Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 July 2019

Abu Dhabi's 11 best parks: lakes, BBQs, basketball courts and more

The capital is known for its abundance of green spaces. Here are some of the loveliest

The Formal Park, Corniche Road. Chris Whiteoak / The National
The Formal Park, Corniche Road. Chris Whiteoak / The National

With the weather cooling, it’s the best time of the year to be outside enjoying the best of the UAE and its abundance of green spaces. Whether you’re going to play as a family, enjoy a barbecue with friends or get fit outdoors, there’s a bit of nature for everyone to enjoy.

Head here to discover Dubai's 10 best parks.

1. Al Khalidiya Park

Al Khalidiya Park, Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Al Khalidiya Park, Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Al Khalidiya Park is one of the oldest and most popular parks in Abu Dhabi. Its vast open spaces attract families for weekend and evening picnics, and its tree-shaded spots make it the perfect place for a relaxed afternoon. It has multiple play areas for the little ones, with space for both younger and older children. The park itself is huge, taking up an entire block of Khallej Al Arabi Street. It is one of the focal points of the Khalidiya neighbourhood, with further gardens to explore just across the road from the main park. There are also kiosks dotted around the park selling refreshments such as juices, fast food and ice creams.

Where: Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street

Opening times: 8am to 10pm

Cost: Free

2. Family Park

Family Park, Corniche Road. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Family Park, Corniche Road. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Roughly in the middle of the 8km stretch of Abu Dhabi’s Corniche, you’ll find Family Park. As its name suggests, this space is designed with children in mind, with plenty to keep the little ones busy. There are five play areas to explore, designed to resemble pirate ships and rockets, alongside a water park and palm pool to cool off in. There’s also a skate park and basketball courts. There are plenty of shaded picnic areas dotted through the park, alongside designated barbecue spaces. In the centre of the space, there’s a lighthouse and a "tranquility bay" water feature, along with plenty of open green spaces and, of course, the Corniche is just a stone’s throw away.

Where: Corniche Road W, Al Khalidiyah

Opening times: 24 hours

Cost: Free

3. The Formal Park

The Formal Park, Corniche Road. Chris Whiteoak / The National
The Formal Park, Corniche Road. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Located just down from the Family Park on the Corniche, the Formal Park is – despite its name – an extremely relaxing space, perfect for a lazy afternoon. This park is centred around a large pond with a striking swan water feature, and its lawns are lined with colourful flowerbeds. Although it does have children’s play areas, this stretch of park along the Corniche feels slightly more grown up than its neighbours. One of the biggest draws of the Formal Park is its maze, which provides a fun way to step away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The park also boasts outdoor gym equipment, a sports track and plenty of picnic spaces and barbecue areas.

Where: Corniche Road W / Sultan Bin Zayed the First Street

Opening times: 24 hours

Cost: Free

4. Lake Park

Lake Park, Corniche Road. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Lake Park, Corniche Road. Chris Whiteoak / The National

As the name suggests, this Corniche park houses a large lake, with a 15-metre high fountain in the middle. It’s a peaceful space, with walking and jogging tracks weaving around the water. There is an impressive bridge over the lake, with plenty of benches dotted around so you can sit back and admire the view.

Where: Corniche Road W / Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street

Opening times: 24 hours

Cost: Free

5. Heritage Park

Al Heritage Park, Al Firdous Street / Corniche Road East. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Al Heritage Park, Al Firdous Street / Corniche Road East. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Heritage Park is the last park along the stretch of the Corniche, opposite Mina Port. It is one of the city’s prettiest parks thanks to the traditional Arabic stone structures dotted throughout, and the intricate bandstands offering shaded picnic areas. It’s a quiet, peaceful place – although it does have a large outdoor play area for children. The park has a kiosk to buy food and drinks, and has a large open seating area with a sundial sculpture at its centre. There are plenty of walking paths weaving around the park, making it a great space for having a stroll, along with designated barbecue pits.

Where: Al Firdous Street / Corniche Road East

Opening times: 24 hours

Cost: Free

6. Reem Central Park

Reem Central Park.  Chris Whiteoak / The National
Reem Central Park. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Reem Central Park is Abu Dhabi’s newest park, serving the ever-growing community of Reem Island. The park, which opened at the start of December, cost Dh250 million and offers an abundance of recreational facilities. The space winds beneath an underpass, providing large swaths of shade where you can chill out on brightly coloured beanbags and enjoy a refreshment from one of the many food trucks. There’s a huge play area and sand pit, with slides cleverly built into the walls. For sports lovers, there are two basketball courts, and a skate and BMX park. If chilling out is more your thing, there’s plenty of open space where movie screenings and concerts will be regularly held. The park has its own stretch of beach, where you can rent kayaks and explore the mangroves. And there’s a food court area with restaurants, cafes and plenty of terrace seating. Be aware, parking is limited, though.

