For travelers headed to the Emirates, Abu Dhabi is an attractive vacation destination. It’s the capital city of the UAE and is located on island in the Persian Gulf, less than 100 miles from Dubai. It’s perfect for tourists because of its wealth of cultural and outdoor attractions, ranging from top-notch dining to cruises, tours, and more. These are our expert recommendations for the top things to do in Abu Dhabi for first-time visitors.
If you’re headed to Abu Dhabi on your Emirates vacation and are in search of the best things to do, check our out list of the top ten best things to do in Abu Dhabi.
Our ideas include outdoor and indoor fun, shopping, dining, and more:
- Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Abu Dhabi
- Eco Donut Boat Rental in Abu Dhabi
- Daylight Cruise in Abu Dhabi
- Meal at Buca di Beppo
- Sunset Cruise in Abu Dhabi
- Sheikh Zayed Mosque
- Louvre Abu Dhabi
- Heritage Village
- Marina Mall
- Eastern Mangrove Lagoon National Park & Kayak Tours
Save on Top Things to do in Abu Dhabi
Regular admission to many of these Abu Dhabi activities is included with the Go Dubai Card.
Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 52% versus paying at the gate.
Check out all Dubai and Abu Dhabi tourist passes, attractions, and prices.
Please note that some of these fun Abu Dhabi activities may not be included with the Go Dubai Card.
Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus Abu Dhabi
Explore the capital city with this convenient and exciting bus tour from Big Bus. You can hop on or off at any of more than 15 included stops, giving you the flexibility to explore as you go.
Choose from two routes: the Yas Drive (Green Route) or City Tour (Red Route). This is a smart option for those first-time visitors to the city.
Getting In: Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus Abu Dhabi tickets are included with the Go Dubai Card.
Eco Donut Boat Rental in Abu Dhabi
The Eastern Mangroves (part of a National Park, more on that below) are a must-see natural destination in Abu Dhabi and one of the region’s most popular sites for adventurous travelers.
Embark on an eco-donut boat journey to explore the wild marine life of the mangroves, including flamingos, heron, turtles, fresh, and more. It’s an ethical and responsible way to tour this natural wonder, as well as plenty of fun!
Getting In: Eco Donut Boat Rental tickets are included with the Go Dubai Card.
Daylight Cruise in Abu Dhabi
With its waterfront location, Abu Dhabi is the perfect city for enjoying a cruise. This one-and-a-half hour option showcases the natural world and makes for a relaxing afternoon.
See mangrove forests on one side, Emirati buildings on the other, and plenty of sights of the Abu Dhabi skyline in the distance.
Getting In: Daylight Cruise in Abu Dhabi tickets are included with the Go Dubai Card.
Meal at Buca di Beppo
While it can be a ton of fun to explore new cuisines and taste the flavors of the Emirates, sometimes you just want some good family fun in a familiar setting.
Buca di Beppo offers family-style dining with delicious Italian-inspired fare, located in the expansive Yas Mall. It’s a great place to stop for dinner after exploring your shopping options – always a treat in the Emirate.
Getting In: Meal at Buca di Beppo tickets are included with the Go Dubai Card.
Sunset Cruise in Abu Dhabi
If your idea of the perfect cruise is a romantic excursion out onto the Gulf waters as the sun sets luxuriously in the distance – you’re in luck!
This sunset cruise in Abu Dhabi is the ideal date night idea. You’ll still get to enjoy the gorgeous natural scenery, but maybe focus a little more on your company, too.
Plus, the sunsets in Abu Dhabi are simply stunning and are not to be missed.
Getting In: Sunset Cruise in Abu Dhabi tickets are included with the Go Dubai Card.
Sheikh Zayed Mosque
One of the most significant architectural structures in the Emirate, the Sheikh Zayed Mosque is truly magnificent. Built relatively recently, this ornate mosque is a site to behold from outside and in. It’s one of the best sites to photograph in all of Abu Dhabi!
It’s also one of the few mosques in the region open to non-Muslims, but visitors should show respect at all times and adhere to customs of dress and behavior.
Getting In: The Sheikh Zayed Mosque is free to visit, but guided tours may incur additional fees.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Arts and culture lovers won’t want to miss the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It’s a new museum – created in partnership with French architects – that encompasses broad collections of classical and modern art.
Their rotating temporary exhibitions showcase art on loan from French institutions, and feature everything from textiles and craftwork to paintings and sculpture. A visit here is a great opportunity to appreciate the global history of art.
Getting In: Louvre Abu Dhabi is separately ticketed and is not included with the Go Dubai Card.
This fascinating attraction showcases Bedouin history and culture, highlighting the roots of what developed to become the contemporary Arabic culture of the modern Emirates.
Here you can come to try traditional cuisine, see cultural practices from years gone past, peek at small museums, and browse arts and crafts to your heart’s content. There are stores for souvenir shopping, too!
Getting In: Heritage Village tours are separately ticketed and are not included with the Go Dubai Card.
One of the largest malls in all of Abu Dhabi, the Marina Mall is a new venue filled with shops from around the world, including the region’s first stand-alone store catering to fans of the English Premier League Team, Manchester City FC.
It’s filled with a variety of attractions, including everything from fashion and leisure to entertainment and dining. Plus, because it’s the Emirate, it’s filled with over-the-top fun like musical fountains, a bowling alley, a theater, an ice rink, and more.
Getting In: It’s free to explore Marina Mall, but save some room in your budget for shopping.
Eastern Mangrove Lagoon National Park
This is a unique find in Abu Dhabi, a watery paradise with the environmentally important (and visually appealing!) mangrove trees. They contribute to scrubbing carbon monoxide from the air, preventing tidal waves and other flooding, and shelter thousands of bird and marine species.
The only way to explore this national park is through a registered tour company – might we suggest a kayak tour, which allows you to truly experience this beautiful environment at water level?
Getting In: Kayak Tour of the Mangroves tickets are included with the Go Dubai Card.
Remember to Save on Admission
In addition to the fun activities mentioned above, you can also go on a camel trek, swim near Yas Island, embark on a desert safari, and so much more.
If any of these activities and attractions sound like an appealing way to explore the amazing city of Abu Dhabi, then be sure to snag an all-inclusive Go Dubai Card.
Save big on combined admission to all your favorite things to do in Abu Dhabi, and have the trip of a lifetime.