Things to do in Abu Dhabi

Things to do in  Abu Dhabi

Memories made in the desert

Slightly more subdued than flashy Dubai, the Persian Gulf city of Abu Dhabi is a place that mixes old and new. Immerse yourself in the United Arab Emirates' dynamic capital with a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, stop by the museums on Saadiyat Island, or sail aboard a traditional Arab dhow boat. Excursions outside the city center give opportunities for dune bashing in the desert and overnights at Bedouin-style camps. For thrills, experience world-class shopping—including bartering for local goods at the Gold Souk—the world's fastest rollercoaster, and the Ferrari World Formula One race track on Yas Island.

Top 15 attractions in Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

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The massive, white Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the central place of worship for citizens of the United Arab Emirates, accommodating roughly 40,000 people. Highlights inside include white marble columns with mother-of-pearl engravings, expansive Iranian carpets, and intricate crystal chandeliers.More

Abu Dhabi Corniche

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Running along the northwest side of the city, the Corniche (also known as Corniche Road) is a stretch of land on the waterfront perfect for a stroll or bike ride. The 5-mile (8-kilometer) promenade has dedicated cycling and pedestrian areas as well as family-friendly beaches, children’s play areas, cafes, restaurants, and shopping.More

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

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Set on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, the race car–themed Ferrari World features 20 rides and attractions—everything from the toddler-friendly carousel of Ferrari prototype cars to cutting-edge racing simulators that will please older kids and teens. The largest indoor theme park in the world is also home to the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa, a hydraulic-powered thrill ride that sees visitors strapped into a Ferrari Formula One-like coaster car and launched at speeds of up to 150 miles (240 kilometers) per hour.More

Emirates Palace

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Opened in 2005, the 5-star Emirates Palace hotel is one of Abu Dhabi’s top attractions for its sheer scale and grandeur. The multi-domed luxury hotel, part of Kempinski Hotels, sits on the beachfront in palm-sprinkled gardens and makes a lavish retreat for guests and a must-see for Abu Dhabi visitors.More

Abu Dhabi Heritage Village

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Sitting on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche Breakwater, the Abu Dhabi Heritage Village is a reconstruction of an authentic Arabian village. The site offers everything from craft workshops to a replica souk and museum, as well as providing a window into desert life before the 20th-century oil boom.More

Louvre Abu Dhabi Tours

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Opened in 2017, the Louvre Abu Dhabi stands on Saadiyat Island near central Abu Dhabi. A collaboration between the United Arab Emirates and France, this museum’s stunning, filigreed metal dome draws visitors in to view a collection of artworks and artifacts designed to chart the story of the world’s civilizations.More

Marina Mall

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Situated on Abu Dhabi’s Corniche Breakwater, the Marina Mall is one of the city’s leading shopping destinations, with five floors of stores and leisure venues. There are more than 400 shops, a movie multiplex, family entertainment hubs, and a mix of restaurants, cafés, and fast food options.More

Warner Bros. World

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Located on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island, Warner Bros. World is a massive indoor theme park dedicated to the shows and movies of the giant entertainment company. Inside, you’ll enter a parallel universe filled with characters fromBatman andThe Flintstones, explore their movie-set towns, and enjoy rides and interactive family attractions.More

Yas Island

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A man-made isle north of Abu Dhabi, Yas Island is a multi-attraction destination offering family entertainment, sports, and shopping. The biggest draws to the 9.5-square-mile (25-square-kilometer) island include Ferrari World, the Yas Marina Formula I race circuit, Yas Waterworld aquapark, and the indoor Warner Bros. World complex.More

Yas Waterworld

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Yas Waterworld sits on Yas Island just outside Abu Dhabi and attracts families, thrill seekers, and water lovers of all ages. Alongside five one-of-a-kind rides, the park serves up an additional 40 slides, experiences, and adventures. This attraction also stages entertainment events and offers restaurants, cafés, and shops.More

Saadiyat Island

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Sitting northeast of Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island is one of the city’s emerging tourist and cultural hotspots. Covering 10.5 square miles (27 square kilometers), the low-lying island is characterized by state-of-the-art art cultural centers, 5-star hotels, and white-sand beaches.More

Cultural Foundation

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Slated as the home of Abu Dhabi’s culture, the Cultural Foundation is a hub for art, film, music, and theater, shining a light on the city’s creative spirit. Featuring multiple art galleries, a children’s library, and auditorium for world-class music, theater, and dance performances, the Cultural Foundation embraces its traditions while moving towards the future.More

