Best things to do on Yas Island
From theme parks to club nights, golf to shopping and much more Discuss this article
Ferrari World Abu Dhabi
It goes without saying that Yas Island is intrinsically linked with all things motorsport and cars, which makes it the perfect home for Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. This is the only theme park of its kind in the world, and features a host of incredible rides inspired by the Italian car-maker. You can brave the fastest roller coaster in the world, Formula Rossa. Once strapped in and wearing protective goggles, you’ll be propelled to 240kph in just 4.9 seconds, and will feel forces of 4.8G. There’s nothing else like it for the adrenalin rush. For more record-breaking thrills, take a spin on Flying Aces, which features the world’s highest roller coaster loop at 63m. For little ones, there are more sedate rides, including the Junior Grand Prix and Bell’Italia, which get kids behind the wheel. You can also get up close and personal with a collection of Ferrari’s most iconic cars, and when you get hungry, there are plenty of dining options, including Italian eatery Ristorante Cavallino. It’s perfect for a full day of family fun.
From Dhs275 (adults), Dhs230 (children under 1.3m). Open daily 11am-8pm. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com (02 496 8000).
Only at Ferrari World: Red Show
This theatre show tells the story of two characters caught between the demands of their families. It features dancing, BMX bike stunts and acrobatics. Oh, and Ferraris of course, including the iconic 250 California. It’s not your usual theatre show...
If there’s one place where you can be sure you’ll see some of the world’s best musical talent, it’s MAD. Ja Rule, Bow Wow, T-Pain and Jason Derulo are just a few of the big names who’ve appeared at MAD during its first year in operation. It hosts regular nights throughout the week to ensure there’s always something worth travelling out to Yas Island for. XO ladies’ nights on Tuesdays are always a popular draw. Women get free drinks all night, making this a good one for big groups celebrating a special occasion. MAD Thursdays are always busy, and often feature theme nights, which in the past have included a takeover by WHITE Dubai. And then there’s URBN Fridays, which is when you’re likely to see the biggest names performing on stage. Whatever you do, make sure you dress to impress, as a door policy applies here.
Open Tue, Thu & Fri, 11pm-3.30am. MAD, Yas Island (055 834 6262).
Only at MAD: F1 weekend parties
MAD is going all out for the F1 this year. American rapper T-Pain gets the parties started on Thursday, November 24, before Sean Paul and Rita Ora perform on Friday night. Hip-hop stars Travis Scott (Saturday) and Future (Sunday) will also be hitting the stage over the weekend.
More than just a stretch of sand, Yas Beach is a complete destination for the entire family. There are bars, restaurants, swimming pools, watersports, fitness classes and, yes, a beach. The Restaurant, Tiki Bar, Hops Bar, Mixed Drinks Bar and The Lounge will keep you watered while you’re not out in the sun. But you won’t be able to resist the outdoor activities for long. Noukhada Watersports organises non-motorised watersports at Yas Beach, including kayaking, sailing and snorkelling. If you’d rather stay dry, there’s also a volleyball court and outdoor gym. Kids aren’t left out of the fun, either, with a dedicated swimming pool and regular activities such as sandcastle-building and face painting. Or you can ignore all of our suggestions and just laze about on the beach. But just one more tip: if you’re looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, book one of the VIP cabanas for the ultimate beach day.
Sun-Thu: Dhs50 per person, free (children under 12); Fri-Sat: Dhs100 per person, free (children under 12). Beach cabana: Dhs200 per couple (Sun-Thu), Dhs400 per couple (Fri-Sat). Pool cabana: Dhs400 per couple (Sun-Thu), Dhs600 per couple (Fri-Sat). Open Sun-Thu 10am-7pm, Fri-Sat 10am-10pm.
Yas Beach, opposite Crowne Plaza Yas Island (050 952 2283).
Only at Yas Beach: Yoga on the beach
Yas Beach runs regular yoga sessions on the beach. It usually takes place at 8.30am on Friday and Saturday mornings. Check Yas Beach’s Facebook page for the latest schedule.
Golf is gaining in popularity in Abu Dhabi, thanks to the world-class courses all over the city. One of the best around can be found on Yas Island. Set alongside the ocean, Yas Links is as beautiful as it is challenging. Golfers will find 112 bunkers across the 18 holes of this course, that’s surrounded by mangroves. It’s a great test for experienced golfers, but newcomers to the sport can also enjoy the fairways. Beginners can get to grips with the basics during the “Learn Golf in a Week” programme. There are also lessons that focus on particular aspects of the game, such as reading the green and swing techniques. And after working up a thirst playing golf all day, there’s Hickory’s Sports Bar for drinks and pub grub. It also runs a popular quiz night on Wednesdays.
From Dhs100 per player (nine-hole par 3 course for minimum two players). Yas Links, Yas Island, www.yaslinks.com (02 810 7710).
Only at Yas Links: His and Hers Night
Every first Tuesday of the month, couples can get a one-hour golf clinic followed by a house beverage each in Hickory’s. This is a great opportunity to introduce a partner to golf, or for you to both learn at the same time. All the golf equipment is provided.
Dhs150 per couple. First Tuesday of the month, 7pm-8pm, email@example.com (02 810 7710/53).
