9+ Things to Do in Qatar Beyond the Usual

Stroll through Al Wakra's old streets, unearth timeless treasures—but will the past whisper secrets at the souq's heart? Discover...
Date Published
March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

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Hey there, globe-trotter! Ready to trade your usual jaunts for a whirlwind of wonder in a place where tradition and futurism intertwine? Yes, I'm talking about Qatar, an untapped goldmine of cultural extravagance and adventure that'll leave your social feeds glittering with envy. Where else can you whoosh from the enigmatic lanes of Al Wakra's ancient souq one minute to savoring world-class international flavors at The Pearl Qatar the next? Now, you might think the desert's all sand and camels, but what if I told you about a desert that’s ready for its close-up? Imagine exploring Film City, a desert production set that’s all allure and mystique. With every turn, another delight: uncover masterpieces at Mathaf, sip tradition at local tea houses, and yes, there's even a fort that whispers secrets of the past, calling out to you from the sands of time. Fasten your seatbelts, because I'm about to take you on a wild ride through the very heart of Qatar – where every nook cradles a story and every sunset beckons a new adventure. Ready? Let's go!

Discover Al Wakra's Heritage

Imagine stepping back in time as you wander through Al Wakra's souq, where the sea breeze kisses your face and the scent of spices dances through the air. This isn't just any marketplace; it's an exploration through Qatar's history, dotted with quaint shops, intriguing artifacts, and an ambiance that feels like a warm hug from the past.

In the heart of Al Wakra lies a souq unlike any other. It's an intimate affair, perfect for those who cherish the art of discovery. Its charm is irresistible, with a maze of small alleys that beckon with secrets from 2 to 5 centuries ago. Sip on Qatari coffee as you delve into vibrant tapestries and handcrafted treasures that tell stories of the days gone by. Here, you'll want to loosen up your schedule—a couple of hours easily slip by as you're entranced by the meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail.

You're not just a spectator here; you’re a part of the living tapestry that weaves together the threads of Qatari culture. Al Wakra's souq speaks to the soul of the explorer, someone who craves a glimpse into the authentic life of a place.

This experience? Oh, it's ageless. Whether you’re flying solo, with family, or your little ones toddling alongside, there's a sense of wonder waiting at every corner. And it's not just about looking; it's about touching, feeling, and becoming part of a heritage that's as rich as the very sands it stands on.

Al Wakra's heritage is an unspoken bond connecting locals and tourists alike, leaving them mesmerized by its timeless allure. It's not just a destination; it's a journey that invites you to become part of its story.

So, tell me, are you ready to lace up your explorers' boots and step into the heartbeat of Qatar's past? Al Wakra's timeless souq is calling your name, and trust me, you'll want to answer.

Culinary Delights at The Pearl Qatar

Imagine an island where the scent of spices and the sizzle of grills fills the air. Welcome to The Pearl Qatar, where your taste buds can embark on an international adventure without setting foot on a plane. Get ready to taste international cuisine that'll make your palate do a happy dance!

So, you're strolling along the picturesque marina with yachts bobbing in the water, and the big question hits you: "Where am I going to eat?" All you have to do is follow your nose! The Pearl is your oyster (pun intended) when it comes to dining options. From gourmet to street food, every corner you turn offers a new flavor to explore.

  • Italian, French, or Thai? You don't have to choose. Spin the globe, and where your finger lands is where your next meal hails from. Close your eyes, take a bite, and feel like you're sitting in a bustling European piazza or a serene Thai beachside hut.
  • Cafés and bistros spill out onto the pavements, perfect for people watching and soaking in the luxe life here. Grab a fresh pastry and a coffee that's art in a cup.
  • Seafood lovers rejoice! With the fresh catch from the Persian Gulf, it's practically straight from the sea to your plate.

You'll want to spare a good few hours here, trust me. It's not just about the food—it’s about the experience. As the sun sets, golden hour bathes everything in a warm glow, the perfect backdrop for a memorable meal.

The Pearl is perfect for everyone; whether you're a solo spice adventurer, in it for a romantic dine-out, or having a family feast where even the pickiest eaters find something divine. Who's ready to tuck in their napkins and take a culinary leap? Taste, savor, repeat! Now that's what I call a flavor festival.

Oh, and if you're looking to burn off those delicious calories, take a post-meal stroll along the promenade, shop at high-end boutiques or simply unwind with the marina view. The night is still young and The Pearl Qatar is ready to enchant you with its culinary magic.

Explore Film City's Desert Production Set

Picture this: you're wandering through a desert, feeling like the star of your own adventure movie, when suddenly, you stumble upon an entire city carved out of the nothingness. That's Film City for you, Qatar's tribute to epic movie sets, and it's yours to explore!

