The number of tourists interested in immersing themselves in cultural and historical experiences continues to grow every year.
This isn’t surprising since all holidaymakers want to get the most out of their vacations, particularly if they are traveling to another country. Aside from experiencing the most popular fun and relaxing activities their destination offers, there is nothing wrong with wishing to learn more about the local culture and history.
If you’re going on a vacation in the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is one of the best places in the country that offers the perfect balance of culturally enriching, fun, exciting, and relaxing experiences.
In this city, you can explore an Abu Dhabi palace, experience pearl diving, and visit museums.
When you’re done with these culturally immersive activities, you can enjoy others that will make your vacation more enjoyable and memorable, including visiting world-renowned theme parks or a world-class racing circuit and golf course, spending a day at the beach, and shopping.
Top Cultural Enriching Activities in Abu Dhabi
If you’re wondering which activities in Abu Dhabi lets you know about and immerse yourself in Emirati culture, below are the five best ones:
1. Visit Qasr Al Watan
The “Palace of the Nation” or Qasr Al Watan is a working presidential palace that provides guests a unique and closer insight into Emirati culture and history.
Qasr Al Watan is the UAE’s official presidential palace. It was first opened to the public in 2019.
The palace’s facilities and attractions allow you to learn about the formation and growth of the UAE, its noteworthy traditions and values, and the country’s significant contributions to various fields of knowledge.
Its most notable and must-visit zones include:
- The Great Hall
This zone allows visitors to appreciate the country’s impressive architectural and artistic legacy.
Its central dome, archways, mosaic patterns, and embellishments will astound you and give you a deeper understanding of the creative eye and craftsmanship of everyone involved in designing and constructing this area and the palace as a whole.
- The Qasr Al Watan Library
The elegant-looking library preserves and shares centuries of Arabian knowledge and culture with the public. It is home to over 50,000 books covering numerous topics from various ages.
The library’s purpose is to preserve books about history that will help inspire and mold future generations.
- The House of Knowledge
This area features a massive collection of prized artifacts and manuscripts that shed light on the Arabian peninsula’s most significant contributions to arts, literature, science, and other areas.
The House of Knowledge also provides guests with information about the fascinating origins of Arabia libraries.
- Exhibition of Presidential Gifts
This interesting zone displays a collection of the most cherished diplomatic gifts received by the UAE from various countries.
These gifts signify the good political relations between the UAE and different countries.
While here, you can also learn about the cultural considerations and protocols involved in selecting, giving, and accepting diplomatic gifts.
The Presidential Banquet, Media Room, and Spirit of Collaboration are also worth visiting to know more about the government, culture, and heritage of the UAE.
Lastly, Qasr Al Watan’s architecture and design are also an epitome of Emirati heritage, one that will broaden your perspective of the country’s culture.
2. Take part in the Pearl Diving Experience.
Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi is known for its thrilling water slides and rides. Like CLYMB Abu Dhabi, the best place for indoor skydiving in the UAE, it is a well-known tourist attraction on Yas Island.
However, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi has an attraction that lets you participate in a fun activity that also immerses you in local culture: pearl diving.
Pearl diving is one of the oldest industries in the UAE and the Arabian Peninsula. It is said to have started over 7,000 years ago.
It was such a huge industry that it gave way to the founding of various emirates in the UAE, including Abu Dhabi and Dubai, since pearl farmers and their families moved to these coastal areas to be part of it.
You can take part in an experience that lets you relive the glory days of pearl diving in the UAE with Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi’s Pearl Diving Experience.
With the Pearl Diving Experience, you’ll get to dive into a specially designed underwater tank and collect oysters with pearls.
Throughout the activity, you will be accompanied by licensed and trained diving instructors, so you don’t have to worry if you are not an experienced diver.
After the dive, you can have the pearls added to jewelry at the souvenir shop. This is a great souvenir to remind you of the wonderful time you had in Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi and your pearl diving experience.
3. Watch the Dancing Fountains.
Yas Island has another attraction that immerses you in local culture: The Dancing Fountains.
At night, the normal-looking fountains come alive with lights and music. The water and light shows are choreographed to well-known Arabic songs.
While watching this spectacular water and light show, immerse yourself further in the local culture by indulging in authentic Emirati cuisine.
The Fountains in Yas Island features several restaurants and eateries specializing in various cuisines, including Arabic.
The place is the perfect spot for al fresco dining while watching the Dancing Fountains.
4. Watch a concert at Etihad Arena.
Listening to music is always a great way to know more about the culture of a place you’re visiting.
When you’re in Abu Dhabi, you can get the chance to listen to live Arabic music in Etihad Arena.
Etihad Arena is the largest indoor event venue in the Middle East. Because of this, it is often chosen as the venue for well-known local and international artists’ concerts.
It is usually the choice of venue for many renowned Arabic musical artists, including Hany Shaker, Sherine Abdel Wahab, and Kadim Al Sahir.
If you’re in Abu Dhabi this June, get the chance to watch Mohammed Abdo, the Artist of the Arabs, in Etihad Arena. You’ll be amazed by his incredible voice as he sings Arabic songs of deep heritage.
5. Visit Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.
One of the world-famous mosques is not only lovely to look at; it is also one of the few that allows non-Muslims entry.
Because of this, you’ll be able to see up close what a mosque looks like and its fantastic features.
The Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque is the largest in the UAE. Its interior boasts a massive hand-knotted carpet with an intricate Islamic medallion design and different-sized crystal chandeliers.
The mosque’s exterior is just as impressive as its interior. With Emirati, Egyptian, Indian, Moroccan, and Turkish architectural influences, its numerous domes, minarets, and marble and gold façade will astonish you.
When you’re going on vacation, add some culturally enriching activities to your itinerary to broaden your knowledge and viewpoint and simply get more from your travel.