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Things to do in Abu Dhabi

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Etihad Towers
A dramatic architectural statement, this five-tower complex invites residents and visitors to live, work, stay, shop and dine in one destination with panoramic city and Arabian Gulf views. A benchmark for luxury experiences, the complex includes three residential towers and the 280 metres high, five-star Jumeirah at Etihad Towers hotel. On Tower 2’s 74th floor, the Observation Deck at 300 offers unbeatable cityscape and island views. The Avenue at Etihad Towers is one of the world’s most expensive and exclusive collections of boutique shops, with many having luxurious private rooms for private, VIP shopping.
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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque stands out as one of the world’s largest mosques, and the only one that captures unique interactions between Islam and world cultures. Sheikh Zayed's vision for the Grand Mosque was to incorporate architectural styles from different Muslim civilizations and celebrate cultural diversity by creating a haven that is truly diverse and inspirational in its foundation. The mosque’s architects were British, Italian and Emirati, and design inspiration was borrowed parts of Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan, and Egypt among other Islamic countries, revealing a glistening architectural marvel with an astonishing capacity of 40,000 worshippers and visitors. The open-door policy invites tourists and celebrants from all around the world who can witness the spectacular onion-top domes, the reflective pools that engulf the courtyard and the iconic prayer hall, which not only overflows with blissful sunlight but also houses the world’s biggest chandelier and carpet, both meticulously handmade. Be sure to spot the calligraphy encircling the hollows of the domes, etched with verses from the Quran and painted with gold leaves in An-Naskh lettering.
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Louvre Abu Dhabi
The iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi is the first universal museum in the Arab World that translates the spirit of openness of cultures. As one of the premier cultural institutions located in the heart of the Saadiyat Cultural District, the art-lovers dream displays the works of historical, cultural and sociological significance from ancient times to the contemporary era. Designed by Pritzker-prize winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Louvre Abu Dhabi encompasses 9,200 sq. m of galleries including the Permanent Gallery and a Temporary Gallery that is enriched by loans from many notable French museums including Musee du Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, and Centre Pompidou. Recreating parts of UAE’s integral cultural elements, Nouvel designed a falaj-inspired water system running through the museum, inspired by ancient Arabian engineering whilst the orderly lace dome borrows inspiration from the interlaced palm leaves traditionally used as roofing material in many parts of the country that results in an enchanting play of light. The juxtaposition of different civilizations in the same spaces, the Louvre Abu Dhabi illustrates similarities and exchanges from the shared human experience going beyond geography, nationality, and history.
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Qasr Al Watan
Qasr Al Watan, the new cultural landmark in Abu Dhabi, opens its doors to the public in an invitation to discover the legacy of knowledge and tradition that have shaped the journey of the nation, boosting cultural understanding of the United Arab Emirates. More than a traditional palace, Qasr Al Watan is an exquisitely crafted tribute to the Arabian heritage and artistry, and its architecture and design echo the significance of the exhibits housed within its halls and the function of its most iconic rooms. Qasr Al Watan invites visitors to learn about the country’s governing traditions and values, and explore a well-preserved legacy of knowledge, thus boosting cultural understanding of the UAE.
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Capital Gate
Drive down Khaleej Al Arabi Street and you will see a modern-day challenger to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Capital Gate, developed by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company, has been certified as the ‘World’s Furthest Leaning Man Made Tower,’ by the Guinness World Records. It leans 18 degrees westwards - more than four times that of Pisa’s famous Leaning Tower. The 160 metre (524.9 ft), 35 storey tower is a postcard image of Abu Dhabi and makes a great holiday snap.
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Qasr Al Hosn
Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest and most significant building in Abu Dhabi, holding the city’s first permanent structure; the watchtower. Built around the 1790’s, the commanding structure overlooked the coastal trade routes and protected the growing settlement established on the island. Qasr Al Hosn comprises of two major iconic buildings: the Inner Fort (originally constructed in 1795) and the Outer Palace (1939-45). Over the centuries, it has been home to the ruling family, the seat of government, a consultative council and a national archive; it now stands as the nation’s living memorial and the narrator of Abu Dhabi’s history. Transformed into a museum in 2018 following more than eleven years of intensive conservation and restoration work, Qasr Al Hosn is a national monument that encapsulates the development of Abu Dhabi from a settlement reliant on fishing and pearling in the 18th century, to a modern, global metropolis, with displays of artefacts and archival materials dating back to as far as 6000 BC.
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Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi
One of the world’s biggest, fully air-conditioned indoor theme parks, Warner Bros. World™ Abu Dhabi brings together all legendary characters from the studio under one roof. From Superman to Batman and Wonder Woman to beloved cartoon stars like Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, and Fred Flintstone, all and more are housed within the 1.65 million sq. ft. theme park with 29 state-of-the-art rides, interactive family-friendly attractions, unique live entertainment, multiple dining options, and exclusive shopping outlets. The magical experience starts as soon as visitors step into the Warner Bros. shield and are transported to different worlds of action, adventure and eccentricity through the park’s six immersive lands. Each portal, with its scenic backdrops and authentically themed restaurants, is exactly how you imagined these enchanting Warner Bros. Worlds would be.
