Change is constant in Abu Dhabi.
New malls, restaurants, events and everything in between seem to open on a regular basis. Cultural landmarks are built, neighbourhoods are rejuvenated and reimagined, and the pace of change is truly quite amazing.
Even the capital that we know now will be a very different place ten years into the future.
Feel like you haven’t been keeping up with the latest developments in Abu Dhabi? Well here’s what you might have missed.
Abu Dhabi Children’s Library
Giving families another reason to visit The Cultural Foundation, an all-new children’s library has launched at the venue inside Qasr Al Hosn. The modern space provides a learning and educational area for kids as well as materials for them to read and an opportunity to connect with the UAE’s heritage. Plus, with dedicated reading zones and a year-round programme of events it gets two thumbs up from us.
Qasr Al Hosn, www.alhosn.ae.
It’s fair to say that there’s a lot of excitement around the Al Qana development, and for good reason. With the Middle East’s largest aquarium (home to a seven-metre snake), the largest stand-alone cinema in the capital, a virtual reality zone and a skate park, there’s a lot to look forward to. Plus, with a waterfront promenade hosting a range of shops and restaurants, Khor Al Maqta is about to become one of the best places to be in the city. Set to open sometime in 2020, all eyes are on the development. Because really, who doesn’t want to see the biggest reptile in the Middle East? Two tickets please.
Al Qana, Khor Al Maqta, www.alqana.ae.
They say children are pampered these days and it’s hard to argue with that when the Middle East’s first spa for babies has opened in Abu Dhabi. The aptly named Baby Spa provides a range of services for children up to the age of 15 months old. Infants can enjoy hydrotherapy and massages or even opt for a hair or nail treatment to unwind from their stressful lives of crying all the time and being fed. Wonderful.
Prices vary. Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu and Fri 10am-11pm. Yas Mall, Yas Island www.thebabyspa.ae.
Veganism is a big deal throughout the globe and in Abu Dhabi things are no different. One of the world’s most popular meat substitutes, Beyond Meat, has taken a hold over the city and popped up at so many venues including The Coffee Club, Freedom Pizza, Burger Fuel, The Foundry, Blu Sky Lounge & Grill and more. So if you’re looking to cut down on your meat intake, you’ve come to the right place.
Various locations, including The Foundry, Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Zahiyah (02 818 4888).
You may have seen them or even tried them out already, but it’s no secret that electric scooters are popping up across the city. Want a ride? Simply download the Circ app to see the pick-up locations and after a few clicks you’ll be off and running (well, not running exactly). They go at 20kph as a maximum and cost Dhs3 to unlock, then Dhs1 for every minute you use it. They’re available on the Corniche, Reem Island, Al Maryah Island and Al Dana already and they’ll also be available elsewhere soon. We think they’re pretty cool.
‘What’s that weird looking building attached to Yas Mall?’ Is a questions that you might well have asked in the past 12 months. The answer? Well, it’s only CLYMB, the home of the world’s largest indoor skydiving chamber and the world’s tallest indoor, air-conditioned climbing wall. Set to open in the first quarter of 2020 we’re confident that it will be a smash hit and let’s be honest, we can’t wait to try it for ourselves. We’ll see you in the queue.
Be careful how you say this one out loud… What is it? Well it’s a new restaurant inside Louvre Abu Dhabi. I know, we’re already excited about it too. The classy Parisian-style brasserie is set to open early next year and it will have a menu created by legendary French chef Pierre Gagnaire. We look forward to booking a table and seeing what culinary treats are on offer in the midst of one of the most impressive structures in the region.
After bossing it in Dubai with their super-fun play concept for children, Kidzania has opened up shop in the capital to the delight of children across the city. The new play zone helps teach youngsters the importance of independence, decision-making skills and the value of community, while playing, of course. The space in Yas Mall is a place where youngsters can take on one of 60 real-life jobs and dream of what they’ll be when they grow up, although sadly none of those jobs is in journalism. Instead youngsters from one to 16 can take on roles as firemen, construction workers, police officers, and fashion designers, among other jobs. They’ll also learn about earning a salary and how best to manage their earnings, too. We’re a little bit jealous to be honest.
Dhs185 (kids four-14), Dhs75 (adults). Ground Floor, Yas Mall, Yas Island, abudhabi.kidzania.com/en-ae.
At Time Out HQ we’ve been watching the development of Abu Dhabi’s Midfield Terminal with keen interest and we’re sure we’re not the only ones. The massive structure is starting to take shape and we’re getting closer to the grand opening, which is expected to be by the end of this year. Operation trials have been completed, simulations carried out and a whole host of other tests are being done before this massive international transport hub is opened. With 65 gates, 28,000 square metres of retail space, 30,000 square metres of lounge space and catering to 30 million passengers a year, it’s going to be big deal when it opens. We’re already clutching our passports in anticipation.
If you’re a night bird then you’ve probably already been to the capital’s newest nightclub. Located at Novotel Al Bustan, the slick and stylish club has launched a Monday ladies’ night and various promotions running throughout the week. So if you’re bored of going to the same old places every week, why not shake it up and check out this exciting new venue? We’re ready and set with our best clothes and some fashionable (yet comfy) shoes for a night out. We hope you’ve got some moves because we’ll be tearing up the dance floor.
Novotel Al Bustan, Al Mushrif (050 977 9535).
Don’t panic, we said nobody panic. Road tolls are coming our way and let’s be honest we’ve been expecting it for a while now. Abu Dhabi’s road toll system is set to be in place from October 15 and vehicles on the roads will be charged when they pass through one of the gates located at Sheikh Zayed Bridge, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Bridge, Al Maqtaa Bridge and Mussafah Bridge. Drivers are required to register before October 15 by visiting www.itps.itc.gov.ae, where they can also set up an account and load it with Dhs100. Those who drive through the tolls after this date without setting up an account will face fines, so it’s best to be prepared. We have a full guide on how to register on our website so don’t be shy, you’ll know exactly what to do in a few clicks.
The library at Fifth Street Cafe
Sharing is caring, and if you care about getting a great book then you don’t want to miss this. Helping to instill a love of reading and encourage the community to share great reads with others, Fifth Street Café has launched a sharing library. The free-to-use library gives readers the chance to pick up a new book and drop off books that they’ve already finished for others to enjoy. The selection is limited at the moment and it varies depending on what has been donated. So if you have a bunch of books sitting around your house gathering dust then why not donate them and give them a new lease of life? We think it’s a great idea.
Courtyard by Marriott World Trade Center Abu Dhabi, Al Markaziyah (02 698 2255).
Not only is it a restaurant that serves great food but it’s also fun to say. The newest restaurant at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers is another venue from restauranteur Richard Sandoval. Serving up pan-Latin dishes in one of the coolest dining rooms in the city, it should definitely be on your must-try list when it comes to dining out. What’s on offer? There’s smoked guacamole, ceviches, chicken and beef anticuchos, chargrilled meats, tacos, dynamite lobster and more. If you’re not already salivating, then no delicious guacamole for you and all the more for us.
Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, West Corniche (02 811 5666).