Beat the Heat: Abu Dhabi Style
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Beat the Heat: Abu Dhabi Style

Nighttime activities the whole family will enjoy.

Beat the Heat: Abu Dhabi Style

Summers are for families, fun, and enjoying what one’s city and community have to offer. But in a place like Abu Dhabi, where the daytime temperatures routinely top 100 degrees for weeks on end, the weather can make outdoor family activities all but impossible. But there is another option to get the family out to explore Abu Dhabi. While the kids may be spending the day at home in the air conditioning, once the harsh sun goes down, the choices for a family outing are numerous. This summer, take a cue from the nocturnal and step out at night.

1. Heritage Village

A great learning opportunity for the whole family, Heritage Village takes a step back in time to explore what Abu Dhabi was like before its oil was discovered. The exhibit features reconstructions of an oasis village of the past, with Bedouin tents, irrigation systems, mudbrick houses, wind towers, traditional souks and a historic fishing village. The whole village seeks to bring visitors back in time to better understand the lives of the Bedouins. There are even workshops featuring historic artisans practicing their crafts, and kids can see how metal work, pottery, weaving and spinning were done many years ago. The Heritage Village, run by the Emirates Heritage Club, is a great chance for kids to get out of the house while learning something at the same time. Plus, it’s open until 9 p.m. on Friday nights, so families can go late when the sun is setting and the temperatures are cooler.  

2. Abu Dhabi Ice Rink

Not only is ice skating a great workout for the whole family, but the ice rink is also guaranteed to cool everyone down after a hot day. Located inside the Zayed Sports Center, this facility also offers lessons so that parents and kids can hone a new skill throughout the summer. The Abu Dhabi Ice Rink is also open late, until 10 p.m., giving families in the city another evening activity to add to the regular rotation.

3. Corniche

The Corniche is a picturesque recreational area that transitions seamlessly from day to night. During the afternoon there are beaches, food and beverages, gardens, walkways, volleyball courts and children’s play areas. Since the park is open late, it is still a hotspot into the cooler hours of the evening, especially due to a refreshing sea breeze chilling the nearby paths. By night, you will find joggers, skaters, bikers, walkers, casual strollers, and even families taking breezy nighttime drives past the scenery. Kids and parents alike will enjoy meandering among the gardens, playing in the sand and getting outside for some exercise in the cooler temperatures.   

4. Family Movies

Like most major cities, Abu Dhabi has a number of movie theaters showing evening movies. Check out VOX Cinemas, Al Mariah Cinema, Marina Mall Movie Theater and the Cine Royal Cinema. Most theaters will have at least one family movie playing that can please all ages, especially when so many recent kids’ movies are well made and clever enough for adults to enjoy too. While it’s not always the most ideal activity, since movies can be expensive especially for big families, a trip to the movie theater can be a fun, air-conditioned treat every once in awhile.

5. SummerFest Abu Dhabi

This 52-day long festival, running from June to August, features a slew of different events such as concerts, comedy shows and celebrity appearances at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company and du Forum. For kids, the options are just as wide. An obstacle course, maze, rock-climbing wall, zip line and Extreme Tower Bag Jump will entertain and thrill older kids; and for the younger set, there’s a live-action Cartoon Network show with characters from popular TV shows, a LEGO Zone, Sesame Street shows, a balloon caricaturist and live performances from Lazy Town and Bananas in Pajamas.

Best of all, SummerFest is a family-friendly entertainment that stays open late. During its regular schedule, the festival is open until 9 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday and 11 p.m. Thursday and Friday. During Ramadan, hours will extend, with the festival open until 1:30 a.m. Saturday through Wednesday and 2:30 a.m. Thursday and Friday. With weeks worth of events running in the evenings and after-dark, there are plenty of chances to enjoy the fun of SummerFest Abu Dhabi with the family.

6. Explore the Neighborhood

Not all family outings need to cost an arm and leg in gas money and ticket prices. Take a nighttime walk around your neighborhood and check out the local sites by moonlight for free. With little effort, parents can plan a fun and active flashlight scavenger hunt around the yard or a local park, teaching kids about nature and solving puzzles. Lots of daytime activities, like exercise and outdoor play, can be transferred to night and can even be made more fun for kids by incorporating flashlights, sparklers, glow necklaces and whatever else parents can come up with. If the night is cool enough, kids and parents can camp out in the yard in a tent or fort, with a campfire, s’mores and ghost stories: not a dime will be spent but an adventure will certainly be had. Most important is not to let the heat get the family down. Use hot weather as an opportunity to get out and see another side of the city, the neighborhood, or even your own backyard.


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