In anticipation of precipitation, 16 things for a rainy day…

Normally known for its bright and sunny disposition, there are days when the rain does fall on our fair capital. And that’s a wonderful thing, the desert flora gets a much-needed soaking and we can grab some of those rare ‘selfies-in-the-rain’ opportunities.

But with much of the city’s alfresco action off-limits, what can you do if you want to escape the laundry-drying jungle of your own home? These are some of our favourites inside Abu Dhabi activities…

Plummet and summit

things to do in abu dhabi - clymb

Inside Yas-based adventuredrome, Clymb — you can skydive and scale up an artificial Everest beneath the snug-comfort of a steel sky. The venue is home to a truly epic wind tunnel that lets you live out all the thrills of hurling yourself out of a plane, except at a few metres above sea-level and without having to put faith in square metres of voluminous nylon. Prefer your ascents a bit more hands-on? There is a huge collection of climbing walls, and boulder-edging to pit your finger strength against. It’s our nation’s spiritual home of the war on gravity.

Clymb, Yas Mall (by Ferrari World entrance), Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Sunday to Thursday 11am to 9pm, Friday and Saturday noon to 11pm, basic climb package Dhs120 for 60 minutes, Combo tickets from Dhs315. Tel: (600) 511115, clymbabudhabi.com

Under the sea

national aquarium abu dhabi

When it’s all looking a bit Atlantian outside, why not head to Abu Dhabi’s own underwater kingdom, The National Aquarium. In addition to the eight themed zones; an XXL reticulated python known only as ‘Super Snake’; back stage tours; and marine animal rehabilitation projects, there are also a range of marine life meet and greets. You can, for example, have an ‘Ocean Encounter’ feeding sharks measuring up to two metres in length for just Dhs180. And that price includes access to the ‘Aquarium Journey’.

The National Aquarium Abu Dhabi, Al Qana, Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi, general admission from Dhs105. Tel: (02) 418 6666thenationalaquarium.ae

Journey into the Metaverse

They say you can’t run away from your problems, but you can put on a headset and blast them into oblivion. Groundbreaking Virtual Reality (VR) experience, Zero Latency, is now available at The Galleria Al Maryah Island. And it represents a true levelling up in gaming tech. The free-roam multiplayer experience allows teams of up to eight mates to fight off waves of brain-nibbling zombies. Gone are the cumbersome cables and wires of the old school VR world, now you can explore the open gamespace with absolute freedom. If you’re not down for duelling the undead, you can also take on a special virtual version of Ubisoft tropical Island caper, Far Cry 3. And for more cerebral fun, there’s the engaging puzzle conundrums of Engineerium.

The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi. Opens July 27. Tel:(0)2 493 7400, from Dhs150. @zerolatencyvrae  

The long dark knight

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi was your top pick for ‘Favourite Attraction’ in the What’s On Abu Dhabi Awards 2021. And we felt that. All of our favourite DCU superheroes (and villains), Tom, Jerry, Buggs, Daffy, Tweetie, The Flintstones, and backed up by some spectacularly wild rides – there are the expertly choreographed shows.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi Dhs310 for adult and child. Tel: (600) 511 115. @wbworldad 

Fall in Louvre with culture

louvre abu dhabi

Abu Dhabi is home to a treasure trove of galleries, musems and culturally significant awesomeness. We recommend you take a quick look at our guide to some of the local highbrow highlights. But if we were to pick one, it’d be Louvre Abu Dhabi. In addition to housing one of the most beautifully curated, story-telling collections of art and objets-de-wow, they host movie nights, there’s a children’s museum, paint and grape nights, special exhibitions (right now you can catch Dragon and Phoenix: Centuries of Exchange between Chinese and Islamic worlds) and even guided drawing tours. Held every Wednesday and lead by the Museum Educator you’ll learn insider skills, artistic trickery and see a different side to this world-class museum.

Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, every Wed 4.30pm to 6.30pm, Dhs81.50 (includes admission to museum, usually Dhs63). Tel: (02) 6736 688. louvreabudhabi.ae

Ahead full STEAM

National Geographic Ultimate Explorer, in The Galleria Al Maryah Island is new edutainment complex offering seven exciting attractions aimed at captivating kiddliwinks and stealthily uploading STEAM learning in them, all whilst they’re having one ‘world’s largest mammal’ of a time. There are two VR/AR experiences, including Space Jump, where snack-sized astronauts will be put through a training programme to see if they’ve got the gusto to thrive in the cavernous vacuum of space. And Recon River, which puts little explorers on a raft — sending them downstream in search of rare and exotic animals to capture in their augmented viewfinders.

National Geographic Ultimate Explorer, The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Sat to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thu and Fri 10am to midnight, from Dhs80. Tel: (052) 403 7166, @natgeoultimateexplorerad

Food glorious food

Why not take a tour around Abu Dhabi’s newest foodie district, Yas Bay? It’s not full open yet but you there’s already a glittering line up of restuarnts that are now serving. Cant decide between Japanese and pizza? You can ejoy the best of both at Akiba Dori. La Carnita 2.0 amounts to a Mexican culinary revolution with a dedicated raw bar and a menu of legitimate Latin fuego. Daikan, is all about that ramen tip — elite level noods and soup, all up in your face. Paradiso provides the finer end of modern European dining, straight from the minds of Michelin recognised chefs. White Abu Dhabi, is the next generation of lounge clubbing in the capital, and Zeera is without doubt one of the trendiest new after dark hang spots, anywhere in the city.

