Best Things to Do in Abu Dhabi in the Summer Heat
Abu Dhabi is a modern and culturally diverse city with a skyline of soaring towers, mega-malls, as well as traditional markets and cultural heritage sites. It is lush and green and it has a sandy beach and an elegant waterfront boulevard, the Corniche.
The city is firmly rooted in Islamic traditions, yet it is surprisingly liberal. Here, you will see local men in white robes and red checkered head dresses, women in black abayas and headscarfs, alongside with people wearing sundresses and jeans.
Summers are very hot with temperature reaching as high as 50 degrees Celsius. Add high humidity to that and being outside becomes almost unbearable. Here are the best things you can do in Abu Dhabi if you happen to be there in the summer heat.
VISIT THE HERITAGE VILLAGE
Abu Dhabi is a young city. Until the late 1950s and before discovery of oil, it was a coastal town with only a few buildings and a fort.
At Heritage Village you will get a feel for the early desert life. Bedouin tents made of goat hair, reconstructions of early date-palm houses, workshops displaying traditional art, and craftsmen showing their skills—the village gives a good overview of the roots of the city.
• 10-minute taxi ride from the Corniche, taxi ride cost about 15 Dirhams
• Take a phone number of a taxi company with you, there may not be any taxis waiting at the museum
• Part of the Heritage Village is outside but the shops and the museum have air conditioning
• Get your camera ready for a snapshot of the city skyline
VISIT THE STUNNING SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE
82 white gleaming domes, 1,048 gold topped pillars, incredible marble floors with flower inlays, the world's largest hand-knotted carpet—the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest mosque and the key site for worship in the UAE. The structure is stunningly beautiful.
There are guided tours at 10am, 11am, and 5pm. Even though you can walk around on your own, you will see and learn a lot more when taking the free tour.
Read our blog post with tips about visiting the mosque here: Quick Guide to Visiting the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi
• 25-minute taxi ride, about 40 Dirhams, from the Corniche
• Photography is allowed in certain areas
• Women are required to cover up, abayas and headscarves can be borrowed at the entrance
• Everyone needs to remove their shoes upon entry, the marble floors are spotless
• Take the 5pm tour for sunset photos
VISIT THE STUNNING LOUVRE ABU DHABI
Opened in November 2017, the building of Louvre Abu Dhabi is a work of art itself with its spectacular geometric domed roof. The iconic dome filters the sunshine and creates a mesmerizing pattern with light, reminiscent of palm trees and a desert oasis.
The treasures of the Louvre Abu Dhabi range from a 5,000-year-old Bactrian Princess statuette to works by Leonardo da Vinci, Gauguin, van Gogh, and Ai Weiwei, which are currently on loan in the museum.
EAT IN ONE OF ABU DHABI'S FABULOUS RESTAURANTS
The choices are numerous from the renowned Hakkasan and Marco Pierre White to ethnic. If you are in the mood for seafood, then the swanky Catch across from the St. Regis Hotel is a wonderful choice. The food is outstanding, the service great, and the decor and design match the seaside location.
The St. Regis itself has the best Italian restaurant in town, Villa Toscana. It is a small and cozy restaurant with friendly and attentive service, and good old Tuscan food.
ENYOY A CUP OF DECADENT GOLD LEAF CAPPUCCINO
24-karat gold leaf sprinkled on the cappuccino and camel milk ice cream—it certainly looks like a million dollars.
Visit the palatial Kempinski Emirates Palace for this golden treat.
STAY AT THE ST. REGIS HOTEL
Abu Dhabi boasts a number of luxury hotels but if classic, refined and personal service is your style, then The St. Regis Abu Dhabi is a wonderful choice.
The hotel, located right on the Corniche, is an address that everyone knows and the lobby is a place to be seen. The guests are greeted with a cup of cardamom coffee and dates in the lobby, a pianist playing in the background.
The rooms are large with plush modern décor, the restaurants and the breakfast are fabulous, and so is the spa. Read moe about the St. Regis Abu Dhabi experience here: Hotel Insider: St. Regis Abu Dhabi