There’s plenty of places opening and events happening to keep you busy in 2020 in Abu Dhabi

It’s almost a new year (and decade) and that means there’s so much to look forward to, including much-anticipated new attractions, hotel and restaurant openings, concerts and cultural events and lots of ways to stay active and engaged in your capital.

Here are 20 things to look forward to in the year 2020 in Abu Dhabi 

Festivals, Events and Openings in 2020 in Abu Dhabi

Yas Bay

One of the biggest attractions to open in the capital in 2020 will be Yas Bay, a Dhs12 billion project. It will feature an indoor arena with flexible capacity for between 5,000 and 18,000 people. No word on the exact date, but it makes sense that the Miral project would be up and running well ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and its associated events in November. Expect two hotels, up to 37 restaurants and cafes, 19 retail outlets, “The Waterfront” – complete with pier – and a new home for twofour54.

Date to be confirmed, but we will keep you updated. 

Triathlon Al Hudayriat

One of the most valuable fitness additions to the capital in recent years has been Al Hudayriat Island, which is now host to an annual triathlon in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. There are several distances to choose from and all courses offer protected swims, roomy transition areas and a looped bike course free of traffic.

January 31 and February 1,

Snow Abu Dhabi

Reem Island is set to welcome the world’s largest snow park with the opening of Snow Abu Dhabi in 2020. It’s four times the size of Ski Dubai and the wintry wonderland will feature 13 rides and attractions. It will be kept at a brisk -2°C so, come prepared with warm clothes.

“With an incredible story and stunning visual attractions, Snow Abu Dhabi will deliver truly enchanting experiences for the whole family,” said Shane Eldstrom, CEO of Al Farwaniya Property Developers. The project is part of Reem Island’s new mall development and is due to open in late 2020.

In addition to a huge range of retail and dining outlets, Reem Mall will also have entertainment destinations such as VOX Cinemas and Magic Planet.

Date to be confirmed, but we will keep you updated 

National Aquarium

New dining and entertainment destination Al Qana is set to open in 2020 and will be home to The National Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the Middle East, housing 33,000 marine animals. While the main destination will be fully complete by the end of 2020, we’re told that the aquarium is 70 per cent complete and will open early this year. Due to the sheer size of the attraction, each visit will take two hours to experience from start to finish, according to those behind the project.

Expected to open early 2020, but we will keep you updated. 

ADCB Make-A-Wish Run

This Zayed Sports City event celebrates 10 years of the Make-A-Wish UAE foundation. Start 2020 off right, under the banner We Run As One, with either a 1k, 5k or 10k run. All participants will earn a star-shaped medal and a t-shirt.

January 10,

Abu Dhabi Book Fair

Celebrated authors and big discounted books aside, the Abu Dhabi Book Fair is a marketplace for the publishing industry. It offers literature lovers the opportunity to meet authors and hear them shed light on the meaning behind their works; publishers the chance to nail down translation rights; while illustrators and artists thrill the public by creating work on the spot.

April 15 to 21,

Livehealthy Festival

Ever wonder why Bhutan is the happiest country on earth? Come meet the country’s happiness expert and find out for yourself at the inaugural Livehealthy Festival in Abu Dhabi. Expect free yoga, meditation, workouts, panels and workshops – all tailored to boosting wellbeing and happiness. Plus, there’ll be food stalls and trucks serving up healthy snacks throughout the weekend.

January 24 and 25,

Mangrove boardwalk

A stunning boardwalk through the natural landscape of mangroves near Yas Island, Abu Dhabi is set to open in January 2020 – and it looks breathtaking. The huge boardwalk is part of the Dhs5 billion Mangrove Walk Project, which covers over one million square foot of the Mangrove National Park. There will also be loads of activities for the whole family to get involved in like kayaking through the mangroves, interactive educational lessons, a children’s play area and a dedicated viewing terraces.

January 2020, date to be confirmed, but we will keep you updated 

Live music events in Abu Dhabi in 2020

Abu Dhabi Classics

Taking place across various Abu Dhabi venues from January 28 to February 7, the 2020 season of Abu Dhabi Classics will welcome an eclectic line-up of global musical talent, including leading French pianist David Fray, the prestigious Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the prodigious French pianist Lisa de la Salle, Lebanese star Magida El Roumi, and rising Egyptian singer Sanaa Nabil.

