Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi as seen from space.

Abu Dhabi (Arabic: أَبُو ظَبِي) is the federal capital and the seat of the three branches of government of the United Arab Emirates. It is the largest city and capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The city is a collection of islands connected together and features colossal monuments, elegant museums, green boulevards, high-rise buildings, international luxury hotel chains and opulent shopping malls.





Abu Dhabi is the capital and seat of the government of the United Arab Emirates, hence it is the go-to destination for any major political event or ministerial headquarters. It is not, however, the commercial or tourism capital of the country — that would be Dubai — but massive investment in aviation and tourism since the 2000s has definitely added a lot things to do in city.

The city was not intended to be the capital of the UAE. The capital of the UAE was supposed to be a planned city between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and was to be called 'Al Karama' (which means dignity in Arabic) as stated in the first version of the constitution. However, considering the earlier stage of the union was a volatile time, with multiple issues and various ordeals occurring, Abu Dhabi was made the temporary capital as it was the home of the UAE founding father Sheikh Zayed. Later, Abu Dhabi was declared to be the permanent capital of the UAE by the agreement of the rest of the seven UAE founding fathers. The capital and the seat of the three branches of the government were to be in the Abu Dhabi Capital District, while the rest of the city would continue to be a city catered to the native population and residents. Abu Dhabi is also the headquarters of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, with an enormous walled city outside of Abu Dhabi called Sheikh Zayed Military City hosting the defensive headquarters of the military. As a result, it is a common sight to see Emiratis in military fatigue around the city.



The story behind the name...

"Dhabi" is the Arabic word for a particular antelope species of gazelle that was once common in the Arabian region. "Abu" means father; hence, Abu Dhabi means "Father of the Dhabi". The name of the city is thought to have originated from an old folklore legend in which Bedouins from Bani Yas tribal affiliation hunting a gazelle chased it all the way from the desert to the land on the coast and discovered the location. The Bedouins called it "Abu Dhabi", pertaining to the gazelle that led them there.

Many international companies, diplomatic outposts, and embassies are based in Abu Dhabi. The city has a population of approximately 1.87 million residents (2016), of which 294,000 are UAE nationals accounting for 15.7% of the city's population. In a bid to attract foreign investors and urban planners, the city followed in Dubai's footsteps by forming economic free zones, loosened Islamic laws, and increased real estate sales to foreigners. As the diplomatic center of the federal government, the city hosts various monuments and museums. The most recognizable icon is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which is a common visiting site for tourists and diplomats. The mosque allows non-Muslims to enter and explore the Islamic architecture of the mosque. Various monuments honoring Emirati achievements also exist, including the Oasis of Dignity (called Wahat Al Karama locally). The large monument faces the mosque and has the names of fallen Emirati soldiers inscribed in the memorial.



In order to build the international status of the city as a diplomacy center, the UAE government formed very close relationship with other governments; most recognizably France and the United States. As a result, a lot of American-based companies and personnel are based in the city. The American embassy is the largest embassy in Abu Dhabi and almost recognizable as a landmark with its triangular design, as well as Abu Dhabi airport is one of the few airports hosting a US pre-clearance facility; the facility allows travelers to the US to clear immigration and customs at the airport, and arrive to the US as domestic travelers.

The official language of Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE is Arabic, but English is the de facto lingua franca, and almost everyone speaks it. Emiratis are a minority in Abu Dhabi, and most of the population is comprised of foreigners; most retail workers and service staff are from India or the Philippines and do not speak Arabic. All signs are bilingual in Arabic and English and the city's atmosphere is very friendly to visitors. Occasionally, foreign head of states visit Abu Dhabi, so seeing roads lined with flags of various countries is a common sight. Seeing F-16 fighter jets flying over the skies of Abu Dhabi is also a common sight, as a major UAE-US airbase (Al Dhafrah airbase) is near the city and sometimes jets escort foreign dignitaries traveling to the UAE. The city's vibe changes depending on which foreign head of state visits it. The city was decorated with Chinese flags and the red color when the Chinese president visited, while the city was garnished with yellow and white when Pope Francis visited. The UAE flag is almost always everywhere, decorated with the red-white-black-green colors decorating the streets, buildings, tunnels, and skyscrapers.

Abu Dhabi skyline at night showing Emirates Palace and Etihad Towers in the background.



The city has also been expanding its entertainment industry vastly, creating massive projects such as Formula 1 track, the Ferrari World theme park, and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. There are several museums, such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim museum (under construction), and the UAE's national museum - Zayed Museum (under construction).

The city is also a frequent host of Judo competitions by the International Judo Federation, Formula One races, and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) championships. The city also hosts the finals of the UAE football Pro-League as well as Asian Federation Cup games in Sheikh Zayed Sports Stadium.


Abu Dhabi
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation+Snow totals in mm
Abu Dhabi has a hot desert climate (BWh). See Abu Dhabi's 10 day forecast.
Imperial conversion
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation+Snow totals in inches

The city has an arid climate, with very hot temperatures in the summer; this time of year is usually spent indoors with air conditioning, especially between the morning and late afternoon. The weather is pleasant between mid-fall and early spring, which is a great time for outdoor dining and activities. Annual precipitation totals 57 mm (2.2 in).



Most of Abu Dhabi is on a wedged-shaped island that lies from northwest to southeast, connected by three bridges to the mainland, and other bridges to other islands, most of which also eventually connect to the mainland. The main island features many 'superblocks' with wide, multi-lane roads dividing them and buses running routes along them. The other islands include:

  • Mariyah, which is home to the Abu Dhabi Global Market and Galleria Mall, as well as the Rosewood Hotel and Four Seasons Hotel.
  • Reem, which is largely residential but features two malls - Reem Mall and Shams Boutik.
  • Hudayriyat, which features pristine beaches and nature reserves.
  • Saadiyat, which is home to cultural and educational institutions as well as some beach clubs
  • Yas, which features the theme parks and many hospitality venues.

Street addresses in Abu Dhabi are simultaneously very logical and hopelessly confusing. Many major roads have traditional names which don't often correspond to the official names (e.g. Airport Rd and Rashid bin Saeed St). The city is divided into districts like Al Khalidiyya, and has recently named all main and side streets with numbered addresses (e.g. 107 Hamouda Bin Ali Al Dhaheri St for Galleria Mall). The system of main streets is straight forward after getting used to, but side street names are not often used day-to-day. The system, when used, is convenient since you can enter the address and navigate using Google Maps, this is especially useful for residential addresses, which unlike most businesses and hotels, are not listed as on Google Maps. As the system is new, adoption is still in progress, and you might get requests from delivery drivers asking for your location on WhatsApp to reach you. Most locals and long-time residents opt to ignore the system entirely and navigate using landmarks; if taking a taxi, odds are you will get to "behind the Hilton Baynunah" much faster than "Fifth Street, Sector 2". In any case, Google Maps is very widely used and you can reach almost any destination using it. Using ride-share apps (e.g. Careem) or even telling the name where you want to go to a taxi driver will let them immediately know where exactly you want to be dropped.

Get in


By plane


A viable alternative is to fly to Dubai International Airport (DXB IATA) in the neighbouring emirate of Dubai and continue onward to Abu Dhabi by bus or by taxi.

In combination with Sharjah International Airport (SHJ IATA) just northwest of Dubai, all three airports in combination of two might allow for a cheap connection from Europe to Asia when self-organising transfer between the different airports.

See the specific airports for details on how to connect between them.

By road

E11 highway, also called Sheikh Zayed road, towards Abu Dhabi from Dubai.

The five-laned E11 highway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi is the country's heaviest-traveled route, and the 130-km journey can be covered in about 1 hour and 20 minutes. There is a national speed limit of 120 km/h. This speed is wildly exceeded by some drivers. Stay out of the leftmost lane and drive carefully, especially at night. E11 is the longest highway in the Emirates.

