The end of Ramadan will soon usher in another important festival: Eid Al Fitr.
With many enjoying a five-day break for the occasion, there are plenty of exciting and engaging activities across the Emirates.
In time for the holiday, Covid-19 protocols have been updated in Abu Dhabi. Commercial activities, tourist attractions and events have returned to full operating capacity and extended Al Hosn green pass validity to 30 days. Face masks will still need to be worn in indoor spaces across the UAE.
Here, The National shares a list of fun, family-friendly things to try out, from free entry to cultural sites to concerts, and checking out new restaurants and menus to Eid fireworks.
Eid Al Fitr in Dubai
Eid Big Breakfast for Dubai Food Festival
The Dubai Food Festival is preparing for a special event. The DFF Eid Big Breakfast promotion will run from Monday to Friday and during this time diners can enjoy exclusive breakfast menus at restaurants and cafes across the emirate.
Nearly 20 venues are involved, including Hillhouse Brasserie, Bistro Des Arts, French Riviera and Zaatar w Zeit.
For information on all of the venues participating in the DFF Eid Big Breakfast promotion, click here.
Until Wednesday, May 4; various locations across Dubai.
Make the most of Global Village’s final week
Global Village’s 26th season is entering its final week, with doors closing for the summer on May 7.
This year, there are 26 pavilions representing more than 80 cultures from around the world, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Africa, the Americas, China, Egypt, Europe, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, South Korea, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Yemen and Russia.
Visitors can also enjoy internationally acclaimed dance show Burn the Floor, which has made its regional debut with a regular slot on the attraction’s main stage. The high-voltage show features daring choreography by a troupe of international dancers.
Sunday to Wednesday, 4pm-midnight, Thursday to Saturday, 4pm-1am; from Dh15, children under 3 and seniors over 65 go free; Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road and Emirates Road, Exit 37, E311; 04 362 4114, www.globalvillage.ae
Live music at Time Out Market Dubai
Throughout Eid, casual dining spot Time Out Market Dubai will be hosting an array of musicians, singers and DJs onstage, offering a soundtrack while you dine.
On May 2, Jordanian singer-songwriter Dina Stars will be entertaining the daytime crowd with her renditions of pop and R'n'B hits from 1pm until 4pm; while night time is given over to DJ Dadou, who’ll be spinning tracks from 8pm until 11pm.
On May 3, a DJ will be busting out the electro-beats between 1pm and 4pm, with Carl and The Reda Mafia bringing their signature "Funk Jam" from 7pm until 10pm.
For the final evening in the line-up, on May 4 catch Canadian-Lebanese singer-songwriter Danny Aridi onstage from 1pm until 4pm, followed by DJ Frezidante on the decks from 8pm until 11pm.
Open daily; Monday-Thursday 12pm-midnight; Friday 12pm-1am; Saturday 10am-1am, Sunday 10am-midnight; Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai www.timeoutmarket.com
In bloom at Dubai Miracle Garden
Enjoy the colourful spectacle of more than 150 million flowers before the season ends on Sunday, May 15.
Children and adults will love the life-sized, flower-clad Emirates A380, along with the sunflower field. There’s also a Smurf’s village, floral clock, lake park and plenty of floral structures for Instagrammable moments.
Open Monday-Friday 9am-9pm; Saturday and Sunday 9am-11pm; Dh55 for adults, Dh40 for children aged 3-12; www.dubaimiraclegarden.com
Watch Burj Khlaifa’s Eid light show
Across the Eid holiday, there will be a new Burj Khalifa light show and a new Dubai Fountain show to celebrate the end of Ramadan.
These will take place each day at 8pm, and will be choreographed to specially created music and visuals.
Elsewhere across the weekend, visitors can enjoy extra fountain shows starting at 2pm, running every hour until 5pm, when they will run every 30 minutes until 11pm.
Saturday to Wednesday, April 30 – May 4; 8pm; free; Downtown Dubai
Visit new restaurant The Pods on Bluewaters Island
New Instagrammable restaurant The Pods opens its doors on Bluewaters Island on Sunday, offering a unique dining experience.
Featuring 22 all-glass, air-conditioned private pods of different sizes, the spot takes outdoor dining indoors, just in time for the summer months.
The pan-Asian menu is a fusion of Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine with a modern twist, and the pods’ interiors, packed with foliage and unique design features, offer the perfect backdrop.
