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UAE National Day Events in Abu Dhabi

by Abu Dhabi Travel Planner

Looking to visit Abu Dhabi over the National Day weekend in early December?

It is an amazing time to be in Abu Dhabi. Not only are you almost guaranteed beautiful mild weather in early December, but there is always so much going on!

National Day is celebrated on 2 December to mark the day the country of the United Arab Emirates was formed in 1971 under a Federal Constitutional Monarchy. 2023 marks 52 years of unification.

Details in this guide related to 2022 celebrations – we’ll update this guide later in 2023 with current year events.

As well as celebrating the history and culture of the UAE, National Day also marks the achievements of all Abu Dhabi residents. Children dress in the colour of the flag, and people decorate their houses and cars with all sorts of UAE-themed paraphernalia.

How long is the National Day holiday?

In December 2022, Abu Dhabi residents will enjoy a 4-day weekend from Thursday, 1 December to Sunday, 4 December. The holiday marks commemoration day on the 1st of December as well as the National Day holiday on the 2nd and 3rd. Work will resume for most people on Monday, 5th December.


Fireworks at Al Maryah Island

Abu Dhabi National Day Events in 2022

The traditional National Day show will be broadcast on TV and online, followed by events across the UAE. Here are some of the events due to take place in Abu Dhabi: 

UAE Official National Day Celebration – ADNEC

The Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) will be home to a spectacular, high-tech show that takes visitors on a journey through the UAE’s development as well as looking ahead at the next 50 years. The show highlights the UAE’s ambitions and long-term vision for future generations.

The celebrations will go on for 10 days, with the show closing on Sunday, December 11th. Doors open at 3:00 pm and prices start at 200 AED. For more details, click here.

Celebrate together at Qasr Al Hosn

There will be a full three days of celebrations at Qasr Al Hosn, including traditional performances and workshops as well as a variety of competitions. Workshops include clay stamping (December 1st), perfumed oud making (December 4th). There will also be a live stream of the traditional national day broadcast on a big screen at 6:00 pm.

For more details, click here.

Al Fursan National Day Airshow – Abu Dhabi Corniche

The annual National Day air show normally takes place on the Abu Dhabi Corniche on the 2nd of December between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm; however, please note that this event is yet to be confirmed from official sources for 2022.

We also have no confirmation of fireworks occurring along the Corniche this year.

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Fireworks at the Galleria Mall – Al Maryah Island

This year the Galleria has partnered with the Fatima Bint Mohamed Bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI) to support underprivileged communities around the world. This collaboration will be celebrated over the National Day weekend with a special exhibition of extraordinary hand woven rugs depicting the work of the charity. The exhibition will be on the ground level of the South Atrium and run from December 2nd until December 11th.

The Mall will also be lighting up the skies with spectacular firework displays on both the 2nd and 3rd of December at 9pm.


Family Fun at Umm Al Emarat Park

Celebrate with the whole family at Umm Al Emarat Park this National Day! There will be a variety of dance performances, weaving workshops and henna painting and even camel rides!

Bounce’s pop up trampoline park will also be back as well as the popular ripe market with an array of food and craft stalls. Movies in the Park will kick off at 6.00pm with a family friendly film on both days of the weekend.

As if all of this isn’t enough, the park will also be home to the Miami Vibes food festival this weekend.

Book your tickets in advance at here.

A Spectacle at Qasr Al Watan

No official plans have yet been made, but it is likely that the usual Palace in Motion Sound and Light show will be accompanied by patriotic images of the UAE flag and a rousing rendition of the national anthem as it was in 2021.

The Palace is open daily from 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM over the National Day long weekend.

The Palace in Motion show usually commences at 6:45 PM; we await final confirmation of any 2022 National Day event.

Tickets to the Palace are 60 AED adults; 30 AED children

Learn more at qasralwatan.ae


Celebrate on Yas Island

Celebrations will take place at the Yas Bay Waterfront before a spectacular fireworks display.

Another great viewing spot for the fireworks will be from the restaurants along Raha Beach – Al Muneera and Al Bandar.

View of Yas Bay fireworks from Al Muneera

Be a real culture vulture at the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival – Al Wathba

National Day celebrations including all districts and exhibitions around the festival, fireworks shows, and local and international music.

The festival opens from 4:00 PM daily and stays open until midnight (1:00 AM on public holidays), with a fireworks display due to be held at 9:00 PM on the evening of 2 December 2022 (TBC).

