Your 2020 bucket list for the capital

Get your bucket list ready and make 2020 the best year ever…

There’s still lots to see, do and discover in Abu Dhabi. This year make a point of getting to try some of them out — a lesson in Emirati cooking, perhaps, learning Arabic or discovering a new place.

Remember this: It doesn’t matter what you choose from our roundup, it’s having fun doing it that counts… so enjoy!

Get your heart racing

CLYMB Abu Dhabi is the city’s latest attraction that lets you conquer new heights. It features the world’s biggest indoor skydiving flight chamber and the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall. From AED 100. Yas Island. Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 1pm-11pm. Visit: clymbabudhabi.com

Soar above the sea donning a jet powered backpack from Abu Dhabi Marine. The device is designed with a handheld steering system for control and navigation. Corniche, across from Marina Mall. Timings vary. Visit: abudhabimarine.ae

Ride the world’s fastest rollercoaster, Formula Rossa, which zooms around the track at a heart-racing 240 km per hour in 4.9 seconds! Go on, we dare you! From AED 295. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Island. Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 11am-8pm. Visit: ferrariworldabudhabi.com

The Yas Drag Night promises to fulfil your F1 aspirations. Bring your own car or use the Mercedes AMG E63 or Chevrolet Camaro on standby and go full throttle on the iconic racetrack. AED 320. Yas Island. Various timings. Visit: yasmarinacircuit.com

Push your limits by (finally) signing up to the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi 2020. Aside from gathering pro triathletes from across the globe, the tournament also features categories for beginners, seasoned athletes and even kids. Participating fees vary and start from AED 120. 5th-7th March. Visit: abudhabi.triathlon.org

Back to nature

Head for the Night Light Tour from Noukhada Adventure Company and get to paddle around the lush Eastern Mangroves on lit kayaks. Keep an eye out for fish and other forms of wildlife as paddle along. AED 210. Eastern Mangroves, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street. Various timings. Visit: noukhada.ae

The Pearl Journey experience porvides a glimpse of ancient Emirati traditions before the oil boom. The journey includes pearl diving and oyster opening demonstrations, among others. From AED 150. Eastern Mangroves, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street. Various timings. Visit: adpearljourney.com

Go further afield and head to the hot springs at the base of Jebel Hafeet mountain in Al Ain. It’s said that the waters here possess a therapeutic element too – that’s good to know!
Free. Al Ain.

Indulge in local culture

You’ve probably seen them being strummed in cafes but why not learn to play the oud (an Arabic string instrument) with help from a virtuoso from Bait Al Oud.
Lessons include learning the instrument’s history, theory and playing techniques. Villa 72, Malqatah Street, Al Nahyan. For timings and rates, contact: 02 641 5699

Get to say more than just ‘shukran’ by signing up to an Arabic language class taught by local speakers at Eton Institute. twofour54 (building 6), beside Park Rotana. Sun-Thu 8.30am-9pm, Sat 9am-6pm, Fri closed. Visit: etoninstitute.com

Did you know that camels can run up to 65 km per hour? You do now! Catch a camel racing event and see them dash to the finish line. Free. Al Wathba Camel Racetrack, Al Ain Road. Various timings. Contact: 02 885 8888

Try your hand at making Emirati food from scratch by following recipes and techniques presented in the book, Culinary Magic of the Emirates. Author Alexandra von Hahn brings together stories and recipes as told by Emirati women to capture the true taste and essence of UAE cuisine. AED 165 available at Magrudy’s and Borders.

Gain a deeper understanding of Emirati heritage through the pages of the guidebook UAE 101: Stories & Cultural Learnings. Authors Roudha Al Marri and Illaria Caielli put together valuable anecdotes about UAE culture and traditions to bridge cultural gap between locals and foreigners. AED 60 at amazon.ae

Explore local landmarks

The Observation Deck at 300 is considered the highest vantage point in Abu Dhabi and is the perfect vantage point from which to enjoy the city sights. The skyline is stunning and you can take it all in while enjoying tea or coffee with snacks. AED 95 entry, AED 250 afternoon high tea. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Corniche West. 10am-7pm. Contact: 02 811 5666, jadrestaurants@jumeirah.com

Head down to the Children’s Library and theatre at Qasr Al Hosn and explore the various year-round cultural events promoting Emirati heritage.
AED 30 adults, AED 15 children 6-11 years old. Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum Street. Sat-Thu 9am-7pm, Fri noon-10pm. Visit: qasralhosn.ae

This famous landmark – Qasr Al Watan – houses a vast library that’s well worth a visit. Explore a massive collection of books on history, geography, heritage, biographies, archaeology and, interestingly, literature documenting the UAE’s political and social history. AED 60 adults, AED 30 children. Al Ras Al Akhdar. Daily 10am-8pm. Visit: qasralwatan.ae

Head out to Al Ain and back to prehistoric times at Hili 8 archaeological site for a glimpse into the country’s Bronze Age and Iron Age via houses, tombs, ancient agricultural village and irrigation systems. Free. Al Ain.

Give back to the community

Community organisation Animal Welfare Abu Dhabi (AWAD)

It’s payback time to the city you love. Sign up to volunteers.ae for various opportunities to help the community – from environmental initiatives to government-sponsored programmes to national events.

Give a gift of life by participating in Emirates Red Crescent’s blood donation drive. You can also sign up as a volunteer to help the organisation in its various missions. Visit: rcuae.ae

Do your part in saving the environment by joining the many activities organised by the Emirates Environmental Group, Emirates Nature – WWF and Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. The activities range from beach clean-ups to segregating and managing waste, among many others.

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