13 best areas to live in Abu Dhabi

Be it a home in the city centre, suburbs, near a theme park, museum or a mall, the city’s got it all

Yas Island is home to the most popular Formula One, Abu Dhabi.
Yas Island is home to the most popular Formula One, Abu Dhabi.

Do you want to enjoy a safe and modern life and live in one of the most luxurious Arab cities? If yes, then Abu Dhabi is your answer. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the UAE and one of the most beautiful emirates in the country as it is located on an island, which means you get a sea view wherever you are.

There are numerous places to stay in Abu Dhabi and enjoy your experience, whether you’re moving there permanently, staying for a few days for tourism or taking up a new job or enrolling your kid in a new school. If you find it difficult to pick the perfect spot and are wondering where to stay in Abu Dhabi, here is a handy guide to some of the best places to stay.

1. Yas Island

Yas Island is the home of the most popular Formula One, Abu Dhabi. The island also has one of the most famous malls in the city and a great nightlife. Need we say more? There is actually much more. It also has the Warner Bros. Park and the Yas Waterworld Park.

The Ferrari World is one of the top attractions on Yas Island.
The Ferrari World is one of the top attractions on Yas Island.

Location

Located 20 km east of Abu Dhabi city centre and a 15-minute drive from the Abu Dhabi Airport.

Best facilities

  • Entertainment: Warner Bros. World; Yas Waterworld; Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi; Yas Mall Dancing Fountain
  • Restaurants and cafes: Al Fanar Restaurant and Cafe, The Cheesecake Factory, illy Caffe, Arabesq, Belgian Beer Cafe, Yas Island
  • Shopping: Yas Mall, Debenhams, Home Center, West Yas Plaza
  • Schools: West Yas Academy – Aldar Academies, Sabis School Yas Island, Yas School
  • Hospitals: Avivo Hospitals National Hospital, Burjeel Medical Centre Yas Mall

Transportation

There are a couple of bus stations near Yas Mall – including Yas Mall West and Yas Mall North – that you can use to move around the island and other parts of Abu Dhabi.

Available residential properties

Apartments, villas

Sale

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 700,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 1.12 million AED
  • Starting price for a villa is 2.15 million AED

Rent (per year)

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 50,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 108,000 AED
  • Starting price for a villa is 209,000 AED

2. Saadiyat Island

If you love culture, this place is for you. It houses Manarat Al Saadiyat which means the Saadiyat Enlightenment in Arabic. This island will help you learn more about culture.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of the biggest cultural attractions in Abu Dhabi.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of the biggest cultural attractions in Abu Dhabi.

Location

Located north of Abu Dhabi city centre, between Zayed Port and Al Jubail Island. It’s a 20-minute drive from the Abu Dhabi Airport.

Best facilities

  • Entertainment: Saadiyat Beach Golf Club, Monte-Carlo Beach Club, Saadiyat Beach Marina Village
  • Restaurants and cafes: Buddha-Bar Beach Abu Dhabi, Sontaya South East Asian Restaurant, KOI Restaurant & Lounge, Caramel Restaurant & Lounge, Olea Mediterranean Restaurant, LARTE Restaurant, Sushi Counter, Safina Restaurant, Dela Costa, Mare Mare Restaurant, Little Mexico, Subway Al Ain Mall, Hawksbill Restaurant
  • Museums and culture: Manarat Al Saadiyat, Louvre Abu Dhabi, The Art Gallery at NYU Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi History Museum and Aquarium, Grand Mosque South Gate Abu Dhabi
  • Shopping: Art Central, Galleria Mall, Shams Boutiq, Art Central
  • Schools: Bright Beginnings Nursery – Saadiyat branch, Campus Centre (C2), NYU Abu Dhabi

Transportation

There is a bus stop at the Louvre, Abu Dhabi, which can take you around the city.

