July 06, 2023

World Class Attractions Close To Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, one of Qatar's eight iconic FIFA 2022 World Cup stadiums, is a sight to behold. Located on the very eastern edge of Doha and bordered by the country's desert interior, it is a modern oasis in the sand and well worth a visit just to admire its ornate architecture. However, there is much more within the stadium's vicinity to keep you occupied…

While you could be forgiven for thinking Ahmad bin Ali Stadium would have little to offer in terms of nearby attractions, given its location, rest assured there are plenty of sights and venues close at hand. If you are keen to explore more of Qatar in between admiring the stadium, we're here to help.

But first, let us introduce you to the stadium:

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium

Ahmad bin Ali Stadium is 23 km west of Doha city centre and easily accessible via car, taxi or bus on the Dukhan Highway, or by Metro on the Green Line and alighting at Al Riffa Metro Station.

So, what can you expect when you get there? The stadium, given its proximity to Qatar's natural environment, was designed to reflect the surrounding desert. As such, the landscape and the structures surrounding the stadium mimic the shape of desert dunes, and the stadium is wrapped in an undulating sand-coloured screen to emulate the flow of sand. Even the motifs adorning the facade symbolise the desert and native flora and fauna. And at night, the stadium walls behind the screen glow in the dark courtesy of giant multimedia screens - a beacon in contrast to the lightless desert. 

With the World Cup tournament over, the stadium has become home to the Al Rayyan Football Club. And over the coming months and years, the stadium's capacity will be reduced to 20,000 seats, with the removed facilities donated to the developing world. The local community will also benefit from a host of sports and leisure facilities in the surrounding precinct. But other than football, sports facilities and touring the stadium’s grand construction, there are plenty of other activities and attractions in the nearby area…

Nearby Sights and Attractions

Guests visiting the stadium can easily take in several delights while in the area; here are a few of our top recommendations:

The Mall of Qatar

Image: SLSK Photography/Shutterstock.com

The Mall of Qatar is the nation's largest mall and is designed to keep over 20 million visitors per year occupied and amused. As one of the region's super malls, at almost 500,000 sqm, there are plenty of attractions to explore.

Opened in 2017, the Mall of Qatar boasts over five hundred retail stores from high-end to high-street, clothing to homeware, department stores to luxury plazas, and for men, women and children. It also houses over one hundred food and beverage outlets, ranging from food court stands and kiosks, chain restaurants and cafes to unique signature restaurants. It even has its own Metro Station, an adjoining five-star hotel, and a host of original artwork strategically placed within its walkways and galleries. However, it is the mall's entertainment offering that is becoming known as the Mall of Qatar's jewel in the crown.

There are plenty of entertainment options for everyone across the mall, from a nineteen-screen cinema complex and a ten-lane bowling alley to a dedicated Family Entertainment Complex. The Mall also features an entertainment park for all ages, Xtremeland, and the kids-only international edutainment park, KidzMondo. Xtremeland attractions include a host of fairground rides for adrenaline junkies, a high-wire adventure course, a trampoline park, four climbing walls, a giant three-storey-high slide, and a six-level soft play area. It also houses arcade games, simulated rides, a 7D theatre and video-gaming activities. KidzMondo is a scaled-down city built especially for children. In this mini-city, kids can 'work' as pilots, astronauts, firemen, policemen, doctors, nurses, hairdressers, hoteliers, builders and more to earn 'kidlars', the official KidzMondo currency, which they can then spend in a variety of shops.

However, the mall’s pièce de résistance is the Oasis. Set in the heart of the mall under a 30m high atrium, the Oasis incorporates a rotating, multi-lift stage on which the world's first resident mall theatre group perform free shows. Surrounded by restaurants and cafes on two levels, visitors can watch spectacular performances, musical events and more all year round. Plus, the entertainment spills out into the rest of the mall with performances, kids activities and events located in the galleries and walkways.

The Mall of Qatar is located just off the Dukhan Highway, adjacent to Ahmad bin Ali Stadium - a ten-minute walk away. The mall opens Saturday to Wednesday, 10 am to 10 pm, and Thursday and Friday, 10 am to 12 am. However, some stores, cafes and restaurants operate under their own time schedule. You can contact the venue at +974 4034 6000 or check them out online at


Al Shahaniya Camel Racetrack

Image: Satheesh_Madh/Shutterstock.com

As you might expect for a desert country, camels are part of the nation's culture, heritage and history. They were essential to the Bedouin tribes of old, who wandered the harsh landscape and relied on camels for transport, food, clothing and shelter (from hair and hides), but they also raced them. And though camels have less of a role in modern Qatari society since the discovery of oil, camel racing is still big business. It's also one of the most exciting spectator sports you can try!

While camel racing has been present in Qatar for a long time, it wasn't until the 1990s that today's modern camel racetrack was built. Al Shahaniya, located in the centre of the Qatari peninsula and surrounded by a desert landscape, is a purpose-built camel track with three sandy oval tracks for 6, 8, and 10km races. Each track has a tarmacked road on either side of the course for trainers and spectators to follow the races in SUVs. If you are lucky enough to be on the track during a race, prepare for a wild ride.

On race days, the camels are positioned behind starting gates. Once the starting signal sounds, the gates are opened, and the race begins - for the camels and the spectators. On both sides of the spectators' track, SUVs join the melee and speed after the racing camels to watch the live action in close quarters. Commentators follow the live-action in their vehicles and broadcast the event via the track speakers. And trainers race alongside, scrutinising progress and performance, while shouting commands to their animal via walkie-talkies that connect to the jockey (the jockey being a small humanoid-shaped, remote-controlled robot sitting on the camel's back and dressed in bright racing silks). The noise, the flying dust clouds, the slightly bizarre sight of the running camels and the thrill of racing alongside them makes for an exhilarating day!

