TOP-7 Family-Friendly Communities in Abu Dhabi

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Ranked as the safest city in the world in 2021 for its swift response to the pandemic, Abu Dhabi is one of the top choices for relocation among expats. The capital of the UAE is known to be much calmer, more traditional and family-oriented than Dubai, as there is more of a focus on a good work-life balance in the capital. At the same time, the Emirate is an emerging scene for culture and entertainment, with its record-breaking theme parks on Yas Island and unique museums on Saadiyat Island. Therefore, it is definitely worth considering living in Abu Dhabi if you have a family, however, choosing the right area which will suit all your requirements and preferences is not an easy task, anywhere you choose to go in the world. We have decided to compile the below details to guide you through top family-friendly areas, the amenities they offer, what you can expect in terms of property prices and much more.

Best Areas and Communities for Families in Abu Dhabi

There are numerous factors that should be taken into account when buying or renting a home for a family. For instance, in the case of working parents, it is essential to find a residence that is close to a workplace in the beginning of the move, not only to save money on gas or travel fares but also to have more time to spend with family. If children are toddlers or preschoolers, then availability of nearby nurseries and schools are of great importance. As well as that, you have to check if the community provides easy access to supermarkets, medical centers and parks. These facilities will give you a good indication on how good this community is. Last but not least, public transport infrastructure is one of key aspects when choosing a community, especially if a family does not own a private vehicle. As children get older, having access to public transport becomes more important since it helps build the independence of the child and develop their autonomy.

Khalifa City

The residential community of Khalifa City consists of 3 sub-communities: Khalifa City (previously known as Khalifa City A), Shakhbout City (formerly Khalifa City B) and Zayed City. Developed by Aldar Properties, the development is particularly known for hosting the headquarters of Etihad Airways. Khalifa City is located between Al Raha Beach and Masdar City, on 2 main highways leading to Al Ain and Dubai. Those who travel on a frequent basis will be keen to learn that this area is within just 15 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport. As well as that, Yas Island, famed for its record-breaking theme parks, and the city center of Abu Dhabi are to be found 25 minutes’ away. A drive to Dubai will take less than 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Khalifa City belongs to non-freehold areas, meaning that purchase of properties are not allowed for foreigners. In terms of availability, there are 6-bedroom apartments, 3-9 bedroom villas and a variety of land plots available. Here, one can acquire a 6-bedroom apartment of 7,755 sq.ft. for AED 5.9M (USD 1.6M), and a 3-bedroom villa of 5,700 sq.ft. is priced at AED 4.8M (USD 1.3M) and the starting cost of a 11,128 sq.ft. land plot amounts to about AED 2.4M (USD 654K). When it comes to renting, one can choose from a selection of studios & 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6-bedroom apartments, 2-8 bedroom villas, 2, 4, 5-bedroom townhouses and 3-bedroom duplexes. It is possible to rent a 1-bedroom apartment of 1,000 sq.ft. for AED 25K (USD 7K) per annum, and a 3-bedroom duplex is priced at AED 80K (USD 22K). At the same time, the starting rental price for a 2-bedroom villa of 2,500 sq.ft. is AED 62K (USD 17K), with a 2-bedroom townhouse slightly cheaper at AED 60K per year (USD 16K).

Khalifa City boasts an extensive array of premium amenities, meaning residents won’t even have to leave the area for day-to-day essentials. The development houses educational facilities for children of all ages, such as Kids Academy Nursery in Khalifa City A, Disney Nursery and GEMS American Academy. Speaking of medical services, there are the Harmony Medical Center and Samaya Specialized Center both located in Khalifa City. As well as all the above, residents of Khalifa City can benefit from a number of spas, fitness centers and playgrounds scattered around the area. Khalifa Park is also a popular destination, as it offers beautiful garden areas for barbecuing, a play area and an amazing train ride, along with Murjan Splash Park and a Maritime Museum.

Mohammed Bin Zayed City (MBZ City)

Named in honour of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, MBZ City is one of the major suburban residential developments in Abu Dhabi with a total area of 484.3 million sq.ft. The MBZ development is aimed at accommodating around 30,000 families. This area is located inland south of Abu Dhabi and is adjacent to Zayed City, Mussafah and Khalifa City, along with the Al Dhafra Air Base. Meanwhile, the city center of Abu Dhabi and the airport can both be reached within 25 minutes’ of the development, while travel time to Dubai should not exceed 1.5 hours.