Available residential properties

Apartments and villas

Sale

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 680,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedrooms) is 1.27 million AED
  • Starting price for villas is 2.33 million AED

Rent (per year)

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 90,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 140,000 AED
  • Starting price for a villa is 290,000 AED

3. Al Reem Island

Al Reem Island is the best place for investors and businessmen. It is one of the first free zones in Abu Dhabi where foreigners can buy properties as leasehold from its selection of commercial and residential units. Being a natural island, it creates a perfect environment for relaxation, work and living as well.

Al Reem Island is one of the first free zones in Abu Dhabi where foreigners can buy properties as leasehold.
Al Reem Island is one of the first free zones in Abu Dhabi where foreigners can buy properties as leasehold.

Location

Located around 600 metres off Abu Dhabi’s northeastern coast, and right next to Qasr Al Bahr and Mangrove National Park.

Best facilities

  • Entertainment: Gateway Park, Reem Central Park, Dancing Fountain in Reem Central Park
  • Restaurants and cafes: La Brioche, Caffè Nero, Starbucks, Healthy Juicery, Broccoli Pizza & Pasta
  • Shopping: Al Reem Mall, Paragon Bay Mall, Carrefour Market, Shams Boutik, Waitrose, Lifestyle Nutrition, Al Reem Flower Boutique
  • Schools: Repton School – Fry Campus, Mosaic Nursery
  • Hospitals: Burjeel Day Surgery Centre, Dr Prabodhan Potdar (Orthopaedic Surgery)

Transportation

There are two main bus stations on Al Reem Island at City of Lights and Al Reem Mall, with routes passing throughout the island and in different areas around Abu Dhabi.

Available residential properties

Apartments and villas

Sale

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 442,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 885,000 AED
  • Starting price for a villa is 2.61 million AED

Rent (per year)

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 45,500 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 67,000 AED
  • Starting price for a villa is 90,000 AED

4. Al Maryah Island

This financial free zone is the best place for new businesses seeking financial growth and larger exposure. This is Abu Dhabi’s new Central Business District. It has five-star hotels and tons of entertainment and shopping areas with top brands.

Al Maryah Island is considered to be Abu Dhabi’s new Central Business District.
Al Maryah Island is considered to be Abu Dhabi’s new Central Business District.

Location

Located northeast of Abu Dhabi, right next to Al Reem Island to the west.

Best facilities

  • Entertainment: Hidden Bar, Dragon’s Tooth, Glo, La Cava, Al Meylas
  • Restaurants and cafes: Leopold’s of London, BurgerFuel Sowwah Square, Zuma Abu Dhabi, Almaz by Momo, Biryani Pot, Bentley Bistro & Bar, Majlis
  • Shopping: The Galleria, Al Maryah Central
  • Schools: INSEAD Middle East Campus
  • Hospital: Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

Transportation

There are several bus routes – 040, 052, and 069 – passing through the centre of Al Maryah Island and going to several spots around Abu Dhabi.

Available residential properties

Apartments and villas

Rent (per year)

  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 195,000 AED

5. Khalifa City

If you want a quiet life away from the city, yet close from all the attractions that will ensure you a perfect life, then consider Khalifa City.

Khalifa City is perfect if you want a quiet life away from the city.
Khalifa City is perfect if you want a quiet life away from the city.

Location

It is located on the eastern side of Abu Dhabi, 20 minutes away from Abu Dhabi International Airport, and close to Yas Island and Al Raha Beach.

Best facilities

  • Entertainment: Khalifa City Splash Park, Rush Ladies Fitness Centre, Xpressions Style
  • Restaurants and cafes: The Grille, La Brioche, Khayal Restaurant, Gourmet LAB Restaurant, 1868 Restaurant Cafe and Gallery, Pizza Di Rocco, Jabal Al Noor Restaurant, Mugg & Bean, Olio’s Gourmet, Circle Cafe
  • Shopping: Central Mall, Khalifa A – Market Complex
  • Schools: Redwood Montessori Nursery, Al Ittihad National Private School, Disney Nursery, Canadian International School Abu Dhabi, GEMS American Academy Abu Dhabi
  • Universities: Khalifa University Accommodation C, Thales Khalifa
  • Hospitals: National Rehabilitation Centre, Belhoul Speciality Hospital, Mediclinic Khalifa City, Amana Healthcare Medical and Rehabilitation Hospital

Transportation

Board a bus in Khalifa City to reach Yas Mall and Al Rahba Hospital, plus other hotspots around Abu Dhabi.