If you rent a Limousine in Abu Dhabi, chances are that the car will warn you if go above 120 km/h. Depending on the vehicle, it might just be a flashing light or an accompanying, continuous, shrill beep. If you get annoyed by this, you might not want to exceed 120 km/h.

To travel directly into Abu Dhabi from Dubai on E11, keep to your left at Al Shahama and follow the E10 highway, which passes Yas Island (exit at the E12 highway) and Al Raha Beach on the way to the Sheikh Zayed Bridge into Abu Dhabi. This bridge connects directly to Salam Street (8th Street), a wide megahighway along the northern shore of Abu Dhabi Island. As an alternative to the Zayed Bridge, there are ramps off E10 that connect to the Maqta Bridge, which leads to 2nd Street (Airport Road) and to 4th Street (East Road or Muroor Road). During off-peak periods, these routes run fairly quickly into the city.


Abu Dhabi parking meter.

Parking within the city is monitored by Mawaqif, which also supply the parking meters. Parking meters have displays in English and Arabic. Darb is an app used for parking and tolls and is available on Android and iOS.

Finding a parking in main island of Abu Dhabi is a disaster. Parking spaces are extremely limited and most are parking designated for specific institutions. You are more likely to save time if you Uber or take a taxi to your destination instead of driving as finding a parking can take you hours. If you end up finding a parking, you'll have to walk a long way to reach your destination. Most people who own cars but live in mainland Abu Dhabi deliberately use taxis to get around due to the parking shortage. On the brighter side, shopping malls usually have free of charge underground parking with lots of parking spaces. Some close to door parking spaces are designated for electric or hybrid cars only as an incentive to drive electric cars.

Parking areas in Abu Dhabi are clearly marked; yellow and grey for no parking, blue and black for standard fare, and blue and white for premium fare.

By bus


You can get into Abu Dhabi from the other Emirates of Dubai, Sharjah, etc., by bus. The Emirates Express between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is operated jointly by the Abu Dhabi and Dubai municipalities. The 130-km route takes around two hours. The buses operated by Dubai's RTA are luxury buses. There are also the Abu Dhabi transport buses. The first bus departs from the 2 Abu Dhabi main bus terminal on the corner of Hazza bin Zayed the First (11th) St and East (4th) Rd at 5:30AM and the last leaves at 11:30PM; they leave at 30-minute intervals, or if the bus gets full sooner. From Dubai, the buses leave from 5:30AM, and run until 11:30PM, from the Al Ghubaiba station in Bur Dubai (opposite Carrefour Shopping). For bus times, see the timetable published on the Government of Dubai's website.

If you hold an Emirates flight ticket and arrive to or depart from Dubai airport, the airline offers a complimentary extension of your trip to/from Abu Dhabi. Buses depart from Dubai airport Terminal 3 and arrive to Emirates Abu Dhabi office located in Al Sawari Tower. Contact Emirates customer service for booking.

By taxi


Taxis are widely available everywhere. You can flag down any metered taxi on the street in Dubai or any other place in the UAE and ask to go to Abu Dhabi. Ride-share applications such as Uber and Careem are also available. An official taxi can be booked through the Abu Dhabi Taxi app.

Get around


Abu Dhabi route 56 public transport bus.

Abu Dhabi offers buses and plenty of taxis to get around. Since the most of the city is located in Abu Dhabi island, traffic is a common occurrence.

By taxi


Taxis are a good way to get around if you don't have a car. Abu Dhabi's taxis are relatively cheap. The main taxis are silver with yellow signs on the top. Flag fall costs 5 dirham, 5.50 dirham at night (10PM to 6AM) (2017) and the minimum fare is 12 dirham. You can flag one down from anywhere in Abu Dhabi. Alternatively, you can book a taxi in Abu Dhabi by calling 600535353 or by using the Abu Dhabi Taxi app, for a 4-dirham booking fee. Taxis will charge you 1.82 dirham per kilometer (2.93 dirham per mile), and 50 fils for every minute of waiting.

Taxis are monitored using GPS and are not allowed to give above certain speeds. These change depending on where the taxi is.

Newer-looking black cabs also go around town sometimes. These are airport taxis, which you can get on at Abu Dhabi airport and get off anywhere in the city for 60-100 dirham. You can recognise them with their coloured signs on the top, displaying text in English and Arabic.

You are not expected to tip taxi drivers, but gratuity will be extremely appreciated.

By bus


The main bus station in Abu Dhabi is near Hazaa Bin Zayed Road, adjacent to Al Wahdah Mall and Al Nahyan Stadium. You can get buses here going to the different points within the city as well as inter-city buses. The bus stand also serves as a taxi stand, for inter-emirate taxis. The inter-city buses and airport buses are easy to locate at the bus terminal, and well signposted. The route services depart from various stops in the vicinity, and not all enter the bus terminal proper. There is no directional signage or and no maps.

Hafilat card. Tickets can only be loaded on disposable or reusable smart cards. No cash is accepted by the drivers. The dark bluish green buses are air-conditioned but not wheelchair accessible. Passengers can board and alight at the designated stops along the route. These locations can be identified by the temporary Department of Transport bus stop poles or using the Darbi app. Bus stops that do not have the DoT bus stop sign may not be served as not all bus stops along the route are used.

Hafilat smart cards can be purchased from ticket machines which can be found at the main bus station, outside the Abu Dhabi Mall area and the airport. Machines are unremarkable and hard to spot, thus ask locals. Alternatively, cards can be purchased from some supermarkets including Lulu, Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society and SPAR. The smallest amount you can put on the card is dirham. Each bus ride costs 2 dirham plus 0.05 (regular bus) or 0.10 dirham (express bus) per kilometer, so in practice, you need to have at least 2 dirham on the card when you get on the bus. The maximum fare for a single rider on a single trip is now 5 dirham as of December 2023. You have to punch in and punch out of each bus ride, so that the correct distance will be charged.

  • Route 5: Al Meena to Marina Mall via Abu Dhabi Mall and Hamden Street. Every 10 min, 06:30–23:30.
  • Route 7: Abu Dhabi Mall to Marina Mall via Zayed the 1st Street (also known as Electra). Every 10 min, 6:30AM–11:30PM.
  • Route 8: Tourist club to Break Water via Hamdan Street, Zayed the 2nd (via 4th) Street, Airport Road, Al Manhal Street. Every 20 min, 7:15AM–11:30PM.
  • Route 32: Sports City Carrefour to Marina Mall via Airport Road, Bus Station, and Zayed the 1st Street. Every 10 min, 6AM-10:40PM.
  • Route 54: Sports City Carrefour to Abu Dhabi Mall via East Read, Bus Station, and Hamden Street. Every 10 min, 6AM-11PM.

The older bus service, operated by the Abu Dhabi Municipality, operates bus routes within city and to the other emirates. The routes within the city are very few. The buses are modern and air-conditioned. The services are as punctual as possible and operate more or less around the clock. The front few seats are reserved for women, men and families should move towards the back of the bus.

By car


If you do decide to take the plunge and rent a car, beware that the street numbering system is unusual, and it can take weeks to get used to it. U-turns are allowed at almost every intersection from the left-most lane. When the left lane signal turns green, you simply have to swing a U-turn and come back. Whatever other flaws drivers here may have, they do not run red lights. There are cameras at many intersections, fines are high, and residents who are not citizens can be deported for reckless driving or running too many red lights. When the light starts flashing, that taxi in front of you will jam on the brakes, and you should, too. When the light turns green, however, expect someone behind you to honk at you immediately to get you moving. Almost all roads are monitored by remote radars, and you will get a hefty fine by mail for violating the speed limit without anyone stopping you or telling you you've been driving fast. The speed limit on speed signs is exactly the limit on which the radar will catch you. (There is no margin If you exceed the limit as in Dubai and other emirates, you will be fined if you exceed the written sign limit.)

