From record-breaking attractions and a wacky new theme park to world-class sporting events and cultural performances, 2018 is shaping up to be an exciting year
If you had to sum up 2017, what would be your highlights? For the team at Abu Dhabi World, it was about welcoming back some of our favourite events including Abu Dhabi Festival, Taste of Abu Dhabi, Formula 1 and the Mubadala World Tennis Championship.
Then there were the series of new events that launched, particularly the tours, festivals and workshops in Al Ain with stunning backdrops like Qasr Al Muwaiji and Al Jahili Fort. We’ve seen some great initiatives hosted as part of the UAE’s Year of Giving. And who can forget the highly anticipated opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi?
All in all, it was another amazing year in Abu Dhabi. But 2018 is looking to be even better with a slew of inaugural events, returning favourites, big milestones, new attractions and more. Here’s what we’re most looking forward to in 2018.
Year of Zayed
Adding to celebrations being held this year, 2018 was named the Year of Zayed by HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, marking 100 years since the birth of the founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Events celebrating the vision, values, principles and traditions of the late leader and visionary will be held throughout the year, celebrating his legacy and influence over the UAE that’s evident even in the current day.
Returning from February, the Abu Dhabi Festival has chosen the themes of youth development through culture and fostering tolerance as key messages this year. The month-long programme, featuring the work of 30 countries, begins on 19th February with a performance from violinist Nicola Benedetti and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Other highlights include two performances by The Merchants of Bollywood, celebrating India as the country of honour, and a show by Emirati composer Ihab Darwish on 14th March. Visit: audhabifestival.ae
The annual artistic festival Abu Dhabi Art will return once again in late 2018 with another engaging programme of exhibitions, talks and events for the tenth edition. Attracting more than 20,000 people a year, the event is sure to capture the imagination of visitors when it returns. For updates and more information, visit: abudhabiart.ae
After opening doors to much acclaim in November last year, Louvre Abu Dhabi will be bringing new exhibitions to the capital to share art and culture with the residents and visitors to the UAE. The current exhibition, From One Louvre to Another, will end on 7th April, with a new exhibition taking its place shortly after. AED 60 general admission. Saadiyat Island. Sat, Sun, Tue and Wed 10am-8pm, Thu-Fri 10am-10pm. Visit: louvreabudhabi.ae
If you love watching or participating in sport then there’s plenty to look forward to with the year ahead.
Back for the 13th edition of the tournament, the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship will tee off at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from 18th January. The annual golf tournament will see top names in the sport including world number one Dustin Johnson, reigning champion Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy compete for the Falcon Trophy. Visit: abudhabigolfchampionship.com
Heading to Yas Island on 2nd and 3rd March, the ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi is returning for the fourth time – and it’s more inclusive than ever with new options for athletes. A shorter sprint course has been added this year for beginners, a middle distance course for more experienced athletes and dedicated para-triathlete categories, with varying bands dependent on different needs. The new additions will be carried out alongside the standard Olympic distance triathlon and junior triathlon aimed at children aged between five and 15 years old. Visit: abudhabi.triathlon.org
Returning to the capital for the second UCI certified edition of the event, the Abu Dhabi Tour will see the best cyclists from around the world compete over four days from 21st February. UAE Team Emirates will be hoping to make their mark on the tournament and improve their standings after a 12th placed finish in 2017. Visit: abudhabitour.com
For the first time, the MENA Special Olympics Regional Games will be hosted in the capital from 14th to 23rd March ahead of the Special Olympics World Summer Games being held in Abu Dhabi in 2019. The regional event will see 1,200 athletes from 33 countries competing in 16 different sports, with the support of more than 3,000 volunteers. Visit: abudhabi2019.org/2018-regional-games
Celebrating the tenth edition of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it’s sure to be a huge weekend of celebrations on Yas Island. The Abu Dhabi race will once again be the last race in the season, held on Sunday 25th November. The fate of the World Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship could be decided at Yas Marina Circuit as Lewis Hamilton aims to become the first Briton to win five titles. We’ll also be waiting in anticipation to see who will grace the stage as part of the Yasalam after-race concert series. Visit: yasmarinacircuit.com
Building on the success of the 2017 edition, the FIFA Club World Cup 2018 will return to Abu Dhabi in December. Seven teams, including the winners of the Arabian Gulf League 2018, UEFA Champions League, Copa Libertadores and more will compete in the capital to be crowned the champions of international club football. Visit: fifa.com/clubworldcup
Set to open in 2018, Reem Central Park is a whopping 1,000,000 square foot development that will be free and open to the public on Al Reem Island. Located close to The Bridges, the development will include a mosque catering for up to 2,000 worshipers as well as a skate park, climbing wall, reflective pool, green areas, interactive water features, a four-kilometre promenade and more. Visit: aldar.com
Billed as a unique tourist and entertainment destination in Abu Dhabi, Al Qana is set to open in the summer of 2018 along Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street near Al Maqtaa. The development will feature a 5,000 square metre aquarium, marina, cinema, picnic areas, restaurants and a canal-side walkway broken up into four zones, including the entertainment zone, marina zone, aquarium zone and adrenaline zone. Visit: alqana.ae
Aiming to break two world records for the world’s largest flight chamber and world’s tallest indoor climbing wall, CLYMB will open on Yas Island in 2018. Linked to Yas Mall, the AED 367m project will bring extreme sports options to the capital for thrill seekers with a 9.75 metre flight chamber and staggering 43 metre tall indoor climbing wall. Visit: miral.ae
But that’s not all folks! Set to open in 2018, the Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi theme park will feature rides, entertainment and activities based on characters like Scooby Doo, Tom and Jerry and that cheeky Bugs Bunny. Confirmed zones inside the park include Cartoon Zone, Bedrock, Gotham City and Metropolis. Visit: wbworldabudhabi.com
This is only a taste of what’s to come! Events like Yas Family Fitness Festival, Movies in the Park, Abu Dhabi Pet Festival and Harlem Globetrotters have already been announced for early 2018.
What’s more, additional events, concerts, festivals and attractions are sure to be announced as the year goes on, and you can bet we’ll be there to tell you all about it. Don’t forget to follow us online and on social media for regular updates and the latest news. Visit: adwonline.ae
WORDS Colin Armstrong