29 brilliant ways to celebrate National Day in Dubai
The best patriotic fun for the UAE’s 46th National Day
Emma Pearson and Melanie Smith
It’s the 46th National Day and we are more than ready to celebrate the heritage of this remarkable city that we call home. We’ve rounded up the best National Day events and deals so you can pay tribute to traditional Emirati culture, whether you’re planning on feasting, relaxing or shopping til you drop.
Activities at BurJuman Enjoy the lavish decorations including a VW Beetle in UAE colours taking pride of place in the mall atrium. There will also be a UAE-themed tent from 5pm to 10pm over the weekend, where you can indulge in complimentary Arabic coffee, dates and henna painting. Free. Until Nov 2. BuJuman, Khalid Bin Al Waleed Rd, Bur Dubai (04 352 0222).
Celebrations at Dubai Garden Centre Pick up some handicrafts, organic products and food, to the beat of some cultural Arabic music. There will also be free camel rides, henna, yoga, live Arabic cooking and cultural shops and plenty of activities for the kids, including face-painting, crafts and a bouncy castle. Free. Dec 2, 10am-2.30pm. Dubai Garden Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.dubaigardencentre.ae (04 590 4000).
Celebrations at Dubai Marina Mall The shopping centre is celebrating the UAE’s 46th UAE National Day with a host of entertaining cultural activities for the whole family including henna artists, complimentary Arabic coffee, falconers at Dubai Marina Mall promenade and more. Free. Dec 1-2, 10am-midnight. Dubai Marina (04 436 1020).
Celebrations at The Dubai Mall In collaboration with the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, your Emirati hosts will welcome you to the Souk Atrium, which will be transformed into a cultural majlis, where you’ll be served traditional coffee and dates as they listen to stories of the UAE’s culture and heritage. Seated beneath the Museum of the Moon, visitors will learn the importance of the moon in Emirati culture. There will also be falconers, calligraphers and henna artists, as well as an art exhibition by Dubai Police outside Paris Gallery, showcasing the momentous occasions that have defined and formed law enforcement in the UAE. And don’t miss The Dubai Fountain, which will dance to the UAE National Anthem in a specially choreographed daily performance. Free. Nov 29-30 and Dec 2-5, Sun-Wed 10am-11pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Downtown Dubai (800 38224 6255).
Cheese feast at Vida Downtown What better way to enjoy the long National Day weekend that with a ton of cheese? Vida Downtown is putting on a cheese-fest with offerings from the UAE and beyond on Wednesday, paired with grape and a selection of tapas. Thursday afternoon is reserved for afternoon tea, with date and pomegranate juice putting a Middle Eastern twist on the old British classic. Dhs135 (Chee(r)se Night, includes three glasses of grape, cheese buffet and tapas). Wed Nov 29 6pm-9pm. Stage 2. Dhs199 (Afternoon tea inclusive of soft drinks). Sun-Thu Nov 30 3pm-5pm. Stage 2. Vida Downtown (04 888 3444).
Discounts at Address Dubai Mall UAE nationals get 46 percent off all spa treatments, plus food and beverages at Na3Na3, Karat and the poolside restaurant Cabana. Dec 2. Address Dubai Mall (04 438 8025).
Discounts at Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai UAE residents get 20 percent off their stay with the warmest Arabian hospitality. Perks include a free buffet breakfast, pool access and a fruit basket on arrival. Prices vary (Mention ‘UAE46’ to redeem the offer). Valid on stays between Nov 30 and Dec 3. Millennium Airport Hotel Dubai, Airport Road (04 702 8888).
Discounts at Rove Hotels To mark the 46th National Day, Rove Hotels are giving away 46 rooms for just Dhs46 a night at rovehotels.com on stays between Dec 12 and 22. And that’s not all, the Beach brunch at The Daily restaurant in Rove Trade Centre, Rove Healthcare City and Rove City Centre will also be priced at – you guessed it – Dhs46 per person on Friday Dec 1. There will also be a flash sale with 20 percent off the best available room rate from Wed Nov 29 to Sat Dec 2, for stay dates from Sat Dec 2 to Sat Mar 31, 2018. Dhs46 (brunch), from Dhs46 (rooms). Promotion exclusive on rovehotels.com.
