If you’re passing through Abu Dhabi and have just one day to see the sights, we recommend starting your brief city tour at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a magnificent architectural wonder of art housing sparkling gold-plated chandeliers, dozens of awe-inspiring domes and minarets and what’s thought to be the largest carpet in the world.
Next, get a sense of what Abu Dhabi was like before the oil boom — think tents and fishing towns — by spending an hour or two at lovely Heritage Village, a re-creation of a traditional village. Watch craftsmen perform metal work and pottery, and others weave and spin.
After lunch, take a walk or bike down the Corniche, the city’s signature waterfront area that will eventually lead you to Emirates Palace, a landmark luxury hotel that mesmerizes with its lavish architecture. Opt to save lunch for the hotel’s Le Café for a juicy camel burger, or get a rich — literally — shot of caffeine with a signature espresso topped with flakes of edible gold.
Continue on to Manarat Al Saadiyat, the city’s arts and culture hub with multiple galleries, then finish your day by rewarding yourself for a long afternoon exploring on foot with a much-needed drink at the Turquoiz, an outdoor bar at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi that is a great perch for the stunning sunsets.