Masdar City Area Guide 2024

Dictricts Masdar City Area Guide 2024
~13 min


Nestled in Abu Dhabi, Masdar City stands as a beacon of sustainable urban development and includes the headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency, embodying the United Arab Emirates' dedication to renewable energy projects. Positioned at the intersection of modern technology and environmental stewardship, Masdar City transcends local boundaries, contributing significantly to the global discourse on sustainable cities and clean energy practices.

Despite its visionary goals, Masdar City project encountered financial challenges in 2008, prompting a substantial departure from its original smart city master plan. Ongoing financial hurdles compelled the city to forego certain facets of its ambitious development. The unanticipated costs associated with implementing key components surpassed initial forecasts, necessitating a comprehensive review of the project's viability. This alteration in trajectory underscores the intricate dynamics inherent in large-scale urban projects, emphasizing the importance of adaptability to navigate the evolving financial landscapes.

History of Masdar City

Founded in 2006, Masdar City embarked on a visionary journey, designed to cover six square kilometers and costing an estimated US$18−22 billion. Originally slated for completion in 2009, the city's construction commenced in February 2008, and the first six buildings welcomed occupants in October 2010. However, the global financial crisis prompted delays, pushing the completion timeline to 2020–2025. By 2016, only a fraction of the city had been developed, with a projected final completion date of 2030.

Masdar City, conceived as a model of sustainable urban development and innovation, aimed to accommodate 45,000 to 50,000 residents and house 1,500 businesses, attracting over 60,000 daily commuters. Despite setbacks, its commitment to environmental sustainability remained steadfast. In 2022, Masdar City marked a new chapter with the opening of Masdar City Square, a 29,000-square-meter project featuring a net-zero energy commercial headquarters and LEED Platinum and WELL Gold buildings, set for completion in 2024.

Continuing its evolution, Masdar City initiated The Link in 2023, a mixed-use development covering 30,000 square meters. This project includes net-zero energy co-lab commercial buildings with office and residential space, along with four other LEED Platinum and WELL Gold buildings featuring event space, recreational facilities, and retail. The Link is projected to be complete in 2025, underscoring Masdar City's ongoing commitment to pioneering sustainable urban living.

Geography and Architecture

Masdar City, strategically located on the far south-east side of the emirate, is positioned 17 km from central Abu Dhabi and adjacent to the airport. Nestled near major leisure attractions like Ferrari World and Yas Island, it shares borders with the established residential units of Khalifa City. The city boasts an optimal connectivity network, surrounded by key roads such as Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Al Rawafid Street, and Al Ishoush Street, linking seamlessly to Abu Dhabi Al Shahama Road (E10).

In terms of architecture, Masdar City's physical layout is designed with a forward-thinking approach, incorporating distinctive elements that underscore its commitment to sustainable urban development. The city's features harmonize with its surroundings, creating an innovative and environmentally conscious living space.

Key Attractions

  1. My City Centre Masdar. A vibrant shopping destination at the heart of Masdar City, My City Centre offers a diverse range of retail options, creating a dynamic and convenient urban hub for residents and visitors alike.

  2. Masdar Park. Nestled within the city, Masdar Park serves as a green oasis, providing a tranquil escape amidst sustainable surroundings. It's an ideal spot for relaxation and community engagement.

  3. Masdar City Central Park. A central focal point, the Central Park in Masdar City is designed with sustainability in mind. It offers green spaces and recreational areas, fostering a sense of community and environmental consciousness.

  4. Al Ghazal Golf Club. Located just a 12-minute drive away, Al Ghazal Golf Club is a sports destination offering a premier golfing experience. Perfect for enthusiasts seeking outdoor activities near Masdar City.

Some common tips for visiting include

  • Best Time to Visit. Masdar City is enjoyable throughout the year, but the winter months (November to February) offer pleasant weather for outdoor activities.

  • Ticket Information. Most attractions in Masdar City, including parks and shopping centers, are typically free to enter. However, specific events or activities within these locations may have individual ticket requirements.

Culture and Lifestyle

Immersed in the rich tapestry of Emirati culture, Masdar City embraces a lifestyle that harmonizes tradition with modernity. Residents experience the warmth of local traditions, reflecting the broader cultural heritage of the United Arab Emirates.

Masdar City encapsulates a lifestyle that values sustainability and innovation, mirroring the broader aspirations of the region. Residents partake in a cultural milieu influenced by traditional Arab designs, fostering a sense of identity and belonging. The city's commitment to sustainable practices is not just an architectural choice but a way of life, promoting energy efficiency and eco-conscious living.

