Abu Dhabi Events, Things to Do and Festivals

(Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, UAE)

Picture taken at the Formula 1 (F1) FestivalThroughout the year there are some fantastic festivals and occasions to enjoy in Abu Dhabi. By checking out the events calendar, you can time your visit with some of these exciting and fun festivals, ensuring that there will be plenty of things to do during your stay in the United Arab Emirates.

Early in the year is a great time to visit Abu Dhabi, with the Formula 1 Grand Prix held in February and the Music and Arts Festival in March. The Sounds of Arabia event in May showcases local art and culture. Later in the year, the Marine Sports Festival is especially exciting, with not only a massive exhibition, but also a leading Formula 1 boat race.

Abu Dhabi Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015


  • New Year's Day - January 1st, hotels and restaurants often hold gala dinner parties and celebrate with firework displays


  • Mouloud (Birth of the Prophet) - national holiday celebrating the birth of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, mosques and homes are decorated and there or large street processions


  • Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival - the Music and Arts Festival is one of the city's most important yearly events with an array of entertainment to enjoy and modern artworks to view


  • Al-Mahabba Festival - held during the middle of April, the Al-Mahabba festival promotes local culture and artistic Muslim media. There are television programmes, books, music, movies and paintings


  • Sounds of Arabia Festival - held over six nights each May, the popular cultural event includes fantastic displays of traditional Arabic dance and theatre


  • Summer in Abu Dhabi Festival - starting in late June, this notable festival is an exciting and entertaining packed family event with food, music and cultural activities


  • Liwa Festival - this upbeat event is a Muslim cultural celebration with an extensive variety of dates on offer, throughout July. The Liwa Festival boasts the largest date dish, which is served on the last night offering a feast for all


  • Chess Festival - a major master tournament, which sees world class players coming from all around the globe to compete for the title in August


  • Ramadan and Eid Festival - this annual event held at the National Exhibition Centre every September is popular with locals and tourists alike, and features over 1,000 exhibits of new and interesting consumer goods from electronics to home wares and clothes


  • Abu Dhabi Film Festival - the city's annual film festival each October is an important date on the social calendar with an array of cinema displays. The well-supported event is host to numerous locally made films and documentaries


  • Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - held each year in early November, the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix is an exciting event attracting thousands of visitors
  • Marine Sports Festival - beginning at the end of November, the Marine Sports Festival is an exciting event with an array of water sports on show coupled with a Formula 1 powerboat race


  • World Tennis Championship - held late December at the Tennis Complex, Zayed Sports City. A singles game exhibition championship played by six professional players. Past champions include Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
  • New Year's Eve - on the 31st of December there is an abundance of firework displays and new year celebrations taking place. The major hotels often host gala dinners with live entertainment