Entry to the Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival is 5 AED per person (under 3’s, elderly and People of Determination exempt)

Learn more at zayedfestival.com

If you will be travelling to Dubai over the long weekend, please see this guide to Dubai National Day events in 2022.

Indulge at The Emirates Palace

A special National Day lineup at Abu Dhabi’s most prestigious hotel will see a traditional cultural celebration under the Grand Dome. Look forward to Ayala Dance, falcon photo ops and date sampling. Held on the 2nd December 2022.

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Check here for more information on Emirates Palace day passes if you’d like to enjoy more extensive activities on the grounds, including their upgraded children’s play zone, bungee trampoline and a palace treasure hunt.

Sign up for the Emirates Palace Picnic to get great views of the National Day air show on the Corniche. There will also be a live Khaleeji concert on December 1st and 3rd at 7.30 pm.

The day will culminate in a beautiful firework display at 9.00 pm.


National Day Fireworks in Abu Dhabi

  • Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Municipality Building 8:30 PM (1 & 2 December 2022)
  • Yas Bay, Yas Island (viewable from Raha Beach, too) – 9:00 PM (2 & 3 December 2022)
  • Al Maryah Island 9:00 PM (2 & 3 December 2022)
  • Emirates Palace Hotel 9.00 PM (2 December 2022)
  • Bawabat Al Sharq Mall 9:00 PM (2 December 2022)
  • Al Shahama (Wedding Hall) 8.30 PM (2 December 2022)
  • Mussafah (Emirates Driving Company) 8.30 PM (2 December 2022)
  • Mohamed Bin Zayed City (Mazyad Mall) 8.30 PM (2 December 2022)
  • Al Shamkhah (at the dock) 8.30 PM (2 December 2022)
  • Sheikh Zayed Festival, Al Wathha time TBC (2 December 2022)
  • Al Dhafra (City Mall, Madinat Zayed) 9.00 PM (2 December 2022)
  • Al Ain Jebel Hafit and Al Ain Municipality building 8:00 PM (2 & 3 December 2022)

Abu Dhabi Discounts for National Day

We can always expect an array of juicy discounts on offer over the National Day long weekend – we will update this listing as we get news of specials in this Golden Jubilee year.

The Emirates Palace

The Emirates palace are offering special rates and staycation packages for the National Day weekend. The deal includes 51 AED per adult in food credit for each day of your stay as well as a complimentary national day themed breakfast and tickets to Qasr Al Watan. You’ll be in the perfect place to enjoy a variety of national day activities as well as fireworks at the end of the day.

For more details click here.

Yas Stay & Play Packages

Book your hotel stay at any of the Yas Island hotels over National Day weekend, and not only will you receive theme park tickets for each day of your stay, but you will also get access to the Yas Bay fireworks and free entry to Yas Beach and Cafe Del Mar.

For more information click here.

Rosewood Hotel (Still TBC for 2022)

Rosewood Hotel on Al Maryah Island will not only offer guests and dinner front-row seats to the fireworks and drone show for National Day but several specials will be running over the long weekend.

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More to come….

Retail Sales

There are special offers across the malls this weekend. Here are a few that stand out:

  • 40% off at Mothercare
  • 40-80% off at American Eagle
  • 25-75% off at Boots
  • Special deals at Bath and Body Works
  • 30-70% off at Pottery Barn


Other things to know about the National Day Holidays in Abu Dhabi

  • Schools, Government offices and most businesses will have two business days off to celebrate this special occasion – visitors should be mindful of this if they need any sort of visa processing etc.
  • Road closures can occur. Khaleej Al Arabi Street will be closed in both directions between 5.30 pm and 8.00 pm on December 2nd. The bridges on Al Maryah Island will also be closed at certain points over the weekend, although these have not been identified.
  • If you have a car, public parking is free! (but be mindful that everywhere can be INCREDIBLY busy!) Take public transport if you can.
  • If you are travelling by private car, plan your trip carefully to avoid road closures.
  • Want to get dressed up?  Go for it!  Traditional dress of the colours of the UAE flag, locals and residents alike wear the UAE’s colours of red, green, white and black with pride; you should feel free to do the same.

More about December in Abu Dhabi!

Also in December – don’t miss the Mother of the Nation Festival (MOTN) taking place from 9 to 18 December 2022 on the Abu Dhabi Corniche – more details and ticket pricing can be found here.

Our complete guide to what’s going on in Abu Dhabi this December can be found here


Before you go… Important things to consider planning a trip to Abu Dhabi

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