Masdar City shares in the Emirati customs and practices. The city encourages walking and embraces pedestrian-friendly designs, fostering a sense of community. The incorporation of traditional Arabesque patterns in the city's architecture pays homage to local aesthetics, seamlessly blending modernity with heritage.

Culinary Scene

Masdar City's culinary scene is a delightful fusion of local Emirati flavors and international influences. The city offers a diverse range of dining options that cater to various palates. Local cuisine, rooted in Middle Eastern traditions, boasts dishes such as kebabs, shawarma, and falafel, providing a taste of authentic flavors.

Here are some notable restaurants of Masdar City:

  1. Caesars Restaurant & Confectioneries offers a delectable array of dishes, blending international and local flavors. The establishment is known for its welcoming ambiance and diverse menu.

  2. Simply Thai Restaurant Abu Dhabi. For those craving the exotic flavors of Thai cuisine, Simply Thai Restaurant in Masdar City provides an authentic experience. The restaurant is celebrated for its traditional Thai dishes prepared with precision and care.

  3. Burro Blanco. A popular choice for those seeking a contemporary dining experience, Burro Blanco in Masdar City offers a menu that combines global culinary trends with local ingredients. The restaurant's innovative approach to food appeals to a diverse audience.

  4. Skinny Joe The Healthy Cafe. Catering to health-conscious individuals, Skinny Joe The Healthy Cafe focuses on offering nutritious and flavorful options. It's a go-to spot for those looking for wholesome meals and refreshing beverages.

Shopping Experience

While Masdar City doesn't feature traditional souks, it offers a modern shopping experience through its malls. Explore these vibrant retail destinations for a diverse array of products and services, seamlessly blending local and international offerings:

  1. My City Centre Masdar. At the heart of Masdar City, My City Centre is a bustling mall that caters to diverse shopping needs. From fashion to electronics, this retail hub provides a convenient and enjoyable shopping experience.

  2. Earth Mall. For a broader shopping excursion, Earth Mall, just a short drive away, offers an extensive selection of stores and dining options. It's an ideal destination for those seeking a variety of products and a unique shopping atmosphere.

  3. Al Raha Mall. A short drive from Masdar City, Al Raha Mall is a prominent shopping destination featuring a mix of local and international brands. Visitors can indulge in a diverse shopping spree and explore various entertainment options.

  4. Al Muneera Beach Plaza. This plaza, located just a short drive from Masdar City, combines shopping with scenic views. Al Muneera Beach Plaza offers a relaxed atmosphere for shopping, dining, and leisure activities.

Masdar City's malls provide a well-organized layout for easy navigation. Familiarize yourself with the mall's directory to make the most of your shopping experience. While haggling is not a common practice in modern malls, it's always worthwhile to keep an eye out for promotions, discounts, or loyalty programs that can enhance your shopping experience.

Accommodation Options

  • Apartments for rent come in three variations, including studios with an average rent of AED 45k, 1-bedroom apartments at AED 70k, and 2-bedroom apartments averaging AED 99k. These fully-furnished apartments offer flexibility in rental payment, allowing tenants to pay in four post-dated cheques.

  • Villas. For those seeking larger living spaces, villas in Masdar City are available in various configurations. Families can opt for a 5-bedroom villa with an average yearly rent of AED 220k or choose a more compact 4-bedroom villa with an average rent of AED 200k.


While Masdar City itself may not have an extensive array of hotels, the surrounding areas offer a range of accommodation options to cater to diverse needs. Here are a few notable hotels in neighboring communities:

  1. Premier Inn Abu Dhabi International Airport Hotel. Located conveniently near Masdar City, this hotel offers modern amenities and a comfortable stay for travelers. Its proximity to the airport makes it a convenient choice for those arriving or departing.

  2. Al Raha Beach Hotel. A luxurious option nearby, Al Raha Beach Hotel provides a serene beachfront experience coupled with upscale amenities. It's an ideal choice for those seeking a tranquil retreat not far from Masdar City.

  3. Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island. Positioned on Yas Island, this Hilton hotel is a short distance from Masdar City. With its sophisticated accommodations and proximity to popular attractions, it appeals to both business and leisure travelers.

  4. Park Inn by Radisson Abu Dhabi, Yas Island. Offering a contemporary stay experience, this hotel on Yas Island is close to Masdar City. Its strategic location provides easy access to entertainment and business hubs in the vicinity.

Getting Around

  • Bus Services. Masdar City is well-connected by bus services, providing accessible and affordable transportation within the city and its neighboring areas.

  • Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). The city features an innovative PRT system, offering automated and on-demand transport. This enhances accessibility and reduces the environmental footprint of commuting.

  • Taxis. In addition to the public transportation options, taxis offer an efficient and flexible mode of travel in and around Masdar City. Taxis provide a convenient door-to-door service, catering to those who prefer personalized transportation.

