One of the best things about Abu Dhabi is of course its beautiful climate and things to do outdoors, but there are also loads of amazing things to do indoors.
But as much we love living in year-round sunshine, we all know that the heat becomes unbearable in the summer months as temperatures soar meaning some of our favourite outdoor actives are out of the question during the season.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t continue to enjoy the great things the capital has to offer. It simply means we have to move the fun indoors. Luckily, there are plenty of indoor activities in Abu Dhabi to keep us going through the scorching months. Here are a few of the best…
Pose with a Falcon at Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
Did you know that falcons have their own passports and can travel alongside passengers on airlines including Emirates and Etihad? Well, you would if you’ve ever been on a brilliant tour of the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital. This amazing institution has been open for over 20 years, and the tour lets you witness minor procedures and even hold one of the falcons and get a selfie with it - it’s pure Instagram gold.
From Dhs170. Daily tours run 10am & 2pm. Abu Dhabi to Sweihan Road, near to Abu Dhabi International Airport, www.falconhospital.com (02 575 5155).
Push your boundaries at Adventure HQ
If you’re an outdoorsy type who loves nothing more than scaling mountains and doing adventurous activities, you don’t need to worry that you might need to abandon your favourite hobbies during the Abu Dhabi summer. Adventure HQ lets you go bouldering, climbing, caving and zip lining all within some of the capital’s best malls. Or if you’re blessed with incredible balance or sports skills, you can also try out the skate park and football pitches.
Prices vary. Sat-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Various locations, including Yas Mall, Yas Island (02 565 0996).
Feel lighter than air at Bounce
Is there anything more liberating than bouncing as high as you can on a trampoline? If you haven’t tried it for yourself (or since you were about six years old) then you need to get yourself over to Bounce as soon as possible. Found in Marina Mall, this huge trampoline park lets everyone lose their inhibitions and be a bit silly. But it’s not simply about bouncing, you can also play a game of dodgeball, perfect your basketball skills and even have a go on the zip line. Or, if you’re looking for a fun way of burning off those extra portions of umm ali, the Bounce Fit classes are tremendously enjoyable too.
Dhs85 (general admission). Open Sat-Wed 10am-1am; Thu-Fri 10am-2am. Marina Mall (04 321 1400).
Catch alternative movies at Cinema Space
Over the next few months, you’ll probably reach a point where you’ve seen all the latest releases at the cinema. But don’t even think about going back for a second viewing, simply head to Cinema Space and catch a restored classic or arty cinematic masterpiece instead. It’s perfect if you fancy going to watch something a bit different and, as all the screenings are free to enter, it won’t cost you a thing either (if you don’t count the obligatory snacks).
Free. Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island, www.cinemaspace-abudhabi.splashthat.com.
Race around at Ferrari World
Home to the world’s fastest rollercoaster, this huge theme park is a big hit with all thrill seekers. Formula Rossa reaches speeds of 240km an hour and heights of 52 metres, so you’ll also get a great view of the island while you’re up there too. Aside from some of the really big loops and dips, it’s all totally indoors, so you won’t get fried by the sun while you’re waiting for your turn on the next ride. If being twisted upside down and thrown along at high speeds isn’t really your thing there’s also loads of gentler rides too, plus live entertainment throughout the day and plenty for kids.
Dhs295 (single day ticket). Open daily 10am-8pm (timings vary until June 4). Yas Island (600 511 115).
Eat Japanese cheesecakes at Keki
The small, casual venue in Al Bateen draws crowds from across the city, all after its famous Japanese cheesecakes. If you’ve never tried one before, these light and fluffy creations are hilariously wobbly and fun to photograph, but the best bit is the incredible light and creamy taste. Head down for yourself and see what we mean. The atmosphere is calming and chilled, and it’s a lovely place to relax for a few hours (and obviously devour a couple of cakes and pastries while you’re at it).
