When the city starts to sizzle, seek out these cool retreats…

Abu Dhabi’s summers are always scorchers, but this year, the weather is also what meteorologists (or we) call ‘hotter than Pickl’s Reaper chicken sando’. So, when the city starts sizzling, it’s worth having a few go-to places where you can beat the heat.

We’ve compiled a handy list of the venues and activities around town where you can chill out, be cool, and generally escape the rising temperatures in style.

Here are the best ways to stay cool for the summer in Abu Dhabi. 

Chill out at Snow Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi-based adventure seekers need not fly all the way to the Alps or, dare we say it, drive to Dubai to spend a day in the snow because we’ve now got our own blanket of white stuff right in the heart of the city. Visitors can ride the crystal carousel, or hop aboard the polar express train that travels past snowbanks and enchanted forests. Experiences include riding the icy bumper cars or taking a wander through the wintry treetops for an aerial view of the park. At The Lodge, Snow Abu Dhabi’s wintry restaurant located on level three, guests can warm up with an all-day breakfast, featuring French toast, shakshuka, or blueberry pancakes.

Snow Abu Dhabi, Reem Mall, Al Reem Island, Sun to Thur 10am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 10am to midnight, prices from Dhs215. Tel: (600) 599905. @snowauh

Enjoy a skydiving breeze at Clymb

CLYMB Abu Dhabi

Replicating the exact experience of freefall, budding daredevils can experience the joy of human flight without so much as a parachute. Stepping into Clymb’s state-of-the-art, record-breaking flight chamber, you’ll feel the thrill of being suspended in mid-air courtesy of 16 flight chamber power fans.

This introduction offers each participant two flights, that’s the same freefall time as three tandem skydives, but in a completely safe indoor environment. Talk about being blown away.

Clymb, Yas Island, Wed to Sun noon to 9pm, closed Monday and Tuesday, from Dhs235. Tel: (600) 511115. @clymbabudhabi

Pay a visit to the puffins at The National Aquarium

The National Aquarium puffins

Where better to escape the heat than the Arctic? One of the nine fantastic zones at The National Aquarium – the others are UAE’s Natural Treasures, Red Sea Wreck, Atlantic Cave, The Sub, Ring of Fire, Ocean Magic, The Flooded Forest and Bu Tinah Island – enjoy the simulated icy tundra in the Frozen Ocean zone that’s home to a colony of puffins with personalities as colourful as their beaks. Come and discover how these Arctic sea birds live amongst these ice caps and waters, while enjoying the cool climes yourselves.

The National Aquarium, Abu Dhabi, Mon to Sun 10am to 10pm, from Dhs110. Tel: (0)2 418 6666. @thenationalaq

Get your skates on at Zayed Sports City Ice Rink


Abu Dhabi isn’t exactly known for winter sports enthusiasts, but ice skating is a great way to cool down after a long, sweaty day in the UAE sun. Ice rinks have to be immaculately air-conditioned to keep their skating areas at an even freeze, and between that and the cool air radiating off the ice, you might even have to bust out the coat you have in the back of your wardrobe for winter holidays. Zayed Sports City Ice Rink is the perfect place to test out those dormant cold-weather skills. Look out for the Wednesday morning (9.15am to 10am), adults-only coffee and skate lessons. Otherwise, it’s Dhs55 entry in the day, and Dhs105 at night, with ladies-only sessions every Friday.

Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, timings vary between noon and 9.30pm approximately. Tel: (0)2 403 4333. @zayedsportscity

Feel cool and cultured at Louvre Abu Dhabi

Just like you, masterpiece artworks are very susceptible to temperature extremes, so visiting Louvre Abu Dhabi – and its floating dome of light and shade – is an excellent way to chill out while enjoying a little bit of culture. The patterned roof permits daylight without too much heating, and features such as the stone floor and wall cladding keep the building cooler for longer as the day heats up.

Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island, daily 10am to midnight (galleries close at 6.30pm on weekdays and 8.30pm on weekends), Mondays closed. From Dhs63 per person, under 18s free, UAE residents over 60 free. Tel: (600) 565566. @louvreabudhabi

Try cryotherapy at °CRYO


The UAE-born wellness franchise has got it all when it comes to icy cutting-edge health and wellness treatments, from ice blast facials and full body cryo to localised cryo, providing the perfect remedy for a sweaty summer. For those who don’t know, cryotherapy is where you’re blasted with sub-freezing temperatures to soothe pain, reduce inflammation, and boost mood, energy, and sleep. Don’t worry, the blasting only lasts a short time for first-timers, and you can even bring friends to join in the fun. Step out and your body will be ready to fight the heat for the rest of the day.

°CRYO Mamsha, Turquoise 8, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, Mon to Sun 9am to 10pm. Tel: (800) 279 6823. @cryouae

Make a splash at Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi

How to make the hottest days of summer extra cool for kids? The brilliant Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, with its giant, six-person tornado water coaster, 300m lazy river, and curving canopy of rainbow waterslides make a pretty attractive summer family adventure. Need a little air-con relief? Step into Cinesplash, the park’s one-of-a-kind theatre that floods with water up to your knees, and is packed with special effects from waterfalls, moving seats and water explosions.

Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, Yas Island, daily 10am to 7pm (Fri, Yas Ladies from 1pm to 10pm). From Dhs295. Tel: (600) 511115. @yaswaterworld

Catch a movie in air-conditioned luxury at Theatre at Vox

Vox Cinema

While Vox Cinemas in Yas Mall offers multi-screen options showing all manner of blockbusters from Hollywood to Bollywood, our favourite screen is Theatre. It’s an upmarket experience with great AC, reclining seats, blankets and plenty of arm rest space, but it’s also focused on its food offering. The new Theatre menu brings together everything from dynamite shrimp, mac ‘n’ cheese bites, and vegan tacos to mini hotdogs, nachos and flatbreads.

Vox Cinemas, Yas Mall, Yas Island, daily various timings, from Dhs225. Tel: (600) 599905. uae.voxcinemascom

Cool yourself down from the inside out with an ice cream sando

Pickl ice cream sandos

When it comes to hunting down ice cream, there are heaps of cold and creamy options all over Abu Dhabi. You can’t go wrong with the chocolate camel milk ice cream topped with gold bling from Emirates Palace, or the matcha soft serve from Soo Matcha, but our favourite has to be Pickl’s ice cream sando (Dhs27). A feat of engineering that, when done correctly, results in the most exquisite play of textures: two, crunchy fried buns cradling silky smooth salted caramel ice cream.

Pickl, Mamsha, Soul Beach, daily 10am to midnight. Tel: (0)2 886 7844. @pickl.ae.

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Enter a snow cave at Saray Spa

Snow cave spa

Cool off and enjoy real snow in Abu Dhabi’s first-ever snow cave, exclusively located at Saray Spa at Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa. A snow cave is a room that’s totally covered with ice and snow to let your body cool down rapidly after a sauna. So why embrace the chill? Snow caves build off of the age-old therapeutic concept of taking the body from hot to cold. After a short time in a sauna, you can switch gears to the icy room, where you can reap benefits that range from immune concerns to fat-burning and metabolism boosts.

Al Wathba, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dhs200 spa day access, daily 11am to 10pm.
Tel: (0)2 204 4553. @alwathbahotel

Escape the heat at Adrenark


Adrenark, the new mega-adventure hub in Al Qana, is the ideal summer hangout because there are so many unique activities to try all under one roof. It’s home to climbing walls, rope courses and a net maze for kids. Plus daring trapeze jumps, a whole via ferrata, and best of all, a high-speed, multi-level electric go-karting track. Think of it like a mini indoor city for little adrenaline seekers.

Adrenark Adventure, Al Qana, Mon to Wed 10am to 10 pm, Fri and Sat 10am to midnight, Sun and Thur 10am to 11pm, from Dhs135. Tel: (0)2 418 6620. @adrenarkuae