20 best places to visit in Abu Dhabi

City offers a well-balanced itinerary: a sprinkling of art and culture, theme parks, shopping, the dunes and more

Abu Dhabi is a treat for tourists looking for art and culture, leisure, adventure and entertainment.
Abu Dhabi is a treat for tourists looking for art and culture, leisure, adventure and entertainment.

Abu Dhabi is one of the most fun places to visit, with countless wonderful activities. It’s a place of culture and leisure, making it a must visit among Arab cities.

There are several interesting things to do in Abu Dhabi. You can relax at the beach, enjoy a meal at the variety of restaurants serving different cuisines, go sightseeing and enjoy nature or learn about the city’s history. If you’re planning your itinerary, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 best places to visit in Abu Dhabi.

1.  Ferrari World

What is not to love about a Ferrari-branded indoor amusement park, has the world’s fastest roller coaster and boasts the largest space structure? This theme park is a dream for car enthusiasts.

The Ferrari-branded indoor amusement park has the world’s fastest roller coaster.
The Ferrari World is an indoor amusement park with the world’s fastest roller coaster.

Location

Located in Yas Island, east of Abu Dhabi city centre, about 20 minutes away from the airport.

Activities

  • Take a ride on the Formula Rossa, the fastest roller coaster in the world
  • Get into an F1-inspired tyre and collide with fellow riders as you rotate
  • Race like a Ferrari racer in the simulated ride, Scuderia Challenge
  • Take part in a race in a boat controlled by remote control
  • Watch Ferrari-themed shows
  • Take your kids to Nello’s Adventureland

Opening hours

All weekdays from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Ticket price

Start from AED 295

Transportation

There is a bus station at Ferrari World. However, taxis are available if you’re looking to save time.

2. Louvre Abu Dhabi

You would think it’s a replica of the Louvre in Paris, but it’s not. In fact, the Louvre Abu Dhabi is a project agreed upon by the French and Emirati governments. It is the largest museum in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is located in the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is located in the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island.

Location

Located in the Cultural district of Saadiyat Island, which is north of Abu Dhabi’s city centre, between Zayed Port and Al Jubail Island.

Activities

  • Learn about art and culture from around the world
  • Enjoy art galleries
  • Attend cultural performances
  • Watch film screenings

Opening hours

Saturday through Wednesday: From 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Thursdays and Fridays: From 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Closed on Mondays

Entry ticket

Ranges from AED 31 to AED 63

Transportation

There is a bus station at the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The bus line starts from Abu Dhabi City and stops at different locations.

3. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world. Additionally, it is unique because of diverse architectural styles from different Islamic cultures.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Abu Dhabi.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the largest mosques in the world.

Location

Located on Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street in Rawdhat Abu Dhabi area

Activities

  • Enjoy the beautiful architecture and magnificent views of the mosque

Opening hours

Saturday to Thursday: 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Friday: 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM

Transportation

Board a bus from Saif Ghobash Street and reach Sultan Bin Zayed Street. From there, you can take another bus to the mosque.

Or you can board another bus from the Emirates Palace Hotel and it stops at Zayed 1st Street. From there, you can walk for about 4 minutes to the mosque.

4. Yas Mall

A three-level mall and the largest on Yas Island, it’s one of the coolest places to spend the day in Abu Dhabi as it offers shopping, dining and entertainment experiences.

Yas Mall offers shopping, dining and entertainment experiences.
Yas Mall offers shopping, dining and entertainment experiences.

Location

Located in Yas Island, 15 minutes away from the Abu Dhabi Airport and 45 minutes from Dubai.

Activities

  • Enjoy shopping at a variety of stores
  • Dine at the many restaurants
  • Watch movies at the VOX Cinema screens

Opening hours

Saturday through Wednesday: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Thursday and Friday: 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM

Transportation

There is a bus that goes from Khalifa City to Yas Mall.

5. Emirates Palace

This is one of the best places to see in Abu Dhabi. Emirates Palace is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city and it is run by Kempinski. Its design is based on Islamic elements of architecture and its colours are different shades of the Arabian desert.

Emirates Palace is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city and it is run by Kempinski.
Emirates Palace is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city and it is run by Kempinski.

Location

Located on the west of Corniche Road

Activities

  • Enjoy a luxurious stay
  • Get pampered at the spas
  • Relax at the beach
  • Enjoy high-end shopping at a variety of stores

Transportation

The best bus route is the one that goes straight from the Abu Dhabi bus station to Emirates Palace. You will only walk for about 4 minutes to the hotel.

Another bus route starts at Abu Dhabi bus station and stops at Corniche Street. Then, you can walk for approximately 14 minutes to the hotel.

Or try the bus route that starts at Masjid Salim Ghabish Khamis and stops at Corniche Street.

6. Yas Waterworld

This is a large water-themed entertainment park and includes over 40 rides.

Yas Waterworld includes over 40 rides.
Yas Waterworld is a water-themed entertainment park and includes over 40 rides.

