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Modern Architecture 2 - Arabian dhow inspired structure

Dubai opera house
Arabian dhow (Arabian sailing) inspired structure
Arabian dhow (Arabian sailing) inspired structure

Top things to do in Dubai with your parents

Being away from family can be a difficult part of expat life. If parents come to visit be sure to show them the best that Dubai has to offer with loads of fun things to do from Burj Khalifa to Old Dubai.

While that may mean, for you, roller coasters, water slides and party brunches followed by late night clubbing not everybody has the same agenda when it comes to things to do in Dubai.

Try these parent-friendly activities for memorable family times.

Afternoon tea on the QE2 We'll never understand why more meals aren't served on tiered plates. Or why there are not more finger sandwiches and dainty cakes in the world. Or why afternoon tea breaks with lashings of cream and jam are not mandated by law. Something to contemplate when sitting with mum and dad on legendary royal cruise ship the QE2. For more afternoon teas in Dubai, click here.Served Thu-Sat, 3 pm-5 pm. QE2, Mina Rashid, (04 526 8888).

See Old Dubai The combination of a Dubai Museum visit and a ride on an abra through Old Dubai and Dubai Creek has been capturing the imagination of visitors and providing a budget-friendly and easy option for emirate residents for decades. For all the skyscrapers and modern attractions it is still the first thing on any to-do list. Not bad for about DHS 5. Open Sat-Thu, 8.30 am-8.30 pm; Fri, 2.30-8.30 pm. Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi District, Bur Dubai, (04 3531862).
Everybody likes to pack at least one smart outfit in their holiday suitcase and this is where they should save it for. The stunning dhow-shaped building Dubai Opera has staged events such as ballet, musicals and theatrical productions as well as opera and is one of the world’s most impressive performing arts venues.Dubai Opera, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown Dubai (04 440 8888).

Take a desert safari People who have lived in Dubai for 20 years still get excited every time they see a camel, so a thrilling 4x4 drive across dunes to see a Bedouin camp and a falconry display before having a henna tattoo, shisha and traditional Emirati food is definitely going to top travel itineraries of first-time visitors. Daily, 8 am-9 pm (for office). Platinum Heritage, Control Heritage, Motor City, (04 4409827).

See ALL the sites Visitors know what Dubai’s Burj Khalifa looks like before they get here. They have even seen Tom Cruise swinging around it in a movie. But nothing prepares them for the swooning sensation the first time they approach the glass on the 148th floor. See if they can spot your home from there. You can take them for afternoon tea at the world’s highest lounge, or a sun downer at the world’s tallest restaurant, Atmosphere, too.Open daily, 9 am-11 pm. At The Top, Burj Khalifa, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard, (800 28843867).

Souk Madinat Jumeirah Describe this complex as a traditional souk crossed with a modern mall and you miss all the subtle intricacies that make it one of our favorite places in the world. Take visitors and you’ll be giving them some of Dubai’s best restaurants, al fresco bars, views, shopping and a waterside stroll all in one spot.Open daily, 8 am-2 am. Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Al Sufouh Road, (04 366 8888).

Look inside a mosque One of only a handful of mosques in the country open to non-Muslims, a visit here is an engaging cultural experience designed to inform and educate about Islam and Emirati culture. The mosque tours are operated by the "Open Doors, Open Minds" initiative and are as enlightening as they are tourist-friendly. Modest dress is required.Open Sat-Thu, 10 am and 2 pm. Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah Beach Road, (04 3536666).
All the world’s a stage and this stage is all the world. Or at least around 70 to 80 countries represented in a multicultural festival park with pavilions highlighting national pride from across the globe. Between October and May the outdoor attraction Global Village hosts fairground fun, international food, theatrical performance and shops with international oddities and souvenirs.Open Sat-Wed, 4-11.30pm; Thu-Fri, 4 pm-12.30 am. Global Village, Exit 37, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed road, (04 3624114).

Family portrait at The Dubai FrameExplain to people before they visit that you’ll take them inside a giant frame, half the size of the Eiffel Tower, and look through either side to see old and new Dubai and they’ll be cynical about the attraction. After they’ve been they’ll rave about the views, the scary glass floors and ask to go to The Dubai Frame again.Open daily, 9 am-9 pm. Dubai Frame, Al Kifaf, Zabeel Park, (800900).

Buy fresh fishThe lively bustle of a working market, with just a sprinkle of the tourist shine of Dubai’s upscale Jumeirah. Yes you can haggle, yes you can get fish caught that day and still dripping with the water of the Arabian Gulf and yes you’ll get incredible pictures for the family album. We also find it smells better than we expected. For more markets, click here.Open daily, 6 am-8 pm. Jumeirah Fish Market, Jumeirah Street, (050 2749776).

Have a classy brunch What better way to explain brunch culture than at the best? Traiteur is Time Out Dubai’s Best Brunch 2019 and it really is a must-try. It is pricey, but the outdoor terrace overlooking yachts in the creek, scrummy seafood, dreamy cheese collection, splendid service and remarkable open kitchen really are worth it. For everything you need to know about brunch in Dubai, click here.Fridays, 1-4.30 pm. Brasserie du Park, Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira, (04 6021814).

Stick them on the bus If you have to work when visitors are here then Big Bus Dubai and City Sightseeing Dubai tours will play the role of host. As well as the step-on/step-off service taking in all the key attractions and ticking sightseeing boxes, audio guides point out interesting facts and trivia. After just one day’s travel passengers are Dubai experts and full of ideas.Daily, call for timings. Various locations, (04 3407709). (04 316 7506).

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