Put the controllers down, it’s time to hit the town…

Staying here for the summer? It doesn’t have to be a pool-to-sofa existence. We’ve rounded up our favourite ways to keep those bodies moving, kids entertained and malleable minds sharp.

Active Al Maryah Island

This sporting hub offers a range of fitness activities, but for the sweatier months — their professional football dome is a great way to enjoy the beautiful game without the pain. You can rent out the 11-a-side pitch for Dhs1,575 per hour, and the 7-a-side pitch for Dhs924 per hour. If you’re more about raising a racquet, padel has you covered, with 90 minutes for Dhs360. Worked up a bit of an appetite? There are also a collection of food trucks on site. Back of the net.

Al Maryah Island, 7am – 10pm, Mon-Fri. 6am – 10pm, Sat-Sun. Tel: (02) 403 4488, @activealmaryah

Abu Dhabi Summer Sports

Now open to the public, Abu Dhabi Summer Sports is on a mission to keep the capital’s residents active this summer, providing a gargantuan 27,000 square metre indoor AC-cooled space to get gains in. Operating out of Halls 6 to 11 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre between now and August 20, Abu Dhabi Summer Sports will offer 25 courts, a running track, a huge indoor inflatable assault course, kids’ zone and food and beverage outlets. Available sports facilities to get involved with include a seven-a-side football field, two lots of five-a-side football courts, eight Padel tennis courts, three basketball courts, three badminton courts, three volleyball courts, one cricket court, a CrossFit track, and a 1-km running track.

Abu Dhabi Summer Sports, Al Rawdah, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (800) 23 632. For more info, visit adsummersports.ae, @ADSummerSports 

Zayed Sports City

There’s a full kitbag of indoor sporting entertainment available at Zayed Spot City, but one of our favourite active highlights is getting on the ice skating rink — a exceptional way to cool down from just Dhs55 — and there are even lessons available if, like us, you’re still a bit Bambi on stilts. You can also go on strike with Cosmic Bowling (7pm every Wednesday) at the compound’s Khalifa International Bowling Centre, from just Dhs25. Because in space, nobody can hear you gutter ball.

Zayed Sports City, Al Rawdah, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (0)2 403 4200, @zayedsportscity


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, Sun – Thurs 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

Prison Island

Taking inspiration from iconic TV shows, The Crystal Maze and Fort Boyard, Prison Island – Beat the Bars is a new adventure experience now open at Abu Dhabi Mall. 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.

Prison Island, Abu Dhabi Mall. Dhs 99 to Dh129. Tel: (0) 58 819 9176 @prisonisland.abudhabi.

Al Forsan International Sports Resort

The Al Forsan International Sports Resort has some pretty amazing recreational fun times to get involved with, and whilst a lot of it is staged on the outdoor grounds (including the karting track, paintball arena and archery range), there are indoor pursuits too. Take the shooting club for example, visitors line their on a range of firearms including handguns, rifles, sniper rifles, a bow and arrow – and even a virtual VirTra 300-powered shooting simulator.

Al Forsan International Sports Resort, Khalifa City. Tel: (800) 9900, alforsan.com


Say bonjour to the second Abu Dhabi location of AirManiax right in the heart of the capital’s excitement hub, at Yas Mall (the first is in Marina Mall). It’s a gigantic indoor kids’ entertainment megaplex arriving, mercifully, just in time for the return of summer heat. Located on the ground floor of the mall, next to the Grand Prix entrance, this intelligently designed adventure complex is now open and offers multiple themed zones and attractions for all age groups of kiddlywinks. .

Air Maniax Abu Dhabi, Yas Mall, 10am to midnight daily. Starting at Dhs85 for 60 minutes. Tel: (02) 444 2938, airmaniax.booknow


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. If you prefer to smash goose feathers from side to side, you can take to the court among a selection of other indoor activities.

Hudayriat Island, 6am – 11pm daily. Dhs520 per hour (football), Dhs125 (badminton).Tel: (02) 691 0256, 321sports.ae

Battle Park

A brand new ‘digital paintball’ experience has just opened in Abu Dhabi’s Marina Mall and it looks like a solid bullseye for the Call of Duty generation. There are a few different ways you can play at Battle Park — gather the squad for iBattle, a team deathmatch spawned in an abandoned prison-themed layout, from Dhs75 for a 20 minute game. There’s also a virtual shooting simulator with sessions priced from Dhs40, and target shooting from Dhs50.

