31 amazing things to do at Expo 2020 Dubai... before it's too late
It’s the final curtain call for ‘The World’s Greatest Show’ *sob*. Here’s everything you need to eat, drink, see and do before it’s too late
Things to do: Don’t visit Expo without completing these
1. VISIT THE GARDEN IN THE SKY
For a completely new perspective, take a ride up to the top of the 55-metre-high Garden in the Sky observation tower for a panoramic view of Expo 2020.
2. BRAVE A SLIPPERY SLOPE
The Luxembourg Pavilion features a whopping 21-metre-tall slide, where visitors coast down into a green, woody space that evokes the country’s beautiful forests.
3. HIRE A BIKE
Cycling around Expo is the best way to familarise yourself with the site, but it’s also incredibly fun. Since there are no cars it’s very safe, too.
4. MAKE YOUR OWN DOUGHNUTS
Bread Ahead, London’s Borough Market doughnut legends, offer daily workshops inside its standalone venue at Expo. The intimate sessions guide participants through the process of turning a few basic ingredients into fabulous desserts. Book a session by calling (050) 131 0278.
5. BE A BIG KID IN A GIANT BALL PIT
The Germany Pavilion has become a big hit on the school tour route, but big kids can’t help but love the giant interactive ball pit, filled with 100,000 yellow balls. We say dive right in.
6. PRACTICE YOGA AT THE WATER FEATURE
Switch to zen mode every Monday morning with a free yoga session at Surreal, Dubai’s impressive water feature. The hour-long session is hosted by a rotating list of Dubai’s best yoga teachers, who guide you through a beginner-friendly practice. Book your spot on the Glofox App.
7. WALK BENEATH THE WINGS OF THE UAE PAVILION
Designed in the shape of a falcon in flight, the UAE Pavilion is a major attraction at Expo 2020 Dubai and absolutely worth a visit. Learn about the country’s history and heritage.
8. FILL UP YOUR EXPO PASSPORT
Collecting Pavilion stamps has become the unexpected hit at Expo, and no one’s really sure why. Follow the masses and buy your passport (Dhs40) from any stall on site and get stamping.
9. SIGN UP FOR FREE BOOTCAMPS AT THE SPORTS HUB
Led by the Australian Pavilion’s fitness team, these daily bootcamps mix bodyweight resistance, conditioning and core exercise. Classes are free to attend and take place at 6pm. Sign up here: expo2020sportshub.com
10. SLEEPOVER AT EXPO
Rove Expo 2020 is the only on-site hotel, so why not make the most of your visit by staying over? Click here for your chance to win a one-night stay.
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11. ALKEBULAN AFRICAN DINING HALL
One of Expo’s smash hits, Alkebulan is a two-storey food hall featuring culinary creations from some of Africa’s top chefs. Curated by restaurateur Alexander Smalls, you’ll find fragrant African fusion plates, vegan dishes, seafood options and more inside. Location: Beside Surreal Water Feature. @alkebulandininghall
Another big hitter at Expo is this standalone restaurant that describes itself as ‘Korean with Japanese essence’. The Korean head chef spent decades cooking Japanese cuisine so the fusion creations marry the best of both. Location: Opportunity District. @kojakidubai
13. LONG CHIM
David Thompson, who has made cooking Thai food his life’s work, is the man behind the famous Thai street food chain Long Chim. Head here for authentic flavours from the Land of Smiles. Location: Mobility District. @longchimdubai
14. SCARPETTA MERCATO
Daily-made in-house pastas, locally sourced ingredients, and the region’s first burrata bar make Scarpetta a must-try. Location: Mobility District
Kutir offers an authentic and traditional Indian menu inspired by the tradition of hunting in the jungles of the Indian countryside. Run by Michelin chef Rohit Ghai, the menus feature highly seasonal ingredients with an emphasis on game and seafood. Location: Opportunity District. @kutirdubai
Foodies in the know will be all too familiar with Baron, Beirut’s legendary neighbourhood joint. It was recently named as one of the top 50 restaurants in the Middle East (No.12). Location: Next to Al Wasl Plaza. @baron.dubai
17. JUBILEE GASTRONOMY
Both a rooftop bar and a gourmet restaurant, Jubilee’s intimate chef’s table dining experiences are well worth a visit, when international and local chefs host signature four and nine-courses on rotation. Location: Expo Media Centre, next to Al Wasl Plaza. @jubileegastronomy
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18. THE LOCAL – AUSTRALIAN PAVILION
So far our favourite party spot at Expo, The Local at the Australia Pavilion (close to the Mobility parking entrance) whips up top Aussie tucker (order the chips with chicken salt, and the vegemite cheese toastie) and a huge drinks menu offering everything from Aussie wines and ales to ‘dark and stormy’ cocktails. The outdoor courtyard is cradled by the Australian Pavilion, offering welcome shade during the hotter hours, too. Location: Near entrance of Mobility Parking. @expo2020australia