Yas Mall

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Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi’s largest shopping mall, is home to 370 stores and more than 60 dining and entertainment venues. Located on Yas Island on the fringes of the city, it offers everything from designer fashion houses to toy stores, all complemented by restaurants, a state-of-the-art multiplex cinema, and other family amusements.More

Jebel Hafeet

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Hugging the border of the United Arab Emirates and Oman, Jebel Hafeet is the highest peak in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and the second highest in the country. Rising 4,068 feet (1,240 meters) above the barren desert landscape, the mountain offers vast and stunning views of Al Ain and the far-off Oman from its limestone peak.More

Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH)

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The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is the first and largest public institution in the United Arab Emirates that provides complete veterinary care to falcons. While a hospital for these birds of prey may seem unusual, falcons play an important role in Bedouin culture and Arabic tradition.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Abu Dhabi

Dubai Tour Including Entrance to Burj Khalifa 124th Floor from Abu Dhabi
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Abu Dhabi Half Day City Tour

Abu Dhabi Half Day City Tour

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Formula Yas 3000 Driving Experience _ Full
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

All about Abu Dhabi

When to visit

The best time to visit Abu Dhabi is from November to March, when temperatures consistently stay around 78°F (26°C). These winter months also are filled with events, such as the Grand Prix. However, this is considered high season, so hotel prices increase and attractions can get busy. If you’re on a budget, consider traveling during the summer months from June to August, as hotels offer generous discounts. Be aware you’ll need air conditioning because temperatures frequently top 105°F (41°C).

Getting around

The best way to explore this huge city is by using the efficient public transportation system. There are free Visit Abu Dhabi Shuttles connecting popular tourist attractions and things to do, and you can use the extensive public bus network across the city with a Hafilat smart card. Taxis also are convenient, especially for getting from the airport to downtown. You can use the Abu Dhabi taxi app, or you can simply hail a cab on the street.

Traveler tips

Dress appropriately while exploring the streets and attractions. The local culture is conservative, so pack loose fitting clothing that covers your knees and shoulders. The dress code when visiting sacred places like mosques also is strict, but local staff are happy to assist visitors by loaning traditional coverings before entering. If you need a covering, you can always head to the local souk to purchase a scarf—a fun way to fit in with the local fashion.

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People Also Ask

What is Abu Dhabi best known for?

Although often overshadowed by Dubai, Abu Dhabi is drawing ever-increasing tourist attention. While the vast Sheikh Zayed Mosque tops the must-sees, the city is probably better known for leisure attractions like Yas Island’s Ferrari World and Yas Marina F1 circuit. It’s also famous for its desert, with its Insta-worthy dunes.

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Is it safe to go to Abu Dhabi?

Yes, Abu Dhabi is very safe to travel to. It has one of the world’s lowest crime rates, however, petty crimes such as pickpocketing do exist, so take extra care in crowded areas. There’s a small risk of terrorism, and if you’re nitpicking, the possibility of extreme weather like heavy sandstorms and thunderstorms.

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How can I spend a weekend in Abu Dhabi?

Take a hop-on hop-off bus around Abu Dhabi’s sights, disembarking to explore the stunning Sheikh Zayed Mosque. Later, hit the desert by 4WD or camel, staying late for a starlit BBQ. Come Sunday, admire the art at Abu Dhabi Louvre, check out the Yas Marina circuit, or brave Ferrari World’s coasters.

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What is there to do in Abu Dhabi at night?

There is plenty to do in Abu Dhabi at night. Join a city tour to admire Abu Dhabi’s floodlit cityscape or book a dhow (wooden boat) cruise to view the illuminated Corniche while you relax over drinks and dinner. Other options include heading deep into the desert sands for an Arabian Nights-style evening of BBQ stations and belly-dancing shows.

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Is Abu Dhabi expensive?

Yes, Abu Dhabi is expensive. However, while the UAE capital has an undeniably luxe vibe, it can still be budget-friendly—especially if you’re happy to mainly lounge at the pool and beach. Other inexpensive activities include hop-on hop-off tours, visiting mosques and souks, and gorging on hotel set-price, all-you-can-eat brunches.

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What are do's and don'ts in Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi is in a Muslim country, so it’s important to respect local customs. Any must-do list includes dressing to cover knees and shoulders in public places. Don’ts include drinking alcohol anywhere aside from licensed venues. Finally, it’s essential to prepare for the heat: summer temps regularly exceed 100°F (38°C).

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Frequently Asked Questions
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