From concerts to exhibitions and events, here's your ultimate guide to what's on in the UAE for the biggest National Day celebrations ever Image Credit: Supplied picture


World Top DJs

A website dedicated to dance music, the World Top DJs event, which has now become a global event, is coming to Dubai. From Thursday to Saturday at the Al Badia Golf Club, Dubai Festival City, catch some of the biggest DJs live and be part of a record attempt to be the world's longest club DJ session relay. Names include Artful Dodger, Freemasons, Leeroy Thornhill (pictured), the former member of Prodigy, DJs from the Ministry of Sound and 24 other award-winning DJs. Tickets priced at Dh150, Dh250, Dh450 and Dh995 are on sale online at virginemegastore.me and platinumlist.ae. Visit worldtopdjs.com.

UAE Ballooning Championship

To be held on Friday between 5-9pm, the UAE Ballooning Championship is a culmination of the three-day balloon festival to be held at Meydan Dubai. The event, the first of its kind in the UAE, will see hot air balloons and light bulbs and Chinese lanterns light up the evening sky. Zee Aflam will be broadcasting the championship live.

Atif Aslam and Euphoria

Pakistani pop star Atif Aslam and Indian band Euphoria will be rocking out on Friday at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Gates open at 5pm with a warm-up by a local DJs from 6pm, followed by Euphoria live on stage at 7pm and Atif Aslam at 9pm. Tickets, priced at Dh5, Dh10, Dh25, Dh100 and Dh250, are now on sale at boxofficeme.com.

Best of Khaleeji music

Emirati and Gulf musicians will be leading the celebrations in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Al Gharbia (western Abu Dhabi) and Dalma Island.

Starting the Thursday concerts at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) will be Emirati singer Mansour Zayed (pictured), Saudi singer Aseel Abu Bakr, Abdullah Al Rowaishid from Kuwait and Morocco's Mona Amarsha, who is known for her Khaleeji songs. The same day Emirati singers Hamad Al Amri and Rania will entertain in Al Gharbia's Madinat Zayed Cultural Centre while Meetha and Harbi Al Amri will take the stage in Dalma Park on Dalma Island.

On Friday, it will be the turn of one of the most well-known Emirati singers Hussain Al Jasmi and his compatriot Eida Al Menhaly to perform in Abu Dhabi while Zayed and young Emirati singer Al Yazia along with Amdel Menem Al Amri and Kuwait's Yousuf Al Omani will entertain in Al Ain's Heritage Village. Al Gharbia will host Emiratis Faisal Al Jassem and Said Al Salem while Dalma Island will see Habib Al Yasi and Al Yazia.

On Saturday, Al Omani, Hamad Al Amri and Aryam will close the celebrations at Al Gharbia.

All performances begin at 9pm every night. Entry is free.

Kate Nash unplugged

Kate Nash will be performing at The Amphitheatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah on Friday in an intimate concert called Unplugged. There will be less electric and more acoustic in what promises to be a night of great music. Tickets priced at Dh150 and Dh180 are available via jumeirah.com/KateNash. Doors open at 6pm. Show starts at 7pm.


Global Village

Starting today, Global Village, the tourism, leisure and entertainment destination is hosting a part-theatrical, part-cinematic extravaganza show called Kalifat Zayed. Presented by two Emiratis, the show takes visitors on a visual journey around the world, highlighting the UAE's achievements over the years. To watch the show online and for more information on the destination, go to globalvillage.ae.

The final countdown

On Friday, Zayed Sports Stadium in Abu Dhabi will be the centre of all celebrations as it hosts the culmination of all the festivities around the UAE. To be attended by UAE leaders, heads of state and residents of the UAE, this grand finale promises to be a visual spectacle never before seen.

Showcasing a performing cast of hundreds, with traditional Arabic dancers sharing the stage with the world's finest multidisciplinary aerialists and acrobats, the celebrations will feature three dimensional animations, performances of specially commissioned poetry, all to celebrate the history and accomplishments of the UAE, and the life of a visionary leader: Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The celebrations will end with a spectacular fireworks display.

Tickets to attend this exciting celebration are free of charge, however due to space restrictions there are only a limited number available. In order to secure your seat, you can register on the official website: uaenationalday.ae/eticket. Applicants will receive an e-mail of confirmation notifying them of their ticket status.

Gates open at 2pm with celebrations scheduled to start at 5pm.