Available residential properties

Apartments and villas

Sale

  • Starting price for villas is 3.45 million AED

Rent (per year)

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 23,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 53,000 AED
  • Starting price for a villa is 60,000 AED

6. Al Khalidiyah

A pretty suburb where local families and expats enjoy a peaceful life. It is one of the most vibrant areas in Abu Dhabi and boasts a combination of old Emirati style, with the luxury of modern developments. It’s filled with tons of places to eat and shop for bargains. The area is close to the city centre and the beach.

Al Khalidiya Park is a magnet for families in the neighbourhood.
Al Khalidiya Park is a magnet for families in the neighbourhood.

Location

Bordered by Al Bateen to its west, Al Manhal and Al Zaab to its east, plus Al Rowdah to its south, Al Khalidiya meets the Corniche along its northern edge and is about 30 minutes away from the Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Best facilities

  • Entertainment: Al Khalidiya Park, the Corniche, Cine Royal, Sun and Dance Sports, Madi International Showroom
  • Restaurants and cafes: Third Avenue, Green Tea, The Living Room, Flame and Bake Restaurant, Iftar Restaurant, Delecto, La Fontana Restaurant, Al Mandi & Al Madhbi House, Modern Jabal Al Noor
  • Shopping: Khalidiyah Mall, small local shops in the area
  • Schools: Madi International Showroom, Playhouse Nursery, Gymboree, Young World
  • Hospitals: SKMC Centre for Diabetes & Endocrinology, London Consulting Medical Centre Abu Dhabi

Transportation

There are two bus routes, one reaches Khalidiyah Park, and the other one goes along the Corniche Street and reaches up to Dhafeer Street.

Available residential properties

Apartments and villas

Sale

  • Starting price for villas is 6 million AED

Rent (per year)

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 35,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 72,000 AED
  • Starting price for a villa is 170,000 AED

7. Al Reef

Al Reef is one of the most popular residential areas in Abu Dhabi. Its best features are proximity to the Abu Dhabi International Airport, and location on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi. This makes it closer to Dubai; perfect for those commuting there every day.

Deerfields Mall caters to residents in Al Reef.
Deerfields Mall caters to residents in Al Reef.

Location

Located on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Road, to the north of Abu Dhabi International Airport, and to the east of Yas Island.

Best facilities

  • Entertainment: Super Kids Entertainment, Al Reef Club
  • Restaurants and cafes: Reem Al Bawadi Restaurant and Cafe, Fresh and More Cafeteria and Grill, Al Rousha Restaurant & Cafeteria
  • Shopping: Deerfields Mall, Green Mart
  • Schools: Al Shohub School, Abu Dhabi Indian School, Al Reef Institute, The International School of Choueifat
  • Hospitals: Al Ahalia Hospital, MEDICLINIC HOSPITALS – Al Musafah Speciality, NMC Royal Family Medical Centre

Transportation

There is a bus that runs through Al Reef and towards Zayed Sports City. Additionally, you can hail taxis, but a car remains the best mode of transportation in the area.

Available residential properties

Apartments and villas

Sale

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 487,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 730,000 AED
  • Starting price for a villa is 1.14 million AED

Rent (per year)

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 46,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 67,900 AED
  • Starting price for a villa is 78,000 AED

8. Mohammed Bin Zayed City

It is what you can call a quiet, cosy neighbourhood with excellent services as well. MBZ is close to the industrial areas of Abu Dhabi, such as Mussafah, and Emirati areas such as Madinat Shakhbout. Although it’s not as glamorous as other Emirati spots, it is one of the cheaper places to stay in Abu Dhabi.

