Dubai: The UAE National Day is celebrated on December 2 and 3 every year and this year the celebrations will be across a four-day weekend starting from Thursday through Saturday. A great time to explore the UAE, given the weather and the celebrations, we have compiled 51 ways to celebrate the 51st National Day of the UAE.
From fireworks and live concerts to enjoying much-loved attractions across all seven emirates, here’s how to make the best use of your National Day weekend in the UAE.
Emirates Dubai 7s
The 2022 edition of the rugby festival will take place over the UAE National Day weekend from Thursday, December 1 to Saturday, December 3. With over 100,000 fans expected to attend this year’s festival, fans and visitors can look forward to an exciting weekend of music alongside the rugby action on Pitch 1 and 2.
Children of all ages are in for a treat with a series of fun activities across three Kids Zones that will be available throughout the festival from 9am – 7pm, including arts and crafts, meet and greets with cartoon characters, bumper cars, face-painting, go-karting car racing, inflatable parks, and more.
The Cuban Brothers perform at Beats on Two and chart-topping British performer, Craig David presents TS5, round off this year’s festival at Frequency on 8. Ticket prices start at Dh375 for the Single Day General Admission tickets and for an additional Dh100, fans can experience three days of action-packed sports and entertainment with the Weekend General Admission tickets.
You can take free buses from Dubai Internet City Metro, Dubai Mall, Garhoud, Financial Centre Metro, DMCC Metro, Studio One and Sports City.
10 best spots to view UAE National Day fireworks
Fireworks in JBR
The Beach, JBR is set to showcase incredible fireworks, and this will be something to look forward to this year as well. You can catch illuminating firework displays by The Beach, opposite JBR and Bluewaters at 8pm.
Fireworks and activations at Al Seef
Head over to Al Seef at 8pm to see the sky glistening in the UAE colours and sample some of the traditional offerings from the many market stalls and eateries.
Fireworks and entertainment at Dubai Parks and Resorts
The family-friendly Dubai Parks and Resorts, home to iconic theme parks and hotels in the region, will be decorated in the UAE flag colours to celebrate the occasion. The park is set to become the ideal destination for family-friendly fireworks on December 2 at 7pm and 9pm. Each of the parks will also have special activities in celebration of the UAE National Day
Lucky Ali at Winter Music Fest
Indian Indie-Pop King, Lucky Ali is set to perform live on December 3 at Agenda Dubai Media City. His debut album Sunoh was an instant success which won him multiple awards. He has given us indelible songs such as 'Aa Bhi Jaa' from Sur, 'Ek Pal Ka Jeena' from Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, 'Safarnama' from Tamasha, 'Gori Teri Aankhen Kahe' among others. Tickets are available at Platinumlist Dubai for Dh69.
Fireworks, concerts, cultural entertainment at Global Village
Global Village is gearing up for the 51st UAE National Day with spectacular musical performances, along with themed activities and entertainment, starting from December 1 to December 4. Global Village guests will be able to enjoy a special orchestra made up of 33 talented musicians who will be performing a selection of traditional songs on the main stage, including the national anthem Ishy Bilady.
Each evening, from December 1 to 4, at 9pm a spectacular fireworks display will light up the Dubai skies with the colours of the UAE flag. The destination also has a full calendar of cultural events and performances representing the 27 pavilions.
A violinist and harpist will also be performing a selection of popular Emirati songs to commemorate the UAE National Day celebrations. Alongside these performances and showcasing the spirit of tolerance of the UAE, the main stage will host a range of cultural shows from the 27 pavilions represented at Global Village.
Celebrating National Day under the theme “Brighter Together” Global Village will be adorned in the colours of the UAE flag, Celebration Walk’s arches will be decorated with the verses of the national anthem and the main entrance gates and the Carnaval lit up with a special National Day light display. Each evening at 9pm a spectacular fireworks display will also light up the Dubai skies with the colours of the UAE flag.
Comedy at Dubai Opera
Enjoy an evening of witty stand-up comedy by Moroccan legend Abddul Rahman Ouaabed aka EKO on December 2. Tickets for the night start at Dh250.
Bollywood live music at One Music Lounge
Ali Quli Mirza, Bollywood singer and Indian Bigg Boss 8 fame, is set to perform on December 2 at One Music Lounge. The lounge is located in the Occidental Hotel, Al Jaddaf.
Concerts at Expo City Dubai
Enjoy a musical night featuring Emirati and GCC artists, including Eidha Al Mehali and Dalia Mubarak at Al Wasl Plaza, Expo City Dubai. Doors open at 6.30pm, with the show running from 8:30pm until 12am. Ticket rates start at just Dh100.
