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UAE’s capital city Abu Dhabi is also the best place for your tryst with the culture of Gulf region through its UNESCO world heritage sites, excellent museums (including its very own Louvre!) and exhibitions. With a lovely waterfront location the city dazzles with its grand mosques, swanky buildings, luxury resorts and amazing theme parks. Being a cultural melting pot and action hotspot, Abu Dhabi festivals allow a glimpse into its rich cultural heritage and spirit of adventure. There’s something exciting always happening in this vibrant city, so let’s check out some of the best festivals in Abu Dhabi  that showcase its rich diversity.

10 Best Abu Dhabi Festivals

The city of Abu Dhabi has experiences galore and there’s no doubt about it. Even the festivals in the city have something awe-striking in store for you, which is why you ought to attend these 10 events on your next trip to UAE.

1. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Grand Prix Event

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Undoubtedly one of the most thrilling Abu Dhabi events, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be holding its 10th instalment this year at the superb Yas Marina Circuit. The inaugural race in 2009 was the first-ever day-night race, making it even more exciting. Along with cheering for the F1 drivers, here you can actually feel the adrenaline rush yourself, by booking a racing car driving experience. Don the racing overalls and zoom off in a slick car along the 2.4Km South Circuit for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

When: 17th Nov – 20th Nov
Where: Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
Ticket Prices: Starting from INR 26,000

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2. Mother of the Nation Festival

Festival for Empowering Women

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This 10-day long celebration in honour of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak (wife of the late Sheikh Zayad) for her benevolent work and efforts towards empowering women is the perfect place to soak in the UAE culture. From fantastic live music to exciting food stalls, games for children and interesting performance, one of the most exciting Abu Dhabi festivals has it all. Divided into various themed zones, the outdoor festival also has thoughtful pavilions about women in UAE and environmental awareness. Do not miss the dazzling fireworks display during the closing ceremony.

When: 9th to 18th December, 2023
Where: A’l Bahar, Corniche, Abu Dhabi
Ticket Prices: Prices vary for each event of the festival

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3. Abu Dhabi Food Festival 2023

festivals for food connoisseurs

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Foodies get the chance to witness local & international celebrity chefs in action at this wonderful festival celebrating Emirati delicacies. Supported by all major hotels, restaurants and malls, the festival is spread over two weeks and three weekends. One of the most popular Abu Dhabi festivals for food connoisseurs, it gives visitors a chance to sample some delectable traditional and international food. Based on similar lines, the Love Food Festival at Al Ain presents myriad street food trucks, cookery demonstrations and workshops along with live music.

When: TBA
Where: Held emirate-wide
Ticket Prices: Free

4. Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival

cultural diversity and traditions

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Named after the founding father of UAE, this popular Abu Dhabi heritage festival showcases the rich cultural diversity and traditions of the emirates. The bustling festival holds various interactive exhibitions, cultural pavilions, traditional cafes offering local and international cuisines as well as hundreds of interesting shops selling handicrafts and other items. Thousands of locals and tourists flock to Al Wathba, about 50 kilometres from the city to participate in the festivities.

When: TBA
Where: Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi

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5. Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

Book Fair

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One of the two major Abu Dhabi festivals that bibliophiles and book publishers look forward to, this book fair spread over a week is one of the well-organized ones in the entire Middle East and North Africa. Literature and culture enthusiast can witness the daily book signings as well as various author interaction sessions, poetry readings, traditional music performances and engaging activities for children. Come September there is also another noteworthy Abu Dhabi literature festival, the Al Ain Book Fair that is just as wonderful.

When: 23rd – 29th May, 2023
Where: Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre

6. Abu Dhabi Festival

showcases Arabic culture

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Abu Dhabi Festival 2023 was the 15th installment of this wonderful cultural event showcasing various facets of Arabic culture through myriad events and performances. Organized annually by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, this is the largest cultural celebration in the entire region. Spread across various venues in the city, you can catch international opera performances, theatre & dance extravaganzas, instrumental concerts and so much more every year at this amazing festival. It is recommended that you book the Abu Dhabi Festival tickets online well in advance.

When: March
Where: Held across 25 venues in Abu Dhabi

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7. Al Dhafra Festival

camel festival

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A 90-minute drive away from the city you will be greeted with an endless sea of ochre-coloured sand in the Al Dhafra Region desert. This is one of those special festivals in Abu Dhabi that allow you a glimpse into the Bedouin way of life and a chance to mingle with the desert tribes. Some 1500 camel owners from across the Gulf countries participate in the festival with their best stock, while women sell traditional handicrafts from the region. The highlights of the festival are the camel beauty & falconry contests. Free coaches are available from the city to the venue.

When: 12th to 22nd January, 2023
Where: Madinat Zayad, Al Dhafra Region, Abu Dhabi

8. Ramadan & Eid

Eid Festival

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The month of Ramadan remains special in the entire region for its spiritual and religious significance. It is interesting to experience the evening buzz when the local open their fast and the markets come alive. One of the liveliest Abu Dhabi festivals, Eid Al Fitr is celebrated with great fanfare over three days. There are special fireworks and lighting at the Yas Marina & Abu Dhabi Corniche. Along with the traditional celebrations with the family, it is also a wonderful time for shopping t your heart’s content as all major malls offer special discounts.

When: Ramadan Starts – 2nd April, 2023; Eid Al-Fitr – 2nd May, 2023; Eid Al-Adha – 9 July

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9. Abu Dhabi Golf Festival

Golf Festival

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One of the two major Abu Dhabi festivals & events eagerly awaited by golfing enthusiasts and professionals, the Abu Dhabi Golf festival is a fabulous opportunity to play in some of the most luxurious golf courses in this region. Establishing Abu Dhabi as a world-class golfing destination, the manicured greens of the 27-hope Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Yas Links Golf Club and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club welcome you to tee off the new golfing season and enjoy the ample sunshine in winters.

When: January, 2023
Where: Across three premier golf courses

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10. Abu Dhabi Art

art festival

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This annual culmination of various events that take place throughout the year to bring art closer to the people by means of exhibitions, talks and installations. Abu Dhabi Art transcends the boundaries of a traditional art fair and takes it to another level through its interesting and engaging format, placing it amidst various sought-after Abu Dhabi festivals. The 4-day event every year witnesses more than 20,000 visitors who admire as well as buy various art works and installations by talented artists, with around 40 participating art galleries.

When: 16th to 20th November 2023
Where: Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Cultural District
Ticket price/adult: AED 50; free for visitors below 18 yrs of age

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Vibrant and beautiful, UAE’s largest city has festivals and events lined up all year round to ensure you can witness its cultural diversity and rich heritage. Along with those listed above, there’s also Abu Dhabi poetry festival and Abu Dhabi music festival to draw you into the city’s cultural scene. So, what are you waiting for? Plan a trip to UAE right away and head to Abu Dhabi for a few days to indulge in its top celebrations!

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Category: Abu Dhabi, Festivals

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