Outside Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi license plates have a reputation for reckless drivers due to the large sized traffic lanes in Abu Dhabi, causing Abu Dhabi drivers to drive poorly when they move to smaller lanes in other emirates. Tempered drivers are common. They can pull out in front of you, change lanes at random, and text while driving. On the other hand, the ban on drunk driving is very strictly enforced.

The E11 Abu Dhabi to Dubai road is considered the most dangerous road in the UAE. Large number of people travel back and forth between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and a large number of them don't always pay attention on the road. The road broke the record for the largest traffic accident in UAE history. Its not uncommon to see drivers reading newspapers, or watching a movie across this segment of highway. Despite excellent roads, and a traffic signal system, vehicle accidents remain the largest cause of deaths in the UAE.

On foot


While walking in Abu Dhabi is not a problem for locals, tourists from colder climates will suffer from the heat and sun. The temperatures can exceed 45°C in the summer.

While staying inside or using a vehicle is a good idea, if you have to walk, try to do it night, when it is cooler. Plus, you won't get sunburnt. If you have to go during the day, wear plenty of SPF 50 sunblock, wear a hat and light clothing and try to keep in the shade as much as possible.

By bicycle


There is a separated cycleway that runs almost the entire length of the Corniche, as well as around Yas Island, and other parts of Abu Dhabi.

Careem Bike operates an electrically assisted shared bike system. The stations are mostly located near the waterfront.


Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the largest mosque in the UAE.

Abu Dhabi offers a lot of historical and cultural sights but it certainly isn't lacking in modern attractions.

  • 1 Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (مسجد الشيخ زايد الكبير), Second Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed, +971 2 441 6444, . Sa–Th 9AM-10PM. The 8th largest mosque in the world, boasts a total of 82 domes. On Fridays, it is closed to the public and open only for worshippers. You can get there by public bus #54. Make sure to ask the bus driver to tell you when you get there. The public bus stop is 100 m before the mosque and after that is no stop for the next 5 km. The Mosque Centre offers several free tours of the mosque every day. Times vary on a daily basis, so check their website. As it is a place for worshippers, dress conservatively. In particular, women must cover their head and ankles (if they're wearing sandals). Appropriate black dress is available at the mosque. You will avoid the queue for the clothing if you wear shoes, a long dress or trousers, and take a scarf to cover your head/hair. Clothing is also available for men, but will likely be unnecessary. Even when taking photos outside the mosque, women who are inappropriately dressed will be challenged by security. free. Sheikh Zayed Mosque (Q695604) on Wikidata Sheikh Zayed Mosque on Wikipedia
Qasr Al Watan is the presidential palace of the United Arab Emirates.
  • 2 Qasr Al Watan, Al Ras Al Akhdar (Bus 34 or 39), +971 600 544 442, . 11AM-7PM. Opened to the public in 2019, this is the presidential palace for diplomatic visits. As one would expect from UAE, the palace is very opulent and features great Islamic architecture. Inside you will find a banquet hall, a library, a museum containing diplomatic gifts and several dining outlets. AED 60 (US$ 16.30). UAE Presidential Palace (Q61973220) on Wikidata Qasr Al Watan on Wikipedia
  • 3 Qasr al-Hosn (قصر الحصن). The oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi, this small fort was first constructed in 1761 and served as the royal palace from the late 18th century until 1966. The site can be visited: the ticket allows you to visit the fort itself, the Cultural Foundation, the House of Artisans and enjoy the Bait Al Gahwa (traditional preparation of Arabic coffee). 30 dirham. Qasr al-Hosn (Q7267042) on Wikidata Qasr al-Hosn on Wikipedia
The Corniche road is a great place to take a breath from the city hustle and bustle.
  • 4 Corniche Road. The city's main avenue, it curves around the coastline along Abu Dhabi's spectacular waterfront that stretches for miles from the breakwater near Marina Shopping Mall almost up to the Mina Zayed port. The shoreline is lined with a walkway for the entire length, skyscrapers, lovely beaches, parks, and other landscaped areas. There are many activities like go-kart riding, playgrounds and even stages for shows. Come in the evening and you'll feel as if all of Abu Dhabi has come here for their evening walk. Corniche (Q16951727) on Wikidata Corniche (Abu Dhabi) on Wikipedia
  • 5 Yas Island. It has a Formula 1 race track, Ferrari World (a Ferrari-themed park with the fastest roller coaster in the world), the Warner Bros. World theme park, the SeaWorld Abu Dhabi themepark, Yas Waterworld, a shopping mall and a hotel. Yas Island (Q1274177) on Wikidata Yas Island on Wikipedia
  • 6 UAE flag pole. At 122 m, this is among the world's tallest flagpoles, and you won't miss the massive UAE flag flying from it. It is on Marina Island across from Marina Mall.
  • 7 Louvre Abu Dhabi (Musée du Louvre), Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island, +971 600 56 55 66, . Sa Su Tu W 10AM-8PM, Th F 10AM-10PM, closed on Monday. Art and civilization museum exhibits artworks from Musée du Louvre and other French collections. Opened in November 2017, the largest art museum in Arabian peninsula with 24,000 square metres (260,000 sq ft), including 8,000 square metres (86,000 sq ft) of galleries. 60 dirham/person. Louvre Abu Dhabi (Q3176133) on Wikidata Louvre Abu Dhabi on Wikipedia
  • 8 Masdar City. A green city project, open to tourists. Features some unique buildings. Here the UAE try new concepts in reducing energy consumption and environmental impact. You can use podcars here, a still quite rare form of public transport. Masdar City (Q934481) on Wikidata Masdar City on Wikipedia
  • 9 Emirates Palace. Even though it's a hotel, Emirates Palace is a very popular tourist attraction. Inside, you'll get to see all the luxury and glamour of one of the most expensive hotels in the world plus, you'll have some picture opportunities. Additionally, you can get to try the very popular Palace Cappuccino, sparkled with 23-karat gold flakes for 75 dirham. Emirates Palace (Q1337845) on Wikidata Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi on Wikipedia
  • 10 The National Aquarium Abu Dhabi, +971 24186666, . Daily 10AM-10PM. Home to more than 45,000 animals across 60 different exhibits, this is the Middle East's largest aquarium. 105 dirham. The National Aquarium Abu Dhabi (Q111464720) on Wikidata
  • 11 Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, Sweihan Rd St (near the Abu Dhabi International Airport), +97125755155, . M-Th 10AM and 2PM, F Su 10AM. Covered by TV and media outlets all over the world. Learn everything about falcons and the special meaning of those birds in the UAE. All tours have to be booked in advance. Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (Q4670129) on Wikidata Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital on Wikipedia
  • 12 Etihad Arena, Yas Dr, Yas Island, +971 56 351 5381, . This arena hosts some of the highest-profile events of the year: concerts, comedy shows, and UFC matches. Etihad Arena (Q105393795) on Wikidata Etihad Arena on Wikipedia
  • Abrahamic Family House (Abrahamic House), Jacques Chirac St - Al Saadiyat Island - Cultural District (Get on the E12 towards Sadiyat Island and take the Jacques Chirac St exit), +971 26575900. 10AM-5PM Tu-Su. The Abrahamic Family House is an interfaith complex on Saadiyat Island. It was inaugurated on 16 February 2023. It features a cultural centre and rooftop garden as well as a mosque, synagogue and church in distinctive and modern architectural styles. Free.
  • Religious buildings are in abundance in Abu Dhabi. There are mosques made out of a variety of materials and in several styles, such as the sandstone Ali Bin Ghanim Bin Hamouda near the Gold Souk, or futuristic Al Aziz Mosque on Reem Island. There is also a cluster of churches and mosques for different denominations adjacent to Umm Al Emarat Park. The Swaminarayan temple of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha is a large and impressive Hindu Mandir between Abu Dhabi and Dubai opening on 14 February 2024.
  • Abu Dhabi History Museum and Aquarium (Khalifa Park) 3PM-11PM. Not to be confused with the Abu Dhabi Natural History Museum or The National Aquarium, this child-friendly museum features a 'dark ride' featuring animatronic Emiratis explaining the history and formation of the UAE from the nomadic era to the modern day. After the cart deposits you at the end of the ride, there is a small aquarium to see. Khalifa Park also features a train, horses and a mock heritage village. 7 dirham.
  • Port Mina Zayed. The 'Port Mina' district features excellent spots to view adjacent islands as well as passing cruise and container ships but is also a paradise for shoppers. Several blocks are dedicated to air conditioned outdoor 'souks'. These are the Fruit and Vegetables, Dates, Iranian, Flower, Rug, Pet and Fish Markets. There are several large gift shops in the vicinity of these markets. The Souq Al Mina is a modern complex near one of the ports and its restaurants feature excellent kombucha, pizza or a Balkan grill. The 421 Arts Campus is a warehouse repurposed as an arts space and it is also located in the Port area. Occasional exhibitions.



