UAE’s capital city, Abu Dhabi, is one of the biggest hidden gems of the region.

The peaceful city of Abu Dhabi, located on the coastline with beautiful beaches and Islands, is the perfect place for a break that combines the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city with the serenity of nature.

Abu Dhabi – The UAE’s Hidden Gem

With natural locations like the Arabian Wildlife Park, Jubail Mangroves, and Saadiyat Island and historical places like Qasr Al Watan and Heritage Village, Abu Dhabi provides visitors with an exciting journey into some of the region’s finest experiences.

It’s also one of the region’s best places to visit with family, with a range of family-friendly experiences, including theme parks, waterparks, museums, and more.

Planning a visit to Abu Dhabi soon? We have compiled a list of the Top 15 things to do In Abu Dhabi to help you place your itinerary in the best way possible.

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The Top 15 Things To Do In Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

The crowning jewel of Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, is a spectacle to behold, featuring one of the most beautiful architectural marvels you will ever experience in your life. Created from the vision of UAE’s Founding Father – Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, this grand mosque brings together culture and artistry in a magnificent way.

Wherever you look in the mosque, you will find something that will take your breath away. The four grand minarets with a height of 100+ meters perfectly frame the marble white domes and create a sight that you will never forget.

The details are as beautiful as the structure is in its entirety – marble halls, Swarovski chandeliers, jeweled columns studded with jasper and amethyst stones, and a courtyard manned with large mosaic marble frames. However, nothing beats the spectacular reflective pool that doubles the beauty of the mosque.

While the mosque actively serves as a place to pray for over 50,000 worshippers regularly, it also welcomes tourists from all backgrounds to come and experience the region’s culture while respecting the religious practices that take place at the location.

Note: As the mosque is a religious center, visitors are requested to dress modestly before entering. Please ensure you are covered and respectful of the respectful precisions before visiting.

Timing: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. (closed to visitors during Friday prayers from noon to 3 p.m.)

Ticket Prices: Free of cost

2. Emirates Palace

Experience luxury at its best in Abu Dhabi at the Emirates Palace. One of the most iconic buildings in the city, the Emirates Palace Hotel stands true to its name with gardens spanning across 100 hectares, palace-like interiors with 1000+ grand chandeliers, luxurious rooms, and a private beach with a marina and a natural bay along with stunning views of the coast.

If you want to make your trip to Abu Dhabi extra special, you can choose to live in one of Emirates Palace hotel’s many luxurious rooms and experience the venue fully, including the grand fountains, the relaxing spa, and the swimming pools.

The Emirates Palace Hotel also provides guided tours to visitors to help them discover and better understand the details of the spectacular location with an all-inclusive ticket.

You can also choose to explore the hotel with a day pass that gives you access to various facilities on the property, including the gym, tennis courts, and pool. Visitors can also dine in one of the many award-winning restaurants at the Emirates Palace Hotel, including Hakkasan, BBA Al Qasr, or Mezlai.

With its unique design and wide range of things to do, Emirates Palace is definitely worth adding to your Abu Dhabi itinerary.

Louvre Museum, Abu Dhabi

3. Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi

One of the world’s most iconic museums in the world, The Louvre, is now part of Abu Dhabi’s art and history scene. The only other Louvre Museum in the world apart from the famous location in Paris, The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the region’s first and only universal museum that houses precious art pieces from across the world.

With multiple galleries spanning over 9,000 square meters that include both permanent art pieces and temporary paintings and sculptures borrowed from museums in France, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is a must-visit for every art lover.

Apart from its art collection, The Louvre Abu Dhabi is also famous for its unique architecture designed by world-famous architect Jean Nouvel. The spectacular structure combines the beauty of Arabian culture with modern design principles, creating an awe-inspiring sight that’s as beautiful as the art itself.

Visitors can also experience the beauty of the Louvre Abu Dhabi in a unique way by kayaking in the surrounding waters at night.

Timing:

  • Tues to Thurs, 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Fri to Sun, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Closed on Mondays.

Ticket Prices:

Louvre Abu Dhabi
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4. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

For an adventure-filled day, head to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s only Ferrari-themed amusement park. This iconic park spanning 900,000 square feet is home to the fastest rollercoaster in the world – Formula Rossa, which launches its daring riders across the track at lightning speed.

With 40+ Ferrari-themed rides and activities, including the world’s biggest rollercoaster loop, go-karting, and a private tour of a coveted Ferrari museum, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is the perfect location for thrill seekers and car enthusiasts alike.

Visitors can also get the once-in-a-lifetime experience of driving or riding in one of the park’s select Ferrari models across the Yas Marina Circuit racetracks.

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is also a great place to visit in Abu Dhabi with kids, with many kid-friendly rides, including Formula Rossa Junior, Tyre Changing Experience, Junior Go Karting, and so much more. The park is the perfect location for a fun family day out that will please people of all ages.

