Planning to visit Dubai, the glitzy, dusty, hot and humid shopping capital of the world? Travel like a local with these hints from our friends who live there.
Jumeirah Beach, Dubai
Your name – Johanna
Nationality – Australian
Children’s ages – 2.5 years and a newborn
How long have you lived there? 2 years
Hint 1 – Visit between October – April/May.
When the UAE celebrates it’s National Day (2 December) it’s a big event in Jumeriah Beach Residence with a boat parade at the Marina, epic fireworks displays over the ocean and the incredible Jet show which can be seen from all areas of Jumeirah Beach Residence. This is all free entertainment.
Hint 2 – Jumeirah Beach Residence is a tourist hotspot in Dubai with fantastic and maintained footpaths for strollers and wandering toddlers. You will not need a hire car when you stay here as you can just walk around or utilise the tram and metro.
Best to book beachfront hotels: Hilton, Le Royal Meridien, Ritz-Carlton so that you can drink your alcoholic sundowners on the beach with your toes in the water! The major hotels have complimentary bus shuttle service to all the malls so you don’t have to brave the roads or traffic. But you can also find apartments on Air b&b.
Hint 3 – The Walk is basically the esplanade filled with cafes, restaurants, fashion boutiques. You can find 24-hour supermarkets (that deliver) such as Carrefour, Almaya, Star to stock up on fresh fruit and veggies plus your beach kits: bucket and spades, umbrellas, boogie boards if you want to buy.
Hint 4 – ‘The Beach’ is a development that has fun for all ages and all the leading restaurants, sports and fashion boutiques (Victoria secret, Sephora, Mother Care etc) and ice cream!
My favourite kid friendly restaurant is ‘Cheesecake Factory’- the menu is HUGE and well-priced meals, plus it doesn’t matter how noisy your kids are, staff love it! We also like a quick ‘Shake Shack’ burger or a treat from Magnolia Bakery.
Activities in the area include:
- Camel rides
- Outdoor and indoor cinemas
- Indoor soft play centres
- For some adult fun, there is a Shisha cafe right at the beach
Anything you want to do in the water- you can do it!
- splash park
- floating obstacle course
- beach volleyball
- kite surfing
- jet ski
- surf ski
Jumeriah Beach Residence comes alive in Winter!
Hint 5 – There is so much free entertainment over winter at Jumeirah Beach Residence –
- outdoor concerts catering to all ages at all times of the day
- free outdoor gym
- kids play equipment
- showers (sounds weird to mention that, but it’s a huge plus having facilities right on the beach here in Dubai)
- night markets
- running track
- cycle track and a huge amount of space for kids cycling, scooter rides, skateboards etc
- catch the tram to the Marina Mall which has regular free kids entertainment
Your name – Emily
Nationality – Australian
Children’s ages – 3 years, 1 year and 6 weeks
How long have you lived there? 3 years
Websites for keeping up to date on what is happening in the area – Sassymamma Dubai or What’s On Dubai are great.
Hint 1 – Carluccio’s is great for eating out with children. They have a couple locations around Dubai including Dubai Mall and Marina Mall. We love the friendly staff, they are always ready to help with a high chair and handing out crayons and drawing sheets. And pizza and pasta are a winner with my kids.
Hint 2 – We love Safa Park, a 64-hectare urban park with lakes, grassy lawns, a little forest and a waterfall that flows into the largest lake with a fountain and touring boats. When it isn’t too hot it’s the place to be with children.
Hint 3 – It is super dooper hot 6 months of the year – try to visit between November – April.
Hint 4 – A great free activity to attend is the Dubai Fountain. It is a water, light and music show outside of the Dubai Mall, with the Burj Khalifa as a backdrop. There are several shows a night, get your spot early as it can be crowded.
Hint 5 – The locals usually go out in the afternoons and stay out late so take advantage of attractions in the morning when they are hopefully a little quieter.