Location

On Yas Island

Activities

  • Enjoy the numerous water rides
  • Eat at the food and beverage shops
  • Buy souvenirs at the gift shop

Opening hours

Sunday through Thursday: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Friday and Saturday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Transportation

There is no direct bus station at the park, but there are bus stops within walking distance from the park. The closest is the bus route that starts from Etihad Airway Plaza; its final destination is Yas Island North Mosque, which is approximately a 13-minute walk to Yas Waterworld.

7. Marina Mall

This is an excellent shopping destination and it also works perfectly as an entertainment venue. For instance, it has facilities like the Bounce Arena and the movie theatre.

Marina Mall is an excellent shopping destination and an entertainment venue.
Marina Mall is an excellent shopping destination and an entertainment venue.

Location

Located along Corniche Road, near the Emirates Palace Hotel

Activities

  • Enjoy shopping
  • Dine at a variety of restaurants
  • Jump as high as you can at BOUNCE, a jumping/bouncing arena
  • Watch movies at VOX Cinema
  • Go bowling at the Emirates Bowling Village
  • Treat your kids at Magic Planet

Opening hours

Saturday through Thursday: 9:00 AM to 12:00 AM

Friday: 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM

Transportation

There is a bus route from Abu Dhabi bus station to Marina Mall. Or else, take the bus route from Masjid Salim Ghabish Khamis to the mall. To save time, you can take a taxi from Abu Dhabi bus station to the mall.

8. Qasr Al Hosn

Built in the 1790s, Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi. It also holds the city’s first structure, the watchtower. The building has recently become a museum.

Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi.
Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi.

Location

Located on Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street at the west side of town near the beach, in Al Hosn area.

Activities

  • Enjoy its historic architecture
  • Learn about the UAE’s history and culture

Opening hours

Saturday through Thursday: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM

Friday: 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Ticket cost

Adult tickets cost AED 30

Children’s tickets cost AED 15

Transportation

The closest bus route is the one that starts from Khalifa University and reaches Zayed 1st Street/Khaled Bin Al Waleed Street, which is a 4-minute walk to Qasr Al Hosn.

9. Yas Marina Circuit

If you’re into cars and racing, you need to visit the Yas Marina Circuit. It’s a Formula 1 race track where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is held. The circuit was designed by Hermann Tilke, a German race circuit designer, and holds events for car enthusiasts.

Yas Marina Circuit is a Formula 1 race track where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is held.
Yas Marina Circuit is a Formula 1 race track where the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is held.

Location

Located on Yas Island in the Yas West area

Activities

  • Drive supercars on the track, including Formula 1 cars
  • Take your kids to the Kartzone
  • Enroll in their racing school
  • Become a driver or a spectator at their special events: Drift Night, Drag Night, Car Track Day, Bike Track Day, or Yas Drag Roll Racing

10. Masdar City

Masdar City hosts the International Renewable Energy Agency headquarters. It is touted to be Abu Dhabi’s clean energy technology centre. It’s open to the public with no admission fees. Visitors can take an unmanned electric pod from the gate to explore the architectural wonders, shop at luxury stores, organic food shops or enjoy the restaurants and coffee shops.

Masdar City is built with the aim of being Abu Dhabi's clean energy technology centre.
Masdar City is built with the aim of being Abu Dhabi’s clean energy technology centre.

Location

Located close to the Abu Dhabi International Airport

Activities

  • Experience the world’s first vehicle without a driver
  • Enjoy a nice meal at different restaurants
  • Shop at premium stores

Transportation

There is a bus route from Khalifa City to Masdar City.

11. Zaya Nurai Island

A beautiful private island that is perfect for relaxation and family time, with a mesmerising view.

It is a beautiful private island that is perfect for relaxation and family time.
Zaya Nurai Island is a beautiful private island that is perfect for relaxation and family time.

Location

Located on the Arabian Gulf, east of Abu Dhabi city

Activities

  • Go for boot-camp sessions
  • Read at the book cellar
  • Do outdoor yoga
  • Enjoy water sports

Transportation

There is a boat ride that takes about 10 minutes from Saadiyat Island.

12. Emirates Park Zoo

The perfect place to spend with your kids where they can learn about animals and their environment.

It is the perfect place for your kids to learn about animals and their environment.
Emirates Park Zoo is the perfect place for your kids to learn about animals and their environment.

Location

Located 35 km from Abu Dhabi city in Bahia on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway

Activities

  • Have breakfast with parrots, giraffes
  • Watch flamingos in their park
  • Watch the big cats
  • Feed crocodiles
  • Host your kids’ birthday party

Opening hours

Sunday to Wednesday: 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Thursday to Saturday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Entry fee

Free admission for children from 0 to 2 years

For children from 3 to 16 years: AED 30

For 16+: AED 35

Full activity card: AED 80 per person

Transportation

There is a bus route that starts from Al Shahama bus station to Al Raha Hospital, and it passes through Emirates Park Zoo.

13. Etihad Towers

Five phenomenal towers that reflect everything Abu Dhabi is meant to be. They are classy, modern and unique.

