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Abu Dhabi

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Welcome to Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates! The city is home to a range of excellent things to do and see, including visits to impressive buildings like the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Etihad Towers and the chance to take day trips into the desert. We’ve gathered the best things to do here, whether you’re a local or a tourist.
Anneliese O'MalleyBy Anneliese O'Malley

The 9 Best Things to Do in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi sits between the desert and the Arabian Gulf, offering you plenty of unique activities outdoors as well as museums and other tourist attractions. We’ve collected the best things to do on a city break.
Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
1

Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

This beautiful mosque is built in white marble and features exquisite Islamic art. Visitors can take guided tours to learn all about it, and those who are practicing Muslims can join the congregation for prayers and services.
Ride the Dunes
2

Take a Day Trip to the Desert

Abu Dhabi is on the Persian Gulf, giving it access to the stunning beaches, but on the other side, the city faces the desert. Several tour providers offer you the chance to explore the dunes, either on a restful and cultural trip to visit a Bedouin camp, or on an adventurous desert safari featuring dune bashing, sandboarding, or off-road driving.
Day Trips
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Outdoor Tours & Activities
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Etihad Towers | Flickr: Gilles Messian CC BY 2.0
3

Etihad Towers Observation Deck

There are five towers in the Etihad complex containing shops, restaurants, offices, and hotels. Tower 2 also houses an impressive observation deck that lets you get an incredible view of the city from 925 feet (282 meters) above the ground. It’s also a great way to orient yourself in the city when you arrive.
Speedboat in Abu Dhabi
4

Enjoy a Cruise or Speedboat Tour

Take advantage of Abu Dhabi’s location on the beautiful Arabian Gulf, with several waterways inside the city itself. You can join a leisurely yacht cruise along the coastline or you can get a swift ride on a speedboat tour if you want to enjoy a little more adrenaline.
Cruises & Water Tours
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Ferrari World Theme Park from above
5

Discover Heaven for Petrolheads

Abu Dhabi is home to a few attractions which will get the hearts of all car-fans racing. One is the Ferrari World theme park, home to the world’s fastest roller coaster, while Formula 1 fans will treasure a visit to the Yas Marina Circuit. Those who want to get behind the wheel can do so during a driving experience at either attraction.
Big Bus Abu Dhabi | Flickr: Michael Coghlan CC BY-SA 2.0
6

Take a Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Hop-On Hop-Off tours are a great way to get around a city without having to spend time figuring out the local public transportation system, taking you from attraction to attraction in comfort and with audio commentary to keep you entertained and informed. The operators in Abu Dhabi offer two routes, one focused on the city and one on the islands on its outskirts.
Hop-On Hop-Off
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Louvre Abu Dhabi
7

Experience Art & Culture

Abu Dhabi isn’t all high-rise buildings and deserts, there are also several cultural institutions and museums which will delight visitors. The most exciting might be the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a collaborative project with the Louvre in Paris and which houses incredible art from around the world and throughout the centuries. Meanwhile, the Heritage Village is an exciting destination for anyone interested in Bedouin or Emirati culture and history.
Dessert hoch oben | Flickr: mattharvey1 CC BY-ND 2.0
8

Get Up in the Air

One of the best ways to appreciate the position of Abu Dhabi between sea and desert sand is to take a helicopter or seaplane tour. In addition to appreciating the landscape, you’ll also get an unparalleled view of the staggering buildings that make up the city’s skyline and get an adrenaline rush while you do it.
Air & Helicopter Tours
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A falcon getting treated | Flickr: Maarten Danial CC BY-ND 2.0
9

Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

If you have a soft spot for animals then you should definitely pay a visit to the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, which is a veterinary practice dedicated to the national bird of the UAE, and a favorite pet in Emirati households. You can only visit on a guided tour, giving you the unique opportunity to see behind-the-scenes at an animal hospital. You might also get the chance to hold a falcon.
More Topics
Air & Helicopter Tours
Hop-On Hop-Off
Family Friendly
Museums
Rentals
Shopping
Workshops & Classes
Wellness
Anneliese O'Malley
Written byAnneliese O'MalleyAnneliese is a former Londoner, keen traveler, and total word nerd. As a Content Management Specialist she knows the TicketLens inventory inside out and curates, matches, and writes about the most interesting attractions worldwide.
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