Fireworks, free desserts: How you can celebrate UAE National Day this weekend

Commemorate the UAE's special occasion with these fun-filled family activities and culinary offers across the country

By Areeba Hashmi

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Published: Thu 30 Nov 2023, 6:05 PM

Last updated: Thu 30 Nov 2023, 7:14 PM

Magical Winter Season at OliOli

OliOli is redesigning its experiential play museum, which will feature over 45 interactive galleries for family-friendly events. With over 700 miniature pieces, interactive tunnels, and a new lodge with imaginative winter-themed activities, Magical Winterland—the largest miniature winter town in the UAE—is officially open. Standard PLUS tickets for one adult and one child start at Dh149.

Newborn Fun

In Dubai's Springs Souk, Gymboree, a leader in early learning and play centres worldwide, is opening its second branch. The new centre is a hub for kids from newborns to six years old, with a travel theme and fascinating 'Gymbo Around the World' adventures. Decked out in an awe-inspiring travel theme, complete with planes, hot air balloons, and other thrilling components, it will take your small ones to a world of limitless possibilities. Children will get off to a fantastic start because early enrollment offers a 10 per cent discount.

On the house delicacy

Enjoy free complimentary dessert on the national day at Dubai's first gourmet Afghan restaurant, Kishmish. The traditional Emirati Luqaimat dish, served with Afghan ice cream called Sheer Yahk, will be a delightful addition to lunch and dinner. Families and friends are welcome to join in the celebration of the UAE's 52nd National Day, which is being held at the restaurant under the direction of female head chef Iman Nazemi.

Art exhibitions and workshops

In honour of UAE Union Day, Nakheel Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, and Circle Mall are holding free workshops and themed events. Discover an AI exhibition at Nakheel Mall, where famous Palm Jumeirah landmarks are reimagined through AI-created artwork. Ibn Battuta Mall will be hosting interactive classes for free. These include sock puppet design, rock painting, bookend marker making, pot painting, and Khoos weaving. Lastly, enjoy cultural shows in Circle Mall and Ibn Battuta Mall.

Assorted cookies and desserts

On UAE National Day, Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre and Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach will celebrate with homemade pastries and cookies baked from scratch at Shai Salon to pay homage to the rich history of the UAE. Guests can also savour the Emirates Flower, an exquisite dessert with vanilla mousse, mandarin crémeux, and sorbet, made by the artisans at Penrose Lounge and Mina Brasserie.

Colourful displays of lights

The UAE celebrates its pride with one of the most extensive fireworks displays in the world, the Burj Khalifa. Viewing locations include Boxpark, Dubai Water Canal, Business Bay, and Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard Road. Since it's against the law in the UAE to buy and light up personal fireworks, make sure to arrive early to see the display in all of its magnificence.

Shopping frenzy

Dubai offers some of the best shopping experiences in the world, ranging from unique handcrafted goods to upscale premium designer labels. Don't miss out on The National Day Sale, which begins on this day and features amazing deals from participating malls, boutiques, shops, and businesses. Thus, now is the perfect day to look for a fantastic price for your favourite jewellery, clothing, perfume, or souvenirs from your trip to Dubai.

Heritage and culture

If crowds aren't your thing, head to Old Dubai, which offers a range of activities like museums, exhibitions, and traditional Emirati restaurants. It is a must-visit location for UAE National Day. The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding organises events such as storytelling sessions, Arabic coffee competitions, and henna corners. On Saturday, the Al Seef Heritage Hotel will host an Arabian Night with a UAE theme. There will be live oud performances and an Arabic buffet dinner.

Limited edition cakesicles

Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre is launching limited edition cakesicles inspired by the UAE's seven Emirates flag, available for purchase from November 28 to December 2. Designed by award-winning cake artist Beth Lauren, these cakesicles not only delight the taste buds but also visually showcase the UAE's rich heritage. The Cake Boutique offers them in 8 signature flavours, including White Chocolate and Raspberry, Sugar-free Berries, Pistachio and Raspberry, Lotus Biscoff, Cocoa, Cheeky Monkey, 24 Carrot Gold, and Impossible Cocoa, made with seasonal and eco-friendly ingredients. Priced at Dh250 for a box of 8, the cakesicles come in a reusable, elegant packaging resembling a luxurious jewellery box. To order, contact via WhatsApp on 058 600 4547.

