The list of things to do on the UAE National Day in Dubai is too long to cover in one holiday. Still, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy most of the fun associated with this public holiday. The UAE national day might be the best time of the year to visit Dubai since the city explodes with colorful fireworks and lively events occur around every corner. If you are looking for a way to stay in the UAE and experience the magical atmosphere of National Day, you can consider getting a UAE golden visa. This way, you can make the most of the holiday and enjoy all the festivities without worrying about an expiration date. Additionally, you can explore the vibrant cities of the UAE, such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and discover all the exciting activities they have to offer.
This article is a guide on how to have fun on UAE National Day in Dubai! Stay tuned.
What Does the UAE National Day Commemorate?
The UAE National Day is one of the UAE’s public holidays (we have gathered a list of UAE public holidays for 2023 in another article) that marks the alliance between the seven Arab Emirates and the formation of a unified nation called the United Arab Emirates. The unification movement was led by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who also became the first president of the UAE (check out our guide to royal families of the UAE to learn more).
Abu Dhabi and Dubai were the first emirates to join on December 1st, 1971. On December 2nd of the same year, the emirates of Ajman, Sharjah, Umm al-Quwain, and Al-Ain also agreed to join the union. The last emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, joined the union in February 1972. Since then, UAE people have celebrated this union every year on December 2nd, and the tradition still lives on.
The UAE National Day public holidays fall on December 2nd and 3rd every year. Combined with the commemoration day on December 1st, provide residents with 3 days off to have fun. From parades and carnivals to concerts and other city-wide events, the fun drags you toward itself from every corner. Although all the Emirates celebrate UAE National Day, this article will focus on Dubai as a tourist destination.
What to Do on the UAE National Day in Dubai
Dubai is a vibrant city known for its ultramodern urban architecture and astonishing landmarks such as the 830-meter-tall Burj Khalifa. On a normal day, Dubai greets its visitors with vivid nightlife, enormous shopping centers, and opulent resorts. Now imagine it unleashing its full potential on UAE National Day! On this public holiday, the fun and joy get viral, and you can’t get enough of this beautiful city. Despite the fun and luxurious lifestyle that Dubai offers, it is also one of the most expensive cities in the world. The cost of living in Dubai is high, with rent, transportation, and groceries all costing more than the global average. Therefore, it is important to plan ahead and budget for activities on UAE National Day to ensure that you enjoy the festivities without breaking the bank.
Here is a summary of the recreational activities you can take part in on UAE National Day in Dubai:
Urban Events in Dubai on the UAE National Day
On UAE national day, Dubai will be at its most vibrant state, and you’ll find fun events around every corner. Here are some examples:
1. Enjoy the National Day Fireworks
Colorful fireworks light up Dubai’s sky on UAE National Day and are visible from all around the city. However, if you want a clearer view, you can head to one of Dubai’s iconic landmarks. These include Bluewaters Island, the Pointe, Atlantis the Palm, and Burj Al Arab. You can witness the pyrotechnics up close.
2. Visit Dubai Festival City
Only five minutes from Dubai International Airport, Festival City lives up to its name by offering tons of fun. If you want to enjoy an evening full of fireworks, dancing, parades, and entertainment, visit the Dubai Festival City Mall, a key highlight of the area. There, aside from all the fun, you’ll get to browse more than 350 shops and world-class brands and enjoy the IMAGINE show afterward, the largest water screen projection in the world.
3. Compete in a Chess Match at Dubai Chess & Culture Club
Every year on UAE National Day, the club hosts the National Day Rapid Chess Tournament. The competition lasts for two days, and many players from all around the world join the matches for a shot at winning the championship cup. The tournament is also open to all residents of the UAE.
4. Make the UAE National Day More Memorable at the City Center Mirdif
Aside from the pleasant shopping experience that this enormous hall can offer thanks to its collection of 430 stores and more than 260 renowned brands, you can indulge in a plethora of fun, including bowling, indoor skydiving, cinema, gaming arcades, rides, a soccer circus, and expansive dining. You will get to witness a majestic automobile show exhibiting cars representing the UAE flag.
5. Visit the Global Village
It is exactly what its name suggests. You’ll find representatives of more than 75 countries, from Egypt to Italy, Thailand to Morocco, showcasing their cuisine and local products. The village also hosts concerts and shows every night featuring artists from around the world. Furthermore, you’ll visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum attraction, which comprises six distinct galleries and introduces oddities and weird wonders.
