Happy long weekend everyone! Here are nine ways to celebrate the UAE’s 45th birthday…

1. Fireworks at Al Maryah Island

The Galleria, Abu Dhabi

There will be fireworks, falcons and Ayyala dancers on hand to celebrate the UAE’s 45th National Day on Al Maryah Island. Hosted along the Promenade of The Galleria, the free two-day celebrations will also include a police marching band, drummers, food trucks and a range of craft activities for the kids including weaving dried palm leaves, calligraphy and henna art. Don’t miss the special fireworks display, done in the colours of the flag, on December 2nd at 9pm.

December 2 and 3
The Galleria, Abu Dhabi Global Market Square, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi, 3pm to 10pm, free entry. Tel: (02) 6166999. Taxi: Galleria, Al Maryah Island. thegalleria.ae

2. National Day Colours at Yas Island


There’ll be a range of family activities at Yas Marina Circuit to celebrate National Day including oud playing performances, falconry displays and henna applications and a fireworks display. There’ll also be inflatable amusement rides and a story time session for kids.

December 2
Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, 2pm to 7pm. Tel: (02) 6599800. Taxi: Yas Marina Circuit. yasmarinacircuit.com

3. Al Jahili Fort celebrations

Al Jahili Fort TCA Abu Dhabi 

Head to this historic fort in the Garden City to celebrate the 45th National Day. The programme includes musical performances, poetry recitations, family art workshops (think photo transfers and palm frond painting) and an air show by the Emirates Falcons Aviation Group.

December 1 and 2
Al Jahili Fort, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, 4.30pm to 8pm. Taxi: Al Jahili Fort. Tel: (03) 7118311. visitabudhabi.ae

4. Live it up at the Ritz

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal Royal Suite Bathroom canal view

The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal has launched a special National Day Royal Package that’ll set you back Dhs45,000 a night. The luxe package is available for two guests and includes a stay in the Royal Suite, with pick-up and drop-off in a limo. There’s also an afternoon tea in the Alba coffee lounge, a 45-minute massage, romantic room set up with 45 roses, as well as a personal butler and Club Lounge access.

 December 1 to 3
Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi Grand Canal, Khor Al Maqta’a, Abu Dhabi, Dhs45,000 per night. Tel: (02) 8188181. Taxi: Ritz-Carlton. ritzcarlton.com

5. Buy handmade goods at Shangri-La

Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts1 

Traditional Bedouin craftswomen from Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts will be making and selling traditional goods using talli and sadu weaving at the hotel. Best of all, all proceeds from the sale will go to support Al Ghadeer and their mission to preserve traditional arts.

Until December 4
Shangri-La, Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 5098888. Taxi: Shangri-La. shangri-la.com

What’s happening in the malls…

6. The Mall at the World Trade Center

IMG_2483 5r

Head to this mall to participate in a tech display that’ll see you help make an image of the founding fathers. There’ll also be a police parade by the Armed Forces marshal band on December 3 from 4pm.

December 1 to 3
World Trade Center Mall, Airport Road, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 5082400. Taxi: World Trade Center Mall. wtcad.ae

7. Yas Mall

Yas Mall

Take a 10km stroll inside Yas Mall for National Day at their special family walkathon event at 8am on December 2. Or if eating is more your thing head to Cascade Dining where the restaurants have created a limited edition menu of 45 dishes for Dhs45, valid from December 1 to 3. There’ll also be face painting, falcon shows and giveaways too.

December 1 to 3
Yas Mall, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, 8am. Tel: (02) 4146401. Taxi: Yas Mall. yasmall.ae

8. Marina Mall

Image 2

For three days you can watch shadow dancing shows and sand art displays at Marina Mall. Or take a ride on the ferris wheel outside, which is lit up in the colours of the flag.

December 3 to 5
Marina Mall, Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi, daily 10am to 11pm. Tel: (800) 6623. Taxi: Marina Mall. marinamall.ae

9. Bawabat Al Sharq Mall


This mall in Baniyas will host live shows, a kids’ activity zone and raffle prizes (including a Nissan Patrol car). Be sure to check out the UAE majlis tent for a cup of Arabic coffee or henna. There’ll also be ayallah and yola dance performances every night from 6pm onwards.

Until December 4
Bawabat Al Sharq Mall, Baniyas, Abu Dhabi. Tel: (02) 5031400. Taxi: Bawabat Al Sharq Mall. basmall.ae