National day-themed beverage

Emperor's Lounge at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, The Palm, Dubai, introduces a special drink, the Saffron Latte, in celebration of UAE National Day. This exclusive beverage combines carefully chosen saffron, reflecting the nation's elegance and unity. Accompanied by a curated selection of cakes and Arabic sweets, the Saffron Latte symbolises the UAE's rich heritage. Available from 10am to 8pm, December 1-3, guests can enjoy this unique drink at a special price of Dh52, offering a delightful way to commemorate UAE National Day. For reservations, contact 04 275 4444.

Embark on an adventure

This National Day, thrill-seekers, adventurers, and nature enthusiasts can celebrate the holiday weekend in UAE atop Jebel Jais. Jais Adventure Park and Bear Grylls Explorers Camp. Activities include the world's longest zipline, the Jais Flight, Toboggan ride, and Jais Sky Tour. The Bear Grylls Explorers Camp offers outdoor adventures such as hiking, rock climbing, high ropes, archery, rifle shooting, and abseiling. Celebrate UAE National Day in an adventure-themed style by booking tickets at 04 815 7333.

52 per cent off coffee

Planet Terra, the vegan café, is celebrating UAE National Day on December 2 by offering a 52 per cent discount on all coffee purchases throughout the day at its branches in The Greens and Ibis World Trade Centre. The café features an entirely vegan coffee menu, using natural ingredients without artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, or GMOs. Guests can enjoy classic espresso-based options, speciality drinks like Green Latte and Iced Pistachio Latte, and various brewing methods, including V60, Chemex, Aeropress, and cold brew. The discount is available for dine-in, takeaway, or delivery via Deliveroo. Planet Terra emphasizes a relaxing and eco-friendly atmosphere.

Indulge in a buttery treat

The European Union and the French Dairy Board are celebrating UAE National Day at The Walk at JBR with a food truck showcasing the exquisite flavours of French butter. The bright yellow truck offers visitors various activities, including tasting French butter with baguettes, participating in guessing games, and trying the spin the wheel game. Chef Thomas Duhamel, founder of Odeon restaurant, prepares different butter flavours, and experts demonstrate how French butter enhances various recipes. The food truck is open from 11am to 9pm during the holiday weekend near Sofitel Jumeirah Beach.

Parade, musical performances, and more at City Walk

City Walk is celebrating UAE Union Day with a two-day entertainment performance and a Union Day parade. The parade on December 1, starting at 4pm, will feature Dubai Police on horse patrol, over 60 school students, and 100 performers, showcasing the spirit of unity in the UAE. On December 2, Adel Ebrahim, an Arabic Folk musician, will perform from 8.30-9.30pm. On December 3, Hamdan Al Abri and his 4-piece band, along with Yamane el-Hage and her 4-piece ensemble, will entertain the audience from 6:30 pm onwards. The event aims to celebrate unity with over 200 participants in the parade.

National Day celebrations at Dubai Parks and Resorts

Dubai Parks and Resorts is celebrating the UAE's 52nd Union Day with various attractions and activities from December 1 to December 3. RIVERLAND™ Dubai will host a laser show and the 'Dino Mania' show with interactive dinosaur displays. MOTIONGATE Dubai offers live shows, dance performances, and diverse cuisine. LEGOLAND Dubai will feature sustainability-themed activities, a scavenger hunt, and a UAE flag-themed BRICKS BRUNCH. Lapita, Dubai Parks and Resorts will have flag decorations, live performances, and an Arabian Nights-themed buffet on December 1 and 2. The resort will also offer UAE Union Day-themed treats and activities.

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