Sponsored: including Mariah Carey and three huge festivals…

We might be on the final lap of 2023, but if you think Abu Dhabi is slowing down for a single moment you haven’t been paying attention. We’re now deep into what has been one of the biggest Q4s ever for entertainment and events in the capital with highlights that have included the F1, UFC, the World Tennis League (with performances from 50 Cent, Akon, Ne-Yo), comedy gigs galore, music shows, festivals and theatrical spectaculars.

But there’s still so much more to come this final week and into the new year. These are just some of our favourite attractions and happenings happening in Abu Dhabi soon…


New Year’s Eve celebrations

In addition to all the big traditional individual parties, fireworks displays, dinners, and galas – Abu Dhabi has a whole lot of family-friendly winter whimsy up its sleeves for December 31. There is, for example, the New Year’s Eve concert by one of the Arab World’s biggest musical stars, Egyptian pop sensation Tamer Hosny.

There will also be New Year’s Eve fireworks across the emirate. The displays will be at various locations including Abu Dhabi Corniche, Al Maryah Island (The Galleria), Yas Bay Waterfront, Sheikh Zayed Festival, and Hudayriyat Island in Abu Dhabi. In Al Dhafra region, you catch fireworks at Madinat Zayed (Public Park), Ghiyathi (behind TAMM Center), Al Mirfa (Al Mugheirah beach), and Liwa International Festival (Moreeb Dune 2024) and in Al Ain you can see the sky light up at Hazza bin Zayad Stadium.

Three big festivals

We’re talking here about Liwa Festival, the Mother of the Nation festival (MOTN) and the Sheikh Zayed Festival – all of which will be available to visit in the lead up to, and on the day itself, of New Year’s Eve. MOTN, which is dedicated to the legacy of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Mother of the Nation, is spread across three areas of Abu Dhabi – Al Dhafra, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi Corniche. Visitors can enjoy carnival rides, art installations, retail experiences, some huge culinary collaborations, and stunning live performances by musical superstars Tamer Hosny and Saif Nabeel. 

Where can I watch Eid fireworks in Abu Dhabi

Tucked away in a corner of Abu Dhabi’s desert, LIWA Village has emerged from shifting sands to stage a festival showcasing an alluring range of unique entertainment experiences, motorsports activities and cleverly curated attractions. The 2023 Liwa Festival culminates on December 31, making this week your last chance to explore its seven zones – including a traditional Souk, vibrant Oasis, and thrilling Carnival area. New Year’s Eve will be marked with a series of live concerts set against the serene desert landscape. Get your desert groove on with a trio of New Year’s Eve performances on 31 December, with Khalid Abdulrahman, Eida Al Menhali and Hamad Al Ameri.

Liwa festival featured

The Sheikh Zayed Festival is scheduled to keep the fun and cultural learning rolling until March 2024, but as always – they have a very special, record breaking celebration planned for December 31. Celebrations will include an extravagant firework display which is expected to last longer than 60 minutes, breaking four Guinness world records in terms of quantity, time and design detail. Lighting things up will be over 5,000 drones that will hover over the Al Wathba skies, also setting a regional record, in addition to a huge laser show, special presentations by the Emirates Fountain, Glowing Towers Garden and the various pavilions of the Festival, along with a number of cultural performances from around the world.


Music icons appearing at the Saadiyat Nights festival

Huge musical superstars are headed to Saadiyat Island this January, with Grammy Award winning Mariah Carey kicking off the first ever Saadiyat Nights. The three-month long music festival starting on January 6 will also bring other world-renowned musicians including legendary Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli and the iconic Iranian performer GooGoosh to the island.

Explore nature

Just outside the city centre of Abu Dhabi, the Mangrove National Park (Eastern Mangroves) offers visitors the opportunity to explore one of the region’s most fascinating natural habitats. Whether your goal is a fun and relaxing family day out, a spot of light exercise amongst the serene mangrove greens, meeting the local wildlife or to learn about the ecosystem and how we can help protect it, this is swathe of Abu Dhabi evergreen is the perfect place to reconnect with nature in 2024.

Mangroves abu Dhabi

Looking at art in a different way

Did you know you can take kayak tours of the great Louvre Abu Dhabi? Allowing you to observe the buildings and grab some privileged pics from rarified angles. With timings options from morning to twilight, you can trace the dome’s lunar-like curves and watch the ballet of artificial light, water and shadow create their own masterpieces on the exterior of the gallery. Once a (lunar) month you’re even able to do it under the warm glow of a full moon.

Amazing stays

From island safaris to off-shore tropical idylls, from desert oases to five-star city centre palaces – there is no shortage of variety in Abu Dhabi’s collection of luxury-class hotels. But for an altogether different way to relax and rejuvenate, head to one of Abu Dhabi’s Pura Eco Retreats for high-end, leisure-pleasure, glamping excellence. Stargaze under the shadow of the emirate’s highest peak at Jebel Hafit Desert Park, or soak up the verdant scenes of mangrove-hemmed Pura Eco Retreat Jubail Island. It’s a great way to start 2024 with some extra zen in your step.

For more information about how to make the most of the New Year in Abu Dhabi, visit: visitabudhabi.ae

Images: Provided