Nine things to do in the capital ahead of the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi

From visiting Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque to stopping by to experience the flavours of Taste of Abu Dhabi, here are some other non-Louvre activities

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque bathes in the light of a sunset and later lights up to continue provide a beautiful and peaceful solace to the faithful as well as the curious tourists on Tuesday evening, July 18, 2011.  (Silvia Razgova/The National)
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The grand opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi is just a few days away. Ahead of its much-anticipated debut, we have rounded up other things to do in the capital this weekend.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

For those visiting Abu Dhabi for the first time, the mosque is not to be missed. The largest mosque in the UAE and voted one of the world's favourite landmarks by TripAdvisor, you don't need to pay to visit this attraction. A word of warning though, visitors should dress conservatively in order to gain entrance. You can pick up a kandura or abaya on the way in if you feel you don't have the clothing required. Open from 9am-10pm Saturday to Thursday and 4.30pm-10pm on Friday.

Emirates Palace

Even if you aren't staying the night, you should still consider a stop at the luxurious Emirates Palace hotel for a  cappuccino sprinkled with 24-carat gold flakes. Enjoy the opulence of the five-star hotel that mostly consists of suites that are decked out in gold and marble. Hakkasan and some of the other restaurants within the hotel are also worth trying out.

Saadiyat Public Beach

It goes without saying that it's almost always beach weather in Abu Dhabi, although the favourable climate we're experiencing now is optimal. Visitors can enjoy a refreshing cool down here. Beach entry cost Dh25 alone, or you can pay Dh75 for a sunbed and umbrella on the weekends. Children under 12 can enter for free. For more, visit

Ferrari World

Have a need for speed? Why don't you head to the Ferrari-themed amusement park on Yas Island and ride the world's fastest rollercoaster. The Formula Rossa reaches speeds of 240km/h in just 4.9 seconds and requires you to wear goggles for your own safety. Lovers of Formula 1 racing will enjoy learning about the history of Ferrari and test-driving the simulators. A one-day park pass is Dh295.

Yas Marina Circuit

The home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is more than just a circuit for racing cars - the track is also used for fitness events including StartYas, TrainYas, and GoYas. Stop by and participate in driving experiences on the track or go karting or cycling. There are also tours available for visitors who want to learn more about the track that will be a hive of activity in a few weeks time.

Umm Al Emarat Park

Located in Mushrif, the open and spacious park features a shade house, botanic garden, amphitheatre and large open lawn. On the weekend you can catch the Ripe Market, which includes stalls selling organically grown-fruits and vegetables as well as clothing, jewellery and homeware items from local brands, free yoga sessions and food trucks. Entry fee is Dh5 or free for children under 3. The park is open from 8am-12am.

Taste of Abu Dhabi 

If the Louvre isn't on your agenda, consider heading to to du Forum on Yas Island this weekend (Novemeber 9-11) to sample some of the city's greatest signature dishes from restaurants across the region. There will also be music, celebrity chef seminars and cooking demonstrations. Tickets cost Dh65 (kids under 12 are free).

Warehouse 421

The art space in Mina Zayed often hosts exhibitions, talks, workshops, film screenings, and performances. Its purpose "is to celebrate art and culture, design and creativity, performance and music, from artists and designers based here in the UAE and from around the world, and to let people experience these disciplines in a unique and original space". And with Abu Dhabi Art on this weekend, it's a good spot to check out in addition to the hustle and bustle at Manarat Al Saadiyat. Warehouse421 is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am-8pm.

Manarat Al Saadiyat

Also taking place this weekend (November 8-11), Abu Dhabi Art focuses on providing a platform to the younger sector of the art world. There will be art installations, exhibitions, talks and events as well as the opportunity for collectors to buy some of the artwork on display. Entry costs Dh50.


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