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  • The UAE is one of the most popular holiday destinations and it’s not hard to see why. It’s incredibly rich in history and culture, and its progress in technology, architecture and sheer human ingenuity inspires awe in the best of us. The capital of Abu Dhabi is a testament to these traits, and superlatives are one way it showcases its many achievements. Just take a look at Capital Gates, which leans 18 degrees west and holds the title of being the world’s furthest leaning man-made tower. Or, Ferrari World that has the biggest space frame structure.

    Yet, it’s not just the contemporary that fills people with amazement. Old and even ancient structures such as Al Jahili Fort and the Jebel Hafeet Tombs leave you with a sense of wonder. You get a sense that this is a place that was designed for greatness and as you stop and stare at everything around you, you realize you were right.

    Abu Dhabi has it all from traditional Emirati experiences to big and bold malls, buildings and parks.  Children will never be left wanting for things to do and neither will adults. Fine dining, shopping centres that draw people from all over the globe and entertainment to keep you going for hours – it’s the perfect recipe for a perfect holiday!

    Check out these 50 places to visit Abu Dhabi that will set your senses abuzz:

  • 01Must Visit Places in Abu Dhabi

    Must Visit Places in Abu Dhabi

    1. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi- Ferrari World is an attraction like no other and if you’re in Yas Island, you have to visit it. The Ferrari themed park will delight you with its crazy rides, Ferrari factory tour, stunts and acrobats.

    2. Sheikh Zayed Mosque- This iconic landmark tops our list - and should top yours too! - of must-visit places in Abu Dhabi. Drawing design elements from Mughal, Persian and Alexandrian influences, it can accommodate a whopping 40,000 people.

    3. Emirates Palace- The sprawling Emirates Palace luxury hotel is breathtakingly beautiful. Even if you don’t intend to stay here during your vacation, you absolutely need to visit and maybe have a coffee or a meal at one of the 10 restaurants.

    4. Yas Water World- Another Yas Island attraction, Yas Water World has it all. More than 40 rides and slides, a shopping centre and a restaurant come together to guarantee adults and kids have the time of their lives.

    5. Sheikh Zayed Bridge- Next on our 50 places to visit in Abu Dhabi is the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, which reflects the mesmerizing sand dunes of the Arabian Desert. It spans nearly a kilometre, and watching the curves overhead as you drive by is a sight to behold.

    6. Yas Viceroy- Another 5-star wonder, Yas Viceroy is set on Yas Island and commands attention with its futuristic design and for being constructed over a Formula 1 circuit. We recommend visiting this place at night when the lights come on and the Grid Shell is highlighted in all its glory.

    7. Etihad Towers-  Opposite Emirates Palace, five towers soar towards the sky to create the stunning Etihad Towers. 11 restaurants, bars and luxury shopping centres entice you to witness how the other half of the world lives.

    8. Marjan Aqua Park- If you’re travelling with children, Marjan Aqua Park is the perfect place to take them to. It has a lazy river, water slides, crawl tunnel, a water war station – everything kids need to stay entertained.

    9. Capital Gates- The ‘world’s furthest leaning man-made tower’ is right here in Abu Dhabi and you need to see it to believe it. Capital Gates is a wonder, not just because of its striking design but also because it’s the first structure in the region to use a diagrid.

    10. Wadi adventure- Wadi Adventure is on another level altogether with activities like rafting and airpark providing endless entertainment for kids and adults. It’s the perfect place for holding private parties too.

    11. Hili Fun City- Hili Fun City has a list of pulse-racing rides to get kids screaming in excitement. It also has Abu Dhabi’s first ice rink as well as restaurants and shopping centres.

    12. Marina Eye- Hop on to the Marina Eye to get a fabulous view of Abu Dhabi. It has 42 standard capsules and several luxury capsules for those who want to ride in style.

    13. Qasr Al Hosn- Seventh on our list of 50 places to visit in Abu Dhabi is Qasr Al Hosn, an 18th century stone building that today is home to a museum showcasing the country’s history. Try to visit during the annual Qasr Al Hosn festival when themed exhibitions, workshops and demos are held.

