In the UAE we love superlatives - the biggest theme parks, the tallest buildings and the largest malls, we’ve got them all. Keeping that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best of events to celebrate the 45th UAE National Day, from heritage villages that give you a taste of authentic Emirati culture to best vantage points for spectacular fireworks that will light up the skies during the long weekend.
Splash n Party, Jumeirah
Besides the break from school, children have plenty to be happy about this long weekend. Children’s waterpark Splash n Party is offering all-day access at Dh45 per person from December 1-2. There’ll be live underwater mermaids, fire shows, magic and more.
Spun Candy’s National Day party at Candylicious includes games, face painting and a best costume competition. Dh99 per child, for five to 11-year-olds. Call 04-3308700.
Dubai Parks and Resorts
Dubai Parks and Resorts are celebrating National Day with 4,500 tickets for Dh45 per person per park from December 1-3 at LEGOLAND® Dubai and Bollywood Parks™ Dubai.
Park-goers can also visit Riverland™ Dubai for free where they can take part in many traditional activities including henna design, dance, falconry and boat rides.
The #DPRNationalPride tickets are on sale now at www.dubaiparksandresorts.com. Limited number of tickets will also be available over the National Day Weekend (December 1-3) at the park gates. For more details, visit: www.dubaiparksandresorts.com.
JA Ocean View Hotel
The JA Ocean View Hotel at The Walk JBR in Dubai is celebrating the Year of Reading at their National Day Emirati village (which launched on November 30) with a majlis area in the atrium where visitors can unwind and read. Hungry? Local women will be preparing Arabic deserts like logaymat on-site and if you’re hungry for some cultural experience dress up in traditional kanduras and abayas and have your picture taken. Until December 3, weekdays from 4.30-11pm and from 4.30-midnight on weekends.
THE BEACH opposite JBR
Join in the National Day celebrations with a display of fireworks at 8.30pm on December 2 at THE BEACH.
National Day Concerts
Many artists including Arab music icon Hussain Al Jasmi and Emirati singer Balqees Fathi will be performing at Burj Park's free-to-attend concerts on December 2. Singers Abdulla Bel Khair and Aryam will take stage at Dragon Mart 2 and catch regional singers Mohammed Menhali and Walid Ibrahim in action at Global Village.
Join in the National Day celebrations happening at Bur Juman between November 30 and December. Each evening from 5pm to 10pm, visit the UAE-themed tent in the main atrium, where there will be free Arabic coffee and dates and women can get their hands adorned with henna. The mall also has National Day Super Sale between December 1 and 3. Shoppers will get up to 90 per cent discount in participating stores.
Majid Al Futtaim’s five malls
Mall of the Emirates and City Centres Deira, Mirdif, Me’aisem and Al Shindagha are going to host cultural events and family fun activities as part of National Day celebrations. Also, shoppers can enjoy bargains as these malls will be having National Day sales, offering 30 per cent to 90 per cent off on selected items.
Below are the details of each mall’s National Day activities:
Mall of the Emirates
Visitors can get their pictures taken with the Iconic Live Arabic Statues (live golden statues will be positioned at the mall entrances) from December 1-3. Shoppers are also invited to participate in constructing a monument with their names engraved into small blocks. The flag coloured blocks will then be placed on a wall.
Emirati celebrity Mohammed El Menhali will perform on December 1 at 8pm.
The Desert Tales show on December 2 and 3, will reflect the traditional UAE through time, from desert wanders, oil discovery, pearl fishing and Dubai’s growth in the mall’s South Galleria. The Central Galleria will have a live souk show. Visitors can see the show at 1pm, 2.30pm, 4.30pm, 6pm and 8.30pm at the South Galleria. A speed painter will also be present from 3.45pm to create UAE-inspired art using his talents.
Deira City Centre and Mirdif City Centre
Emirati celebrity Mohammed Al Shehhi will perform at Mirdif City Centre on December 1 at 8pm. The entertainment quota also includes traditional dance performances, face painting and games for children. In mood for a selfie? Take selfies at the National Day booth.