6. Explore Legoland
Legoland Dubai and the nearby Legoland Water Park are there to give all Lego lovers an unforgettable Lego-themed holiday. Actualize your Lego dream in interactive building experiences. You can build Lego cars and race against others or incorporate robotics into your handicrafts at the Mindstorms area. You can also book a room at the Legoland Hotel to further immerse yourself in the Lego world.
7. Get a Glimpse of the Future at Dubai’s Expo 2020
This futuristic mini-city spans a 4.38-square-kilometer land and comprises three main districts with unique themes: sustainability, mobility, and opportunity. Each district showcases the hallmarks of technology aiming to protect planet Earth and make mankind’s life easier.
8. Catch Some Exciting Events in Dubai Design District
The shoe brand Vans has designed this innovative installation to promote creativity, and you’ll definitely find artists showcasing their talents here on UAE National Day.
9. Stay Tuned for the Official National Day Celebrations Notice
Every year, the city authorities organize a celebration to commemorate UAE National Day. The ceremonies are held in one of Dubai’s iconic sites and landmarks, and the details will be announced a few weeks before National Day.
10. Stroll Dubai Downtown
Dubai Downtown is the hub of all the fun on UAE National Day. If you prefer to celebrate the holiday in the heart of the city, the city center is the right spot for you.
11. Enjoy Live Concerts in Dubai
On UAE national day, many exuberant concerts are held, and the stages are set for the nation’s top singers and stars to perform. In Dubai, the concerts are usually held in Burj Park by the Emaar Properties construction company. Since the demand for tickets rose sharply, we suggest you book yours in advance, prior to the holiday.
Celebrate the UAE National Day at the Diners
12. UAE Colorful Diners
Arabian cuisine is colorful and delicious. Why not treat yourself on the UAE National Day? Diners offer a wide range of delicious Emirati dishes prepared with fresh ingredients. Come celebrate the UAE National Day and enjoy traditional Emirati specialties. Try the famous chicken machboos, a fragrant rice dish cooked with spices and a variety of vegetables. Or sample the traditional shawarmas, seasoned grilled meat served with vegetables. Whatever you choose, you’re sure to enjoy a flavorful and memorable culinary experience.
13. Indulge Yourself in a Cup of Coffee in Dubai’s Cafes
Coffee lovers too can enjoy UAE National Day as much as others by sipping on a specialty brew at local cafes such as To The Moon And Back, Farmers Coffee, and The Espresso Lab or heading to the Coffee Museum for an insightful tour covering coffee history in the region.
14. Have a Tea party at the Arabian Tea House
Serving over 150 different tea types, the Arabian Tea House offers an authentic Emirati afternoon experience. Gather together with friends and family and engage in friendly discussions while enjoying your tea aroma.
15. Enjoy a Traditional Emirati Meal
Arabic cuisine is delicious and colorful, and there are many cafes and restaurants in Dubai that can cater to you with authentic Emirati food. UAE National Day is a great occasion to enjoy an authentic Arabic meal. Aseelah, Logma, Al Fanar, SMCCU, Siraj, Sika, Al Khayma Heritage Restaurant, and several others are among the best places to taste Emirati cuisine in Dubai.
16. Drink at Papa Dubai on the UAE National Day
What better way to celebrate a holiday than sharing a drink with friends at one of Dubai’s most famous drinking and dining destinations? Papa Dubai comprises nine bars and quenches your thirst.
17. Enjoy a Meal at Dubai’s Seaside Diners
What better place to enjoy seafood than a harbor decorated with traditional fishing boats and spectacular water views? That’s exactly what the Jumeirah Fishing Harbor has to offer. It’s not the only one, though; 3Fils and Brix are two other choices that can provide you with a comforting vibe while you enjoy your meal alongside friends and family.
18. Get a Taste of Dubai’s Street Food
The streets of Dubai are full of restaurants offering tasty food. Gather together with friends and explore the streets, and you’ll be rewarded with appetizing dishes at famous street joints such as Ravi Restaurant, Al Mallah, Firas Sweets, and Pars Iranian Kitchen.
19. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth With Arabic Desserts in Dubai
An occasion like UAE National Day definitely calls for a sweet treat. Fortunately, Arabic cuisine is full of delicious sweets such as Chebab or Babusa. Just head to Al Samadi Sweets in Deira and indulge yourself.
20. Say Goodbye to Hunger at Dubai’s Black Tap
If you have watched Pulp Fiction, you know milkshakes and burgers are a thing. In Dubai, Black Tap elaborates on the concept with monster milkshakes and towering burgers. Pay them a visit on UAE National Day and enjoy their signature limited meals.
