One of the first places I discovered after moving to UAE was Al Qasba. It’s built around a canal and is known for holding various exhibitions, festivals and theatrical performances throughout the year. The place is a hub of activity in the evening. A waterside recreation area has always been a crowd puller and the lighting provides a festive look making it all the more inviting.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys watching people, this place is for you. I saw kids going crazy with delight at being able to walk through the musical fountain. A child completely fascinated by the neon lights of the rides in the kid zone. An old couple resting in one of the many benches placed along the canal, holding hands. A young couple enjoying a quite moment and coffee in perfect sync while their toddler slept in her stroller. Since I am that kind of a person, I love the place. What’s even better? It’s at a walking distance from my home.
Al Qasba has two main attractions. The first is Eye of the Emirates – a Ferris wheel that offers the aerial view of the Sharjah corniche and landscape of the emirate as well as the glimpse of neighbouring Dubai. Not the best wheels out there, but it’s the only one that Sharjah has.
The second attraction are the Abras. Abras are wooden boats that give rides along the canal in the evening. Think Venice and gondolas without the novelty of Venice and the gondolas.
Restaurants and Cafes
The choice of restaurants at Al Qasba, reflects the emphasis on culture. The few restaurants that are present offer various cuisines. Lemon Grass offers Thai food, Sumo offers sushi, andd Omar’s has Egyptian food. There are restaurants serving Indian, Italian, Lebanese, Greek and Portuguese cuisines as well. Out of all these, I’ve only eaten at Lemon Grass.
Cafes include Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and Caribou Coffee. Gerard offers french pastries, Bert’s serves healthy sandwiches and salads while Jucito specializes in juices.
Al Qasba is a location for the entire family. It welcomes children with open arms and is filled with rides and games for their enjoyment. The Musical fountain is situated near the kids zone as it catches the attention of every child with its moving water to the beats of the music and its intriguing lights.
The place also has a few retail outlets, restaurants and cafes. Bookmall – the only book shop I know of, outside of malls in Sharjah, now offers internet and fax services. There’s a smattering of other retail shops such as a boutique, landscaping store, art gallery etc. Of course, I wouldn’t advise buying anything from them unless you’re rolling in dough. If you’re not, people watching costs nothing.
Apart from all the fun and festivities that focus on enjoying an evening out, Al Qasba doesn’t stay quite during the day. It has a business centre that has a full range of office facilities providing a business with furnished offices, secretarial services, conference and meeting rooms and an IT infrastructure. If your business can afford it, the location is great. Who wouldn’t want to look out their window and see the canal and the corniche? Or step out for lunch and enjoy their meal with a water front view?
A Crowd Puller
Al Qasba prides itself in being an attraction for the entire family. It’s specifically designed to be the ultimate place for families to spend their evening together. Considering the crowd that is always there, it’s safe to say that the purpose of a cultural hub has been met. Sharjah has done well to promote it as its cultural centre.