Abu Dhabi Downtown, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Downtown (Self Guided), Abu Dhabi

Al Markaziyah is the downtown district of Abu Dhabi, also known as the Central Business District, which is dominated by ultramodern buildings – tall towers and skyscrapers – sided by fine parks and beautiful fountains. Aside from these, a visitor to Abu Dhabi will find many other attractions of historical, archaeological and architectural value. To find out which exactly and to understand the local culture better, follow our orientation guide and explore the city heritage.
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Abu Dhabi Downtown Map

Guide Name: Abu Dhabi Downtown
Guide Location: United Arab Emirates » Abu Dhabi (See other walking tours in Abu Dhabi)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles
Author: leticia
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Central Market Souk
  • Abu Dhabi Heritage Park
  • Omeir Bin Yousuf Masjid
  • Etisalat Headqaurters
  • Cultural Foundation
  • Sheikh Zayed Street
  • Qasr al-Hosn
  • Royal Mosque
  • Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed the First Mosque
  • Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tower
  • Baynunah Hilton Hotel Tower
  • Family Garden
  • Abu Dhabi Corniche
Central Market Souk

1) Central Market Souk (must see)

Old Souk is located near Abu Dhabi Heritage Park and is a real shopper’s paradise. The souk offers various handicrafts, quality fabric, beautiful carpets, fine textiles, and striking silver carvings. It is also a great place for souvenir shopping.
Abu Dhabi Heritage Park

2) Abu Dhabi Heritage Park (must see)

Abu Dhabi Heritage Park is a beautiful and interesting park, located near the city’s Old Souk. The park features gigantic statues and wonderful fountains which emphasize the rich history and culture of the United Arab Emirates.
Omeir Bin Yousuf Masjid

3) Omeir Bin Yousuf Masjid

Omeir Bin Yousuf Mosque, or Omeir Bin Yousuf Masjid, is a gorgeous mosque, which reflects the magnificence and splendor of Islamic architecture. The mosque is located near Al Muna Primary School, in the Al Markaziyah district.
Etisalat Headqaurters

4) Etisalat Headqaurters

Etisalat Headqaurters, or Etisalat Telecommunication and Administration Tower, is yet another proof of Abu Dhabi being one of the most modern cities in the world. The tower was built in the postmodern architectural style and has a height of 160 meters.
Cultural Foundation

5) Cultural Foundation

Founded in 1981 as a center of art and learning, the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation is located close to the Qasr al-Hosn and comprises the Institute of Culture and Art, the National Library and the National Archives. The foundation building is contemporary in style and has well kept gardens, elaborate courtyards, exquisitely carved doorways and arched columns resembling Islamic design. Architectural and archaeological heritages are preserved here due to the untiring efforts of the cultural foundation personnel. The foundation is operated under the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage and it also facilitates the development of national cinema, music, arts and literature.

Visit the cultural foundation and you will gain a lot of knowledge on the cultural heritage and other aspects of Dubai. Here you will also find old Abu Dhabi city model, ancient Islamic art, collection of black and white photographs and musical instruments. The foundation building contains meeting rooms, lecture rooms, cinema, theater, coffee shop and an exhibition center. Many local and international artists give concerts here and numerous cultural events are held on a regular basis. During the year, language and craft workshops are held here in addition to art exhibitions and international film festivals.

A visit to the cultural foundation in Abu Dhabi is bound to be informative and entertaining. It is open every day from 8 am to 2 pm and from 5 pm to 8 pm.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Sheikh Zayed Street

6) Sheikh Zayed Street

Sheikh Zayed Street is a popular shopping destination in Abu Dhabi. It is grand with a variety of great shops and stores selling splendid jewelery, fashionable clothes, original antique items, local traditional products, and many other interesting items.
Qasr al-Hosn

7) Qasr al-Hosn (must see)

Also referred to as the White Palace or the Al Hosn Palace, Qasr-al-Hosn is the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi and is an iconic site and landmark attraction in the city. In association with the Cultural Foundation, this palace hosts a number of exhibitions, cultural events and art classes and workshops. It will take you right back to the 18th century when the Al Nahyan family ruled from here.

The name of 'white fort' is partly erroneously, for it was never white until the 1976–1983 renovations when it acquired a bright white painted concrete render. Having started out as a round watchtower defending the only freshwater well on Abu Dhabi island in ca. 1761, this tower was later expanded to a small fort in ca. 1793, at which point it became the permanent residence of the ruling sheikh. A major extension to its current shape took place in the late 1930s, aided by revenues received for granting the first oil license in Abu Dhabi. It remained the royal palace (hence the name Qasr al-Hosn, meaning palace-fort) and seat of government until 1966.
The fort was further expanded in compliance with new requirements during the reign of Sheikh Shakhboot bin Sultan Al Nahyan. For a while, Qasr Al Hosn was a home to the Center for Documentation and Research and the police. A wide scale expansion plan was launched in 2007 by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage to preserve this historical monument and open it up to the public.