21. Celebrate the National Day With a Delicious Breakfast
A good breakfast can make your day, and Dubai has plenty of top-notch eateries ready to boost your morning. Whether you’re in the mood for a traditional Emirati breakfast or craving to remind yourself of the taste of your hometown cuisine, you’ve got a plethora of options such as Revo Cafe, Bystro, Tasha’s, Seva, Sikka Cafe, and many others to choose from.
22. Dine at Dubai’s Time Out Market and Enjoy the View
Can’t choose between having a delicious meal and enjoying the celebration at the Burj Khalifa? Try both! At Time Out Market Dubai, you’ll share a meal with family and friends while enjoying the UAE flag projection on the Burj Khalifa. Oh, and by the way, this flag has quite a background story. You can read our article “History of the UAE Flag” to learn more.
23. Attend Cooking Workshops
Each year, expert chefs host a wide range of workshops which you can attend to hone your cooking skills.
Familiarize Yourself with the UAE’s Culture in Dubai
One of the best ways to commemorate the unification of the seven Emirates on UAE National Day is to familiarize yourself with Arabian culture. Here is how:
24. Visit the Dubai Opera
This state-of-the-art facility is more than just an opera house. It can transform from a traditional theater to a concert hall or even a flat floor without seats to host a wide range of performances. Each year on the UAE National Day, Dubai Opera hosts special events such as concerts, plays, and art exhibits.
25. Review the History of the Union on the UAE National Day
The UAE National Day commemorates the unification of the seven emirates. There is no better place to honor this union than Dubai’s Union House and the Etihad Museum. You’ll get a good glimpse of how the UAE was formed and how people’s lives were before and after the union.
26. Review the History of Dubai
Have you ever wondered how Dubai became the jewel it is today? Located near Dubai Creek, the Al Shindagha Museum tells you everything there is to know about the exceptional history of the beautiful city. This is done through a one-of-a-kind multimedia experience. The museum’s hallmark is a show called Dubai Creek: Birth of a City, a documentary showcasing Dubai’s development since the union’s formation in 1971.
27. Explore the Emirati Culture in the SMCCU
The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Center for Cultural Understanding is a renovated wind tower house in the historical neighborhood of Al Fahidi. It was opened in 1988 with the aim of familiarizing visitors with the culture and customs of the UAE.
At the SMCCU, you’ll be able to learn basic Arabic, take part in heritage tours of historically and culturally important sites, and visit mosques under the supervision of a guide that teaches you basic Islamic practices. You’ll also try authentic Arabic food at SMCCU. Moreover, another aspect of Emirati culture is its traditional sports, though we will familiarize you with traditional sports in the UAE in another article.
28. Explore Dubai’s Art Galleries
Every year on UAE National Day, Dubai’s famous artists hold exhibitions across the city and showcase their masterpieces. Feel free to join them and enjoy their art in Dubai’s famous galleries and studios, such as Hunar Gallery and Tashkeel Art Studio.
29. Create Art at Dubai’s “The jamjar”
The Jamjar is a community art space and Dubai’s first DIY painting studio. Aside from hosting a wide range of exhibits and events, the jamjar brings together artists and art lovers. It creates an interactive environment in which everybody can embody their creativity in a piece of art. You can celebrate UAE National Day alongside artists and art lovers while creating your own art in the jamjar.
30. Live Like the Emiratis for the UAE National Holiday
Embark on a personalized cultural journey organized by MyDeleel which allows you to sample Dubai’s local street foods but also experience a traditional Majles (gathering ceremony) at a local’s home. The tour also includes a visit to a farm showcasing traditional agricultural techniques.
31. Get a Henna Design on Your Hands
Getting body art with henna is a famous cultural practice among Arabs and is a centuries-old ritual. There are many beauty salons and desert camps in Dubai that can give you a henna design. The dye they put on your hands and feet is made from crushed henna tree leaves.
32. Taste Arabian Desert Life at Al Hadheerah on the National Day
The traditionally designed Al Hadheerah at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa not only offers a unique dining experience but also familiarizes its visitors by allowing them to engage in old-school practices such as falcon training and camel riding.
Family Activities on the UAE National Day
Why not celebrate UAE National Day alongside family and friends? Here are some of the places you can have a good time:
33. Spend Your Holiday at Dubai’s Resorts and Hotels
The city of Dubai is famous for its myriad of opulent hotels and resorts, each offering a unique staycation experience. UAE National Days is a great occasion to pay these hotels and resorts a visit since there will be many amazing discounts available. Many of these hotels and resorts are located in some of the best neighborhoods in Dubai, such as Downtown Dubai, Dubai Marina, Palm Jumeirah, and Jumeirah Beach Residences. These areas are known for their luxurious lifestyle and are popular choices for those looking to invest in property.
