Abu Dhabi is worth visiting for the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the fastest rollercoaster on the planet Formula Rossa, and the numerous shopping centers. Culture vultures will love the Louvre, luxury seekers – the Emirates Palace, and architecture fans – the Etihad Towers.
The capital of the U.A.E. might not be as known as Dubai, but visiting it is a must.
This article will show you 33 amazing things that make Abu Dhabi worth visiting.
World-class museums, adrenaline-pumping theme parks, high-tech hubs, and astonishing attractions all await you in the Emirati capital.
Note: This article contains affiliate links. In case you purchase something through one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost for you. Thank you for helping us keep creating the free content on this website!
The Landmarks Abu Dhabi Is Worth Visiting For
From resplendent religious temples to mind-boggling palaces, let’s discover the incredible attractions that make Abu Dhabi worth visiting.
- Emirates Palace. The glitziest free thing to do in Abu Dhabi is walking around the opulent Emirates Palace. Unless you give in to the temptation to sample the swankiest cappuccino on the planet, that is (the coffee is sprinkled with 24-carat gold flakes). The one-of-a-kind hotel is the embodiment of luxury. Gold and marble adorn every room and suite. Over 1,000 mind-blowing chandeliers light the halls. Emirates Palace also boasts two helipads and countless high-end stores that can live up to your most capricious desires.
- Corniche Road. The ideal hiding place from Abu Dhabi’s generous sun is the canopy of palm trees along Corniche Road. The 5-mi (8-km) long, waterfront boulevard is chock-full of walkways, fountains, bike lanes, playgrounds, beaches, and various dining options. Numerous lush parks invite to you sit down and relax. These include Abu Dhabi Corniche Park, Capital Park, Sheikh Fatima Park, and Urban Park. Along the road, you can marvel at countless top-end hotels. This makes the boulevard one of the best areas to stay in Abu Dhabi.
- The Founder’s Memorial. Exploring this interesting attraction is one of the most extraordinary things to do in Abu Dhabi. The Founder’s Memorial honors the legacy of the founder of the U.A.E. – Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The landmark includes two open-air spaces – the Heritage Garden and the Sanctuary Garden. Head to the center of the memorial where you’ll find a cubic pavilion. It’s home to a marvelous art piece devoted to the memory of the Sheikh.
- Qasr Al Watan. This dazzling palatial complex welcomes official diplomatic delegations. Qasr Al Watan is also open to the public. Bright limestone and white granite embellish the gorgeous construction. The real Arabian extravagance is waiting for you inside, though. When you enter the palace, go to the center and turn your head above. On the ceiling, you’ll notice a chandelier with over 350,000 crystals!
The Theme Parks That Make Abu Dhabi Worth Visiting
Looking for an exhilarating vacation? Abu Dhabi is full of heart-stopping amusement parks worth seeing. Let’s explore them in the section below.
- Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. If you love high speeds, grab a ticket to this thrilling theme park. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi is home to the fastest rollercoaster in the world. The record-breaking Formula Rossa catapults you to 149 mph (240 km/h) in as little as five seconds. Svet tried the front row in 2016. He still shivers in excitement from the exhilarating experience. Four other rollercoasters and a free-fall tower will make sure your adrenaline is always high. And if you like sports cars, the Ferrari museum is a must-visit.
- Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi. Ever desired to hang out with your favorite Warner Brothers cartoon characters and superheroes? Then, go to Yas Island where you can discover Warner Bros World – a theme park packed with fun rides and stunning shows. At your disposal, you’ll have six themed areas – Bedrock, Metropolis, Gotham City, Cartoon Junction, Dynamite Gulch, and Warner Bros Plaza. The names reveal which characters you’ll meet in each of the areas 😉
- Yas Marina Circuit. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, your next visit after Ferrari World and Warner Bros World should be the Yas Marina Circuit. Since 2009, the Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been happening there. Next to watching some of the world’s best racers in action, you can also experience high adrenaline yourself. Hop on a Formula Yas 3000 race car, beat your travel companions in a go-kart at the Yas Kartzone, or test the Chevrolet drift taxi with a professional.
- Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi. If water entertainment is your cup of tea, don’t miss the huge surfing waves and heart-pumping waterslides at Yas Waterworld. Pump your senses to the max by riding Jebel Drop – the tallest and steepest waterslide in the park. Want to take it easier? Try the largest surfing sheet wave on the planet – Bubbles Barrel. The main theme of the award-winning park revolves around “The Legend of the Lost Pearl”. The story covers U.A.E.’s interesting history and traditions.
- Clymb Abu Dhabi. Wanna test how tough you are? The ultimate challenge awaits you at Clymb Abu Dhabi. Inside, you’ll find indoor skydiving and a climbing area. When you’re ready to increase your pulse, check out the Flight Chamber. It’s the widest vertical wind tunnel in the world. If you have any courage left, head to the Summyt – the tallest indoor climbing wall on the planet. Only a few folks have managed to get to the top. Will you be the next?
The Museums That Make Abu Dhabi Worth Visiting
The Louvre Museum is not only in Paris. Yes, there’s a second one in the capital of the U.A.E. Below, you’ll find the top museums of Abu Dhabi that make it worth visiting.
