8 AMAZING Places to Visit in Abu Dhabi [August 2019]

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If you’ve been thinking about paying a visit to the United Arab Emirates, then the famed capital of Abu Dhabi is sure to spring to mind. The majority of this wonderful city is located just off the mainland on an island in the Persian Gulf!

Its skyline is defined by modern towers and shopping megacenters that reflect what the city is all about. With a focus on oil and commerce, Abu Dhabi has a thriving economy that never sleeps!

If you enjoy extravagance, there are a multitude of Abu Dhabi attractions that will pique your interest!

Here are the best places to see in Abu Dhabi!

Staying Safe in Abu Dhabi

Although Abu Dhabi and the entire United Arab Emirates region is very safe, there are still things you need to be careful of when you visit Abu Dhabi!

The city is dominated by Muslim culture, so it’s important to be respectful of their traditions and customs. This is particularly true when it comes to the way you dress, especially for women. It’s best to wear clothes that cover the majority of your skin. Be sure to wear a top that covers your shoulders and a skirt that covers your knees!

It’s also a good idea to buy a headscarf that you can wear when you’re in the city center, this will ensure you don’t stick out like a sore thumb.

No matter how safe Abu Dhabi is, you NEED to travel with insurance, and World Nomads is our favorite provider! World Nomads has some great (and affordable!) policies for Abu Dhabi – fill out the form below to get a quote 🙂

 

#1 – Downtown Abu Dhabi

Great Place to Visit in Abu Dhabi, Dubai for Shopaholics

Downtown Abu Dhabi

Downtown Abu Dhabi (Photo credit – Gulfnews.com )

  • Thriving street life
  • Busy shops and cafes

The main part of the city is a bustling hub of activity at all hours of the day! Shopping centers, offices, bars, hotels and restaurants that never seem to sleep.

The residential buildings in the area are all either low or high rise buildings, giving you the opportunity to enjoy apartment-style-living in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the city!

If you love to socialize and dine-out at a multitude of different restaurants, then this just might be the best area for you to visit. There’s always plenty going on, allowing you to have an incredible time as an Abu Dhabi tourist!

If you’re ready for the liveliest street life, and the densest concentration of cafes and shops, Downtown Abu Dhabi is waiting for you!

Best Attractions
  • Madinat Zayed Gold Center – These are two floors of shops selling traditional and contemporary jewelry. It’s well worth the visit even if it’s just to browse. You’ll find everything from traditional Arabian jewelry to modern and upmarket buys.
  • Al Zahiya – Al Zahiya is the tourist clubbing area in downtown Abu Dhabi and is one of the most lively streets. It’s one of the best Abu Dhabi points of interest and should be enjoyed during your stay! If you’re one to party the nights away, you’re sure to visit this street at least a few times during your stay.
  • Abu Dhabi mall – This mall is one like you’ve never seen before! You’ll be able to find everything and anything you could possibly want at this modern and well architecturally designed mall. High-end brands to thrift shop clothes, there isn’t a thing you won’t find at this mall.

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Downtown Abu Dhabi

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#2 – Al Markaziyah

Great Place to Visit in Abu Dhabi for Lovers of the Outdoors

Al Markaziyah

Al Markaziyah (Photo credit – artprintimages)

  • Wonderful beach front area
  • Acts as the central business district

This area is bordered by the Corniche (waterfront) and acts as the central business district of Abu Dhabi! The area is also a very commercial shopping area that tourists flock to in their hundreds.

Branded stores line the streets feeding a consumerist culture so rife in the area. If you love a great shop-til-you-drop experience, this is a great place to spend an afternoon (or an entire day).

There is a newly opened central market shopping complex which has become a major focal point for the area and for Abu Dhabi itself! If you’re looking for the best things to do in Abu Dhabi, this is where you’ll likely find them!

 

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Best Attractions
  • Corniche – The Corniche is an 8 km road that stretches out along the Abu Dhabi shore. It is perfect for spending time in the great outdoors and serves as a track to many runners, cyclists or even those going for a leisurely stroll. It is lined with restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs that make for an exciting daytime and nightlife scene!
  • Shop High-Street Brands – The beachfront is lined with high street branded shops that give you the chance to buy some of the very best goods out on the market.
  • Eat at a cafe with a view – there are hundreds of cafes and restaurants that line the beachfront, each more beautiful than the last. Be sure to grab a bite to eat at a restaurant with an incredible view! It’s surely the best way to create memories of Abu Dhabi.

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Al Markaziyah, Abu Dhabi

 

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#3 – Al Wahda

Al Wahda

Al Wahda

  • Quieter than central Abu Dhabi
  • Easy to catch public transport

Al Wahda is a wonderful place to visit in Abu Dhabi as it’s a lot quieter than central Abu Dhabi, yet it’s still easy enough to catch a bus or a taxi to the city center.

Again because Adu Dhabi could be considered one of the shopping Meccas of the world, there are a variety of great shopping locations in this district!

Al Wahda is a great area to base yourself during your time in Abu Dhabi as it’s easy to travel from.