The five towers reflect everything Abu Dhabi is meant to be.
The five Etihad Towers reflect everything Abu Dhabi is meant to be.

Location

Located on Corniche Street, opposite Emirates Palace

Activities

  • Swimming: there are pools for children and adults
  • Shopping: there are many branded stores
  • Dining: there is a variety of restaurants
  • Nightlife: there are a number of nightlife options

Transportation

The closest bus route is the one that starts from Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street and stops at Marina Mall. Take another bus route from the mall to Corniche Street, from where you can take a 12-minute walk to Etihad Towers.

14. Heritage Village

Experience a traditional way of life and feel like you have travelled to the past. The Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi is a reconstruction of a traditional village which allows you to experience pre-modern Abu Dhabi.

The Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi is a reconstruction of a traditional village.
The Heritage Village in Abu Dhabi is a reconstruction of a traditional village.

Location

Located near Marina Mall, on Abu Dhabi Theatre Road

Activities

  • Watch craftsmen as they do their work
  • Learn about the UAE’s traditional way of life
  • Shop for artifacts

Opening hours

Saturday to Thursday: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Friday: 3:30 PM to 9:00 PM

Transportation

It’s walking distance from Marina Mall.

15. Manarat Al Saadiyat

This is one of the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi for art lovers. Artists from the UAE and other countries express themselves here through artistic and cultural events and exhibitions.

Artists from the UAE and other countries express themselves here through artistic and cultural events and exhibitions.
Artists from the UAE and other countries express themselves at the Manarat Al Saadiyat through artistic and cultural events and exhibitions.

Location

Located on Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Highway in Cultural District, Saadiyat Island

Activities

  • Watch art shows and movies
  • Attend different art exhibitions

Opening hours

All weekdays from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Transportation

There is a bus stop at the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island, from where you can take a 7-minute taxi ride. Or take a 30-minute walk to Manarat Al Saadiyat.

16. Liwa Oasis

This is where you will uncover true nature, away from modernisation and technology. You will be surrounded by vast expanses of sand.

You will be surrounded by vast expanses of sand in Liwa.
You will be surrounded by vast expanses of sand in Liwa.

Location

Located southwest of Abu Dhabi city

Activities

  • Dune-bashing
  • Camel racing
  • Cultural festivals
  • Relaxing stay at hotels

Transportation

There’s a bus that goes to Liwa Oasis from the Abu Dhabi bus station, but it’s recommended to go by car as there’s no other way to get around in the area.

17. Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

It is the first falcon hospital in the world. This place has an animal shelter and offers tours of the facility, allowing visitors to learn about falcons and see the species in a free-flight aviary.

The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital has an animal shelter and offers tours of the facility.
The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital has an animal shelter and offers tours of the facility.

Location

Located on Sweihan Road in Al Shamkha, and close to Abu Dhabi International Airport

Activities

  • Learn about falcons
  • Watch different birds
  • Watch falcons in a free-flight aviary

Opening hours

Sunday to Thursday: 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM

Closed on Friday and Saturday

Tickets

For children, it starts from AED 60.

For adults, it starts from AED 170.

Transportation

The best way to reach is by taxi.

18. Du Arena

For music lovers who enjoy watching open-air concerts, this is a must-visit. It is one of the largest amphitheatres in the region and many international artists have performed here, including Katy Perry, Madonna, The Rolling Stones and Coldplay.

For music lovers who enjoy watching open-air concerts, the Du Arena is a must-visit.
For music lovers who enjoy watching open-air concerts, the Du Arena is a must-visit.

Location

It is a part of the Ferrari World Complex and located on Yas Leisure Drive in Yas Island.

Activities

  • Experience music concerts in a large, open-air theatre
  • Attend festivals

Opening hours

All weekdays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 AM

Transportation

Take the same mode of transportation to Ferrari World.

19. Capital Gate

This is one of the city’s tallest buildings at a height over 160 metres. Capital Gate has a unique inclined design.

This is one of the city’s tallest buildings at a height over 160 metres.
The Capital Gate is one of the city’s tallest buildings at a height over 160 metres.

Location

Located in Capital Centre in Abu Dhabi

Activities

  • Dine at the 18 Degrees restaurant
  • Enjoy a magnificent view from the top of the tower
  • Marvel at the building’s architecture

Transportation

There is a bus route that starts at Marina Mall, stops at Sowwah Square, and goes to Al Karamah street, which is a 15-minute walk to the Capital Gate.

20. Emirates National Auto Museum

This is a huge museum for classic American cars and offroad vehicles. It is one of the best places for car enthusiasts and people who are passionate about offroad activities.

This is a huge museum for classic American cars and offroad vehicles.
The Emirates National Auto Museum is a treat for lovers of classic American cars and off-road vehicles.

Location

Located around 45 km south of Abu Dhabi, on the Abu Dhabi-Liwa Road

Activities

  • Watch different car models
  • Learn about different cars and their specifications

Opening hours

All weekdays from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM

Entry fee

Free admission for children under 10 years

For those aged above 10, the ticket cost is AED 50

Transportation

Take a taxi as bus routes are far away.


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