- Louvre Abu Dhabi. You’ll find the most visited museum in the Arab world in an ultramodern structure. Louvre Abu Dhabi prides itself on a floating dome that has 7,850 aluminum stars. Priceless works of art in the stunning edifice will electrify your art-thirsty senses. The collections include ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, magnificent Renaissance paintings, and post-modernistic 3-D art. Masterworks by Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, and Paul Gauguin share the space with ritual statuettes and statues of ancient gods and goddesses.
- Heritage Village. One of Abu Dhabi’s top landmarks is Heritage Village. Inside this typical desert village, you’ll discover what life was like in the U.A.E.’s capital before the emergence of petrol. The museum of the Heritage Village displays artifacts found in the area. Several workshops exhibit traditional handicrafts. The village overlooks the glitzy Corniche Road and often organizes events and expositions.
- Heritage Park. Visiting this waterfront park is one of the coolest things to do in Abu Dhabi. Heritage Park walks you around the region’s peculiar history. Stroll among restorations of typical Emirati houses while admiring the breathtaking vistas of the capital. Explore how locals once lived in the desert, check out the items for sale at the traditional local market called souk, or take part in an artisanal workshop.
- Abu Dhabi History Museum and Aquarium. You can find the outstanding Abu Dhabi History Museum and Aquarium in Khalifa Park. Life-like dioramas tell you the history of the Emirate and portray important moments of the city’s development in a truly unique way. Discover how Abu Dhabi evolved from scattered desert communities to an ultramodern capital. The exhibitions include snippets from the old-fashioned desert life, as well as the history of pearl hunting and the discovery of natural resources. When you’ve taken your dose of history, head to the aquarium, which will tell you about the sea and its aquatic residents.
- Emirates National Auto Museum. Even if cars don’t attract you, the high-class collection of vehicles at the Emirates National Auto Museum might tickle your visual senses. The museum is just a quick drive out of the city, but it showcases over 200 cars owned by Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan. The Emirates National Auto Museum is home to the biggest model jeep in the world, which you can find outside the museum. Inside, you can admire off-road vehicles, classic American cars, and the Sheikh’s rainbow collection of Mercedeses.
- Qasr Al Hosn. Abu Dhabi’s oldest-remaining construction dates back to the late 18th century. The capital of the U.A.E. grew and developed around the Qasr Al Hosn rampart. The building includes an inner fort, an outside palace, and a striking watchtower. Locals used the tower to oversee the coastal trade routes and defend the quick-expanding city. Nowadays, Qasr Al Hosn functions as a museum where you can explore the history of the Emirate.
- Zayed Heritage Center. This heritage-style village offers a fascinating summary of the life of Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – the late Sheikh. The Zayed Heritage Center pays a wonderful homage to the man who shaped the country – the founder of the United Arab Emirates. The Sheikh’s favorite hunting rifles, a photo gallery, and other personal collections await you inside the museum. Outside, in the village, you can marvel at camels and an impressive collection of the Sheikh’s vehicles.
The Shopping Centers Worth Visiting in Abu Dhabi
Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi is also a great shopping destination. In this section, we’ll show you the best locations to spend your money.
- Yas Mall. One of the coolest retail centers in the city – Yas Mall – is a network of squares, streets, and boulevards. The central spot of the shopping center gets a ton of natural light. If you like marveling at modern artists’ creations, that’s where you can do it. The hundreds of high-end shops take turns with a pool, trees, and many restaurants that serve local and global cuisine. You can directly access the heart-stopping theme park Ferrari World Abu Dhabi through Yas Mall.
- Abu Dhabi Mall. Although smaller than Dubai Mall, Abu Dhabi Mall is still gigantic. And it’s one of the things Abu Dhabi is known for. The arcade welcomes locals and tourists to the mall’s over 200 top-notch boutiques. Cool playgrounds, a wide range of restaurants, and a multiscreen cinema will keep you busy at Abu Dhabi Mall. The retail center also gives you direct access to the glamorous Beach Rotana Hotel, which opens up straight to the sea.
- Avenue at Etihad Towers. Do you like splurging? Then, head to Avenue at Etihad Towers. Shopping takes a whole other level in this modern mall. The spot is a real Mecca for fashion and jewelry lovers. The world’s top designers fight for your attention by inviting you to check out their hottest collections in eye-catching stores. Avenue is also home to the most elegant watchmakers on the planet. Grab a credit card or two and go on a shopping spree!
- Marina Mall. You can discover this gorgeous shopping center on the breakwater. The internal steam fountain is Marina Mall’s most famous feature. The fountain’s base is adorned by a mind-blowing, handcrafted glass mosaic. The retail space woos visitors with four levels of stores that cover everything from leisure to fashion. Multiplex movie complex, a bowling alley, musical fountains, and a wonderful, 328-ft (100-m) observatory will entertain all your senses.