Best Attractions
  • Al Wahda Mall – the mall is enormous, so big in fact, that you could easily get lost in it! Amazing if you’re ready for a day full of shopping, buying new things and browsing the interesting windows of the shops inside.
  • Lulu’s supermarket – you may believe this to be a strange attraction, but once you’ve visited you’ll realize why it’s so awesome! The expansive supermarket has anything and everything you could want, which makes it a great place to buy unique items you wouldn’t find anywhere else in the world. These often make great souvenirs or gifts for friends and family back home!
  • Indulge in a Spa day – Maven Spa in Al Wahda Mall offers a variety of luxurious pampering options that you can indulge in during your day in Al Wahda. It’s a great way to relax and unwind after a long day of exploring!

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Al Wahda, Abu Dhabi

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#4 – Khalidiya

Khalidiya

Khalidiya (Photo credit – Gulfnews)

  • Fun for a variety of tastes
  • Family-friendly activities

Khalidiya is the cultural hub of Abu Dhabi, where old meets new so effortlessly! Because of its central location, it’s very easy to get around and makes it a great place to stay during your time in Abu Dhabi.

The area has become synonymous with its overwhelming number of expats who seek a better life in Abu Dhabi.

It’s a great place to visit if your traveling with family as there are a multitude of fun activities to take part in that are very family-friendly!

Best Attractions
  • Spend the day at a Shisha Cafe – These cafes are dominated by young expats and can be lots of fun. Smoking shisha and socializing with many other Abu Dhabi tourists can be a really good time and gives you a great opportunity to meet new people. There is also generally wifi at these cafes, which makes them a great place to come if you’re working remotely during your visit to Abu Dhabi!
  • Walk to the Beach Front – While Khalidiya is a little way out of the city center, the beachfront is just a short walk away! Walking to the beach is a great way to get in that exercise before plunging into the water for a much-needed cool-off.
  • Abela Supermarket – This supermarket is very large and in the perfect location if you decide to stay in Khalidiya during your time in Abu Dhabi. You’ll find everything you could ever want, and get to experience a little more of the famous Arab culture!
  • Swim at the beach – After walking to the beach, you’re going to be feeling a little warmer, to say the least! Be sure to take your bathing suit cause the turquoise waters will be beckoning your name by the time you arrive at the shore.

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Khalidiya, Abu Dhabi

 

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#5 – Khalifa City

Great Place to Visit in Abu Dhabi for Sports Lovers

Khalifa City

Khalifa City (Photo credit – wazanat)

  • Located on the mainland
  • An up-and-coming suburb of Abu Dhabi

Khalifa is a section of Abu Dhabi located on the mainland. It’s been an up-and-coming suburb for many years, and is sure to hold plenty of fun entertainment! The suburb is located on the highway that leads to Dubai, just a 25-minute drive outside of the famed city in the sand.

If you plan to travel to Dubai during your trip, this is a wonderfully central location to base yourself, as you’ll have easy access to Abu Dhabi island, mainland and Dubai city center!

If you’re trying to decide what to do in Abu Dhabi, this perfect location adds numerous choices to your list and ensures a good time!

There are plenty of cafes and small shops in the area, so there’s no need to venture into the main town everyday when staying in Khalifa City.

Best Attractions
  • Al Forsan International Sports Resort – They offer a wide variety of sporting activities to satisfy even the most adventurous travelers, but we recommend checking out their equestrian center. They welcome riders of all abilities, even first-time riders!
  • Go Paintballing or Shooting – Khalifa has a wonderful paintballing and shooting facility, so if you’re ready, then steady, aim, and shoot! This activity is sure to get your heart pumping and make you feel a little more alive. This can be especially fun if you’re traveling in a group.
  • Wakeboarding – There is a crystal clear lake in Khalifa that is regularly used as a wakeboarding facility. If you’re a water sports fanatic, this is one of the most fun activities in Abu Dhabi! Skidding over the water and hanging on for dear life has never been more exciting!

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Khalifa City

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#6 – Ferrari World

Great Place to Visit in Abu Dhabi for Petrol Heads

Ferrari World

Ferrari World (Photo credit – thrillophilia)

  • It’s own area
  • Offers endless amusement

Ferrari World is so big, it is a neighborhood all in itself! In fact, it takes up approximately 86 000 square meters! People come from all over the world to see this incredible amusement park, and it’s not hard to see why.

The park holds a variety of attractions for people of all age groups! You’d think with a name like Ferrari world, the park would be full of motor-heads and engine junkies, but you’ll actually find people from all walks of life!

You’ll find Ferrari themed roller coasters, in fact, the fastest roller coaster in the world is located in the park, so if you’re a thrill seeker, be sure to give it a try.

Once you’ve had enough of the theme park rides, test drives and simulations, be sure to check out the restaurants for a bite to eat before heading to the shopping area! There you’ll be able to buy souvenirs, accessories and clothes (some Ferrari themed, and others not).

