Souq Waqif is easily the number one spot to visit when exploring the wonderful city of Doha, Qatar. In this post you will find out what else you can explore in the immediate surroundings. The 8 things to see near Souq Waqif are easy to access so you can make the most out of your visit.
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Souq Waqif is a traditional marketplace that dates back at least one hundred years. It was renovated in 2006 after a fire destroyed a lot of the facilities. However, it has maintained its charm and traditional Qatari architecture.
Here you will find a big variety of wares from traditional garments, spices, crafts, souvenirs; and lots more. There’s also many restaurants and shisha lounges to choose from. It usually hosts a variety of art galleries, events and concerts. And don’t miss the art installations throughout. Within immediate proximity to the market you will find the Al Koot Fort, the camel pen, Souq Waqif Park and Bismillah hotel- Qatar’s oldest hotel.
Lastly, make time to visit Souq Waqif both at day time and night time, as the ambience and experience changes dramatically and are both very much worth the time.
Your first stop after Souq Waqif is only a few minutes walk and it can be easily accessed via an air conditioned underpass. Al Fanar is not only one of the most iconic landmarks in Doha but it is also an Islamic Cultural Center. This is a perfect place where you learn about Islamic faith and take arabic lessons. Moreover, they welcome visitors to take a tour of the center and to visit the mosque.
The Pearl Monument
The famous pearl monument is found at the northern end of the Corniche. It’s a popular spot for photos and it marks the entrance to the dhow harbour. Before Qatar found oil, pearling was one of its main industries, and because of this, pearls are still a significant emblem for the country today. The pearl monument can be easily accessed by crossing through the Souq Waqif Park and following the underpass to the Corniche.
The Dhow Harbour
The Dhow harbour is another fantastic place to immerse yourself into the culture and history of Qatar. Dhows are such a big part of Qatar’s history as they were used to transport good between countries, fishing and pearl diving. These days, dhows are mostly used to take people out into the bay to view the Doha city skyline from the water. So this is a good spot where you can organise a Dhow cruise because you simply show up and one of the many vendors will readily offer to take you out on their boat.
Tip: walk to the far end for a great hang out spot with the city skyline as a backdrop. Or walk to the back far right to get a different view and angle of the Museum of Islamic Art.
Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of islamic Art is another truly iconic building, which houses one of the most comprehensive collections of islamic art in the world. This beautiful landmark was established in 2008 on reclaimed land, an island off an artificial projecting peninsula near the traditional dhow harbour. Whilst you are here, make sure to spend at least a couple of hours exploring this spectacular building and its collections. There are many fantastic photo opportunities with its geometric patterns, water features and its amazing panoramic views across the bay. It is free for residents but other visitors will have to pay an entrance fee to access the collections. The atrium within the building also houses a very well appointed cafe. Although it is pricey, it is certainly worth the experience.
This colourful park has only opened recently and has become a very popular place for people to take photos. What’s so interesting about this place is that the buildings are made out of recycled shipping containers that have been painted in bright colours. Commercial and retail spaces take up most of the containers. Currently, there’s a small grocery store, coffee shop, and a few other retail shops. There are also a variety of food trucks to choose from. Ras Aboud Abu stadium can also be seen from this peculiar park, which has also been built out of repurposed shipping containers.
This is easily our favourite park in Qatar. MIA Park is a beautiful, green, open space in the city. Its is located adjacent to the Museum of Islamic Art. Here you can stroll, exercise, kick a ball around or just gaze at the Doha skyline. We love that its super safe for the kids. There are many walking paths and open space for them to run around or ride their bikes. You will also find the place dotted with food trucks in case you left your picnic at home. There also used to be an extensive playground with a lot of equipment for a wide variety of ages, but this is now closed off for renovations.
The sculpture simply known as ‘7’ is located at the end of the MIA Park pier. Richard Serra is an American artist and the designer of this sculpture which stands at almost 24 meters high. This sculpture is made from 7 steel plates which have been arranged in a heptagonal shape. The inspiration for this work of art came from a minaret in Afghanistan. The same artist has also designed the popular East-West / West-east, which is an incredible sculpture found in Zekreet.
Finish your day taking in the views of the Doha skyline. This spot in MIA park is one of the best places to do this. Here, you’ll get an amazing view of the Doha Skyline and watch all the dhow boats cruising in the bay. As the sun sets, you will be able to watch the city light up in front of your eyes.
In addition, just besides the hill there’s the MIA Park Coffee Shop where you can have a light dinner or maybe a few drinks. (Non-alcoholic drinks that is). The kids also love to run up and down the hills while we can comfortably watch them from the cafe seating area.
Lastly, MIA park has complimentary buggy rides available and these are perfect if you are too tired to walk back to the carpark from MIA Park after a big day exploring Doha.
Interested in moving to Qatar? Don’t forget to read all about our first impressions here!