Discounts at Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche Get closer to the National Day festivities with a stay at the Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche – for just Dhs460 in a luxurious Superior room with a hearty buffet breakfast included. Guests will also be given 46 per cent off selected restaurants, bars and spa treatments, and can enjoy amazing views of the Gulf. What better way to get patriotic than in pure Middle Eastern luxury? Dhs460 (without charges). Nov 28-Dec 3 (subject to availability). Capital Plaza Complex, Corniche Road East, Abu Dhabi (02 813 7777).
Festive Market at Uptown Mirdif This Festive Market began on Thursday November 24 and culminates with a whole host of National Day celebrations on Saturday December 2. Expect traditional ayallah dancers and drummers, camel rides, Arabic calligraphy and face-painting, plus, a kids’ talent competition. Free to attend. Dec 2, 5pm-11pm. Uptown Mirdif.
Enchanted market at The St. Regis Dubai Celebrate National Day with a gander around an enchanted-themed market at The St. Regis Dubai. The gardens will be transformed with beautiful winter stalls and visitors can expect a number of themed UAE National Day activities and attractions that pay homage to UAE culture, including live entertainment, an assortment of national culinary delicacies and a dedicated children’s play area. Free. Nov 29-Dec 2. The St Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor City, www.stregisdubai.com (04 435 5555).
Fireworks and more at Festival City Mall The celebrations will kick off with a flypast by the Al Fursan planes, a fireworks display, aerial performers and a special IMAGINE performance – the mall’s famous record-breaking experience, which will pay tribute to traditional Emirati culture. Free. Dec 2, 1.30pm-11.15pm. Dubai Festival City Mall, www.festivalcentre.com.
Fireworks at La Mer and The Beach What better way to celebrate the holiday than to slip off your shoes and feel the sand between your toes as you take in the beautiful coastline of the Arabian Gulf? Head down to La Mer or The Beach to enjoy a National Day spectacle, as fireworks light up the sky in all the colours of the rainbow (and the UAE). There will also be live Arabic bands, cultural performances, and kids’ workshops from Friday December 1 to Sunday 3. Complimentary coffee and dates will also be served. Free. Dec 1, 9.30pm. La Mer (800 637 227); Dec 2, 9.30pm. The Beach (04 317 3999).
Inventive dessert at COYA COYA has created a special dessert in celebration of the 46th UAE National Day. The passion chocolate marquise features Valrhona passion chocolate, passion fruit, dark muscovado sugar and cream, and pays homage to the colours of the UAE flag. Dhs52. Available Nov 30 to Dec 2, Sat-Tue 12.30pm-4pm, 7pm-midnight; Wed-Fri 12.30pm-4pm, 7pm to 12.30am. Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 316 9600).
Limited-edition eats at 7Elephants Get a taste of some authentic Arabian cuisine with 7Elephants’ National Day Platter Menu, featuring lamb kebab skewers marinated in saffron and turmeric, beetroot hummus mixed with tahini, yoghurt, olive oil and walnuts, and the National Salad, with kale, quinoa, cherry tomato and date. Prices vary. Available Thu Nov 30-Thu Dec 7, noon-2am. Emirates Financial Towers, DIFC (04 3544354).
National Day cakes at Chateau Blanc What better way to celebrate National Day than with a slither (or wedge) of Arabian-inspired cake. Patisserie specialists Chateau Blanc have whipped up an evocative range of sweet treats to commemorate the date, including camel milk cake, rose cheese cake and printed macarons bearing the UAE flag. National Day menu available until Dec 31. Umm Suqeim 2, chateaublanc.ae (04 328 9141).
Limited-edition sweets at Fuzziwig’s Sweeten up your National Day with a range of lip-licking patriotic sweets and treats. Get stuck into the likes of FuzziApples dipped in Fuzziwig’s mouth-watering caramel and topped with green, white, black and red M&Ms or fudge slabs made with Fuzziwigs traditional recipe and decorated with a UAE flag. Say no more… Prices vary. Locations include The Beach, JBR asnd Riverland, Dubai Parks and Resorts, fuzziwigsuae.com (04 554 1151).
National Day deal at Tilal Liwa Hotel Fancy a stay-cay this National Day? Tilal Liwa Hotel are offering a lavish holiday that truly symbolizes the culture and heritage of the country. Expect rooms overlooking the gardens or expansive desert, sumptuous spreads of continental delicacies and a range of thrilling leisure activities including sand boarding and quad biking. Dhs746. Valid Nov 20 to Dec 3. Al-Gharbiya, Western Region, Madinat Zayed, Abu Dhabi (02 894 6111).
