While Dubai may be the more aggressive emirate in the UAE in terms of marketing its tourist activities and setting up a business, the actual capital emirate of the country which is Abu Dhabi also offers many exciting activities and attractions for tourists.
Here we have compiled some cool places to visit in Abu Dhabi as well as some interesting adventures when you explore this emirate.
24 Top Attractions in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi
With a number of countries in the Middle East launching various programs to boost its economy through tourism and foreign investment ventures such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, you might be wondering if there’s anything worth noting about these places and where exactly to visit.
For starters, you should know that the Middle East offers a lot of interesting things to do and experience, but in this post, we will focus on the 24 Best Things to Do when you’re visiting the capital of the UAE – Abu Dhabi.
1. Al Ain Oasis
The sprawling 3,000-acre desert getaway Al Ain Oasis offers an enchanting experience and a unique insight into the region’s first inhabitants who began taming the desert region some 4,000 years ago.
The place has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011, but with the construction of an educational Eco-Centre and an extensive system of shaded pathways that wind through some 147,000 date palms, visitors will have access to up to 100 different varieties of vegetation that surround the impressive oasis, with widespread plantations that are also working farms.
Address: Al Mutawaa, Al Ain
E-mail Address: email@example.com
Telephone Number: +9712-5995438
2. Eastern Mangroves Adventure
Looking for a stylish way to shop and unwind in the city? Check out the Eastern Mangroves Promenade located within the Eastern Mangroves complex, which connected to the five-star Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara, and boasts a mix of 11 restaurants, health & beauty and leisure outlets, and a supermarket.
Designed like a souk-type avenue, the buildings are set back from the open air by an arch-fronted open pedestrian zone where residents and visitors can enjoy jogging and biking activities.
Address: Hotel & Spa by Anantara – Al Salam Street,Sheikh Zayed Street,Eastern Mangroves Near – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates
Telephone Number: +971 2 406 1462
3. Emirates Palace
Located 1.2 km away from the Abu Dhabi Ladies Club, the Emirates Palace is a five-star hotel that boasts of lavish interiors and architectural design on top of well-allocated storage for belongings, a safety deposit box, as well as a fancy gift store.
The majestic hotel is located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, just a few minutes away from Qasr Al Hosn. It is also set in a resort area, a few minutes away from the Presidential Palace.
Address: West Corniche Road – Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates
Telephone Number: +971 2 690 9000
4. Yas Mall Abu Dhabi
If you’re looking for a place where you can shop, dine and have fun all to your heart’s content, then head over to Yas Mall in Abu Dhabi! The exciting mall is located in the very heart of the iconic Yas Island, and is just 15 minutes away from the Abu Dhabi International Airport, 30 minutes from the Capital’s city centre and 45 minutes from Dubai.
Address: Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirate
Telephone Number: +971 2 414 6401
5. Heritage Village
Planning a visit in the UAE capital soon? Be sure to head over to the Heritage Village, where you can see and experience the traditional aspects of the desert way of life. Get a taste of the Emirati way of life by immersing yourself in a time capsule that brings to life a souk, a mosque and an encampment from pre-modernized Abu Dhabi. With so many things to do and to see on-site, there won’t be any shortage of fun and learning when you visit the Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi!
Address: near Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi Corniche Breakwater
Telephone Number: +971 2 681 4455
6. Jebel Hafeet
Known as the emirate’s highest peak, the Jebel Hafeet rises about 1,240 meters high. This towering art of a land formation is said to stand guard over Al Ain and the borders Oman. It is forged out of craggy limestone that has been weathered over millions of years. Significant fossil discoveries have been made in the area, which are vital pieces in the mysteries of the city’s ancient history.
Driving your way to the top of the Jebel Hafeet is one of the best driving experiences you can have when in Abui Dhabi, and it’s also impossible to miss out on the more than 500 ancient burial tombs dating back 5,000 years have been found in the foothills of Jebel Hafeet.
It’s going to be an exciting adventure that you shouldn’t miss when planning a trip in Abu Dhabi! Here’s a Google Map Location of Jebel Hafeet.
7. Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum
The iconic museum in the UAE capital is known as the first universal museum in the Arab World that translates the spirit of openness of cultures. Showcasing works of historical, cultural and sociological significance from ancient times to the contemporary era, the Louvre is considered as one of the premier cultural institutions located in the heart of the Saadiyat Cultural District.
