Having been born in Sharjah, I have literally seen the city grow up with me. While Dubai is the better known neighbour, Sharjah is considered the cultural capital of the United Arab Emirates and rightly so. The city is home to some beautiful mosques such as King Faisal mosque and Al Noor mosque, along with numerous museums. Below are various things to do in the city.
Located in Al Khan, Sharjah aquarium was first open to public in summer of 2008. The aquarium is home to more than 150 species and guests can find local fishes at display as well. With an entrance fee of 25 AED (around $7) for adults, it is a great place not only to enjoy the beautiful sea life, but also a great way to learn about Sharjah’s historic coasts and ports. The aquarium places great importance on raising awareness about why marine environment plays an important role and how we can protect it.
As the name suggests, Majaz waterfront overlooks a large mass of water and features a number of recreational activities. Throughout the year, there are a number of events that take place in the area.
- Maraya art park is located within Majaz waterfront, it consists of two sections, the first is called “Sculptures Park”, it has projects from local and international artists showcased here. The second is “Children’s art park” which consists of educational activities and interactive games for children.
- Sharjah musical fountain: each day after the sun sets, the Sharjah musical fountain showcases a fountain show from one of the largest fountains in the area. With additional screens and laser effects, guests can enjoy the marvellous display at the dancing fountain.
- Apart from the numerous restaurants present at Majaz waterfront, there is also a mini golf course that consists of 18 holes and a family train that lets you enjoy the greenery and provides pick up and drop off at different points within the area.
Al Montazah amusement and water park
Given the hot and humid weather, a waterpark is never a bad idea when visiting Sharjah. Previously known as Jazeera park, Montazah has two sections now, one which is the water park and the other is an amusement park. The water park consists of a wave pool, a slide tower and 35 other attractions. The amusement park section consists of go karts, outdoor rock climbing, rental bikes etc.
To get a good look of the city, one can book a city tour with “City sightseeing Sharjah”, which provides 24 hour or 48 hour tickets to give you a tour of the city. The tours take place all year round and they operate 7 days a week. The tour bus travels around the city and the guests get to see all major landmarks comprehensively.
There are number of malls and shops in Sharjah where one can shop from. Here are two places where you can find pretty much everything under one roof.
Gold souk or “blue souk” is one of the oldest landmarks in Sharjah. It has two sections and each section has two floors. At the bottom floor on one section all you can find are gold shops with an exception of a few food stalls. On the second floor of the same section you can find silver jewellery, souvenirs, semi precious stones etc.. In the other section or building you can find shoes, scarves, beautiful hand woven rugs, purses etc.. The multitude of shops is not the only thing that makes this place wonderful, it’s the building and it’s architectural design and beautiful ceiling decorations that make it so much more pleasing. One thing to remember while visiting the souk is that bargaining is a must, one can end up with spending a lot less if they are willing to bargain (
even at the gold shops)
There are a number of malls in Sharjah such as Mega mall, City Centre and Safeer mall, but Sahara Centre, with it’s recent extension, is a mall that has over a hundred stores which include high end local and international brands. Shoppers can also find numerous cafes and restaurants which serve Italian, Indian, Arabic and other cuisines. Sahara Centre is also home to “Adventureland”, which is the largest indoor park in the United Arab Emirates. It consists of various rides, games and play areas. Sahara centre also has a theatre and a gym.
While restaurants and cafeterias can be found at pretty much every other street in Sharjah, some restaurants can be found huddled together in malls or places like Majaz waterfront and Qasba.
- Qasba is a popular tourist destination and is home to a manmade canal and “Eye of the Emirates”, which is a ferris wheel that overlooks the city. Apart from a number of attractions and a small area with rides for children, Qasba is home to restaurants such as Sumo sushi and bento, Nando’s, Shababeek, Fish corner etc.
- SOL is a restaurant located in the Buhairah area, the food here is a fusion of Arabic and American cuisine and the interior is perfect for those Instagram clicks. Some of the must have items on the menu include kofta sliders, dynamite shawarma rolls and the lotus milkshake.
- Bait al mandi: mandi is a traditional meal of meat and rice, the meat is usually chicken or lamb. Bait al mandi which translates to house of mandi is a restaurant that offers a variety of mandi. The restaurant offers traditional Arab style seating booths. Chicken mandi is a popular dish and a must have and nothing satisfies the sweet tooth like a cheese or Nutella kunafa, both of which are on the menu.
- If you are looking for Lebanese cuisine, Reem al bawadi in Sahara centre is the place to go. The restaurant offers some amazing Lebanese classics such as sheesh tawook, lamb chops, shawarmas, hummus etc. They also have a variety of traditional teas and desserts on their menu.