19. BE HAPPY – BELGIUM PAVILION
Aside from the ridiculously good Belgian waffles and fries available on the ground level of the Belgian Pavilion (located in the Mobility District), you should also head to the rooftop and check out Be Lounge Rooftop Terrace and Brasserie for a range of Belgian classic bites (hello, cheesy croquettes and mussel pots), plus a range of cocktails and Belgian ales. Mondays are ladies’ night, which includes three drinks (based on a Dhs100 minimum spend) from 6pm. Location: Inside Mobility District. @belgianpavilion_expo2020dubai
20. IRIS LOUNGE
Iris Lounge is a two-storey standalone bar close to the UAE Pavilion. The top floor balcony overlooks Al Forsan Park and if you’re lucky you’ll time it right to see a performance at the amphitheatre. Downstairs, meanwhile, is a family-friendly area serving a range of Mediterranean and Japanese bar bites, and there’s a large cocktail menu, too. @irisexpo
21. THE IRISH VILLAGE
Located in Jubilee Park, and naturally next to the Ireland Pavilion, The Irish Village brings a recreation of its iconic Garhoud branch, complete with live music and award-winning pub grub to Expo at this fully-outdoor space. Location: Jubilee Park, next to Ireland Pavilion. @theirishvillage
22. JIKO AND BAR CANE
Alkebulan boldly claims to be the world’s first African food hall. And there is certainly a sense of uncharted waters here, as the impressive two-storey site at Expo 2020 houses 10 chef-led concepts and two additional bars. Both bars are located on the first floor flanking the food hall. The first is Jiko – a cocktail concept whipped up by the team from luxury Nairobi boutique hotel Tribe. The second is Bar Cane, curated by Chef Coco, which utilises African spices to make exclusive cocktails. Location: Jubilee Park. @alkebulandininghall
23. TIAKI – NEW ZEALAND PAVILION
Tiaki has been one of the big names on everyone’s radar since the opening of Expo 2020, and for good reason. Much thought has gone into the food menu at the New Zealand Pavilion’s restaurant and bar, where you’ll find everything from sustainably sourced New Zealand hoki fillet and fries, New Zealand pasture-raised venison, and Marlborough greenshell mussels. But the drinks, served in the restaurant and in the cosy bar/lounge area, are just as exciting, with a range of New Zealand white wines and ales on offer. Location: Close to entrance of Sustainability Parking. @tiakirestaurant
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24. LES MILLS LIVE (MARCH 5)
Workout meets mega music concert as fitness goliaths Les Mills take over the Expo Sports Hub for an energetic all-day fitness festival.
25. BBQ FESTIVAL (UNTIL MARCH 6)
Enjoy smokehouse menus from Alkebulan, The Hill Country Barbecue Market, The Local Farm by Mattar Farms and plant-based options from Just Vegan, with live entertainment and family-friendly activities. expo2020dubai.com
26. ST PATRICK’S DAY (MARCH 17)
Live music, special performances and plenty of great craic spread across Irish Village, Ireland Pavilion and the main stage. @irelandatexpo
27. EXPO CLOSING CEREMONY
While nothing has yet been confirmed for the big concert to end The World’s Greatest Show, you can guarantee it’ll be a night to remember. Stay tuned to WhatsOn.ae for the latest.
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28. ENTRY PORTALS
When you arrive at the threshold of Expo 2020 Dubai, you’ll not help but see the 21-metre tall structure in front of you. The intricate latticework is a hallmark feature of the Islamic civilisation, and worth a spot on your Insta feed.
Location: Entrances of Sustainability, Opportunity and Mobility
29. AL WASL DOME OCULUS
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Affectionately known as the heart of Expo 2020 Dubai, Al Wasl Plaza is the site’s mega visual marvel where all the main shows have taken place. During the day, visitors can wander beneath the 67-metre-high dome, which doubles as a 360-degree laser projection surface for stunning evening shows. Stand beneath the eye of the dome for the all-important Expo selfie.
Location: Al Wasl Plaza
30. WATER FEATURE
Half the size of a football field and completely enclosed, Expo’s incredible water feature has become the site’s biggest draw. Stand barefoot at the base of the waterfall, camera at the ready, and wait for the tidal waves that shoot up and over the top as evocative music plays.
Location: Next to Al Wasl Plaza
31. DODECALIS LUMINARIUM
This immersive, inflatable art installation is a travelling exhibition that arrived at the Expo site last month. Created by Architects of Air, Luminarium features a maze of colourful tunnels and soundscapes that change throughout the day.
Location: Festival Garden