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Arabian Wildlife Park
On Sir Bani Yas Island, the Arabian Wildlife Park is home to more than 10,000 free roaming animals and takes up more than half of the island. Visitors can now get up close and personal, at eye-level, with the island’s giraffes from a purpose-built viewing platform made completely from recycled materials. Or you can take 4x4 Nature & Wildlife Drives of the park in specially made vehicles accompanied by expert staff. Alternatively, you can book a three-hour tour - there are many Arabian Oryx, gazelles and giraffes, along with hyenas and cheetahs.
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Al Jahili Fort
Since opening its gates in 2008, Al Jahili Fort has been a cultural the focal point of activities associated with philosophy and heritage of Abu Dhabi in the Garden City. Al Jahili is one of the largest forts in the UAE and was built in the 1890s on orders from Zayed The First as the home to members of the Al Nahyan ruling family. Between 2007 and 2008, the fort was restored by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, who transformed it into a cultural centre and tourist attraction that now houses a permanent exhibition devoted to Wilfred Thesiger, the intrepid explorer, travel writer and photographer, who crossed the Empty Quarter twice in the 1940s, and a temporary exhibition gallery. Surrounded by a lush park, this enchanting fort won the prestigious Terra Award for the best Earthen Architecture in the world in 2016.
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Qasr Al Muwaiji
Qasr Al Muwaiji was home to generations of the Al Nahyan family and saw the birth of Sheikh Khalifa in 1948. The UNESCO World Heritage Site functioned not only as a home and an oasis in the desert but also as a place of rule and a focus for the community. The architectural gem now offers its visitors a variety of historical and traditional experiences associated with the venue, including oral narrations of the significant moments of Sheikh Khalifa’s life from his early childhood, leadership and vast national achievements.
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Saadiyat Beach
With pristine white sands stretching along its shore, Saadiyat Beach has maintained a reputation as one of the most desirable beach locations in the UAE. From beach yoga classes to eco-friendly water sports activities such as windsurfing and sailing, guests can make the most out of their beach experience with the help of the attentive staff and the many leisure outlets. In order to achieve this delicate balance between world-class modern resorts and serene natural beauty, the local authorities in Saadiyat Beach are dedicated to preserving the natural environment with a dune protection zone with restrictions on development while access to the beach made possible via a wooden boardwalk. As a result, the area is rich with native wildlife including the Hawksbill Turtles that use the beach as their nesting ground. Hatching sites are protected by strict environmental measures and are patrolled by trained personnel who continually monitor the reproduction of the turtles.
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Yas Waterworld
This futuristic waterpark spans across an area as big as 15 football pitches, with 43 rides, slides, and attractions – five of which are one-of-a-kind. Visitors at Yas Waterworld can experience the world’s first and largest hydro-magnetic-powered, six-person tornado waterslide that extends up to 235 meters in length. For adrenaline junkies, there are three-meter-high waves on Bubble’s Barrel, which has the world’s largest surf sheet wave for flow-boards and body-boards. The Bandit Bomber, a 550– meter coaster, is the first with onboard water and laser effects. Riders can shoot jets of water at targets, drop water bombs and trigger special effects, while people below can spray them with water as they pass. Sitting atop Jebel Dana, the towering core of the park’s altitude-defying summit and measuring eight meters in diameter, the park’s gigantic pearl is Yas Island’s newest landmark. The park draws on Abu Dhabi’s heritage with “the lost pearl” theme that follows the story of a young Emirati girl on a quest to find a legendary pearl as they make their way around the attractions, which include a souk and pearl-diving exhibits.
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Emirates Park Zoo
With over 1700 animals, including a majestic pair of white tigers, a 31-year-old, 300kg-plus Siberian bear, lions, cheetahs and dozens of zebras housed in the zoo’s ‘Predators’ and ‘Wild Animals’ enclosures, the Emirates Park Zoo in Al Bahia, a north-east suburb of the UAE capital features a park-wide ‘misting system’ which keeps animals and patrons cool in the summer months.
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Al Jubail Mangrove Park
Jubail Mangrove Park is the first self-contained educational, nature and leisure destination of its kind in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Visit and explore a haven for avian and marine species native to Abu Dhabi at this serene mangrove sanctuary. The Park aims to enhance the awareness, appreciation and understanding of the important ecological function of the mangrove habitats that include protection of the Abu Dhabi Coastline and supporting biodiversity. A meandering boardwalk will take you through the mangroves and allow you to discover Abu Dhabi in its true essence.