March 26, 2023

A-List Attractions Accessible From Khalifa International Stadium

Over a million fans will make their way to Qatar in November as the country kicks off the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the first to take place in the Middle East. Typically held in the summer, the tournament was moved to the winter months to ensure a more favourable climate, offering football fans the opportunity to enjoy the matches and explore the country. Indeed, while the FIFA World Cup will be the main attraction and the stadiums themselves are works of art worth exploring, the areas surrounding the football arenas offer no shortage of alternative leisure and entertainment options. So, if you want to make the most of your time in Qatar and discover more about the World Cup host country, read on. In this article, the first of a series, we'll introduce you to Khalifa International Stadium and some of the sights and attractions on its doorstep.

Khalifa International Stadium

Just 10km from the city centre, the Khalifa International Stadium is accessible by car and Metro train. The closest Metro Station is Sports City on the Gold Line.

Originally built in 1976, Khalifa International is Qatar's oldest stadium and has already witnessed several notable sporting events, including the Asian Games and Arabian Gulf Cup. Serving as the flagship stadium for the 1976 Gulf Cup, the stadium was initially designed to hold 20,000 spectators, a capacity later increased to 40,000 for the 2006 Asian Games.

While Khalifa Stadium has undergone various modifications since 1976, a considerable upgrade was necessary over a four-years to prepare it for the 2022 World Cup. During the renovations, the stands were refurbished, additional seating was installed, and new hospitality facilities were constructed above and below ground. A canopy was incorporated into the roof structure to provide shade and protection from the sun and to compliment the new cooling system (utilising a refrigeration technique that is 40% more sustainable than conventional methods). Alongside an expansion in capacity and cooling, the stadium facade was remodelled to give it an ultra-modern and sleek look and to improve accessibility and crowd management. Above the stadium, the two giant, 120m tall arches, instantly recognisable landmarks in Doha, continue to tower above the pitch, removed during the upgrade works and repositioned afterwards.

In November 2022, England will kick off the first World Cup match in the stadium against Iran, followed by Germany's battle against Japan. In total, seven games will be held in the arena, including one in the Round of 16. During the Group Stage, the Netherlands will face Ecuador, Croatia will go head to head with Canada, and Ecuador will play Senegal. The match for the FIFA 2022 third-place winner will also be played at the Khalifa Stadium.

The stadium is located in the expanse of the Aspire Zone, Doha’s large sporting complex, and is surrounded by green spaces, malls, hotels and restaurants and a variety of other things to see and do. So, if you find yourself in the area and want to discover the local attractions, here are a few things to keep an eye out for:

Nearby Sights and Attractions

Aspire Park

Image: Von Wyli/

Boasting an area of over 880,000m², the Aspire Park is a beautiful expanse of greenery adjacent to the stadium. With its rolling hills and unusually shaped boab trees, the park offers a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city and a welcome change to Doha's sandy-coloured aesthetic.

The park is worth a visit for its relaxing properties alone. However, there is also a multitude of activities on offer. The park is home not only to various sports grounds, children's play areas, running and cycling trails, and picnic areas but also to Qatar's only lake - a small oasis of calm where you can sit back and watch swans, ducks and other wild birds, or hire a paddle boat and join the water-based fun. There is also a lengthy bridge fountain - super fun for kids to splash through on a hot day, and a public art installation, Perceval, by British artist Sarah Lucas to admire. The park is ideal for both families and individuals wanting to relax and unwind or blow off some steam.

Aspire Park also offers a selection of delightful cafes and restaurants. We particularly love the Two to Six cafe with its chic, modern industrial style, open-air feel, views of the park and wide selection of drinks and snacks.

Opening Hours: 7 am - 11 pm daily

Parking: Free


Villaggio Mall

Image: Benny Marty/

One of Qatar's most unique shopping centres, just a few minutes from the stadium, is Villaggio Mall. Modelled after the charming water alleys of Venice, the Mall is worth visiting even if you don't enjoy shopping (assuming such people exist). With its lavish Venetian-styled interiors and fleet of gondolas offering rides to shoppers along the mall's canals, you'll be instantly transported to another world. Indeed, with its brightly painted ceilings, mimicking a sunny day's sky, coupled with the pastel-coloured shops and balconies, you're left feeling like you're in a quaint old Italian town.

With over 200 shops and restaurants, Villaggio is also home to some of the biggest luxury brands in the world, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Gucci, Valentino and Dolce and Gabbana. A footfall of over 1.5 million per month puts this shopping experience at the top of the region's most sought-after malls. Gondolania theme park, the country's only ice rink - Olympic-sized, a 350m Go-Karting racing track and an IMAX Cinema are just some of the few attractions you can find here.

