Expo 2020 New Year's Eve celebrations: from midnight 'ball drop' to fireworks and food

Organisers say events planned will be 'the largest ever held in the Arab world'

Visitors watch the fireworks display during UAE National Day at Expo 2020 Dubai. Similar shows are being planned for New Year's Eve. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

Held every five years, World Expos are rare occasions where visitors get a sneak peek into some of the greatest innovations that have shaped the world. Expo 2020 Dubai taking place in the UAE right now also makes this year's New Year's Eve all the more special.

Follow the latest updates on Expo 2020 Dubai here.

With 192 pavilions, myriad exhibitions, hundreds of restaurants and non-stop activities, there are experiences for every taste. To welcome 2022, organisers have planned round-the-clock entertainment featuring world-class DJs, two stunning fireworks displays and even a midnight "ball drop" at Al Wasl Plaza, the centrepiece of Expo 2020.

The celebrations planned will make it "the largest event ever held in the Arab world", said Tareq Ghosheh, chief events and entertainment officer at Expo 2020 Dubai. "We are thrilled to host a spectacular celebration of top-class entertainment and activations, welcoming 2022 with open arms and renewed optimism for a brighter future,” he said.

Aligned with numerous global time zones across 13 hours of festivities, Expo 2020’s New Year’s celebrations will begin at 3pm on Friday and last until 4am.

Here are some of the events not to be missed:

Armin van Buuren and Dimitri Vegas's 13-hour party

DJ Armin van Buuren will be one of the star attractions at the Expo 2020 Dubai New Year's Eve party. Dolores Johnson / The National

Fresh from performing in front of more than 100,000 people at the Soundstorm festival in Riyadh, the dance music stars will take the stage as part of an epic 13-hour party ending at 4am on New Year's Day.

Vegas's set will take place on the Jubilee stage from 11.30pm on Friday, while van Buuren will take over the decks from 1.30am on Saturday. Organisers say both artists will lead an international line-up of DJs hailing from the Mena region, India and the Philippines.

Midnight 'ball drop' at Al Wasl Plaza and fireworks

Expo 2020 Dubai New Year's Eve celebrations will feature two fireworks shows. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

A Times Square-style ball drop will be one of the main attractions on December 31. The countdown to 2022 will be led by drones at the Expo, with two fireworks shows – the first one blasting off at the stroke of midnight, and then again at 3am, as a nod to Expo's world fair status. Celebrations will be capped off by events across the attraction by 192 country pavilions, all heralding 2022 in show-stopping style.

Food trucks, kiosks and restaurant specials

The newly-opened Festival Garden in Expo’s Jubilee Park, featuring communal seating, a main stage and more than 120 food concepts including food trucks, kiosks and carts, will offer the perfect place to enjoy music and entertainment for the entire family.

Meanwhile, 70 restaurants across the site are offering set menus, DJ performances and entertainment throughout New Year’s Eve:

- African dining hall Alkebulan's al fresco New Year’s Eve party on the terrace includes an all-you-can eat offer, with open house beverages as well as live entertainment for Dh650, from 8pm until 3am.

Alkebulan dining hall at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

- At Long Chim, the famous Thai restaurant, which made its Dubai debut at Expo 2020, expect a six-course menu featuring some of the eatery's biggest hits. Prices start at Dh380 and go up to Dh1,110. Dinner is served from 7pm until midnight.

- There will be unlimited pizza and beverages on New Year's Eve at Bread Ahead Bakery & School. Indulge in their classic margherita and beef chorizo pizzas and enjoy the festivities while you sip on some ice-cold drinks. Dh199 for 90 minutes.

- Famed Washington restaurant Cafe Milano will offer an Italian feast with an a la carte menu, including a welcome drink and amuse-bouche from the chef, to ensure your year ends perfectly and 2022 is off to the best start.

Signature pasta dishes served at Cafe Milano, Expo 2020 Dubai. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

- Sports bar Garden on 1's New Year's Eve package includes a buffet and unlimited beverages with prices starting at Dh350.

- At Canvas by Coffee + Culture, there will be a three-course meal with unlimited drinks for two hours, starting at 8pm. For groups of 12 or more, pre-ordering is mandatory. Prices are from Dh290.

- Mudra, the fine-dining vegan rooftop concept's plant-based party comes with live DJ’s and one of the best views of the Expo fireworks. Party starts from 9pm until late. Prices start at Dh3,000 for a table of six people.

- Adrift Burger Bar is offering its hit burgers and epic shakes with packages from Dh350 per person. Party starts at 9pm.

- At the Denmark Pavilion, De2Have restaurant will be hosting a Danish-style New Year’s Eve celebration on the rooftop, with a six-course traditional Danish menu. Prices start at Dh495, with entry from 10pm. The dress code is smart.

- Boasting one of the best views of Al Wasl Plaza, Jubilee Gastronomy's seven-course set menu is priced at Dh1,995 inclusive of premium beverages.

- Scarpetta Mercato is offering a five-course set menu of Italian delicacies starting at Dh600. Located in the Mobility District, the restaurant is “tucked away from the crowds, with an outdoor patio available upon request”, according to its Italian chef Paolo Dorigato.

- Michelin-lauded chef Rohit Ghai's restaurant Kutir will have an authentic feast of Indian delicacies curated by the chef himself. Prices start at Dh375.

- The National by Geoffrey Zakarian, an outpost of the American-Armenian chef's New York City restaurant, has a set menu of signature dishes and comes with awesome views of Al Wasl Plaza. Prices start at Dh850.

- Hailing from Beirut’s fashionable Mar Mikhael neighbourhood, Baron is known for its focus on fresh produce, innovative dishes and sauces, and sharing-style plates. At Expo, chef-patron Athanasios Kargatzidis’s licensed restaurant is located at Al Wasl Plaza, with the dome serving as its backdrop. New Year's Eve packages start at Dh850.

A dish by Baron restaurant at Expo 2020. Photo: Baron restaurant

- With one of the best views of Al Wasl Plaza, 2020 Club by Emaar is the place to be to catch all the New Year's Eve action. Packages for the night start at Dh388 and go all the way up to Dh1,888. There are also separate rooftop party rates starting at Dh888.

- Another property bound to offer great fireworks views, Sky Bar packages start at Dh399 with doors opening from 9pm. There will also be complimentary canapes per table.

- Enjoy cuisine from the heart of the Levant at Grand Beirut as well as an authentic Lebanese experience filled with art, culture and food with a curated set menu. Dh599.

Scroll through the gallery below for images from Expo 2020 Dubai's Christmas decorations:

Updated: December 26th 2021, 11:34 AM