Marina Mall#7 in Best Things To Do in Abu Dhabi
The United Arab Emirates are a shopper's paradise: This wealthy country has no shortage of traditional souks (marketplaces) and high-end megamalls, with the Marina Mall being one of Abu Dhabi's most popular shopping venues. Located near Heritage Village on the Breakwater in the southwest corner of Abu Dhabi city, this immense shopping complex houses more than 400 stores, as well as a bowling alley, a movie theater, an ice rink and an amusement center complete with arcade games and rides. You'll also find a variety of restaurants and cafes in addition to a sprawling food court.
Recent travelers love the variety of shops and eateries found here, but several visitors say that the Marina Mall's observation deck was the highlight of their visit. Because of its location, the mall offers panoramas of the Persian Gulf, the Corniche and Emirates Palace. "I would recommend going around sunset to see a pretty spectacular view," one TripAdvisor user advised.
The Marina Mall is open Saturday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Fridays from 2 to 11 p.m. Note that individual stores, restaurants and attractions within the mall may operate on different schedules. You don't need to pay to enter the mall, but you may want to have some cash (or a credit card) on hand should something strike your fancy. You can reach the mall by taxi or public bus: Bus Nos. 005, 007, 008, 011, 032, 034 and 063 all connect the Breakwater to central Abu Dhabi city and the Corniche. To learn more about what there is to see and do here, visit the Marina Mall's website.
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#1 Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
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 in the world, this house of worship features 82 domes, more than 1,000 columns and a white and gold facade. What's more, this is one of only two mosques in the UAE open to non-Muslim tourists. That means that visitors from all around the globe can walk across the world's largest hand-woven rug, gaze up at one of the world's largest chandeliers and admire the fusion of Fatimid, Mamluk and Ottoman architectural styles, representing three different Islamic dynasties.
Although it's not Abu Dhabi's oldest attraction, those who have visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque say that a stop here is a must for those who want a better understanding of the city's religious identity. The site is one of the world's most significant examples of contemporary Islamic architecture. You are welcome to explore the mosque on your own, but many travelers recommend tagging along on one of the free guided tours; tours take between 45 minutes and an hour and can be reserved in advance, or you can simply show up and wait for the next scheduled English tour. "Our guide was outstanding; no religion, just amazing facts and with his commentary we understood the incredible engineering, art [and] workmanship that make this so very special," according to one TripAdvisor user. Previous visitors highly recommend touring the mosque in the evening when the sunset reflects off the marble courtyard.
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