- Miraj Islamic Art Centre. Many consider this place a museum. But it’s much more than a simple exhibition space. Inside the Miraj Islamic Art Centre, you can admire silk textiles, royal robes, miniature paintings, encrusted ceremonial objects, hand-woven carpets, and Arabic calligraphy-engraved vases. And the best part? Many of the art masterpieces are for sale. When you’ve bought enough to satisfy your shopping hunger, head to the center’s rooftop café that will quench your thirst. The panoramic views of the Emirates Palace and the Arabian Gulf are to die for.
- The Galleria. Abu Shabi’s leading lifestyle hotspot is The Galleria Al Maryah Island. The shopping center provides you with an endless number of dining, shopping, and entertainment choices. More than 400 shops, 100 bars and restaurants, and family fun locations for every age fight for your attention. Rolex, Chanel, Cartier, and Louis Vuitton are just a few of the high-end brands you’ll find in The Galleria.
High-Tech Spots Abu Dhabi Is Worth Visiting For
Digital museums, observation decks, and ultramodern architecture. In this section, you’ll discover the top high-tech places that make Abu Dhabi worth visiting.
- The Observation Deck at 300. The city’s highest viewing platform is called “Observation Deck at 300”. As you might remember from above, you can find the viewpoint in Tower 2 of the Etihad Towers. The deck sits on the 74th floor, which reveals a jaw-dropping 360-degree panorama of the capital from 300 m (984 ft.) above the ground. The cool thing about the ticket is that it comes with credit for the cafeteria. Don’t miss the Etihad Sparkler – the Towers’ signature virgin cocktail.
- U.A.E. Pavilion. Authorities erected the gorgeous pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Nowadays, the U.A.E. Pavilion stands on Saadiyat Island. The structure has an unusual shape that resembles two rolling sand dunes. On one side, they’re smooth and curvy. On the other side, they’re nearly vertical. After its relocation, the pavilion has been showcasing different art collections from Abu Dhabi.
- Manarat Al Saadiyat. This splendid high-tech location provides you with numerous activities. For example, you can admire interactive art displays. You can watch a theater performance. Or you can attend an art or a photography workshop. Many of these have no entry fees. Next to arts and shows, Manarat Al Saadiyat organizes many events. During them, you can either relax, hang out, or eat delicious food.
- Capital Gate. Welcome to the “The Leaning Tower of Abu Dhabi”. The nickname of this stunning skyscraper comes from the construction’s 18° incline to the west. The 35-story Capital Gate is one of the tallest edifices in the city. It holds a Guinness World Record for the furthest artificial leaning building. Two diagonally crossing beams ensure the stability of the tower despite its large incline. To truly experience the luxury of the skyscraper, book your stay at Hyatt Hotel inside Capital Gate.
The Irresistible Foods That Make Abu Dhabi Worth Visiting
The Emirati capital will surprise your palate with a host of international cuisines. But you’ll regret it if you don’t try the traditional dishes. In the following section, we’ve prepared a selection of foods and drinks worth trying in Abu Dhabi.
- Khuzi. Khuzi (or Ghuzi) is one of the national dishes in the United Arab Emirates. As such, it should be high on your must-sample list. Khuzi includes lamb or mutton meat that comes with spicy rice. Nuts, raisins, and vegetables enhance the dish’s flavor. It’s also prepared with many spices like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, saffron, and many others. Locals usually cook Khuzi for special events. But you can also try it in many restaurants.
- Whole stuffed camel. This popular Abu Dhabi food won the “largest dish” category in the Guinness World Records. The camel is stuffed with a lamb. Then, the chefs stuff the lamb with one or more chickens. After that, everything is stuffed with eggs and rice. Sometimes, they even place fish inside. You can taste whole stuffed camel only on very special occasions like a Bedouin ceremony or the Sheikh’s wedding.
- Luqaimat. Love sugary treats? You should try the most popular dessert in the U.A.E. – luqaimat. Patisseries drench the tiny crunchy dumplings in sweet and sticky date syrup. Luqaimat is a great way to finish your Emirate lunch or dinner – unless you’re on a diet, that is.
- Sulaimani. If you’ve already stuffed your belly with a few desserts, don’t worry. The ideal drink to ease your digestion is Sulaimani. This tea combines lemon, cardamom, and mint leaves in a fantastic golden-brown fusion. The beverage’s sweet yet tangy taste is the ideal refreshment after a hearty meal.
- Jallab. Abu Dhabi is one of the world’s hottest capital cities. So, if you’d like to deal with the sizzling heat, you can’t go wrong with jallab. The Emirati prepare this cold drink from dates, rose water, and grape molasses. Then, they garnish it with crushed ice, pine nuts, and golden raisins. Jallab is popular during the month of Ramadan when Islamic people need lots of fluids to keep them hydrated while they’re fasting.
Is Abu Dhabi Worth Visiting? You Just Learned the Answer
Well, there you have it – 33 top reasons to visit Abu Dhabi.
U.A.E.’s capital seduces with its theme parks, high-tech landmarks, shopping malls, and delectable food.
On top of that, the second-largest city in the Emirates is the perfect place to pump your adrenaline to the max.
So, if you’ve ever wondered why you should travel to Abu Dhabi, this guide has just answered that question.
Now, we’d love to hear from you:
In your opinion, is Abu Dhabi fun to visit?
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.