Nestled on the lovely Gulf water and surrounded by gorgeous white-washed, Islamic-themed buildings, Katara is the perfect place for a family-friendly day or evening out. It may seem that Katara doesn’t have many activities, but families still love strolling through the beautiful cultural village.
During the day, Katara’s passages and walkways are abuzz with people from all cultures and backgrounds. In the evenings, kids will love running through the sleepy, empty passages. And with so many delicious food choices, the only difficulty in finding a restaurant will be deciding which one to try first.
Things to do
Enjoy a stroll
Katara is a great place to go for a family stroll. Small children will enjoy the open air and views from the comfort of their prams, while older children can run free or ride their scooters. At night, Katara’s fountains light up, providing great entertainment for the little ones.
Catch a show
Mosey over to the lovely amphitheatre for a gorgeous view of the Gulf as well as a chance for the little ones to have a good run around. If you have the opportunity to catch a concert at this delightful venue (check the Katara website, katara.net, for upcoming events), you will not be disappointed.
Also, the Ajyal Youth Film Festival will be back at Katara from 30 November to 5 December 2016. This is an amazing opportunity to experience a true film festival geared entirely toward kids. For more information and registration keep an eye on the Doha Film Institute website, dohafilminstitute.com.
Frolic on the beach
Katara beach is a nice option for families. Tickets are QR 50 per adult, QR 25 for children six and older, free for children five and younger and can be purchased at the ticket booth in front of the beach. Tiny tots will enjoy the small play area. Bikinis are not allowed.
If you’d like to get out on the water instead of in it, the Regatta Sailing Academy is based just off Gate 13.
MARGARET DOUGLASS SAID, “MY OLDER SON HAS BEEN THERE AS A SAILOR FOR SIX YEARS AND AS AN INSTRUCTOR FOR THREE. MY YOUNGER SON HAS NOW BEEN SAILING FOR THREE YEARS THROUGH REGATTA SAILING ACADEMY.”
Arts and crafts
Katara Art Studios (Building 19) organise art workshops for children on a regular basis. Details on upcoming workshops and fees can be found on facebook.com/kataraartcenter.
The Arab Postal Stamp Museum (Building 22A) is also a fun stop for children who are interested in collecting stamps.
Shop for hand-made gifts
Katara also hosts the QatART Handmade Market. Join the QatART Facebook page for updates on events: facebook.com/QatARTcommunity.
Snap a photo
Shaped like a huge falcon hood, the building of the Al Gannas Society, which promotes Arab culture and, in particular, falconry and Qatari traditions, makes for a fascinating photo op for families. The Al Gannas Society is located at building 33, next to the Al Jazeera Documentary Café. The Amphitheatre is also a fantastic location for a family photo.
Where to eat
Best kids’ menu: L’Wzaar Seafood Restaurant
L’Wzaar is an institution when it comes to finding superior quality, fresh seafood. With its lovely waterfront views and vast, open-room setting as well as friendly and efficient hands-on staff, it’s also a favourite for families.
You may choose your fish or shellfish directly from the “market” and watch it be whisked away to the open kitchen behind for careful preparation. Prices are set by the ministry to ensure reasonable costs and little ones will love gazing at the fish.
The children’s menu includes kid-friendly fish options (QR 15–30). Homemade spaghetti with tomato sauce are also available for those wee ones who don’t care for seafood (QR 20).
Families also might want to try the tantalising array of authentic mezze. Hummus, moutabel, tabouleh, fattoush, olives and pickles are all included in the mezze platter (QR 85).
Kids will love: The fun, colourful fish swimming in tanks
Parents will love: The huge fish and chips portion for children (QR 25)
Location: Building 27, next to the amphitheater and facing the water
Hours: Saturday to Thursday 12:00–16:00 and 19:00–23:30, Friday 13:00–16:00 and 19:00–23:30
Contact: +974 4408-0710, lwzaar.com
Best family atmosphere: Mamig Armenian-Lebanese Restaurant
If you are looking for reasonably priced fine dining, then stroll over to one of the last restaurants on the walkway, Mamig.
