Dubai is a bit of a fantasy playground for all ages, with teens being particularly well catered for with plenty of adrenaline-pumping and out-of-this-world experiences they’ll remember for a lifetime.

Having lived in the UAE for a decade and shown countless visitors around town, as well as visiting all of these with our own kids, we’re going to share with you our top 21 teen-centric attractions and a few handy tips for travelling to Dubai with your teens.

In this Dubai with Teens guide, we’ll cover:

Things to do in Dubai with Teenagers: Best Activities


Splash in for Waterpark Action

Aquaventure water park at Atlantis the Palm is always a top pick for teens in Dubai. This world-class waterpark includes Slitherine Racers, Poseidon’s Revenge, where you can reach speeds up to 60km/hr, and the 9-story high Leap of Faith that sees you plunge through a shark-filled lagoon. For the less adventurous, float along the region’s longest lazy river or try the high-intensity raging rapids!

Many new water slides and rides opened in 2021, so if you perhaps visited Aquaventure years ago when they were young children, now is definitely the time to pencil in a revisit; there’s something here for the entire family to enjoy.

This incredible resort also includes several swimming pools and fun restaurants for teens. Teenagers will especially enjoy the Wavehouse with ten-pin bowling and arcade-style games centre along with shakes and burgers in a chilled setting, its one of our favourite Dubai family restaurants with tweens and teens.

Also check out Gordon Ramsey’s Bread Street Kitchen and some new kids on the Atlantis block Street PizzaMalibu 90265 and Beach Buns.

Top Tip: If you stay a night at Atlantis, your waterpark tickets are included, along with entry to the impressive Lost Chambers Aquarium.

 

Go Wild at Wild Wadi

Not to be forgotten, a very close runner-up in the best Dubai waterpark stakes, in fact, some of our teens have preferred it more as there are fewer crowds, is Wild Wadi Waterpark. Located in front of the Burj Al Arab, some of our favourite rides with teens include the Jumeirah Sceirah, Master Blasters and Tantrum Alley.

Top Tip: Just like Atlantis & Aquaventure, guests staying at Jumeirah Beach Hotel – or any of the Jumeirah group hotels in Dubai can get free passes to the water park included with their stay.

The only thing that has frustrated us about Wild Wadi and the reason it didn’t top our list of best water parks is the frequent closures for maintenance. They did briefly reopen in 2023 after a long closure for improvement works, but they look to be ‘closed for maintenance’ again early in 2024.

Thrilling Roller Coasters at Motiongate Dubai

You may be aware that Dubai has a Legoland and a Legoland Water Park, but perhaps you didn’t know it’s actually part of the much larger Dubai Parks & Resorts, three theme parks, and a water park all in one destination! They are all interconnected by an area known as Riverland, which gives plenty more dining and attraction options for families.

Motiongate Dubai is our top pick for teenagers: a Hollywood-themed park packed full of thrilling rides and themed attractions focusing on Dreamworks Animation, Columbia Pictures, the Hunger Games, Ghostbusters, and The Smurfs, to name but a few. At Motiongate, you’ll find the largest concentration of roller coasters for any theme park in the Middle East!

There used to be a third theme park here at DPR with a few thrilling rides our tweens and teens loved, but sadly, Bollywood Dubai closed its doors in early 2023. Stay tuned though thrill-seekers, as we believe the site is going to be taken over by Real Madrid World – the first-ever football theme park in the world!

A few other attractions in the Riverland area that may appeal to older kids are Neon Galaxy and JumpX, the largest inflatable play park in the world, perfect in winter.

If you stay at the adjoining Lapita Resort or Rove at the Park, theme park tickets can also be included with your stay so it is worth shopping around for a deal.

IMG Worlds of Adventure

Dubai’s largest indoor theme park, this is our favourite alternative in the hottest months. With many themed sections, including Marvel, the Lost Valley, the Haunted Hotel and Cartoon Network, this is the preferred theme park for many tween and teen fans.

With a mixed group of ages in your family, we’re not going to lie; Motiongate does a better job of catering to the whole family. But if your teens love their thrills and independent exploration, this is the perfect place.