Abu Dhabi has several large green spaces, many of which include play areas and equipment for children, and the city is studded with lovely fountains, swathes of neon light, and the occasional sculpture.

  • 13 Khalifa Park (off Al Salam St (8th) near the Grand Mosque). The best park by far, built at a cost of US$50 million. It has an aquarium, museum, train, play parks and formal gardens.
  • 14 Umm Al Emarat Park, 15th Street. It's a vibrant park with a shaded house and a botanical garden. The entrance fee is 10 dirham (April 2022).

Cultural events

  • 15 Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation. A landmark in the Emirates, it holds cultural events and workshops throughout the year. It has a well-stocked library, children's programs, art exhibitions, benefits, and other culture-related activities that are the hallmark of any city. It's well worth a look. Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation (Q4670127) on Wikidata Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation on Wikipedia
  • 16 Manarat al Saadiyat. An exhibition space and cultural centre with galleries, a theatre and a restaurant, opened in 2009 and with works by contemporary artists from around the world.
  • UAE Pavilion. Sand dune-inspired exhibition centre designed by Norman Foster.

Upcoming projects


There are a vast number of projects coming up in Abu Dhabi.

  • 17 Lulu Islands. A group of artificial islands, already built just offshore at great expense, but sitting there doing nothing after a tourism venture failed to even start construction.
  • 18 Reem Island (an island off the coast of the main Abu Dhabi island.). By the time it is completed, it will be a residential, commercial and educational haven. Reem Island is progressing well, with many skyscrapers being built on the island to facilitate its growing population. The Reem Island skyline has impressive number of tall buildings. However, the north side of the island is still quite sparse. Despite this, there are many facilities available and Reem Island is a good place to live.


Swim in surprisingly clear water at the Corniche
  • Swimming at the public beaches of 1 Abu Dhabi Beach and 2 Corniche beach.
  • Private beaches: Nearly all hotels and private clubs in Abu Dhabi offer swimming facilities, usually in the form of private beaches. You can pay for a day's use, or for a year's. Another, notably cheaper, option is The club, an organization geared towards expatriates.
  • Lessons. Some hotels also offer dance lessons, aerobics classes, and other physical entertainment.
  • Cricket: Zayed Cricket Stadium, capacity 20,000, is in Khalifa City east of the centre.
Discover the desert with a 4x4
  • Desert safari. Trips are a tourist but fun experience. They must be booked ahead, but can often be booked as late as the day before, most hotel receptionists can arrange this for you. Trips start late afternoon and end at night. You will be collected from your hotel and driven to the desert in a 4x4 vehicle. Most packages include a bone-rattling drive over the dunes, a short camel ride, a mediocre Arabic buffet and a belly dancer. The belly dancer is normally only included if there are enough of you in your party so enquire at the time of booking. Another option would be renting/buying a 4x4 and joining the many growing 4x4 clubs in the UAE. Most popular of them is the Abu Dhabi 4x4 offroad club AKA AD4x4 that offers a free learning experience for all newcomers. The club consists of all nationalities and is active with over 2,000 members and schedule trips weekly to suit all levels of driving skills.
  • Shopping. The official sport of the Emirates, and Abu Dhabi offers plenty of opportunity in this area.
  • Helicopter Tour, . Board a 6-seater Eurocopter EC130 B4 and Discover Abu Dhabi from a birds' eye view with Falcon Aviation Services. Tours operate daily from 9AM to 5PM the Marina Mall Terminal. Reservations recommended (tours can be booked on an individual or private basis).
  • Yas Island hosts attractions such as the F1 racing circuit and four theme parks: Ferrari World, Warner Bros. World, SeaWorld and Waterworld. When there are no events, the F1 circuit is used for cycling and exercise and bikes can be hired onsite.
  • Kayaking or eco boating are possible through the Eastern Mangroves or Jubail Mangrove Park. There are several rental companies available in the vicinity of each. To find the kayak hire companies, head to Anantara Eastern Mangroves, walk past the hotel and down the promenade.
  • Exercise in the desert at the city's many running or cycle tracks such as at Al Wathba.



Abu Dhabi is a compulsive shopper's dream. There are several malls, most of which have the same stores as other malls. Besides establishments aimed at locals, malls also include popular foreign chain stores, as well as designer places. Many visitors will be surprised at the female fashion dichotomy - while local custom calls for women to be covered in public, most stores sell short skirts and halter tops alongside the more sedate floor-length skirts and high-necked shirts.

  • 1 Abu Dhabi Mall (in Tourist Club Area, adjacent to the Beach Rotana Hotel). A three-story shopping mall. Abu Dhabi Mall (Q4670143) on Wikidata Abu Dhabi Mall on Wikipedia
The turquoise waters surrounding Abu Dhabi islands along the Corniche, with the Marina Mall in the background
  • 2 Marina Mall (in the Water Breaker area near the magnificent Emirates Palace; it also contains one of two Carrefour hypermarkets in the city). Has a musical fountain and ceilings that thunder and rain. Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi (Q3293168) on Wikidata Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi on Wikipedia
  • 3 Yas Mall. Opened in 2014 next to Ferrari World on Yas Island. This is the biggest mall in Abu Dhabi and the 16th biggest mall in the world. It has the first Lego store in the UAE. It is connected to Ferrari World. Yas Mall (Q85816634) on Wikidata Yas Mall on Wikipedia
  • 4 Al Wahda Mall (in the city center (11th and 4th Streets)). A large, modern mall. Shops are high-end, the food court is extensive, and a large LuLu Hypermart in the basement. Al Wahda Mall (Q4704936) on Wikidata Al Wahda Mall on Wikipedia
  • 5 Khalidiyah Mall, Mubarak bin Mohammed St, Al Khalidiyah W9 area, POBox 4048, +971 2 635 4000, fax: +9712 635 4499, . Su–W 10AM–10PM, Th-Sa 10AM–11PM. Khalidiya Mall is small but a nice place to visit. The droll fashion stores may grip you for maybe several seconds, but then the obvious lack of things to do kicks in. However, the food court is popular, alongside New York Fries, Chili's, a Dunkin' Donuts, and Baskin Robbins. Downstairs there is an extortionate Krispy Kreme and Starbucks, and a what looks to be an Indian/Arabian cuisine restaurant, which seems good but looks to be unpopular. Khalidiyah Mall (Q6399626) on Wikidata Khalidiyah Mall on Wikipedia
  • 6 Shams Boutik (Reem Island, connected to Sun and Sky Towers). Su-Th 10AM–10PM, F Sa 10AM–midnight. A growing mall built around the community of Reem Island. It contains a growing number of good shops, including a supermarket, three restaurants, several fast food restaurants on the first floor, a café, a kids play area, a nail salon, a bookstore and more. Despite, this, it is placed in a area that isn't usually busy, and is not very popular.
  • 7 The Mall - World Trade Center Abu Dhabi & WTC Souk, Khalifa bin Zayed the First St crossing Sheik Rachid bin Saeed St, Al Danah (at foot of Burj Mohammed bin Rahid tower), +971 2 508 2400. Sa–W 10AM–10PM, Th F 10AM–11PM. Nice architecture in the Mall and Souk. Central Market Project (Q615950) on Wikidata World Trade Center Abu Dhabi on Wikipedia
  • Hamdan Centre (in the city centre on Hamdan Bin Mohammed St - Al Danah) M-Su 8AM-11PM. The oldest mall in Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Centre is a little dated but quite charming and an excellent spot for bargaining, gift shops, shoes and leather goods.
  • Gold Souk (Madinat Zayed Mall). Su-Th 9AM-10PM, Fr 4PM-10PM. A great place to get gold, jewelry, perfume and gifts. The adjacent mall is well known for its textiles.
The Souk at the World Trade Center. Once a historic district within the heart of the city – the old Central Market - The Souk is now a fully integrated, mixed-use development with a mall, a modern souk, offices and residences.