Yas Island. yasbay.ae

It’s coming dome…

A few leagues up from ‘jumpers for goalposts’ this inflatable 5-a-side dome with 5G (no tin foil hats please) pitch belongs to 321Sports, on Abu Dhabi’s adventure island — Hudayriyat. You and your squad can rent the pitch, along with a tidy collection of other sporting courts and amenities.

Hudayriyat Island, Dhs520 per hour. Tel: (02) 691 0256, 321sports.ae

Grand designs

One of the world’s largest mosques, this inspirational building was commissioned by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and was completed in just over a decade. The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque has space for 40,000 worshipers each day and pulls design features from Turkey, Morocco, Pakistan and Egypt, and other Islamic countries. There are 1,096 amethyst-and-jasper-embedded columns, 82 white marble domes — one of which features beautiful gold lead calligraphy of Quranic text on the interior, reflective pools, Swarovski chandeliers, the world’s largest hand-woven carpet, a breathtaking prayer hall, and a courtyard with one of the world’s largest marble mosaics.

Al Maqta’a, daily 11am to 11pm, free. Book your visit at visit.szgmc.gov.ae

Screen time

There’s something very different about watching movies in front of the big screen. The sweet smell of popcorn and five gallon sodas, the trailers, the rib-rattling surround sound, ther -erm- bigger screen. In Abu Dhabi you’ll find a huge range of cinema experiences, from in-theatre fine dining to 4D pan-experiential screens. There are also some absolutely cracking films coming up this year, check out our ‘most wanted’ guide for a little teaser of what’s to come.

Tickets: Book now

Coffee culture

Boomah abu dhabi

Abu Dhabi is all about the cafes, there’s literally thousands of them across the emirate, each with their own particular perks. But if you fancy indulging in some Java lava amongst some particularly ‘extra’ surrounds, have a pour through our guide to the most surreal cafe experiences in Abu Dhabi. There’s a cafe made to look like the inside of an aeroplane cabin, a cafe where you can pet owls, get your hair cut, dine in 2D and even creat a piece of art. Art House Cafe is a venue that celebrates the creative spark, letting you can go full Picasso on a plate for Dhs20, there’s the option to paint masks (Dhs30) or knock up a miniature brick painting (Dhs10).

Al Huwelat St, Bateen Area, Opp Al Bateen Villa No 15, 10am to midnight. Tel: (02) 666 0175. @arthousecafead

Get ’em mall

Malls are an inalienable part of life in the UAE and Abu Dhabi has some belters. And if it’s bargains ye seek  There’s still time to treat yo’self in the Abu Dhabi Winter Shopping Season, still in full festive swing, and dropping discounts all the way up to the end of January. There’s up to 80 per cent off big brands in 3,500 retail outlets across the emirate. There are also shop and win promotions, giveaways and fun family activations in the 20 participating malls.

Find more information on promotions and participating stores at the retailabudhabi.ae website.

Know your wErth

Sure Etizan the colossal fitness complex at hotel Erth (formally known as the Armed Forces Officers Club and Hotel) does not qualify as boutique. The recreational hub is legitimately stacked with an Olympic range of sporting activities including a 3,500 sqm gym, tennis courts, multiple football pitches (including a fully FIFA-certified 11-a-side pitch), a boxing studio, martial arts space, an eight-lane-indoor-tournament-spec pool, facilities for gymnastics, aerobics, squash, bowling, track and field, volleyball, basketball, shooting and Jiu Jitsu. But something they do offer a more bijoux racket in, is everybody’s fave new court sport — padel tennis, with rental from Dhs240.

Erth, Khor Al Maqta, gym day passes from Dhs151, padel court rental from Dhs240, football pitch rental from Dhs504. Tel: (02) 497 5229, Etizan.ae 

Coming soon

Locked up

Taking inspiration from iconic TV shows, The Crystal Maze and Fort Boyard, Prison Island – Beat the Bars is a new adventure experience opening at Abu Dhabi Mall, soon. January 22, in fact, if the stories on the attraction’s IG page are to be believed. Set over a 1,000m² expanse, this is no escape room — it’s a network of 26 individual ‘cells’ featuring tasks each more fiendishly conundrous (shhh, that’s a word) than the last, and you’ll have to beat them all if you want to escape the island, with winner’s bragging rights.

Abu Dhabi Mall, Dhs125, @prisonisland.abudhabi.

Onward, to adventure

Located in the Rabdan end of Abu Dhabi, the work on the mega entertainment and leisure project, Al Qana continues at pace with its grand opening, we’re told, happening at some point later this year. Adrenark is set to offer a wide range of fun and energy-expending facilities including a large indoor park. Adventuretainment activities will include wall-running; dodgeball; foam pit frolicking; trampoline double bouncing; parkour; ziplining; roller skating and more.

@alqana_ae

Pixelated

Also located in Al Qana, Pixel will be the largest gaming hub of its type in Abu Dhab and include the latest evolution of Location-Based Entertainment (LBE). In addition to futuristic VR tech, the venue will also operate the first certified eSports (that’s competitive gaming for any noobs out there) academy in the region.

@alqana_ae

Images: Provided/Getty