At Deira City Centre, shoppers can get gift cards and giveaways with ‘Everyone is a winner this National Day’ happening at National Day booth.
From December 1-3, visitors will be treated to traditional Hariba, Liwa, Indeama and Ayalha dances. Deira City Centre: Ayalha (December 2) and Indeama (December 3) performances will take place at 2pm, 4pm, 6.30pm, 8pm and 10pm; Al Liwa (December 1) at 2.45, 5pm, 7.30pm, 9pm and 10.30pm. Mirdif City Centre: Harbia and Liwa dances can be seen at 2pm, 4pm, 6.30pm, 8pm and 10pm; while Al Liwa at 2.45, 5pm, 7.30pm, 9pm and 10.30pm
Me’aisem City Centre and Al Shindagha City Centre
From December 1-3, at 4.30pm, 6pm, 7.30pm and 8.30pm, both malls will host a parade comprising of musicians, stilt walkers, jugglers and mascots. The two malls will also host a daily draw (December 1-3) to win 2 iPhone 7s. Shoppers who spend Dh150 at Al Shindagha City Centre and Dh200 at Me’aisem City Centre are eligible for the draw.
The National Day celebrations will take place throughout the mall on December 1 and 2. Visitors can enjoy Emirati culinary delights such as balaleet and khamir in the mall’s main atrium from 3pm to 9pm and tea and coffee in the Majlis area.
Free family activities include falconry, dressing in local attires, basket weaving and henna designing in the Mosaic area. Children will get a chance to meet cartoon characters Hamama and Hamoud from 3:00 pm onwards.
On December 2, Dubai Police music band will perform from 4pm to 5.15pm.
Don’t miss out on the National Day Sale to be held between December 1 and 3 and the mall’s online competition, where participants stand a chance to win Wafi Gift Vouchers. For more details, visit Wafi’s Facebook page.
Seih Al Salam
The National Day camel marathon kicks off on December 3 at Seih Al Salam, part of the Fazza National Championships hosted by the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Heritage Centre.
Madinat Jumeirah is celebrating the spirit of the Union on December 2 with balloon decoration in the national flag colours, a sand art exhibition on the beach (7am-9am) and free activities such as face painting, arts and crafts, balloon bending, camel rides on the beach (4pm-6pm) and an acrobatic show at 2pm.
After the high-octane F1 weekend, bring your spirits back to high gear with Ferrari World’s National Day free-view offer. Enter free after 6pm and pay as you go for selected experiences and rides, until December 3. Visit ferrariworldabudhabi.com.
The National Day 10km Walkathon at Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, ensures fitness and fun go hand-in-hand. Fitness classes will be offered at the mall to prep visitors for the Walkathon which starts at 8am and takes place indoors, within the mall. Traditional activities like falconry and henna application will also be on offer. Register for free on yasmall.ae
Yas Mall and World Trade Centre Mall
Head to the Tasleeh shooting competition, running at Yas Mall and World Trade Centre Mall, Abu Dhabi, until November 26 and test if you can hit the bull’s eye. The popular sport that brought the UAE its first Olympic gold medal in 2008 is fitting way to celebrate the spirit of the Union. Winners will be announced on December 2. Call 02-5555303.
Al Maryah Island
Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi is pulling out all the stops for National Day this year. From December 2-3 myriad traditional performance and parades will roll out on the waterfront Promendae - Ayyala and Yola dancers, traditional drummers, police marching band, food trucks and a fireworks display at 9pm. Themed tents - the Desert, Sea and Oasis tents - will featuring educative activities for families based on the three main landscapes of the UAE. Learn khoos making - weaving dried palm leaves into baskets and gargoor making - underwater nets, dessert making and calligraphy dabble in sand art, meet and pet saluki dogs. From 3-10pm
To celebrate the UAE National Day, the Yas Waterworld will host a water battle on December 2 at 11.45am. Visitors are invited to join the fun at Amwaj Wave Pool area where they can choose one of the two teams - Team Dana (red) or the Bandits (green) - they'd like to be part of. Coloured water pistols will be handed out before the battle begins.
