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Best Things To Do in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi boasts a fair number of expansive shopping centers (such as the Marina Mall) and luxury attractions (like Ferrari World). But the UAE's largest emirate is also an excellent place to learn more about the nation's traditions. Spend your days touring the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (one of only two mosques in the country to offer entry to non-Muslims), learning about falconry at the Falcon Hospital or exploring the traditional streets of Heritage Village. You'll also find plenty of cultural sites in the eastern city of Al Ain, including the Palace Museum and the Al Jahili Fort. And if prefer the great outdoors, schedule some time for Corniche Beach, the Jebel Hafeet summit or the Empty Quarter desert.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated October 4, 2018

  • #1
    Things to do in Abu Dhabi
    View all Photos
    #1 in Abu Dhabi
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Constructed between 1996 and 2007 at the request of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder and first president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is by far the most popular of Abu Dhabi's sights, and it's easy to see why. One of the largest mosques

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  • #2
    The Corniche
    View all Photos
    #2 in Abu Dhabi
    Beaches, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Stretching nearly 5 miles along the coast of Dhow Harbour — from the Heritage Park to the northeast toEmirates Palacein the southwest — the Corniche makes up the horizontal part of Abu Dhabi city's "T" shape. This seaside promenade is lined with some of the city's most popular hotels, not

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  • #3
    Emirates Palace
    View all Photos
    #3 in Abu Dhabi
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Like theBurj Al ArabinDubai, Emirates Palace sets the standard for luxury lodging in Abu Dhabi. This sprawling resort says its goes "beyond 5-star luxury" for its clientele — who are oftentimes visiting royals and dignitaries. But you don't have to be a guest to experience what all the fuss is

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  • #4
    Desert Tours
    View all Photos
    #4 in Abu Dhabi
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Surrounding the Liwa Oasis in the western part of the emirate is the Al Gharbia region, home to the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter). As the largest uninterrupted sand mass in the world, the Empty Quarter provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of desert excursions. Whether you'd prefer a

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  • #5
    Jebel Hafeet & The Al Ain Camel Souk
    View all Photos
    #5 in Abu Dhabi
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Rising more than 4,000 feet out of the desert and straddling the UAE-Oman border about 15 miles south of Al Ain, Jebel Hafeet stands as the tallest mountain in the emirate and the second-tallest mountain in the country. This mountain has played a significant role in Emirati history: Not only

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  • #6
    Al Jahili Fort
    View all Photos
    #6 in Abu Dhabi
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Sitting about a block west of thePalace Museumis the striking Al Jahili Fort. Built in the late 1800s, Al Jahili is the largest edifice in Al Ain made from mud bricks (a traditional form of Arabian architecture), and it has recently been refurbished for public visitation. The structure was erected

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  • #7
    Marina Mall
    View all Photos
    #7 in Abu Dhabi
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The United Arab Emirates are a shopper's paradise: This wealthy country has no shortage of traditionalsouks(marketplaces) and high-end megamalls, with the Marina Mall being one of Abu Dhabi's most popular shopping venues. Located nearHeritage Villageon the Breakwater in the southwest corner of Abu Dhabi city, this immense shopping complex houses

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  • #8
    Al Ain Oasis
    View all Photos
    #8 in Abu Dhabi
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    When the blazing Arabian heat starts to take its toll, you can find respite at the Al Ain Oasis. Occupying nearly 3,000 acres of central Al Ain, this quiet park is best known for its date palms — nearly 150,000 of them. These towering trees are part of plantations (some

    ...Read More »
  • #9
    Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum
    View all Photos
    #9 in Abu Dhabi
    Castles/Palaces, Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces, Historic Homes/Mansions, Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Sitting on the western edge of theAl Ain Oasis, the Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum (also known as the Al Ain Palace Museum) offers visitors a glimpse of what life was like for the UAE's founder and first president. Built in 1910, this large complex housed Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al

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  • #10
    Heritage Village
    View all Photos
    #10 in Abu Dhabi
    Museums, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Although Abu Dhabi is constantly evolving, remnants of the UAE's heritage are easy to find. If you're interested in learning more about Abu Dhabi's roots, consider a visit to Heritage Village. Set across the Dhow Harbour from theCorniche, Heritage Village is a representation of the original fishing village that once

    ...Read More »
  • #11
    Yas Marina Circuit & Ferrari World
    View all Photos
    #11 in Abu Dhabi
    Amusement Parks, Sports, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Amusement Parks, Sports, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Fans of racing will feel at home in Abu Dhabi. While those more interested in Abu Dhabi's heritage make their way to the camel race tracks near Al Ain, travelers with a need for speed need only look to the Yas Marina Circuit for their fill of fast cars. One

    ...Read More »
  • #12
    Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
    View all Photos
    #12 in Abu Dhabi
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    One of Abu Dhabi's more obscure attractions is the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital: This functioning animal care unit is devoted to the health of falcons, which have long played an important role in Emirati society. Falconry has been practiced in the UAE for thousands of years: Bedouins used falcons to

    ...Read More »

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