Despite being a desert city, Doha is surprisingly green. A lot of effort has gone into providing plenty of green spaces for people to exercise, have picnics, or simply let the kids run and play. You will find that at weekends and in the evenings the parks are popular places to catch up with friends and enjoy the cooler temperatures and shade. Here are our picks for the top parks in Doha.
Doha’s largest park is located by the Aspire Zone — also known as Sports City —an area full of stadiums and indoor complexes. The park itself features a lake, rolling hills, fountains and shaded areas, plus established baobab trees that add a quirky touch. The park is overlooked by the Aspire Tower, which was designed to hold the torch for the 15th Asian Games, held in 2006, and lights up at night.
The park by the Museum of Islamic Art offers not only lush grass, but also superb views across the bay and the Doha skyline. This park doubles as an event venue with – in the cooler seasons – cinema under the stars, concerts, yoga and fitness classes and kayak tours around the bay. There are shaded seating areas and plenty of playgrounds for kids, as well as cafes and kiosks for refreshments.
Al Bidda Park
Al Bidda Park, located in the middle of the Corniche, has recently been reopened after a four-year long revamp. Cycle lanes, camel and horse-riding tracks, exercise facilities, shaded areas, play grounds and a pet-friendly area, the only in Doha, make this a favourite place for leisure activities. The large grassed areas are often used for numerous food festivals taking place in the cooler seasons.
Dahl Al Hamam Park
Named after the large cave found in this park — complete with an underground lake— Dahl Al Hamam park offers something a little different to visitors, in addition to the green spaces and shaded park benches. There are some geocaching locations in this park as well, for those in the know.
Hotel Park (Sheraton Hotel Park)
It may not be the most inspiring name, but given Hotel Park's location in the heart of the new developments and hotels of West Bay, it is quite apt. The park offers a large green space with plenty of nooks and crannies to sit, exercise, play and have fun. The big water feature is especially attractive at night, when it is lit up and has the sparkling skyline behind it. It's such a draw that even in the warm summer months, plenty of people go for a walk here after sunset.
Barzan Olympic Park
With a name like that, you would expect plenty of sports facilities in this park, and it does not disappoint. The park, in the north of Doha, offers table tennis tables, a climbing wall, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, a football pitch, two indoor pools, walk and cycle lanes. There's also outdoor chess along with plenty of shaded areas to sit and/or play and fountains to get wet in. This park is perfect for kids.
When it’s hot and you are traveling with kids, or are just a big kid yourself, then a water park can be the best kind of park there is. Not necessarily the height of sophistication when it comes to rides, but still great fun, Aqua Park offers numerous slides, rides and a lazy river and is great for a day out.
This is not necessarily a park, but rather a palm-fringed seafront promenade that runs 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) along Doha Bay. There are plenty of smaller park areas along the paved boulevard where walkers and runners can rest in the shade, have a fresh juice from a stand, or just enjoy the stunning views of the city.
Al Khor Park
If you are on a day trip to the north, why not stop in Al Khor and check out this family-friendly park? One of the oldest in Qatar, it has recently been spruced up and has a small zoo, aviary, crazy golf, a skating area, playgrounds and a miniature train. There are various sports courts, restaurants and good toilet facilities. It's also not as crowded as the Doha parks.
Al Wakhra Park
To the south of Doha, the small Al Wakhra Public Garden is less spread out and manicured that some of the newer parks, and with some areas left to be more natural, it makes for a nice stop-off point when heading south, or to Al Wakhra Beach.