Timing: 

  • Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • From Thursday to Tuesday: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Ticket Prices:

5. Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi

Looking to take a refreshing break from the sun? Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi is the place to be. Located on the famous Yas Island, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi is one of the best waterparks in the region, with 40+ thrilling and exciting rides that take visitors on a fun-filled adventure.

The park is themed around an Arabian folklore tale of a little girl searching for a legendary pearl. Follow her journey throughout the park on the lazy river, or jump on to a more thrilling adventure with one of the many exhilarating rides like Liwa Loop, Falcon’s Falaj, and Hamlool’s Humps.

Along with adrenaline-pumping rides perfect for thrill-seeking adults, Yas Waterworld also has dedicated areas and activities for the little ones, making sure they are entertained throughout the day.

You can choose to visit multiple parks within Yas Island with a discounted ticket that gives you access to Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, Warner Brothers Theme Parks Abu Dhabi, and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.

Timing: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Ticket Prices:

 

Qasr Al Watan

6. Qasr Al Watan

Experience Abu Dhabi’s rich culture, heritage, and legacy in the city’s Presidential palace, Qasr Al Watan. One of the most beautiful landmarks in Abu Dhabi, the court reflects Arabian artistry and design in an elegant and luxurious way that will leave you in awe.

The Palace, however, is a lot more than its grandeur. With an emphasis on sharing the nation’s knowledge and culture, Qasr Al Watan features various exhibits and galleries representing the country’s contribution to the world’s knowledge. Curious visitors can also explore the Qasr Al Watan Library and the palace’s House of Knowledge to learn more about the country’s traditions and culture.

It also houses presidential halls that host official meetings and summits throughout the year and can be toured when available. You can also take an in-depth tour of the palace that teaches you all about the country’s customs and working.

Timing: 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

Ticket Prices:

7. Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

The world’s biggest indoor theme park in the world, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, has created a place full of wonder and adventure in the region. The first of its kind, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi brings your favorite characters, including Bugs Bunny, Batman, Superman, Tom and Jerry, and Scooby-Doo, to life with 60+ immersive and exciting rides and activities that will delight visitors of all ages.

Make sure you are wearing your running shoes – the large park spans a whopping 1.65 million square feet of space and is divided into 5 lands – Warner Bros. Plaza, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch, Cartoon Junction, Gotham City, and Metropolis, each consisting of exciting themed rides and activities.

From thrilling and adrenaline-pumping rides like the Fast and Furry-ous, Tom and Jerry: Swiss Cheese and Spin, and Batman: Knight Flight to kid-friendly ones like the Cartoon Junction Carousel and Teen Titans Training Academy, there is something for everyone at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi.

The park also houses themed gift shops if you want to take back a character souvenir, along with various dining options for taking a break between the rides.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi has recently announced the launch of the region’s first Harry Potter theme park, which will soon be opening within the premises. If you are a Potterhead, keep an eye out for the launch announcement!

Timing: 

  • Mon & Tues, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 
  • Wed to Fri, noon to 8 p.m.
  • Sat & Sun, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Ticket Prices:

 

8. Arabian Wildlife Park

Located a little away from the city, The Arabian Wildlife Park is another natural hidden gem of Abu Dhabi. Step away from the comfort of the town and head to the wild at Sir Bani Yas Island, where you will encounter 17,000 animals, including giraffes, cheetahs, and the region’s famous Arabian oryx in their natural habitat. The park offers expert-guided safari tours so that visitors can experience the wildlife in all its glory.

The Island is also home to one of the oldest discovered Christian Monasteries dating back to 600 AD, giving you an enticing insight into the region’s history and culture.

As the Arabian Wildlife Park is located 250km outside the city, you can choose to make a day out of the trip and stay at one of many hotels and lodges in the area, including Anantara Al Sahel Villa Resort, Desert Islands Resorts and Spa by Anantara, and Anantara Al Yamm Villa Resort.

9. Saadiyat Island

One of Abu Dhabi’s central locations, Saadiyat Island, provides the perfect combination of leisure, dining, history, and culture. It is home to many of the city’s most iconic locations, including The Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum, and Manarat Al Saadiyat.

Surrounded by beautiful beaches, Saadiyat Island is one of the most relaxing and lovely places to explore in Abu Dhabi, with lush greenery, fishes, and birds. If you are lucky enough, you may even spot the endangered Hawksbill turtle that is local to Saadiyat Island’s pristine beaches.

If you’re feeling peckish, you can head down to one of the island’s many dining locations, like Raclette Brasserie & Cafe, Ten 11 Beach, or The Steak Room, to take a break during your day and enjoy a delicious meal.

Saadiyat Island also houses some of Abu Dhabi’s top resorts, including Jumeirah Al Saadiyat Island Resort, Nurai Island, and Rixos Premium, which makes it the perfect location for tourists.

