Compared to Dubai, Abu Dhabi may seem a bit, well, boring. The capital of the United Arab Emirates has a long way to go to compete with all the hype, glitz and glam of its northeast neighbor. But that doesn't seem to faze the folks in Abu Dhabi; the UAE's largest emirate is already sitting on piles of oil money, so there's no rush for it to compete in the tourism market. However, this doesn't mean that there's nothing here for visitors. Before you write off Abu Dhabi as a humdrum, conservative place, consider this: The city's slower growth has allowed it to preserve more of its history and culture, which you can experience on a visit to Heritage Village or the impressive Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. And where Dubai is lacking in natural beauty, Abu Dhabi excels with a mix of rolling sand dunes, verdant oases, expansive beaches and towering mountains.
Dubai and Las Vegas have a lot in common. Both cities share a love for the fantastical, with skylines that shine like beacons against barren desert backdrops. People from all over the world flock to these shimmering oases with the same goal: to play hard. But as a vacation spot, Dubai easily trumps ol' Sin City thanks to its gorgeous cream-colored Persian Gulf shoreline, international culinary scene and larger-than-life attractions. And the city's still growing; plans are underway for something bigger and better. At one point, it was estimated that a quarter of the world's construction cranes could be found here. If that's any sign, even the sky may not be able to limit Dubai's growth.
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