There's no denying Abu Dhabi's allure by day. During the UAE capital’s sunshine hours there’s loads to see and do, from exhilarating desert excursions to beachside retreats on turquoise-fringed islands, historic cultural museums to family-friendly amusement parks.
However, the city – one of the safest in the world – takes on a different (and sometimes surprising) personality by night, with pockets of the capital coming to life when the sun goes down. From upbeat parties on Yas Island to kayaking around Louvre Abu Dhabi under the stars, floodlit golfing to night-time water park adventures, there’s so much to enjoy in Abu Dhabi after dark.
If you're one of those people who loves exploring cities by the light of the moon, these after-dark activities are perfect for you:
1. Kayaking at Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Jean Nouvel-designed masterpiece, with its intricate, floating dome, draws fascinated 'oohs’ and 'aahs’ from all who see it. As moonlight drapes itself around the art gallery's impressive structure, gain a new perspective from a kayak in the waters of the Arabian Gulf.
The 60-minute kayak tour sees professional instructors accompanying you as you paddle under the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s dome – after a safety and paddle briefing, of course.
If you'd rather savour a drink overlooking an impressive skyline, head up to the rooftop bar, Art Lounge. The Louvre Abu Dhabi’s dome crouches over the lounge’s open-air seating area that also features a sleek, elongated bar. Choose your poison and sample the Tapas-style menu. Feasting on delicacies like camel burgers, Wagyu beef sliders and fish kibbeh while being surrounded by some of the world’s finest art? We can’t think of a better way to spend an evening.
Kayaking timings - - Kayaking tours are operational every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 10.00 am, 2.00 pm, 4.00 pm and 7.00 pm
Kayaking cost - Rs 2,330 per person
Louvre Abu Dhabi hours - 10.00 am to 8.00 pm on Thursday & Fridays; 10.00 am to 10.00 pm on other days; Monday closed
Address - Saadiyat Cultural District 1, Abu Dhabi
2. Party on Yas Island
Yas Island throws some of the best and loudest bashes in town, with people dressing up to the nines when they hit the clubs. Go bar-hopping and check out these events where you can spend a boozy night you might not remember the next morning.
MAD on Yas Island
This club knows how to party hard! With 360-degree projection mapping, LED screens boasting psychedelic designs and trippy lights, you’ll find it hard not to let your hair down. The booming sound system and stellar artist lineups will have you developing dancing feet syndrome.
Entry - Entry for ladies is free. Single men need to reserve a table in advance.
Opening Hours -
Bar - 11.00 pm to 3.00 am (Thursday and Friday) and 12.00 pm to 12.00 am (Saturday to Wednesday)
Pool - 8.00 am to 8.00 pm (Daily)
Address - Leisure Drive, Yas Island, Near Yas Tunnel, Abu Dhabi
WET Deck Abu Dhabi
For those looking to get a drink (or five) before putting on their dancing shoes, WET Deck is the place to be at. Splash around in their pool as the Arabian sun sets and casts a warm glow on the latticed walls surrounding you. Sit back, relax, and watch the night get younger.
Opening hours - 12.00 pm to 1.00 am (Thursday and Friday)
Address - W Abu Dhabi, Yas Island
3. Tee off under floodlights
Abu Dhabi Golf Club
If you're not much of a morning person, you can always come around to the Abu Dhabi Golf Club to tee off after dark. The rolling greens have seen players like Tiger Woods and Rory Mcllroy showing off their swing. Interestingly, the nine-hole golf course also happens to be the oldest one in Abu Dhabi and features one Par 5, six Par 4 and the usual two Par 3. When the floodlights come on, lighting up the golf course, it’ll be the start of a night to remember.
Opening hours - 6.00 am to 11.00 pm
Address - Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi
Tee and Putt
If you'd prefer a game of golf with an edge, then head to Tee and Putt in Dalma Mall. It’s a neon, glow-in-the-dark, mini golf course with aliens and astronaut figures bringing your childhood golf dreams to life! Putt, swing, chip and drive late into the night.
Opening hours - 10.00 am to midnight (Thursday and Friday) and 10.00 am to 10.00 pm (Saturday to Wednesday)
Address - Dalma Mall, Mussafah, Abu Dhabi
4. Splash around in Yas Waterworld
Indulge in epic water fights, journey down a lazy river, or scream with excitement on the slide-drop Liwa Loop waterslide. Test your surfing skills on the largest surf-able sheet wave or pick through over 40 other thrilling rides to find those favourites that you'll queue up for again and again. Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi guarantees an action-packed night drenched with fun!
Operating hours - Vary according to weather conditions. Click here to check the timings for the coming few days.
Price - Rs 4,855 per person
Address - Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
5. Marvel at the grandeur of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
This iconic landmark showcases myriad Islamic and other architectural styles, creating the perfect picture of grandeur. Lit up at night, its beauty is breathtaking.
Illuminated arched domes, roofs and columns loom against the dark sky. The interior is resplendent, with the world's largest hand-knotted carpet and 24-carat-gilded chandeliers. Stand in the white marbled courtyard and gaze at white minarets and pools reflecting the moonlight. The calming ambience makes for a soft, contemplative mood.
Opening hours – Saturday to Thursday: 9.00 am to 10.00 pm. Fridays: 4.30 pm to 10.00 pm
Entry - Free entry (prior online registration is recommended at szgmc.ae)
Address - Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street, Abu Dhabi
6. Night tour of mangroves and camping
This one is for tranquility seekers looking to enjoy nature at night. Noukhada's monthly, guided full moon kayak tours will have you paddling away from the noise of the city into the silence of Abu Dhabi’s mangrove forests. The lamp on your kayak will cast a soft glow on the rippling water as you gently paddle through this beautiful, natural landscape. For a surreal adventure, opt for the overnight tour and sleep under the stars on a desert island.
Operating hours - Noukhada’s overnight tours start in the afternoon with the trip back taking place the next morning, while the full moon tours happen at night
Price for night-time mangrove tours - Rs 3,000 onwards
Address - Eastern Mangroves, Marina, Abu Dhabi
7. Indulge in luxury at the Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi
When you’re in Abu Dhabi, the dazzling opulence of the Emirates Palace hotel is not to be missed. Exquisite chandeliers, domes and arched ceilings drip luxury. If staying here isn't on your itinerary, a dining experience at the palace is highly recommended.
Recline under lantern-lit gazebos on BBQ Al Qasr’s private beach and gaze at the stars. Listen to the roar of the waves and inhale the salty sea air as you tuck into luscious seafood and prime cuts of meat.
You can also indulge in alfresco dining on the Hakkasan terrace, with award-winning Cantonese food and top-notch beverages making your night one to remember. Treat yourself to sweeping views of the hotel lawns in a beautiful cabana, or put on your dancing shoes as the DJ spins your favourite tracks.
Opening hours for BBQ Al Qasr - (Dinner) Monday to Sunday, 7.00 pm to 11.30 pm
(Bar) Monday to Wednesday and Saturday to Sunday from 6.00 pm to 1.00 am; Thursday and Friday, 6.00 pm to 1.30 am
Opening hours for Hakkasan - 3.00 pm to 2.00 am; 12 noon to 2.00 am on Fridays
Address - Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi, West Corniche Road, Abu Dhabi
As they say, there's no rest for the wicked. So, take your daytime explorations well into the night for experiences that'll stay with you long after you've left Abu Dhabi.
In association with the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi