Last Updated on June 7, 2023 by Molly Egan
You’ll find many things to do in Doha, fun and unusual – if you are unfamiliar with the area – keep reading for the best tips! This hidden gem (that’s not hidden) is a destination that should be on everyone’s list!
Why? The art, culture, modern art, food, modern architecture, beauty, and hospitality!
Where is Doha, Qatar?
The Middle East on the Arabian Gulf. East of Saudi Arabia (but also North and South of it), South East of Bahrain, the West coast of the Persian Gulf, and Northwest of the United Arab Emirates and Dubai!
Have you heard of Qatar? If you haven’t, where was the World Cup in 2022? This place may have name recognition for natural gas, soccer, or the airline Qatar Airlines.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Doha?
The best time to visit Doha is October through May because of the hot heat of the Summer months in the Middle East.
Before locals were escaping during that time, natives spent their time on the coast where Doha is located! During Summer, it can reach up to 122 degrees – yes, there’s air conditioning, but it can be uncomfortable.
What Do I Wear in Doha?
Conservative clothing, where your shoulders and knees are covered, is a good rule to follow in the Islamic world. The religious values in Qatar, primarily influenced by Islam, promote modesty and the preservation of one’s dignity and modesty through appropriate clothing choices.
Typically men wear pants in public. Women wear loose clothing covering the upper arms, shoulders, and knees – long and loose summer dresses.
What kind of Things to do in Doha are there?
Activities range from golf, art galleries, museums, the beach, sand dunes, souqs, shopping malls, an artificial island, admiring stunning architecture, world cup fun, and a fantastic food tour!
How Long Does it Take to Get to Doha?
Direct flights to New York City are 12 and 15 hours from San Francisco. Closer destinations in Europe are half that within 6 hours from London.
Flights to Australia are 11 and up to 15 hours non-stop, and South Africa is 8 to 9 hours non-stop. As you can see, this is a central hub for major markets and worldwide destinations!
What Is Unique About Doha Qatar?
The country is relatively small, and its growth, in combination with its direction and goals, is quite impressive.
For instance, a country based on the natural resource of natural gas has embraced sustainability practices. It implements strategies to sustain green energy and minimal impact on climate change.
We were most impressed at the emphasis on art and culture. Qatar Museums’ Director of Public Art stated, “We want Qatar to be the art Mecca of the Middle East.”
The amount of public is so awe-inspiring! See a breakdown of the art and museums of Doha here.
What Do You Need to Enter With a US Passport?
U.S. tourist passport travelers have a free visa upon arrival – you must have six months validity in your passport and a return (or departure) ticket.
Visas are valid for 30 days from the date of entry to spend up to 30 days in Qatar.
Multiple entries are valid during the 30-day period and can be extended for 30 days – so use the central location as a launching point to other destinations on your bucket list!
The Top 29 Things to Do in Doha!
Walk along the Doha Corniche
National Museum of Qatar
Katara Cultural Village
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
Sheikh Faisal Museum
Traditional Arabian meal
Qatar National Library
Shadows Traveling on the Sea Exhibit
Inland Sea (Khor Al Adaid) Tour
Whale Sharks tour
Relax at the Banana Island Resort
Al Zubarah Fort Archaeological Site
Museum of Islamic Art
Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra at Qatar Convention Center
Al Shahaniya Camel Racetrack
3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum
1. Walk along the Doha Corniche
Enjoy picturesque views of Doha’s skyline and serene waterfront, perfect for a stroll or jog – the second-best view of Doha’s skyline (see #23 Museum of Islamic Art)!
You will see changing views of the West Bay skyline or what is the business district that flanks the waterfront. Doha West Bay is the city center with luxury hotels, financial institutions, modern highrises, and shopping malls.
This is a must of the things to do in Doha. Spot the modern Qatari architecture of the Doha skyline and public art. Insider’s tip: See spectacular sunset views here due to the vibrant hues of orange, pink, and purple backdrop against the high-rise city skyline.
2. Souq Waqif
Experience the vibrant atmosphere, traditional Qatari architecture, and a wide array of shops, restaurants, and cultural experiences of traditional Qatari life.
The authentic charm, vibrant atmosphere, and a mix of traditional markets, cafes, and art galleries will entertain you for hours. Insiders tip for art lovers – check out the Pouce sculpture by César Baldaccini.
3. The Pearl-Qatar
Indulge in luxury living, shopping, upscale dining, and waterfront promenades on this artificial island called the ‘Arabian Riviera.’
4. Desert safari
Embark on an adrenaline-pumping adventure, exploring the mesmerizing sand dunes, a camel ride, and traditional Bedouin experiences in the Qatari desert!
This is a must of the things to do in Doha, Qatar. I loved bashing sand dunes and seeing camels in the desert.
Bedouin camps are a popular option to spend the night and experience the real Qatari desert as traditional Qatari life and as many Qatar residents do with families on weekends.
5. Msheireb Museums
Discover Qatar’s rich history and culture. Get a taste of Islamic art and Qatari Culture showcasing the nation’s heritage and modern development.
Msheireb Downtown Doha is a vibrant district known for its sustainable and eco-friendly design, incorporating renewable energy sources and sustainable practices.
Insiders Tip: Visit the nearby Barahat Msheireb, an open-air 7,000 sqm plaza with a retractable roof that circulates chilled air and is flanked by restaurants and shops.
6. National Museum of Qatar
Immerse yourself in Qatari culture and history through captivating exhibitions and Islamic art. This is a MUST of the things to do in Doha and the most unique element of the Doha skyline!
This building is a modern architectural marvel by Jean Nouvel, whose design was inspired by the desert rose crystal often found in the Qatari desert.
7. Dhow cruise
Sail along the coast, embracing the charm of traditional Arabian boats while enjoying breathtaking views of the city skyline.
The original industry of Qatar residents was pearl diving, and these Arab world boats will transport you back!
8. Katara Cultural Village
Experience a cultural hub with art exhibitions, live performances, and festivals showcasing diverse traditions and creativity. The Golden Masjid is a main attraction here.
Katara Beach is located within the Katara cultural village in Doha and offers a beautiful coastal retreat. With designated swimming areas and lifeguards on duty, Katara Beach is great for families.
9. Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
Discover a collection of contemporary Arab art, offering insights into the region’s artistic expression and cultural narratives.
10. Sheikh Faisal Museum
Delve into the private collection of Sheikh Faisal, featuring rare artifacts, vintage cars, and religious manuscripts.
11. Falconry demonstration
Witness the ancient art of falconry, observe majestic birds in flight, and learn about their significance in Qatari culture.
If you tour the sand dunes or Inland Sea (Khor Al Adaid), you can hold a falcon; however, the Falcon Souq inside Souq Waqif is pretty cool!
12. Traditional Arabian meal
Delight in the flavors of authentic Qatari cuisine, savoring traditional dishes and experiencing the warmth of Arabian hospitality.
13. Qatar National Library
Explore a modern architectural gem and an intellectual sanctuary housing a vast collection of books, manuscripts, and knowledge resources.
World-renowned architect Rem Koolhaas designed this modern Qatar building. Tour Education city next to this!
14. Falcon Souq
Encounter the world of falcons, browsing through a market dedicated to these magnificent birds and their accessories. This is a must-see of the things to do in Doha!
15. Shadows Traveling on the Sea Exhibit
Experience a unique exhibition that explores the role of shadows in art and nature, offering an intriguing perspective.
Qatar government has expressed the desire to be an “art Mecca of the Middle East.” This exhibit is one of many fantastic public art installations in the country.
16. Inland Sea (Khor Al Adaid) tour
Venture into the breathtaking desert landscape – a UNESCO World Heritage site – visiting the mesmerizing inland sea and enjoying thrilling dune-bashing adventures.
It is unique as there are no similar marine environments where the sea meets sand dunes or sabkhat systems anywhere else.
17. Education City
Visit a prominent educational complex hosting renowned institutions, National Library, Mathaf, a golf club, and a stadium.
This area is full of designs by famous architects, including Arata Isozaki, Antoine Predock, and Legorreta + Legorreta.