Make a day of it with a visit to the much-loved waterfall feature and the Garden in the Sky installation in the Expo City.
Light show at Burj Khalifa
The world’s tallest tower will feature a special show on its LED façade in celebration of the UAE National Day. The show, in the backdrop of the iconic Burj Khalifa musical fountain show, is one that shouldn’t be missed.
Live concert, light show at Dubai Festival City
Dubai Festival City Mall will have flag decorations and roaming entertainment all throughout December. The mall will have Fayez Al Saeed hosting the opening ceremony at Festival Bay with a live concert at 8pm on December 2, followed by a specially choreographed IMAGINE and fireworks show that will light up the sky in the colours of the UAE flag at 9pm.
Commemoration Run, Meydan Golf
In a tribute to the country’s military forces and law enforcement, a Commemoration Day Run is being held on November 30 at The Track, Meydan Golf. This community challenge is open to runners of all abilities aged 16 and up. You can choose from distances of 1.2km, 3km and 5km. All participants will be awarded finisher medals at the end of the race. Tickets for adults start at Dh105.
What better way to celebrate the Union of the Emirates than with trip back in history at the Etihad Museum? The museum is spread over 26,000 square meters and is located adjacent to the Union House. The entrance of the museum is designed in the shape of a manuscript with seven columns that simulate the pen used to sign the UAE declaration. The museum complex also has the Union House, the place where the historic agreement was signed by the founding fathers of the UAE.
Residents can take advantage of the long weekend to head out to Hatta which reopened with more attractions this year. From hiking and kayaking to camping and yoga sessions, there is something for everyone at Hatta.
Winter is the best time to explore the many attractions in Dubai and the Miracle Garden is a must-visit. The attraction, which is open only during a few months each year, sees a 75,000 sq.metre area covered in blooms of varying colours, shapes and sizes, with floral creations that enthrall visitors. From an Emirates A380 made out of flowers to floral tunnels that make for the perfect photo-op, the National Day weekend is a great opportunity to visit this destination.
Just across from the Miracle Garden, make the most of your day headed to the area with a visit to the world’s largest indoor butterfly park. Get acquainted with these beautiful creatures in a serene environment. Over 4000 varieties of butterflies await visitors. This is the perfect nature day trip for families.
The world’s largest fountain will have a musical water display to go along with the fireworks there. The destination’s many restaurants will also features National Day special dishes and prices.
Yet another trip that can take the entire day to truly explore and enjoy, the Dubai Safari Park is a must-visit for families and touring groups. The park is a testament to what the UAE has been able to create in the midst of what is a desert climate. Dubai Safari Park is home around 3,000 animals, with 78 species of mammals, and you can choose from different experience packages from walking tours to unlimited train rides through the themed ‘villages’.
The Green Planet
An unassuming structure in the middle of the city, the Green Planet could only give away what’s inside with the green foliage that can be seen on the building itself. Inside is a tropical rainforest with diverse species of animals from sloths, reptiles, monkeys to exotic birds and flying bats. This is a great educational trip for families with kids.
Barbecue evenings in parks
Make it a family night with a barbecue evening – all you need to do is grab your grilling equipment and head to the dedicated barbecue spots in parks across the UAE. Make sure to follow the rules and clean up after you’re done so others can enjoy the same fun experience as you did. We have listed the parks with dedicated barbecue areas in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for you to enjoy.
Rare classic cars drive across UAE in Mille Miglia
100 of unique classic cars, one from as early as 1920, will drive across the UAE in a classic car race for the books. All the supercars will be on display for the public on December 4 at the Dubai Creek Golf Club. Later, from December 4 to 8, these cars will drive through iconic locations including Jebel Jais, Downtown Dubai and Emirates Palace of Abu Dhabi
Snow and fun at Sharjah National Park
The opening day celebration is set to include a musical performance entitled ‘Sultan of Giving’ about the achievements of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, reflecting the urban, cultural, and environmental development achieved under his rule. There will also be a performance called ‘New Era’, in addition to other daily activities from 4:30pm to 10pm from November 29 to December 3. Other attractions include a snow village, snow sculpting of national landmarks, and a model of Sharjah landmarks, among others.
Musical night at Khorfakkan Amphitheatre
Khorfakkan Amphitheatre will host Eida Al Menhali and Diana Haddad on December 3. The proceeds of the musical evening will go to “The Big Heart Foundation” to support children, vulnerable people and families in need around the world.