Free heritage tours

The Shaikh Mohammad Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) will be hosting a number of free events to celebrate the UAE National Day. On Thursday, the centre will host a mosque visit at 10am, followed by a cultural breakfast, a Bastakiya Heritage Tour and observation of midday prayers. Alternatively, visitors can catch the cultural lunch, followed by the Bastakiya Heritage Tour and observation of afternoon prayers. While all the events are free of charge, the centre says advance bookings are an absolute must. Call 04-3536666. Group bookings are limited to a maximum of five people.


Follow the RedBall

An unique art project currently touring the world and joining the National Day celebration is New York-based sculptor Kurt Perschke's RedBall. The 4.57 metre 114 kilogramme vinyl inflatable red ball has travelled from Taipei to Norwich, Toronto to Chicago and Arizona to Busan. Currently touring Abu Dhabi landmarks, it will join the celebrations at the Zayed Sports Stadium on National Day.

"The project is about seeing and playing with the sculptural spaces of a city. The humour and charisma of the piece allow it access to the city and invite others in to its story," says Perschke.

Roots of success

Palestinian photographer Ahmad Junaidi, a resident of Abu Dhabi since 1968, is holding a retrospective of his work including images he's captured since he opened his first colour studio in 1972. Titled The Roots of Success: Celebrating 40 Years of Achievements, the exhibition is on until December 20 at the Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, Abu Dhabi.

My years in the UAE

Corp Executive Hotel Apartments in Al Barsha, Dubai, is calling on all UAE residents, Emiratis and expatriates, to take part in a unique exhibition called My Years in the UAE. To participate, email the hotel high-resolution (300 dpi) images of your most memorable UAE moments, which will be included in the exhibition. The event opens on Thursday at 7pm until December 15. Email your pictures to create@mpj-pr.com.

Emirati Expressions

A exhibition to showcase Emirati identity through an exhibition of photographs by Emirati artists is now open at the Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi. The exhibition, open until January 28, also features works by guest photographers especially invited to work with the artists and the public to explore Emirati identity.

Classic car festival

The Emirates Classic Car Festival is back for the fourth year, with this year's event including classic motorbikes. To be held from Thursday to Saturday at Emaar Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, the event will see classic car owners from the region take part in what will be a showcase of some of the most elegantly designed automobiles in history.

Malls and more:

Sharjah City Centre

From Thursday to Saturday, Sharjah City Centre will be hosting cultural dance shows featuring the Ayala and Yola traditional dance. Shows will take place three times a day, and will feature national Emirati songs and instruments.

Deira City Centre

Your favourite newspaper has partnered with Deira City Centre to create a unique exhibition called UAE: Close to Your Heart. Featuring Gulf News headlines and memorable stories from the past 40 years, the exhibition, on display at the mall's central stage, highlights the growth and prosperity of the UAE seen through the eyes of the newspaper of record.

The Dubai Mall

Flagging off celebrations by Emaar Retail, which manages The Dubai Mall and Dubai Marina Mall and the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, has unfurled the UAE national flag, one of the largest ever in an aquarium environment. The flag will be displayed through December 2.

Highlighting achievements in environmental conservation, a passion of late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Father of the Nation, Dubai Aquarium will host a total of 40 divers from Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Al Boom Diving and Emirates Diving Association (EDA) to unveil a banner in the aquarium tomorrow.

Meanwhile, all visitors to KidZania until Friday will receive an "I waz there for UAE's 40th National Day celebrations in KidZania" sticker and every child visitor will get an additional 40 KidZos, the currency of the edutainment centre.

Ajman City Centre

The mall is hosting daily performances by the Armed Forces and a musical performance by the National Operetta until Saturday. There's also a special treat for visitors between Thursday and Saturday: a free invitation to indulge in traditional food, courtesy of the Ajman Chamber of Commerce.

Mall of the Emirates

Visitors to this mall can take part in an interactive giant electronic board to post congratulatory messages for National Day via SMS. Cultural and traditional activities will be held daily between Thursday and Saturday including a chance to learn about Bedouin history and falconry.

Burj Al Arab

Dubai's most iconic landmark hotel will display what it claims to be the world's longest UAE national flag hung in its lobby. There's also a UAE national flag cake on display, while Emiratis and UAE residents get a 40 per cent discount on rooms until December 20.

Mirdif City Centre

Mirdif City Centre has been hosting an exhibition of 20 artworks by students from UAE schools called My UAE National Awards Day. The "green" sculptures, all made from recyclable materials, reflect three themes: native wildlife, national landmarks or traditional and modern forms of transportation.

On Saturday, the mall will celebrate National Day by hosting a Grand Parade, featuring 150 students from various schools which will culminate in the Awards Ceremony for the arts project.