34. Set out on an Exciting Desert Journey on the UAE National Day
You don’t have to be a camping expert to enjoy the desert. Dubai features a plethora of desert resorts, such as Al Maha, Bab Al Shams, and Meliá Desert Palm. Each resort offers its own unique set of perks.
35. Behold the Marvelous Palm Jumeirah
The Palm Jumeirah is one of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks. On UAE National Day, you can gather with family and friends at The View at The Palm; an observation deck accessible from the 52nd floor of the Palm Tower. Located at a height of 240 meters, this observation deck offers an astonishing panoramic view of the Palm. It allows you to enjoy National Day celebrations from a great vantage point.
36. Let the Children Have Fun at OliOli in Dubai
OliOli is a children’s play museum comprising eight distinct galleries, each serving as an interactive and educational playground for your little ones.
37. Spend the National Day at the Sonara Camp
At the Sonara, there are plenty of activities to take part in, such as stargazing, sandboarding, and archery. You’ll also dine at its very fine desert restaurant with a colorful menu carefully and expertly curated by the camp’s French chef.
38. Celebrate the National Day at the Laguna Waterpark at La Mer
Laguna is one of the best waterparks in Dubai and features a unique surf machine that offers surfing fans a refreshing experience. Actually, there are only three of its kind in the world, so make sure you don’t miss it.
39. Embrace the Wonders of Dubai Miracle Garden
This 72-square-kilometer park is the world’s largest natural flower garden. However, you don’t have to explore it all on foot. You’ll have a spectacular view of the park from the air while flying in an Airbus A380. The park’s castles and cabins are covered in flowers and give you the impression that they have been erected right from fairytales. If you are a fan of Smurfs, don’t forget to pay a visit to Smurf Village whenever you visit the park.
40. Fly Above Dubai’s Deserts in a Balloon!
The never-ending stretch of sand and dunes is even more magnificent from the sky. All you have to do is book a flight with Balloon Adventures, the most well-established hot air balloon company in Dubai. Your journey will start at sunrise and last for an hour.
41. Explore Dubai’s Largest Sand Dune in a Dune Buggy
Big Red Adventures hosts some of the most thrilling desert safari tours in Dubai. The incredible perk of these tours is that you can choose to drive the dune buggy or the ATV yourself and conquer the sand.
42. Board Ain Dubai and Celebrate the National Day on Bluewaters Island
On UAE National Day, get together with family and friends and board this towering observation wheel. This will enable you to watch all the fireworks and beautiful landmarks of Dubai from 250 meters above the ground.
43. Join the National Day Party at Golf Clubs
Every year on UAE National Day, Dubai’s golf clubs and resorts celebrate the holiday in their own way. From live entertainment and barbecue parties to camel rides and petting zoos for children, you’ll find some pretty fun events in Dubai’s clubhouses on National Day.
44. Enjoy the Vibrant Atmosphere of Dubai’s Parks
On UAE National Day, Dubai’s patches of green, like Zabeel Park, Creek Park, Mushrif Park, Dubai Safari Park, and Quranic Park become the city’s main hubs for fun events. From friendly competitions and art workshops to operettas and food stands, you’ll find plenty of recreational activities in Dubai’s green spaces on National Day.
45. Fly Over Dubai in a Helicopter
If you prefer a more engaging view of Dubai’s vibrant atmosphere on UAE National Day, the Helicopter Tour Dubai company can offer you a thrilling helicopter ride on which you’ll see the city’s famous landmarks such as Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah, and a number of Dubai’s gorgeous beaches from a unique vantage point.
46. Book Tickets to La Perle on the National Day
Located in Al Habtoor, La Perle by Dragone is a house of wonders curating mesmerizing shows you’ll never forget. Expert performers constantly push the boundaries to the extreme and take you to another world at this permanent show.
47. Take your children to the Boxpark District of Dubai
This colorful neighborhood hosts a wide range of events and workshops celebrating UAE National Day. Your children can enjoy recreational activities at the Boxpark while learning about Emirati culture.
48. Go Camping and Celebrate the National Day in Deserts
Dubai and other Emirates of the UAE offer some of the finest desert camping spots in the world. UAE National Day is a long holiday and a great opportunity to spend a night in the desert. If you want to learn more about the best place to set up your tent, check out our article “Best UAE Camping Spots”
Explore Dubai’s Popular Attractions on the UAE National Day
In addition to what has already been discussed, there are many more things you can do to have fun in Dubai on UAE National Day. For instance, you can:49. Hike through the Hatta Mountains
If you have been waiting for a long weekend to climb the Hatta mountains and take a selfie near the Hollywood-style Hatta sign, UAE National Day is your best chance.
