The United Arab Emirate’s capital city might not possess some of the glitz and glamour of Dubai but the city of Abu Dhabi has lived up to all the hype it has been getting, and it’s only a matter of time before it catches up with Dubai in terms of global exposure.
What Abu Dhabi doesn’t have in glitz and glamour, it makes up for with amazing cultural spots which include history, cultural and art museums, as well as boutique galleries showcasing great works of art by Emirati artists.
Perhaps what has given Abu Dhabi its biggest boost in terms of quality museums is the opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi which is by far the best art and civilization museum in the entire UAE. One of the best ways to learn about the rich culture and the interesting history of the UAE is to take trips to some of the insightful museums in the country and in Abu Dhabi; you’ll find a good number of those.
Here is a list of the best museums in Abu Dhabi to visit.
1. Louvre Abu Dhabi
If any museum has to be on top of the list of the best museums in Abu Dhabi, it should be Louvre Abu Dhabi. The museum is widely regarded as the first universal museum in the Arab world and it wouldn’t have been possible if the UAE and France hadn’t pooled resources to make a cultural collaboration. Designed by Pritzker Prize winner, Jean Nouvel, the museum features a domed roof and one of the most expensive painting ever sold, Salvator Mundi. You can also find a restaurant in the museum just in case you need to feed yourself before, during or after seeing all the amazing artifacts. Louvre Abu Dhabi is located in Saadiyat Cultural District, and is opened from 10 AM to 8 PM from Saturdays to Wednesdays, and from 10 AM to 10 PM on Thursdays and Fridays. The place is closed on Mondays. Regular tickets cost AED 60, while visitors between the ages of 13 and 22 can enter the museum for AED 30.
2. Al Ain Palace Museum
Al Ain Palace Museum which is also known as Qasr al-Ain, is one of the best-reinstated forts in Abu Dhabi. The museum once served as the palace of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan where he resided with his family prior to 1966. The palace was converted into a museum in 1998 to serve as a main cultural and tourist attraction, and the museum opened its doors to visitors in 2001, and continues to celebrate the rich history of the UAE and preserves its links to the present and the future. Admission into Al Ain Palace Museum is free, and its opening hours is everyday from 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM except Mondays. Friday timing is 3:30 PM to 7:30 PM.
3. UAE Currency Museum
The UAE Currency Museum was opened to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the country’s Central Bank in 2013 and it boasts of a large collection of old coin and notes from the country and other parts of the world which are displayed in a row of glass cases. The museum occupies a relatively large section of the ground floor of the country’s central bank and it is a place you can take yourself and kids to just so you can educate yourself about the history of trade and currency in the region. The museum is located in the UAE Central Bank, in Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi; and opening hours is 9 AM to 3 PM from Sunday to Thursday – it is closed on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free.
4. Emirates National Auto Museum
Considered to be one of the best museums in the whole of Abu Dhabi, Emirates National Auto Museum contains collection of 200 cars which belongs to Sheikh Hamad Bin Al Nahyan including rugged off-road vehicles and class American cars. What’s most attractive though, is the Sheikh’s Mercedes rainbow collection and the world’s largest truck. Entry fee is AED 50, but free for children under the age of 10. Opening times are 9 AM to 6 PM daily.
5. Heritage Village Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi’s Heritage Village is located somewhere around Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi Corniche Breakwater, and a trip to this place will teach you all you need to know about the Emirate’s history and culture. You can also experience a campfire with coffee pots, and life under the tent in the Heritage Village with your family and friends. Entry is free, and opening time is from 9 AM to 4 PM everyday except Fridays which is 3:30 PM to 9 PM.
6. Women’s Handicrafts Centre
This small museum run by the Abu Dhabi Women’s Association is an amazing place to witness some of the best displays from local artists in the form of crafts and art. The museum features several products such as handmade souvenirs, incense, and local dresses prepared by female artists. It is wise to know that you must seek permission before taking pictures in the museum and you must also take off your shoes before entering the workplace. Admission is 5 dirhams, and opening time is Sunday to Thursday from 7 AM to 3 PM.