Quick Itinerary Guide: Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Middle East along the Persian Gulf, not far from Dubai. Modern skyscrapers, a stunning grand mosque and more reflect off the surrounding aqua water. Below you’ll find family-friendly itinerary suggestions for a trip to Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Before you dive into the guide, you may want to first read Understanding a Quick Itinerary Guide. This will provide you with details on our trip planning philosophy, why it’s a quick guide, and what resources we use to plan. It also details what we mean by family-friendly, and further explains each of the sections included in a Quick Itinerary Guide.

Our trip details

  • Length of stay: 6 hours
  • Accommodation: N/A
  • Type of trip: day trip, family trip with baby/toddler (15 months old)
  • Month visited: May
  • How we got in/out: drive in/out (private tour via car)
  • How we got around: car (via private tour)
  • Additional places visited on the same trip: Dubai, Oman

Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas for Abu Dhabi, UAE

  • Sheikh Zayed Mosque – crown-jewel of Abu Dhabi, stunningly beautiful inside and out, check hours, conservative dress code (they’ll provide abaya/clocks if necessary)
  • Presidential Palace (Qasr Al Watan) – now you can visit part of the palace and it looks amazing, we were only able to drive by the complex 
  • Abu Dhabi Corniche – walk along the beautiful waterfront 
  • Corniche Beach – clean and calm beach, great for families
  • Emirates Palace – opulent hotel dripping in gold and marble, coffee served with 24k gold flakes, used to house an ATM that dispensed gold bars
  • Etihad Towers – a group of 5 modern mixed-use towers, spot them across from the Emirates Palaces entrance
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi – a joint project with France, the museum focuses on bridging the gap between Eastern and Western art
  • UAE Heritage Village (نادي تراث الإمارات – القرية التراثية) – replica oasis village showcasing traditional architecture, culture, and crafts  
  • Mina Zayed Dates Market – shops and stands selling a variety of dates and other foods
  • Yas Marina Circuit – Formula 1 race track, view the track or check out their experiences and events for more excitement
  • Ferrari World – Ferrari themed amusement park for the whole family
  • Yas Waterworld – Emirati-themed water park
  • Emirates Park Zoo – a zoo with various animal encounter experiences

Food Ideas for Abu Dhabi, UAE

  • Al Fanar Restaurant – casual authentic Emirati cuisine
  • Meylas – female-owned, food truck serving and honoring authentic Emirati cuisine and culture
  • Observation Deck at 300 – enjoy tea and light dining while you check out Abu Dhabi from above in the Etihad Towers observation deck
  • Al Maqam in Arabian Nights Village – about 1.5-hour drive outside central Abu Dhabi, but worth it if you’re looking for an authentic Arabian dining experience in a desert setting, including live music, belly dancers, henna, picturesque desert dunes and more 
  • You easily find a variety of Middle Eastern and other international options, but Emirati cuisine isn’t as abundantly available as you might expect. 
  • Most every place offers delivery, keep this in mind if you would prefer to eat in your hotel but not at their restaurant.
  • Alcohol is only allowed to be served inside hotel restaurants and bars.

Top Tips for Abu Dhabi, UAE

  • Consider the timing of your Abu Dhabi visit, whether the weather will be bearable and if it will be Ramadan. 
  • Abu Dhabi was built for cars, not pedestrians, taxis are the easiest way to get around.
  • Abu Dhabi is slightly more conservative than Dubai, but nothing extreme. Try to dress moderately. 
  • Most everywhere is family-friendly and kid-friendly in Abu Dhabi, even fancier establishments.
  • They are constantly working on new attractions and developments in Abu Dhabi, check out anything new that might open before your trip.

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