Dubai’s hot in the summer. Like really hot.
Whether you’re an expat resident or a tourist looking to fly through or take advantage of cheaper summer prices, I bet you’ll be looking for what can do done INSIDE over Dubai’s hottest months of the year.
Having lived through nearly a decade of UAE summers ourselves (OK, I can’t lie – most years we do take off overseas for at least part of the summer to escape the heat!) but we have spent A LOT of time getting to know Dubai’s best indoor attractions in the hottest months that can stretch from April to October each year.
No matter the time of year, there really is something in Dubai to suit everyone. We’ve broken this bumper list of 50+ ideas down into easy to navigate sections to suit your interests:
- Best Indoor Activities in Dubai
- Indoor activities in Dubai for families
- Indoor activities in Abu Dhabi
Best Indoor Activities in Dubai
(NB places we have marked with a * are on the Dubai Pass – learn more on how to save money on Dubai’s top attractions here).
Major tourist attractions in Dubai that are indoors
These are our top pick of tourist attractions you can still visit across the city even in the peak of summer (do we mindful there may still be short walks from the car park to the entrance).
- The Dubai Frame* – superb views as well as interactive displays around Dubai’s past and present in Zabeel Park.
- Etihad Museum* – learn more about the country’s recent history and journey to unification.
- La Perle – evening extravaganza by Dragone is one of the city’s most highly acclaimed stage shows in Al Habtoor City.
- Lost Chambers Aquarium* – part of the extensive Atlantis the Palm complex, travel through the Lost City, take on a Myth Tour.
- IMG Worlds of Adventure* – Dubai’s entirely indoor action theme park based on the outskirts of the city where you can fit in a full day of adrenaline-pumping fun.
- Museum of Illusions – based along the Al Seef Waterfront, pop in for a reprieve from the heat and enjoy the fun optical illusions on offer.
- Motiongate* – part of the Dubai Parks & Resorts complex, it is NOT entirely indoors, but a decent enough amount of the park, particularly the Dreamworks studios IS indoors so we’d not leave it off your summer attraction list (and big discounts to be had for summer visitors).
Too hot to get out? Take a virtual tour of Dubai’s attractions here
Dubai Mall & Burj Khalifa
One of the world’s largest malls still has a huge amount going on over summer, and home to many of Dubai’s best indoor activities. You could literally spend a couple of days here and not run out of things to do. Some of our favourite attractions at Dubai Mall include:
- Burj Khalifa Observation Deck* (Levels 124 & 125 “At The Top” advance booking essential). Entrance is through the Dubai Mall basement level.
- Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo* you can view the world’s largest suspended tank from within the Mall for free, or come in for plenty of interactive water life experiences.
- Kidzania Dubai* – a real-to-life town where kids “work” to earn Kidzos to spend on fun activities.
- VR Park* – a virtual reality theme park.
- Dubai Ice Rink* – indoor ice skating fun.
- With the kids, don’t forget the giant Hamleys store, plus The Toy Store in the basement – plenty of FREE fun entertainment – this is our complete kids guide to Dubai Mall! Don’t miss the stunning Dubai Waterfall, and grab an inside restaurant seat for the nightly Dubai Fountain shows.
Visiting Dubai Mall on a DXB stopover? Our complete guide here how to get to Downtown Dubai on public transport
Dubai Mall is certainly not the only Dubai shopping mall with a lot going on. In fact, malls are where most summer life circulates around in Dubai during the day -and the evening for that matter!
Check out these other mega-malls in Dubai for more indoor fun:
Mall of the Emirates
- Ski Dubai* – far more than just an indoor ski slope, enjoy the indoor snow park including bobsledding, snowball fighting and even the chance to meet real penguins with the Snow Friends Penguin Encounter.
- Dreamscape – enter a virtual reality world where YOu become part of the scene.
- Yalla! Bowling – Bowling is always a winning indoor sport and this state-of-the-art venue is no exception, connected to Magic Planet indoor entertainment centre for kids which also includes Gravity Air Park.
City Centre Mirdif
- ifly indoor flying simulator* gravity-defying indoor fun! This is Dubai’s indoor Skydiving centre
- Sky Trails and Climbing Wall – part of the Magic Planet kids entertainment centre.
- Little Explorers – early childhood edutainment centre.
Times Square – Sheikh Zayed Road
- Adventure Zone by Adventure HQ – offering indoor climbing walls, obstacle courses and more
- Chillout Ice Lounge – enjoy a desert drink in sub-zero temperatures!
- The Green Planet Dubai* – an entirely indoor biodome experience transports you to a tropical rainforest (warm but much cooler than outside!!)
- Hub Zero* – total entertainment zone – including the VOID, virtual reality experience (venue closed Jan 2020 – we await re-opening information)
- Mattel Play! Town Dubai* – 5 themed floors in this giant kids Edutainment centre from Bob the Builder to Fireman Sam await for the little ones (COVID restrictions see this attraction remain closed).
Indoor activities in Dubai for families
There are also some super action venues not tied to the larger shopping malls but dotted across the city you mustn’t miss! Why not try these fun indoor places in Dubai:
Young children play and entertainment centres in Dubai
- OliOli Children’s Museum – one of the best interactive and education centres in Dubai
- Caboodle – Park of the mega Dubai mall, this is just for kids in a beautiful and interactive indoor play space, childminding options are available.
- The Jam Jar – in Al Quoz, Dubai’s centre for arts and creativity enjoy DIY painting sessions and workshops.