Open daily from Sunday, May 1, noon-1am; Bluewaters Island, Dubai; 04 453 8994, email@example.com
Celebrate the life of Umm Kulthum at Dubai Opera
Musical Umm Kulthum and the Golden Era will make its regional premiere on May 3 after being launched with a one-off show at the London Palladium in the West End in 2020.
Written by Saudi Arabia's Mona Khashoggi, the show traces the life of the singer, born Fatima Al Biltaji, from her poor upbringing in rural Egypt to her rise as one of the world’s greatest singers.
It features many of her signature tracks (sung in Arabic with English subtitles), such as Enta Omri, Alf Leila We Leila, Fakarouni and Al Atlal.
The work also explores how Umm Kulthum captured the tumultuous and revolutionary period facing the Arab world during her five-decade career, which began in the 1920s, and how she reached the top of what was then a male-dominated Arabic music industry.
Tuesday to Thursday, May 3 – May 5, 8pm; from Dh350; Dubai Opera, Downtown Dubai; dubaiopera.com
Watch Eid fireworks at The Pointe
The Pointe on Palm Jumeirah will mark Eid with a fountain show and a fireworks display on the first day of Eid Al Fitr, May 2, at 9pm.
The multicoloured fountains, which are the world’s largest, will light up in sync to music as a fireworks show takes place in the sky above, with Atlantis, The Palm as a backdrop.
Monday, May 2, 9pm; free; The Pointe, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai; thepointe.ae
Afrojack and Steve Aoki at the Coca-Cola Arena
Head to the Coca-Cola Arena for the one-two electro house punch of Afrojack and Steve Aoki. Enjoy back-to-back performances from two of the biggest names on the DJ circuit.
Grammy winner Afrojack will be bringing his signature mix of electro, trap, pop and progressive house beats to the fan-favourite music venue.
Steve Aoki will be laying down the EDM tunes that have made him a huge hit on both sides of the Pond.
Tuesday, May 3, 6pm; tickets from Dh195; Coca-Cola Arena, www.coca-cola-arena.com
Visit Waterfront Market, Deira
On the promenade, with a fantastic view of the skyline, the Waterfront Market is a popular destination of an evening when it gets cooler.
As well as picking up fresh food, including spices, fresh fruit and vegetables, and seafood, until May 4, visitors can also enjoy a variety of activities being held especially for Eid Al Fitr.
Expect performers along the walkway, including a tanoura dance performance and qanun player, as well as the chance to have some henna art applied. Guests can also visit the traditional majlis for Arabic coffee, dates and Eid sweets.
Saturday, April 30 – Wednesday, May 4; 4pm-10pm; www.waterfrontmarket.ae
Eid Al Fitr in Abu Dhabi
Louvre Abu Dhabi's programme
Louvre Abu Dhabi has curated a programme devised for the festivities. This includes a selection of film screenings, a concert set to a silent movie, drawing sessions for children and an ongoing audiovisual experience by Emirati artist Ahmad Al Dhaheri.
Various dates; Louvre Abu Dhabi, Saadiyat Island; louvreabudhabi.ae
Activities at Yas Marina Circuit
Free fitness sessions are taking place and prizes can be won at Yas Marina Circuit this Eid. There is 20 per cent off retail experiences, including on-track driving experiences, and the Eid Speed Challenge will take place on Tuesday. Karting fanatics can also test their skills in the Sodi World Series Eid Sprint Karting Race on Friday.
There are also free-to-enter Les Mills classes and on-track TrainYas and TrainAM sessions running throughout the week.
Until Friday, May 6; Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island; www.yasmarinacircuit.com
Free entry to Al Ain's cultural sites
Cultural sites in Al Ain will celebrate Eid with special Al Ayyala and Al Harbiya traditional performances at Al Ain Palace Museum and Al Ain Oasis. Other sites to visit include Al Jahili Fort, Qasr Al Muwaiji, Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa and Al Qattara Arts Centre.
May 2 and 3; 4pm to 6pm; free; various locations in Al Ain
Yas Island theme parks
Visit the theme parks on Yas Island for family-friendly Eid entertainment as live Al Ayyala dancers will be present at all the attractions.
Yas Waterworld will also have face painting, henna tattoo and airbrush tattoo designs in The Souq area, while Ferrari World features enthralling rides and will have an Italian Eid feast available in their Mamma Rosella restaurant.
