Expo City Dubai: five things you can see and do

The UAE's first fully pedestrianised neighbourhood has opened its doors and entry is free

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For Expo enthusiasts who want to relive the magic of the world’s fair, but without the heavy crowds, now is the time.

Expo City Dubai, the UAE’s first fully pedestrianised neighbourhood, opened its doors to the public on Thursday, with free entry for all.

There is plenty on offer for those looking to spend a few hours at the Expo 2020 Dubai legacy site, including tours inside the two pavilions that are currently open to the public — Terra and Alif. Entrance fees for the pavilions are Dh50 each.

Chris and Patricia Cruz were among the first visitors of the city and decided to book into the Rove, the only on-site hotel located next to the Al Wasl Dome.

“We were huge expo fans and we wanted to experience it again,” said Mr Cruz, a systems engineer who visited the grand event with his wife more than 10 times in six months.

“There’s always something to do here. We stayed at the Rove so we could be the first ones here as soon as the pavilions opened.

“We’ve been biking, walking and eating from the food trucks. And we got to explore the Alif pavilion again, which is built so creatively.”

A buggy ride around Expo City Dubai as it opens to the public

Alif, The Mobility Pavilion. Expo City Dubai opens. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The couple will be spending three nights at the hotel and plan to bike around the site early morning each day.

As of now, only a few things are open to the public, but more will be available from October 1.

So far, only the Alif and Terra pavilions are open, as well as a few food trucks. There are also buggies available to tour the site.

Despite the lack of experiences right now, the walkable city is still worth a two- to three-hour visit, especially for families and groups of friends looking for weekend activities on a budget.

The National also took a tour of the neighbourhood on the first day of opening. Here are five things to do during your visit.

Explore the Alif pavilion

Because the site is not too busy, it is possible to get a private tour of the popular pavilion and explore it thoroughly.

Located in the Mobility District, it is offering the same experience as it did during Expo 2020.

The exhibition highlights innovations from the Arab region that have led to advances in exploration, including from the ninth century to the modern era.

The interactive experience starts with an ancient settlement in the Dubai desert and ends with a glimpse of the future on Mars.

Enjoy the creativity at Terra pavilion

Located in the Sustainability District, this pavilion also has the same offerings as it did during the six-month show.

The structure features a 130-metre-wide oval building at its centre.

It has a circular sprout-like solar panels called Energy Trees huddled around it.

The site is fitted with 4,912 solar panels and 18 energy trees, generating 4GWh of electricity per year.

Have a snack from the food trucks

There are a few food trucks open around the site, especially outside the two pavilions.

They offer water, fresh juice, frozen yoghurt and other snacks.

More dining options will be announced soon.

Have a picnic

Having a picnic at Expo City Dubai is a great way to spend the weekend.

Children, especially, would enjoy the fresh air and open space to play.

There still are some grass areas in many different parts of the site, but some spots are blocked off.

Because there are not any restaurants open until October, it is recommended that visitors bring their own food.

Bike or take a walk around the site

Expo City Dubai is the UAE’s first fully pedestrianised neighbourhood, meaning visitors can explore the entire site on foot or on bikes.

Health, fitness and well-being are at the core of the city’s development, with 10 kilometres of cycling paths, a 5km running track and 45,000 square metres of parks and garden.

Timeline of Expo 2020 Dubai — in pictures

Updated: September 01, 2022, 12:13 PM