The list of things to do on the UAE National Day in Dubai is too long to be crossed off in a single holiday. However, you’ll still have plenty of time to indulge in most of the fun that comes 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. This article is a guide on how to have fun on the 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 form an alliance 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 though the last emirate, Ras Al Khaimah, joined the union in February of 1972. Since then, people of the UAE have been celebrating this union every year on December 2nd and the tradition still goes on.
The UAE National Day public holidays fall on December 2nd and 3rd every year and combined with the commemoration day on December 1st, provide the residents with 3 days off to have fun. From parades and carnivals to concerts and other city-wide events, the fun just drags you toward itself from every corner. Although all the emirates celebrate the UAE National Day, the focus of this article will be on Dubai as a hub for tourism.
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 a vivid nightlife, enormous shopping centers, and opulent resorts. Now imagine it unleashing its full potential on the UAE National Day! On this public holiday, the fun and joy goes viral and you just can’t have enough of this beautiful city. Here is a summary of the recreational activities you can take part in on the UAE National Day in Dubai:
Urban Events in Dubai on the UAE National Day
On the UAE national day, the City of Dubai will be at its most vibrant state and you’ll find fun events around every corner. Here are some examples:
- Enjoy Live Concerts in Dubai
On the UAE national day, many exuberant concerts are held and the stages are set for the nations top singers and stars to perform. In Dubai, the concerts are usually held in the 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.
- Enjoy the National Day Fireworks
Colorful fireworks light up Dubai’s sky on the 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 such as Bluewaters Island, the Pointe, Atlantis the Palm, and Burj Al Arab to witness the pyrotechnics from up close.
- Visit Dubai Festival City
Only five minutes away from Dubai International Airport, the Festival City lives up to the name by offering its visitors tons of fun. If you want to enjoy an evening full of fireworks, dancing, parades, and entertainment, make sure you 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 afterwards; the largest water screen projection in the world.
- Compete in a Chess Match at Dubai Chess & Culture Club
Every year on the 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 getting the championship cup. The tournament is also open for all the residents of the UAE.
- 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 diners. You will get to witness a majestic automobile show exhibiting cars representing the UAE flag.
- 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 all around the world. Furthermore, you’ll get to visit the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum attraction that comprises six distinct galleries and introduces oddities and weird wonders.
- Explore Legoland
Legoland Dubai and the nearby Legoland Water Park are there to make all the 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 in your handicrafts at Mindstorms section. You can also book a room at the Legoland Hotel to further immerse yourself in the world of Lego.
- Get a Glimpse of the Future at Dubai’s Expo 2020
This futuristic mini-city spans across 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 the life of mankind easier.
- Catch Some Exciting Events in Dubai Design District
The shoe brand Vans has designed this innovative installation with the aim of promoting creativity and you’ll definitely find artists showcasing their talents here on the UAE National Day.
- Stay Tuned for the Official National Day Celebrations Notice
Every year, the city authorities curate a celebration to commemorate the 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 the National Day.
- Stroll Dubai Downtown
Dubai Downtown is the hub of all the fun on the UAE National Day and if you prefer to celebrate the holiday in the heart of the city, the city center is the best spot for you.
Celebrate the UAE National Day with Delicious Foods
Arabian cuisine is colorful and delicious. Why not give yourself a treat on the UAE National Day? Here are some of the best places at which you can cater to yourself:
- Celebrate the UAE National Day at the Diners of Expo 2020
Some of the world’s most famous eateries gather together at the Expo 2020 to cater to the visitors with their delicious signature dishes. You’ll also get to enjoy live cooking shows by famous chefs such as Jordan Bailey, Heinz Beck, Gert De Mangeleer, Thomas Bühner and many more.
- Indulge Yourself in a Cup of Coffee in Dubai’s Cafes
Coffee lovers too can enjoy the 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 the history of coffee in the region.
- Have a Tea party at the Arabian Tea House
Serving over 150 different types of tea, the Arabian Tea House offers an authentic Emirati afternoon experience. Gather together with friends and family and engage in friendly discussions while enjoying the satisfying aroma of your tea.
