What to do in Sharjah?
Sharjah, just a hand's distance from Dubai, is one of the UAE's most culturally rich Emirates, having name the Cultural Capital of the Arab World by UNESCO in 1998. It is the country's third-largest emirate, with coastlines on both the Gulf of Oman to the east and the Persian Gulf to the west. It is home to some of the region's best museums, libraries, and knowledge centers, all of which take visitors on an exciting and educational journey through the region. This is also a fantastic family-friendly destination, with plenty to keep younger visitors entertained, such as Al Noor Island's butterfly house and the Sharjah Desert Park. With so many attractions, it can be difficult to decide what to do in Sharjah, but don't worry; this comprehensive guide will help you a lot.
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Top best things to do in Sharjah
Sharjah is one of the best places to visit in the UAE because there are so many interesting things to do. There are numerous activities available here, ranging from museums to mosques to desert dunes.
So, without further ado, let's dive into this in-depth guide to what to do in Sharjah!
Museum of Islamic civilization in Sharjah
When visiting the United Arab Emirates, the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization is a must-see. First and foremost, the museum celebrates Islam's culture and history through exhibits ranging from art and architecture to science and technology. It is in a large, authentic building with unique architecture that will take your breath away. The facade is usually decorated with arabesques and exquisite, original details. The museum's collection includes everything from archaeological finds to manuscripts to coins and even weapons.
Needless to say, it's one of Sharjah's most interesting attractions. Overall, the Museum of Islamic Civilization is one of the most important museums in the Middle East and should not be overlooked when planning what to do in Sharjah - it is simply a must-see for anyone interested in Islamic culture.
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Visit Al Noor Island to see the Butterflies
This public park created in Khalid Lagoon and accessible by a bridge from the central city's Corniche Street is Sharjah's top spot for some peaceful downtime after shopping and museum visits. The island's design incorporates art and nature, with gardens scattered with modern art sculptures and installations created by some of the world's most renowned artists.
The butterfly house on Al Noor Island is the main attraction, with over 500 different butterfly species on display. It's a great place for younger children to get up close and personal with nature, but anyone with an interest in the natural world will enjoy a visit.
An island is a good option for an after-dinner family stroll in the evenings, as the art installations amid the island's gardens are lit up after dark, creating a charming, fairy-tale world. However, keep in mind that the butterfly house closes after dark. So you may need to visit twice to fully appreciate Al Noor Island.
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Visit Sharjah Aquarium & Maritime Museum
Sharjah has always been closely linked to the sea as a settlement, and the Aquarium and Maritime Museum highlights the importance of the sea in the city's and emirate's development.
The aquarium, houses around 150 species of sea life, including reef sharks and stingrays. The connected Maritime Museum has interesting exhibits on traditional wooden dhows, pearl collecting, and fishing — all of which were once important to the local economy.
The collection of gleaming pearls (including what is thought to be the oldest pearl ever collected in the world) and the beautiful wooden dhow docked outside the museum are both highlights.
Shop at the Blue Souk to pamper yourself
Spend a day shopping in Sharjah's oldest and most iconic market, the central souk. The market, dubbed "The Blue Souk" because of its unique blue tile design, houses over 600 shops ranging from gold and electronics stores to clothing, perfume, and souvenirs.
The souk, one of the city's most well-known tourist attractions, is divide into sections: the upper level is dedicate to arts, crafts, and regional specialties like clothing and souvenirs, and the water-facing side is line with stores selling traditional Bedouin jewelry and stones, and the traditional bazaar is fill with local vendors selling antiques and other items.
After a long day of shopping, the souk is line with local food vendors and cafes to refuel visitors. Because it is only a short walk from the Sharjah Corniche and famous museums, it is an ideal location to add to your Sharjah itinerary when considering what to do in Sharjah.
