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. Communicating is easy as English, Hindi, Malayalam, Urdu, Swahili, and Tagalog are spoken as often as Arabic in this global city.

Picture of the city

NYU Abu Dhabi is located on Saadiyat Island. The island, while self-sufficient for both daily needs and recreational activities, is connected to Yas Island – Abu Dhabi’s certifiable entertainment hub – and to the rest of the city. Abu Dhabi and the UAE have the options for entertainment and exploration from live sports and music, to theatre and weekend excursions to mountains (with snow in the winter!), deserts, oases, and beaches. If sports is your thing, at Abu Dhabi you can be a spectator at the Formula 1 race at the Yas Marina Circuit, the Dubai Rugby Sevens, Dubai Tennis Championship, UFC, thrilling football matches, follow the action in Camel Racing – and so much more.

Frequented by public buses and taxis, NYU Abu Dhabi shuttles, and accessed by ride-sharing apps, you can readily getaway for necessities and explorations.

The hot weather in Abu Dhabi and the region during half the year calls for loose-fitting cotton clothing. In the cooler six months, you will need a light jacket.

Students in the city

The weather from October to May is conducive to outdoor activities such as trekking or water sports ranging from canoeing, paddleboarding, and kayaking to kitesurfing. Treks usually occur in the Hajar Mountains, Jebel Jais, Liwa desert, Showka, and Hatta.

Students in front of the national theater

Take some time off at one of the many public beaches across Abu Dhabi. Head to one of the city’s parks for a barbeque, or a stroll along one of its walkways at the Abu Dhabi Corniche, or the Mangrove Walk. As the safest city in the world, Abu Dhabi offers plenty to do for everyone.

Explore UAE with NYUAD

Expo 2020

The upcoming Expo 2020, which will be held from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, perfectly symbolizes the ambition of the UAE to create history and its desire to significantly contribute on the global front in a collaborative way. With over 190 countries participating, the event will help shape the post-pandemic world with an approach based on the UAE’s defining values of inclusion and tolerance. We invite you to take advantage of this invaluable opportunity to witness the creation of a lasting legacy.

Learn more about the pavilions, inspiring talks, and engaging events that will form a cornerstone of this historic spectacle.