Lots of people worry about how to meet people and make friends when they’re new to a city, and even once you’ve arrived it’s often easy to fall into the trap of socialising in the same group all the time. I’ve said it before – the one thing everyone has in common in a place like the UAE is that we’re all in the same boat – we were all new once, we all know what it felt like and we all want to meet people. But it can feel hard when you don’t know where to turn and you barely know one end of the city from the other, so whether it’s friends or business contacts you want to make, I’ve put together a list of places you can meet people in Abu Dhabi – so you won’t feel like a square peg in a round hole for long!
Meet Up has a whole host of different groups catering to a huge range of interests so there’s bound to be at least one that suits what you’re after! From cocktail and wine appreciation to singles groups to yoga, mums groups, sports, adventure and outdoors and heaps more, Meet Up is a great place to start. Meetup.com
There’s also a bunch of social societies including Abu Dhabi Irish Society, Scottish St. Andrews Society of Abu Dhabi, Aussies Abroad and more. Most of these societies welcome people not from the Nation of their namesake and organise various seasonal events. Many also raise money for charities through their social events.
Abu Dhabi Circle can be found on Facebook and are involved in social and sporting events. They organise their own events and inform other members of the group of other interesting upcoming events around the city. Facebook.com/ADCircle
There’s also loads of groups for women and families:
Expat Woman Abu Dhabi: an informative website covering everything you might want to know about living in the region, they also organise various coffee mornings around the city. Expatwoman.com
Abu Dhabi Mums organise loads of different social meets and activities (many are family and child oriented) across the city. They are also always looking for volunteers who have the time and are willing to help out. AbuDhabiMums.ae
Moms Guide Abu Dhabi is a non-profit organisation that provides a wealth of information for parents in Abu Dhabi. They also organise a whole host of different family friendly events and meet ups from Mums only nights out to events for the little ones. MomsGuideAD.com
American Women’s Network is an informal women’s group that gets together for a variety of social occasions from coffee mornings, lunches, parties and more. Awnabudhabi.com
If business and networking for work is your thing and where you need to meet people, then have a look at the range of business groups that are out there. Again, there’s heaps and there’s pretty much one for just about every nationality!
British Business Group: britishbusiness.org
International Business Women’s Group: ibwgabudhabi.org
Business in Heels Abu Dhabi: can be found on meet up.com
Canadian Business Council: cbcabudhabi.com
Australian Business Group Abu Dhabi: ausbg.net
AmCham Abu Dhabi: amchamabudhabi.org
Sports Clubs and Groups
Abu Dhabi is a city that has plenty of sports on offer and the various clubs that go along with them. If there’s a sport you’re interested in, there’s bound to be a group or club!
Duplays Abu Dhabi organises a variety of recreational sport leagues for a host of different sports including volleyball, basketball, badminton, football and more. Duplaysabudhabi.playpass.com
Abu Dhabi Ice Sports play out of the ice rink at Zayed Sports City. Zsc.ae/en/81/icehockey
Abu Dhabi Softball league run two divisions of softball games – one for competitive games and one for those who just want to have fun. facebook.com/abudhabisoftball
Abu Dhabi Harlequins play rugby out of Zayed Sports City. Abudhabiquins.com
There are heaps more clubs, groups and societies out there that can be found through word of mouth once you get amongst city life – too numerous to mention in one post! There were also some I came across as I was writing where it wasn’t clear if they were still operating or not, so I have only included some of the big ones and ones that I know are still running, but I hope this is a helpful starting point for any newbies out there who are looking for a place to start! Now go forth, meet and enjoy!