Make the most of the Formula 1 weekend and explore the capital with these family activities
We know, we know: it’s going to be hard to tear your attention away from the action on the track as the drivers battle it out for the podium.
But the capital is bursting with off-track activities where you can soak up every drop of the Formula 1 atmosphere when you’re not in the grandstand.
From getting in the driver’s seat yourself to family days out and places where you can catch all the action, we’ve gathered everything you need to fuel a winning Formula 1 weekend in the capital.
If all the action has you craving to get in the driving seat for yourself, then head to Al Forsan International Sports Resort, put on a helmet and try it for yourself. Equipped with a 1.2km circuit, it might not quite hit the top acceleration at Yas Marina Circuit, but it will still satisfy your need for speed. From AED 120. Khalifa City. Daily 2pm–11pm. Contact: 02 556 8555, alforsan.com
If you take to the track, head up to Abu Dhabi’s neighbouring city of Al Ain, affectionately known as the Garden City, for a turn on international karting circuit Al Ain Raceway. With 1.6km to conquer plus countless twists and turns, bring a squad of your mates and rev those engines. AED 120. Khatm Al Shikla Street, Al Ain. Mon–Fri 2pm–10pm, Sat 10am–6pm. Contact: 03 768 6662, alainraceway.com
Get the full Formula 1 experience with a family trip to Yas Island theme park Ferrari World. This entertainment location features rides designed to thrill, including the world’s fastest rollercoaster, Formula Rossa, which hits speeds of 240kph in just five seconds. Once you’ve got your feet back on the ground – only briefly – brave the world’s highest rollercoaster loop with Flying Aces and enjoy the park’s shows, entertainment and family activities. From AED 275. Yas Island. Daily 11am–8pm. Visit: ferrariworldabudhabi.com
Ever wanted to know what car UAE royalty drives? You can find out at the Emirates National Auto Museum in Liwa. Built on the personal collection of Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan, the museum features 200 cars owned by the Sheikh himself, ranging from the classic American drives to off-roaders and even the world’s largest truck. AED 50. Off Abu Dhabi-Liwa road. Daily 9am–6pm. Visit: enam.ae
Head up to our neighbouring city of Al Ain and learn about everything on four wheels at the Al Ain Classic Car Museum. Established in 2009, this treasure trove of UAE local history started as a personal collection. Featuring a display of amazing vintage vehicles, it’s a great way to learn about the history of car collecting in the UAE. AED 5. Al Faida Complex, near One to One, Al Ain. Sat–Thu 9am–5pm. Fri 4pm–8pm. Contact: 050 623 1323, alainclassiccarmuseum.net
Proving that you don’t have to go fast to get an adrenaline rush, head into the desert dunes for some fun with offroadtours.ae. Whether you take on the dunes or just enjoy the landscape from a four-wheel drive, remember to leave nothing but footprints behind. If you’re feeling adventurous, why not give quad biking a try? Prices vary. Visit: offroadtours.ae
If you can’t get to the track to see the action live, you can relive the atmosphere through one of the capital’s many sports bars…
With plenty of screens, tasty grub and music, Blu Sky is a great city option if you’re downtown and want to watch what’s going on at the circuit in a chilled out location. Southern Sun Abu Dhabi, Al Mina Street, Al Zahiyah. Sun–Thu 3pm–3am, Fri–Sat noon–3am. Contact: 02 818 4888, facebook.com/bluskybarad
Located at Yas Marina, Stars ‘N’ Bars is right in the thick of the action without actually being on track – and it has 70 screens broadcasting the race so you won’t miss a second. With an American-themed menu, views of the track, DJs and an outdoor terrace, this bar is likely to be packed, so be sure to arrive early. Yas Island. Daily 11.30am–3am; 23rd November to 26th November 10am–4am. Contact: 02 565 0101, starsnbars.ae
Velocity is sure to be a hit for sports fans with 38 screens lining the bar’s walls. With a modern, sleek vibe, this sports bar offers an international menu so you can dine on chicken wings and burgers while cheering your favourite driver on. Marriott Downtown, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street. Sun–Wed 4pm–2am, Thu–Fri noon–3am, Sat noon–2am. Contact: 02 304 7777, marriottdowntownabudhabilife.com
If you want to bring the family and still catch the race, give The Sportsman’s Arms a try. This gastropub offers tasty favourites for adults and kids alike, including roasts, burgers and sticky toffee pudding. As a bonus for little ones, there’s a play area to keep them busy while you watch for the chequered flag. Zayed Sports City. Sat–Wed 8am–midnight, Thu–Fri 8am–2am. Contact: 02 447 1066, sportsmanszsc.com
For an al fresco vibe, head to Stills on Yas Island. This stylish bar features screens both inside and outside so you don’t have to miss out on the action if you want a seat with a view. Enjoy a menu of international favourites such as sandwiches, burgers, nachos and more in a relaxed atmosphere. Crowne Plaza Yas Island. Sun–Wed 3pm–1am, Thu 3pm–3am, Fri noon–3am, Sat noon–1am. Contact: 02 656 3066, facebook.com/stillsbar
With the tagline ‘the game is on’, basement pub Heroes is known for bringing great sporting action to the table. Enjoy international classics like chicken and mushroom pie, chicken tikka masala and quesadillas to line your stomach for the race. Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, Hamdan Street. Daily midnight–4am. Contact: 02 616 6132, facebook.com/heroespubauh