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Leisure, Entertainment & Sports

Abu Dhabi - Leisure, Entertainment & Sports

Abu Dhabi's overwhelmingly large expatriate population gravitates towards some club or community group it feels an affinity to. Expatriate groups in Abu Dhabi have formed close-knit social clubs which recreate the harmony and culture of their home countries.

"The Club" has acquired almost heritage status, having been established for some of the first westerners who came to Abu Dhabi in the 1960's to work in the oil industry. It has a gymnasium, a private beach, pool, library, tennis courts, sailing club, scuba club, drama club, bars and restaurants. The Club celebrates Christmas, Easter, and all other holidays with much fanfare and joie de vivre. Besides the Club, almost every hotel has a club facility which actively organizes sports and social events for its members.

Popular celebrities from Hollywood are regularly invited for shows, and opera and ballet productions are hosted frequently at the Emirates Pace Hotel in Abu Dhabi.

Other than the clubs, there are several other social groups for mothers and children of all age groups such as the Beavers, Cubs and Scouts, and the Sunday Schools at the local churches.

Places of Tourist and Cultural Interest

Amidst the towering concrete and glass structures, Abu Dhabi sports vast green stretches that make it a delightfully pleasant place to live in. The six – kilometer long waterfront at the Corniche, lined with parks, paved walkways and fountains pulls large crowds of expats in the evenings, as does the new Heritage Village on the Breakwater where ancient Bedouin life has been re-created. The Breakwater has been reclaimed from the sea and is connected to the Corniche by a causeway. With its cafes, restaurants and malls, the Breakwater buzzes with activity throughout the day.

The Al-Hosn Palace in Khaladiya houses the very happening Cultural Foundation where weekly events and cultural events are staged. The Women's Craft Centre on Al Maktoum Street can be visited for hand-made crafts and traditional souvenirs

Almost 200 islands face the Abu Dhabi waterfront, and their pure white beaches are great for day-long picnics. The Al Bateen shipyard to the west of the Corniche offers a glimpse of dhow building amidst a lush green environment.

Al Ain is 148 km from Abu Dhabi and a popular weekend getaway for expatriates of the city. Archaeological sites of the 4th century BC, the Al Ain Museum, the lovely oasis supporting plantations, and delightful views from the peaks that rise up to 1340 ft are major attractions for tourists and expats alike.


Residents in Abu Dhabi need a permit to buy and consume alcohol. It is best to dress conservatively at all times in Abu Dhabi, even at the nightclubs, and drink sensibly so as not to offend the locals.

Some of the nightclubs recommended by expatriates living in Abu Dhabi are:

Tuesday Nights at Hemmingways, Cinabar and the Jazz Bar at the Hilton Hotel, (+971 2 6811900);

Thursday Nights at Oceans and the Sax at the Royal Meridien;

Escape at Hiltonia Beach on the Corniche Road, (+971 2 6811900);

Level at the Crowne Plaza on Hamdan Street Open only on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (+971 2 6210000)


Several options are available to sports enthusiasts in Abu Dhabi. Bowling, polo, powerboat racing, rock climbing camel racing, rock climbing, rugby, tennis, cricket, football, golf, horse riding, ice-skating, car rallying, canoeing alley, shooting and archery, sailing are all packed within 6,700 sq. km of this city.

For more information on the sports facilities available in Abu Dhabi, click here.

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