A Travel Guide to the Etihad Museum

A Travel Guide to the Etihad Museum

This is why it’s not surprising to see museums in almost every corner of Dubai, each dedicated to a part of the city and country’s history, culture and heritage.

One of the most important museums in Dubai is the Etihad Museum, a space that walks you through the colorful history and culture of the United Arab Emirates.

Whether you’re a history buff or not, this museum deserves to be on your itinerary and this guide will show you everything you need to know about the Etihad Museum.

What is the Etihad Museum?

The Etihad Museum is a museum dedicated to telling the history of how the UAE came to be and how it developed throughout the years.

Located in Jumeirah, the 25,000 square meter massive landmark is dedicated to preserving the UAE’s cultural, political, social and military heritage.

It highlights all the milestones that led to the creation of the country through the historic signing of its founders in December 1971 in the same area where the museum is located today.

The structure was designed by Canadian firm Moriyama Teshima Architects with design elements that include:

  • A roof that resembles the manuscript where the constitution was written. The shape also prevents the building from overheating, especially during the extremely hot summer weather in Dubai.
  • A 12-meter high glass sword facade that’s tilted 21 degrees to the side. To make this happen, all fins and glass panes have to be self-supporting, so they can help support the load of the building despite their unique shape.
  • The seven columns built into the building resemble the pens used by the founders to sign the original declaration and also the seven founding families of the UAE.

Best Time to Go

The Etihad Museum is open daily from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. 

But if you want to avoid the crowd and the long queue, it’s best to go right before the museum opens, so you can also explore the other tourist attractions in the area.

Some weekdays can also be packed because of school tours, so it’s best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid these large groups.

Things to Know

To maximize your trip to the Etihad Museum, here are some things that you should keep in mind:

  • You need to book tickets. An adult ticket is AED 25. But if you’re visiting as a group of 10 or more, you’ll only need to pay AED 20 each. On the other hand, kids above 5 are charged for AED 10.
  • You can go on a guided tour. If you visit at 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM, you can participate in a guided tour.
  • Don’t rush the visit. Since the museum is vast and has a lot of sections, it’s best to allocate at least 3 hours to explore everything.

How to Get Around

Trains: No train has direct access to the museum. But if you want to take the train, stop at the Al Jafaliya Metro Station, which is 2.8 kilometers away from the museum. So, it’s best to take a taxi from the station.

Buses: The bus is your best option if you want to take public transport. Bus lines 8, C10 and X28 have stations 5 minutes away from the museum while line C9 is 7 minutes away.

Taxis: Although a bit pricier, taking a taxi is the easiest way to reach the Etihad Museum. Book a ride through Careem or Uber.

Car service: Do you prefer to travel private? You can rent a self-drive car or chauffeured service to go to and from the Etihad Museum.

Where to Stay Near the Etihad Museum

Al Khoory Executive Hotel

Address: Al Wasl Road – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 376 5999
Pricing: $$
Book Now

One of the nearest hotels to the Etihad Museum is the Al Khoory Executive Hotel on Al Wasl Road.

Featuring fully furnished rooms and amenities like a gym, restaurant and steam and sauna rooms, this hotel also gives you easy accessibility to the museum and other attractions in the city.

Mercure Gold Hotel

Address: Al Mina Street – Bur Dubai – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 301 9888
Pricing: $$$
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The four-start Mercure Gold Hotel is everything you’d want in a holiday and more. 

Located in Al Mina Road, the hotel features modern interiors and well-appointed rooms to ensure a relaxing stay after you explore the Etihad Museum and other attractions nearby.

Ibis Styles Dubai Jumeira

Address: Al Mina Road – 2nd December Street – Jumeirah 1 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 327 7001
Pricing: $$$
Book Now

Ibis Styles Dubai Jumeira is a modern hotel with Dubai’s culture deeply rooted in its veins.

With a design inspired by the colorful streets of Dubai, the hotel has well-designed rooms, world-class amenities and easy accessibility to the city’s major attractions.

Where to Eat Near the Etihad Museum

Hint Cafe

Address: Etihad Museum – Jumeirah 1 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 52 226 1243
Pricing: $$

Located on the 3rd floor of the Etihad Museum, Hint Cafe is known for some of the best desserts and sweets in town.

The quaint cafe also serves creative dishes made using only the finest ingredients from around the world.

So, if you ever get hungry while exploring the museum, make sure to drop by Hint Cafe to satisfy your hunger.

The Boston Bar and Restaurant

Address: Al Diyafah Road – 6A Street – Al Bada’a – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 308 4342
Pricing: $$

If you’re looking for good American and British fare, the Boston Bar and Restaurant is one of the best spots in the city to dine and relax.