The Abu Dhabi Classics 2020 season will mark the 250th birth anniversary of legendary composer Ludwig van Beethoven and pay homage to the German’s rich musical legacy in a series of specially curated performances featuring the maestro’s mellifluous creations.

January 28 to February 7,

Barzakh Festival

New York University Abu Dhabi’s Barzakh Festival has become a multi-stage festival featuring bands and DJs from around the world. This year features the world premiere of Dubai’s Noon playing the music of Umm Kulthoum, current Grammy nominee and world music supergroup Bokante, Algerian rai sensation Sofiane Said & Mazalada, North African electronic producer Ammar 808, Cuban hip-hop artist La Dame Blanche, and South Africa’s BCUC.

January 31,

Ultra Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is getting the first Ultra Worldwide electronic music festival in the Middle East as part of Abu Dhabi Music Week, which runs from March 1 to 14. The UAE is now among more than 20 countries hosting this multi-venue event, which started with the first Ultra Europe in Split, Croatia back in 2013. The line-up features more than a dozen top acts, including Swedish musician Eric Prydz, the Abu Dhabi debut of the Grammy-nominated DJ Snake, multi-platinum Dutch artist Afrojack, Swedish progressive house maestro Alesso, and three-time Grammy award-winner Zedd. Tickets for Ultra Abu Dhabi are now on sale and prices star from Dhs480.

March 5 and 6,

New restaurants and hotels opening in Abu Dhabi in 2020

Fouquet’s at Louvre Abu Dhabi

The artistic focal point of the city, Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island is now set to become a dining destination too. The Parisian brasserie Fouquet’s is due to open its first location in the UAE at the museum next year, just as the original Parisian eatery celebrates 120 years in business. The Louvre has partnered with the leading hospitality company Barriere Group for the venture and recruited French chef Pierre Gagnaire – whose eponymous eatery on Rue Balzac has three Michelin stars – to design the menu.

The Noodle House

Popular Asian restaurant The Noodle House confirmed that it will be expanding into Abu Dhabi in 2020. Its first restaurant in the capital will be located in currently-under-construction Reem Mall on Reem Island.

Fairmont Marina Abu Dhabi

It’s fair to say that the city has watched the giant pink arch of the Fairmont Marina Abu Dhabi hotel rise with curiosity and a building sense of anticipation. As of March, residents will finally be able to get inside this imposing structure. And when they do, they will find breathtaking seaside and Corniche views. There’s a private beach and dive centre, too. It’s even been reported that the serviced apartments will come with child care and private chefs.

Anantara Mina Al Arab

While this property might not be in Abu Dhabi, it deserves a mention thanks to its incredible design worthy of a luxury resort in the Maldives. The Anantara Mina Al Arab will open towards the end of the year in Ras Al Khaimah’s Mina Al Arab district, boasting 174 guest rooms, suites and – the part that’s really caught our eye – overwater villas. We’re already dreaming of our weekend staycation…

The greatest show: Expo 2020 in Dubai

It may be in Dubai, but you can’t miss ‘The World’s Greatest Show’, Expo 2020 Dubai. It will welcome a record number of country pavilions, each themed on one of three key pillars; sustainability, mobility and opportunity. It will run for 173 days starting October 20, 2020. Standard tickets are Dhs120 per day.

Movie releases

We are most excited about these releases in 2020, but head back to our website every Thursday to get weekly movie updates.


Release Date: March

Featuring Chinese star Liu Yifei as the titular character and a host of other Chinese legends like Donnie Yen, Gong Li and Jet Li, this one is poised to conquer the global box office and – if it taps into the animated original’s magic – our hearts.

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No time to die

Release Date: April

True Detective director Cary Fukunaga takes the reins for the 25th James Bond film, with Daniel Craig returning for his fifth and (presumably) final turn as 007.

The new mutants

Release date: April

The next installment in Marvel’s X-Men series was originally slated for a 2019 release, but has been pushed back to April 2020. It follows a group of teenage mutants who are kept in captivity in a secret facility. Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams stars.

Top Gun: Maverick

Release date: June

Great balls of fire, we’re getting a Top Gun sequel after 31 years! Not a whole lot is known about the movie, except that the filmmakers have recruited a cast of some of the most in-demand young actors in Hollywood – including Miles Teller, who will play Goose’s son – and that Val Kilmer is officially back as Iceman.