Regular tickets cost AED 60 per adult, while guests between the ages of 13 and 22 can enter for AED 30.
8. MAD on Yas Island
Setting a new standard for fun and leisure in the emirate, MAD on YAS ISLAND has been recognized as Abu Dhabi’s “Best Club” by the 2016 Time Out Music and Nightlife Awards. The luxurious nightclub offers 360-degree projection mapping, huge animated LED screens, beautiful light shows, and an exceptional sound system.
Needless to say, MAD is the most happening place in the city, so be sure to pay a visit and meet a couple of new friends while you’re at it!
9. Observation Deck at 300
Sitting on the 74th level of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, the Observation Deck at 300 is the highest vantage point in Abu Dhabi where visitors can soak in the uninterrupted birds-eye perspective of the city’s skyline, the Corniche, and Arabian Gulf. The café known for its afternoon tea offers tea blends or freshly ground coffee along with sweet and savory treats while guests enjoy the panoramic views from Tower 2 at 300 meters above the nation’s capital.
Ticket is priced at AED 95. However, a credit voucher of AED 55 is attached to the entrance fee and can be redeemed on the day of your visit. The price per person for afternoon high tea is AED 250. Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm.
Address: West Corniche
Telephone Number: +971 2 811 5666
10. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
More than just an architectural landmark in the region, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque also encapsulates the unique interactions between Islam and various world cultures. The vision of Sheikh Zayed for the construction of the Grand Mosque was to incorporate architectural styles from different Muslim civilizations and celebrate cultural diversity by creating a haven that is truly diverse and inspirational in its foundation.
Entry into the Grand Mosque is free for all guests and tourists from around the world to witness the spectacular onion-top domes, the reflective pools that engulf the courtyard and the iconic prayer hall, which not only overflows with blissful sunlight, but also houses the world’s biggest chandelier and carpet, both meticulously handmade.
11. Wadi Adventure
Best known as the Middle East’s first man-made white-water rafting, kayaking and surfing facility located at the base of Jebel Hafeet near the grassy fields of the Green Mubazzarah, Wadi Adventure is the place to be to get the kind of fun and adventure mixed with thrill and excitement in every activity.
Address: Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Telephone Number: +971 3 781 8422
12. Qasr Al Hosn
Considered as one of the UAE’s oldest facilities in the region dating back to several centuries, the Qasr Al Hosn had been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, a consultative council and a national archive. Today, it now serves as the nation’s living memorial and the narrator of Abu Dhabi’s history.
13. Qasr Al Watan
More than just a palace, the Qasr Al Watan represents a unique testament to the spirit of the United Arab Emirate’s people and its leaders. The palace opens the door to the rest of the world, to share the Emirati way of life, knowledge and the nation’s inspiring journey.
Housed in the palace is an extensive library where guests can enjoy an enriching interactive journey in a contemporary setting that reveals and reflects on governance, knowledge and craftsmanship.
14. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
This motor racing-themed indoor complex offers guests an exciting journey and thrilling family rides, which include driving simulators and a car factory tour.
Adrenaline junkies would be happy to know that the Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster is located in this theme park.
15. Yas Waterworld
Want to beat the heat? Check out Yas waterworld’s looping freefall waterslides, take your surfing excitement to the next level, and hang on the Middle East’s longest suspended rollercoaster!
With over 40 exciting rides, slides, and attractions to see, Yas Waterworld has rightfully claimed its spot as the world’s leading water park in Abu Dhabi.
Address: Leisure Drive Yas Island, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Telephone Number: (+971) 600 511115
16. Warner Brothers Abu Dhabi Theme Park
Looking for a place to bring the kids to? Or is your inner child raring to meet your favourite childhood characters? Head over to Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, the first-ever Warner Bros.-branded indoor theme park!
From the outside, you’ll get flashbacks of some of the most iconic characters ever produced by the Hollywood studio. And when you enter any of the five themed lands, be prepared to meet some of Warner Bros.’ well-loved characters such as Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry and your favorite modern stone-age family, The Flintstones. Get your inner child up and about as you dig in at a variety of authentically themed restaurants, and shop to your heart’s content for exclusive merchandise at the park’s retail stores.