- 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. The UAE National Day is a great occasion for enjoying a scrumptious Arabic meal. Aseelah, Logma, Al Fanar, SMCCU, Siraj, Sika, Al Khayma Heritage Restaurant, and several others are among the best places to get a taste of Emirati cuisine in Dubai.
- 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 can perfectly quench your thirst.
- 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.
- Get a Taste of Dubai’s Street Food
The streets of Dubai are full of restaurants offering tasty foods. 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.
- Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth With Arabic Desserts in Dubai
An occasion like the UAE National Day definitely demands 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.
- Attend the National Day Cooking Workshops at Expo 2020
Each year, expert chefs host a wide range of workshops at Expo 2020 which you can attend to hone your cooking skills.
- Say Goodbye to Hunger at Dubai’s Black Tap
If you have watched Pulp Fiction, you would know that milkshakes and burgers are actually a thing. In Dubai, Black Tap elaborates on the concept with their monster milkshakes and towering burgers. Pay them a visit on the UAE National Day and enjoy their signature limited meals.
- 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 give you a satisfying morning boost. 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.
- 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 get to share a meal with family and friends while enjoying the projection of the UAE flag on the Burj Khalifa. Oh and by the way, this flag has an interesting background story. You can read our article “History of the UAE Flag” to learn more.
Familiarize Yourself with the UAE’s Culture in Dubai
One of the best ways to commemorate the unification of the seven emirates on the UAE National Day is to familiarize yourself with Arabian culture. Here is how:
- 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.
- Review the History of the Union on the UAE National Day
The UAE National Day commemorates the unification of the seven emirates and there is know better place for honoring 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.
- Review the History of Dubai
Have you ever wondered how Dubai became the jewel it is today? Located near the Dubai Creek, the Al Shindagha Museum tells you everything there is to know about the exceptional history of the beautiful city 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 formation of the union in 1971.
- 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 the visitors with the culture and customs of the UAE.
In 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 get to try authentic Arabic food at the SMCCU. Moreover, another aspect of the Emirati culture is its traditional sports, though we will familiarize you with traditional sports in the UAE in another article.
- Explore Dubai’s Art Galleries
Every year on the UAE National Day, Dubai’s famous artists hold exhibits 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.
- Create Art at Dubai’s “Thejamjar”
Thejamjar is a community art space and Dubai’s first DIY painting studio. Aside from hosting a wide range of exhibits and events, thejamjar brings together artists and art lovers and creates an interactive environment in which everybody can embody their creativity in a piece of art. You can celebrate the UAE National Day alongside artists and art lovers while creating your own art at thejamjar.
- Live Like the Emiratis for the UAE National Holiday
Embark on a personalized cultural journey organized by MyDeleel which allows you to not only sample Dubai’s traditional 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 the traditional agricultural techniques.
- 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.
- 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 through 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 the UAE National Day alongside family and friends? Here are some of the places you can have a good time at:
- Spend Your Holiday at Dubai’s Resorts and Hotels
The city of Dubai is famous for its myriad opulent hotels and resorts each offering a unique staycation experience. UAE National Days is a great occasion for paying these hotels and resorts a visit since there will be many amazing discounts available.
- 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 offering their own unique set of perks.
- Behold the Marvelous Palm Jumeirah
The Palm Jumeirah is one of Dubai’s most iconic landmarks. On the UAE National Day, you can gather together with family and friends on 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 and allows you to enjoy the National Day celebrations from a great vantage point.
- 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.
- Spend the National Day at the Sonara camp
At the Sonara, there are plenty of activities to take part in such as stargazing, sand boarding, and archery. You’ll also get to dine at its very fine desert restaurant with a colorful menu carefully and expertly curated by the camp’s French chef.
- 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 whole world, so make sure you don’t miss it.
- 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 the fairytales. If you are a fan of Smurfs, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Smurf Village whenever you visit the park.
