F1, fireworks and food festivals: 12 things to do in Abu Dhabi over National Day weekend

There is plenty happening in the capital over the five-day break to celebrate, here is a list of them

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Mega colourful fireworks display to commemorate UAE��s 47th National Day at the Corniche on December 2, 2018. (Khushnum Bhandari/ The National)
Powered by automated translation

The UAE is preparing for a long weekend to celebrate the 48th annual National Day – but if you have not made any plans yet, The National is here to help.

As the holiday, celebrated on Monday, December 2, this year coincides with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it is set to be a jam-packed weekend in the capital. There's also plenty happening in Dubai over National Day. Check out our list here.

From concerts and theatre shows to spectacular firework displays, here are all the ways to celebrate National Day in the city:

1. Check out the F1 concerts at Yas Island

The Abu Dhabi Formula One After Race line-up is as impressive as ever this year, as all four concerts feature acts that are at the top of their respective genres. The on-stage action begins on Thursday, November 28, with DJ Marshmello behind the decks. Rapper Travis Scott will perform on Friday, November 29, followed by singer Lana Del Rey on Saturday, November 30. US rockers The Killers will take on the prestigious race-day concert on Sunday, December 1.

Thursday, November 28 to Sunday, December 1; from 6pm; from Dh999; du Arena, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.yasmarinacircuit.com

2. Tackle the world’s tallest indoor climbing wall at Clymb

Clymb Abu Dhabi. Courtesy Miral 
Clymb Abu Dhabi. Courtesy Miral 

Clymb, the world's tallest indoor climbing wall, will finally open on Friday. Located on Yas Island and connected to Yas Mall and Ferrari World, the sporting facility will feature a 43-metre-high wall. There will be a total of four walls of varying and increasing difficulty, which is perfect for beginner, intermediate and expert climbers. The sizeable project will also be home to the world's widest flight chamber.

Friday, November 29; Clymb, Yas Mall, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.miral.ae/en/destinations/clymb

3. Dance the night away with Sigma at Amber Lounge

The UK dance music duo will perform at the lavish Amber Lounge parties at the Yas Links Golf Club. Since forming in 2006, Sigma has steadily built a following with a series of innovative remixes of tracks by Ellie Goulding, Skepta and Groove Armada. The band's breakthrough arrived with 2013 single Rudeboy, which garnered a buzz big enough for the follow-up release, Nobody to Love, which topped the singles chart upon release.

Sunday, December 1, 11pm to 4am; tickets start from Dh3,050; Yas Links Golf Club at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.amber-lounge.com

4. Dive into Emirati history

If you missed any of History of the Emirates, the five-part documentary that traces the UAE's ancient past, on TV this week, then you can catch screenings at Al Hosn. The Abu Dhabi landmark will screen the series by Image Nation Abu Dhabi and Atlantic Production, which presents a deep dive into the country's history and heritage. It stretches back 125,000 years to its present day using CGI technology and 3D camerawork.

Friday, November 29 and Saturday, November 30, timings not yet announced; Qasr Al Hosn, Abu Dhabi; www.qasralhosn.ae

5. Join in with the capital’s biggest National Day Celebration

To mark the UAE's 48th National Day, a huge celebration will take place at Zayed Sport City. Called "The Legacy of our Ancestors", the celebration will tell stories of the UAE's past, using special effects, sounds and visuals to bring the show to life. There will also be a series of live performances during the evening. Tickets need to be booked in advance.

Monday, December 2, 4pm-9pm; Dh60; Zayed Sport City, Abu Dhabi; www.uaenationalday.ae

6. Watch the fireworks on Yas Island

Courtesy Yas Island 
Courtesy Yas Island 

It's set to be a packed weekend on Yas Island, with National Day celebrations after the Abu Dhabi F1. To round off events on Monday, December 2, there will be a classic car parade, as well as a firework display at 9pm. Throughout the day, there will be a number of live performances, ayalla dancers and food stalls.

Monday, December 2, from 3pm; free; Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.yasmarinacircuit.com

7. Toast to the UAE with Arabic Afternoon Tea

Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana will be celebrating the National Day with a number of activities on Monday. From a themed cake cutting to Emirati cooking classes and Arabic afternoon tea offering traditional treats. Guests and visitors will be able to celebrate as well as learn about the county's history and traditions.

Monday, December 2; 12pm-11pm; prices from Dh55; Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana, Corniche Road; 02 657 0000, www.rotana.com

8. Join the high-octane celebrations at Ferrari World

The Yas Island theme park will be ringing in National Day alongside its high-octane rides and attractions. Throughout Monday, December 2, there will be traditional ayalla and Khaleeji performers alongside stilt walkers, while the venue will decorated with ornaments, flags, banners, lights and lanterns.

Monday, December 2; 11am to 8pm; Dh295; Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Island; www.ferrariworldabudhabi.com

9. Watch the polo at Ghantoot Racing Club

United Arab Emirates - Ghantoot - April 9, 2010:

SPORTS: With Ghantoot's Hugo Aberto Barabucci, left, on his heels, Al Basti's Matias Colombres, right, goes to score the team's last goal during the President's Cup Polo Final at the Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club in Ghantoot on Friday, April 9, 2010. Ghantoot won 7-5. Amy Leang/The National
Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club will host a National Day match. Amy Leang/The National

Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club will be marking National Day with a special polo match. As well as all the action on the pitch, the family-friendly day will feature falconry shows and camel and pony rides. There will also be designated picnic areas and the chance to meet and have photographs taken with the polo players.

Friday, November 29; 2pm to 9pm; free admission; Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, Exit 399, Abu Dhabi; www.grpc.ae

10. Get into the UAE colours at Nation Towers

Nation Towers will host a Light Laser Painting pop-up to celebrate UAE National Day. From Sunday, December 1 to Tuesday, December 3, guests can have personalised photos taken with the UAE flag colours, shot under slow shutter exposure to create a mesmerising effect. Nation Towers mall will also be launching a grand prize raffle draw, giving away two Nissan Patrol cars, valued at approximately Dh250,000 each.

Sunday to Tuesday, December 1 to 3, 8am to 12am; Nation Towers, First Street, Abu Dhabi; www.nationtowersmall.com

11. Tuck into a discounted steak

Get a discounted meal at Texas de Brazil
Get a discounted meal at Texas de Brazil

In celebration of National Day, steakhouse Texas de Brazil will be offering 48 per cent discount vouchers to UAE nationals. Diners will be given the vouchers at the end of their meal to be used on their next visit. The deal needs to be redeemed before Monday, December 30.

Monday, December 2, 11am-12am; Texas de Brazil, Yas Mall, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi; www.texasdebrazil.com/

12. Feast at a food festival

Khalifa Park will host a National Day carnival and food festival between Monday, December 2 and Saturday, December 7. There will also be music and fashion shows, comedy shows and cultural exhibitions, all about the UAE.

Monday to Saturday, December 2 to 7, from 8am; free entry; Khalifa Park, Abu Dhabi; www.48flags.com/


Read more:

Hekayah at NYUAD Art Centre returns just in time for UAE National Day

Free upgrades, discounts and deals: 13 last-minute staycations for UAE National Day

UAE residents can register for place on special Emirates Airbus A380 National Day flight