Abu Dhabi is not really my kind of town – I like cities made for people, not cars. But after two visits I will concede that it has some nice spots if you look hard enough, plus the stunning Grand Mosque which I would happily visit every day for the rest of my life.
Museums and Galleries
Ethiad Modern Art Gallery, 4 Alfalah Street
A titchy little gallery tucked away near a supermarket about 20 minutes walk down Al Bateen Street to the Corniche, I liked this place. When I visited it had a junior T-Rex skeleton on display downstairs, next to some local modern art about matchsticks – a kind of up-market version of a small-town museum. But upstairs there were some really great exhibitions.
My favourite was a collection by Yiannis Roussakis, included a quartet of paintings depicting the Madinat Zayed street market (below), and a lovely camel portrait, 'I'm Calling You'. Emily Gordon's loud 'Abu Dhabi Corniche' was also eye-catching and, I suspect, slightly more vibrant than the real thing.
I suspect that I might not like this artificial beach stretch during the day, but on a winter's evening with not so many people around it was a great place to wander for an hour or so. Down this neck of the woods there are pavements, boardwalks, pedestrian crossings and even cycle lanes, although the only cyclist I saw wasn't using it. The Hilton beach-side shisha bar was relaxing without too many people around and, despite being surrounded by glittering skyscrapers, the stars still made an appearance up above.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
A breathtakingly beautiful and the subject of its own little markontour blog.