- Have your hands patterned with henna at the Abu Dhabi Library and Cultural Centre. This stately complex, across from the Grand Mosque, houses nearly two million volumes.
- Rise early and get to the vegetable market at Port Zayed by 6 a.m. for your pick of fresh fish, fruit, and other produce. (There are plans to move the market farther inland soon.)
- Take a ride on a traditional abra boat along the man-made waterway that winds through the Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri. Make stops at the on-site suq (market) and spa.
- Sate your sweet tooth in style at the Emirates Palace hotel, where chefs go through 11 pounds (5 kilograms) of edible gold topping every year.
- Check the schedule for the next WOMAD (World of Music, Arts, and Dance) festival. The multiday event, part of a series of worldwide festivals, features dozens of world-class performances.
- Grab pizza-by-the-meter at Spaccanapoli restaurant, a branch of the London favorite run by former Dorchester Hotel chef Domenico Savarese. Eat a whole one and you get free dessert.
- At dawn, take a desert walk into the Empty Quarter, organized by the Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara.
- Reserve a table on the terrace of the Yacht Club (TYC), looking across Khor Al Bateen waterway to Coconut Island. You can have a bottle of one of 57 vodka labels waiting—along with unlimited ice and mixers. A resident "mood guru" spins the perfect beats.
- It's definitely worth flying the national airline, Etihad Airways, which has a dedicated terminal at the airport. There's also a premium lounge where first class and business travelers can get complimentary 15-minute massages or visit the Six Senses Spa.
- Take in the Yas Hotel, which straddles Abu Dhabi's Formula 1 track so that you can look down at the race going on beneath you. The two halves of the hotel are covered, as if by a gigantic fishnet, with a multipanel glass shell.
Mary Gostelow is editor at large of WOW.travel, the online magazine of kiwicollection.com, and owner of the monthly Gostelow Report .
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