Off of busy Electra Street and behind walls is a green oasis in Abu Dhabi.
A Washington Square Park of sorts, Khalidiya Park teems with families chatting and sharing meals on a Friday afternoon. Children zoom by on bikes and scooters, nearly missing your ankles. It seems like the Abu Dhabi families all pour into this park to enjoy each other’s company, and allow kids to run around and bask in the late November weather.
Sweet smoke from shishas rises above heads and perfumes the green playground. On the sidewalks, portable barbecues for skewered chicken, lamb and meat all roast to perfection in time for dinner. Little fingers dip Arabic bread into tubs of hummus while on break from their soccer matches. The call to prayer silences the chaotic park and families line up to pray, the littlest ones on the ends squirming before their uncles begin the prayers.
Photo by Nicole Lopez del Carril/The Gazelle
If you want a glimpse of busy Abu Dhabi family life, look no further than Khalidiya Park. On this long weekend, pods of families along the lawns enjoy the breeze and the outdoors, a rarity in a city of desert. The long lawns invite picnics shared with friends and family. If you are lucky, a family invites you over to share their meal, chatting about the next baby on the way, their children’s schools and what it is like to live in Abu Dhabi with a family.
On this long weekend, have your own picnic. At Spinneys, pick up a portable barbecue and some meat, hummus, olives, bread and ice cream. Corral a group of your friends and assure them that finals will always be there, to take a break for a few hours and enjoy some fresh air.
The walk over to Khalidiya Park along Electra Street takes approximately half an hour, with numerous fabric shops, art stores and restaurants on the way. During the mornings there is no entrance fee and you can walk or run around the park. From three to 11 at night, the entrance fee is one dirham so make sure to carry some change.
Khalidiya Park is located on Electra Street, or 7th street., and Al Khaleej Al Arab Street, or 30th street.
Nicole Lopez del Carril is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.