22 things to do over National Day weekend
There are four days off ahead due to it being the UAE’s 44th National Day tomorrow.
Which means, yes, that the seven Emirates – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain – all joined up to become one country 44 years ago. How time flies when you’re building multi metropolises in mere decades.
As per usual in Dubai – a city that truly never sleeps – there’s a lot to do over the weekend. Here is our pick of the 22 top options.
THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND
1. Get your nails did, National Day-style
The Nail Spa, which has seven locations across the city (our favourite is the usually-quite-quiet Mercato Branch) has designed some nail art just for National Day. The Burqa-inspired designs come in all of the hues of the emirates – there are five colours to choose from, and cost Dhs20 per nail. Go for one accent nail, or for all 10 if you’re feeling extra dazzling.
Various locations, more info on website.
2. See street art in action
Boxpark is celebrating national day with live graffiti – head down between 2pm and 6.30pm every night from Wednesday to Saturday to see art from four different artists take shape. Then, between 5pm and 11pm, LED dancers and traditional Al Ayallah dancers will be adding some movement to the outdoor mall. There will also be activities for the kids, henna art and Emirati treats. This is just around the corner from CityWalk, so go down on Wednesday night to see the fireworks that are taking off from there (more info below).
Free entry, December 2 to 5, Al Wasl Road, boxpark.ae.
3. Catch aerial bike stunts
The Masters of Dirt show features the biggest international freestyle motocross riders performing some absolutely eye-popping stunts on motocross motorcycles, BMX’s, mountain bikes, quads and even snowmobiles.
Tickets cost Dhs100, December 2 to 4, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, shows take place at 2.30pm and 6.30pm. Buy tickets via Platinumlist.ae.
4. Kick a ball, win a phone
At The Beach opposite JBR you’ll find Robot Goal Keeper, which is indeed a robotic football goalie. The thing is, if you get a ball past this guy you win a smartphone from du. Also down at The Beach you’ll find trampolines, dodgeball, aerobics sessions, basketball and more.
Free, throughout the long weekend, The Beach opposite JBR.
5. Try Fortum and Mason’s National Day-themed Battenberg Cake
Delicious and patriotic, this cake will be on offer all weekend. Also, if you dine in the Restaurant & Tea Salon or The Parlour on Wednesday, kids will eat for free.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, more info on Facebook.
6. Spend lots of money
If you really want to impress someone you could head to the capital and book in for the Ritz Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal’s 44,000 dirham national day package, which includes a night in the hotel’s two bedroom suite for two, four 44 minute spa treatments, a four course dinner and some other fancy things like limo pick ups etc. Head here for more.
7. Watch the World Air Games
Running from December 1 to Saturday December 12, the World Air Games will see parachuters, gliders, aerobatic pilots, hot air balloons and more taking to the Dubai skies to compete at their disciplines. There are a load of events happening all around the city so check out the schedule on the website. You’ll find dropzones at SkyDive Dubai, in the desert at Margham, in Al Sufouh Beach and even at Dubai Mall Ice Rink.
Free entry, various locations, December 1 to 12, see website for more.
8. Go to the Rugby Sevens
A true Dubai classic, the three-day-long Dubai Rugby Sevens has something for everyone: food, parties, family events, sports stars and yes, a touch of rugby. Head down on Thursday for the family day, when entry is free, or go on Friday or Saturday for a more party atmosphere and to see lots of international stars sprinting towards the try line (well, they hope they will be). Oh, and Sonny Bill Williams will be there!
The Sevens Stadium, Al Ain Road, tickets are Dhs300 pre-purchased, Dhs500 pre-purchased for both days or Dhs400 per day on the door. DubaiRugby7s.com.
9. See the sky light up, daily
An all-out, super-colourful fireworks display brought to us from the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing will light up the sky near JBR on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night at 8.30pm. Park up at one of The Beach’s outdoor dining options – we love the pizzas at Fratelli La Bufala – and enjoy dinner and a show.
8.30pm, Wednesday to Friday, more info on website.
10. Get to the Creek
Heritage & Diving Village is a quaint little spot on the Bur Dubai side of the Creek that showcases crafts and activities that are indigenous to the UAE, if you go there in the early evening over the weekend you’ll find performances from Emirati bands, workshops for children and more. It’s also just a lovely place to hang out.
Free entry, Al Shindagha Road, all weekend. Metro: Al Ghubaiba.