Planning to visit several of Dubai’s theme parks? We highly recommend you look at a multi-attraction pass such as GoCity or Dubai Pass which will help discount the overall cost, given you’ll be paying adult prices for your whole group.

Play DXB (Formerly VR Park Dubai)

Found in Dubai Mall, amongst all the fabulous shopping and attractions, we know our teens are drawn to Play DXB is the world’s largest virtual reality theme park.  Popular attractions include the Dubai Drone, Speedway, and Cozmojet, along with a UAE-themed favourite Dune Bash.

It’s actually free to enter if you just want to look around the Park, then you need Pay & Play credits to participate in the rides and games.

At this end of Dubai Mall, you’ll find plenty of things to keep older kids entertained, with attractions like Reel Cinemas offering a huge number of unique cinema experiences from Dine to Max4D and ScreenX, as well as Dubai Ice Rink, Hysteria haunted-house, and Infinity des Lumieres art exhibit.

Another fun activity just a short walk away and attached to Dubai Mall is Ekart Zabeel for some adrenaline-pumping go-kart action.

We have a complete guide to Dubai Mall family attractions here.

Admire Burj Khalifa & Dubai Fountain Show in Downtown Dubai

Pretty high up on every visitor’s list for Dubai is visiting the Burj Khalifa. Whether you travel up to the observation deck At The Top – Burj Khalifa or enjoy it from ground level, it’s hard not to be impressed by this incredible record-breaking building, jutting nearly a kilometre into the air.

From ground level, you can also enjoy the Dubai Fountain show in the evening, every 30 minutes for an hour and half-hour, interspersed in the quarter past and quarter with a light show on Burj Khalifa. You will frequently see the Burj lit up at night for special occasions such as national days or in support of charities.

View of Burj Khalifa from underneath at DUbai Mall night time

The Downtown area of Dubai (all attached to Dubai Mall) is a treasure trove of family-friendly attractions. If the World’s tallest building doesn’t impress your teen, there’s an absolute plethora of top-notch dining in the area to enjoy. Time Out Market in Souk Al Bahar is always a winner with our teens wanting to dine with fountain views and a huge range of cuisines.

Scale New Height at Ain Dubai [Temporarily Closed]

Reach some incredible heights on Dubai’s latest man-made island, Bluewater Island, home to Ain Dubai, the tallest observation wheel in the world. Standing an impressive 250 metres tall, Ain Dubai takes passengers on a 38-minute flight with towering views over some of the city’s most impressive nightlights, including JBR, the Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab.

As an alternative, whilst Ain Dubai remains closed, why not try The View at The Palm, another stunning observation floor with brilliant views over Palm Jumeirah and the modern side of Dubai?

Take to the Slopes at Ski Dubai

Who can’t imagine themselves zipping down a 400-metre run in the heart of the desert? Ski Dubai at Mall of the Emirates has long been one of the most unique features of visiting Dubai that thrill-seeking teens will love.

Rent all your gear and hit the slopes for an hour at a time, or grab a full-day pass. The 22,500 square metre park offers skiing, boarding, learn-to-ski sessions, and five different slopes for learning. Plus, there are Zorb balls and the snow bullet ride to try.

If the ski slopes aren’t your thing, but you still want to chill out, why not try Snow Cinema, in conjunction with Vox Cinema. You’ll be provided with your cosy clothes and tasty snacks along with hot chocolate to enjoy your favourite flicks (we have heard a rumour it closed in Dec 2023, to be updated!)

Always a summer indoor favourite when looking for an escape from the heat.

Slide Through Downtown Dubai at Sky Views

Skyviews Dubai is an exhilarating destination for families with teens, offering the chance to walk on a glass-floor viewing platform 219.5 meters above the ground.

Teens will love the thrill of the Edge Walk, encircling the tower’s rim high above the city, and the Glass Slide, a unique ride through a transparent tube from the 53rd to the 52nd floor. It’s a perfect blend of adventure and breathtaking views, guaranteeing unforgettable Insta and Snap-worthy moments.

Test your balancing skills at Aqua Fun

Next up, head to the beachfront of JBR to experience the giant inflatable water park Aqua FunBuilt in the shape of “I Love Dubai”, work your way around the largest inflatable obstacle course in the world on the Persian Gulf.  