Nestled in the heart of the Zekreet peninsula, Film City is a mirage turned reality. Built to mimic an ancient Arabian village, it is as serene as it is surreal. It's a place where your inner film buff meets your sense of adventure – without any of the paparazzi. Just pure, Instagram-ready backdrops perfect for that 'lost in the desert' selfie.

Why is this spot a must-see? Well, for starts, it's completely isolated, giving it an eerie yet beautiful charm that's hard to find elsewhere. It's a favorite for photographers and culture seekers. Best part? It's not just for show! You can actually walk in and out of the buildings, which are authentic reproductions of traditional desert architecture. It's as if you've time-traveled to a serene village where the hustle of modern life is just a distant memory.

If you're wondering how long to spend here, allocate at least a couple of hours – enough to soak in the quiet atmosphere and find all the best angles for your photos. It's ideal for anyone really, whether you're a solo explorer or bringing the whole squad. Just maybe not toddlers; let's be honest, they'll just eat the sand.

Fun fact: Film City isn't just a name; this place has actually been used as a filming location for various regional television series and films. Walking through, you're treading the same ground as movie stars!

So, how do you become the hero of your own desert epic? You don't need a camel to get there, but you will need a 4x4 vehicle, because let's face it, off-roading is half the fun.

Feel the crunch of the sand beneath your feet, let the vast, open skies inspire your next plot twist, and if you listen closely, you might just hear the echoes of a director's cut. Now, get out there and explore, your audience awaits!

Artistic Journey at Mathaf

Ever wanted to step into a world where every corner tells a tale, and every painting has a secret whispering just to you? Well, get ready to explore Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art, and let's dive deep into a universe of creativity that's nothing short of magical!

Imagine the brushstrokes of history and the colors of the future mingling on the canvas of the present. That's Mathaf for you, a space where modern Arab art gets the spotlight it deserves. As you walk through the galleries, be prepared to see narratives unfold through a vivid collection that boasts over 9,000 artworks.

Why just wander around when you can become part of the art itself, right? Whether you're solo or with your squad, a newbie to the arts or a seasoned aficionado, this place opens its arms to all. Spend a couple of hours (or even half a day) getting lost amongst sculptures and canvases that challenge perceptions and inspire conversations.

Here's the kicker — Mathaf isn't just about passive viewing. It's a dialogue, an interaction. So if you're looking to rub elbows with artistic minds, check out their educational programs and workshops. Who knows, you might just unlock your inner Picasso.

What's nearby? Well, you're in Education City, my friend. After your artistic journey, the surrounding grounds are perfect for a serene stroll or a picnic. If you've brought the little ones, they'll love the wide open spaces to run around in.

But hey, let's not forget - art makes you hungry! Luckily, the café on site will help refuel your body after you've nourished your soul with art. So whether you're feeling the adrenaline of abstract expressionism or the calm of calligraphic art, Mathaf is the place where emotions run free and every visit leaves you with a little more wonder than before.

Alright, artists and explorers, ready your palettes and set your imaginations to overdrive. Your artistic journey at Mathaf awaits!

Authentic Tea Houses in Doha

Picture this: a steaming, aromatic cup of tea in your hands, intricate carpets underfoot, and an ambiance that whispers centuries-old stories. Oh, you're not daydreaming, honey—you're in one of Doha's authentic tea houses sipping true delight. Tea tasting in these traditional teahouses transports you straight to a world where time pauses just so you can savor every drop.

What makes these spots a favorite for locals and travelers alike? It's more than just tea—it's an experience. Think of tea leaves that have journeyed far and wide, finding their way into delicate pots brewed to perfection. It's a place where conversations overflow just as much as the tea.

Each sip offers a medley of flavors tailored for the tea connoisseur in you. And whether you're a solo explorer on a reflective retreat or a merry band of adventurers, these cozy corners welcome everyone. Yes, you, the couple on a romantic getaway, and even you, the family with eager toddlers—it’s a tranquil experience for all!

Nearby, the bustling market calls, but oh, take your time. Plan on lounging here for a good hour or two. Let each cup tell you its story, let the local treats tantalize your taste buds, and by all means, let yourself sink into the cushions a little more.

So, come in, find your spot. Whether it’s under the warm glow of a lantern or in a quiet, sunlit corner, let Doha’s tea houses treat you to a blend of hospitality and tradition that's hard to find anywhere else. Because here, every cup is a toast to the culture and warmth of Qatar.