Meanwhile, Warner Bros World continues with The Batman season, with themed shows and activations, until the end of May.
Throughout Eid; www.yasisland.com
Concerts at Etihad Arena
Amr Diab will make his concert debut at the Yas Island venue on May 3. The Egyptian singer has been the reigning pop king in the Mena region since his 1983 debut album Ya Tareea.
On May 4, two other popular Arab pop stars will team up for a night of exquisite balladry as Kadim Al Sahir, one of the most successful Arab singers, and Sherine Abdel Wahab take to the stage.
May 3 and 4; 7pm; tickets for Amr Diab are Dh100, tickets for Kadim Al Sahir and Sherine Abdel Wahab are Dh250; etihadarena.ae
Vegan brunch at the Abu Dhabi Edition
The Abu Dhabi Edition is hosting its first vegan brunch. Created with Michelin-star chef Tom Aikens, the three-course menu includes king kale salad, cauliflower tabbouleh, charred aubergine steak and black rice pudding for those with a sweet tooth.
It’s available Monday to Thursday throughout Eid and then moves into a weekly Sunday slot.
May 2 to 5; 1pm to 5pm; Dh155; The Abu Dhabi Edition, Al Bateen; 02 208 0000; www.editionhotels.com
See Stan the T-rex at Manarat Al Saadiyat
A Tyrannosaurus rex called Stan — the most expensive fossil to be sold at auction — is on display at Manarat Al Saadiyat.
The 67-million-year-old, 11.7-metre specimen, thought to be the world's most duplicated T-rex fossil, fetched $31.8 million at a Christie’s auction in 2020.
The exhibition is on until May 12. Stan will eventually become part of the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi when it opens in 2025.
Until May 12; 10am to 8pm; free; Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi; www.manaratalsaadiyat.ae
Find peace at Al Ain Oasis
Al Ain Oasis was the first Unesco World Heritage Site in the UAE, and is a beautiful spot to while away a few hours under the shade of thousands of date palms.
This 1,200-hectare estate is home to more than 147,000 palm trees with about 100 different varieties. Take a stroll or hop on a bicycle and ride around the oasis, passing the hundreds of small farms in it.
Be sure to visit the welcome centre on arrival. Here, you can see interactive exhibits on how the oasis works and what’s being done to ensure traditional farming methods can continue in the future.
You can also see the traditional irrigation system in use throughout the oasis. The technique is more than 3,000 years old.
Head to Cove Beach Abu Dhabi
Enjoy a day in the sunshine at Cove Beach Abu Dhabi. The beach club will have live DJs playing from 1pm until 4pm on Monday and Tuesday, which will provide the soundtrack to brunch inside at Two.0 restaurant.
The menu includes a selection of seafood and sushi dishes, with three hours of flowing drinks for Dh299.
Dh299; 1pm-4pm, Monday and Tuesday; Cove Beach Abu Dhabi, Makers District; covebeachabudhabi.com
See an Eid light show at Qasr Al Watan
For a dose of Emirati culture, visit Qasr Al Watan. Admire the palace’s architecture and interiors, and browse the exhibitions and a vast collection of artefacts and manuscripts.
Acquaint yourself with the legacy of the region at the House of Knowledge, an enlightening exhibition that focuses on the vast achievements of the Arab world.
On the first day of Eid Al Fitr, there will be a sound and light show at the attraction. The Palace in Motion show transforms the exterior of the Palace with an audiovisual display telling a visual story of the UAE’s past, present and future.
Adults tickets Dh60, Dh30 for under 17s; 11am-7pm, daily; Qasr Al Watan, Abu Dhabi; www.qasralwatan.ae
Eid Al Fitr in Sharjah
Eid Days shopping extravaganza
Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry has launched Eid Days, which will run throughout the holiday as part of the 32nd Sharjah Ramadan Festival.
The event includes raffle draws at Sahara Centre and Al Rahmaniya Mall, with prizes including luxury vehicles up for grabs, and there will be family-friendly events taking place at various venues in the emirate, as well as discounts of up to 75 per cent to be found in shopping malls.
Arabia Wildlife Centre, Sharjah
Home to a huge and varied array of Arabian wildlife, the centre in Sharjah remains a hidden gem.
See gorillas, leopards, oryx and more at the zoo, and visit the natural history museum, Islamic botanical gardens and petting zoo.
