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 occasionally, 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 like 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, a low season for hotels even though there’s pleasant weather.
Abu Dhabi Weather in January
Abu Dhabi’s average daytime 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 of 22.7°C (72.9°F) on average. The minimum sea temperature in January is 20.4°C (70.6°F), with a maximum by the end of the month of 25.1°C (75.3°F).
It’s certainly not the ideal time of year for the beach, but it’s 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 2024
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 2024.
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 19th and 28th of January 2024. For more details click here.
- The Sheikh Zayed Festival – held on purpose-built festival showgrounds in Al Wathba, an annual event that runs from late November through to March.
- 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.
- The first Abu Dhabi Sail Grand Prix will be held at Zayed Port on January 13 and 14 January, 2024. The event will be part of season 4 of the race series, which also contains stages in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Saint Tropez and San Francisco. A highlight for this inaugural event will be Take That‘s performance on opening night. For more details, click here.
- The 13 January will also see ‘Rising Stars Arabia’, which promises to be an electrifying night of boxing at Yas Links.
- Al Wadha Cup – a showcase of the finest football clubs in the Arab World will be meeting for an exciting tournament from 18 to 24 January 2024
- Hit the water for the 2nd annual Dragon Boat Race Series on Hudayriyat Island over the weekend 27 & 28 January 2024. Free for spectators to come and watch from the shores at Marsana.
Theatrical Events and Comedy
- From the 17th of January to the 4th of February, Tony, Grammy, Olivier and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Hamilton is coming to the Etihad Arena. To book tickets or learn more, click here.
- The Sukhisvili Georgian National Ballet will share traditional folk dances at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation on January 12th.
- The National Ballet of China will be performing at the Emirates Palace on the 26 & 27 January. To find out more, click here.
- 2024 sees the arrival of a new open-air musical event series on Saadiyat Island. Saadiyat Nights starts on January 6th and will include performances from American legend Mariah Carey (January 6th), Iranian singer Googoosh (January 20th), and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli (January 27th). For more details, click here.
- Head to the Emirates Palace for an evening of Puccini on the 31st of January. Enjoy some of Puccini’s most famous pieces in a night that you’re sure to remember. Learn more here.
- The Vibrant India 2024 Exhibition will take place at ADNEC (Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre) between the 5th and 7th of January. For more details, click here.
- The exhibition Letters of Light exhibition will continue at the Louvre until the 14th of January 2024.
- There’s also the opportunity to see an exhibition focussing on the influence of Islamic art on Cartier, running at the Louvre until the 24th of March 2024.
- The Public Art Exhibition Manar Abu Dhabi will continue throughout the month until 31 January 2024, with various locations across the city hosting, including Saadiyat Island, Lulu Island, the Corniche and Jubail Island. Due to high demand, tickets for the island exhibits can now be purchased online several days in advance via Ticketmaster.
- More details coming soon!
Suggested Abu Dhabi Activities in January 2024
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 2024
January is a great time to visit 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 2024
- A visit to see the new Jubail Mangrove Park on Al Jubail Island is a great way to get some fresh air, see the great outdoors, and learn more about the UAE’s unique marine life. If you get a rainy day, though, the National Aquarium is another great indoor choice for marine life lovers.
- 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 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, along with Trail X, for trying out your mountain biking skills..
- 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. Last year there was a long closure from 3 January to 11 February 2023. Still plenty of theme park fun can be found on Yas Island at WB World Abu Dhabi, Ferrari World and the newly opened SeaWorld Yas Island.
Before you go… Important things to consider when 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.
- 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:
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