Things to do this UAE National Day: deals, days out and activities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah

Here are a number of ideas on how to spend the five-day National Day break

Emirati star Hussain Al Jassmi will take centre stage for Sharjah's National Day celebrations next month. Ruel Pableo for The National
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

The UAE's 49th National Day is just around the corner. With a five-day national holiday announced, there are plenty of interesting cultural activities to try out across the Emirates.

Here are some to add to your diary.


Al Khawaneej Walk to celebrate traditional UAE culture 

Al Khawaneej Walk will shine a spotlight on Emirati heritage this National Day. Courtesy Al Khawaneej Walk

Al Khawaneej Walk, the community mall located in the heart of Al Khawaneej neighbourhood, is set to mark National Day with family-friendly activities and entertainment, themed around turath beladi (Arabic for "my country's heritage"). From Thursday, November 26 to Saturday, December 5, there will be an Emirati storytelling stage, henna artists on-site and local artisans, who will demonstrate the traditional craftsmanship of fishnets and rowing boats.

Thursday, November 26 to Saturday, December 5; from 4pm daily; Al Khawaneej Walk, Al Khawaneej, Dubai

Emirati buffet at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai

Dine on an Emirati spread at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai's Amaseena restaurant. Courtesy The Ritz-Carlton Dubai

Treat yourself to some fine buffet dining at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai in JBR. Amaseena restaurant is set to host an Emirati spread on Wednesday, December 2. The meal will start with a customary saffron custard drink, followed by a range of locally inspired dishes, including lamb ouzi, shish tawook, lamb chops, shish kebab and lamb kofta.

Wednesday, December 2, 7pm-11pm; Dh299; Amaseena, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai, JBR; 04 318 6150,

Camp out at Laguna Waterpark 

Laguna Waterpark is offering intrepid campers the chance to bed down at the Dubai attraction. Courtesy Laguna Waterpark

This National Day, book a slot for Camping Under the Stars at Laguna Waterpark. The park's overnight camp experience is available to book on Wednesday, December 2 and Thursday, December 3, with only 10 tents available. Guests will check in at 5pm and spend the evening enjoying the water park, as well as an unlimited barbecue dinner, which is on offer until 10pm.

After dinner, campers can relax with board games or sit around a campfire. Breakfast is served in baskets the following morning and checkout is at 10am, but overnight guests are welcome to spend the day at the park.

Wednesday, December 2 and Thursday, December 3; Dh700 for a two-person tent, Dh1,200 or a four-person tent; Laguna Waterpark, La Mer, Dubai; 

Sikka Cafe's Emirati desserts

Emirati restaurant Sikka Cafe is serving regional twists on classic desserts at its Dubai branches this National Day. Must-tries include the pistachio sahlab (Dh25), a traditional Emirati milk pudding, which will be decorated in the UAE flag colours and layered with rose water, milk, pistachio nuts and coconut powder; and saffron milk cake (Dh35), Sikka’s take on a tres leches cake. Plus, from Wednesday, December 2, to Friday, December 4, diners at Sikka's Al Khawaneej branch will enjoy a complimentary traditional afternoon tea experience, featuring Emirati classics such as luqaimat and mini chebabs, from 3pm onwards, with oud music from 6pm.

Various deals, until Friday, December 4; City Walk, La Mer and Al Khawaneej, Dubai;


Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival

AL WATHBA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES- The entrance of  Sheikh Zayed Heritage.  Leslie Pableo for The National

Celebrate Emirati culture at the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival. Taking place until February 2021, the festival, named after the UAE’s Founding Father, celebrates the UAE’s culture and heritage. The festival is based at Al Wathba, and will have a programme of arts, crafts, food and performances throughout its three-month run. There will also be special celebrations over the National Day holiday, as well as falconry displays, camel races and fireworks.

Until February 20, 2021, daily; from 4pm; free; Al Wathba;

Yas Theme Parks

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.

To celebrate the UAE’s 49th National Day, Yas Theme Parks is offering UAE residents 49 per cent off ticket bundles, which will give entry to two of its parks. The deal includes tickets to Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi or Yas Water World when you buy tickets for Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. The offer goes live on Thursday, November 26, and will be available until Wednesday, December 2, and is valid on tickets purchased for dates up to and including Friday, December 25.

Thursday, November 26,  to Wednesday, December 2; Dh220 for two parks; Yas Theme Parks, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi;


A handout photo of Caboodle Pamper and Play at The Galleria in Abu Dhabi (Courtesy: Caboodle Abu Dhabi) NOTE: For crowns in Arts & Life

Over the National Day holiday, children can enjoy the facilities at Caboodle while taking part in cookie-decorating sessions, as well as sensory classes for the younger ones. Parents can enjoy a drink in the coffee room while children play.

Tuesday, December 1, to Thursday, December 3; 10am-10pm; Dh65 for the first hour, Dh30 per hour after, Dh29 for cookie-decorating; Caboodle, The Galleria, Al Maryah Island; 02 584 9546

Kayaking under the full moon

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - August 15, 2019: People kayaking around Louvre Abu Dhabi at night. Thursday the 15th of August 2019. Louvre, Abu Dhabi. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Start your National Day holiday by kayaking around Louvre Abu Dhabi under the night sky. On Tuesday, December 1, the museum's full moon kayaking is back, offering visitors the chance to get up close with the museum's impressive facade, designed by famed architect Jean Nouvel. Not only will you get to see the structure in a whole new light, you will also learn about its construction as you go.

Tuesday, December 1; 7pm-9pm; Dh126 per person; Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island;

Yamanote Atelier

You can't celebrate a birthday without cake, so head down to Yamanote Atelier to try out its special range of National Day sweet treats. To celebrate the UAE's 49th National Day, the Japanese bakery has launched a Spirit of the Nation cake, with chocolate, ganache, cream and gelatin, for Dh75. There are also other themed treats such as Dates Coconut Croissant and Kunafa Brioche Cream, topped with edible UAE flags, for Dh18. While you're there, you can also enjoy the bakery's other delicious treats, including bambukshen with matcha and date croissants.

Until Saturday, December 5; from Dh18; Abu Dhabi Mall and Al Seef Village Mall;


See Hussain Al Jassmi

Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi will headline the 49th National Day show at Al Majaz Amphitheatre on Thursday, December 3. The star will share the stage with a number of young Emirati artists, including Aryam, Jassim Mohammed, Faisal Al Jasim and Oraib, to chart the UAE's remarkable journey.

The venue, which can hold up to 4,500 people, will operate at half capacity in line with Covid-19 safety measures, and proceeds from ticket sales will go to The Big Heart Foundation humanitarian organisation.

Thursday, December 3; 7.30pm; tickets from Dh30; Al Majaz Amphitheatre, Sharjah;