Expo 2020 Dubai tickets and opening hours: Plan your visit

From the metro ride to the site to all the best sights, here's our guide to get you started

Read the latest updates on Expo 2020 Dubai

The countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai has started and with hours to go The National will help you plan your visit.

With more than 190 country pavilions, as well as themed exhibition at the Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability pavilions, 200 dining venues and up to 60 shows a day, organisers expect UAE residents to visit several times during the six month season.

Tourists from all around the world are also expected to travel to the emirate for the world's fair, and Dubai Tourism forecasts 25 million visits between October 1 and March 31 2022.

Visit Expo 2020 Dubai on the opening night

After a one year delay, Expo 2020 Dubai opens on October 1, and organisers are promising an impressive party tonight.

Opera singer Andrea Bocelli, Golden Globe-winning actress, singer and songwriter Andra Day, platinum-selling British pop star Ellie Goulding, Chinese pianist Lang Lang and four-time Grammy winning singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo are all set to perform at Al Wasl Plaza.

Sadly, the curtain-raiser opening ceremony on September 30 is invitation-only, although some people who bought season passes before August 14 have won exclusive tickets.

Normal visitors will have to wait until the doors open at 10am on October 1.

Where can I watch the opening ceremony?

The event is being broadcast live on several platforms, and streamed live to more than 430 locations across the UAE, including 240 hotels.

Global viewers can also catch the night's proceedings on virtualexpo.world and Expo TV from 7.30pm GST onwards.

The National will also be live streaming the event from its website, YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Where to buy your tickets for Expo 2020 Dubai

Day tickets, multi-day passes and season passes for 18 to 59 year olds can all be bought from the Expo 2020 Dubai online ticket office.

Entry is free for under 18s, anyone aged 60 and over, and people with disabilities, who may also bring one companion at half price. Students with a valid identity card from any academic institution in the world can also enter free of charge.

Day tickets are Dh95, while multi-day passes cost Dh195 and are valid for 30 consecutive days from 1st day of use. The season pass lasts the full six months and costs Dh495.

Organisers introduced a special month-long pass for October for the budget price of Dh95 in September.

Visitors eligible for free tickets must still book online ahead of their visit, apart from children under six years old, who will only be issued tickets upon arrival at the Expo site entrance.

Certain peak days require prior reservation via the Expo 2020 website or offical Expo 2020 mobile app, and entry will be allowed based on site capacity, even for season pass holders.

How to be treated like a VIP at Expo 2020 Dubai

If you want to be treated like a VIP while visiting Expo 2020 Dubai, you can sign up for the Jubilee Experience, giving you and your guests access to a special lounge, valet parking, discounts on food and drink, and other perks.

It costs Dh10,000, and includes four season passes, 30 multi-day Passes and 10 one-day passes.

How to do business and entertain clients at Expo 2020 Dubai

Entrepreneurs and executives looking to leverage the world's fair for networking and business development can buy the Premium Experience season pass for Dh1,750.

Valid for six months, it offers priority access to select events, such as Expo’s Programme for People and Planet, and a number of thematic business forums. The pass also offers restaurant discounts, fast track access, plus five entries to the Premium Lounge at 2020 Club by Emaar, to host meetings and enjoy free food and drinks.

Business people looking to entertain clients or future partners can also buy a hospitality package for their guests at the 2020 Club by Emaar. Three hour dining packages cost Dh280 and include parking at Expo 2020, while access to the rooftop bar for an hour, plus two house beverages costs Dh120.

Expo 2020 Dubai has also introduced a Business App to encourage and facilitate networking between business to business (B2B), business to government (B2G) and government to government (G2G) across all geographies and industries.

Thanks to inbuilt artificial intelligence the app suggests potential matches for users based on their profiles, expertise, goals and interaction patterns.

The app can be downloaded for free via WebApp, App Store and Google Play.

How to stay the night at Expo 2020 Dubai

The only hotel at Expo 2020 Dubai is now taking bookings — for around Dh1,000 a night including entry tickets.

The Rove Expo 2020 has 312 rooms, 19 suites and commanding views of the dome of Al Wasl Plaza, one of the main attractions of the world's fair.

Officially it does not open until October 1, and rooms are still available for the first night, priced at Dh1,349 or Dh1,510 with breakfast, but there is a minimum three night stay for the first weekend.

Each room fits two adults and one child, and larger families can book interconnecting rooms. A suite with a balcony costs around Dh1,000 more, and fits four people, two on a sofa bed.

Residents of the hotel get access to the Expo 2020 site throughout their stay, and the hotel also has an outdoor saltwater pool and a self-service laundromat.

What are the opening hours of Expo 2020 Dubai?

