Abu Dhabi audio tour: Modern Heritage Tour of Downtown Abu Dhabi

Modern Heritage Tour of Downtown Abu Dhabi

Walking Tour

60 mins

About the Tour

Dive into the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi where the city’s streets and buildings have so many tales to tell. On this walking tour, you’ll discover a side of the city that few visitors see and many locals overlook.

You will have the opportunity to learn about our system of heritage buildings, exploring the design and aesthetics, history and symbolism, technology and innovation, and social and economic impact. You’ll duck into downtown’s backstreets and hear anecdotes of Abu Dhabi’s rapid rise and continued development. Along the way, you’ll hear about:

• How some of these buildings and sites are being inventoried and classified as modern heritage to preserve the country’s recent history
• What inspired the city planners
• Who were the influential architects and designers of the time
• How the city catered to its residents

By the end of the tour, you’ll have seen many fine examples of modern heritage buildings, each with a story that demonstrates how Abu Dhabi transformed from a quiet coastal settlement into a bustling metropolis in less than a half-century, virtually unrecognisable to those who visited it just a few decades ago.


Chris Zabriskie – Candlepower
Lee Rosevere – Start the Day
Lee Rosevere – Here's the Thing
Desert City by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license

Tour Producer


Visit Abu Dhabi

With three diverse destinations in just one Emirate, Abu Dhabi is a truly unique destination, where respect for the past informs the present and shapes the future.

This is a diverse emirate with desertscapes, oases, mountain heights, fabulous beaches, warm, clear waters, desert islands, an ancient heritage city and a modern, cosmopolitan capital city. It’s a destination of historic buildings, thrilling headline attractions, engaging tours and a packed calendar of headline events covering the arts, culture, sports, concerts and trade shows.

Abu Dhabi is a destination that will exceed your expectations!

How VoiceMap Works

Focus on your surroundings, not the screen

VoiceMap’s audio tour app uses GPS to play audio automatically, at the right time and place. Just install it, then download your tour and go to the starting point to begin your walk, drive, cycle, train trip or even boat ride.

Follow a route with turn-by-turn-directions

Tours follow a route from a fixed starting point. This is how we provide turn-by-turn directions. It also helps publishers tell a story greater than the sum of its parts. But you can use Resume to pick up a tour from the closest location whenever you like.

Listen as many times as you like

You can listen to your tours as often as you like using both the VoiceMap app and the VoiceMap website. Your access to tours doesn’t expire.

Take virtual tours anywhere

Just select Virtual mode in the VoiceMap app to listen to tours at home – or anywhere else. You’ll see the option after you download the tour. You can also listen to the whole tour here on the website.

Buy for less on voicemap.me and sync

Once you’ve purchased a tour, it’s added to your VoiceMap library. If you sign into the app using the same method you used on the website, you’ll have access to your full library of tours in both places.

Use VoiceMap offline

The VoiceMap app works entirely offline if there’s no data connection, so you don’t have to pay roaming fees. Just download the tour over WiFi before you get started.

Major Landmarks

  • Cultural Foundation

  • Qasr Al Hosn

  • House Of Artisans

  • Hamed Center

  • Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Thani Mosque

Directions to Starting Point

This tour begins at the Cultural Foundation, which sits opposite Qasr Al Hosn. It is located in the heart of Abu Dhabi, between Zayed the First Street, Khaled Bin Waleed Street, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street (5th Street) and Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed St (2nd Street).
There is a parking lot available across the street as well as underground parking on- site if you’re driving yourself.

Show Directions
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Places to stop along the way

Cultural Foundation, Wild & the Moon Cafe, Children’s Library, Mirzam Chocolate Cafe, Qasr Al Hosn, House Of Artisans, Theater Cafe, Hamed Center, Al Ibrahimi Restaurant, Madinat Zayed Souq, Ajmal Perfumes, The Green Branch, Jones the Grocer Cafe

Best time of day

Taking the Modern Heritage Tour of downtown Abu Dhabi is an ideal afternoon activity as the temperature is cooler and the streets become more active in the afternoon/evening. It’s also encouraged to start the tour early, so that you have ample time to visit the different parts of the Cultural Foundation such as the Children’s Library, the showcased exhibitions and the F&B facilities.


The region is known for its hot weather, and therefore we recommend taking a few precautions. Bring along a bottle of water, a hat and sunblock, and wear good walking shoes. Take care in crossing the street, making sure to use only dedicated pedestrian crossings. Please be respectful of regional dressing codes


Incredible your! So detailed and well thought. Not only the locations were great, the ensamble.. the considerations about distance, walkability, etc.
Just wow!

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 10 months ago

Fantastic tour! Very informative and allows curious explorers to delve into the heart of Abu Dhabi’s streets, taking in its sounds, smells and dynamic urban culture. The buildings featured on the tour are truly magnificent hidden gems worth discovering.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , 10 months ago
Modern Heritage Tour of Downtown Abu Dhabi