National Day feast at LIMA Dubai Celebrate National Day with a Peruvian feast at LIMA Dubai, with signature dishes carefully crafted for the occasion. Dhs250 (including soft drinks). Sat Dec 2 to Sun Dec 3, noon-10pm. The Square, City Walk, Al Safa Street, www.limadubai.com (056 500 4571).
National Day lunch at Blue Orange Blue Orange is hosting a special, one-off, family-friendly National Day lunch, featuring live cooking stations, music and entertainment from Luis the Juggler. Dhs249 (soft drinks), Dhs399 (house beverages and sparkling grape), free (kids under 12). : Sat Dec 2. 12.30pm-3.30pm. The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Al Sufouh (04 511 7373).
National Day menu at Burger & Lobster Burger & Lobster is celebrating National Day with local favourite, madfoon, reimagined with Canadian lobster and served with Arabian spiced rice and yoghurt dressing (Dhs135). The will also be a camel burger available (Dhs63) and saffron date cigars, served with ice cream (Dhs25). From Dhs25. Sat-Wed noon-midnight, Thu-Fri noon-2am. Burj Daman, DIFC (04 514 8838).
National Day Polo Cup Head to the National Day Polo Cup on Saturday December 2 at Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club. The region’s best polo teams compete to win the coveted UAE National Day Polo Cup. There will also be plenty of entertainment, food and activities suitable for all ages, and happy hour will run at Ippos Lounge from 4pm to 8pm. Free. Dec 2, from 12.30pm. Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club, Al Qudra Road (04 361 8111).
See the National Day Parade in JBR Head to JBR for performances of Amazing Dubai, the first-ever theatrical show offering a glimpse of Dubai’s remarkable history, as well as the annual National Day parade featuring stilt-walkers, ribbon dancers, jugglers and jumper stilts. Visitors can also see a Traditional Exhibition showcasing the UAE’s rich heritage and the arts of basket-weaving, fishing net-making and Emirati cooking. There will be face-painting for kids, henna artistry, puppet performances, a special appearance by The Freej cartoon characters and much more. Free. From 2pm (parade at 4pm, 6pm and 8pm). JBR.
Take the kids for a free meal at Carluccio’s If you’re eating out with the family this National Day consider Carluccio’s, where kids dine absolutely free across all UAE outlets (excluding the DXB Airport), throughout the National Day weekend. Adults just need to purchase one main course (available from Dhs39) to take advantage of the offer. From Dhs39 (adults), kids eat for free. Thu Nov 30 to Sun Dec 3. Various locations across Dubai, www.carluccios.com/restaurants/united-arab-emirates.
Traditional dishes at Giardino Enjoy a sophisticated National Day with the upper echelons in the iconic Palazzo Versace’s Giardino restaurant. Traditional dishes including Khamir bread, Dajaj mandi, lamb thareed and shuwwu will be served up in abundance, before popular local desserts including luqaimat and mamool. Dhs220 (food only). Nov 26 to Dec 2, 6.30pm-10.30pm. Palazzo Versace Dubai, Al Jaddaf (04 556 8840).
UAE flag biriyani pots The signature lamb and chicken varieties will be fashioned into the UAE flag, so you can feel proper patriotic as you feast from a traditional clay pot. Dhs41 (chicken), Dhs46 (lamb). Available Nov 30-Dec 2. Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai (04 338 2277).
UAE flag sweets at Bateel Enjoy a luxurious range of Bateel chocolates wrapped in the colours of the UAE flag. If you eat enough of them you might have enough to make a full-sized flag… now there’s a challenge. From Dhs50. Available in all Bateel stores until Dec 2. www.bateel.com/en (04 885 8737).
Water fight at Yas Waterworld Celebrate the UAE’s 46th National Day in a less conventional way – at Abu Dhabi’s biggest-ever water fight. Battle will commence at 11.46am on Saturday December 2 at the Amwaj Wave Pool and participants will be armed with coloured water pistols as they enter the arena. The afternoon will also see interactive games and National Day-themed celebrations. Dhs275 (includes entry to Ferrari World). Dec 2, 11.46am-12.01pm. Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, www.yaswaterworld.com (02 496 8008).