Tips for navigating include

  1. Explore Public Transport Routes. Familiarize yourself with the bus routes and PRT stations to efficiently navigate Masdar City and its surroundings.

  2. Sustainable Commuting. Embrace the city's commitment to sustainability by utilizing public transportation options and minimizing personal vehicle use.

  3. Plan Ahead. Check schedules and routes in advance to streamline your travel plans, ensuring a smooth and punctual commuting experience.

Special Events

  • Community Events. Regular community events in Masdar City create an inclusive atmosphere, fostering a sense of togetherness. These gatherings feature a mix of recreational and educational activities for residents of all ages.

  • Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week Festival. As part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, Masdar City hosts a festival that provides an entertaining yet educational experience. The festival includes hands-on workshops, aligning with the broader goal of promoting sustainability and environmental awareness. Typically held annually as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which usually takes place in January

  • Masdar Park Events. Masdar Park is a vibrant venue hosting various events, offering recreational activities for both children and adults. These events contribute to the park's role as a community space for leisure and social interaction.

Practical Information

  • Currency. The official currency in Abu Dhabi, including Masdar City, is the United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED).

  • Language. Arabic is the official language. English is widely spoken, especially in urban areas and tourist destinations.

  • Local Time. Masdar City operates on Gulf Standard Time (GST), which is UTC+4.

  • Electricity. The standard voltage is 230V, and the frequency is 50Hz. Type G electrical outlets are commonly used.

  • Communication. The international dialing code for the United Arab Emirates is +971.

Safety Considerations and Emergency Contacts

  • Emergency Number. Dial 999 for police, ambulance, or fire emergencies.

  • Healthcare. Quality healthcare facilities are available in Abu Dhabi. Hospitals like Sheikh Khalifa Medical City and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi provide comprehensive medical services.

  • Local Laws. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs to ensure a respectful and trouble-free stay. Abu Dhabi has strict regulations regarding public behavior, dress code, and the consumption of alcohol.

  • Weather. Abu Dhabi experiences a desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun, especially during the warmer months.


Masdar City in Abu Dhabi represents a notable effort in innovation and sustainable urban development. It underscores Abu Dhabi's commitment to renewable energy and technology, embodying a vision for a sustainable city that aligns with global environmental considerations.

Visitors can immerse themselves in the sustainable urban community, gaining insights into renewable energy innovations and exploring the cultural diversity of the Middle East. Masdar City serves not only as a destination but as a representation of forward-thinking principles, emphasizing a harmonious coexistence with the environment. Embarking on a journey to Masdar City offers a firsthand look at the intricate balance between modernity and sustainability in this visionary urban landscape.

However, it's crucial to note that Masdar City had to make significant adjustments from its original smart city master plan due to financial challenges that surfaced in 2008. Ongoing financial constraints led to the abandonment of certain aspects of its ambitious development. The unforeseen costs associated with implementing key components necessitated a thorough review of the project's feasibility. This alteration in plans highlights the intricate nature of large-scale urban developments and the imperative to adapt to evolving financial circumstances.


  • 1.

    What happened to Masdar City?

    Masdar City Abu Dhabi underwent a significant shift from its original smart city master plan due to financial challenges that emerged in 2008. The city faced ongoing financial issues, leading to the abandonment of certain aspects of its ambitious development. The cost of implementing some components of the city exceeded initial forecasts, prompting a reassessment of the project's feasibility. This shift in plans reflects the complex nature of large-scale urban developments and the need to adapt to changing financial landscapes.

  • 2.

    How to get to Masdar City?

    To reach Masdar City from Abu Dhabi Airport, several transportation options are available. One convenient choice is to use taxis, which are readily accessible at the airport. A taxi ride typically takes around 15-20 minutes, though travel time may vary based on traffic conditions.

  • 3.

    What is the primary focus of Masdar City's development?

    Masdar City is developed with a primary focus on sustainability and renewable energy. It aims to be a global model for environmentally conscious urban living, integrating clean technologies and green initiatives.

  • 4.

    How is Masdar City powered, and what are its renewable energy sources?

    Masdar City relies on renewable energy sources, particularly solar power. The city utilizes extensive solar panels to harness sunlight and generate clean energy, contributing to its goal of being a zero-carbon and low-carbon community.

  • 5.

    What transportation options are available within Masdar City?

    Masdar City prioritizes sustainable transportation. It features a reliable public mass transit system, including buses and Personal Rapid Transit (PRT). Additionally, the city promotes pedestrian-friendly streets, encouraging walking and reducing reliance on traditional vehicles.

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Update date: 07/22/2024