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Best things to do in Abu Dhabi

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Where in the world: Asia  /  United Arab Emirates  /  Emirate of Abu Dhabi  /  Abu Dhabi
In a modern urban jewel rising out of the vast desert, visitors find plenty of things to do in Abu Dhabi. A trip to Observation Deck at 300 allows tourists to stare down at the city's skyline while enjoying tea or cocktails at a trendy restaurant. For a look at local culture, head to Sheikh Zayed Mosque, home of the world's largest carpet and giant crystal chandeliers. Those looking for an adventure should take advantage of operators running tours into the desert, with optional activities like camel riding and Bedouin camping.

Abu Dhabi is best known for its Sacred & Religious Sites, Theme Parks, and Safaris.

Top 15 things to do in Abu Dhabi

1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to see a key place of worship and center for Islamic culture. Completed in 2007, the center houses the largest mosque in the country--a sprawling structure of many spherical domes and four tall minarets--and an enormous library showcasing classic books and publications related to the Islamic world. Inside the main prayer hall, admire the numerous ornamental features of the atmospheric place of worship, including the largest carpet in the world and seven chandeliers incorporating millions of crystals. Take a guided tour of the library to learn more about Islamic faith, history, and art.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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2. The Corniche

Take a gentle trip down The Corniche, an attractive stretch of manicured waterfront on the west side of the main island. Enjoy a swim at the public beach, or stroll along the 8 km (5 mi) public footpath, taking in the sights of the carefully designed coastline. Alternatively, consider exploring the area by bike--you can rent some wheels on site, with options including two- and three-seaters. The many children's play areas offer good diversions for little ones, and a solid set of restaurants and cafes lining the street gives you plenty of options for relaxing afterwards.
Suggested duration: 3h 30 min
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3. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Strap yourself in and feel the Gs at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, an indoor theme park sprawling across 86,000 sq m (925,696 sq ft). Upon opening in 2010, it was the largest of its kind in the world. The park references the world of motor sports and its Italian heritage everywhere you look, with themed rides, driving experiences, and Italian dining. Dare yourself to get on the lightning-fast roller coaster, and fulfill your lifetime ambition to be behind the wheel of a Ferrari. A host of interactive shows, gentle rides, and go-karting challenges give the little ones more than enough to keep them going.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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4. Safaris

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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5. Louvre Abu Dhabi

Designed by architect Jean Nouvel, Louvre Abu Dhabi includes a series of white buildings and a striking, 180 m (590 ft) wide dome paying homage to the desert palms and traditional roofing. The many galleries within the complex contain a collection of sculptures, paintings, and other objects arranged around common themes and influences. The works displayed there were selected from Louver's own collections and other French museums. Look for these highlights: an ancient gold bracelet from the Middle East, Paul Gauguin's "Children Wrestling," a 1920s Picasso collage, along with many other masterpieces.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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6. Heritage Village

Gain insight into the country's traditional culture and folklore at Heritage Village, a life-size reconstruction of a desert village. Walk through the replica town, admiring the architecture of a bygone era, as well as the village's simple arrangement and separate living areas. Learn about traditional agricultural methods, and visit the mosque for a glimpse into the primary role that faith has played in the history of the country. Watch a demonstration of traditional artisanal techniques, such as pottery and glassblowing, and try your hand at making your own little memento to take home with you.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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7. Yas Waterworld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi

Make a splash at Yas Waterworld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, a large water park providing a place to cool off in the capital. Spread over 15 hectares (37 acres) of Yas Island, the park features over 45 rides, slides, and attractions, including a large sheet wave surf experience, a looping water slide, and an impressive suspended roller coaster. With a theme based on a local Emirati tale about a girl who goes diving for a legendary pearl, the park also offers an exciting pearl-diving attraction, where you make your own jewelry with the pearls you find.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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8. Adrenaline & Extreme Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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9. Marina Mall

Shop and enjoy a range of activities at Marina Mall, a popular shopping center and entertainment venue. Opened in 2001, the mall features four floors of retail space, with stores offering some of the leading names in the worlds of fashion, technology, and leisure. Aside from the shopping, you'll find an ice rink, bowling alley, multiplex cinema, and choreographed fountains. Head up to the 100 m (328 ft) observation deck for extensive views along the coast and of the marina.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

Visit Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, one of the world's foremost centers dedicated to the welfare and protection of these majestic birds. Take a guided tour of the veterinary center to learn more about falcons, their cultural importance in the country, and the challenges facing the bird population in the modern era. Be introduced to the birds and discover the techniques of falconry used in the region, and also gain a sense of the important veterinary and research work conducted at the facility.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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12. Observation Deck at 300

Head up to Observation Deck at 300, the capital city's highest vantage point. Located in Tower 2 of the Etihad Towers, the observation area gives you views of the city from 300 m (984 ft) up. Rent one of the powerful telescopes to admire the modern cityscape and watch the bustle of crowds, cars, and development far below. Take in the views from the onsite restaurant, where the high tea in particular has become a favorite of visitors and residents alike.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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13. Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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14. Nature & Wildlife Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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15. Saadiyat Beach Club

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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