Address: Leisure Drive Yas Island, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Telephone Number: (+971) 600 511115
17. Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
Did you know that the UAE’s national bird has its own dedicated hospital? You can’t believe it? Then check out the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, the world’s first and largest hospital for the falcon and other animals.
Aside from being a dedicated medical facility for the falcon and other animals, visitors and guests can also book guided tours of the facility to get a unique insight into the history of the sport and the physiology of this significant bird.
18. Emirates National Auto Museum
If you’re into vintage and everything related to cars, then you should definitely check out the Emirates National Auto Museum in Abu Dhabi.
The museum houses a vast collection of off-road vehicles and classic American cars, the Sheikh’s Mercedes rainbow collection as well as the world’s largest truck. Some of the collection was even featured in the BBC television program Top Gear.
Entry fee is AED 50 (USD 13.6) whereas children below 10 years get free admission
Address: South of Abu Dhabi, Hamim Road, Off E11, Al Dhafra
Telephone Number: +971 50 2792620
19. Yas Marina Circuit
If you’ve looked into the history of the UAE, you would know that the country is well-known for its finest marinas or harbours for small boats. The 227-berth marina on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi also features 9 licensed restaurants and lounges which cater to all taste buds and budgets.
There are also a number of premier amenities on-site such as fitness facilities and physiotherapy to watersports, boat charters, a children’s playground and a musical water fountain!
20. Desert Safari at Liwa Desert
The emirate’s majestic desert, the Liwa Desert boasts of beautiful skylines set across the golden landscapes of the UAE. Desert life is far from what most people in the city and from other places know of.
Address: Liwa Oasis, Abu Dhabi
Telephone Number: + 971 5 096 60720
21. Emirates Park Zoo
Another great way to bond with the kids and the whole family is to bring them to the Emirates Park Zoo and Resort Abu Dhabi. The zoo park and resort offers hands-on educational and fun activities, which is perfect for guests of all ages.
Interestingly, the Emirates Park Zoo and Resort is home to around 1,500 animals and 225 species made up of pets and wild animals, housed in a number of sections including: Birds Park, Reptile House, Snake Alley, Giraffe Park, Flamingo Park, Wildlife Walk, Primate Parade, Petting Zoo, Camel Farm, Mammal Cave, Equine Enclosure, Hippo House and many more.
Address: 12th Street, Al Bahia, Abu Dhabi City, UAE
Telephone Number: +971 2 5010 000
22. Stroll in the Corniche
The famous Abu Dhabi road which extends across an impressive eight kilometres of manicured waterfront includes children’s play areas, separate cycle and pedestrian pathways, cafés and restaurants, and the Corniche Beach – a lifeguarded beach park.
With over 30,000 to 50,000 visitors flocking the famed area every month, you would know that the place offers an experience like none other. Entry to the public beach is also free of charge.
Address: Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi City, UAE
Telephone Number: +971 55 353 9350
23. Visit Sir Bani Yas Island
For those seeking to spend some time to commune with nature, Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the best places to go to in Abu Dhabi.
The location offers various wildlife and adventure activities, a 5-star boutique hotel, luxury villas, purpose-built stables and historical sites. Of note, Sir Bani Yas Island is one of the eight which make up the Desert Islands in Al Dhafra.
Moreover, the island is also home to UAE’s only discovered Christian monastery, which can be visited during a Desert Islands Resort & Spa Culture Tour. Believed to have been built around 600 AD, and abandoned in 750 AD, the monastery was initially discovered during excavations in 1992.
24. Visit the Garden City of Al Ain and Jebel Hafeet
Known as the Garden City of the desertland of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain offers various activities that combine the fun of communing with nature and learning the history of the UAE from places such as the Al Ain Zoo, Hili Archaeological Park, the Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum, Jebel Hafeet, and Wadi Adventure.
Guests and visitors can book guided tours to explore everything that the city has to offer.
Address: Al Ain, Abu Dhabi City, UAE
And there you have it! As you can tell, there’s no shortage of anything fun and worthwhile to do when visiting the UAE Capital. Perhaps the challenge is how to maximize your time to explore the city with the kids or the whole family in tow.