There are also many small, independent stores around the city. On the bottom floor of one building, a person can purchase fancy chocolates, computer parts, antiques and clothing. It is better to purchase things such as carpets, art, native jewellery and antiques at the independent or souk-like places than at the malls, as the price will be lower and the shopkeepers more willing to haggle.

Bargaining is a big part of shopping in the Emirates, but be prudent. If prices are not marked, or a shopkeeper does not tell you the price is fixed, it will typically be up for negotiation. Don't bargain at Marks and Spencer or Hang Ten. Save your discounting skills for independent shops dealing in antiques and the like.

Shopping in most places can be frustrating, as the assistants will follow you around the store. This is partly due to their concept of what constitutes good service, and partly because there is a shoplifting problem. Most will not be intrusive, but some employees can be very pushy and overly obsequious. Smile and thank them often, and you're more likely to be left alone after a bit.

In carpet stores - or anywhere that sells tapestries, Indian antiques, and the like don't feel too pressured to buy, and don't be shocked if they start unrolling beautiful rug after beautiful rug at your feet. You are under no obligation to buy, no matter how much time they spend with you. However, the pressure will be very steady, and shyer shoppers may want to travel in packs for comfort's sake.

Grocery stores such as Spinney's, Carrefour and the Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society are inexpensive and usually stocked with Western goods. Examine all products before purchasing. Visitors wishing to purchase pork products will likely have to enter a separate room to do so, typically labelled 'Non Muslim', as nationals are not permitted in these sections of the grocery stores.

Prices in Abu Dhabi tend to be very competitive. The UAE has a Value Added Tax of 5% on most products aside from basic food items. Prices displayed must be the price at the till - be wary if a shopkeeper claims an item is a given price, then adjusts the price to 'include' VAT.

General discount seasons are midyear and at the end of the year. There will typically be sales around public holidays and Summer. These are the time where you can get some branded items with a very low price, maybe last season's stock.


Harees at Al Fanar restaurant, one of the few restaurants that serves traditional Eastern Arabian Emirati food.
Popular Emirati dessert called Lugaimat.

Most food is certified halal but some hotels are allowed to serve pork dishes.

Indian food is relatively cheap, Levantine food is widely available and there are a few Chinese restaurants with reasonable prices. Hotel restaurants are typically the most expensive. The city is home to all manner of fast food franchises like McDonald's and Hardees, usually located at malls.

The fun thing about Abu Dhabi is that most kitchens, from tiny falafel kiosks to grand hotel restaurants to Burger King, deliver anywhere in the city. Delivery is quick, reliable, and free at some restaurants. Delivery can be arranged via Whatsapp or apps like Talabat or Deliveroo.

Vegetarians will find the city's selection of meals very satisfying. Vegetable and bean-heavy native dishes, the array of splendid pure vegetarian Indian cuisine, and the ready availability of fresh salads make eating in Abu Dhabi a stress-free experience. Strict vegans may have a little difficulty communicating their precise demands, but most places offer vegan dishes and are always willing to accommodate a paying customer. The best choice for pure vegans is one of many Indian vegetarian restaurants like Evergreen, Sangeetha in the Tourist Club area.

Check the Islamic calendar to determine whether you will be visiting during the month of Ramadan. Since Muslims fast during daylight hours, some restaurants may be closed during the day. Customers are allowed to eat and drink in restaurants, cafes and food courts during fasting hours, but it is otherwise offensive to locals and officially against the law to eat, drink (including water), or smoke in public during fasting hours; this law was rarely enforced, and there are no recent reports of enforcement. Large hotels generally have one restaurant open during the day to serve meals to non-Muslims. During the evening, however, it's quite a different story, as the festive atmosphere of iftar (breaking the fast) begins and residents gather for lavish, Thanksgiving-like meals; most hotels and some restaurants offer iftar buffets, which are often busy and need to be booked in advance. As long as you don't mind tiding yourself over in private, the evening meals are magnificent.

  • 1 Fish Market. A fish market with restaurants attached, where you can have your choice of fresh fish cooked with your choice of seasoning, sauce and accompaniments.


Chicken Tikka Biryani served by an Indian restaurant in an Abu Dhabi mall.

Some of the cheapest food in the city can be found in many Indian restaurants. Portions are almost always generous, prices low, and quality excellent. Set meals of rice, fish curry, lentil curry (dhal), peppery soup (rasam), a vegetable side dish and perhaps a small fried fish, served on a large steel tray (thali) with little steel bowls for the accompaniments. The Keralite version of a thali is called a sadya and is usually served on weekends.

Cafeterias are ubiquitous. They will typically serve chai of some sort, instant coffee, juices and food like club sandwiches or 'Zinker' burgers. What they lack in atmosphere and decor they will make up with their deep fryers and affordability. Shawarmas and other wraps are also common across the city, and affordable. Abu Dhabi also has several Afghan bakeries that use gas-fired ovens and tandoors to produce flatbreads and wraps.

Near the Corniche Beach

  • 2 Liwan Mansour Restaurant & Grill - AlKhalidiya, Zayed the First St.
  • 3 The Resto Pinoy, Al Khalidiyah Branch, Al Khalidiya - Zayed The First St. A Filipino restaurant
  • 4 Ghalib Restaurant, Khalidiya D - Building No.3960, Sheikh Zayed 1st Street - W Corniche Rd.
  • 5 Smart Cafteria, behind shinig tower - Khalidiyah St - Al Khalidiyah - W9.

Around the Abu Dhabi Mall

  • 6 Nalas Aappakadai Restaurant (Behind the NDC building on Salam St). Speciality for Aappam & excellent South Indian food from the Chettinad cuisine, Chinese & Tandoor
  • 7 Seashell Cafeteria.
  • Abil Fida (Near the Strand Hotel). Hearty and affordable Lebanese grill restaurant.

Near the Umm Al Emarat Park

  • 8 Al Akkawi Cafeteria, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed St.
  • 9 Lgymat & Rgag, Zone 1 - E22.
  • 10 NOOG Burger, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed St - Zone 1 - E22.
  • 11 Manzo Sushi & Sliders Restaurant, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed St - Zone 1 - E22.

In the E10 district


There are several budget-friendly restaurants in this area.

  • 12 Philippine House Restaurant, Abu Dhabi Muay Thai - Fatima Bint Mubarak St - Zone 1.
  • 13 Punjab Flower Restaurant, Al Bundyqiyah St.
  • 14 Aroma Spicy Restaurant. An Indian restaurant
  • 15 Evergreen Restaurant Veg., Safran St..