50. Make Your National Day Holiday More Special at Burj Khalifa
Book a ticket to this global icon and stare at Dubai’s beauties from the world’s tallest building. In order to make your night even more special, reserve a table at Burj’s restaurant and dine alongside your loved ones.
51. Visit the Dubai Creek Harbor
This waterfront area is still under development and is the seat for Dubai Creek Tower. This tower aims to beat Burj Khalifa and become the tallest building in the world, with a height of 928 meters. Dubai Creek Harbor is just 10 minutes from Dubai Downtown and provides picturesque scenery for capturing beautiful memories with your camera.
52. Swim in the Depths of Deep Dive Dubai
Set out on an underwater adventure in the world’s deepest pool and discover the wonders of the sunken city resting at the bottom of this 60.02 meter-deep facility. Deep Dive Dubai rewards you with one of the most remarkable adventures of your life, and you can celebrate the UAE National Day by taking a deep breath and plunging into the depth of a wonderful journey.
53. Go Horse Riding at Al Jiyad Stables
Arabian horses are among the finest steeds, and you’ll get to ride one through the desert thanks to the Mazrooqi family, owners of Al Jiyad Stables. They also have classes for beginners and can even take you on a desert safari with a camel or a horse.
54. Buy Yourself or a Loved One Authentic Arabian Perfume on the National Day
Perfumes make great gifts, especially if they are personalized! Head to Ghawali on the UAE National Day and create your signature blend of perfume.
55. Explore Dubai’s Iconic Burj Al Arab
UAE National Day is the perfect occasion to sign up for a 90-minute guided tour of this opulent hotel and learn about its history. The tour also includes a visit to the Royal Suite, where great people such as Nelson Mandela have stayed.
56. Relax at one of Dubai’s Spas
A holiday after long days of work is the best chance to rid yourself of fatigue and stress. Go enjoy mental detoxification in one of Dubai’s many spas, such as the One&Only Spa at the Royal Mirage.
57. Visit Madame Tussauds on Bluewaters Island
Your dream of meeting your favorite celebrity has not come true yet? Try meeting their wax figures instead! Take a selfie with one of the figures and show it off to others. They might not realize it’s not the real person!
58. Stroll the Al Khawaneej Walk
On UAE National Day, this community mall lights up the city with its wide range of entertainment and dining highlights. In addition to all the shows, plays, and dances, you’ll find plenty of sales on almost all the goods you can find in the mall’s shops.
59. Relax at Aura Skypool Lounge
On the 50th floor of the Palm Tower, you’ll find the highest 360-degree infinity pool in the world. At Aura Skypool Lounge, you’ll spend a comfortable time and enjoy a breathtaking view of Dubai’s famous landmarks such as Dubai Marina, Bluewaters Island, Burj Al Arab, and Burj Khalifa.
60. Visit Dubai’s Old Town
If you feel like getting away from all the hustle and bustle of the city during UAE National Day, you can stroll through Old Dubai’s Bastakiya Quarter. You can see Dubai’s traditional urban architecture.
UAE National Day commemorates the unification of the seven Arab emirates into a single nation. All the Emirates celebrate this public holiday, but the fun just hits differently in Dubai, thanks to its plethora of attractions and iconic landmarks. Now that you know about the things to do on UAE National Day in Dubai, you can plan your holiday. You can make it the most memorable time of your life in this beautiful city.
Don’t forget that not all the fun is exclusive to UAE National Day. You can enjoy Dubai to its fullest potential all year round. In fact, thanks to the new UAE nationality law, you can become a citizen of the UAE and get permanent access to all its recreation. If you are interested to see Dubai properties’ price list, rest assured that our team at Dxboffplan is fully equipped to assist you. With Dxboffplan, you can find the perfect property for you and your family and access the best deals in the market. Our team of experienced agents can help you make the right investment decisions and guide you through the whole process. So don’t wait, and start your journey to becoming a UAE citizen today!
frequently asked questions
UAE National Day is celebrated annually on December 2nd to mark the unification of the seven emirates to form the UAE.
There are many events and activities taking place across the UAE on National Day, including fireworks displays, parades, cultural performances, and traditional food markets. Malls and attractions also offer special discounts and promotions.
There are many iconic landmarks and attractions to visit in the UAE on National Day, such as the Burj Khalifa, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the Dubai Mall, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. You can also explore traditional markets and historic sites, such as the Al Fahidi Historic District in Dubai and the Al Ain Oasis.