The museum boasts interactive features to stimulate young minds, while in the gardens outside, the shaded green lawns make for the perfect picnic spot.
The petting zoo offers the chance to feed goats and sheep, and pet the horses, while the tranquillity of the gardens are the perfect place to end the trip.
Sharjah Dhaid Road Interchange #9, Sharjah; Dh15 adults, Dh5 children aged 12-16, children under 12 free; 9.30am-2pm daily, closed Friday. Opening hours subject to change during Eid, 06 531 1999
Go visit Sharjah's Al Madam 'ghost town'
You don't have to spend money to check out this eerie "ghost town" of Al Madam in Sharjah, just a hardy 4x4 to cross the terrain.
The abandoned village, slowly being reclaimed by the sands of the surrounding dunes, feels more like the set of a post-apocalyptic film than just an hour from bustling Dubai Marina in the Sharjah emirate.
Strolling through the empty homes, each drowning in grains, feels like walking through a truly living museum crafted by Mother Nature.
Watch live Emirati performances around Sharjah
There will be live musical performances to watch in destinations around Sharjah this Eid Al Fitr.
Al Qasba and Al Majaz Waterfront in Sharjah city, as well as Khor Fakkan Beach, will play host to performances that include Al Ayyala Dance, a Liwa performance. The free shows will take place from 5.30pm on the first three days of Eid.
Free; 5.30pm-10.30pm, daily throughout Eid Al Fitr; Al Qasba, Al Majaz Waterfront and Khor Fakkan Beach, Sharjah
Free entry to Mleiha Archaeological Centre
For the Eid Al Fitr holiday, entry to the Mleiha Archaeological Centre is free for adults and children.
Typically priced at Dh25 a person, the centre is built around a tomb from the Bronze Age. The museum is filled with multimedia displays, exhibits, interactive displays, artefacts and information points.
Free; 9am-9pm, Thursday to Saturday, 9am-7pm, Sunday to Wednesday; discovermleiha.ae
Walk on the wild side at Sharjah Safari Park
Sharjah Safari is home to more than 120 species, including endangered animals native to Africa, the rarest of which will be the black rhinoceros.
More than 1,000 native and African trees, including the umbrella-shaped Acacia tortilis, have been planted across the site.
Visitors will be able to experience the safari through 12 themed "environments", each representing a region in Africa, and the life and terrain of the animals and birds that live in them.
Eid Al Fitr in Ras Al Khaimah
Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority has launched RAK Airventure, a new tethered hot-air ballooning experience, in time for Eid Al Fitr.
It's available exclusively at Manar Mall and opened to the public on Saturday. The family-friendly experience offers breathtaking aerial views of Ras Al Khaimah’s diverse natural and urban scenery.
It's suitable for all ages and the flight lasts about 10 minutes, as you soar almost 30 metres above the ground.
It's open daily from 5pm until sunset. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult and tickets cost Dh75.
Learn about pearl-diving in Ras Al Khaimah
Why not acquaint yourself this Eid break with one of the UAE's oldest industries? Suwaidi Pearls in Ras Al Khaimah hosts regular tours teaching visitors about the history of pearl diving.
The pearl farm is out at sea and can be reached only by a short boat ride. There, visitors will get a brief history lesson on an industry that has been a local tradition for thousands of years.
Suwaidi Pearls produces tens of thousands of oysters each year, of which 60 per cent create pearls.
Visitors will learn about the Suwaidi family's history with the ocean and the pearls and how Ras Al Khaimah is fondly referred to as "the pearl of the Emirates".
Eid Al Fitr in Ajman
Kayaking at Al Zorah Nature Reserve in Ajman
The best way to soak up the beauty of Al Zorah Nature Reserve is by kayak. The calm waters around the lush green mangroves also make it an ideal spot for beginners.
Spanning an area of more than 1 million square metres, the mangroves are home to more than 102 species of native and migratory birds, including pink flamingoes.
The area is abundant with a variety of corals, fish, molluscs and indigenous flora, making it a highly sought-after destination for tourists, and scientists and researchers.
Eid Al Fitr across the UAE
Go to the cinema to watch an Eid blockbuster
Every year, blockbuster Arabic films are released to celebrate Eid, and this year is no exception.
Ashbah Europa, Zombie Ala Janbi, Wahed Tany, Elankabot and El Gawahergy will all be in UAE cinemas in time for public holidays from May 2.
A version of this story was originally published on April 29, 2022.