Charged with the preservation and promotion of the traditions and customs of the Emirates, the Abu Dhabi Cultural Center hosts a number of events, including exhibits, lectures, concerts, and interactive workshops. Housed in an elegant, glass-and-steel modernist structure that fuses contemporary elements with traditional aesthetics, the Cultural Center offers a deeper look at the rich (yet not widely known) heritage of the United Arab Emirates.
For a glimpse at Abu Dhabi before the tapping of oil, visit the Heritage Village. Within its confines are a Bedouin camp, complete with tents, mock-ups of traditional vessels, and plenty of handicrafts and trinkets for sale. In addition, visitors can try their hand at a number of crafts, including weaving on a loom, and blowing glass.
Try your hand at writing Arabic Script. Arabic is widely used and well known in this part of the world but its influence extends all the way to Brunei in Southeast Asia. Arabic calligraphy is beautiful and exotic. Learn the Arabic alphabet and by doing so raise your multicultural awareness.
Only an 1.5-hour drive from Abu Dhabi, known as the Garden City, visitors can fill their day enjoying the many picturesque forts, visit the Al Ain Oasis with over 147,000 shade-giving date palms set within an incredible maze of peaceful walkways, or the more adventurous may wish to hit the Wadi Adventure park - an incredible man-made whitewater rafting, kayaking and surfing facility that includes pools and activities for children, Hili Fun City is also great for thrillseekers with more than 30 attractions and rides for varying ages, and for animals lovers, a trip to Al Ain Zoo is a must, the perfect family destination with over 4,000 animals in natural habitats allowing the animals to live freely.
Head to the desert in a four-wheel drive vehicle for a bit of dune blasting – a wild, rollicking ride that will see your vehicle bouncing and careening off sand dunes. Your drivers will partially deflate the tires for maximum effect.
Afterwards, you will be taken to a quiet, peaceful spot in the desert where you’ll be able to go on camel rides, feast on a meal of traditional Emirati cuisine, and watch performances by belly dancers.
Falcons are a fundamental part of UAE culture so ensuring the health of these noble birds is of utmost importance. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital provides veterinary health care services exclusively for falcons, treating around 11,200 falcons a year. The facility offers tours which include the free-flight aviary, examination rooms, museum and you can even get a photo with one of these magnificent birds perched on your arm.
Visit the Qasr al-Husn, built in 1761 and the oldest structure in Dubai. For over two hundred years, the Qasr al-Husn was the center of administration for Abu Dhabi – first as a fort protecting a valuable water source, and later as the residence of the ruling sheikh. Given its importance, the Qasr al-Husn was decorated accordingly, with whitewashed walls, imposing turrets, and a mix of European and Arabic decor. Today, after a series of extensive renovations, the building is open to the public.
See the curvature of one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way. Wish upon a shooting start next to a roaring bonfire. Watch the heavenly bodies twinkle in all their glory. Since you are so close to the Empty Quarter of Saudi Arabia, visitors have an unparalleled opportunity to feast upon the night sky: Beta Carina, the Big Dipper and other stars will seem so close it will be as though you can pluck them out of the sky and put them in a jar and take it home for safekeeping.
Visit the Women’s Handicraft Center, which features the work of local female artists. Browse handmade incense, textiles, traditional scented oils, and other products. It is also a popular place for henna stenciling, which lasts on the skin for approximately two weeks.
There are literally hundreds of things to do on Yas Island. Shop at Yas Mall with over 400 international brands, spend the day at Ferrari World the world's largest indoor theme park - great for thrill seekers (with the world's fastest rollercoaster!) and families, Yas Waterworld is perfect for any age looking for some wet and wild action including 43 rides and slides, perhaps a round of golf at Yas Links Golf Course - or maybe enjoy Yas Island from above with Seawings on a breathtaking seaplane across Abu Dhabi enjoying panoramic views the city's architecture and beautiful landscape.
If visitors want to feel the thrill of driving around an official F1 race track, then this is the place for you. Get behind the wheel of an Aston Martin GT4, Chevrolet Camero, a Yas Radical SST or a Formula Yas 3000 and put the pedal to the metal and feel like a champion.