A to Z: Fun date ideas to try in Abu Dhabi
Twenty-six date ideas that’ll blow dinner and a movie out of the water…
Been in a relationship for a while? We all love chilling on the sofa with a takeaway but it’s important to try something a bit off-kilter with your love to keep things fun. That’s where Alphabet Dating comes in. The concept is simple: you and your other half take it in turns to arrange regular dates, drawing inspiration from the alphabet to plan your activity.
Read on for some inspo, and get dating – you now have a project to complete this year…
A is for… Aerial Tour
OK, so we might be heading into proposal territory straight off the bat with this one, but it’s pretty high on the romance scale: A 30-minute Seawings seaplane tour over the city’s most iconic sites, including Emirates Palace, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit, Sheikh Zayed Bridge and the Corniche.
B is for… Board Game Cafe
Looking for a nerdy date night? DNA is Abu Dhabi’s first board game café, which means you can get off your couch without straying outside your comfort zone. Enjoy unlimited access to the massive board game library plus the opportunity to order home-baked cakes, burgers, nachos, coffee, mocktails and more.
C is for… Couples Massage
Plump for a luxury couple’s treatment to recharge your romantic engine on Nurai Island. After a speedboat ride to the private atoll, head to Nurai Spa for the ‘Reconnect Ritual’ package, a two-hour session that includes a massage and facial. Afterwards, enjoy an organic tea ceremony. Then spend the rest of the day on the beach.
D is for… Dining in The Dark
Love is blind, or so they say. So why not put the old saying to the test and meet your date at Bab Al Qasr’s Fresh Basil – Pitch Black Dining. Your senses will be in a heightened state and taste buds tingling as you experience a culinary journey in complete darkness.
E is for… Escape Games
Pay someone to lock you in a cell that’s filled with challenges. At Prison Island – Beat the Bars, you and your beau must work together to complete obstacles and tasks in order to escape. There are 26 individual cells to complete, each testing your physical or mental mettle. You’ll either leave better bonded or wish you could lock them up for real.
F is for… Farm Tour
Level up your supermarket shop and make a date of it with a trip a proper farm. At Emirates Bio Farm, hop onboard a tractor tour, enjoy lunch on the farm’s grounds and harvest your own vegetables to take home.
G is for… Giraffe Breakfast Date
Fried eggs and sausages are great, but nothing would make a breakfast date more memorable than a giraffe peeking in through the café window. Emirates Park Zoo’s two-hour experience invites guests to breakfast inside a purpose-built cave, where tall breakfast companions can poke their heads in and graze on apples, lettuce, and cucumbers as you two go all out on a full brekkie.
H is for… Horse Riding
Saddle up for love and hit the desert trails in Al Wathba, with bae and some (hopefully not bucking) broncos. Emirati family-owned and operated Rabdan Equestrian Club offers experiences for sweethearts to court and canter, including private sunrise and sunset rides, for those who want to crank the romance up to a gallop.
I is for… Island Hopping
Live your best lives together by hopping aboard a small private charter with Sea Safari for a six-hour tour of Abu Dhabi’s islandscape, it’s land ahoy with scenic islands stops such as Salt Island and Bahrani Island. Their boats come with music systems for stereophonic shanty support and soft drinks. Bring food and they’ll even fire up the barbecue for you.
J is for… Jubail Mangroves Park
Not all dates need to cost the earth. Head to Jubail Mangrove Park, pay just Dhs5 per person, and stroll along the 2km boardwalk among nature. Simply walking together enhances your emotional, mental and physical wellbeing – and it’s surprisingly great for resolving debates.
K is for… Kayaking
Whether it’s a tour around the nature reserve of the Eastern Mangroves, a cityside loop around Reem Island, or a paddle across the waters surrounding the majestic Louvre Abu Dhabi, Sea Hawk offers all kinds of kayaking adventures across the capital.
L is for… Louvre Abu Dhabi
Get lost inside Louvre Abu Dhabi for a day. The architecture alone is enough to get you and your date all googly-eyed – never mind the impressive collections and terrific touring exhibitions. While you’re there, swing by the stunning Fouquet’s for a glass of bubbly and award-winning French cuisine.