Mamig boasts a colourful, light-filled entrance and a beautiful dining area complete with state-of-the-art open-air kitchen, perfect for entertaining curious children. The staff is extremely welcoming and the lovely table settings are large and spacious for families. The vast choice of hot and cold mezze is perfect for hungry little ones, including traditional hummus served with fresh, piping hot, dipping bread (QR 24).
Parents looking for something lighter might want to try the popular and delicious lentil soup (QR 26), along with beetroot salad with feta cheese and avocado (QR 29). Children might like mante, a tasty dumpling stuffed with meat and served with a lemony tomato and yoghurt sauce (QR 78).
Kids will love: Homemade chocolate truffles (QR 36)
Parents will love: The array of tasty kebab dishes (QR 75–85)
Location: Building 2
Hours: Saturday to Wednesday 13:00–24:00, Thursday and Friday 13:00–01:00
Contact: +974 4408-0800, mamigdoha.com
AMBREEN KHAN SAID, “WHEN WE VISIT KATARA, IT’S USUALLY FOR A WEEKEND EVENT OR CELEBRATION EVENT SUCH AS EID, SPORTS DAY, THE DHOW BOAT FESTIVAL, NATIONAL DAY, FILM FESTIVALS, ETC. ON THIS OCCASION, WE WENT TO WATCH BRAVE IN 3D. WE ALSO GO TO KATARA FOR THE RESTAURANTS, IN PARTICULAR, THE FISH RESTAURANT [L’WZAAR SEAFOOD RESTAURANT] AS WELL AS THE STALLS THAT ARE ON DURING EVENTS.
Best caffeine fix: Chapati + Karak
Parents need a break, too! If you are a weary parent, drop by Chapati + Karak for a quick karak, Qatari milky and sweet tea. They have everything from basic karak (QR 3–5) to karak shakes with karak and nutella (QR 20). Drive-up service available.
Kids will love: Chapatti, an Indian crêpe, with honey (QR 5)
Parents will love: Caffeine, caffeine, and more caffeine
Location: Near the main Katara mosque
Hours: 24 hours
Contact: +974 4408-1408
Best ice cream: La Gelateria Fina
Looking for something to cool off the kids? Check out La Gelateria Fina for some sweet treats. Yummy Belgian waffles and crêpes are also available. And as a last resort for cranky kids, there’s a TV playing cartoons somewhat subtly inside the shop.
Kids will love: Home-made gelato, QR 10 per scoop
Parents will love: The beach-view seating and an espresso
Location: Building 36 A-1, facing Katara beach
Hours: Saturday to Thursday 09:00–12:00, Friday 11:30–01:00
Contact: +974 4408-0777
Best juices and smoothies: U’Sha Frshka
Nestled at the end of Katara is a tiny kiosk where you can grab delicious fresh-squeezed juices, sweet smoothies or milkshakes (QR 14–18) of your choice. No indoor seating.
Kids will love: Cacao Usha, better known as a chocolate milkshake
Parents will love: Lots of choice for picky kids
Location: End of Katara, Shakespeare Street
Hours: Saturday to Wednesday 11:00–01:00, Thursday and Friday 11:00–02:00
Contact: +974 6614-1543
Things to note:
- Ground parking at Katara is limited. Try the underground parking lot then grab a passing golf cart (free for guests) if your little ones aren’t up for the stroll. If you have a pram, however, bear in mind that lift access is not yet available from the underground parking.
- Several (clean) public toilets are available around Katara. The main ones are located next to the main mosque and near the amphitheater.
- Filtered drinking water is available for free around Katara in metal dispensers, the main dispenser being next to the main mosque.
- Katara has multiple ATMs. The most central one is located next to the main mosque.
- In Building 29 is Katara’s convenience store, Sidra, where you can find anything from daily prepared sandwiches and wraps (QR 2–16), to brought-in daily Dunkin’ Donuts (QR 4), to ice cream cones and bars (QR 3–13), not to mention an array of cold drinks and snacks.
- As of writing, the kunafa and shawarma shop in Building 3 is being renovated. Keep an eye out for their re-opening as the kunafa, a popular Arabic sweet cheese pastry, is delicious and the shawarmas are quick, tasty and cheap.
- Contact Katara Cultural Village’s call centre by dialing 182 for updates about upcoming events or for any inquiries you might have.