- 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.
- Explore Dubai’s Largest Sand Dune in a Dune Buggy
The Big Red Adventures hosts some of the most thrilling desert safari tours in Dubai and the incredible perk of these tours is that you can choose to drive the dune buggy or the ATV yourself and conquer the sand.
- Board Ain Dubai and Celebrate the National Day on Bluewaters Island
On the UAE National Day, get together with the family and friends and board this towering observation wheel to watch all the fireworks and beautiful landmarks of Dubai from 250 meters above the ground.
- Join the National Day Party at Golf Clubs
Every year on the UAE National Day, Dubai’s golf clubs and resorts celebrate the holiday in their own way. From live entertainments and barbecue parties to camel rides and petting zoos for children, you’ll find some pretty fun events in Dubai’s clubhouses on the National Day.
- Enjoy the Vibrant Atmosphere of Dubai’s Parks
On the UAE National Day, Dubai’s patches of green like Zabeel Park, Creek Park, Mushrif Park, Dubai Safari Park, and Quranic Park turn into 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 the National Day.
- Fly Over Dubai in a Helicopter
If you prefer a more engaging view to Dubai’s vibrant atmosphere on the UAE National Day, the Helicopter Tour Dubai company can offer you a thrilling helicopter ride on which you’ll get to 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.
- Book Tickets to La Perle on the National Day
Located at Al Habtoor, La Perle by Dragone is a house of wonders curating mesmerizing shows that you’ll never forget. Expert performers constantly push the boundaries to the extreme and take you to another world at this permanent show.
- Take your children to the Boxpark District of Dubai
This colorful neighborhood hosts a wide range of events and workshops in commemoration of the UAE National Day. Your children can enjoy the recreational activities at the Boxpark while getting familiarized with the Emirati culture.
- 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 whole world. UAE National Day is a long holiday and a great opportunity to spend a night in the serenity of 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 the UAE National Day. For instance, you can:
- Make Your National Day Holiday More Special at Burj Khalifa
Book a ticket to this global icon and stare at the beauties of Dubai from the world’s tallest building. In order to make your night even more special, reserve a table at the Burj’s restaurant and dine alongside your loved ones.
- Visit the Dubai Creek Harbor
This waterfront area is still under development and is the seat for Dubai Creek Tower that 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 away from Dubai Downtown and provides picturesque scenery for capturing your beautiful memories with your camera.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 the history of this iconic landmark. The tour also includes a visit to the Royal Suite where great people such as Nelson Mandela have stayed.
- Relax at one of Dubai’s Spas
A holiday after long days of work is the best chance to rid yourself of all the fatigue and stress. Go enjoy a mental detoxification in one of Dubai’s many spas such as the One&Only Spa at the Royal Mirage.
- 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 fail to realize it’s not the real person!
- Stroll the Al Khawaneej Walk
On the 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 be offered plenty of sales on almost all the goods you can find in the mall’s shops.
- 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 get to spend a comforting time and enjoy a breathtaking view of Dubai’s famous landmarks such as Dubai Marina, Bluewaters Island, Burj Al Arab, and Burj Khalifa.
- Visit Dubai’s Old Town
If you feel like getting away from all the hustle and bustle of the city during the UAE National Day, you can stroll Old Dubai’s Bastakiya Quarter and get a glimpse of Dubai’s traditional urban architecture.
- Hike Through Hatta Mountains
If you have been waiting for a long weekend to climb Hatta mountains and take a selfie near the Hollywood-style Hatta sign, UAE National Day is your best chance.
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 different in Dubai thanks to its plethora of attractions and iconic landmarks. Now that you know about the things to do on the UAE National Day in Dubai, you can plan your holiday and make it the most memorable time of your life in this beautiful city.
Don’t forget though that not all the fun is exclusive to the UAE National Day. You can enjoy the beautiful city of Dubai to its full 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 the recreation it has to offer. If you want to invest in real estate in Dubai, our agents at dxboffplan.com can guide you through every step of your purchase.