Expo 2020 Dubai will be open seven days a week, from 10am to midnight on weekdays (Sunday to Wednesday) and 10am to 2am on weekends (Thursday and Friday) and special days.

How to get to Expo 2020 Dubai

Expo 2020 Dubai has three main gates, to expedite easy access to the site and organisers recommend using public transport as an environmentally friendly way to get to the site.

The RTA has a special S’hail app to help visitors plan their journey, whether they are taking the metro, bus or taxi.

The Metro's Route 2020 takes visitors directly to the world fair. First arrivals to the Expo 2020 Metro Station, with its aircraft wing design are at 6.15am from Saturday to Thursday and 9.15am on Friday. Last departures are at midnight from Saturday to Wednesday and 1am on Thursday to Friday.

Expo Rider buses are a free service for world fair visitors, with stops all over Dubai and the other Emirates. Visitors should remember the drop off location, as they need to pick up the return service from the same gate.

Taxis can also be used to travel to and from the Expo 2020 site, via Careem, Uber or S’hail. Through the Careem app, you can also book ‘Hala Taxi’, which is Dubai’s most affordable taxi. There will be a starting flat fee of Dh20 for rides originating from the Expo site.

For those driving to the Expo 2020 site, parking is free of charge from 8.30am to 00.30 Saturday to Wednesday, and 8.30am to 02.30 Thursday to Friday and special days, in one of four designated parking zones;

  • Opportunity - which is accessed from the E77 Expo Road
  • Sustainability - which is accessed from the E77 Expo Road or D54 Zayed Bin Hamdan al Nahyan
  • Mobility - which is accessed from the E311 Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road
  • Dubai Exhibition Centre - which is accessed from the E311 Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road

Valet parking is also available on a first-come, first-served basis for Dh95, however parking shuttle buses will operate from all car parks to ensure that visitors do not need to walk more than 600m from their vehicle to the gate.

For those with specific accessibility needs, Expo 2020 has a dedicated advice page.

How to get around Expo 2020 Dubai

The site is bigger than 600 football fields, and although organisers say the best way to explore Expo 2020 Dubai is by foot, there are several alternatives, including free shuttles running between key sites, golf buggies to hire, and the ticketed Expo Explorer sightseeing train.

Strollers and wheelchairs, both manual and electric are available for rent at information points, which are located by the four main entrance gates and throughout the Expo 2020 site.

How to avoid queueing at Expo 2020 Dubai

Nobody likes to queue, and previous Expos have been plagued by complaints of hour-long waits for each pavilion.

The organisers of Expo 2020 Dubai have spent months planning a solution, and their answer is a smart queue system, where visitors register, queue virtually, and turn up at the pavilion just in time to enter.

This SmartQ reservation system is best managed on the Expo 2020 app, which also includes an interactive, GPS-enabled map with step-by-step directions and a restaurant booking system.

Every visitor will be entitled to one free Smart Queue pass to visit one of the participating pavilions, which can be booked on the Expo 2020 Dubai website. Once on site, guests will be able to register online to book additional Smart Queue passes for other pavilions.

The thematic pavilions - Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability all have SmartQ available, as do dozens of country pavilions that have opted for the service.

Where can I eat at Expo 2020 Dubai?

There are 200 different dining options at the world's fair, from chi-chi Dh11,000 experiences to street food and automatic snack machines.

Several of the pavilions include in-house restaurants, and there are entire parks dedicated to food trucks.

Organisers of the world's fair wanted to ensure visitors could try food from around the world, so look out for new cuisines from every continent.

How to stay safe at Expo 2020 Dubai

Organisers of the world's fair have implemented several precautionary measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Expo and pavilion staff have all been offered free vaccinations, and visitors and employees are required to wear masks at all times.

Visitors aged 18 and above must present proof of any Covid-19 vaccine recognised by their national government or a negative PCR test taken within the previous 72 hours.

Non-vaccinated ticket-holders who have not been tested within this period can use the testing facility adjacent to the Expo 2020 site. It takes around four hours to get the results. The PCR test will be free of charge on presentation of any valid Expo 2020 ticket.

Thermal cameras at all the arrival points will be used to check the temperature of visitors before they enter the site.

Social-distancing of at least two metres between people is required, and there are markings on the ground indicating the appropriate distance to keep, whether you are queuing, viewing exhibits and performances or enjoying the parks and recreational areas.

Dining areas have tables adequately distanced from one another, and will only allow the appropriate seating capacity.

All venues and common areas are regularly cleaned and sanitised. There are also hand-sanitiser stations positioned at regular intervals throughout the site. Visitors are requested not to visit if they are feeling unwell.

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Updated: September 30th 2021, 10:11 AM
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