Labyrinthine Marrakesh casts a spell on travelers of all ages: from the palm-studded riad gardens and their tinkling fountains to fairytale souq scenes and the spectacle of Djemaa El Fna, wonderment is everywhere in the Red City.

It's a particularly great place for kids, with plenty to see and do – and plenty of room for little imaginations to run wild. Marrakesh can sometimes be challenging for visitors, with or without children, but advance preparation will make your time in town much easier. 

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There are a few logistical challenges to keep in mind, but those who take them in stride will be well-rewarded. Much of the medina can only be explored on foot, but strollers aren't practical, so bring a backpack for babies and toddlers. Baby-changing facilities are nonexistent, and few restaurants have kids menus. Riad accommodations are not childproof, but many cater to families, and staff dote on little ones.

Marrakesh is an entertaining city for kids of all ages, and families can soak up its atmosphere in its many markets, or by taking a local cooking course or meeting Marrakshis at the park. These are the best activities in Marrakesh for kids. 

Introducing Morocco

Go shopping in the souqs

Kids will gaze in wonderment at the bounty of goods for sale at Marrakesh's markets: potion sellers trading concoctions that seem like they're straight out of Harry Potter, old tins hammered into Aladdin-esque lamps, cupboard-sized shops packed with spangled slippers worthy of Cinderella. Early mornings are quieter in the souqs (markets), meaning less hassle and a better view of craftspeople at work.

Run around Terres d’Amanar

Adrenaline-packed Terres d’Amanar balances out all that chill souq strolling. This outdoor center, 22 miles (36km) south of Marrakesh, offers zip lines, a forest adventure course, mountain biking and horse riding. The list of activities is inclusive of all age groups and abilities, and it's great for kids. Learn to master zip lines, tackle the adventure course or head out on a horse ride or a trek. There's a pool and a good restaurant too.

Cool off at Oasiria

Beat the Marrakesh heat at Oasiria, with eight pools and a pirate lagoon, all tucked within lush gardens. There's all-day family fun whizzing down kamikaze and cobra slides and playing in wave pools, plus river tubing and Jacuzzis. There are restaurants where you can refuel, and an on-site infirmary to ensure everyone stays safe. Free shuttles run from Djemaa El Fna and Gueliz throughout the day.

People eating at a stall in Djemaa El Fna square in Marrakesh
All ages pull up a seat for dinner at the food stalls in Djemaa El Fna © Maremagnum / Getty Images

Experience local life in Djemaa El Fna

Marrakesh museums are a poor substitute for the live theater of the souqs and Djemaa El Fna, the city's famous square. At any hour, the Djemaa is lively, but from 6pm to 8pm is the best time for Djemaa dance troupes and musicians, and the possibility of chance encounters with Moroccan families also doing the rounds. Early evenings is when local kids play out in public spaces, a great time for your kids to find play mates.

Read more: 12 free things to do in Marrakesh

Escape from the chaos at Beldi Country Club

Beldi Country Club is a 2.5-acre country retreat designed with families in mind. It includes a children’s pool and child-focused activities ranging from bread baking to horse riding. Located just 4 miles south of the city center, the Beldi feels a million miles away from the dust and chaos of the medina.

Learn the basics with a Creative Interactions workshop

Creative Interactions can tailor-make a task-filled medina hunt or craft a family-friendly henna-art workshop. For parents and older children, the company also offers Moroccan Arabic classes designed for short-term travelers.

These fun and friendly workshops allow even visitors on a short stay a chance to learn the basics. Classes include tips on how to haggle. The 3-hour sessions come with a cooking demonstration and lunch; 90-minute and nine-hour courses are also available. 

Fountain and park in front of Koutoubia Mosque, Marrakesh
Families can relax in Marrakesh's parks and green spaces, including Koutoubia Gardens © Olena_Z / Getty Images

Take a quiet break at the Koutoubia Gardens

Little kids love the green swathes and refreshing fountains of the Koutoubia Gardens. Stretching out behind the Koutoubia Mosque, this palm-tree-dotted patch of greenery is a favorite Marrakshi spot for strolling, relaxing on park benches and generally taking a quiet break.

If you need some downtime after dodging motorbikes amid the medina's skinny alleyways, take the locals' lead and head here for a peaceful meander.

Read more: The 8 best parks in Marrakesh

Sign up for Cafe Clock's crash course in Moroccan culture

Inquisitive older kids can sign up for Cafe Clock's "Moroccan Culture 101," a 90-minute crash course in common phrases, religious customs and local etiquette. Little sister to the Fez original, Cafe Clock is housed in an old school with sunset views over the Kasbah from its rooftop.

The food, including veggie options like quiche and seasonal couscous, is decent – tourists delight in the signature camel burger. However, its popularity rests on its packed calendar of cultural performances, which also attracts many young Marrakshis.

Have a farm-to-table cooking day with Atelier Chef Tarik

Take a ride out to the country for a relaxed, al fresco cooking day with Atelier Chef Tarik – kids will love the organic kitchen gardens and farm animals. Farm-to-table cooking is at the heart of this rural culinary school a half-hour drive from Marrakesh, where rustic adobe houses and relaxed kilim-cushion garden seating give way to a bucolic organic farm and cooking tent.

A line of horse-drawn carriages waits on the street in Marrakesh, Morocco
Horse-drawn carriages ferry visitors around Marrakesh © Doug McKinlay / Lonely Planet

Pile into a calèche for a tour

When kids' legs and parents' backs start to give out, do what Moroccan parents do: hire a calèche (horse-drawn carriage) in Djemaa El Fna and take a grand tour. These green carriages are a pleasant way to get around if you avoid the rush hours (8am, noon and 5:30pm to 7:30pm). 

You can dictate the route to an extent, but a typical tour might run from the "new town" of Jardin Majorelle to the ancient Kasbah and Mellah via the main square of Djemaa El Fna, and around the city's storied ramparts. Check the condition of the horse before haggling for a ride as some are better cared for than others.

Read more: Top neighborhoods to explore in Marrakesh

Get pedaling on an AXS bike tour

Explore Marrakesh or the Atlas Mountains beyond, on a family-friendly bike tour with AXS. High-quality Giant road bikes, mountain bikes (including kids' bikes) and helmets are provided.

This article was first published August 2010 and updated May 2022

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