Marvel at Al Zubarah Fort

Picture this: you're standing at the edge of a vast desert, the sun casting a warm glow on the ancient walls of Al Zubarah Fort. This isn't just any old fort; this historical site is a window into Qatar's fascinating past.

The Al Zubarah Fort has seen centuries glide by and has stories embedded in each stone. Here's why this place is simply unmissable:

  • A UNESCO World Heritage site: That's right! It's officially amazing and recognized globally for its historical significance.
  • Archaeological wonder: Get ready to feel like Indiana Jones as you explore the remnants of a once bustling port town.
  • An Instagrammer's haven: Trust us, your feed is going to thank you. From the pearl fishing history to the fort's striking architecture, every shot is Insta-gold.

Now, let's talk about the vibe here. It's tranquil yet thrilling, perfect for both history buffs and those looking to escape the hustle of city life. You can almost hear the echoes of old market chatter when the wind blows right.

Spend a good couple of hours soaking it all in; after all, you're standing in a piece of Qatari heritage that dates back to the 18th century. And who's it great for? Everyone. Whether you're a solo adventurer or trotting the globe with your fam, Al Zubarah Fort has something for every kind of traveler.

Oh, and while you're imagining yourself there, remember, it's not all about the past. The surrounding area is speckled with cool, local cafes where you can sip on a cardamom-spiced coffee. Reflect on the rich history, with a taste of modern Qatari culture.

Feel every stone's story, wander around the remnants of a deserted town, and when the sunsets, watch the ancient walls glow as if they're whispering tales of yore. Welcome to Al Zubarah Fort – where history breathes and adventures await.

Delve into Msheireb Museums

Get ready to step back in time at the Msheireb Museums, where the narratives of Qatar's past swirl around you as though the dusty winds of history themselves are whispering secrets in your ears. The Msheireb Museums are not your run-of-the-mill snooze-fest of historical artifacts and yawn-worthy plaques. Oh no, you're in for an interactive experience that brings Qatar's heritage to life!

Why should you visit Msheireb Museums? First off, you'll be hitting up a cluster of four heritage houses, each with their own incredible stories and thematic exhibitions that illustrate the transformational journey of Qatar. It's a treasure trove for anyone eager to soak in the historical ambiance and learn about the dynamic wave of change that's shaped this nation.

Got a soft spot for architecture? You'll fall head over heels for the traditional Qatari craftsmanship fused seamlessly with cutting-edge sustainable practices. It's authenticity with a modern twist. Whether you're a history geek or just looking to escape the Doha sun for a few hours, the exhibitions at Msheireb Museums will captivate your mind and fill your camera roll.

Recommend you set aside a good chunk of your day, at least a couple of hours, to really dive deep into what these museums offer. From engaging tales about Qatari social history to the sustainable redevelopment projects fueling Doha's modern identity, you just might find time slips away like sand through your fingers here.

Is it a hit with all types of crowds? You betcha. Solo travelers, history-loving pairs, or even families will all find something to fascinate them at Msheireb Museums. The cherry on top? It's in the heart of Doha, so after you’ve fed your brain with knowledge, you can feed your belly with some scrumptious local cuisine nearby.

Still wondering what makes this particular spot a must-visit? Well, dust off your haggling skills because it's a stone’s throw from the bustling Souq Waqif, and just when you think your day can't get any better, kaboom, you're sipping Arabic coffee and watching the world go by. Adventure awaits, my friend!

Kayaking Through Mangroves

Imagine slicing through tranquil waters with nothing but the sound of your paddle dipping in and out and the distant cries of exotic birds. That's kayaking through mangroves for ya! This isn't your regular paddle-in-the-pond experience, oh no. We're talking about a magical glide through the twisted greenery of Al Thakira's natural reserve, where the salty sea meets the earthy roots.

When you go kayaking through the mangroves in Qatar, you're in for:

  • Serenity that'll make you forget the world's hustle
  • Close encounters with the unique wildlife
  • Fitness and fun merged into one activity

And who is this experience good for? Everybody! Whether you're a solo explorer with an appetite for tranquility, a couple looking for romance on the water, or a family eager to educate the kiddos about nature - this activity ticks all the boxes. Plus, it's a great way for adventure-seekers to get that adrenaline rush without jumping off a cliff.

No need to rush this journey – take a couple of hours to soak it all in. And when you're done paddling, you've got beaches nearby to lounge on or explore some more. The best part? You don't need to bring anything except your sense of wonder – all the gear can be rented on site.

Pro tip: Go during the cooler parts of the day to make the most out of your adventure. Early morning or late afternoon – that's when the magic happens! And hey, make sure to check out this awesome guide for everything you need to know before you go. There's no way you won't fall in love with the peacefulness. Just imagine ending your day watching the sunset from your kayak, surrounded by the lush mangrove forest... pure bliss!

