The Huwaila Four sound like they should be characters in a comic book. In fact they are four parks near Landmark that few people know about. They don’t have super powers, but each is special in its own way.
The most visible of the four is Huwaila 3, whose name was officially changed to the more pedantic Khalifa North City Park. In the neighbourhood however, it is still known by it’s former spunky name. It has the distinction of being simultaneously the most visible of the four while also the most difficult to pinpoint. If you’re paying attention, you’ll see it as you drive north on Shamal Road, just a bit before you reach the Landmark exit. Even though you can see it, you will likely not be able to locate it in the warren of streets surrounding it. Even if you are within a few feet, it is easy to overlook. Two palm trees just inside the surrounding wall and the green-tiled roof of the guard house mark the spot. No buzz draws attention to it, but this is the only park in Qatar that has integrated a substantial amount of sustainable shade into the design. A half-size football field is flanked by bleacher seating covered with a wooden pergola providing speckled shade. If more parks integrated shade this way, the whole of Qatar would be making a large step toward reducing water usage.
Similar shading, albeit on a smaller scale, can be found at Huwaila 2 a few blocks away. Here large trees complement the shade given by the pergolas near the playground. Huwaila 2 has been around for almost 30 years. While it is not shiny and sparkly, it has aged well and authentically. In the evenings women stroll in leisurely along the uneven pavement with young children, and men sit on mats on the grass. This is the kind of park that neighbors go to for a shot of green and a breath of air, to picnic under the sun or laugh under the moon.
A few more blocks away is Huwaila 1, a basic park consisting of a grass field and small play ground. Also known as Wasit Park, its official name is currently Ghariya Park. It is within hopping distance of the very popular Dahl al-Hamam Park. Huwaila 1 is the place to go when Dahl al-Hamam is randomly closed or taken over by school classes. The few pieces of play equipment tucked into the far corner appeal to toddlers as well as pre-teen boys wanting to perfect their pole-dangling abilities. Do note, there are no bathrooms on site.
Huwaila 4, the newest of the bunch, is simply known as Al Huwaila. Primary-coloured circus tops shade the play area. Combine that with old-growth palm trees, bushes, multi-coloured flowers and grass and you’ve got a park that feels light-hearted and cheerful. Paved walkways cater to your scooting, walking or stroller-pushing needs. Two play areas allow for plenty of tumbling space for children. One is based in sand and the other on rubber mats. Night lighting keeps this park relevant at night when young adults make thorough use of the basketball courts. It’s a feel-good park that makes one want to visit again and again.
The Huwaila Four are all located in the Madinat Khalifa neighborhood, which boasts the highest concentration of parks in Doha. Dahl al-Hamam Park is the largest and most popular but many other smaller pockets of green are scattered throughout the neighbourhood. If you like crumbling, single-storey houses and small shops you may want to buffer your schedule so you can drive around a bit. The streets around Huwaila 2 and 3 are especially ripe with detail. You’ll find tailors next to local eateries next to butcher shops. Look closely for subtle details on doors, corn growing outside compound walls and roosters strutting their stuff on the streets. It may not be the Fantastic Four, but there is definitely something special about the Huwaila Four and their
Also known as: Al Ghariya Park, Al Huwailah; Wasit Park; Freg Al Ali; Park Antral; Al Murur; Traffic Park; Almoror Park & sometimes spelled Al Ghariah Park
Al Ghadiriyya Street, Khalifa North, Al Hamam District
GPS: 25°19’56”N; 51°28’50”E
Size: 4,326 sq. m
From Dahl al Hamam R/A driving on Al Markhiya Street towards Landmark with the city skyscrapers behind you. When sitting at the light signal, directly to your left is Starfish Lane Kids and across the road on the opposite corner is Dahl Al Hamam Park. Left onto Arab League Street, 1st slip road right (look for Quortoba Kindergarten sign), 1st left, 2nd right (immediately before mosque). Park entrance on the left.
Dahl al Hamam, Khalifa City Park, North Al Huwailah Park 2, Luqta Children’s Park
Skedaddle on over here, if Dahl Al Hamam Park has been taken over by school children.
Al Makhzoumi Street, Madinat Khalifa South
GPS: 25° 19’ 7” N; 51° 28’ 55” E
Size: 7,016 sq. m
Hours: 4-11 pm
small & well-maintained islands of grass benches
On Jasim Bin Hamad Street from Markhiya R/A driving away from Dahl al Haman Park towards D-Ring Highway, 1st right, 1st left, 1st right.
Park straight ahead (street side parking and entrances to either side).
Luqta Women’s Park, Al Morona Park, Al Ghariya Park
Take a friend with you. Take turns watching each other’s children while you do some solitary grocery shopping. Have a cooler in your car to keep the perishables from perishing. Before heading back to the park to relieve your friend, grab fresh juice. When everyone has gotten their ya-yah’s out go home and read a book cuz the kids will be happy and calm from their morning outside. Or does that only happen in fairy tales?
Also Known as: Khalifa North City Park or Stadium Park
Al Raiaa Street, Madinat Khalifa North District
GPS: 25°19’29”N; 51°28’11”E
Size: 9,682 sq. m
Hours: 4 pm – 11pm (usually accessible 5 am – 12 am)
On Shamal Road after Al-Gharrafa Interchange driving towards Landmark, 1st slip road right, straight for a long stretch and around a curve in the road, 3rd right at T, 1st right, 1st left. Park ahead on right after 3rd block.
Al Ghariya Park, Dahl Al Hamam, Al Luqta Park,
Al Huwaila Park 2
The Fereej Madinat Khalifa Football Field, a Qatar Olympic Committee football field, is just a few blocks away. It has a half-field surrounded by a track with benches for tying your shoes on. Open Saturday-Wednesday 9am-10 pm; Thursday-Friday 9 am-12 am. Contact: 55002305.
Also known as: Al Huwaila 4 or Southern Khalifa 4
Al Zubara Street, Madinat Khalifa South District
GPS: 25°18’41”N; 51°28’43’E
Size: 11,172 sq m
Hours: 4 – 11 pm
The park is in a pleasant neighborhood speckled with green grass and colorful tailors. In the mass of these low squatting, beige buildings are a tiny building partially painted bright red. I call it Happy House because it makes me happy every time I see it. It’s the small things.
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