Where: Shams Abu Dhabi, Al Reem Island

Opening times: 3pm – 10pm

Cost: Free

7. Delma Park

Al Delma Park, Delma Street. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Al Delma Park, Delma Street. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Delma Park is a great place for sports lovers, with plenty of amenities for outdoor exercise. It’s not the biggest park in Abu Dhabi, but it packs a lot into its small space. There is a tennis court, plenty of outdoor gym equipment, basketball courts, a football pitch and even a small climbing wall. There’s also a 450-metre marked running track, which is a huge draw for joggers, especially during the evenings, alongside some shaded children’s play areas and a food kiosk.

Where: Delma Street

Opening times: 24 hours

Cost: Free

8. Umm Al Emarat Park

Umm Al Emarat Park. Courtesy of Umm Al Emarat Park
Umm Al Emarat Park. Courtesy of Umm Al Emarat Park

This is one of Abu Dhabi’s most popular parks, and it’s easy to see why. The huge green space, located in Al Mushrif, has got plenty to keep the whole family busy for a full day out. With its large open green spaces, the park is a great place for children to play and families to picnic, and the area is also widely used for recreational sport, such as yoga. It has two children’s play areas, alongside an animal barn, botanical garden and shade house, an outdoor gym and the world’s largest mobile maze. The entrance of the park is lined with fountains, and there is a food court with restaurants and cafes, including the popular Home Bakery and Salt burger restaurant.

Where: 15th Street, Mushrif Area

Opening times: 8am–12pm

Cost: Dh5

9. Yas Gateway Park

Children playing in the kids play area at the Yas Gateway Park on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) 
Children playing in the kids play area at the Yas Gateway Park on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. ( Pawan Singh / The National )

Once you work out how to navigate Yas Gateway Park, you’ll discover a real hidden gem. The park is located next to Yas Mall, and is split into two parts – Yas Gateway South and Yas Gateway North. The car park is used as overflow for the Formula One track and it can be quite confusing to find your way around. Once you make it to the park itself, you’ll find two children’s play areas alongside multiple barbecue stations on the north side, while the south side is aimed more at recreational sport, with tennis courts and vast open spaces. The two sides of the park, while separated by a busy road, are connected via an underpass and trails.

Where: Al Falah Road

Opening times: 8am–10pm

Cost: Free

10. Capital Gardens

Capital Gardens, Al Danah. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Capital Gardens, Al Danah. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Capital Gardens offers a bit of peace and quiet right in the heart of the city. There is a huge central lake with an intermittent fountain show, alongside plenty of green space, children’s play areas and a jogging track around the 5.6-hectare site. The entrance to the park is marked with two large golden sculptures of ornamental Arabic coffee pots, a direct contrast to the highrise cityscape behind it.

Where: Al Danah - Crossroads of Khalifa Bin Zayed The First - 3rd Street & Sultan Bin Zayed The First 4th Street

Opening times: 8am – 10pm

Cost: Dh1

11. Khalifa Park

Al Khalifa Park. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Al Khalifa Park. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Khalifa Park is one of Abu Dhabi’s biggest and best known parks. It was designed in typical Arabic and Islamic style, taking inspiration from some of the world’s greatest gardens. The park is filled with palm trees and colourful flowerbeds. There’s a splash park and a lazy river, as well as multiple play areas for children and a miniature train that runs around the outside of the park. The Grand Mosque can be seen in the distance, making for a stunning backdrop. The park also hosts regular events, and has plenty of walking routes and sports facilities.

Where: Off Eastern Ringroad at Sheik Zayed Bin Sultan Street

Opening times: 10am–10pm

Cost: Dh2

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Read more:

Reem Central Park continues Abu Dhabi’s tradition of creating great green spaces for all to enjoy

Parks, squares, alleys: how do we make sure public spaces in the UAE work well for the multicultural communities that live here?

The ultimate guide to Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi

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Updated: December 20, 2018 03:11 PM

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