Masdar City is the city of the future Image Credit: GN Archive


Masdar City is a place like no other in not only Abu Dhabi, but the entire world. Not because time moves backwards, or that people walk on the ceiling, but because Masdar City is a “green” city. That’s right eco-fans, Masdar City runs on solar power and renewable energy.

While what exists today is only a small fraction of what is planned, there is still enough for you to enjoy a few hours out.


Masdar City is located to the immediate south-west of Abu Dhabi International Airport and on the north-eastern edge of Khalifa City. It can be accessed from both the E10 and E20 motorways.

Good for Green technology and a glimpse of the future. Parking is also in abundance - which is a bit of an oxymoron.

Bad for Cynics. If you would rather spend your day thrashing a V8 Mustang around at full beans and leaving your air-conditioning on 16C all day, then the chances are you won’t fully appreciate Masdar City.


In time, Masdar will preach that cars are evil, but for now they are the only realistic way to get there. Fear not, though, as once you’re there you can park on the outskirts and a driverless, eco-powered bubble car will take you in.

Green technology

The complex is powered by a 22 hectare solar field, of which there are nearly 88,000 solar panels.

There are no light switches. Motion sensors determine when lights are on or off. This reportedly cuts consumption by 51 per cent.

Waters taps are also replaced by motion sensors. Consumption is reduced by 53 per cent as a result.

Street lamps are each fitted with their own individual solar panels.

Palmwood is used for doors and other exterior fittings. It’s a sustainable hardwood substitute.

In the heart of the city is a hollow wind tower. It channels the warm desert air down to ground level, creating a draft through the complex. The draft is cooler and reduces humidity.

What’s there

There are several key buildings that are worth seeing if you want to catch a glimpse of the future.

Knowledge Centre

A model for sustainable design, the Knowledge Centre is the entrance to the Masdar Institute campus. If you want to see how an efficient building deals with the arid climate of the desert, make this your first stop.

Masdar Institute Campus

The geographical heart of the city, the MI campus accommodates 400 students and offers an idea of what the city will look like when it’s completed in 2030.


Masdar City is no flash in the pan; it is a genuine sustainable city. This is underlined by the fact that the International Renewable Energy Agency have set up shop here.

Incubator Building

The Incubator Building is Masdar City’s first purpose-built commercial building. Already home to some 260 companies, the building is a look at what will follow.

5 restaurants to try

Jim’s Kitchen Table

An urban-industrial themed café, ideal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Jim’s has a huge menu, and there really is something for all levels of hunger. It also has a toddler’s play area, in case your little ones struggle to get too excited about renewable energy.

Timings 7.30am to 10pm daily Phone 02 491 9401

Café il de Roma

Fancy something Italian? Of course you do, when is pizza or pasta ever a bad choice? Café il de Roma offers a pleasant selection of Italian dishes in intimate, cosy surroundings. Certainly best for lunch or dinner.

Timings 7am to 12am daily Phone 02 245 1466


Osha is a fantastic place to go to really take in what Masdar is all about. It serves gourmet Emirati cuisine, which when you look around really does offer a glimpse of the Abu Dhabi of the future.

Timings 9am to 10pm daily Phone 02 555 3575


If you want to add a little spice to your sustainability, then you’ll want to indulge in a hot Mexican dish. Barbacoa does all the favourites, such as burritos, quesadillas, and chimichangas.

Timing 10am to 10pm daily Phone 02 639 4226


Cento café is the perfect place for a casual light lunch. Chao down on a simple sandwich or pastry with a cool frappe latte or iced-tea.

Timing 8am to 11pm Sunday to Thursday; 10am to 10pm Friday and Saturday Phone 02 552 3566