Qasr Al Hosn is situated across from the Etisalat Tower between Sheikh Zayed the First Street, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street and Al Nasr Street, close to the Cultural Foundation. Do not miss a chance to visit this ancient palace on your stay in Abu Dhabi.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Royal Mosque

8) Royal Mosque

The Royal Mosque is situated near the well-known and magnificent Qasr al-Hosn Fort, in the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage area. This Islamic religious building is a small, yet beautiful mosque which displays an attractive dome and charming minaret.
Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed the First Mosque

9) Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed the First Mosque (must see)

The Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed the First Mosque is located near the modern Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tower - just across the street from British Embassy. The mosque represents a beautiful white building with three green domes and two graceful high minarets.
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tower

10) Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tower

Investment Authority Tower, just as the name suggests, is the home of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and is one of the most impressive skyscrapers in the city. Its construction was completed in 2006.

The tower has a total of 40 floors and an eight storey car park adjacent to it, with a leisure center on its roof top. Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fix on the verdant coastal zone of the city, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tower skillfully combines traditional Islamic and modern international elements.

It took a lot of effort and genius of the design team to come up with a plan for this building. There are two wings resembling fingers that enclose a central atrium. This resembles an Islamic courtyard. A layer of micro-perforated blinds is placed between two low-E glazing layers. These layers - referred to by architects as “sails” - unfurl and furl in keeping with the movement of the sun.

The superstructure is made of steel and post-tensioned floors. The atrium is enclosed by the Western elevation and has a net of frets that resemble Islamic motifs. Be sure to include a visit to the Investment Authority Tower in your Abu Dhabi itinerary.
Baynunah Hilton Hotel Tower

11) Baynunah Hilton Hotel Tower

The Baynunah Hilton Hotel is a 20th-century modern tower located near the Family Garden and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Tower. This postmodern dark blue building with a white dome is a beautiful Abu Dhabi landmark that stands 164.90 meters high.
Family Garden

12) Family Garden

Family Garden is located near the Hilton Hotel and Corniche Road. The garden is a nice place and offers a beautiful fountain, fine local plants, palms, trees, and a vast range of play equipment for children. It is truly a great place for recreation for the whole family.
Abu Dhabi Corniche

13) Abu Dhabi Corniche (must see)

On your trip to Abu Dhabi, do not miss a visit to Corniche, a six kilometer long road that extends from the Sheraton Hotel to the Hilton Hotel. The city is bordered by this coastal boulevard which in turn is lined with many attractive gardens along the Corniche. The many gardens in the city is a direct result of Abu Dhabi ruler’s passion for greenery.

At each and every intersection of the Corniche, you will find a beautiful fountain. Enjoy the amazingly picturesque sites in the city with the elegant backdrop of modern buildings across the sea. Along Corniche’s seafront, you will find spectacular sandy beaches of Abu Dhabi.

Corniche is an ideal place for families to relax, for athletes who wish to practice and for children who love playing in open space. There is a cycling track for cycling enthusiasts. You will also find a variety of snack machines serving hungry visitors apart from clearly demarcated areas such as children’s playgrounds, beach volleyball court, walking track, swimming area and toilets. The swimming area is monitored by lifeguards. Corniche encourages people to get together and enjoy a memorable time. The refreshing landscape will certainly mesmerize you. Do not miss out a visit to this amazing tourist attraction on your trip to Abu Dhabi.

Walking Tours in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Create Your Own Walk in Abu Dhabi

Create Your Own Walk in Abu Dhabi

Creating your own self-guided walk in Abu Dhabi is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Abu Dhabi South-West Region

Abu Dhabi South-West Region

Abu Dhabi is home to a number of well-maintained parks and gardens, equally great for recreation, fun, and amusement. The city is also home to the most expensive hotel ever built, which clearly reflects the magnificence and luxury of the UAE capital.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 Km or 3.2 Miles
Abu Dhabi Corniche Region

Abu Dhabi Corniche Region

Corniche Road, or simply The Corniche, is a popular place in Abu Dhabi wrapping around the western side of the city's main island. Today it abounds in cycling paths, fountains and well manicured parks, yet it wasn't until the early 2000s that the Corniche was extended at the expense of the land reclaimed from the sea. Some of its earlier landmarks had to go during the process, while...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 Km or 1.4 Miles