In the E9-02 district

  • 16 Anand Vegetarian Restaurant, Hamdan Street (behind Dunia Finance Building and Al Mansouri Plaza), +971 2 6775599. This is a pure veg Gujarati (North Indian) style restaurant. The demand for Puri Bhaji, a deep-fried bread and potato and chickpea dish, is so great that you will have to wait your turn but it's worth it. There is a special part for ladies and families. Friday lunch has sweets and as much Puri as you want. Sometimes you will have to wait for 10 min to get a roti.


  • Saudi Kitchen, Opposite Mushrif Mall. Traditional Gulf food, served in a traditional Gulf style - with each group seated on the floor and sharing their dishes.



Abu Dhabi's pricier restaurants tend to be located in the higher-end hotels like the Rosewood on Al Maryah, Anantara Eastern Mangroves, or Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island.

  • 17 The Olive Branch, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi, +971 2 659666. Open 24 hours daily serving buffet and an à la carte menu buffet serving times: breakfast 6-10:30AM, lunch 12:30-3:30PM, dinner 7-11PM. Mafraq’s all day restaurant serves up fresh Mediterranean cuisine borrowing influence from various regions, including France, Spain and Turkey. The buffet is prepared with the freshest of ingredients and the interior décor is equally breezy and funky.
  • 18 Hunter’s B&R, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi, +971 2 659666. Open daily from noon to 2:30AM with food served throughout. A modern bar with green brick walls, solid wood tables and numerous flat screen TVs showing sports. God for after work drinks, or an evening with friends, Hunter’s B&R offers a casual environment with a social buzz.
  • 19 Rimal, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi, +971 2 659666. 2PM-1AM. Rimal Asian fusion bar serves up oriental dishes in an authentic atmosphere with a modern edge. Taste the delicious flavours from Korea, China and Japan in this Asian inspired outlet, complete with Sake and signature cocktails.
  • 20 Oasis Courtyard, Mafraq - Abu Dhabi (in Mafraq Hotel). Daily from noon to 9PM with food served throughout. This poolside bar and restaurant serves drinks under the sun and a wide selection of snacks. The swim-up bar in the pool offers refreshment. Shisha is also available.
  • 21 The Burlington Grill, Mafraq Abu Dhabi, +971 2 659666. Lunch noon-3PM and dinner 7PM-midnight. The hotel’s grill restaurant serves grilled meat and seafood steaks. Choose from an array of starters and salads including crab cakes, goats cheese tartlets and American-style Louisiana fish gumbo. Has al fresco dining on the terrace and an aperitif bar.


Fast Track Lobby Bar at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

Only restaurants in hotels were allowed to serve alcohol. Therefore, nightlife is typically associated with hotels. The legal minimum drinking age is 21 and bringing your own alcohol is not allowed in restaurants. Unlike some other Middle Eastern nations, the bars in Abu Dhabi will be able to accommodate most drink orders. Many licensed premises feature Brunch, which does not refer to a meal between breakfast and lunch but an all inclusive package, typically consisting of a few hours of food (sometimes a buffet), drinks and potentially entertainment.

There are many bottle shops around the city. A liquor license used to be required for residents to purchase alcohol to take off-premises, but this is no longer the case. Drinking in public outside of licensed premises remains illegal.

  • 1 Hemingway's (Hilton Abu Dhabi (Corniche West) - there are three drinking places inside). The main restaurant has a good Tex-Mex menu, a wide selection of beer on tap and features live music in the evening. Jazz Bar. The second venue, has great food and a good jazz band. The band normally changes every six months or so, but the quality is consistent and they take requests. The bartenders normally put on a show by tossing bottles around while mixing a mean cocktail. The third place is Cinnabar, a nightclub that normally gets going after midnight, although it can be a nice place for a quiet drink early in the evening, even though bartenders there can be rude. The music is mostly house/club, although they have a salsa night.
  • 2 The Captain's Arms (Le Meridien (Eastern Abu Dhabi)), +971 2 644 6666. Traditional British pub located in the hotel courtyard. The pub features traditional food and a great selection of beer on tap. The large terrace is great during the cooler months of the year. A typical hang-out for the expat crowd, but try to get there early, as it attracts a large after-work crowd.
  • 3 Wakataua Terrace (Le Meridien (Eastern Abu Dhabi)). M-F 5PM-1AM, Sa Su noon-1AM. A Polynesian-themed cocktail bar located at the far end of the courtyard, right on the water. The cocktails are amazing. The Navy Grog is highly recommended. It has a nice view at night over the water.
  • 4 Rock Bottom (at the Capital Hotel). One of the most popular night club locations in all of Abu Dhabi. It stays open later than most venues, and is cheaper. If you get there early enough, they have decent food you can enjoy in the restaurant area. They have both a live band and an excellent DJ, along with black lights and lasers. There is a hot dog stand later in the night, providing some delicious drunk snacks. Thursday nights can get extremely crowded.
  • 5 Havana Club (in The Emirates Palace Hotel), +971 2 690 7999. 7PM-2AM. The grand hotel is a must-see in Abu Dhabi and the actual club is nicely decorated, comfortable, has great service, a balcony overlooking the hotel grounds, and provides a fun time with great music and very colorful laser shows.
  • 6 Sax (in the Royal Meridien Hotel (not to be confused with Le Meridien Hotel). Next door to the restaurant/bar "Oceans"), +971 2 674 2020. 9AM-3:30AM. Sax is a beautifully decorated club with sleek black marble floors, two bars, a DJ, and depending on the time, a jazz band. The club is often very loud and very dark with little more than lasers lighting the room. It's not a place to go if you expect to talk at all, at least not on a weekend night. Collared shirts are required for men, and sneakers usually do not pass the bouncers either. It is not uncommon to have to pay an entry fee. There are free drinks for the ladies on Wednesday nights, so expect it to be crowded.
  • 7 PJ's (in the Royal Meridien Hotel), +971 800 101 101. Sa-W noon-2AM, Th F noon-3AM. A 'traditional' Irish pub, boasting brunch buffets and a long happy hour. The majority of the guests are usually British, American or Australian. There is something entertaining going on every day of the week, from 'Quiz Night' to 'Ladies Night'. If you want to start drinking early, this is the place to go. No one will bat an eye if you order beer with brunch, and you will probably find yourself staying for more than one round. The music earlier in the day is a mix of oldies and rock with faster-tempo songs for the late night crowd. This is also a great place to come to watch sports, as the quiet daytime atmosphere and televisions throughout ensure a pleasant experience. The outdoor seating near the hotel's pool is also a great asset on cooler days.
  • 8 Trader Vic's, Beach Rotana 10th Street (in the Beach Rotana Hotel (connected to the Abu Dhabi Mall)), +971 2 697-9011. 6PM-1:30AM. A famous cocktail bar/restaurant. The flattering lighting, interesting menu, and soft but fun island music make this a great place for a date or hanging out with people you actually want to talk to. The cocktail menu is pages long, and ordering a complicated fruity concoction is a must. The drinks may be a little on the expensive side at times, but they're reasonably strong and the atmosphere is great. There is a happy hour daily from 5PM-6PM. Try ordering one of their two- or four-person drinks, which come in a giant fishbowl - they are a lot of fun if you do not mind sharing.
  • 9 49ers. A steakhouse/bar. It is often quoted as "more of a meat market than a steakhouse" because of its reputation for prostitution. It is uncomfortable and the men in the bar will probably assume you are for sale. The Novotel Hotel and the Sands Hotel are also notorious for their nightclubs that men frequent when looking to purchase a date for the night.
  • Heroes Never Die. This pub is at the basement of the Millennium Downtown. Run by the same company as Stars n Bars, this is a fun sports bar which often features a live band or DJ, as well as pool tables. Named after the eponymous and since-closed Heroes which was at the basement of the Crowne Hotel.
  • Craft by Side Hustle (in Galleria Mall) is the first gastropub/brewery in the Gulf.
  • Easy Tiger (in Al Ain Palace Hotel) is a divey bar with different attractions available each night such as a pub quiz ran by two Irish former teachers on Friday nights.
  • Nalukettu Restaurant (in Al Ain Palace Hotel) is a restaurant/bar selling good Keralan food with a reasonable drinks menu.
  • 10 Mardi Gras (in the Capital Hotel). noon-3:30AM. A small restaurant/bar. Its ambiance reminds one of a spa. The service is good, the drinks are reasonable, and the food is tasty. The band often leaves much to be desired, and the DJ is worse.
  • 11 The Yacht Club, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street (at the Intercontinental Hotel), +971 2 666 6888. Su-Tu 5PM-1AM, W Th 5PM-3AM, F noon-2:30PM. A gorgeous view of the sunset over the marina if you sit outside. Inside has a very modern, minimalistic feel. The cocktails are delicious, but expensive.
  • 12 Rabbit Hutch. The dedicated British Embassy Rabbit Hutch is a nice pub with music, a pool and a small play area for children. Although you have to know someone on the inside to get into this rather exclusive pub, the British friends and the refreshing pool is definitely worth it. They do all sorts of drinks, but don't ask for a martini, on the rocks, shaken not stirred.
  • 13 Lebinese Flower (downtown Abu Dhabi), +971 2 6446667. Great food and nice atmosphere.
  • 14 Arkadia (Marina Club), Marina Club, tourist club area (besides Abu Dhabi Mall), +971 558814479. 10PM-3AM. Popular nightclub.
  • 15 Harvesters Pub, Electra Street (in Holiday Inn Abu Dhabi Downtown). noon-3AM. A great English pub, free pool, dart boards, multiple screens showing sports, excellent fish and chips as well as other English style meals, friendly staff, English band every night except Sundays, quiz nights every Tuesday and possibly the cheapest beer in town.


