Located on the southern coast of the Arabian Gulf, Abu Dhabi is the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. Its location on the Arabian Gulf and comprising over 80% of UAE’s total area, plays a role in the Emirate’s prominence as a center for commerce and culture throughout the region. Read on to gain an overview of the city and to take a sneak peek into things you can do in Abu Dhabi!

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

In Abu Dhabi access to cultural, historical, religious, and contemporary spaces provide a kaleidoscope of the Emirate’s development and a map to understanding its contemporary setting of an urban population of 1.45 million, of whom nearly 80% of residents hail from approximately 150 countries. Communicating is easy as English, Hindi, Malayalam, Urdu, Farsi, Swahili, Tagalog, and French are spoken as often as Arabic in this global city.

New York University Abu Dhabi is located on Saadiyat Island. The island, while self-sufficient with both daily needs and recreational activities located near to the Campus, is connected by road to Yas Island – Abu Dhabi’s certifiable entertainment hub – and to the rest of the City.

Frequented by public buses and taxis, NYU Abu Dhabi shuttles, and accessed by ride-sharing apps, a quick stop for necessities, exploration or getaway is always on the cards.

Picture of the city

The hot weather in Abu Dhabi and the region calls for loose fitting cotton clothing to keep cool and comfortable. On campus, expression through clothing is a common site as students, staff, and faculty dress to match their personalities and moods. Take care to dress modestly and follow guidelines when visiting religious or cultural sites.

When out and about in the city, dress comfortably and appropriately depending on the place you are going too, but do not forget sun protection – headgear, sunglasses, and sunscreen- especially when headed outdoors!

Things to Do

Students in the city

Entertainment, exploration, escapism, and relaxation, whatever the choice, Abu Dhabi and the UAE have the options from cultural to sports, theatre to live music. From a quick break to a weekend jaunt, and longer planned excursions to mountains, deserts, and beaches, there is a little bit of everything in this Emirate and its neighbors.


Abu Dhabi is home to numerous live international and regional sporting events. Be a spectator at Formula 1 at the Yas Marina Circuit, the Dubai Rugby Sevens, the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, Dubai Tennis Championship, UFC at the dedicated Fight Island at Yas Island, or follow the action in Camel Racing – and that’s just the regular sporting calendar. Keep an eye out for cricket, golf, local (UAE Pro League) and regional football competitions, and a variety of other sports.

Community members on a cycling tour

The weather from October to May is conducive to outdoor activities whether trekking, or water sports from canoeing, to kite surfing. Treks usually occur on the Hajar Mountains, Jebel Jais, Liwa desert, Showka, and Hatta in the UAE, while the Eastern Mangroves in Abu Dhabi are a hot spot for canoeing. Prefer a different stimulus? One of the many theme parks in the UAE from the water to virtual reality parks are set to thrill. Alternatively, spend time immersed in cultural expeditions from themed art installations at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, to a variety of local museums dedicated to regional art, history, and culture, such as the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Al Ain Palace Museum, Dubai Museum, and… a number of museums for automobile enthusiasts!

Students in front of the national theater

Relax! Take some time off at one of the many public beaches across UAE, Abu Dhabi, or right on Saadiyat Island. Head to one of the capital city’s parks, or a stroll along one of its walkways at the Abu Dhabi Corniche, or the Mangrove Walk. And for the ordinary yet necessary, state-of-the-art cinemas, gaming and activity zones, cultural sites to roam around, libraries to stroll through, and cafes that offer live music will provide a quick breather from the daily grind.