Open daily 8.30am-11pm. Al Bateen Park, Al Bateen (02 309 3999).
Explore the history of mankind at Louvre Abu Dhabi
While the building might be one of the most striking parts of this incredible museum, it’s inside where the real wonders are found. The main gallery explores the evolution of art and mankind in chronological order, while the other exhibitions change regularly.
From Dhs60 (adults), Dhs30 (ages 13-22), free (under 13). Saadiyat Cultural District, Saadiyat Island, www.louvreabudhabi.ae (060 056 5566).
Party all night at MAD on Yas Island
If you’re looking to go ‘out out’ in Abu Dhabi, this is the place to go. Because while the season for beach parties might be over, we still have the largest nightclub in the UAE to keep us partying all night long. This venue really doesn’t do things by halves, and you should expect live dancers, lots of dry ice and to feel very very tired the next day. But you only live once, right? Many of the nights here feature a special guest - Tine Tempah, Akon, Ne-Yo and French Montana are just some of the huge names who have performed here.
Open Thu-Fri 11pm-3.30am. Leisure Drive, Yas Island (055 834 6262).
Let out your frustrations at Punch
While exercising in the glaring sun doesn’t appeal at all, letting out all our frustrations on a punch bag certainly does. The workouts at boutique boxing studio Punch feature flashing lights, pumping tunes, and new and swanky equipment like water-filled punching bags. The classes either focus on boxing technique, or mix up boxing moves with body weight, cardio and strengthening exercises. But whatever class you do, you’ll come out dripping with sweat and feeling fantastic.
From Dhs100. Sun-Thu, class times vary. International Tennis Centre, Zayed Sports City (050 754 8474).
Travel back in time at Qasr Al Hosn
This is the oldest building in the city, and the fort houses an exhibition that lets visitors explore the lives of the past rulers of Abu Dhabi. You can also view great works of art in The Cultural Foundation and discover more about traditional crafts in the House of Artisans. There’s easily enough to keep you busy here for a whole afternoon.
Dhs30. Open Sat-Thu 9am-7pm; Fri noon-10pm. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street, www.alhosn.ae.
Walk the grand hallways of Qasr Al Watan
We’ve all driven past those incredibly grand gates and wondered what it would be like to take a glimpse inside Abu Dhabi’s Presidential Palace. Well in case you missed it, Qasr Al Watan (Palace of the Nation) is now open to the public, and you can take tours around the cool hallways and rooms within this incredible building. It contains a huge library, various exhibitions and an enormous chandelier made from 350,000 crystals. It’s so pretty you’ll never want to leave (but you will have to...).
Dhs60 (adults), Dhs30 (children). Open daily 10am-8pm. Al Ras Al Akhdar, www.qasralwatan.ae.
Make your own sushi at Teatro
We’re sure that lots of you are total experts at eating sushi, but have you ever thought about what goes in to making it? The private sushi-making classes at Teatro see you join the expert chefs at the sushi counter and learn how to make your very own delicious maki rolls, sushi and sashimi. Afterwards you get to sample the fruits of your labour along with some other delicacies, and you’ll also walk away with a certificate and goodie bag.
From Dhs955 (up to four people). Timings vary. Park Rotana Abu Dhabi, Khalifa Park area (02 657 3333).
Try indoor skydiving and rock climbing
CLYMB Abu Dhabi may only have opened in November 2019, but the Yas Island attraction has fast become a favourite in the city. Though that isn’t much of a surprise considering the fact that it is home to only the world’s biggest indoor skydiving flight chamber (measuring at an incredible 10m by 26m) but also the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall at 43m. Visit for a hit of adrenaline and a night to remember as CLYMB is open until 11pm on weekends and 9pm on weeknights.
From Dhs95 (climbing), From Dhs 215 (skydiving). Sun-Thu noon-9pm, Fri and Sat noon-11pm. Yas Mall, Yas Island, www.clymbabudhabi.com.