M is for… Michelin Dining
There are plenty of places in Abu Dhabi where you can drop significant Dirhams on a good meal, but a fine dining restaurant with a coveted Michelin star seal of approval? There’s only three of those: the charming Italian Talea by Antonio Guida and Hakkasan, both located in Emirates Palace, and Four Seasons’ glorious 99 Sushi Bar and Restaurant. Choose all three over a course of a month, for extra bonus points.
N is for… National Aquarium
As the Middle East’s largest aquarium, you bet you’re going to see all sorts of aquatic biodiversity when you visit the National Aquarium. Add on a jungle encounter where you and your better half can suit up and swim with freshwater rays.
O is for… Observation Deck at 300
Keep things classy with a fancy afternoon tea for two at the Observation Deck at 300 on the 74th floor of the Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers. Telescopes are available for zeroing in on the city’s landmarks, but we’re most keen on zooming in on those dainty sandwiches, delicate cakes and hot-toasted scones, which served alongside a pot of tea.
P is for… Paintballing
What’s more romantic than screaming and running away from each other? Nothing, that’s what. Head to Al Forsan Paintball Park for a one-on-one combat session where a little competition and some movement is the perfect prelude to a sofa night and takeaway.
Q is for… Qasr Al Watan
A cultural capital in its own right, Abu Dhabi is home to many inspiring landmarks and museums. Why not head to Qasr Al Watan, one of the city’s newest attractions. Through a series of zones, guests embark on an interactive journey through the UAE’s rich history. Don’t leave without visiting the Qasr Al Watan library – it’s filled with over 50,000 books.
R is for… Rock Climbing
Get your rocks on at Clymb, the capital’s state-of-the-art rock climbing centre on Yas Island. Forget trying to attack the highest climbing wall in the world and instead spend your day shimmying along the less harrowing 9ft-tall boulders. It’ll get you and your date out of your comfort zones, and you’ll get to cheer each other on as you traverse around the walls.
S is for… Safari Staycation
Guys, you live in city that’s lucky enough to have its own safari island – what are you still doing reading this? The castaway paradise of Sir Bani Yas is flourishing with blackbuck antelope, Arabian oryx, giraffe, ostrich and cheetah. Guests at the Anantara Resorts have the opportunity to go on safari and see these amazing creatives up close.
T is for… Theme Park Thrills
First person who screams buys the hot dogs. Be a kid again and get those hearts beating with a touch of extra adrenaline at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, with 29 rides to try within six zones, including DC Comics’ Gotham City and Yosemite Sam’s desert world of Dynamite Gulch.
U is for… Umm Al Emarat Park
Manicured to perfection and full of thoroughly interesting attractions, Umm Al Emarat Park is wonderful space to roam, including a poignant memorial to the words of Sheikh Zayed, an animal barn with camels, goats, donkeys, a botanical garden and an outdoor cinema.
V is for… VR Park
Enter a digital realm with the most technologically advanced VR experience in Abu Dhabi. Team up to take down zombies, explore alien worlds and investigate strange disturbances on spaceships at Zero Latency, the city’s first multiplayer, free-roam virtual reality arcade. It’s astonishingly immersive and great fun.
W is for… Wakesurfing
Wakesurfing gained popularity as a less strenuous alternative to wakeboarding. But now the sport has reached fever pitch with residents taking to the calm waters most mornings to get their surf stoke. Sign up for a session with long-time coaches Wake Evolution, and you’ll both find a new hobby together.
X is for… Xtreme Zone
Bold. Brash. Blaring music. A trip to Xtreme Zone is date day of yesteryear. Strike it lucky at the 12-lane bowling alley, double-bounce your beloved at the trampoline park, or take on the Tag Arena’s timed obstacle course.
Y is for… Yas Marina Circuit
It’s been scientifically proven that speeding is a million times more fun when performed on a racetrack. At Yas Marina Circuit, experience ‘the closest thing to an F1 car most people will ever drive.’ You and your pumpkin will zoom around in a race car armed with a 3.0 litre V6 Jaguar Cosworth engine.
Z is for… Zipline
You could zipline in Dubai across the marina, or over the Jebel Jais valleys on the world’s longest zipline. But if you want a unique adventure closer to home, take on Ferrari World Abu Dhabi’s zipline and soar directly through the iconic Flying Aces rollercoaster loop. Add on a rooftop walk for extra date day brownie points.