Unwind at Al Khor Family Park

Picture this: You're lounging under a palm tree, kids squealing with delight on the playground, with the delightful scent of barbecue wafting through the air. Welcome to Al Khor Family Park, a lush oasis where serenity and family fun go hand-in-hand.

Designed for a visit lasting around 3 to 5 hours, this verdant park is more than just a patch of green; it's a community gathering spot where locals and tourists alike kick back and enjoy the simple pleasures. Whether you're looking for a lazy afternoon picnic or a spirited jaunt around the aviary that houses exotic birds, Al Khor Family Park delivers.

It's a hit for a diverse crowd, ideal for:

  • Families seeking the joy of an animal-themed playground and mini-golf course.
  • Singles who find solace in the botanical garden and leisurely walks.
  • Adrenaline seekers who challenge friends at the basketball court.

What’s nearby? The picturesque Al Khor Corniche is a stone's throw away, perfect for a sunset stroll after your park adventure.

And guess what? It’s not just about daytime splendor—when the sun sets, the park's lights add an enchanting glow, transforming it into a perfect evening retreat. Plus, with a dedicated barbecue area, why not bring some grilling goodies and make it a meal to remember?

So, pack your favorite snacks, a frisbee, or a good book—Al Khor Family Park awaits to give you that breezy escape you've been dreaming of. After all, who says you can't find a slice of paradise in the heart of a bustling city?

Scenic Doha Metro Rides

Jump aboard the Doha Metro and let the sleek, futuristic train whisk you across the cityscape. Who needs time travel when you've got a ride that's as shiny and modern as tomorrow? With stations that look like they've been teleported from a sci-fi flick, your commutes in Qatar are about to transform from mundane to marvellous!

Why choose the Doha Metro for your city escapades? First off, this isn't your average subway ride; we're talking serious style, speed, and comfort here. Zipping from one end of Doha to the other is a breeze, with services so frequent you'll barely have time to admire the art installations at each station.

Planning to explore the heart of Doha? Start your day with a ride on the Doha Metro. Whether you're solo or with your squad, this is the perfect way to dodge traffic and get a glimpse of the city from a comfy, air-conditioned carriage. Immerse yourself in the gleaming interiors while the world outside zips by in a blur of colors.

What's nearby, you ask? Pretty much everything! Hop off at Msheireb station, and you're a stone's throw away from the lively souqs and the stunning Museum of Islamic Art. Depending on your vibe, spend a few hours or an entire day mingling with locals and other global trotters.

The Doha Metro is a hit not just for the speed-chasers but also for families looking for an easier way to navigate the city. Oh, and if you're worried about where to park the kids' stroller or your shopping bags full of keepsakes, fret not. The metro's got your back with spacious interiors so you can ride hassle-free.

Pro tip: Grab a window seat as the evening rolls in and watch the city lights flicker to life - it's a lowkey light show you don’t want to miss. Now, if you're itching for some more info on routes and tickets, check out the official Doha Metro website. Trust me, this is one ride that deserves a spot on your ‘must-do in Qatar’ list.

Al Thakira Natural Reserve Adventure

Imagine paddling through a serene tapestry of green, letting the gentle splash of your kayak cut through the stillness of nature. That's the spellbinding tranquility of the Al Thakira Natural Reserve, a lush oasis where you can glide amid the verdant mangroves, a stark contrast to the sprawling desert all around.

You don't just kayak—you become part of the reserve's heartbeat. The mangroves here host an array of bird species, from regal flamingos to the rare Mangrove Heron, turning your little adventure into a birdwatching paradise. And guess what? This is not just for the solo adventurer but also a quiet escape for couples or a live-action classroom for the kiddos.

It's easy to lose track of time as you meander through the intertwining waterways, which is why you should set aside a good half-day for this experience. And don't fret about skill levels; these waters are tranquil enough for beginners but enchanting enough to captivate seasoned kayakers too.

As for nearby attractions, you've got the Al Khor Corniche close by, perfect for a post-kayaking stroll. As the sun sets, you might just catch a glimpse of fishing boats bobbing on the horizon—a nod to Qatar's pearling past. And if you're wondering if it gets any better, the answer is a resounding yes, because this venture is as eco-friendly as it gets.

So, grab a paddle, my friend, and carve out your path in the Al Thakira Nature Reserve. Your adventure here stays with you long after the echoes of the paddling fade away. And who knows, you might just find your next profile picture among the mangroves, so kayak on and let the serenity of Al Thakira invigorate your soul!