The over-the-top opulence of the Emirates Palace

Hotels are well-tended and host first class restaurants, pools and other high-end facilities.


  • 1 Grand Continental Flamingo (near Hamdan St and Khalifa Bin Zayed St), +971 2 6262200. This is the hotel the taxis cannot find. A 2-story atrium, quiet setting, rooms with bidet, bath and over-bath shower and wide screen TVs all contribute to a pleasant stay. Only the dimness of the lighting and the overdone carpets in the room lets it down. The bath towels are also a bit small.
  • Park Inn Abu Dhabi Yas Island (Golf Plaza, Yas Island), +971 2 656 22 22. Clean rooms, excellent service and friendly staff. The restaurant is a great option for dinner.
  • 2 Aloft Abu Dhabi, Atop the National Exhibition Centre, +971 2 654 5000. Trendy hotel with cool dark colors, attractive young hotel desk clerks, relatively small rooms (beds are comfortable though), good restaurant and lobby bar, fantastic outdoor lounge on the roof, and half-empty disco next door. Great if there's a convention, but it's walkable to nothing else. Car or taxi is needed to get just about anywhere. Maybe when the nearby residential/commercial development is ready in a few years, it might be more desirable. 4-star with few amenities (you bring your own bags to the room), but there is still a definite sense of style.
  • 3 Crowne Plaza, Hamdan Street, +971 2-6166166. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Luxury hotel for a little less money than the Hilton or both of Les Meridiens. Best Asian and Italian restaurants in the city are on the ground level. Service can be a little slow, bed is comfortable. There is a rooftop bar upstairs which seems always empty. Maybe more a 4½-star hotel, not a 5-star. You can sometimes get a "car" instead of taxi to take you places, for not much more than the taxi.


Le Meridien Hotel, one of the first 5 star hotels in Abu Dhabi. The hotel was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II and Sheikh Zayed in 1979.
The Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal.
  • 4 Beach Rotana Hotel and Towers (Beach Rotana), Tourist Club Area, +971 2 6979000. Marble everywhere sums it up. The club rooms are worth it if you are having to pay full rates for the classic rooms in the main older hotel. They are not much bigger but the use of the Club Lounge is valuable if you are going to be in the hotel a lot and the TV arrangements are more modern, the view wide. It now looks over the hectic construction on the new artificial islands across the creek.
  • 5 Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa (Located along a 1.2 kilometer stretch of Abu Dhabi’s protected Eastern Mangroves District), +971 2 656 1000, . Check-out: Late check-out until 6PM (subject to availability). 222 rooms and suites, infinity swimming pool, meeting and event facilities, wedding facilities. Prices from US$136.
  • 6 Emirates Palace, Corniche East, +971 2 690 9000, . Built at an estimated cost of US$3 billion, this was by many accounts the world's most expensive hotel to build, with oodles of gold and marble plating every available surface. The scale of everything is gargantuan — you need directions just to find your way from the gate to the lobby. The hotel feels like it's straight out of Las Vegas, minus the slot machines. To visit the Palace, you will need a reservation for a restaurant or bar of the hotel. Emirates Palace (Q1337845) on Wikidata Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental, Abu Dhabi on Wikipedia
  • 7 Hilton Abu Dhabi, Corniche East, +971 2 6811900. One of the older hotels in Abu Dhabi, but kept in good shape and renovated. There is a huge Hiltonia beach, pool and spa complex across the street (free for guests), and a small gym in hotel. "Plus" rooms face the sea but are otherwise identical to normal ones. It's a fair distance from the city center, which is both good (no construction noise) and bad (virtually nothing within walking distance). There are shuttle services to the Marina Mall and the city center offered.
  • 8 InterContinental Abu Dhabi. One of the long-time prestige hotels. Expensive but occasional Internet deals on the hotel independent booking websites are worth it if you are willing to pay upfront online. The lobby is huge. Rooms seem a little 1980s with their decor (way too many mirrors) but beds are comfortable and the views are nice. Gym and fine (but expensive) restaurants. Abu Dhabi locals frequent the hotel piano lounge and the Brazilian restaurant. It is somewhat remote from the center of town but the setting and amenities are worth it.
  • 9 Le Méridien Abu Dhabi, Tourist Club Area, +971 2 6446666. Tell the taxi driver "Lee Meridien" and he will not confuse it with Royal Meridien. Best amenity is the Meridien Village, an outdoor garden filled with restaurants and pubs, and on Thursday nights during the cooler months, a hangout for literally thousands of expats.
  • 10 Le Royal Méridien Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa Street, +971 2 6742020. Beautiful views of the gulf and Corniche, comfortable beds, lots of restaurants and bars (very pricey). Service is very good, but things like bringing a welcoming fruit plate to your room (formerly common in 5-star hotels) are extras now. Rotating restaurant at top, and a somewhat hidden nightclub on the 4th floor for dealings on the dark side. Sometimes can get real good deals on internet booking sites. They hold a daily desposit against your credit card if you want to put meals or other amenities toward your room charges, so make sure you have a good credit line available if you are staying here more than a few days.
  • 11 Park Inn by Radisson Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Yas Island, +971 2 6562222. Overlooks the golf course and F1 Circuit. It has 397 rooms comprising suites and business class. All day dining restaurant, Italian restaurant, Persian restaurant, lobby bar, and pool bar.

Stay safe


Abu Dhabi was ranked as the safest city in the world 3 years in a row by 2019 by the largest crowd-sourced global database Numbeo. The city is extremely safe, however it never hurts to practice common sense. Some people may try to scam you through telephone messages or automated voice calls telling you that you won the lottery, that you're in a legal trouble for violating a law, or that a Sheikh has decided to give you free money, or something of that sort.

Taxi drivers are monitored and they're very safe. Rarely, crime does occur but is quickly dealt with by the federal police as the city is the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior. Law enforcement officers, police patrols, and police horse units are a common sight in the city.