And with over 50 restaurants and cafes, you won't be short of places to eat. Our firm favourite is PF Chang's, an Asian Chinese fusion kitchen serving classic dishes with a modern twist. The Mongolian Beef, Kung Pao Shrimp and Singapore Street noodles are amazing!

Opening Hours: Sunday to Wednesday, 9 am - 10 pm;

Thursday to Saturday, 9 am - 11 pm;

Friday, closed midday for the Jummah prayer

Parking: Free


The Torch

Image: Fitria Ramli/

At 300m high and with 360-degree panoramic views across the city, the Aspire Tower is another iconic landmark worth visiting if you are in the area. At the heart of Doha's Sports City, Aspire Tower, or as it's more commonly known, The Torch, is currently the country's tallest building.

Built as a focal point for the 2006 Asian Games, Aspire Tower was constructed to resemble a colossal games torch. Having held the actual 2006 games torch throughout the Asian Games tournament, the Tower holds the record for the highest games flame. Following the 2006 games, the building turned into a luxury hotel with fifty-one floors and an outdoor swimming pool.

The Torch is worth a visit, even if you're not staying at the hotel. The panoramic views of the city from every lounge, the dizzying feeling as you step out onto the 19th-floor deck that juts out from the main building and houses the outdoor pool, and the many fantastic restaurants and cafes make this venue a sight to explore. For an unforgettable experience, dine at the Torch's Three Sixty Restaurant, the city's only revolving restaurant. Located on the 47th floor of the tower, it provides breathtaking views of the iconic Doha skyline. With its delicious Mediterranean cuisine, the restaurant is not only a visual experience but a culinary one too.

Opening hours: The hotel is open 24/7; restaurants and cafes - various opening times.

Parking: Free valet parking is available


3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum

Image: Fauzan Fitria/

A stone's throw from Khalifa Stadium (or a walk across a bridge from one to the other) is the fantastic and recently opened 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum. The new venue is Middle East's first and only sports museum, and at 19,000 square metres is one of the largest sports museums in the world.

Dedicated to showcasing the origins, development, and significance of sports and sporting culture in Qatar and beyond, the venue was designed using the Olympic rings symbol as its inspiration. The cylindrical museum features five coloured rings around its perimeter at different heights and angles, creating a unique look and very Instagrammable look. Inside, the building comprises seven gallery spaces with exhibits covering sports through the ages, from the origins of sports to the current day, and diving deep into traditional Qatari sports like falconry, pearl diving and camel racing.

We recommend starting at the top floor and working your way down to The Activation Zone, an interactive experience everyone can enjoy. From the beach to desert settings, different interactive stations within the Activation Zone allow you to measure your 'physical literacy' by participating in various physical activities. Pedal at the park to test your endurance, or maybe check your muscle strength as you haul a Jeep out of sandy dunes!

After you've worked up an appetite, check out the cafe in the museum geared towards healthy and nutritional foods. With the menu concepts set by UK-born Michelin-star chef Tom Aikens, the food is a testament to how healthy food can also be delicious, delightful, and good for the diet!

Opening hours: Saturday to Thursday, 9 am - 7 pm; Friday, 1.30 pm - 7 pm

Parking: Free

Price: 50 QAR for non-residents, free entry for residents and children under 16


Trampo Extreme


Families with children are spoilt for entertainment options near the stadium - from the Aspire Park and Villaggio's entertainments to an outdoor climbing and bouldering centre, an amusement park in the nearby Hyatt Mall, a Kidzania venue (a miniature kids city), and a trampoline park next door.

We recommend family trips to Trampo Extreme; the trampoline park has something for everyone, adults and kids. The venue is predominantly a trampoline park but has an array of other trampolining activities such as basketball, dodgeball, balance beams, monkey bars, trapeze slackline and a giant airbag. The park also boasts a huge clip 'n' climb zone, with various 8-metre high climbing walls, including vertical, overhanging, slim, twisted, chimney, ladder, net, spheres, bouldering, with multi-shaped and sized hand and footholds, plus timed-speed climbing walls. There is also an exhilarating three-storey sky trail - an elevated obstacle course of tight ropes, ladders and a heady zip line at the end of the track, and a soft play zone with slides, tunnels and towers to explore.

You can get tickets for the individual zones: Jumping, Climbing, Sky Trail, Sky Tykes and Soft Play depending on the activity you're interested in or your age. Prices range from 50 QAR to 90 QAR per person.

Opening hours: 10am - 10pm

Parking: Free


Main image: BenBryant/

Published: August 09, 2022
Last updated: March 26, 2023