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Explore Desert Landscapes & Ancient History at Mleiha Archaeological Site
Take a break from the city and travel deep into the desert to explore The Mleiha Archeological Site, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site that contains many fascinating discoveries such as pre-Islamic forts, Bronze Age tombs, and other significant fossils and artifacts such as camel skeletons and antique pottery. Melham provides visitors with information about the rituals, trade, and social order of different eras, including Neolithic, Iron, pre-Islamic, Islamic, and modern ages.
Mleiha is not only a historical wonder, but it is also an excellent location for exploring desert dunes. If you're feeling brave, you can hike to Camel Rock to take in the spectacular desert views. You can also explore the desert by going on a desert safari, which includes a thrilling ride across the dunes in a 4x4 vehicle or riding a dune buggy or quad bike across the sand. The desert is also an excellent camping location, allowing adventurers to spend a peaceful and relaxing night under the stars. If you decide to spend the night, make sure you have everything you need.
Sharjah Rain Room
Do you believe it never rains in the UAE? Consider again. The Rain Room is a one-of-a-kind modern art installation that allows visitors to experience "magical rain." This interactive exhibit allows visitors to stand in the rain without getting wet by using trigger sensors that stop the rain wherever they detect motion.
This means that the rain stops falling exactly where you are in the exhibit, giving you the sensation of being engulfed in it without ever getting wet. It's a fun and exciting experience that has wowed locals and tourists alike since its inception.
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Ride the Emirates Wheel's Eye
Isn't it true that your stay should always be memorable? Consider including this in your Sharjah activities. The Emirates Wheel's Eye is one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. It has adorned the landscape's aesthetic in recent years. Panorama views of major attractions such as Khalid Lagoon, Al Majaz Waterfront, Al Noor Mosque, Al Noor Island, and many others can see from the 60-meter (196.85-foot) wheel. So, whether you're here with the family or with a special someone, this is the place to be.
House of Wisdom
Sharjah's House of Wisdom is a library and museum. It was designed by Foster + Partners, an internationally renowned architecture firm, and will be dedicated in December 2020. The library has over 100,000 books and a peaceful indoor area, as well as a cafe and a garden. Sharjah was named World Book Capital in 2019, prompting the establishment of the House of Wisdom. It promotes access to education and knowledge through reading and has no entrance fee. That makes it one of the best places to visit for free in Sharjah. The House of Wisdom is one of the best things to do in Sharjah, not only because of its extremely well-designed architecture. But also because of the scope of such a unique place to relax and enjoy some peace.
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At Al Montazah Parks, let your inner adventurer loose
Al Montazah Parks is an ideal place to visit with family or friends while in the city. There's a whole new world to explore, from pirates and treasures to massive palaces and hidden galaxies. One ticket grants admission to both Pearls Kingdom Water Park and Island of Legends Amusement Park. Allow the slides and rides to brighten your day. If you're here with children, this place will put a spring in their step.
Take a picnic at Sharjah National Park
Sharjah National Park, one of the city's most beautiful parks, is another family-friendly destination in Sharjah. If you're thinking about having a picnic here, this is a fantastic location. There are barbecue areas and picnic tables surrounded by nature to bring everyone together. While you prepare the food, the kids can have fun in the playground area with slides and swings.
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Khorfakkan amphitheatre & waterfall
This 'what to do in Sharjah ' guide would be incomplete without mentioning the Khorfakkan Amphitheatre, which is one of the UAE's most well-known landmarks. It's a beautiful amphitheater with Roman columns and a stunning waterfall right next to it. The amphitheater recently built and is in excellent condition. The beach across the street is a plus, as is the nearby artificial waterfall. If you like beaches and mountains, you'll love this location because it has both. Overall, I strongly recommend adding the Khorfakkan Amphitheatre and waterfall to your list of Sharjah attractions.
Is Sharjah worth visiting?
Yes, Sharjah is one of the best places to visit in the UAE, with plenty of cultural activities and the best Arabic deserts in the country. It's also less crowded than Dubai. The Emirate also established the Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture by UNESCO in 1998. It adds significant educational value to the city.