There are over 70 challenging obstacles to work your way around, a fun and physically challenging day out; this is one of the best things to do in Dubai with teens in Dubai.

Sky-High Dining at Flying Cup

A unique dining experience for teens to enjoy in Dubai is Flying Cup. Set on JBR, adjacent to AquaFun, guests are elevated an impressive 40 metres above the ground to enjoy a drink and a bite (supplied by Operation Falafel) overlooking the beautiful beachfront “the Beach” and Ain Dubai.

Flying cups on JBR with Ain Dubai in background

Flying Cup dining in the sky on The Beach

Zipline Across Dubai Marina

Officially the longest urban zip line – XLine Dubai – is a spectacular arial experience. Open to anyone over the age of 12 (plus must be over 130cm/50kg). Young Adventurer guests can take on the thrilling 1km flight between Amwaj Towers and Marina Mall at 80km/hr.

Mix with Celebs at Madame Tussauds

Looking for something slightly less adrenaline-pumping, Madame Tussauds is always a crowd-pleaser. The first Middle East museum to open, Madame Tussauds Dubai, can be found on Bluewaters Island, adjacent to Ain Dubai.

Expect to see over 60 celebrity waxworks, including 16 exclusive to the Middle East collection reflecting local pop icons and regional celebrities. A highlight for teens is bound to be the A-list party room which includes a dancefloor and live DJ, no less!

The Arcade by Hub Zero

A relatively new entrant to teen entertainment in Dubai, The Arcade by Hub Zero at Khawaneej Walk is an immersive virtual reality gaming park. With over 50 games to choose from, including virtual reality, artificial intelligence and motion capture systems, this indoor entertainment centre is ideally set up with the teen crowd in mind.

Scuba Dive at Deep Dive Dubai

Another unique new entrant to Dubai – the world’s deepest swimming pool! In a city of extremes, it should come as no surprise you can go indoor scuba diving in the UAE. Deep Dive Dubai teaches children as young as ten all the basics of scuba diving before hitting the open waters.

Fully qualified instructors are on hand, and friends and family can watch from the observation deck or restaurants as your teen takes on the giant 14 million litre tanks with depths up to 60 meters!

Playing foose ball under water at Deep Dive Dubai

Dune Bash on a Desert Safari

desert safari is one of the top Dubai tourist activities to enjoy with teens. Join an organised tour (each family is normally allocated their own 4×4 and driver), and you’ll be transported from your city hotel into the heart of the Dubai desert.

Popular desert safari activities include dune bashing, quad biking, and dune buggies, sandboarding, and camel rides. This is followed by an evening Arabian BBQ in the desert, normally accompanied by entertainment from oud playing to belly dancing (not all traditional Bedouin offerings!). Add to your desert experience with henna art – a truly memorable finish to your Dubai trip.  

Swing Your Way Through Aventura Parks

A fun and unique way to enjoy the outdoors in Dubai is at Aventura Parks. Aventura Parks is a ziplining and ropes course that will see your teens surfing their way through the ghaf forests of Mushrif Park. It’s hard to believe that such natural greenery exists this close to the city; there’s a variety of courses that teens will enjoy, some of the most challenging require kids to be aged 16+.

Aventura Parks Dubai - obstacle course in Mushrif Park Dubai

The most challenging courses at Aventura are set for a minimum age of 16

Hit the Arabian Gulf on a Speedboat Experience

Water is everywhere in Dubai! And if it wasn’t there before, Dubai will create it! So, it’s no wonder there’s a huge range of watercraft experiences teens can enjoy.

Your teens may be too young still to take charge of their own jetski, and a dhow cruise may sound a little slow and boring for them, but what’s always popular with our teens is speedboating!

speedboat tour can take you from Dubai Marina out around the Palm Jumeirah and enjoy some of the city’s most famous sights from the water.

Of course, don’t miss off a traditional abra ride too. It’s a little slower-paced, but seeing the liveliness of Dubai Creek from the water is an unmissable cultural experience.

Shop ’til you Drop in Dubai

Between the old souks and modern shopping malls, there are plentiful shopping options in Dubai. If browsing designer brands is your teen’s thing, then the Fashion Avenue in Dubai Mall is where they’ll want to be seen. Bargain hunters willing to experience more of “old Dubai” might feel more at home in the lesser-known areas of the city like Karama.