Insiders Tip: Visit Al Shaqab for Arabian horse dressage and show jumping – built in 1992 to promote Arabian horse culture in Qatar.
18. Whale Sharks tour
Embark on an unforgettable adventure to witness the majestic whale sharks snorkeling alongside these gentle giants in the Arabian Gulf.
19. Relax at the Banana Island Resort
Escape to a tranquil island paradise, indulging in luxurious amenities, pristine beaches, and rejuvenating spa treatments.
Play golf, walk the beach, or our favorite – surf in the surf pool! There are day passes to enjoy the facilities and admire views of Doha bay.
20. Al Zubarah Fort Archaeological Site
Explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site, uncovering the ruins of an ancient Qatari trading port and glimpsing into the past. Al Zubarah Fort. was built in the late 18th century as a defensive structure to protect the prosperous pearl diving.
The fort features sturdy walls, towers, and internal rooms for various purposes, including storage, living quarters, and defense.
Insiders Tip: Climb the tower and stand near the circular openings – the ingenious detail for circulation and reprise from the heat is so cool, considering the age of the Al Zubarah Fort.
Indulge in a delectable brunch experience, savoring international cuisine and unlimited booze (for 2 hours). These are typically on Fridays throughout the city and often at hotel restaurants.
The best Brunches have music and entertainment. However, the food and option for alcohol are a luxury.
22. Villaggio Mall
Shop, dine, and entertain yourself in a beautiful Italian-themed shopping destination that offers a mix of luxury brands, restaurants, and entertainment options.
You will find many international brands and an Italian Renaissance-inspired design. The indoor canal with gondola rides is a fun attraction for you and your families. The shopping scene has never-ending options in Doha.
23. Museum of Islamic Art
The Museum of Islamic Art is a must-visit architectural gem designed by I.M. Pei – the interior atrium and Eastern courtyard are our top design experiences. Explore the most talked-about permanent exhibit, showcasing stunning Islamic art spanning centuries, and immerse yourself in Qatari culture.
Discover intricate calligraphy and dazzling ceramics as you gain a deeper understanding of Islamic art and heritage. Take advantage of this Instagram-worthy city skyline view of the Doha skyline that combines art, architecture, and cultural appreciation into a single destination – the best view of Doha’s skyline!
24. Purple Island
Experience a nature lover’s paradise at Bin Ghannam Island, exploring this enchanting island’s scenic beauty, bird-watching opportunities, and historical significance.
Kayak in mangroves and discover the serene beauty of Qatar’s coastal white mangrove forests, paddling through the calm waters and observing diverse marine life. An excellent tour is through 365 Adventures.
Purple Island is just outside of Al Khor City. The name purple is from centuries ago, the Kassite-controlled purple dye industry.
Tip: If you are an avid bird watcher, another spot worthwhile is Al Karaana Lagoon, only 45 minutes East of Doha and a serene place.
25. Barzan Towers
Visit these ancient watchtowers used for coastal defense, marveling at their architectural splendor and panoramic views.
These were built in 1900-1916 and marveled for the unique ‘T’ shape.
26. Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
Immerse yourself in the personal collection of Sheikh Faisal, showcasing a diverse range of artifacts, vehicles, and art.
27. Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra at Qatar Convention Center
Enjoy captivating performances by the country’s renowned symphony orchestra, embracing the beauty of classical and contemporary music.
Look for the famous Maman sculpture (a spider) by Louise Bourgeois.
28. Al Shahaniya Camel Racetrack
Witness the thrilling sport of camel racing, experiencing this ancient sport’s cultural significance and tradition. It is not your typical camel ride!
The unique factors of camel racing that differ so much from Western horse racing is that camel racing involves drivers chasing after their camels to urge them on, and robots are on the camels instead of jockeys.
We recommend this tour for a memorable camel racing experience Murex Tours.
29. 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum
Discover Qatar’s sporting legacy – most notably hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 – by exploring exhibits celebrating the nation’s achievements and passion for sports.
Enjoy your time visiting Doha, a gem on the Arabian Peninsula! If you like art, check out this list of the best art in Qatar.