Traditional shows, classic cars at Khor Fakkan
The celebrations in Khor Fakkan will include a national operetta, and poetic and artistic performances. Bands from Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will participate in UAE celebrations, demonstrating the strong ties between the people of Gulf states. This is in addition to traditional performances and a classical cars show in Souq Sharq on December 2.
All-day activities at Al Dhaid City
Al Dhaid City celebrations will be held at Al Dhaid Fort from December 1 to 3. The morning activities run from 8am to 11am on the first day, while evening activities extend over the three days from 4pm to 10pm. Celebrations will include the national march, camel racing, traditional performances, and other cultural events.
Songs and competitions at Al Hamriyah
December 1 will see special celebrations including national songs by students of Al Qalaa School for Basic and Secondary Education, traditional songs by folk groups, and the ‘51st National Day Celebration’ video presentation on the banks of the Hamriyah Creek and the Heritage Village in Hamriyah,. This will be followed by the Hamriyah Sports and Cultural Club national competition, a competition for children, a heritage exhibition, local families’ products in cooperation with the people of the Hamriyah region, the Bedouin environment exhibition, and the classic car exhibition in cooperation with the Sharjah Classic Car Club.
Family fun at Al Qasba
The Al Qasba Park is a nice place to enjoy an evening with family and friends with kid-friendly attractions including a musical fountain, adventure parks and more. Usually the destination features decorations and lights in the colours of the UAE flag.
Sharjah Heritage Museum
This museum in Sharjah is a great place to visit to get a peek into the rich culture of the emirate in time for the UAE National Day. Just one of the many museums in Sharjah, we chose this one to be in line with 51st celebration of the Union of the emirates.
The Rain Room in Sharjah is a regular on our must-visit lists because of how cool it is, especially in summer. In winter too, walking around in an indoor area where it raining all around you while you dry (relatively) is a fun activity. Part of the Sharjah Art Foundation Collection, the Rain Room is a permanent attraction created by London and Berlin-based Random International. You can visit for Dh25 per adult.
Africa in Sharjah: Sharjah Safari
Animal lovers can explore 12 different environments, inspired by all parts of Africa, at the Sharjah safari. These environments actually represent the terrain and life in Africa, along with the plants and animals there. In November, Sharjah Safari welcomed its first baby Scimitar-horned oryx, classified as extinct in the wild. You can head there after booking tickets that fall in the Bronze, Silver and Gold categories, starting at Dh40 per adult. Children’s tickets start at Dh15 each.
Al Madam ‘Ghost’ Village
For a unique experience, along with some off-roading, head to the Al Madam village in Sharjah. The village is known as the ghost village because of its dilapidated homes that have been taken over by the desert. The actual reasons for these homes being abandoned are attributed to better city opportunities and low resources in the area but the interesting but is that some people belive ghosts or ‘jinn’ are the reason people left the village.
Abu Dhabi and Al Ain
Celebrations at Yas Island
The celebrations at Yas Island will include an Ayallah performance across all Yas Island destinations including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi as well as CLYMB Abu Dhabi. The family-friendly destination also have many dining outlets to try and kid-friendly activities. Residents and visitors can look forward to spectacular fireworks displays as part of the destination’s celebrations on 2nd December at 9pm
Fireworks at Bawabat Al Sharq Mall
This shopping destination in Abu Dhabi will also feature their own fireworks displays and light up the sky at 9pm on December 2. Residents and visitors can also enjoy an end-of-year sale running from November 1 to December 31.
Storytelling at ADNEC
The 51st UAE National Day Official Ceremony at ADNEC will take guests on ‘a generational journey of the UAE's inspiring pioneers’. The ceremony will feature performances using unique technologies, and projections coupled with deep storytelling and will offer a glimpse into a bright future that brings together everyone who calls the UAE home. The show will open to the public from December 3 to 11.
Market and fireworks at Al Maryah Island
Along with a fireworks display, the Al Maryah Island is set to host The Ripe Market, from December 2 to April 2023, from 3pm-10pm every Friday and Saturday. The market will host local businesses, artisans, and a range of performances and activities for families and friends of all ages.
Fireworks at Emirates Palace Hotel
The iconic Abu Dhabi hotel is set to host its annual fireworks display on December 2 in celebration of the UAE National Day.
Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival
The Sheikh zayed Heritage Fesival is a great way to truly celebrate UAE culture, cuisine and art.. The annual fest is named in honour of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founding Father of the UAE. Hosted in United Arab Emirates Heritage District, the festival features arts and crafts, camel races, falconry shows, competitions and fireworks.
