City offers a well-balanced itinerary: a sprinkling of art and culture, theme parks, shopping, the dunes and more
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.
Located in Yas Island, east of Abu Dhabi city centre, about 20 minutes away from the airport.
- 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
All weekdays from 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Start from AED 295
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.
Located in the Cultural district of Saadiyat Island, which is north of Abu Dhabi’s city centre, between Zayed Port and Al Jubail Island.
- Learn about art and culture from around the world
- Enjoy art galleries
- Attend cultural performances
- Watch film screenings
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
Ranges from AED 31 to AED 63
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.
Located on Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street in Rawdhat Abu Dhabi area
- Enjoy the beautiful architecture and magnificent views of the mosque
Saturday to Thursday: 9:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Friday: 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM
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.
Located in Yas Island, 15 minutes away from the Abu Dhabi Airport and 45 minutes from Dubai.
- Enjoy shopping at a variety of stores
- Dine at the many restaurants
- Watch movies at the VOX Cinema screens
Saturday through Wednesday: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Thursday and Friday: 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM
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.
Located on the west of Corniche Road
- Enjoy a luxurious stay
- Get pampered at the spas
- Relax at the beach
- Enjoy high-end shopping at a variety of stores
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.
On Yas Island
- Enjoy the numerous water rides
- Eat at the food and beverage shops
- Buy souvenirs at the gift shop
Sunday through Thursday: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Friday and Saturday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
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.
Located along Corniche Road, near the Emirates Palace Hotel
- 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
Saturday through Thursday: 9:00 AM to 12:00 AM
Friday: 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM
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.
Located on Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street at the west side of town near the beach, in Al Hosn area.
- Enjoy its historic architecture
- Learn about the UAE’s history and culture
Saturday through Thursday: 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Friday: 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Adult tickets cost AED 30
Children’s tickets cost AED 15
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.
Located on Yas Island in the Yas West area
- 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.
Located close to the Abu Dhabi International Airport
- Experience the world’s first vehicle without a driver
- Enjoy a nice meal at different restaurants
- Shop at premium stores
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.
Located on the Arabian Gulf, east of Abu Dhabi city
- Go for boot-camp sessions
- Read at the book cellar
- Do outdoor yoga
- Enjoy water sports
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.
Located 35 km from Abu Dhabi city in Bahia on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway
- Have breakfast with parrots, giraffes
- Watch flamingos in their park
- Watch the big cats
- Feed crocodiles
- Host your kids’ birthday party
Sunday to Wednesday: 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Thursday to Saturday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
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
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.
Located on Corniche Street, opposite Emirates Palace
- 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
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.
Located near Marina Mall, on Abu Dhabi Theatre Road
- Watch craftsmen as they do their work
- Learn about the UAE’s traditional way of life
- Shop for artifacts
Saturday to Thursday: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Friday: 3:30 PM to 9:00 PM
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.
Located on Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Highway in Cultural District, Saadiyat Island
- Watch art shows and movies
- Attend different art exhibitions
All weekdays from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM
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.
Located southwest of Abu Dhabi city
- Camel racing
- Cultural festivals
- Relaxing stay at hotels
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.
Located on Sweihan Road in Al Shamkha, and close to Abu Dhabi International Airport
- Learn about falcons
- Watch different birds
- Watch falcons in a free-flight aviary
Sunday to Thursday: 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Closed on Friday and Saturday
For children, it starts from AED 60.
For adults, it starts from AED 170.
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.
It is a part of the Ferrari World Complex and located on Yas Leisure Drive in Yas Island.
- Experience music concerts in a large, open-air theatre
- Attend festivals
All weekdays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 AM
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.
Located in Capital Centre in Abu Dhabi
- Dine at the 18 Degrees restaurant
- Enjoy a magnificent view from the top of the tower
- Marvel at the building’s architecture
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.
Located around 45 km south of Abu Dhabi, on the Abu Dhabi-Liwa Road
- Watch different car models
- Learn about different cars and their specifications
All weekdays from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Free admission for children under 10 years
For those aged above 10, the ticket cost is AED 50
Take a taxi as bus routes are far away.