    14. Al Jahili Fort- Imposing and set amidst landscaped gardens that seem from another time and place, Al Jahili Fort is  a historical landmark. It’s also a site for exhibitions including a permanent exhibition for Wilfred Thesiger’s monochrome photography.

    15. Al Bahar Towers- Abu Dhabi is a city of architectural wonders and Al Bahar Towers is another such wonder. It features a ‘skin’ of glass elements that open and close based on the sunlight’s intensity. They reduce interior heat by 50 percent!

    16. Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium- With a seating capacity of nearly 23,000 spectators, and a facade that resembles a palm trunk – Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium makes it into our list of 50 places to visit in Abu Dhabi. The unique design of the roof reduces the temperature so that players and spectators don’t suffer the intense summer heat.

    17. Masdar City- Close to Abu Dhabi International Airport is Masdar City, a planned city that is still under development and expected to be completed in the next decade. Similar to Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, the temperature here is markedly lower than the desert.

    18. Manarat Al Saadiyat- Manarat Al Saadiyat is a centre that promotes artistic expression and a visit here will introduce you to art exhibitions, workshops, training sessions and everything to do with art. When you’re done exploring, sit down for a snack at Larte Restaurant.

    19. Al Ain palace Museum- Al Ain Palace Museum is an eye-opener into the world of the erstwhile Emir of Abu Dhabi, Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. You’ll witness the tent he used to host his guests in winters and his family tree among the other insightful displays.

    20. Classic Car Museum- There’s just something about classic cars that take your breath away. Al Ain Classic Car Museum will guarantee that with its collection of old beauties. The collection rotates so there’s something new to see every moment.

    21. Women’s handicraft centre- Traditional Abu Dhabi handicrafts are brought to life at Women’s Handicraft Center. The museum displays handmade souvenirs, intricate needlework and Arabian oils among other things.

  • 02Places to Shop in Abu Dhabi

    Places to Shop in Abu Dhabi

    22. The Galleria On Al Maryah Island- Witness luxury Abu Dhabi style at The Galleria on Al Maryah Island. Shop at luxury brand stores and enjoy fine dining at restaurants that serve delightful cuisine.

    23. Avenue at Etihad Towers- Experience the height of luxury at Avenue at Etihad Towers where brands like Hermes and Stephane Rolland hold sway. When you’re done shopping, lunch at Fauchon Le Café or Al Gusto Italiano.

    24. Yas Mall- There are malls and then there are malls like Yas Mall that set the bar up high. Abu Dhabi’s largest shopping centre offers everything from fashion and speciality stores to numerous dining options and entertainment.

    25. Abu Dhabi Mall- Abu Dhabi Mall is a terrific place for families because it has something for everyone. There are entertainment centres for kids, a long list of fashion and lifestyle stores for adults, and a wealth of dining choices for the whole family.

    26. Marina Mall- You can find everything you need at Marina Mall right from furniture and home décor to fashion items, arts and crafts, toys and electronics. Movie theatres, Bounce and bowling will keep you and your companions entertained for hours.

    27. World Trade centre Souk & Mall- Stepping into the Souk & Mall at the World Trade Center is like entering another time and place, one where old and new come together. You can find Arabic perfumes and traditional artefacts as well as stores selling modern products.

    28. Dalma Mall- The award-winning Dalma Mall packs shopping, dining, entertainment and exciting events into one large centre. Check the mall’s website for special events and try to time your travel with them.

    29. Al Wahda Mall- Anchor stores, photography services, fashion stores, speciality stores, restaurants, theatres and a sports lounge – Al Wahda Mall has it all and is one of the 50 places to visit in Abu Dhabi that you can’t miss.

    30. Madinat Zayed Gold Center- A mall and a shopping center rolled into one, Madinat Zayed Gold Center is where you go to to pick up gorgeous gold jewelry. You can also explore fashion and electronics stores, cosmetics, fabric and toy shops.

