All the best places to soak up some art and culture in Abu Dhabi

Explore the city and understand it's history

Manarat Al Saadiyat for TimeOut Guides FeatureSaadiyat Island Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates 11718Photo by Grace GuinoITP Images
ITP Images
Manarat Al Saadiyat for TimeOut Guides FeatureSaadiyat Island Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates 11718Photo by Grace GuinoITP Images

Al Ain Oasis

A beautifully tranquil spot that’s home to 147,000 date palms growing across 3,000 acres. Learn about the oasis’s long and rich history in the Eco Centre of this UNESCO Heritage Site.
Free. Open daily 8am-5pm. Al Mutawaa, Al Ain (02 599 5438).

Al Qattara Arts Centre
Al Ain’s artistic epicentre, this centre showcases pieces from both local and expat talents while running classes for budding artists working
with a multitude of media.
Free. Open Sat-Thu 8am-8pm. Al Qattara, Al Ain (03 711 8225).

Bait Al Oud
Few places do more to preserve the ancient songs and techniques associated with the oud, the UAE’s most important musical instrument. There are regular performances and courses.
Free. Open daily 10am-10pm. Malqatah Street, Al Nahyan (02 641 5699).

Cultural Foundation
A first of its kind in the UAE, this cultural centre is dedicated to the creation and appreciation of Emirati art and literature, of which the
scope is vast.
Free. Open Sat-Thu 10am-8pm, Fri noon-10pm. Opposite Qasr Al Hosn (02 657 6348).

Heritage Village

A painstakingly put-together recreation of a traditional oasis village, here you’ll gain an intriguing insight into the UAE’s past and enjoy craftsmen showing off their huge skill.
Free. Open Sat-Thu 9am-4pm, Fri 3.30pm-9pm. Near Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi Corniche Breakwater (02 681 4455).

Louvre Abu Dhabi
A modern masterpiece – and that’s just the architecture – you’ll find permanent collections that include works from Gauguin, Picasso and Magritte alongside historic works from the region. There are regular special exhibitions, too.
Dhs31.50-Dhs63. Free for under-13s. Open Sat-Sun, Tue-Wed 10am-8pm, Thu-Fri 10am-10pm. Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island (600 565 566).

Qasr Al Hosn
The former home of the ruling family, this is Abu Dhabi’s oldest and most significant building that has been converted into a museum charting the history of the emirate.
Dhs30, Dhs15 (children under 12). Open Sat-Thu 9am-7pm, Fri noon-10pm. Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street, Al Hosn (02 697 6400).

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
One of the most majestic places of worship anywhere on the planet, marvel at the architecture and fine furnishings. Make sure you take a free tour with one of the super-friendly guides.
Free. Open Sat-Thu 9am-10pm, Fri 4.30pm-10pm. Sheikh Rashid Bin Saaed Street (02 419 1919).

The Founder’s Memorial
The UAE’s tribute to the late, great Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the nation’s founding father.  Explore the life and legacy of this truly visionary leader.
Free. Open daily 9am-10pm. Al Marsa Street, West Corniche (02 410 0100).

Wahat Al Karama
‘The oasis of dignity’ commemorates the sacrifice made by the UAE’s armed forces over the years. Learning of these brave heroes’ histories might well bring a tear to your eye.
Free. Open daily 9am-10pm. 3rd Street, Khor Al Maqta (02 668 1000).

Warehouse 421
A thriving platform for art and culture, design and creativity, and performance and music from UAE-based, regional and international talents with a diverse programme of events and workshops.
Prices vary. Open Tue-Sun 101m-8pm. Samrayr Street, Mina Zayed (02 676 8803).

Abu Dhabi Theater
The Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation puts on a programme of performance art productions at this fine venue that also doubles as a cinema.
Times and prices vary. Al ’Alam Street, Al Kasir (02 681 8821).

Cinema Space
This volunteer-run independent initiative offers regular free screenings of beautifully restored classics and contemporary world cinema to the capital’s film buffs.
Free. Timings vary. Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island,

Cultural Foundation
The foundation hosts a world-class, contemporary, popular and homegrown performing arts programme including dance and theatre.
Prices and timings vary. Opposite Qasr Al Hosn (02 657 6348).

Manarat Al Saadiyat
The beating heart of the Saadiyat Island’s cultural hub, the Manarat runs exhibitions, workshops, performances and drop-in art studio spaces.
Most events are free. Open daily 9am-8pm. Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island (02 657 5800).

National Theatre
The region’s largest auditorium, this impressive 2,500-seater space stages plays and film screenings and has done for nearly 40 years.
Prices and timings vary. Fatima Bint Mubarak Street, Al Danah (02 443 5646).

Red Theater
This venue is the largest at the NYU Abu Dhabi’s Art Center and regularly puts on dance, theatre and film productions, often created by its students.
Prices and timings vary. The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island (02 628 6868).

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