MBZ City consists of 34 clusters with detached and semi-detached villas, as well as apartment towers for sale and to rent. Since this is not a freehold area, only UAE and GCC nationals are allowed to purchase properties here, while foreigners are welcome to rent a residence instead. Most of the villas boast private swimming pools, private parking garages and large gardens. According to Abu Dhabi H1 Market Report properties for sale in 2021 in this area were among the TOP- 5 popular choices for affordable villas, with a current price per sq.ft of AED 667 (USD 182). Home buyers can choose from a collection of land plots and 4-9 bedroom villas ranging in sizes and layouts. The starting cost for a 4-bedroom residence of 27,750 sq.ft is AED 8.6M (USD 2.3M), and a land plot of 13,875 sq.ft is priced at AED 3M (USD 817K). In terms of rental properties, there is a wide range of apartments and villas available to tenants of all nationalities. A 1-bedroom apartment of 360 sq.ft can be leased for AED 27K (USD 7K) per annum, while a 3-bedroom villa of 2,500 sq.ft will cost no less than AED 80K (USD 22K).

Residents of MBZ City can benefit from easy access to numerous facilities, including nurseries, schools, pharmacies, hospitals, grocery stores, as well as having many leisure options nearby. As for academic institutions, the area houses Al Ain University – Abu Dhabi Campus, Diyafah International School, Emirates National School and British Orchard Nursery – MBZ, among plenty of others. The most notable healthcare establishments include Fakih Medical Center, Bareen International Hospital and Meri Pharmacy & Health Center Dhoraji. There are also 2 major malls to be found in MBZ City, which are Mazyad Mall and Dalma Mall, which both have an array of high-end stores, children’s entertainment zones, cinemas and eateries. For recreation, home owners can visit MBZ Park, which has plenty of open green spaces, an outdoor gym, a running trail and a playground. The public transport infrastructure is excellent in MBZ City, offering many bus links, which means a private vehicle is not necessary when moving into this area.

Al Khalidiyah

Developed by Aldar, Al Khalidiyah is one of the larger districts on Abu Dhabi Island, bordered by Al Bateen to the west, and by Al Manhal and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City to the east. Meanwhile, the northern part of the area lies along the Corniche. Al Khalidiyah is easily accessible due to the fact that the E20 – Khaleej Al Arabi Street runs through the entire neighbourhood. A few of the most sought-after destinations in the capital, such as Al Reem Island, Saadiyat Island, Yas Island and Abu Dhabi International Airport can be reached within a radius of 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the city of Dubai is located 1.5 hours away by car.

Similar to the previous districts, Al Khalidiyah is a non-freehold area, allowing foreigners only to rent properties. The development consists of both residential towers and villa clusters, however, currently there are no apartments for sale. There is an array of 6 and 9-bedroom villas, as well as land plots available for sale. A 6-bedroom residence of 4,900 sq.ft costs a minimum of AED 6M (USD 1.6M), while a land plot of 5,600 sq.ft is priced at AED 4.5M (USD 1.2M). As for rentals, Al Khalidiyah offers a lot more options, as there are studios and 1-5 bedroom apartments, 3-4 bedroom duplexes, 4-5 bedroom penthouses and 3-9 bedroom villas all on offer. The minimum annual rental price for a 1-bedroom apartment of 800 sq.ft amounts to AED 32K (USD 9K), and a 3-bedroom duplex of 2,200 sq.ft costs AED 120K (USD 33K). In terms of more spacious properties, a 4-bedroom penthouse of 4,306 sq.ft is priced at AED 280K (USD 77K), while the cost of a 3-bedroom villa of 4,000 sq.ft starts at approximately AED 170K (USD 46K).

There are many well-reputed healthcare facilities to be found in Al Khalidiyah, such as London Consulting Center, Mayfair Medical Center and SKMC Center. Children of those living in this area can attend Al Fayhaa’a Kindergarten, Almaheb School for Girls and The Sheikh Zayed Private Academy for Boys. There are a lot of fine eateries and wellness facilities in the area which are easily accessible as well. Art lovers will enjoy the Etihad Modern Art Gallery, while Al Khalidiyah Park is a perfect retreat amidst the urban hustle and bustle of the city. There are many recreational facilities as well, including hiking trails and children’s playgrounds, set among expansive landscaped gardens.

Al Mushrif

Set in the prime location between Airport Road and Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, Al Mushrif is one of the most sought-after areas in Abu Dhabi. Until about a decade ago, it was considered a suburb away from the mainland of Abu Dhabi, and was mostly populated by Emirati families, however, now it is popular with expats as well. The area consists of the following sub-communities: Delma Street, Al Dhafra Street, Kamal Jamal Musal, Al Qubaisat, Al Saada Street and Mushrif Gardens. Residents of Al Mushrif can reach Al Reem Island within just 15 minutes’, while Yas Island, Abu Dhabi International Airport and Masdar City can be found a maximum of 25 minutes away. Meanwhile, the Expo 2020 site can be reached within 1.5 hours, providing there is no traffic.

