visitors expo 2020 dubai
Children during UAE Flag Day celebrations at Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

As much of a global cultural fiesta Expo 2020 Dubai is – how much do you know of the hosting nation? If you’re in to travel the world in the UAE and are left wondering about the first Middle East country to host the World Expo, then you’ve come at the right time. Expo 2020 coincides with the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, which marks 50 years of the nation founded on December 2, 1971.

For a month starting now until December 4, Expo is pulling all stops to colour the venue with site-wide celebrations, inviting you on a special journey of discovery. Learn the Emirates’ rich history woven in unique crafts and design collections, explore the largest pavilion on grounds among 192 countries – the UAE Pavilion, and feast at eateries popular among the local community here.

Are you in? Here is a day-long agenda for all that you can do to celebrate the fast-approaching Golden Jubilee on your visit. Before you head out to Expo 2020 Dubai, make sure to read up on five things we think are must-haves on your person for a smooth trip. Most pavilions attract long queues; so the key to avoiding these lines is activating your Smart Queue system on your ticket.

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Pavilions and attractions to visit

Stop by Al Wasl Plaza

A touching narrative will paint the largest 360-degree projection dome in the world on November 9 at 9.45pm. Al Adiyat is the story of a young boy becoming a man and his visionary character – a tribute to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

UAE Pavilion, a falcon-inspired spectacle

uae pavilion expo 2020
Visitors at the UAE Pavilion Image Credit: Supplied

Located in Al Forsan Zone, next to Al Wasl Plaza, the falcon-in-flight building is hard to miss. The UAE Pavilion is shielded by a massive wingspan comprising 28 wings that open and close throughout the day. So important is this bird of prey that it even dominates the national emblem of the UAE.

Learn about the revered tradition of falconry that dates back to over four millennia in the Arabian Peninsula. Falcons not only helped hunt in the desert, but also created a culture of comradery, patience and honour – virtues that still live on today.

Inside, you are transported on an elevating platform surrounded by audio-visual shows, taking you through the country’s another symbolic tradition – pearl diving.

Vision Pavilion

vision pavilion expo 2020
Horse bust at Vision Pavilion Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The Vision Pavilion traces Dubai’s past, present and future in the Sustainability District. Take a trip down the nation’s memory lane. There is even a 52-ton marble bust of a legendary horse that comes to life with realistic light projections.

Buy modern Emirati crafts

Located at the ground level of the Rove Expo 2020 hotel, next to Al Wasl Plaza, MENASA – Emirati Design Platform is your one-stop source for a cultural shopping spree. You will find a wide range of design products inspired by the traditional crafts of clay, safeefa (palm frond weaving), talli (embroidery), sadu (bedouin weaving), gargour making (wire-crafted fish traps), pearl diving and coffee making.

Reinterpreted through a contemporary lens, the Emirati design and crafts collection includes homewares, fashion, jewellery and lifestyle products.

pearl diving art expo 2020 dubai
The collection includes a feature wall sculpture and limited-edition candleholders and incense burners Image Credit: Supplied

Watch a craft-oriented performance

If you enjoyed the designs, then embark on Al Meghzal: Journey of a Thread, a musical show staged for a limited time at the Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre. The 15-minute live entertainment narrates craft stories from the UAE. Catch the show on November 8, 23 and 26; then on December 2.

Dig into UAE-based restaurants at Expo

  • Al Farwania (Sustainability District) – Karak tea and rolls
  • Al Reef Lebanese Bakery (Opportunity District) – Mediterranean cuisine and Lebanese specialties
  • Chicken Tikka Inn (Opportunity District) – Asian cuisine
  • Dampa Seafood Grill (Mobility District) – Asian cuisine
  • Ravi Restaurant (Talabat delivery) – Pakistani cuisine
  • Feras Hanoun Sweets (Mobility District) – Arabic sweets
  • Maraheb Restaurant (Opportunity District) – Traditional Yemeni cuisine
  • Sarouja Restaurant and Café (Mobility District) – Syrian cuisine
Buy your Expo 2020 Dubai tickets here