Qasr Al Watan
A visit to the palace is a must-do for residents, especially if you live in Abu Dhabi. Used for ceremonial events and state visits, it is a Presidential Palace. Its granite and lime façade is coloured white to symbolise purity and peace. There are also special light shows at the attraction.
Louvre Abu Dhabi
Another Abu Dhabi destination that must be on your bucket list, the Louvre Abu Dhabi has now become inconic for the emirate. Enjoy the art displays, the beautiful architecture and book yourself and the kdis kayak tours around the structure.
Ras Al Khaimah
Enjoy foodie days at RAK Eats
Over 40 national food and beverage SMEs will showcase their wares at RAK Eats throughout December, starting from December 1. Manar Mall will host the fourth season of the much-anticipated culinary extravaganza. Enjoy the food options, along with heritage entertainment shows, prizes, and promotions.
Featured on the new five-dirham notes, the fort in Ras Al Khaimah is of national importance and makes for a nice cultural visit while in the emirate. The only hill fort remaining in the UAE Dhayah Fort dates back to the Late Bronze Age (1600 – 1300 BC).
Watch the sunrise in Jebel Jais
Head out to the UAE’s highest mountain to enjoy a crisp sun rise but make sure to carry shawls and sweaters as it can get pretty cold early in the morning. Some residents even camp out at the viewing decks in tents so they can wake up to watch the sun rise over the Hajar mountains.
Adrenaline rush at Jais adventure park
Jais Sky Tour takes adventure seekers on a complex route of six ziplines that range from just 337 metres to well over 1 km. As you fly 5 km through the towering Hajar Mountain range at an average speed of 60kmph, the view is incredible. The park also has a Via Ferrata, Jais Sledder, Jais Rope Course, Jais Flight and other thrilling options for those who like an adrenaline rush.
Survival camp in RAK
Enjoy a course in survival from the expert himself at the Bear Grylls Explorers Camp. During your stay in his Ras Al Khaimah camp, the team will equip you with the essential life skills needed to survive in the terrain unique to this country. You can also lodge at the camp cabins for a well-rounded authentic survival camp experience.
Water activities in Dibba
Head to the Snoopy Island in Dibba for a fun activity-filled day out on the water. The island is popular for snorkelling and diving given its rich marine life. Kayaking is also a popular activity here. Cost: Varies; Full day package including access and a couple of activities ranges around Dh300.
Wadi Wurayah National Park
Wadi Wurayah National Park in Fujairah was named after the tall marsh plant known as ‘warrah’, which flourishes in its wetlands, while the word ‘wadi’ is the Arabic term for valley. Located in the Hajar Mountain range in Fujairah, the wadi is home to one of the few freshwater springs that run throughout the year. The wadi’s location was identified by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as an Eco-Region and an area important for conservation.
Fujairah Museum and Fujairah Fort
Combine the two attractions for a well-timed peek into the UAE’s rich history. The museum in Fujairah has sections exhibiting the cultural and traditional history of the local people and various collections such as weapons, arrowheads, costumes and other items related to fishing, pottery, trade and agriculture are among the prime exhibits at the museum.
In walking distance is the fort, which is one of the oldest in the country. Carbon dating of the foundation structure indicates that the fort was built between 1500 and 1550 AD and rebuilt sometime between 1650 and 1700 AD.
Umm Al Quwain
The perfect spot to enjoy the now cooler weather, this beach has everything that you would need for a perfect outdoor day. With picturesque views of the mangroves, you can head out on a kayak, barbecue in designated areas or just hang out with the fam for the entire day.
Another top beachside destination in the emirate, you can enjoy a wide variety of water activities here, especially kitesurfing. You can take classes here as well. With an entry fee, you get access to beach huts, a gym, restaurants and more.
History and a desert day out at Falaj Al Mualla
Located at a 30 kilometer distance from Umm Al Quwain, the inland oasis town is notable for its spectacular fort and watchtowers, (built in 1825), as well as the enormous date palm oasis. Falaj Al Mulla for has been meticulously renovated, and the surrounding area is perfect for a stroll and picnic in the evening. There's also the option of exploring the dunes around the town
Hike and picnic at Masfout
Head to the Masfout region in the Hajar Mountains and embark on a trek or a biking experience. This spot is around 90 minutes away from the city, so it would be great to rustle up a picturesque picnic. Discover Masfout Castle at the top of the mountain.
Kayak through the mangroves
Get on the water in a kayak at the Al Zorah Mangroves. Spread over 1 million square metres, the Al Zorah Mangroves is home to over 102 species of native and migratory birds. Cost ranges around Dh175.