Dalma Mall is one of the main entertainment and shopping destinations for residents in Mohammed Bin Zayed City.
Dalma Mall is one of the main entertainment and shopping destinations for residents in Mohammed Bin Zayed City.

Location

Located on Abu Dhabi – Al Ain Truck Road, in the southern part of Abu Dhabi.

Best facilities

  • Entertainment: Abu Dhabi Art Hub
  • Shopping: Capital Mall, Mazyad Mall, Dalma Mall, Bawabat Al Sharq Mall
  • Restaurants and cafes: Fresh & Tasty Cafeteria & Grill, Tea Room Cafeteria, Doctor Crepe Cafe, Naan House Cafeteria And Pastries, Ghee Rice Restaurant Mussafah
  • Schools: Emirates Future International Academy, Piccadilly Nursery, Creative British School, Diyafah International School, The Cambridge High School – Abu Dhabi
  • Hospitals: LLH MEDICAL CENTRE (A Unit of VPS Healthcare), Al Mazroui Hospital, Mohammed Bin Zayed Health Care Centre, Bareen International Hospital

Transportation

There are bus stations at Dalma Mall’s main entrance and Musaffah, which is right next to Mohammed Bin Zayed City.

Available residential properties

Apartments and villas

Sale

  • Starting price for villas is 7.2 million AED

Rent (per year)

  • Studio apartment starting price is 22,000 AED
  • Apartment (2-bedroom) starting price is 40,000 AED
  • Villa starting price is 50,000 AED

9. Al Raha

Perhaps one of the youngest neighbourhoods in Abu Dhabi, yet this waterfront area is a promising luxury residential area for expats. Al Raha promises to be one of the best locations to stay in Abu Dhabi. It includes communities like Al Raha Gardens and Al Raha Beach.

The waterfront Al Raha area is a promising luxury residential area for expats.
The waterfront Al Raha area is a promising luxury residential area for expats.

Location

It is to the north-east of the city centre, facing Yas Island, and in close proximity to Khalifa City. It’s about a 25-minute drive to the city centre, and a 10-minute drive to the Abu Dhabi International Airport.

Best facilities

  • Entertainment: Al Raha Beach, Al Raha Gardens, Ladies Beach, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Abu Dhabi Sailing Club
  • Restaurants and cafes: Caesars Restaurant & Confectioneries, Circle Cafe, Pacifico TIKI, Crepe & Potato, Jones the Grocer, Azur Restaurant
  • Shopping: Al Raha Shopping Centre
  • Schools: Al Raha International School
  • Hospitals: Pharmacy in Shopping Centre, Lifeline Hospital in Mussafah, Al Noor Hospital

Transportation

There is a bus station from Khalifa University to Tourist Club Area that takes 28 minutes.

Available residential properties

Apartments

Rent (per year)

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 28,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 65,000 AED

10. Tourist Club Area

This is one of the most lively areas of the city. It houses unique restaurants, shops and artistic developments. This makes it one of the most sought-after places to live in Abu Dhabi.

The Tourist Club Area  is one of the most lively areas of the city.
The Tourist Club Area is one of the most lively areas of the city.

Location

Located in the northern corner of Abu Dhabi, to the northwest of Qasr Al Bahr.

Best facilities

  • Shopping and entertainment: Pick & Pay, Green Oasis, Black Block Travel and Tourism, Royal Plaza, Club Cinema, Al Muhairy Centre
  • Restaurants and cafes: Cauldron Cafe, Fresh Chicken Cafeteria, Dragon Bao Bao Cafeteria, Hollywood Coffee Shop
  • Schools: Abu Dhabi Grammar School (Canada), Steps and Strings Music Institute, Busy Bees Nursery, International Community School
  • Hospitals: Aster Clinic, National Hospital, Al Khaja Medical Centre, Mahara Home Health Care

Transportation

There are several bus stations throughout the area with different routes that move around all spots in Abu Dhabi.