The residential community mainly contains apartment buildings and villa developments, mostly for rent. Nevertheless, there are freehold villas available as well, in which foreigners can purchase a residence in Al Mushrif. One can choose from an array of generously sized 5-7 and 10-bedroom villas, where a 5-bedroom unit of 2,858 sq.ft would cost AED 3.6M (USD 980K). Moreover, Al Mushrif offers a limited range of land plots as well. This type of property has an area of 11,500 sq.ft and is priced at AED 5.7M (USD 1.5M). For potential tenants, there is a collection of studios & 1-4 bedroom apartments, alongside 3-10 bedroom villas on offer. The starting annual price for a 1-bedroom residence of 400 sq.ft reaches AED 28K (USD 8K), and a 3-bedroom villa of 1,500 sq.ft can be rented for AED 80K (USD 22K).

Al Mushrif is well suited for families thanks to its excellent infrastructure and an array of healthcare and academic facilities, supermarkets, recreation areas and more. For instance, parents living in this area can assign their children to institutions such as ICS Mushrif International School, AlNahda National School – Girls and Royal Palace Nursery, just to name a few. In case of medical emergencies, there is the National Screening Center Abu Dhabi and Medical Service Directorate, besides the COVID-19 Prime Assessment Center. In addition, there are bus links, branches of leading banks, supermarkets, a police station, a post office and other amenities available within the area. Al Ghaf Park is a perfect location for pet-walking, running and barbecuing, and Al Mushrif Mall offers 3 levels of shopping, dining and entertainment.

Al Karamah

Al Karamah is situated in Abu Dhabi City, almost right in the center of the island. It lies between 2 blocks, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street and Al Karamah Street, and is closed off at either end by Mohamed Bin Khalifa Street and Hazza Bin Zayed Street. This area is particularly known for hosting embassies, including New Zealand, Nepal and Japan. As well as the above, you can find the Abu Dhabi Main Bus Terminal, for an even better commute. Some of the key destinations in Abu Dhabi can be reached in less than half an hour, including Jubail Island and Abu Dhabi International Airport. At the same time, the emirate of Dubai is easily accessible within a maximum of 1.5 hours by a private vehicle.

The upscale development offers 6-14 bedroom villas and plots of various sizes. It is worth noting that only UAE nationals and GCC citizens are allowed to acquire property in Al Karamah. If you are keen on buying a villa, then a 6-bedroom residence of 4,500 sq.ft will cost you no less than AED 9.8M (USD 2.6M). Meanwhile, a land plot is also a rather profitable investment, since you can build a customized villa to your own preferences. The starting price for a plot with an extensive area of 13,000 sq.ft is AED 6.8M (USD 1.8M). As for rentals, there are 1-bedroom apartments and 3-9, 11 and 18-bedroom villas. The annual price for a 1-bedroom apartment of 550 sq.ft in Al Karamah is about AED 43K (USD 12K). At the same time, a 3-bedroom villa of 5,000 sq.ft is priced at AED 85K (USD 23K) per year.

Besides embassies, Al Karamah contains premium medical institutions, such as Acacia Medical Center and the Canadian Medical Center, among many others. As well as this, residents can benefit from branches of well-known banks, located along Sheikh Rashid Bin Zayed Street. The area also houses offices of UPS and DHL, which can send a package for you locally and internationally. Meanwhile the nearest nurseries and schools are Future Nursery, Smart Al Sanafer Nursery, Sheikh Zayed Private Academy and the International School of Choueifat, just to name a few. Besides a range of F&B venues, there is also Al Wahda Mall nearby, which is one of the oldest malls in Abu Dhabi, and the above mentioned Al Mushrif Mall, offering numerous options for family entertainment.

Al Muroor

Formerly known as Muroor Road, Al Muroor, thanks to its excellent infrastructure and location, is very popular with families. The area is situated around Sultan Bin Zayed The First Street, ensuring good connectivity to other areas of Abu Dhabi. Al Muroor is also adjacent to areas such as Al Nahyan, Al Mushrif and Hadbat Al Za’afaranah. As well as the above, residents can reach a number of sought after areas within 25 minutes, these include Al Raha Beach, Masdar City and Abu Dhabi International Airport. Travel time to the city of Dubai will take about 1 hour 20 minutes.