Your teens can definitely pick up their Dubai souvenirs at Souk Madinat Jumeriah – a modern souk in traditional Arabic styling. This is also a favourite spot to catch some iconic snaps back to the Burj Al Arab while enjoying some balcony mocktails.

Daring Escape Rooms

If your teenagers are into the concept of escape rooms and love problem-solving challenges, they’re going to enjoy an impressive selection of options in Dubai. Some we can recommend you look into (perfect for a hotel summer’s day when you want an indoor activity):

  • Brain Game Escape Rooms – 6 different rooms with different difficulty levels with challenges set over 60 minutes, found in Jumeirah 1.
  • Phobia Escape Games – found in two locations in JLT, they offer a combined total of 6 escape room experiences.
  • Escape Hunt Dubai – highly commended escape rooms and virtual reality experiences, including Prison Break, Jack the Ripper and The Bank Job.
  • No Way Out – can be found in JLT and City Walk, offering a total of 8 different escape room experiences.
  • Countdown Challenge – found in JBR, this is a great place in the heart of Dubai’s tourist district, offering five challenge rooms (The Basement, Stolen, Last Will, Escape Plan, and Crime Evidence), all of varying difficulty.

Relax on the Beach

After all this action-packed excitement, at the end of the day, your teens are more than likely to be perfectly happy simply relaxing at the beach.

If budget permits and you want a special treat, why not splash for a day pass to one of Dubai’s incredible beach clubs, or there are several free (or nominal fee) beachfronts you can enjoy simply pulling up a towel – learn more about all of Dubai’s best beach fronts here.

Exploring More of the UAE with Teens

These next few are a little beyond Dubai in other Emirates of the United Arab Emirates, but definitely still achievable within a Dubai family vacation.

Take on the longest zipline in the world

Have you already tackled the longest urban zipline and are looking for the next thrill? Next, head to the Northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and the Hajar Mountains (yes, the UAE has mountains!) to experience the thrilling experience of the world’s longest zipline Jebel Jais Flight.

You’ll also find on Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest point, a sky maze set at 1480 metres above sea level! Fabulous to experience the different landscapes of the country.

Ride the Fastest Roller Coaster in the World

Take on an action-packed day trip to Ferrari World on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Situated just an hour away by road, Abu Dhabi is an easy day trip from Dubai, either in a small group tour or hire your own wheels.

Ferrari World on Yas Island Abu Dhabi

The highlight is always Formula Rossi, but there are more than a dozen thrill-seeking rides that can be enjoyed as well as driving and simulator experiences. You can also combine your trip here with Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, SeaWorld and Yas Waterworld, all nearby.

If your teens are super theme park fans, you’ll need at least two days to get through everything on offer at Yas Island. We’d highly recommend allocating several nights of your itinerary just to Abu Dhabi for this crowd.

Go Dolphin Spotting in Oman

Now, what’s more fun for your teen travellers than ticking another country off your list!

The tiny Omani exclave of Musandam is just two hours away from Dubai, at the very tip of the Arabian Peninsula. With a tour guide, you are driven to the regional city of Khasab and board a boat out into the stunning waters around Kumzar, almost touching Iran!

You are treated to the opportunity to see dolphins at play in their natural element and may even get the chance to go snorkelling in among the mountainous khors – earning the area the nickname “Norway of Arabia” – a truly spectacular finish to your teenagers’ trip to Dubai.

a dhow cruise through musandam

Where to Stay in Dubai with Teens

For more than just a quick city stopover in Dubai, we highly recommend families base themselves around Dubai Marina or the JBR/Jumeirah Beach area of the city.

Not only do you then have the marina and the beach in easy reach but there’s also a great range of hotel apartment options available which can give families the luxury of separate bedrooms – teen parents will be grateful for this!

There’s also a great range of private apartments and Airbnb rental options in this part of the city.

Alternatively, if your primary reason for visiting Dubai with teens is the theme parks, we’d highly recommend staying at either Atlantis the Palm for Aquaventure or any of the Jumeirah group hotels for Wild Wadi.