The camel racing season generally starts in or around October and culminates in March/April time with the major racing competitions of the season. Local races are usually held on Friday and Saturday mornings from 6 am - 9 am and 1 pm - 4 pm. Major races include the Emir's Main Race, the top camel race in Qatar, which annually attracts participants from all over the Gulf. The annual races usually occur on Fridays. Entry to the track and the races is free. However, you must have a 4x4 or SUV car to join the races. For more information on race times and events, contact the racetrack on +974 4487 2028 / 4448 6900.

Under an hour away from Doha city centre by road, Al Shahaniya Racetrack sits next to the small settlement of Ash-Shahaniya, just off the Dukhan Highway, past the Mall of Qatar and the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium. The nearest Metro station is the Al Riffa Station at the Mall of Qatar. Once at the station, plenty of taxis can transport you to the nearby racetrack within 15 minutes.

Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum

Image: Sirio Carnevalino/Shutterstock.com

If you want to learn more about Qatari, and Middle Eastern history and culture, while wandering the grounds, courtyards and halls of a beautifully restored historic fort amid the desert, the unusual but captivating Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum is an excellent place to start.

The museum is a private collection of cultural curiosities, painstakingly assembled over many decades by the museum's founder, Sheikh Faisal. Over 30,000 objects from the Jurassic age to the early Islamic period and up to the present day are on display, all related in one way or another to Qatar, the Middle East, Arab culture and trade, and Islam. In fact, each collection is designed to provide links to Qatar's past, its cultural development and its ties to other cultures across the Middle East, Asia, North Africa and Europe.

The artefacts are displayed across numerous galleries, from a weaponry hall to a textiles and jewellery room, a fossils section to a carpet museum, an Islamic arts hall to a Quran room, which displays one of the largest and one of the smallest Qurans in the world. You can even step into an authentically replicated 200-year-old Syrian house that was transported from Damascus and rebuilt brick by brick inside the museum, and a model Qatari home, which houses belongings from Sheikh Faisal's early life and provides a glimpse into Qatari life in the 20th century.

The museum also sports a cafe with indoor and outdoor seating, which overlooks a large courtyard with a water feature and a range of traditional wooden boats on display. The cafe serves snacks and drinks, including traditional Arabic coffee. There is also a gift shop selling customised artisan products.

SFBQ is located on the Al Samriya Estate - a cultural destination dedicated to cultural preservation and conservation, which accommodates a farm, the museum, an equestrian school, and an animal reserve (featuring oryx, Qatar's endangered species, and other animals such as gazelles, ostrich and peacock). The estate is designed to educate and entertain guests in Qatari culture and the surrounding natural environment.

Al Samriya Estate can be found slightly further east from the stadium along the Dukhan Highway, where the desert plains begin in earnest. The journey from Doha is less than an hour and easily reached by road. The nearest Metro station is the Al Riffa Station at the Mall of Qatar. Once at the station, plenty of taxis can transport you to the estate within 15 minutes. The museum is open from Monday to Thursday, 9 am – 5 pm; Friday, 2 – 7 pm and Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm. For more information, contact the museum on +974 4490 2340 or check out the website, http://www.fbqmuseum.org/.

Al Samriya Riding School

Image: HAMAD DNDRN/Shutterstock.com

Qatar's nomadic ancestors, the Bedouins, relied on horses for transport and during tribal warfare - horses were integral to the battles fought in the making of Qatar. The line of purebred Arabian horses, selectively bred by the Bedouins, have endured throughout Qatar's modern development and are now one of the most sought-after breeds alive today. Proud of their history with Arabian horses, modern Qataris are keen to honour their equestrian heritage and traditions to future generations. As a result, equestrian centres are an essential part of Qatar's cultural heritage offering.

Al Samriya Equestrian Centre, also located on the Al Samriya Estate, breeds and trains Arabian horses, and offers educational programmes to the public in horsemanship and equestrianism, including horse riding. So, what can you find at the centre?

Bounded by the desert, the centre is housed in traditional sandstone buildings and stables, with green and sand paddocks, tree-lined driveways and hacking trails, and courtyards filled with date palms. The centre also accommodates a tack shop, a cafe, a recreation building and a playroom. Aside from the beautiful surroundings and admiring the magnificent horses, you can saddle up for a pony ride around the complex. Over 30 minutes and costing QAR 100 per person, you can wander the estate, along the trails, under native trees, around the restored fort and beyond. It is a haven away from the hubbub of the city and the perfect place to come to get a sense of rural life in Qatar.

While there, you could also stop by the Al Samriya Oryx Reserve (also on the estate), which is home to several endangered species of large mammals, such as the Arabian Oryx, Qatar's national animal, and Dukhan Gazelles. Take a sanctuary tour and get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures!

Al Samriya Estate can be found to the left of the Dukhan Highway, having passed the Mall of Qatar and the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on the right. The journey from Doha is less than an hour and easily reached by road. The nearest Metro station is the Al Riffa Station at the Mall of Qatar. Once at the station, plenty of taxis can transport you to the estate within 15 minutes. For more information about horse riding, events and other programmes, visit the Al Samriya Estate website or contact the estate directly on +974 5070 9521 / 4490 2359.

Qatar offers a wealth of activities for visitors to its shores, and if you can integrate some sightseeing alongside World Cup Stadium visits, all the better. So, if you liked this article, check out one of the others in this series:

And, if you’re keen to post your experiences on the gram, be sure to read through our Instagrammable Spots Near Qatar's World Cup Stadiums article.

Published: November 14, 2022
Last updated: July 06, 2023
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