Alcohol can only be consumed privately or in licensed public places. Drunk driving is a serious offence and getting caught may result in deportation.





Being the national capital, Abu Dhabi hosts a large number of embassies. A majority of them are clustered in the Embassies District (Al Safarat) south of the Al Bateen Executive Airport and in the adjacent Al Ma'ared Area, west of Rabdan St and south of Shk Rashid bin Saeed Rd (Road #18); and the adjacent Capital Centre south of Al Karamah St surrounding the Exhibition Centre. There are others further northwest in Al Danah, Al Markaziyah and in other parts of the city as well. If corresponding by mail/post use their PO box address as mail is only delivered to a PO box with no post codes. If delivering to a street address with DHL, FedEx, UPS or another private courier be sure to include recipient's phone number so that the delivery driver can call for directions or clarification on the address. Some or most countries maintain an additional consulate in Dubai and only offer consular services from their Dubai consulate or from both locations. Check website links or call before going or sending any correspondences:

  • Australia Australia, Level 8, Al Muhairy Centre, Zayed the First (7th) Street, +971 2 401 7500, fax: +971 2 401 7501, .
  • Bahrain Bahrain, Embassies Area, Basin W 59-02 lot #13; PO Box 3367, +971 2 665 7500. Su-Th 8:30AM-2:30PM.
  • Bangladesh Bangladesh, Villa No. 21, Plot No. W-14/01, Al Rowdha Area; PO Box 2504, +971 2 446 5100, fax: +971 2 446 4733.
  • Canada Canada, Abu Dhabi Mall, Towers at the Trade Center West Tower, 9th-10th Floors; PO Box 6970, +971 2 694 0300, fax: +971 2 694 0399. Su-Th 8AM-noon and 1-3PM.
  • China China, Plot No. 26, Sector No. W-22 (Al khaleej Al Arabi St.(NO30) across No 17; near Khalidiya Cooperative Society), +971 2 443 4276, fax: +971 2 644 0415, . M-F 9:30AM-5:30PM.
  • Egypt Egypt, Diplomatic Area, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street (Old Airport Rd), +971 2 444 5566, fax: +971 2 444 9878, . 9AM-4PM.
  • Ethiopia Ethiopia, Villa 119, Street No. 32, Al Bateen Street, Al Bateen (near the intersection of Al Batten (no.6) street and Al Falah (no. 9) Street; on the roundabout take the fourth exit and in 100 m is Vila 119), +971 2 665-5111.
  • Finland Finland, Al Masaood Tower, 12th floor, office 1202 Hamdan Street, +971-2-632 8927, fax: +971-2-632 5063, . Su-Th 8AM-3:45PM.
  • France France, Etihad Tower, Office Tower n°3, 22nd Floor, Corniche West, PO Box 4014, +971 2 813 1000, . Su–Th 8:45AM–noon, M W 2–3:45PM.
  • Germany Germany, Abu Dhabi Mall, Towers at the Trade Center West Tower, 14th Floor, +971 2 596 7700, fax: +971 2 644 6942. Su-Th 8AM-4PM (by appt only).
  • Greece Greece, 31 str, Al Muroor, PO Box 5483, +971 2 449 2550, +971 5 0390 1820 (emergencies), fax: +971 2 449 2455, .
  • India India, Plot 10, Sector W-59/02, Diplomatic Area; PO Box 4090 (off the Sheik Rashid bin Saeed Street (previously known as Airport Road), near Pepsicola), +971 2 449 2700, fax: +971 2 444 4685. Su-Th 9AM-12:30PM.
  • Indonesia Indonesia, Zone 2, Sector 79, Villa No. 819, Sultan Bin Zayed Street (Str.32), Al Bateen Area; PO Box 7256, +971 2 445-4448, fax: +971 2 445-5453, .
  • Iran Iran, Diplomatic Area, next to Abu Dhabi International Exhibition Center; PO Box 4080, +971 2 444 7618, fax: +971 2 444 8714.
  • Iraq Iraq, Diplomatic Area, AirPort Road، 33rd Al Karamah Street; PO Box 6389, +971 2 441 8022, +971 2 441 8033, fax: +971 2 441 8155.
  • Japan Japan, PO Box 2430, Abu Dhabi; 28th Floor, Dubai World Trade Centre Building, Dubai, +971 2 443 5696, fax: +971 2 443 4219. Su-Th 8AM-5PM; Visa Section closes 1:30PM; telephone inquiries till 3:30PM.
  • Jordan Jordan, Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street, Diplomatic Area, +971 2 444-7100, fax: +971 2 444 9157. M-Th 8:30AM-3PM, Su 8:30AM-noon
  • South Korea Republic of Korea, 33rd Airport Rd, Embassy District; PO Box 3270 (Al Nahyan Camp area, opposite to the Abu Dhabi taxi stand), +971 2 641-6406 (Consular), fax: +971 2 641-6380, .
  • Netherlands Netherlands, Office Tower - Bldg no. 11, 14th floor Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street (ADNEC area), Capital Centre; PO Box 46560, +971 4 695 8000. Su-Th 8AM-3:30PM by appt only; M & W 9AM-noon consular services by appt only.
  • New Zealand New Zealand, Level 25, Suite 2503, International Tower, Capital Centre; PO Box 62292, +971 2 496-3333, fax: +971 2 496-3300. M-Th 8:30AM-4PM.
  • Oman Oman, Al Mushraf Area, Al-Saada Street 19, +971 2 446 3333.
  • Pakistan Pakistan, Plot No. 02, Sector W-59, Embassy District; PO Box 846, +971 4 397 3600, fax: +971 4 397 1975. Consular services are in Dubai at Umm Hurair One, Khalid Bin Waleed Road, Bur Dubai.
  • Philippines Philippines, W-48, Street No. 8, Sector 2-23, Plot 51, Al Qubaisat; PO Box 3215, +971 2 639 0006, fax: +971 2 639 0002. Su-Th 8AM-2PM, closes at 1PM during Ramadan.
  • Romania Romania, Al Zakhira Str.no.9, W(14/1) plot no.13 at AL RODHA Area, +971 2 44 59 919, fax: +971 2 44 61 143, .
  • Russia Russian Federation, Khalifa Street, East Plots 65/67، Al Markaziyah; PO Box 8211, +971 2 672 3516. (Consular Services) Su Th 8AM-2PM, Tu 5-8PM.
  • Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia, Al Karama Street, Embassies Area, +971 2 444 5700, fax: +971 2 444 8491.
  • South Africa South Africa, Corner Airport Road & 25th Street, Villa No A029, Al Mushref Area, +971 2 244 734 46. Su-Th 8:30AM-12:30PM.
  • Switzerland Switzerland, Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Centro Capital Center Building, 17th floor; PO Box 95199, +971 2 627 4636.
  • Turkey Turkey, Villa No:1,W59-02; 1,Embassy’s Area; PO Box 3204, +971 2 410-9999, +971 2 410-9900. Su-Th 8:30AM-2PM.
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom, Khalid bin Al Waleed St (Street 22), Corniche Area; PO Box 248, +971 2 610 1100. Su-Th 7:30AM-2:30PM. The visa application centre at Shining Tower, Level 25 King Khalid Bin Abdel Aziz 26th Street, Adjacent to Khalidyah Mall; PO Box 30023
  • United States United States, PO Box 4009, Abu Dhabi, +971 2 414 2200, .

Go next

  • 1 Dubai (an hour and a half drive down the highway).
  • 2 Al Ain (90 minutes away). The UAE's largest oasis.
  • 3 Liwa Oasis (two hours from the city). Stunning desert dunes.
  • 4 Kish Island. Iranian tourist island.
Routes through Abu Dhabi
DubaiJebel Ali  NE  W  → Tarif → → becomes Al Kharj

This city travel guide to Abu Dhabi is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.