11. See a play that bites
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, the Dubai Drama Group is putting on a run of the classic play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The edgy and witty 1962 play centres on what happens when a nasty couple – made up of a quick-witted college professor and his showy wife – drag a young couple into their cruel games after a late night faculty party. The play will be staged at a specially constructed outdoor theatre space in Jebel Ali Village.
Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm performance, email firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your seat for the performance (a suggested donation of Dhs60 per seat), more info at website.
12. Admire decorated boats
Wave as colourful yachts featuring the colours of the UAE flag float past you at the UAE National Day Boat Parade. A good spot to watch the parade, which runs through the Marina, is Dubai Marina Yacht Club because the yacht club is hosting cooking stations on the lawn, competitions and face painting from 12pm to 6pm just for the occasion.
Free entry, Dubai Marina, 12pm to 6pm, more info on website.
13. Walk the seven Emirates, sort of
There’s a seven kilometre walk – which represents the seven emirates – at Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown on Wednesday. It starts at 8.45am. Registration for the event is now closed, but you could go down and cheer the walkers along as you sip on a tea at Karak House or partake in some croissant appreciation at La Serre Boulangarie. Find a map here.
Starting at Downtown Dubai at 8.45am, more info on Facebook.
14. Or look out for bikes
On Wednesday there will also be many, many bikes touring around the city as part of a National Day bike parade. Registration is closed for this event, but it’ll be worth looking out for the bikes because they’re designed so that they will all make up the UAE flag when in unison. They’re starting at 6.30am in Downtown, and will head down Jumeirah Beach Road (so expect some road closures).
Starting at Downtown Dubai at 6.30am, more info on Facebook.
15. See Will Smith’s son on the decks
Trey ‘Ace’ Smith is Will Smith’s oldest son, and he also happens to be a DJ known for his floor-filling house sets. He’s playing at brand new club Noir on Wednesday night. Ladies get three free drinks between 8pm and midnight.
Free entry, Noir Lounge and Cocktail Bar, Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, more info on website.
16. Eat loads of burgers
Original Wings and Rings is hosting a mini-burger eating competition on Wednesday night (which is likely to be less-than-appetising to watch). You’ll have two minutes to eat as many sliders as possible, participation is free of charge and the winner takes home an iPhone 6. The scoff fight kicks off at 8pm.
Free entry, Liberty House, DIFC, more info on website.
17. Watch fireworks in Jumeirah
At 9pm on Wednesday, the skies above City Walk will light up with a four-minute-long fireworks display. Throughout the day at the outdoor mall you’ll find kids activities (1pm to 5pm); LED dance performances (5pm to 7pm) and free Ghaf seed giveaways (that come with instructions on how to plant the tree that has great significance in UAE culture).
Free to watch, Safa Street, Jumeirah 1, more info on website.
18. Book flights
FlyDubai is offering 44 per cent off the base fare of their flights if you book between 10am and midnight on National Day. Visit the website on Wednesday to see what the special offers are (you just have to be willing to travel between now and the end of March 2016).
19. See a master of turntables in action
Hip hop legend DJ Yoda is gracing us with his presence this Thursday night – you can expect a set featuring hip hop, funk and soul. Our sister mag Hype, which is about all things nightlife, really rates him – they assure us his night will be about the music but also about the AV and Yoda’s showmanship. The night, which is hosted by Deep Crates Cartel, will run from 9pm to 3am.
Dhs100, Level 41, Media One Hotel, more info on Facebook.
20. Seek soulful music
Playing tonight at Media One Hotel, Yoruba Records boss and prolific DJ/producer Osunlande, who is originally from St Louis Missouri, is all about deep soulful house.
Free entry, 6pm to 3am, Dek On 8, Media One Hotel, Media City.
21. Light up a Christmas tree
A cute little spot, Pantry Cafe at Al Wasl Square is hosting a Christmas tree lighting ceremony this Friday at 5pm. Santa Claus will make a special appearance, the giant tree will be lit up and there will also be carol singing and festive treats.
They had us at treats.
Free entry, 5pm to 7pm, Al Wasl Road, more info on website.
22. Stare in wonder at the world’s best flyboarders
In further proof that Dubai is becoming the capital of extreme, we’re playing host to the Flyboard World Cup this weekend – with the action particularly plentiful on Saturday. If you make it down you’ll see the world’s best shoot out of the water looking like aquatic supermen.
Free entry, from 2pm December 5. Al Sufouh, more info on website.