The restaurant’s laidback atmosphere paired with its extensive menu makes it a favorite among locals and tourists.

Lal Qila

Address: Jumeirah 1 – 2nd December Street – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 4 325 4778
Pricing: $$

One of the most highly recommended restaurants near the Etihad Museum is the legendary Lal Qila. 

Offering traditional Pakistani cuisine highlighting the Mughlai era, the restaurant is known for its delicious food, good barbecue and relaxing ambiance.

What to Do in the Etihad Museum

Explore the Different Sections of the Museum

Explore the Different Sections of the Museum
Image source: Commercial Interior Design

The Etihad Museum is divided into ten exhibits, each highlighting an area that contributed to the creation of the UAE:

Pavilion One: The FoundersThis section showcases all the founding leaders of the UAE with their profiles and belongings. This section also gives you a glimpse at their life through photos and videos.
Pavilion Two: Dreams of UnityThis section focuses on the story of how the Union was created and all the milestones and events that led through it in an interactive display of photos, music and videos.
Pavilion Three: UAE Interactive MapThis section has an interactive map that explains how the UAE was like before it became the country that it is today.
Pavilion Four: The Early YearsAlthough small, this area has an interactive screen that shows the different negotiations done between the founders of the UAE and the neighboring Middle Eastern countries.
Pavilion Five: Road to UnificationThis section shows a timeline of events that took place in the unification of the UAE.
Pavilion Six: Seeds of UnityThis section is where you can find a collection of images that show how Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan met Sayh Al-Sadira and Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum to start forming the UAE that it is today.
Pavilion Seven: Change and UnificationThis section contains an interactive game where guests can enjoy and learn about different things.
Pavilion Eight: Unifying the EmiratesThis section highlights the different struggles the founding fathers had to go through to pursue the unification of the Emirates.
Pavilion Nine: The ConstitutionThis section has the display of the original manuscript of the UAE constitution that was signed by the founding fathers in 1971.
Pavilion Ten: United Arab Emirates, One Nation, One FutureThis section has an open exhibit hall where you can see different interactive screens to explore.

Where to Shop Near the Etihad Museum

Etihad Mall

Address: Al Muhaisnah First – 309 Al Khawaneej Street – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 800 8889

Etihad Mall may not be as big as its counterparts, but it’s a favorite shopping place by locals and expats because of the range of shops that it offers.

Aside from local and international brands, the mall is also home to some of the best Abaya makers in the city including LWD Fashion, Aliscafi and Al Sadara.

The mall also has ample parking space and a family-friendly atmosphere that make it a great place to relax after a day of exploring the museum.

If you have kids, you can leave the kids at Cheeky Monkeys where they can enjoy a wide range of interactive activities while you shop.

Mall of the Emirates

Address: Sheikh Zayed Road – Al Barsha – Al Barsha 1 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Phone: +971 800 6636 255

One of the grandest malls in the city is the Mall of the Emirates, a multi-level shopping complex featuring more than 630 retail shops, 250 flagship stores, 80 luxury brands and 100 restaurants and cafes.

Opened in 2005, the mall was once named one of the top five best shopping malls in the city and the World’s Leading New Shopping Mall at the World Travel Awards in London.

Mall of the Emirates is also home to Ski Dubai, Magic Planet, VOX Cinemas and the Dubai Community Theater and Arts Center.

What to Expect from Weather in the Etihad Museum

Winter: If you’re visiting from December to March, you can expect the weather to be cool and breezy in Dubai. Although the city rarely experiences rain and never experiences snow, temperatures can drop to 16 degrees Celsius at night, which is one of the best weathers in Dubai.

Summer: Dubai is known for its very hot summers. From June to September, temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees Celsius during the day. So, tourists are not advised to stay outdoors for a long time during this season.

Transition period: As Dubai transitions between seasons, it goes through a transitional period between April to May and October to November. During this time, the weather may be unpredictable than in the actual seasons.

Apps to Download When Visiting the Etihad Museum

Visit Dubai: A useful app in finding information about Dubai’s tourist attractions including the Etihad Museum
iOs | Android

Dubai Calendar: Designed by Dubai’s Department of Tourism to help tourists know about different events in the city throughout the year
iOs | Android

WithLocals: One of the best apps to use if you want a private tour to the Etihad Museum and other tourist spots in Dubai with a local
iOs | Android

Uber: Booking a car to go to and from the Etihad Museum
iOs | Android

Careem: A good alternative to Uber when booking a private car service
iOs | Android

RTA Dubai Drive: Helps you navigate your way around Dubai including where to find parking, what the best routes are and other related information
iOs | Android