The best museums and galleries in Abu Dhabi are great for learning about the city’s flourishing arts scene. For many years, notable Emirati artists have been actively making a name for themselves not just in the UAE, but across the world. The city’s galleries often hold world-class exhibitions on a variety of art forms, including sculptures, paintings, films, animation, and games.

    Museums showcase the development of Abu Dhabi from a traditional desert village to one of the world’s most technologically advanced cities. There are also museums dedicated to a specific interest, including automobiles, natural history, and important UAE figures. Check out our guide to the best places to discover Abu Dhabi’s history, art, and culture.


    Louvre Abu Dhabi

    Prominent art museum on Saadiyat Island

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    The Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of the most impressive art museums in Abu Dhabi. Established on Saadiyat Island in 2017, it occupies a futuristic venue designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. More than 600 artworks are displayed across 23 permanent galleries, spanning a total of 8,000 square metres.

    Around 300 works are loans from partnering French museums, including the Louvre, Palace of Versailles, and Musée d’Orsay. You can see Egyptian antiquities, Neolithic statues from Ain Ghazal, and Chinese ceremonial vases. The Louvre Abu Dhabi also has a dedicated children’s museum and hands-on workshops for those who want to improve their skills.

    Location: Saadiyat - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 6.30 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +971 (0)600 565 566


    photo by thefool0803 (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Abu Dhabi Heritage Village

    Reconstructed desert village by the Emirates Heritage Club

    • Families
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    The Abu Dhabi Heritage Village is an open-air museum offering an immersive look into the UAE’s traditional desert life. The recreated complex has all the elements you’d find in a traditional village, including a mosque, a souq (street market), falaj (irrigation channel), and several barasti (houses).

    There are craftspeople working on ancient practices like pottery, metalwork, and glassblowing in the village. The Abu Dhabi Heritage Village is a world away from Abu Dhabi’s modern landscape, making it a great place for families and those who want to see a different side of the city.

    Location: Marina Mall - Abu Dhabi Theatre Road - Corniche - Breakwater Road; Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

    Open: Saturday–Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm, Friday from 3 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +971 (0)2 681 4455


    Zayed Heritage Center

    Learn about the founding father of the United Arab Emirates

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    The Zayed Heritage Center commemorates the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder of the United Arab Emirates. It’s a small yet informative museum on Baynounah Street, just south of the Marsa Al Bateen Marina.

    The Zayed Heritage Center has several galleries showcasing a wide range of artefacts, including the founder’s photographs, hunting rifles, and vehicles. There’s also an exhibit dedicated to the Abu Dhabi police force, plus an onsite theatre showing a documentary about the late UAE founder.

    Location: Baynounah Street - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 8 am to 2 pm (closed on Fridays and Saturdays)

    Phone: +971 (0)2 665 9555


    photo by cifraser1 (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Manarat Al Saadiyat

    Modern art museum with an auditorium and terrace

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    Manarat Al Saadiyat has been a staple of Abui Dhabi’s art scene since 2009. Located on Saadiyat Island, the museum occupies a 15,400-square-metre space with multiple galleries, an auditorium, a theatre, and an open-air terrace. Visit in the evening to see the building’s honeycomb lattice façade illuminated in colourful lights.

    Displays at Manarat Al Saadiyat mostly focus on photography and multimedia art, including film, music, animation, and games. A team of creatives often hosts workshops for those interested in learning a new skill during their visit.

    Location: Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Hwy - Al Sa'Diyat - Cultural District - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 8 pm

    Phone: +971 (0)2 657 5800


    photo by Davide Mauro (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Emirates National Auto Museum

    A must-visit for car enthusiasts

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    The Emirates National Auto Museum attracts car enthusiasts with its extensive collection of vintage vehicles. It has around 200 cars that belong to Emirati royalty, Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan. You can find the museum on Hanim Road, about a 45-minute drive south of central Abu Dhabi.

    Standouts include a globe-shaped caravan, a steam-powered Mercedes from 1885, and a 1950 Dodge Power wagon (one of the world’s largest trucks). You can also see a collection of vintage cars, military vehicles, and rainbow-coloured Mercedes cars at this quirky museum.

    Location: South of Abu Dhabi - Hamim Road - Off E11 - Al Dhafra - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

    Open: Wednesday–Monday from 9 am to 5 pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    Phone: +971 (0)50 279 2620


    photo by Peter Dowley (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Abu Dhabi History Museum

    Family-friendly educational museum in Khalifa Park

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    The Abu Dhabi History Museum appeals to families with its rather hands-on exhibitions about the city’s background. It’s part of the 500,000-square-metre Khalifa Park, one of Abu Dhabi’s largest recreational sites.

    Instead of exploring the museum on foot, you ride a pod-like car that takes you past several dioramas detailing the development of Abu Dhabi. You can see scenes of traditional desert life, oil mining, and modern city landscapes. Throughout the 20-minute ride, you can listen to audio commentary in either English or Arabic.

    Location: Zone 1 - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

    Open: Daily from 3 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +971 (0)2 449 4303


    Etihad Modern Art Gallery

    Unique gallery with contemporary artworks in Abu Dhabi

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    The Etihad Modern Art Gallery celebrates the works of Emirati artists in an intimate setting. It's one of the smallest museums in Abu Dhabi and feels a lot like a casual gathering space for local creatives to share their talent with the public.

    You can check out a wide range of modern art and sculptures in the main gallery, vintage objects in the side gallery, and old drawings in the upstairs section. The Etihad Modern Art Gallery occasionally hosts exhibits by international artists, as well as small concerts and poetry nights throughout the year.

    Location: Al Bateen Area - Villa 15 Al Huwelat St - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +971 (0)2 621 0145


    Abu Dhabi Art Hub

    Art gallery inside World Trade Center Mall

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    The Abu Dhabi Art Hub provides the city’s artists with a space for exhibitions, workshops, and political discussions. The all-white gallery is part of the World Trade Center Mall, featuring several rooms across 2 floors.

    Here, you can browse works by established artists from the UAE and various countries around the world. Exhibits range from paintings, photos, and sculptures to mixed-media, videos, and decorative arts. The Abu Dhabi Art Hub also offers fully furnished accommodation and working spaces for artists with its month-long Artist Residency programme.

    Location: Clearance Shopping Center - Musaffah - ICAD I - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +971 (0)55 550 9678


    NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery

    Free museum showcasing exhibitions

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    The NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery is one of the few buildings on the campus that’s open to the public. Located at the entrance of Building A4, it’s a great place to see ground-breaking art exhibitions for free in Abu Dhabi.

    You can browse through a wide range of art forms, including photography, paintings, sculptures, and digital media. The art gallery also has an outdoor sculpture garden hosting interesting events throughout the year. If you want to learn more about the gallery’s current exhibitions, check out reference materials at the adjacent NYUAD Gallery Reading Room.

    Location: New York University Abu Dhabi - Saadiyat Marina District - Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from noon to 8 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +971 (0)2 628 8000


    photo by 110603Ldj. (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified



    Industrial complex with artist studios and contemporary galleries

    • Families
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    Warehouse421 is a cultural centre with a strong focus on homegrown talents, making it one of the best art galleries in Abu Dhabi. Located near Zayed Port, this industrial-like warehouse consists of several artist studios and exhibition spaces.

    Besides contemporary art and designs, Warehouse421 also hosts film screenings, artistic exchanges, talks, book readings, and interactive lessons by emerging Middle Eastern artists. You can take part in the biweekly Wednesdays at the Warehouse programme, which includes children’s workshops, photo walks, and wellness therapies.

    Location: Zayed Port - Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +971 (0)2 676 8803

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

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