Toddler Play Centres in Dubai
One thing the city of Dubai is not short on is indoor edutainment and play centres. As well as the places mentioned in the large shopping malls above, look out for:
- Fun N Learn – imaginative play centres inside Fun City, various locations across the city.
- Fairytales – Indoor themed fun for little ones who love their dress up and imaginative play in Town Centre Jumeirah.
- Kids HQ – edutainment and soft play galore in these huge play centre in Barsha 2.
- Cheeky Monkeys – Arabian Ranches 2, J3 Mall Umm Suqeim, The Pointe on the Plam Etihad Mall Mirdif and Al Barsha Mall.
- Extreme Fun – Union Coop, Al Wasl Road, Motor City and Centro in the Villa.
- Magic Planet – Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Deira, City Centre Mirdiff, City Centre Shindaga, City Centre Me’aisem, Arabian Ranches and Burjuman.
- Playdates the Palm– Located in the Golden Mile Mall, the Palm
- Funky Monkeys Playland – Al Wasl Centre on Sheikh Zayed Road.
- Pixies & Ponies – Wasl Vita Mall, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah 1.
- Fun Block – First Avenue Mall in Dubailand
(NB some venues have remained closed post-COVID-19. We will update this guide prior to Summer 2021 when we know any permanent closures)
Another great source you can check out for kids activities in Dubai is Family Travel in the Middle East. Check out their guest post on Top Dubai Activities for Kids and their extensive guide to visiting Dubai with toddlers & young children.
Dubai indoors for your older kids & sports enthusiasts
Over the hottest summer months check out these fun Dubai indoor games and activities.
- Adventure Zone by Adventure HQ – the sports shop come indoor adventure playground in Times Square and the Galleria Mall.
- Archery Tag at Flip Out – release your inner Hunger Games desires in this uniquely energetic indoor game, also includes trampoline park and bubble soccer (closed post-COVID).
- Astro Blasters – Nerf gun interstellar battle (within Magic Planet, Mall of the Emirates).
- Bouldering at Rock Republic – a fabulous all over work out in this purpose build bouldering venue over 400 sqm, Dubai Business Park.
- Karting and Laser Tag at Dubai Autodrome.
- Dubai Bowling Centre – good old fashioned bowling fun and MUCH more at this bumper indoor entertainment venue in Al Quoz – also includes a gaming zone and JumpUP trampoline centre.
- Dubai Sports World – annual summer event taking over the exhibition halls at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
- Highway 66 – Mini bowling lanes at City Centre Deira.
- Jumble Dubai – Urbanb maze adventure requiring both physical and mental strength to complete.
- Jump Boxx – indoor trampoline park in Dubai with over 120+ trampolines in Uptown Mirdiff Mall.
- Mountain Extreme – offering over 60 bouldering and 70 climbing routes un the Business Bay area.
- Tee & Putt Mini Golf – Glow in the dark mini golf at Wafi Mall.
- TEPFactor* – indoor adventure game with 21 challenges to complete, at The Walk, JBR.
- The Smash Room – when you need to unleash your energy in a physical way – 2 branches in Umm Sequim & The Last Exit Mad X.
- X Park at Bounce – an obstacle course providing an all-over work out for super energetic kids – as well as a trampoline park.
We have this great guide to Dubai Trampoline Parks to consider as well, most operate as multi-sport indoor centres offering a wide range of fun kids activities to keep them active indoors.
Indoor activities in Abu Dhabi
It is well worth making a day trip or even overnighter down to Abu Dhabi to enjoy the indoor offering their too. There’s plenty you can enjoy even in the peak heat that will keep you indoors.
Don’t forget to check out our sister site Abu Dhabi Travel Planner if you plan to spend more time in the UAE’s capital.
Yas Island indoor activities
Home to the fabulous Yas Island themes parks, you will find entirely indoors:
- Ferrari World – OK, a couple of the rides do burst out of the building, but the 925,000 sq ft venue is the only one of its kind in the world combining a love of fast cars and adrenaline-pumping rides, including the world’s fastest roller coaster.
- CLYMB – home to the World’s largest indoor flight chamber and largest indoor climbing wall, this is one for your sporting enthusiasts to keep active year-round
- Warner Bros World – the World’s largest entirely indoor theme park combines favourites from DC Comic heroes and villains through the Flintstones and Looney Toon favourites over 29 rides and attractions
- Yas Mall has plenty of other kiddy entertainment including the giant slide inside Virgin Mega Strore, The Toy Shop, Hamleys toy store (smaller than Dubai Mall though).
Abu Dhabi cultural attractions & indoor sightseeing
- Qasr al Watan – enjoy touring through the Grand Hall and admire the “Spirit of Collaboration” meeting place of the UAE Cabinet.
- Louvre Abu Dhabi – the Journey through Humanity keeps going throughout the summer. There are some covered outdoor areas but the collections are obviously well maintained indoors away from the heat.
- Observation 300 – gaze over the giant Emirates Palace hotel & neighbouring President Palace from the cities highest observation deck, Level 74 of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers (Ok, we know nowhere near as high as the Burj Khalifa but still some stunning views!)
We’ll be adding more soon for Sharjah and the Northern Emirates too – stay tuned! In the meant time check out this great resource for further reading on Sharjah’s attractions.
Before you go… are you planning a trip to Dubai? Tips for first-timers
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Dubai, a handy guide on what to pack and top tips for first-timers on the do’s and don’ts, laws and customs to be aware of.
- Check out this incredible list of 150+ places you should visit when you’re in Dubai.
- Pick up a Dubai Pass to save up to 50% on top Dubai attractions
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!!!
- Discover the best areas to stay in Dubai, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here: