This is what we’re most excited about in 2019

2018 was so last year – literally. We’re looking forward to some amazing events and initiatives in the next 12 months.

As always in Abu Dhabi, we’re all anticipating another exciting year packed full of amazing events, new attractions and opportunities for us to make lasting memories with friends and family.

Looking back on 2018, the team at Abu Dhabi World enjoyed seeing Qasr Al Hosn re-open to the public, getting our first thrill at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi – and who could forget celebrating ten years of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?

Helping us give back to the community, 2018 was also the year we hosted the first Pride of Abu Dhabi Awards, celebrating the people, businesses, initiatives and organisations that help to make this city an amazing place to live.

It’s looking like 2019 is going to be another exciting year. Here is what we’re most looking forward to…

Year of Tolerance

Following on from the Year of Zayed, 2019 was declared as the Year of Tolerance by the UAE government. Events and campaigns are expected to be held throughout the year to help spread the values of respectful co-existence, established by Sheikh Zayed among the people of the UAE, with the world.

Initiatives are already being announced, one of the biggest being the visit from the leader of the Catholic church, Pope Francis, who will hold a public mass in Abu Dhabi at Zayed Sports City on 5th February.

Further initiatives and events will be announced throughout the year.


Now that the historic Qasr Al Hosn has re-opened, we’re looking forward to a slew of events and exhibitions set to be hosted at the Cultural Foundation. Located in the grounds of the fort, the foundation aims to foster, showcase and develop Abu Dhabi’s artistic and creative talent and share it with the world, while helping to promote local artists and encourage the community to become engaged in cultural activities and preserve Emirati traditions. Visit:

Following a jam-packed and eclectic first half, the performing arts season at The Arts Center at NYUAD continues with a slew of performances and events from international and local artists. Upcoming events include Short+Sweet Abu Dhabi 2019, a series of ten minute plays; Imagine Science Film Festival, bridging science and the arts; and the returning world music showcase, Barzakh Festival. Registration is already open for some events while you can also benefit from a new membership programme with special offers. Visit:

Returning with a packed line-up for 2019, Abu Dhabi Festival will feature a programme of dance performances, music and art. The 16th edition of the cultural festival kicks off with a pre-festival performance from mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato on 24th January, followed by performances from the Korean Symphony Orchestra and Paris Opera Ballet in March as well as the Stand Up For Inclusion concert to celebrate people of determination. Visit:

Fresh from celebrating its first anniversary in November, Louvre Abu Dhabi will host more temporary exhibitions, performances and events in the year ahead. Visitors can still enjoy the Roads of Arabia: Archaeological Treasures of Saudi Arabia exhibition until 16th February. Visit:

Later in the year, Abu Dhabi Art will return with its 11th edition to celebrate the UAE’s growing arts scene and build a bridge between local creatives and the rest of the world. Helping to expand the event, the Gateway and Beyond programme will run throughout the year, right up until the art fair and exhibition that will take place in November. Visit:


The UAE will host the AFC Asian Cup 2019 for the second time in the tournament’s history from 5th January to 1st February. The international football tournament will see the best teams from across Asia, the Middle East and Oceania compete for the trophy. In the group stages, the UAE will face Bahrain, India and Thailand, with the opening match against Bahrain taking place at Zayed Sports City Stadium on 5th January. Visit:


As cycling continues to grow in popularity here, the UCI Abu Dhabi Tour has expanded and will this year relaunch as the UCI UAE Tour, taking place across the Emirates from 25th February to 2nd March. Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Dubai Sports Council have teamed up to expand the global event in an effort to showcase more of the country to the world and bring the best of the best in the sport to the UAE to compete. The six-day event will begin in the capital and will visit all seven emirates during the various stages. Visit:

Cricket fans are in for a treat as the Habib Bank Pakistan Super League 2019 tournament will be held in Abu Dhabi. The competition, hosted at Zayed Cricket Stadium on 4th and 5th March, will see teams including Quetta Gladiators, Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings compete for the trophy. Visit:

Coming to the region for the very first time, the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be held in the capital from 14th to 21st March. The event will see over 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from over 170 countries gather in Abu Dhabi to compete in a range of sports including judo, cycling, bowling and kayaking. Volunteers are still needed, and it’s a great chance to be part of history. Visit:

That’s not all! The annual Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will return from 16th to 19th January with some of golf’s leading names descending on Abu Dhabi Golf Club, while the Daman World Triathlon Abu Dhabi, part of the ITU World Triathlon series, will be held on Yas Island on 8th and 9th March with professionals, amateurs, children and para triathletes all taking part.

New destinations

Something new is always being built in Abu Dhabi, and following years of construction and regular updates, we’re looking forward to the opening of a few new destinations. Offering another retail option, Al Maryah Central is set to open on 27th August 2019. The shopping centre will be home to 400 stores including a Vox Cinemas multiplex.

The long-anticipated Midfield Terminal at Abu Dhabi Airport is set to open in the fourth quarter of 2019. The 732,000 square metre transport hub will welcome up to 30 million passengers a year travelling to, and arriving from, destinations around the world.

It has already become a landmark in the city, and now the Fairmont Marina Residences Abu Dhabi is finally set to open in late 2019. The hotel and residences, located near Marina Mall, will offer a range of luxury rooms and suites with views over the capital’s skyline and out over the Arabian Gulf.

As always, we’re expecting more announcements throughout the year, and we’ll be here to keep you up to date with events and news as and when they’re announced.

Keep an eye on the magazine as well as our social media channels and website for daily updates. Visit:

WORDS Colin Armstrong

Posted in Best of Abu Dhabi, Features | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By joining our mailing list you agree to our Terms & Use and Privacy Policy

Get the best of Abu Dhadi straight to your inbox