Photo by Costanza Maio/The Gazelle

6 Free Things Outside in Abu Dhabi

Low on budget? We have all been there — staring at the zeros in your bank account and shaking the computer screen to see if the numbers magically ...

Jan 25, 2014

Photo by Costanza Maio/The Gazelle
Low on budget? We have all been there — staring at the zeros in your bank account and shaking the computer screen to see if the numbers magically change. Have no fear, however, because Abu Dhabi is full of things to do, even if your wallet is empty. All you need is a little creativity.
Here are six things to do when money is tight but adventure is calling.
#1: Take a do-it-yourself walking tour.
Grab a friend that you can talk to, or maybe someone you want to get to know better. Pick a direction and walk without a destination. If you have a smartphone and 3G, try using the Derivé app, which randomizes your path by providing unexpected instructions. Keep your eyes open and pay attention to the changes in the landscape and to the people around you. Talk to passersby. Abu Dhabi is full of interesting details and hidden nooks. Explore all of them.
#2: Go on a run on the Corniche at 5:45pm.
Running?! Yes, it will do you good. We are also so lucky to have warm, consistently warm weather in Abu Dhabi. Think of our counterparts in New York City, who must cope with roads buried under a foot of snow. Why 5:45 p.m.? Right now, the sun sets in Abu Dhabi at 6 p.m. This means that mid-way through your run, assuming you are still going strong after 15 minutes, you will be greeted by a beautiful diving sun and a pink and orange sky. Healthy and romantic, check and check.
#3: Plan an interesting day at the beach.
Hit the sand ready for a day of adventures. For starters, bring some pillows, blankets and string and pitch a tent on the beach. You can find instructions here. After that, how about doing some beach yoga? Here is a video that takes you through a 15-minute soothing yoga practice. After that, how does a game of Ultimate Frisbee sound? All you need are some friends and a Frisbee. If you want to learn the basics of Ultimate quickly, check out this video. During the day, do not forget to keep hydrated and apply sunscreen, of course ­— the Abu Dhabi sun does not let up for anyone.
#4: Organize a picnic.
Another advantage to yearlong warm weather? Every day is picnic day. Set aside some time in between classes, take a wrap from the dining hall and head down to the parks by the Corniche, which is just a short walk from the Downtown Campus. Invite a few friends or bring a good book to keep you company, and relax under the sun.
#5: Enjoy a Couchsurfing movie night.
Abu Dhabi has a lively couchsurfing community that organizes weekly meetings as well as at-home movie nights. Try it out, taking all the necessary precautions, of course. In other words, take a friend, but be open to new people and experiences. Who knows what friendships couchsurfing could bring? The community is organizing a movie night on January 31; find more information here.
#6: Bike it out.
Take advantage of the nine free bikes available at NYU Abu Dhabi’s Athletic Department. If you are interested, email Wayne Young or Alexandra Harrison to coordinate a pick-up time. Their office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday through Thursday. After signing a waiver and paying a deposit of 100 AED you will have access to a bike, as well as a helmet and a lock. Unless there is a substantial request for bikes, there is no set time limit for bike use. In short: little effort for long-term enjoyment. Where to bike? You could bike to DTC for class or to the Corniche, where there is a bike path with a beautiful view. You can also take the bikes out on the street late at night, when there are no cars. Proceed with caution, but go out in style.
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