Best Attractions
  • Formula Rossa – Formula Rossa is the world’s fastest rollercoaster with a speed of 0 to 240km/h in just 4.9 seconds. The rollercoaster takes you to the thrilling height of 52 meters above the ground, which gives you an epic view of the surrounding area! Be sure to buy the pictures taken of you on the ride when you get off, as it’s a memory you’ll want to treasure forever!
  • Scuderia Challenge – Get the opportunity to train like a formula 1 driver in an epic simulation! You’ll be given three different driving options to make sure you’re driving the Ferrari of your choice! Even better, you’re not alone in your simulation as your friends/family or travel buddies can watch as you nail the corners and take a podium position.
  • Made in Maranello – Made in Maranello allows you to get an in-depth look at how Ferrari’s are made. This is definitely for the petrol heads out there, but interesting and informative too. You’ll get an in-depth look at the design processes, manufacturing process, the machining of engine parts and finally the painting of the finished product!

Our Favorite Places to Stay near Ferrari World

 

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#7 – Al Ras Al Akhdar

Al Ras Al Akhdar

Al Ras Al Akhdar (Photo credit – WikiMedia)

  • Luxurious part of Abu Dhabi
  • Dominated by Emirates Palace

Al Ras Al Akhdar is a beautiful portion of Abu Dhabi that stretches along the coastline and boasts of magnificent views! Turquoise waters and grassy green patches contrasted against the desert skyline is truly a scene to behold.

If you’re looking for the ultimate paradise during your Abu Dhabi trip, this is an absolute must! The neighborhood is dominated by the Emirates Palace, the grounds of which take up an incredible 85-hectares!

Other luxurious properties that scatter the neighborhood are Jumeirah At Etihad Towers which are some of the tallest buildings in Abu Dhabi and give you a wonderful view over the entirety of Abu Dhabi.

Best Attractions
  • Emirates Palace – This hotel is one of the cities most iconic landmarks and is by far one of the best things to see in Abu Dhabi! The hotel is surrounded by 85-hectares of landscaped gardens and has its own private bay.

The private bay has pristine white sandy beaches with turquoise waters lapping at its shores. The hotel has a new yacht marina and a handful of really great restaurants! Be sure to explore the excellent galleries on the property too, and the 1500 seat auditorium that hosts a variety of shows throughout the year!

  • Jumeirah At Etihad Towers – These towers have an incredible view of the entire city. And if you haven’t seen a photo before, these city planners need a medal because it’s an absolute work of art! Make your way to the tallest of the five building and head to the 74th floor where you’ll find an observation deck. Here you can enjoy afternoon tea while taking in the incredible views.
  • Taste a Variety of Cuisines – At the Emirates Palace, each restaurant serves a completely different cuisine, allowing you to taste flavors from all over the world! Be sure to visit at least 2 of these restaurants during your stay in Abu Dhabi, they are absolutely exceptional and need to be treasured while you have access to them!

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Al Ras Al Akhdar

 

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#8 – Yas West

Great Place to Visit in Abu Dhabi for Families

Yas West

Yas West (Photo credit – designbuild-network.com)

  • Surrounded by water
  • Fun watersports and activities

Yas west is a neighborhood in Abu Dhabi that has the sea on either side, making it the perfect spot for a summer vacation. It is known for being a quiet residential area that can give you a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of the city, but that doesn’t mean it’s not loads of fun!

The area combines Emirati heritage with modern housing, to create the iconic Abu Dhabi look! If you’re looking to do some Abu Dhabi sightseeing, this is the perfect place to do it! With incredible views and a wonderful atmosphere, you’ll love every minute!

Best Attractions
  • Yas Water World – Yas Water World could be considered an oasis in the desert, and I’m sure we can all agree, there’s no better way to escape the heat! It’s a water theme park that boasts over 40 rides and attractions! The water park has attractions for people of all ages, so if you prefer a gentler ride, there are plenty of those too.
  • Dine in Yas Water World – While you’re at the water park, spend some time eating out at one of the many restaurants on-site. There is also a shopping complex for those who don’t want to indulge in a day of water sporting fun!
  • Yas Viceroy – Yas Viceroy is not only a hotel, but an incredible piece of architecture that adds a sense of grandeur to the Au Dhabi’s already grand skyline. The architecture of the building is futuristic, to say the least, and the whole building lights up at night, making for an incredible scene.

The hotel offers magnificent views of the water from each room, so be sure to venture inside for an even better look.

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Yas West

Conclusion

If you were wondering what to see in Abu Dhabi, I’m sure we’ve made your mind up for you! A little bit of everything is the answer. This wonderful city has so much to offer, from bright city lights to luxurious resorts by the sea!

From sightseeing to gazing at some of the best architecture you’ve ever seen, you’ll struggle to get bored in the bustling city that never sleeps!

Now that you know the very best places to visit in Abu Dhabi, it’s time to start planning for the trip of a lifetime!

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About the Author Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson lives to travel! Born in Washington D.C., Emma is a hotel connoisseur and a staff writer at Hotel Jules. An army brat, Emma got the travel bug early and has never been able to stop. Now, she has proudly visited 70+ countries and plans to visit every country in the world! Passionate about her ukelele (obviously) and her family, Emma eventually wants to retire in Thailand and write a book about all of her travel experiences.