Photo by Emina Osmandžiković

Exploring Abu Dhabi: Top 5 Public Spaces

It might be slightly unorthodox to talk about outdoor attractions in Abu Dhabi because of the heat and unbearable humidity. For all those who have yet ...

It might be slightly unorthodox to talk about outdoor attractions in Abu Dhabi because of the heat and unbearable humidity. For all those who have yet to become acquainted with Abu Dhabi, let this article be a guide for exploring the city once the weather improves.
Photo by Emina Osmandžiković
The secluded section of the Corniche
The most commercialized and popular of the five locations, the Corniche deserves its place at top of the list because because of the underrated, secluded section on its waterfront strip.  The walk takes only between seven and 10 minutes, coming from the Downtown Campus. Stepping out of the richly decorated underpass to the Corniche, the area is scattered with still palm trees, hidden rows of benches facing the sea and a few passersby.
This is the perfect spot for reading books and preparing for classes. There are few disturbances here, except for the occasional kart speeding past, and the lower areas of the beach offer privacy from curious gazes. This is the perfect spot for a quick swim and a view of the sunset.
Photo by Emina Osmandžiković
Photo by Emina Osmandžiković
Khubeirah Gardens
Settled in the neighborhood of the Emirates Palace, this is one of the quieter spots of Abu Dhabi. The gardens stretch across several different areas, some of which are still under construction.
Bird songs and long walking paths enclosed by rows of trees define this extraordinarily silent park. On those busy weekends, the quiet murmur of water from nearby fountains is not at all a distraction from studying. This garden is also a perfect spot for a Saturday picnic with friends.
Al Khubeirah Gardens is only a five minute walk from the far west side of the Corniche. The garden is only a 15 dirham taxi ride from Sama Tower.
Dhow Harbor
Next to Abu Dhabi’s fish market and across from the Corniche, the Dhow Harbor is one of the oldest parts of Abu Dhabi and continues the fish trading tradition of earlier times.
Today the harbor is famous for its tug and oil boats, which are noticeable even from a distance as they speed across the water.
This is the starting spot for many local cruises and sea-tours of Abu Dhabi, as well as the home of little, one-story restaurants that offer a variety of seafood specialties. The entire Abu Dhabi skyline can be seen behind the boats like a row of giants lurking behind the rocking, wooden dhows that hint at past times.
The Dhow Harbour is situated next to Port Mina’s fish market, at the opposite end of the Corniche. When giving directions to a taxi-driver for the 20 AED ride, mention that it’s off of 31st St.
Photo by Emina Osmandžiković
Bateen Shipyard
For history lovers, the Bateen shipyard is as thrilling as visiting The Emirates Palace. Along with the Dhow Harbor and the fish market, it is one of the oldest parts of Abu Dhabi, where local craftsmen and unfinished boats exude that familiar richness of culture that was the founding stone of today’s Abu Dhabi.
The atmosphere is soothing. Roaming about, one can look at the remarkable, hand-crafted ships and imagine how people must have lived in the past.
To get to the Bateen shipyard, take the taxi to the Al Bateen district for 20 AED. The shipyard is located off Bainuna St., next to Al Bateen beach.
Photo by Emina Osmandžiković
Khalidiya Park
This outsized park is a true green oasis among the tall, grey buildings that hover over it. The one-dirham entrance fee opens a gate to a variety of things for all interests: an area for horseback riding, an entertainment park, a children’s playground, a closed basketball court, to name just a few of its attractions.
The air is filled with lively chatter and gleeful screams. The atmosphere is buoyant and homey, showing a fresh side of Abu Dhabi’s city life. The trickling of beautiful fountains adds a remarkable soundtrack to the walk.
The outer corners of the park are perfect for reading. The park is primarily a hangout spot for friends playing a laid-back game of football or a basketball match with other park-goers.
Khalidiya Park is located on 16th St. near the Khalidiya post office and Amwaj Tower; a twenty minute walk or five-minute taxi ride.
Emina Osmandžiković is a contributing writer. Email her at 
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