8 Things To Do In Abu Dhabi. On my first visit to the United Arab Emirates, I went to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In 2020, we lived in Abu Dhabi. Due to the onset of a global pandemic, we did not get to venture out much.
Even though Dubai is my favorite emirate, Abu Dhabi will forever hold a special place in my heart. You’ll soon find out why.
Fun facts about Abu Dhabi:
- Like the other emirates, it is recognized as a city/state.
- It is the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
- The largest emirate.
- Second most populous city.
- It is an island located in the Persian Gulf.
- The President of the UAE lives here in the Presidential Palace.
These are the 8 places I went to on my first visit to Abu Dhabi.
1/Jebel Hafit (Hafeet) Mountain
Jebel Hafit was not on my initial places to visit but I am so happy to add this experience to the list. I had a former colleague who lived in Al Ain and they took me there. The drive up the mountain seems never-ending. Edmund.com describes the road to the mountain top as “among the world’s greatest driving roads”. Personally, I can attest it is a calming drive. Bikers are fond of the mountain, too. The mountain has breathtaking views. Enjoy the sunrise and sunset with a cup of tea from the cafe. Be sure to bring a permanent marker to leave your penmanship on the mountain.
Of course, I have to mention Corniche Beach. I love this beach. It has a beautiful skyline. It’s close to the Emirates Palace. I met the love of my life there on December 24, 2017. There are free and paid options. I’ve used both options. The paid option is less crowded than the free option, especially on the weekends. Also for the paid option, you can rent sun loungers and umbrellas. Most people visit this beach to relax or work out. There are restaurants and food stands available.
3/Mangroves National Park
If you love nature and luxury, you are going to love the Mangroves National Park. On my first visit, I went kayaking at the Mangroves. It was a great break from the city within the city. Walking along the Mangroves was peaceful and mesmerizing. It’s also a nesting area for flamingos when the tides are low. I didn’t get the opportunity to see any flamingos. In addition, you can partake in other water activities and there are several restaurant options.
4/Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Details, details, details. They say “luxury is in the details.” Many admire the mosque for its exquisite and lavish detail. According to Wikipedia, it has the world’s largest hand knotted-carpet. In addition, the mosque is the largest in the UAE and the third-largest in the world. It’s a must-see. Women must wear abayas. The mosque will supply you with one if you do not have your own. I advise you to purchase your own abaya and have a photo shoot. I sort of wish I would have purchased my own abaya with some added pizzazz as well as a photographer. The mosque encourages picture-taking.
Taken directly from the website: Normal visiting hours are from Saturday to Thursday 09:00 am to 10:00 pm (Last admission at 09:30 pm). On Friday Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is open from 09:00 am to 12:00 pm (Last admission at 11:30 am) and reopens from 3:00 pm. to 10:00 pm (Last admission at 09:30 pm).
My favorite place in the entire UAE is the Emirates Palace. I try to go there as often as possible. Even if it’s just to sit in the lobby. It’s a manifesting vortex. On my first visit in 2017, I manifested my husband the very next day after indulging in a 24-karat gold dinner. My dinner consisted of a cappuccino, a camel burger, a cosmopolitan cocktail, and ice cream.
The second time Daniel and I celebrated our engagement there and took our photos on the beach. Both times were moments in time I will never forget.
In April 2022, Daniel won a football tournament. One of the awards was a one-night stay at the Emirates Palace with an international buffet breakfast. Let me be the first to tell you, do eat everything on the buffet. There was food from so many countries to accommodate the palace’s prestigious international guests. I was miserable afterward, to say the least. LOL!
The palace takes service to another level. At check-in, you receive a warm towel and tea. An ambassador escorts you to your room. You have your very own private butler. Your room has a complimentary fruit basket, dessert, and non-alcoholic wine. The staff is anticipating your every need once you are in your room (i.e. snacks, alcohol, restaurant reservations, palace excursions, etc). Every corner of the palace (i.e. pools, restaurants, buggy drivers, etc.) department emulates this level of service.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi is the sister museum to the Louvre Paris. It is fairly new. The museum’s grand opening took place in November 2017, a month before my first visit. The museum is a piece of art. If you are an art lover, it can easily turn into an all-day event. They have several eateries to choose from. Kayaking around the museum is also an activity the museum offers. You can order your ticket in advance on the museum’s website.
7/Stratos in Le Meridien Hotel
Stratos Revolving Lounge Bar & Grill is just that located on the top of the Le Meridian Hotel. It’s located near Cornich beach. Groupon brought me there with a drink special. Revolving in the sky with a city view crafted an environment for excellent conversation for Daniel and I first unofficial date before dancing the night away. If you time your visit to Abu Dhabi correctly, the bar has Ladies’ Night on Tuesdays from 8 PM to 11 PM and Gentleman’s night on Wednesdays from 7 PM to 11 PM. Check out the establishment offers here.
There were three African clubs at the TRYP Hotel by Wyndham within walking distance from the Stratos revolving lounge. You can club hop with free entry. It made for a great night on the town. If you like Afrobeats, Reggae, and Dancehall, you’re going to love these clubs. The clubs did not close until 7 AM. Dancing the night away until the morning ended my trip on the perfect note. I had an early flight so I went back to your room showered, grabbed my bags, and head to the airport.
On the Dubai & Beyond 2023 Trip, you’ll be able to experience some of these places in Abu Dhabi. Save your seat by clicking here.