Marina Mall Floor 2. Tel: (800) 228853, @battlepark.official


Get the jump on your week by heading to Marina Mall’s extreme trampoline park, Bounce — and picking up one of their special passes. Inside there’s a Free-Jump arena; Slam Dunk zone; you can play Dodgeball; find the origin of fun in the Big Bag; dare you face The Wall?; or dive into the upgraded adrenalin of the X-Park?; Just here for the gains? You can also get involved with some Bounce Fit; there are also the elevated thrills of the Zip Line, the Quick Drop and Speed Slide. Prices start at 85 for an hour.

Bounce, Marina Mall, Sun to Wed 10am to 10pm, Thu –  Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 339 0911, @bouncemideast

Xtreme Zone

The Galleria Al Maryah Island offers 44,200 sqft of recreational adventure. There’s the synapse-jangling thrills of electronic entertainment; all the button-mashing fun of the video games arcade; and intense virtual reality (VR) experiences. Prefer your activities a little more analog? You can pick up sticky splits at their 12-lane bowling alley, double-bounce your bestie at the trampoline park, beat the peak on the climbing wall, or take on the Tag Arena’s timed obstacle course for leaderboard bragging rights.

Xtreme Zone, The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, 10am to 1am daily. Tel: (02) 628 9050, @xtremezoneme



If you’ve not been to Kidzania before, it’s essentially a theme park for careers. And we mean that in the most positive, complimentary way. Kids wander through the streets of a toy-town, with the opportunity to try their hand at role-playing a series of simulated job experiences. There’s a replica hospital, radio station, fire service, acting academy and more.

Kidzania, Yas Mall, Sun-Thurs 11am to 8pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11pm. Tickets for kids start from Dhs149, adults from Dhs69, other packages are available. Tel: (054) 998 6897tickets.kidzania.ae


Located on level three of WTC Mall’s The Hub – you can gain entrance to what might just be the cheapest thrill ride in the city, a pair of slides that make up the attraction called: Velocity. It only lasts a few seconds, but don’t judge — at Dhs25 (or Dhs40 with video) — for a stylish tumble down a four storey drop, you really can’t go wrong.

World Trade Centre Mall Abu Dhabi, Sun-Thu 10am to 10pm, Fri & Sat 10am-12am. From Dhs25. @wtcad


This 35,000 square foot entertainment zone at Dalma Mall includes a bowling zone (from Dhs30 per game), virtual relaity experiences, racing and rollercoaster simulators, pool tables, arcades and a network PC gaming room with 25 high spec computers. There’s also a shisha lounge and a restaurant on site.

Zeal, Dalma Mall, Al Wazn St, Abu Dhabi. Fri to Sun 10am to 1am, Mon – Thurs 10am – 12am. Tel: (02) 672 4922, @zealentertainmentcentre

Images: Supplied

The Smash Room

Image: Instagram

Frustrated? Stressed? The Smash Room has just come to Abu Dhabi, and trust us when we say you are about to have a smashing time. With beautiful LED lighting, a café on site and even a ‘freedom wall’ that lets you leave a parting shot, you will enjoy picking up a sledgehammer, crowbar or baseball bat and going to town on a selection of drink glasses, computer processors, DVD players and other unfortunate equipment. Swing by and swing hard.

The Smash Room, Nahil Building, Rawdah, Abu Dhabi. Dhs69 onwards. Mon to Thurs 12am – 10pm, Fri to Sun 12am – 11pm. Tel: 0(2)584 5949, @thesmashroom.ae

Snow Abu Dhabi

There’s snow more reason not to cool down this summer, as Snow Abu Dhabi now welcomes you at Reem Mall. An inclusive, family-friendly venue with over 20 attractions, you can now enjoy activities typically reserved for colder climates such as sledding and even adventure activities like zip lining. They also have you covered with several eateries on site to keep you recharged throughout your time in this winter wonderland.

Snow Abu Dhabi, Reem Mall, Abu Dhabi. Dhs215 (Snow Park Pass), Dhs 295 (Snow Premium Pass). Tel: (800) 707070, @snowauh