  • 03Places to Eat and Drink in Abu Dhabi

    Places to Eat and Drink in Abu Dhabi

    31. Li Beirut- We include Li Beirut with its Lebanese cuisine in our list of 50 places to visit in Abu Dhabi because this is where all your senses will be motivated. Feast on delectable dishes like zaatar crusted lamb and kunafa osmalia.

    32. MarakeshMoroccan cuisine isn’t just about couscous, and at Marakesh Restaurant, you’ll be introduced to all the flavours of this exotic country. A band, singers and belly dancers will regale you with their talents as you indulge yourself.

    33. Shangri-la Abu Dhabi

    34. Al Maqam- Find out how Emiratis dine at Al Maqam restaurant, located in the Arabian Nights Village. Your experience is made all the more memorable with cushion floor seating, low sofas and a palm-thatch covered terrace.

    35. Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill- Chef Marco Pierre White showcases his culinary expertise with mouth-watering grill cuisine and English dishes paired with a terrific wine selection.

    36. Hakkasan- Hakkasan restaurant brings Chinese cuisine to Abu Dhabi with some of the best dishes. Bird’s nest soup, charcoal grilled silver cod, pipa duck and hand-pulled noodles are just some of the offerings to try.

    37. Villa Toscana- If you fancy Italian and Tuscan cuisine, there’s no better place to try it in the UAE than in Villa Toscana. Regional specialities dominate the menu with items like potato puff pastry, baked spicy prawns and burrata.

    38. Catalan

    39. Jazz Bar & Dining- The Hilton’s Jazz Bar & Dining is the perfect place to sit back, relax and enjoy the sounds of the live band, DNA. Tuck into delicious items including jazz salads, US black Angus beef and salmon sashimi.

  • 04Other Places to Visit in Abu Dhabi

    Other Places to Visit in Abu Dhabi

    40. Emirates Park Zoo- Take a tour of Emirates Park Zoo and learn about the animals there. You can also stay at the resort in one of 27 chalets to enjoy a more immersive experience.

    41. Umm Al Emarat Park- This old park has a range of attractions to entertain kids and adults alike. Take a walk in the Botanic Garden, visit the Shade House and check out the Amphitheater to watch performing arts.

    42. Khalifa Park- Close to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is Khalifa Park, an oasis of sorts with waterfalls and ponds providing a haven for anyone who visits. It also has an amusement park for kids and a football playing area.

    43. UAE Currency Museum- UAE Currency Museum showcases different currencies, some dating back to the formation of the UAE. It introduces you to the region’s history of trade and currency.

    44. Emirates Auto National Museum-  If classic cars have always fascinated you, the Emirates National Auto Museum is right where you want to be. It showcases Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s massive car collection including classic American cars.

    45. Jebel Hafeet Tombs- 5,000 years of Bronze Age history are revealed in the Jebel Hafeet Tombs where artefacts of significant importance have been excavated. Discover the long history of the region with a visit to these ancient structures.

    46. Bounce Abu Dhabi- A playground with a difference, Bounce Abu Dhabi brings a range of fun activities together. Free jumping on interconnected trampolines, dodgeball and zip lining are just a few. Parents can chill out at the parent zone while the kids go nuts over the attractions.

    47. Yas Marina Circuit- This is where all the action happens and you can’t leave without checking it out. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is held here and if you have the cash, you can get behind the wheel of a powerhouse.

    48. Arabian Wildlife Park- Sir Bani Yas Island is home to the Garden of Eden where wildlife roams free and archaeological sites dot the landscape. Guided nature walks, wildlife drives and mountain biking are a few ways to explore the park.

    49. Heritage theme park- The rich Emirati culture is brought to life at the Al Ain Heritage and Culture Village, Al Ain Sportsplex. You’re introduced to the traditional way of Emirati life through installations, museums, exhibitions and markets.

    50. Al Sadeem Astronomy Centre- Even if you’ve been to observatories in the past, you certainly should visit the Al Sadeem Astronomy Center. Watching the Abu Dhabi sky through a 16-inch Meade telescope is an otherworldly experience.


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