when you first come to the UAE, it takes a few errors and "aha okay..." or "OMG never again" moments before you know when and where to go for an outing or some fun in the sun.
ummmm, i wish someone told me these things because it would've saved me some uncomfortable situations and a few calls to the Abu Dhabi Police haha but anyways... i *highly suggest* you never go anywhere after Asr/Maghraib (especially Maghraib because that's when all the creepy boys & girls come out) without your husband or friend(s). unfortunately, it doesn't matter if you take a baby with you or even a few kids -- the hunters are always on the prowl!! i prefer driving than walking around and it has nothing to do with being lazy or afraid of the dark -- it looks a bit weird if you're trying to outrun a Pathani on the street or Local in his Land Cruiser -- so plz try and travel with a car (and better yet, a mahram/male guardian IF you have one). if you're running errands, don't forget to bring along your maid because even if you can't stand her, she's still helpful in a necessary way. *strength in numbers*
i forgot to add, there's a mentality here that if you're alone in the mall or just walking by yourself, that you are looking for "something". i know that it's common to carry around previously acquired bags from stores with stuff in it to make it LOOK like you've been shopping and not wondering around the mall all day. the best times to go out and have coffee is early ealy in the morning (such as after dropping off the kids at school), malls open at 10am but Starbucks opens at 8am and then if you need anything from the stores, take a couple hours and be home for Dhur or before Asr.
however, if you feel comfortable going out at night and don't mind being stalked, feel free to do so but there are a few areas in Abu Dhabi that i strongly advise against entering unless it's really important. Khaldiya District, across from Khaldiya Mall and all the way behind Al-Muhairy Center, is one of those places i am talking about. the traffic is jammed with perverts and wannabe-players trolling around for any girl in an abaya. it was so bad the last time we went (while attaining my new abaya/shayla collection) and we saw & heard the most ridiculous 7arakaat, i took my granny-shayla i use for prayer and wrapped it around like a Sudanese aunt and that stopped them drive-by stalkers from yelling at us "ya shaykha sifr-khamsa-sifr....."
any mall has its fair share of wondering singles, but none are as bad as Marina Mall a.k.a. The Pick-Up. weekend nights are a nightmare and it's impossible to walk without an area of men watching your every move... there are actually a few cafes that only cater to Local men (not intentionally of course) and the stares can become very un-nerving. Biella, an Italian restaurant, is a favorite with Emarati girls and whenever i go, we ask for the table in the very back so we can eat without having a billion eyes staring at us. i avoid going to Marina Mall unless meeting someone there or a friend from outta town wants to do some serious shopping. anyways... by Marina Mall, there is the Breakwater and the Cultural Village. behind the Cultural Village to the left, there is an outdoor space where you can walk along a dock made from concrete and see the city of Abu Dhabi across the small distance of sea. it's really beautiful and a favorite among Locals and tourists. i'd recommend going here with your husband/family to just sit, relax and smell the fresh air.
Mina Zayed has these little shops and restaurants with one place called Abu Saeed's and for 200AED, you can get a huge platter of freshly caught seafood grilled in a spicy marinate sauce. it's amaaaazing and soooo yummy but i advise going with your husband/family since many of the Shabaab & old men trying to be Shabaab like to go here. if you're bored and wanna see somewhere interesting, go to the Fish Market and have 100 Indians yelling at you from all directions to buy their freshly caught selection of anything that lives in the ocean. it may stink, but the price is right and you can usually bargain it down with the sellers. orrrr if u are weird and wanna make your equally weird friend ROFL, check to see if the seafood is clear of any spirits by using The Dead Pet Psychic Act. i have done this a number of times and the look of the waiter/whoever is next to u's face is priceless.
ummmm anyways LoL
another Souk near downtown AD is the Madinat Zayed and it's calm in the morning with Quran being played and there's barely anyone there. WARNING: DON'T GO ON FRIDAY EVENINGS BECAUSE ALL THE WORKERS GO THERE FOR NO REASON EXCEPT TO STARE.
well that's it for now and if u are in Abu Dhabi, i am sure u will love it inshaaAllah xoxo