we earn a commission on qualifying purchases made. You can find our full privacy policy and website terms of use here

Family Travel Middle East
Family Travel Middle East

The Family Travel in the Middle East team of travel writers are all parents based in the Middle East, sharing first hand experiences and reviews from across the region to help you plan your next family adventure.

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