If you don’t want to kill your whole holiday budget, arrange for a few amazing nights at a resort, then transfer to a cheaper apartment for the remainder of your trip.

Check out more options around Dubai Marina here:

How Long Do I Need in Dubai With teens?

If you’ve seen the list of ideas above, you can easily see how quickly you’ll fill a week – ideally, you’d want 10 days to build in some rest days too.

We know Dubai is a popular stopover city too, in which case we’d recommend allowing a minimum of 3 nights to fit in the highlights from this list. If you want to include one of the day trips we’ve mentioned, you’ll want at least 4-5 days to not feel rushed (we know our teens don’t mind a sleep in!).

What Should I Budget When Taking my Teen to Dubai?

As a teen parent, you’re no doubt acutely aware of how much our little darlings can cost!

They’re big now for the kiddy menu and not yet an adult to pay their own way. Dubai, unfortunately, tends to start charging kids over the age of 12 at full price for attractions, meals, and entertainment – as well as hotels counting them as an adult head, so there’s no more stacking the kids up on a sofa bed!

Do budget your Dubai trip with teens with this in mind. We’d recommend keeping your eye out for 2-4-1 deals, purchasing the Entertainer App if you are dining out over more than a few days, and keep your eye out for happy hours and early dining offers.

We have a good guide over here to help you plan for Dubai if you are on a budget, plus this great guide of things to do for free or really cheap if you want to save a little bit but still have an enjoyable time as a family in Dubai.

Further Tips for Taking Teens to Dubai

Before taking off on a trip to Dubai with teens, there are a few more things you may want to be aware of:

Sensible Packing for Dubai

It may not always feel like it when you’re walking around in Dubai these days, but it’s important to remember it is a Muslim country, and modesty in the way you dress is important; there is a time and a place for certain outfits.

If you’re at a waterpark, hotel pool, or at most beaches, it’s fine to walk around in your bathers and summery resort wear. Elsewhere, however, such as in shopping malls and cultural attractions, it’s important that your teens adhere to the basic dress code in Dubai.

No one is asking your teens to wear a full head covering, but perhaps leave the short-shorts and spaghetti strap tops at home. Many places will publish these rules (that are frequently ignored), but remember security guards are well within their rights to call the police if rules are being flouted. Highly unlikely they’re going to arrest your teen for an outfit, but do talk to them about decency and respect in a Muslim country.

And don’t forget a few other essentials in your case, including the right adapter for Dubai sockets, sunhat and sunglasses, sunscreen, deodorants and antiperspirant wipes.

You can find our full suggested packing list for Dubai here.

Alcohol in Dubai

Not that teens should be drinking anyway, right? But please do note that there are strict rules on alcohol consumption underage drinking in Dubai. The legal drinking age in Dubai is 21, and whilst things have become more relaxed in recent years for those eligible to drink, underage drinking is still strictly forbidden.

On the plus side for your teens, thanks to the largely Muslim population who don’t drink alcohol, you will find a wide variety of mocktails on offer if your teens would still like to join you for a fancy sundowner drink.

Teen Safety in Dubai

Dubai is considered a very safe city for families – in fact Dubai is often ranked within the top 10 safest cities in the world according to The Economist.

Just remind your teens to keep their behaviour in check; no profanities, rude gestures, or offensive sloganned t-shirts. Petty crime is almost unheard of, but does take sensible precautions and keep an eye on everyone’s belongings.

Unfortunately, some men do tend to stare at girls/women – usually harmless but another reason to remind your teen girls about sensible clothing for the region.

Weather in Dubai

If you’ve not picked it up in your research for visiting Dubai already, Dubai can be HOT! Really, really hot, edging up over 45°C/113°F in mid-summer. The best time for visiting Dubai is always in the cooler winter months. Generally, November to April is most pleasant.

This doesn’t mean a summer stopover in Dubai is out of the question – just plan your time wisely. A water park may be bearable in July, but you’re unlikely to be swimming in the ocean or going on a desert safari until things have substantially cooled off.

With so many indoor attractions, though, (even air-conditioned bus stops!) Dubai in the summer or even the shoulder seasons can still be a do-able trip with tweens and teens (we’d not recommend it with toddlers and younger children).