Al Wathba Wetland Reserves, Abu Dhabi

10. Wathba Wetland Reserves

The Wathba Wetland Reserves are another one of Abu Dhabi’s hidden gem nature escapes and are the first natural site in the region to be placed on the IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas.

Bursting with flora and fauna, these reserves that were once made of coastal salt flats have developed into a spectacular site full of lakes that are home to the area’s wildlife, including 250+ species of birds, 30+ plant species, and a thriving marine life.

The highlight of the Al Wathba Wetland Reserves, however, is the community of Greater Flamingos consisting of 4000+ birds that migrate throughout the year. The flamingos and the remaining wildlife can be explored and discovered through one of the two walking trails that can be easily navigated by the young ones.

The reserves are kept as natural as possible, with only one visitor’s center around. Visitors are recommended to carry their own water and snacks as there are no cafes available in and around the reserves.

11. Yas Marina Circuit

Home to Formula 1™ in UAE, the state-of-the-art Yas Marina Circuit is every car enthusiast’s dream come true. Every year, thousands of F1 fans come flocking to the circuit to experience the thrill and adventure of watching a Formula 1™ Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix race at one of the best venues in the world.

Along with hosting the F1 races, the Yas Marina Circuit also gives visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride a supercar across the official Formula 1™ circuit and channel their inner racer while they take the wheel of an Aston Martin GT4, Chevrolet Camaro, or the Yas Formula 3000.

When the races are on pause, the track hosts various training and fitness programs and can also be toured by visitors to get an insider experience of the F1 races. Yas Marina Circuit has also become a thriving hub in the city with multiple dining and shopping experiences, making it the perfect one-stop destination for tourists and residents alike.

12. Jubail Mangrove Park

Even though it’s a metropolitan city, Abu Dhabi has no shortage of scenic natural locations perfect for a break away from the hustle and bustle, like The Jubail Mangrove Park.

Just a 30-minute drive away from the city, Jubail Mangrove Park will welcome you to a completely different world filled with greenery, animals, and birds, including turtles and gazelles.

The abundant mangrove forest, however, is what makes the Jubail Mangrove Park truly one-of-a-kind. The large space covered with green bushes and trees that separate the water and the coast creates a beautiful scenery that’s hard not to admire from the park’s famous boardwalks floating over the water.

If you are feeling adventurous and want to discover the lush mangroves of the Jubail mangrove Park even deeper, you can rent a Kayak and go about exploring the forest on your own, where you might spot a friendly bird or two.

Timing: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Ticket Prices: AED 15 per person entry ticket

13. Abu Dhabi Pearl Journey

One of Abu Dhabi’s many hidden expeditions, the Abu Dhabi Pearl Journey takes you into the depths of the ocean to explore and discover the region’s pearl farming traditions. Among other unique capabilities, the Emirate is also home to one of the most significant natural sea treasures that date back thousands of years.

With exciting discoveries like the world’s oldest pearl dating back to 8000 years, the shores of Abu Dhabi are indeed a treasure to explore. Visitors can take the journey to the pearl farms in a traditional pearling boat (or dhow) that sets sail from Anantara Eastern Mangroves and goes on a relaxing trip along the coast of Hudayriat Island.

On the cruise, guests can learn about the practices of pearl farming and the history of it in the region while sipping on traditional Arabic coffee and dates and humming to the tunes of traditional Emirati songs.

Timing: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

14. Heritage Village

Get a glimpse into the traditional desert life of historical Arabs at the interactive Heritage Village built to educate visitors about the region’s culture and living. The village takes you back in time with its traditional architecture based on old-school Arabian camps and buildings.

Visitors can learn more about the pre-modern Emirati culture and traditions, watch authentic craftsmen create unique art pieces, and even take workshops to learn crafts like yarn spinning, pottery, and weaving in the Emirates Heritage Club.

The old-world souk at Heritage Village sells traditional artifacts that visitors can take along as souvenirs and also houses a special spice shop that features local Emirati spices and herbs.

Timing: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Qasr Al Hosn, Abu Dhabi

15. Qasr Al Hosn

A perfect representation of Abu Dhabi’s roots, Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest standing structure in the city that now houses a cultural museum. Originally used as the ruling party’s home, Qasr Al Hosn was built in the 1790s and recently restored to preserve its unique and traditional architecture.

The venue houses multiple iconic locations, including the Inner Fort, the Outer Palace, and the famous watchtower that was used to keep an eye on the coastal trade routes back in the day. Every part of the fort holds history and culture and gives visitors a truly unique insight into Abu Dhabi’s past.

The fort is also home to various galleries like the House of Artisans that displays traditional Emirati crafts that have been carefully preserved, along with clothing and other heritage pieces dating back thousands of years.

Visitors can also take part in an authentic coffee ceremony and sample some of the region’s local and traditional coffee beans in an authentic, Arabian way.

Timing: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.