Available residential properties

Apartments

Rent (per year)

  • Starting price for a studio apartment is 28,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is  65,000 AED

11. Al Mushrif

It is a beautiful residential area full of green landscapes. If you are looking for a safe, family area to live in, this is where you want to be.

Al Mushrif Palace is a must-see destination in the neighbourhood.
Al Mushrif Palace is a must-see destination in the neighbourhood.

Location

Located between the Arabian Gulf Street and Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street (Airport Road).

Best facilities

  • Entertainment: Abu Dhabi Country Club, Al Mushrif Palace, Al Mushrif Park
  • Shopping: Al Mushrif Mall, Martina Mall, Organic shop, Al Mushref Co-operative Society Shopping Mall
  • Schools: Khalifa University, Al Manhal International Private School, Khalifa Bin Zayed Secondary School, Vision Private School
  • Hospitals: Magrabi Eye & Ear Centre, National Screening Centre for Women and Child Health, CareWell Clinic, Zayed Military Hospital

Transportation

There are a number of bus routes passing through the area including 020, 040 and 043, plus there are bus stations at Al Mushrif Palace and Mushrif Mall.

Available residential properties

Apartments and villas

Sale

Starting price for a villa is 3.55 million AED

Rent (per year)

The starting price for a studio apartment is 31,000 AED

An apartment’s (2-bedroom) starting price is 55,000 AED

The starting price for a villa is 185,000 AED

12. Al Karamah

This small area is close to a number of hotspots and being at the centre of Abu Dhabi City, transportation to almost anywhere is easy. It boasts a few international restaurant franchises and property prices here are more economical.

Al Karamah is located in the centre of Abu Dhabi City.
Al Karamah is located in the centre of Abu Dhabi City.

Location

Located in the centre of Abu Dhabi City, between Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street and Al Karamah Street.

Best facilities

  • Shopping and entertainment: Al Wahda Mall
  • Restaurants and cafes: Cafe Arabia, Choice Chicken Cafeteria, Pizzaro Italian Restaurant, Shabby Chic Cafe, Mandolin Bistro-Café
  • Schools: Zayed University of Abu Dhabi, Al Rayyan National Private School, Al Eman Education School, Future Nursery, Universal Dance & Music Arts, Abu Dhabi International (Pvt) School
  • Hospitals: Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Fakih Medical Centre Abu Dhabi, Seha Emirates Hospital

Transportation

There are many bus stations in Al Karamah that go to almost every place in Abu Dhabi.

Available residential properties

Apartments and villas

Sale

  • Starting price for villas is 6.1 million AED

Rent (per year)

  • The starting price for a studio apartment is 33,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 60,000 AED
  • Starting price for villas is 175,000 AED

13. The Corniche Area

A beautiful area by the sea, this is one of the best neighbourhoods in Abu Dhabi and it includes a number of entertainment areas plus a selection of residential units with sea views.

A beautiful area by the sea, this is one of the best neighbourhoods in Abu Dhabi.
A beautiful area by the sea, the Corniche is one of the best neighbourhoods in Abu Dhabi.

Location

On the northwestern side of Abu Dhabi right on the seashore, and to the southeast of Al Kasir.

Best facilities

  • Entertainment: The Corniche Road, Fitness by the Shore, Nation Galleria
  • Shopping: Rotana Mall, Marina Mall
  • Restaurants and cafes: The Terrace on the Corniche, Vienna Plaza, Cafe Du Roi & Restaurant, Nova Beach Cafe
  • Schools: Kipina Kids, Etihad school, American Community School of Abu Dhabi, 3FOLD Education Centre
  • Hospitals: Al Hosn One Day Surgery Centre, Quality Dent Medical Centre, KKT Orthopedic Spine Centre, Maher Medical Centre

Transportation

There is a bus station on Corniche Road that can be reached from Carrefour. It can also be accessed from Khalifa University.

Available residential properties

Rent (per year)

Apartments and villas

  • The starting price for a studio apartment is 43,000 AED
  • Starting price for an apartment (2-bedroom) is 105,000 AED
  • Starting price for a villa is 200,000 AED

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