Multicultural Abu Dhabi
The sleek and shiny capital of the UAE. And, as you’d expect, it has awe inspiring architecture aplenty and quite a few grand projects of its own. Peel back the surface, however, and you’ll find a more traditional city just a stone’s throw from the glitz, which is laid-back and distinctly Arabian.
The UAE is well known for its vast, modern shopping malls, but keen shoppers should step out of these air-conditioned environs to hunt down the best bargains. Carpets, gold jewellery and intricate metalwork and woodwork make fabulous souvenirs of your Abu Dhabi stay. The easiest starting point is Souk Al Zaafarana (Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street), crammed full of shops selling everything from traditional Emirati garments to incense and spice. To shop with the locals, head to the port area (Mina Zayed), where you'll find the fish souk, and fruit and vegetable souk. The carpet souk (Mina Road) is a good place to browse the different styles of Central Asian carpets.
Food & Drink
Abu Dhabi touts its international flavours with pride. From burgers and pizza to French haute cuisine, foodies will find whatever they fancy here. Many of the top tables in town are found within the city's hotels such as hot sushi spot Tori No Su (Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel) and the Emirates Palace Hotel's gourmet Chinese restaurant Hakkasan (West Corniche Road). The best bar options are run by the hotels as well. Try the laid-back glamour of the St Regis' Turquoiz Beach Bar (Saadiyat Island) for sandy ambience with your cocktail. Down-to-earth prices and delicious Arabic feasts can be had at Lebanese Mill (Electra Street) which has great mixed grills.
Abu Dhabi Festival
The UAE's biggest and boldest classical arts festival brings together performers from across the world for a month-long series of theatre, dance, music and exhibitions.
Abu Dhabi Film Festival
This 10-day programme of cinematic offerings sees Hollywood stars rub shoulders with local actors. As well as film screenings (with feature-length and short films competing for awards), a schedule of workshop sessions runs concurrently.
Formula One Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Now an established part of the Formula One race circuit, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix roars into town for three days in November. As well as the on-track action, a series of concerts provides evening entertainment.
Abu Dhabi Art Fair
The city's top art event brings together exhibitions from leading art galleries and a series of art workshops.
Al Ain Aerobatic Show
This long-running event is part of the UAE's National Day celebrations. As well as the headlining aerial displays, there are plenty of family-friendly activities and entertainment on the ground.
Abu Dhabi has played second fiddle for long enough, and the second largest city of the UAE is stepping out of the shade cast by Dubai. Abu Dhabi City and Yas Island have the most hotels. The landmark Jumeirah at Etihad Towers Hotel (Corniche Road) presides over the waterfront featuring sleek rooms packed with minimalist style. Nearly just as grand is Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel (Yas Island) with its futuristic architectural design. Yas Island is also a good place to hunt for mid-range options. Park Inn by Radisson Abu Dhabi Yas Island (Yas Plaza) is one of the best deals in town with spacious, light-filled rooms infused with colourful accents.