Everything you need to know about visiting Abu Dhabi in January
Abu Dhabi enjoys wonderfully mild winter days in January. Usually crisp, and clear but rain and overcast days can be expected on occasion too.
It can be deceptively cooler than you think in the winter, the coldest point of the year in Abu Dhabi. A beachy holiday and water-based ideas such as Yas Waterworld may not be at their prime, but it’s perfect for outdoor exploration and getting beyond the city into the desert.
Most of the crowds from Christmas – New Year break have left by the second week of January and local kids are back at school so it tends to be a quiet time to visit, low season for hotels even though there’s pleasant weather.
Abu Dhabi weather in January
Abu Dhabi’s average day time maximum temperature in January is a mild 22.7°C (72.9°F), with highs as much as 31.3°C (88.3°F) and average lows overnight down to a slightly chilly 17.8°C (64°F).
In January, you should expect sea temperatures on average of 22.7°C (72.9°F). Maximum sea temperatures are expected of 25.1°C (75.3°F) through to a minimum of 20.4°C (70.6°F).
It’s certainly not the ideal time of year for the beach, but perfect for exploring outdoors without building up a sweat!
Make no mistake, no matter what time of year you visit Abu Dhabi you will still want a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses – you can find our full packing list tips for Abu Dhabi here.
Abu Dhabi special events in January
There’s loads to keep you occupied in Abu Dhabi this January! Here are just some of the many wonderful events happening around the capital in January 2023.
Cultural & Heritage Events
- The Al Hosn Festival, a living celebration of Emirati history and culture will take place at the Qasr Al Hosn between the 13th and 22nd of January. For more details click here.
- The Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival – held on purpose-built festival showgrounds in Al Wathba, an annual event that runs from late November through to February.
- Al Dhafra Festival – A traditional Bedouin Festival held in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region, near the town of Madinat Zayed. Events range from Saluki racing and falconry to the much-converted – Camel Mazayna, finding the region’s most beautiful camels. This really is one of the country’s most exciting and intriguing cultural events – you can learn more here.
- From the 19th to the 22nd of January, the HSBC Golf Championships are back in Abu Dhabi. For more details, click here.
Theatrical Events and Comedy
- Jimmy Carr will be bringing some Terribly Funny Comedy to the Etihad Arena on January 7th. Tickets are available here.
- On the 21st January, the mic will be passed to Kevin Bridges for an ‘overdue catch-up’. For tickets and more details, click here.
- GRAMMY-winning, multi-platinum band Imagine Dragons will be performing in their Mercury World Tour at the Etihad Arena on the 26th January, 2023 at 7:00 pm. Prices start at 275 AED.
- At 8:00 pm on the 27th of January, international legend Sting will be singing a variety of hits from his illustrious career, both with The Police and as a solo artist; also at the Etihad Arena.
- K-Pop girl group ‘Black Pink’ will perform on their Born Pink World Tour at Etihad Park (Formerly Du Arena) on January 28th. Click here for more information.
- The World Future Energy Summit will take place at ADNEC (Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre) between the 16th and 18th of January. For more details, click here.
- The ‘Impressionism: Pathways to Modernity’ exhibition will continue at the Louvre until the 5th of February.
- Chinese New Year falls on the 22nd January and many hotels will have themed dinners. The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort will be going all out at Sontaya with a special menu and traditional lion dance.
Suggested Abu Dhabi activities in January
January is the perfect month for being outside, we recommend you look to some of the cities cultural attractions. Why not try:
- Qasr Al Hosn – found in the centre of Abu Dhabi island. Home to Abu Dhabi’s original landmark building the Al Hosn Fort, this is the perfect place to come and take a step back through history.
- A city boat tour – A fabulous way to see the city made up of hundreds of islands; there are several departure locations and types of boats, from thrilling speed boats to more sedate traditional dhows to get out on the water and enjoy the fresh winter air.
- Kayak around the Louvre – not just a place to appreciate the artworks and history of civilization, the Louvre Abu Dhabi also offers unique kayaking tours beneath the brilliant arched ceiling and waterways of the museum.
Day trips from Abu Dhabi in January
January is a great time of year for visiting the Oasis City of Al Ain. Situated approximately 160km southeast of the city, Al Ain in Abu Dhabi Emirate is considered the historic centre. With the lush greenery of Al Ain Oasis (A UNESCO World Heritage site), there are several forts and museums to explore here, plus the UAE’s highest peak to scale (in your car!) Jebel Hafeet.
You’ll find a good guide here on everything you can expect in Al Ain.
- An organized tour can be a great way to get around the sites of Al Ain without needing to self-drive.
- Check out the new Jebel Hafit Desert Park for some stunning glamping and camping options, as well as the opportunity to explore the 5000-year-old beehive tombs.
- Experience an overnight desert safari in the Al Katim Desert, outside of the city, where you can enjoy camel rides, sand sports, an Arabic buffet dinner and Bedouin hospitality – compare Abu Dhabi desert safari options here.
Abu Dhabi with kids in January
- A visit to see the new Jubail Mangrove Park on Al Jubail Island is a great way to get some fresh air and see the great outdoors and learn more about the UAE’s unique marine life.
- Visit Al Hudayriyat Island, the city’s latest leisure destination to open to the public, which includes adrenaline activities from high ropes and a skating park through to the beautiful new waterfront dining venue Marsana with a public beach and splash park on hand. An inflatable water park on the beach has joined the entertainment lineup this winter.
- Enjoy the city’s largest park, Umm al Emarat Park, on a family day out. Explore the botanical gardens and wadi’s through to splash park, enjoy a session at Bounce outdoors and a free cinema in the park on Thursday to Saturday evenings (10 AED park entry fee applies).
Note that its common for Yas Waterworld to close in January for annual maintenance. There’s a longer closure this year from 3 January to 11 February 2023. Still plenty of theme park fun can be found on Yas Island at WB World Abu Dhabi and Ferrari World.
Before you go… Important things to consider planning a trip to Abu Dhabi
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Abu Dhabi, a handy guide on what to pack as well as top tips for first-timers on the dos and don’ts, laws, and customs in the UAE.
- Find the latest Abu Dhabi COVID-19 Guidance here.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!
- Discover the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
Please note we are not a travel agency. This site is a travel blog to help newcomers to the UAE self plan their trip, we cannot book your flights, hotels, visas or connections for you. We may make a small commission if you click on any of our hotel or tour recommendation links.Abu Dhabi Travel Planner