Al Muroor features 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10-bedroom villas, as well as a collection of land plots for sale. This is not a freehold area, and properties here are not available for foreigners to buy. UAE and GCC nationals can acquire a 5-bedroom villa of 3,022 sq.ft for AED 2.2M (USD 600K) and a land plot of 4,800 sq.ft will cost about AED 3M (USD 817K). Al Muroor offers studios and 1-4 bedroom apartments and 1-9 bedroom villas to rent. One can lease a 1-bedroom apartment of 913 sq.ft for AED 34K (USD 9K), and a 1-bedroom villa residence of 570 sq.ft is priced at AED 42K (USD 11.5K) per annum.

Not only does Al Muroor boast excellent public transport connectivity with many bus stations located around the area, it also offers plenty of essential amenities to its residents. Within the area, there are many healthcare and academic facilities, such as Yas Healthcare, NMC Medical Center (Oxford) Muroor, Abu Dhabi Indian School Muroor, UAE Joint Command & Staff College, as well as Higher Colleges of Technology. Meanwhile, for younger children, there is Little Garden Nursery and Stars For Special Abilities and Early Intervention. Al Muroor also houses Dusit Thani Abu Dhabi, which offers ultimate leisure and recreation experiences, with a rooftop pool & bar and a spa. As well as all that, Al Muroor is not far away from the Mangrove National Park, the first self-contained educational, nature and leisure destination of its kind in Abu Dhabi. An interesting fact about the forest is that it accounts for 75% of the total mangrove forest area in the UAE.

Mamsha Al Saadiyat

Mamsha Al Saadiyat is the first residential project on Saadiyat Island and was developed by Aldar Properties. Located on the north-west corner of the island, it provides a beautiful waterfront view and ensures an easy commute around Abu Dhabi. A boat trip to Zaya Nurai Island will take around 15 minutes’, while the mainland of Abu Dhabi and the upcoming development of Jubail Island can be reached within a 20-minute drive. Abu Dhabi International Airport is located a little bit further, but travel time is no more than 30 minutes’, while Dubai is 1 hour and 20 minutes away.

Saadiyat Island is a free zone, meaning that properties at Mamsha Al Saadiyat are available to foreign nationalities as well. There are 1-4 bedroom apartments, 2-3 bedroom townhouses, 1-bedroom duplexes, as well as 5-bedroom penthouses available for purchase. All properties are equipped with air-conditioning and feature swimming pools, while penthouses include a private elevator, parking and a driver’s room. A 1-bedroom apartment of 1,454 sq.ft can be acquired for AED 2.4M (USD 655K), and the starting price for a 1-bedroom duplex of 1,431 sq.ft is set at AED 3.1M (USD 845K). A luxury 5-bedroom penthouse of 16,350 sq.ft is on offer for AED 22M (USD 6M). Finally, the minimum cost of a 2-bedroom townhouse of 2,475 sq.ft amounts to AED 4.5M (USD 1.2M). If you are interested in renting, you can choose from a range of 2-3 bedroom townhouses, 1-4 bedroom apartments and 1-bedroom duplexes. The latter type of property with an area of 1,431 sq.ft is priced at AED 160K (USD 44K) per annum, and a 1-bedroom apartment of 1,570 sq.ft is available for AED 140K (USD 38K). For spacious townhouses, a 2-bedroom residence of 2,755 sq.ft costs about AED 240K (USD 65K) per year.

There are numerous on-site amenities in Mamsha Al Saadiyat, which include direct access to the beach, gyms, a promenade with cycling and walking paths, as well as a podium with dining and leisure amenities. Moreover, residents of this development will benefit from unique cultural attractions nearby, which include The Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed National Museum (due to open in 2022), Manarat Al Saadiyat and the Guggenheim Museum (due to open in 2025). As well as all the above, Mamsha Al Saadiyat lies in close proximity to world renowned academic institutions, such as Cranleigh British International School, Insead Business School, Paris-Sorbonne University and NYU Abu Dhabi.

Summary

  1. In all the listed developments above, except for Mamsha Al Saadiyat, there are land plots available for purchase.
  2. Family-friendly communities in Abu Dhabi boast a wide range of international schools and nurseries.
  3. Al Mushrif offers the most affordable options in terms of apartment rentals, while the most budget-friendly villas are to be found in Khalifa City.
  4. Abu Dhabi International Airport can be reached within a maximum of 30 minutes’ from the above-mentioned communities.
  5. Regarding the listed areas, only Khalifa City and Mamsha Al Saadiyat feature an array of apartments for sale.

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