- An Authentic Start.
In a small kitchen, a local woman named Shaima began cooking traditional Qatari food. Dishes such as her crepe-like khubz regag and balaleet (saffron noodles) were so popular that she opened her own restaurant, Shay Al Shoomos, where you can now try a traditional Qatari breakfast.
- An Energetic Market.
Locals have flocked to Souq Waqif since Doha was a tiny village. The market sells spices, handcrafted jewelry, even livestock. Wander the charming alleys, do some people-watching and barter with the vendors for souvenirs.
- Birds of Prey.
Falconry began in the Middle East over 5,000 years ago and is still a sport that thrives in the Persian Gulf. At the Falcon Souq, you can observe the majestic birds.
- Armor and More.
Doha’s extensive Weaponry Museum displays over 2,000 Arabic weapons and articles of defense: daggers from the 1500s, armor that elephants used in battle, and more modern firearms from the region.
- Where Locals Gather.
Covered in stained-glass windows and rustic stone walls, the authentic Café Asherg is a typical Qatari establishment for hummus, baba ganoush, kofta meatballs, and apple-flavored shisha (tobacco mix) that you can enjoy on the roof.
- Stargaze, with Cocktails.
The night sky is clear at Sharq Village and the C Lounge, which faces the Doha Bay, is excellent for stargazing with a craft cocktail and shisha before heading to bed. You’re close enough to the water to hear the waves crash.
- Explore Katara.
Named after the original name of Qatar, Katara is Doha’s cultural hub. Wander the souk, the opera house and the beach, making frequent stops to take in the traditional architecture, including a photogenic blue mosque.
- Classic Theater.
A beautiful mix of Islamic and Greek architecture, Katara Amphitheater is an impressive outdoor concert venue and Doha landmark. Admire its clean lines, and check the schedule for concerts.
- Beat the Heat.
When temperatures rise, cool off near the amphitheater at La Gelateria Fina, which serves perfectly creamy gelato. Flavors range from classic vanilla and strawberry to less traditional — green apple, Nutella and pomegranate.
- Modern Art in Doha.
One of the world’s largest collections of Arab art, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art features a mix of modern sculptures and paintings from artists throughout the Persian Gulf who examine issues like rapid globalization.
- Peaceful Promenade.
Take a stroll along the Corniche, a promenade in Doha where you can watch the ocean and rub shoulders with locals jogging and children playing.
- Al Mourjan Restaurant.
The best part about dining at Al Mourjan, an Arabian restaurant along the Corniche: As the tide rises, the steps along the perimeter are submerged so it appears you’re floating at sea. In other words, insist on seats outside.
- A World-Class Museum.
The building of the Museum of Islamic Art itself is an attraction. Like an art oasis in the desert, the white-walled exterior is surrounded by water. Inside sits one of the most impressive collections of Islamic art and artifacts ever assembled.
- France Meets the Middle East.
The Museum of Islamic Art wooed acclaimed Chef Alain Ducasse to run its French-Mediterranean restaurant IDAM. Go for the three-course tasting menu, which is assembled mostly of ingredients from the region, including locally caught fish. The restaurant only serves lunch.
- Golden Opportunity.
Pick up a glamorous item of jewelry at Doha’s Gold Souk, where rings, necklaces and earrings are sold to locals, often Qatari bridal parties. Vendors can engrave on the spot so just ask if you’d like a purchase customized.
- Home Makeover.
You’ll find yourself coveting the stained glass and intricate lanterns you see around town. Browse a wonderful selection of home goods, as well as Arabian perfumes, at the Omani Souk and then ship your finds back home.
- Unwind in the Spa.
Book the Qatari Journey at Sharq Village’s Six Senses Spa. First, luxuriate in the traditional hammam steam bath. Then the intuitive hands of one of the gifted therapists will work through your body’s kinks. After, you’ll receive a facial.
- A Night of Music.
Catch a Mahler, Stravinsky or Brahms concert at the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2009, Doha constructed the Philharmonic from scratch, attracting talent from Russia, Japan and all over Europe to satisfy a growing local interest in classical music.