The UAE is celebrating the biggest night of the year by doing what it does best — lighting up the skies for New Year’s Eve across the country. Gulf News tabloid! puts together a guide to catching all the dazzle and how to see it for free.
In Dubai, New Year’s Eve and fireworks are pretty much synonymous. The city is known for hosting a magnificent display of lights every year that attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators around the world.
This year isn’t expected to be any different, with extravagant pyrotechnic shows at Burj Khalifa and a water-music dance at The Dubai Fountain.
One of the best vantage points to see the fireworks is from the Dubai Fountain. Get there early as thousands gather along the waterfront to catch the light and water show at midnight, as the Burj Khalifa fireworks set off. Arrive as early as 6pm to avoid traffic and grab a top spot.
Or, book a table at one of the restaurants lining the waterfront by The Dubai Mall.
Another great vantage point is Souk Al Bahar, with restaurants such as Karma Kafe and Serafina giving clear views of the Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain. Again, book ahead so you don’t have to rush to find a seat with the whole family.
A firm family favourite though is the Burj Plaza, the open-air promenade in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa. Access is free but roads close early so get there by 5pm.
Atlantis, The Palm
Is there a better place to celebrate in Dubai? Book yourself into the Atlantis resort for a New Year’s Eve to remember with the Royal Gala Dinner under the stars, or join in other themed festivities by reserving a table at one of the resort’s restaurants and lounges and keep your eyes to the skies at midnight.
If you want something easy on the pocket, then the Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk is a great vantage point to catch the Atlantis fireworks.
The 11-km boardwalk offers numerous spots for visitors to watch the fireworks. If you head to the Rixos-end of the crescent, you’ll be able to spy the Burj Khalifa celebrations too.
Bear in mind, though, access to the Palm is restricted to control traffic on NYE, so plan and arrive accordingly.
If you want to make it a family affair, The Pointe, located across the bay from Atlantis, The Palm, offers restaurants and attractions to explore while you wait for the big event. Entry is free to The Pointe. Advance booking required at restaurants.
Burj Al Arab
Another Dubai staple is the Burj Al Arab annual fireworks. Madinat Jumeirah is a great vantage point for those looking for a fancy night out. Easier on the pocket (free even) is Kite Beach. Plan a picnic on the sand for a great night out.
Grab your family and head to the Dubai Frame as the iconic structure lights up for the first time ever with a three-minute fireworks show planned for the big night, followed by a laser display. If you angle yourself correctly, near Zabeel Park, you can catch the Dubai Frame and the Burj Khalifa fireworks together.
Dubai Festival City
Enjoy dinner with a view at one of the mall’s restaurants overlooking Festival Bay, before the special Imagine water and light show plays up to ring in 2020 with fireworks, which you can also watch for free on the promenade. Another vantage point is the corniche at Marsa Al Khor.
Definitely one that’s easy on the wallet, the Dh15 entry ticket to Global Village brings you a multi-cultural experience with live shows such African Footprint, a spread of delicacies, live music and endless entertainment. Now, if you are really shy of spending that Dh15, then the Global Village fireworks are visible from Emirates Road for free, and the car park of course.
Beachfront destination La Mer is also ready with its own dazzling display of fireworks this NYE. Either book yourself at one of the many restaurants at the open-air venue or opt for some grown up time at the recently opened Bungalow. The free vantage point is the beach itself, where you can sit back and watch the sky light up.
La Mer will also host a road show by Virgin Radio, where visitors can win prizes. The beachfront destination will also put on a laser show, while an immersive LED light show with special effects and visuals lights up the night at Kite Beach, with fire dancers getting their groove on nearby.
Looking for a New Year party with old-world charm? Head to Dubai’s heritage district of Al Seef and explore creekside dining with the best seats as you take in the views of the fireworks. The promenade also gives you the same view for free.
If a sandy start to 2020 is your thing, head to The Beach, Meraas’ laid-back destination, and enjoy live band performances, followed by fireworks. The Beach will transform into open-air party stages as DJs spin tunes throughout the night.
Kick off the New Year in style at Yas Island. Head down to Yas Marina with your loved ones for a special night out at some of the best restaurants and dining outlets in town, as you count down to the new year with a spectacular fireworks display at midnight.
Yas Island will also be organising plenty of festivities to ring in the New Year 2020. From celebrations in shopping malls to musical extravaganzas. Complimentary shuttle buses will transport visitors from the car park.
Al Maryah Island
Al Maryah Island is set to usher in 2020 with a star-studded music and fireworks spectacular with live performances by Tamer Hosny and Nancy Ajram.
A 10-minute firework show is expected will delight audiences, preceded by a countdown. Doors open at 5pm and the event will run from 7pm until 1am.
Limited concert tickets are now on sale, starting at Dh300. The promenade access is free.
Khor Al Maqta/Abu Dhabi Grand Canal
If the Grand Canal has always been a firm favourite then this is the perfect place to catch the NYE dazzle in the skies. Hotels such as the Farimont Bab Al Bahar, Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri and the Ritz-Carlton have parties going that give your prime viewing pleasure. Cost varies.
RAS AL KHAIMAH
Ras Al Khaimah Corniche and Al Marjan Island
With a dazzling display that promises to be nothing short of spectacular, the NYE 2020 fireworks gala is taking things up a few notches with drone shows, pyrotechnics, creative and colourful Japanese aerial shells and more, guaranteeing a night sky that’s not to be missed on December 31.
For the best seats in the house, catch the fireworks along the coastline between Al Hamra village and Al Marjan Island, as well as on the South and North Bay of the island, just in front of the Doubletree Hilton Resort and Spa for free.
The main viewing points for the evening’s fireworks have special family zones, complete with all the ingredients for the perfect celebration, ranging from food trucks and kids activities to street artists, live music, games and more. Event timings are from 5pm to 2am.