For retail therapy on Yas Island, look no further than this giant shopping centre. Yas Mall opened in 2015 and covers 2.5 million sq ft. You’ll find almost every shop you can imagine in here. Huge department stores including Debenhams and House of Fraser are here, as well as upmarket fashion brands such as Armani, Calvin Klein and Ted Baker. But this is also a place for entertainment, just in case you get bored of shopping. There’s a 20-screen Vox Cinema for movie fans, an Adventure HQ with an indoor caving network and Softair Battlezone, where you shoot at electronic targets to complete the course. After all this, you’ll most likely be hungry. As well as the usual food court options, you can also explore Cascade Dining, where the likes of Lebanese restaurant BouBouffe and Emirati eatery Dish Dash can be found. More than enough for a lazy weekend day of shopping, movie-watching and eating.
Open daily 10am-midnight (shops). Yas Mall, Yas West, www.yasmall.ae (02 414 6401).
Only at Yas Mall: Family Walkathon
Put on a pair of comfy shoes and walk your way to fitness. Yas Mall’s Family Walkathon will be led by a personal trainer, starting from Town Square. Register online to take part.
Fri Dec 2, 8am. Town Square, Yas Mall, communications.yasmall.ae/FamilyWalkathon. (02 414 6401).
Yas Marina isn’t just about boats. Sure, it’s full of boats, which makes for quite a sight, especially at night, when the gleaming yachts reflect the colours of the iconic Yas Viceroy. But this area is best known for its collection of excellent bars and restaurants. Whatever kind of night, or day, you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. Casual sports venue Stars ’N’ Bars is the best place to catch the big game. It even has a non-smoking section, a welcome option in Abu Dhabi. For something a bit classier, there’s Iris for deep house and views out over the water, or Italian style and dining at Cipriani. See our F1 preview feature on page 21 for the full list of outlets. But being so close to the water, you probably want to get out there, which is where Eywoa comes in. These guys organise some extreme watersport activities, such as wakeboarding and kitesurfing. Visit www.eywoa.com to find out more about what they offer from Yas Marina. There are also some more sedate ocean-faring options, such as cruises with Captain Tony’s (www.captaintonys.ae) and bespoke trips with Azure Marine Charters (www.azurecharters.com).
Only at Yas Marina: Seawings
To get an all-together-different view of Yas Island, and the rest of Abu Dhabi, take off on a flight with Seawings. You’ll fly over Yas Marina Circuit, Ferrari World and around the city, seeing Emirates Palace, Sheikh Zayed Bridge and the mangroves during the 25-minute flight. It’ll be an unforgettable experience.
Dhs895 (adults), Dhs760 (children). Seawings, www.seawings.ae (04 807 0708).
Yas Marina Circuit
Okay, we know we’ve already spent a lot of time talking about what’s happening around Yas Marina Circuit during the F1 weekend, but this is a year-round destination. When the F1 circus packs up and goes home, Yas Marina Circuit keeps going, with a range of activities for the entire family. If watching the world’s best drivers on the circuit has inspired you, then book yourself in for one of the driving experiences. Get behind the wheel of everything from an Aston Martin GT4 to a single-seater Formula 3000 Yas racing car. You’ll be guided around the track by an instructor, following in the wheel-tracks of Lewis Hamilton. Or, if you’d rather see how the professionals do it, passenger rides are available, too. But getting into a car isn’t the only way of experiencing the track. Every Tuesday night, the circuit is opened up to walkers, runners and cyclists for TrainYas by ActiveLife. The track is 5.5km long, so it makes for the perfect workout. TrainYas is a free event, you just need to register on the Yas Marina Circuit website before turning up.
Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, www.yasmarinacircuit.com (800 927).
Only at Yas Marina Circuit: Yas Racing Series
The Formula 1 is obviously the big draw, but club racing events take place throughout the winter. The Yas Racing Series features the Formula 4 UAE championship and the TRD 86 Cup. The next round is from February 9 to 11, 2017, and entry is free.
This is one of Yas Island’s most famous attractions, and with good reason. There are some seriously exhilarating slides at this impressive water park. It has a UAE theme, based on “The Legend of the Lost Pearl”, and has 45 rides, slides and attractions. There are four “thrill” levels to appeal to the entire family, so everyone can have a good day out here. Shaheen’s Adrenalin Rush is the zone for extreme splashing, including the incredibly steep Jebel Drop and Liwa Loop, a free-fall slide that will leave your heart in your mouth. For the smallest members of the family, Sultan’s Young Fun is the zone that features kid-friendly swimming pools, while there are also games and play areas dotted around the park. There are plenty of dining options, too, for when flying down slides gets tiring. And you’re going to need a full-day here to make the most of it.
Dhs250 (adults), Dhs210 (children under 1.3m). Open daily 10am-6pm (Nov-Feb). Yas Waterworld, Yas Island, www.yaswaterworld.com (02 414 2000).
Only at Yas Waterworld: National Day offer
To celebrate the UAE’s National Day on December 2, entrance to the park will only cost Dhs95. The offer is available for all UAE residents, upon presentation of a valid Emirates ID. What better way to celebrate than hurtling down slides?
Time Out Abu Dhabi,