Emirates Palace Hotel
Learn about the history and art of Abu Dhabi at the Emirates Palace Hotel. Large video maps will be projected on the five-star hotel displaying the UAE’s heritage followed by a seafront display of fireworks at 8.30pm and a beach party. Don’t miss out on the unique displays inside the hotel - 45 different kinds of dates will be showcased, a traditional heritage village will be set up and a styrofoam dhow painted in UAE flag colours will be exhibited in the Grand Dome area. Dh200 per person, includes food and beverages.
Park Hyatt Hotel and Villas, Saadiyat Island
At the Park Hyatt Hotel and Villas on Saadiyat Island, experience the Emirati art of storytelling in outdoor camps from 6-7pm on December2 then enjoy a buffet of Emirati and international dishes. Dh280 per person. Call 02-4071138 for reservations.
From December 2-4 Dalma Mall Abu Dhabi’s Emirati tent will feature traditional food, Arabic coffee and dates, Harbia dance performances and calligraphy and henna stalls. 4-10pm.
Yas Marina Circuit
The #LetYourColoursFly event at Yas Marina Circuit on December 2 has an array of free entertainment and activities lined up. Enjoy live music by oud players, falconry shows, dance performances and artwork by caricaturists followed by a fireworks display. Children will be kept amused by the arts and crafts section and bouncy castles. Entry is free for all. From 2-7pm
Al Jahili Fort
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority is organising a series of cultural activities for the 45th National Day of the UAE on December 2, from 4.30-10pm at the Al Jahili Fort. Expect music, poetry recitals, family workshops and cultural performances. Visitors can also enjoy Emirati cuisine while watching an air show by Emirates Falcons Aviation Group.
Al Ain Raceway
Al Ain Raceway is offering 35 per cent discounts on ‘Arrive and Drive’ sessions from December 2-3. Dh225 includes 15-minute track time, race gear and safety briefing. From 2-10pm on December 2 and 10am-6pm on December 3. Are you a crack shot?
Al Jimi Mall
From December 1-3, Al Jimi Mall will celebrate National Day by paying homage to the UAE’s rich cultural heritage with traditional activities including Ayalah dance performances, face painting, khoos making, arts and craft workshops and Emirati culinary delights from 5pm to 10pm. Camel rides and falconry are also lined-up for the visitors.
Bawadi Mall has a celebratory procession and activities for kids, including face painting and balloon games. If you’re not the outdoorsy kind, stay at home and still be a part of it all with National Geographic Abu Dhabi’s The Emergence of a Union. The film is a tribute to the formation of the UAE and the unification of the seven emirates. It airs on December 2 at 3pm and 10pm.
The mall will screen historical movies on big TV.
It has also organised games and sports activities for children and adults with special needs bteween December 8 and 10. The activities will take place at a sports arena outside Al Jimi Mall’s east entrance from 5pm to 8pm.
Flag Island and Sharjah National Park
To mark the National Day, a national operetta will take place at Flag Island on December 2. Various activities including ‘We Build with our Hands’, where young Emirati entrepreneurs and SME owners will share their success stories, ‘Oasis of Creativity’ – a series of educational games and artistic workshops – and a show called ‘The United Arab Emirates is my Homeland’. Also for the Year of Reading 2016, a tent will be set up with a collection of books for people of all ages. Visitors to Sharjah National Park will also enjoy folk bands performing traditional Emirati recitals, art workshops, mural painting and a designated area for children's games. A series of competitions and daily draws will also take place. Until December 3.
Sharjah Mega Mall
For National Day, the mall will host various events including Peoples’ Parade and Shaabiat Al Cartoon – a stage show with characters from the popular TV series. Until December 3.
Ras Al Khaimah
Rixos Bab Al Bahr
Award-winning Kuwaiti singer Samo Zaen will be performing at the Rixos Bab Al Bahr on December 2. The half-day use package (Dh600) includes including beverages and tickets to the performance from 8pm to 2am. Or make a staycation of it with the early bird package of Dh1,500, which includes accommodation in a deluxe room for two, beverages, pool and beach access and tickets to the show. For table bookings call 07-2020000.