Qatar National Library's Architectural Marvel

Picture this: you step into a realm where modern architecture meets a treasure trove of knowledge. Yup, we're diving into the Qatar National Library, an architectural masterpiece where the scent of new books is as intoxicating as the awe-inspiring design. Not just a place to whisper and read, this monument is a beacon of learning that will have you snapping pics as much as leafing through pages.

What makes this library so unique? Oh, just the little fact that it houses over one million books in a celestial, diamond-shaped space that's a Star Trek voyage for your brain. The mood is light, bright, and futuristic, designed for both the casual browser and the serious scholar. You can venture into the Qatar National Library, and trust me, it's a venture worth taking.

Got an eye for design? The library's interior will leave your jaw on the immaculately polished floor. From the moment you wander in, light floods from the high glass walls, spotlighting the books that seem to float on the open-plan shelves.

Perfect for families, historians, or that friend who Instagrams more than breathes, this library is a sanctuary of cerebral bliss. Let's talk crowds—yes, it's popular, but this spot is spacious enough to find a nook or cranny for some personal tête-à-tête with your new favorite book.

Nearby, you'll find plenty of places to grab a bite or a coffee, because let's face it, even the brainiest of us need to chow and caffeinate. Plan to spend a couple of hours here, at least. There's so much to see and experience, from the heritage collection of rare manuscripts to the high-tech start-up vibe of the Innovation Stations.

And for the record, this library pulls everyone from toddlers in awe of the children’s section to the wisest of elders looking for a quiet read or a stimulating lecture. It's not just a library; it's a cultural hub where stories, ideas, and people come together.

Ready to feel all the feels of literature and learning? The Qatar National Library isn’t just a building; it’s a journey through knowledge wrapped up in an architectural wonder that’s made for everyone—just like a warm invitation to the mind written in stone, glass, and sunlight. Now go see it for yourself!


Q: What are some things to do in Doha?

A: Hit the Museum of Islamic Art, stroll the Corniche, and explore Souq Waqif for shopping and food.

Q: What are things to do in Qatar this weekend?

A: Check out a desert safari, visit The Pearl-Qatar for luxury shopping, or relax at Katara Beach.

Q: What can I do in Qatar today?

A: Discover the National Museum of Qatar, or enjoy a meal with a view at the Torch Tower.

Q: What are fun activities in Qatar for kids?

A: Take them to Gondolania, an indoor theme park, or the Aqua Park Qatar for water-based excitement.

Q: What are family-friendly things to do in Qatar?

A: Families enjoy Aspire Park, visiting the Al Khor Zoo, or having a picnic at the MIA Park.

Q: What are the top 10 places to visit in Qatar?

A: Must-visits include the State Grand Mosque, The Pearl, Villaggio Mall, Aspire Tower, and the Barzan Towers, to name a few.

Q: Is Qatar friendly to tourists?

A: Absolutely! Qatar welcomes tourists with warmth and offers a rich blend of cultural attractions and modern amenities.

Q: How many days should I spend in Qatar?

A: Plan for at least 3 to 7 days to explore Qatar's main sights, from city landmarks to desert excursions.

Q: What is Qatar most famous for?

A: Qatar is famous for its wealth, luxury shopping, advanced architecture and the annual Doha Film Festival.

Q: Is it cheap to visit Qatar?

A: Not really. Qatar is known for its luxury experiences, but there are budget-friendly options available too.

Final Words

Well, you've just journeyed through a treasure trove of Qatari delights, from the rich heritage of Al Wakra to the buzzing alleys of Souq Waqif. You've savored international flavors at The Pearl, became a desert wanderer at Film City, and dove headfirst into the artistic depths of Mathaf. Your taste adventure continued with a step back in time at the authentic tea houses, while history came alive at Al Zubarah Fort.

Your quest for knowledge whisked you away through Msheireb Museums, and nature called with the tranquility of kayaking through mangroves. Al Khor Family Park promised a respite for play, and the scenic Doha Metro rides offered new sights around every corner. Adventure didn't stop as you navigated the natural wonders at Al Thakira, and architectural astonishment awaited at Qatar National Library.

In short, you're now well-equipped with the coolest things to do in Qatar, each experience waiting to sprinkle a little more magic on your Arabian adventure. So, go ahead, take that step out the door and let the wonders of Qatar sweep you off your feet!

Meet the Author
Aria Ohlsson
Aria Ohlsson, the Instagram storyteller extraordinaire, takes you on adventures through her enchanting narratives. An avid hiker, she scales peaks and weaves tales of mountaintop triumphs. When she's not conquering trails, you'll find her immersed in classic novels, finding inspiration for her next tale.
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