Looking to visit Abu Dhabi over the 50th 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 also 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. 2021 marks the country’s Golden Jubilee – 50 years of unification.
Golden Jubilee celebrations will take place alongside Commemoration Day (previously known as Martyrs Day) which takes place on 1 December to coincide with National Day Celebrations on 2 & 3 December. Most UAE residents are granted a 4 day weekend to celebrate.
In December 2021 Abu Dhabi residents will enjoy a 4 day weekend from 1 December to 4 December.
Abu Dhabi National Day Events in 2021
Although there are many social distancing and health advisories still to be followed due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Golden Jubilee celebrations should see a triumphant return to public gatherings in the Emirate.
UAE Official National Day Celebration – Hatta
The official ceremony for National Day 2021 will take place in Hatta (Dubai) this year, with the event to be broadcast across the Emirates on the evening of 2 December 2021.
The theatrical broadcast will take place in the dramatic Hatta Dam, Hatta Mountains from 5:30 PM as the sun sets. Viewers will be taken on a journey through the land’s history, present and future through creative storytelling.
You will find more details and how to live stream the event, along with a great briefing on the UAE’s history here – uaenationalday.ae
In addition to the main ceremony, the site at Hatta Dam will be open to the public for a further 9 days from 4 December 2021 for repeat performances.
- 4th December 2021 – 12 December 2021
- Proof of 2 vaccinations Or Valid PCR negative test within the last 72 hours of the event.
Qasr Al Watan
Over the course of the day, 2 December, visitors can enjoy classical Emirati music performed by Abu Dhabi Police’s Music Band with the Symphony of the Nation, taking listeners through UAE’s rich heritage.
The usual evening Palace in Motion Sound and Light Show will be preceded by a patriotic projection of the UAE flag alongside a rousing rendition of the UAE National Anthem on 2 and 3 December 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 the National Day event.
Tickets to the Palace are 60 AED adults; 30 AED children
Golden Jubilee Special! Qasr Al Watan is offering the first 50 visitors to the palace a 50 per cent discount on admission tickets. Visitors can take home a memento to remember the day’s celebrations at Dh50 each.
NB – if you have purchases tickets during the day to visit Qasr al Watan you can return in the evening for the show.
Golden Jubilee celebrations will take place at the soon-to-open development of Yas Bay Waterfront.
Yas Bay will officially open on 1 December 2021, with fireworks taking place 1 to 3 December at 9:00 PM. National Day celebrations with live entertainment will take place between 5:00 PM and 10:00 PM on 2 to 4 December 2021.
Entry will be free and parking on site will be limited!
Another great viewing spot for the fireworks will be from the restaurants along Raha Beach – Al Muneera and Al Bandar.
Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival – Al Wathba
National Day celebrations including all districts and exhibitions around the festival, fireworks shows, 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 2021 (TBC).
Entry to the Sheikh Zayed Heritage festival is 5 AED per person (under 3’s, elderly and People of Determination exempt)
If you will be travelling to Dubai over the long weekend, please see this guide to Dubai National Day events in 2021.
Louvre Abu Dhabi National Day Installation
Marking the UAE’s 50th National Day, Louvre Abu Dhabi will display artworks from across the seven emirates.
On 2 December, the museum’s dome will be transformed into an audio-visual installation reflecting 50 years of the UAE. There will be a roller-skating rink in collaboration with Madrollers, open to children in the afternoon and adults in the evening. Also enjoy a digital wall-mapping showcasing videos and images of the UAE over 50 years with a DJ playing nostalgic Emirati music.
Tickets to this special event at the Louvre Abu Dhabi are priced at 150 AED.
Al Maryah Island
Al Maryah Island will be marking the occasion of the country’s 50th National Day with their #IAMUAE celebrations over 2 to 3 December 2021.
Across Plaza Level South, guests can take part in an interactive installation for National Day. Upload a selfie as part of a social media mural of the UAE’s flag. There will also be mementoes including pins and flags to collect among food and beverage stalls, workshops and entertainment.
The occasion will be finished off by a free fireworks and drone show on 2 & 3 December from 9:00 PM.
A special National Day line up 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 both 2 and 3 December 2021.
If you are seeking an adults only evening affair, then look out for Majid Almohandis and Aseel Hameem performing at the palace on December 1, 2021, at Emirates Palace! Book tickets here.
Check here for more information on Emirates Palace day passes if you’d like to enjoy more extensive activities in the grounds including their upgraded children’s play zone, bungee trampoline and a palace treasure hunt.
National Day Fireworks in Abu Dhabi
- Yas Bay, Yas Island (viewable from Raha Beach too) – 9:00 PM (2 to 4 December 2021)
- Al Maryah Island 9:00 PM (2 & 3 December 2021)
- Corniche 9:00 PM (2 December 2021)
- Bawabat Al Sharq Mall 8:00 PM (2 December 2021)
- Sheikh Zayed Festival, Al Wathha time TBC (2 December 2021)
- Al Ain (exact time and venue TBC) 9:00 PM (2 December 2021)
We also understand there WILL be an airshow held on the Corniche this year on 2 December 2021 but we are yet to get confirmation of timing.
Abu Dhabi Discounts for National Day
We can always expect an array of juicy discounts on offer over the National Day long weekend – we’re updating this listing as we get news of specials in this Golden Jubilee year.
Yas Stay & Play Packages
Book your hotel stay at any of the Yas Island hotels over National Day weekend and not only will you received theme park tickets for each day of your stay, you will get access to the Yas Bay fireworks and free tickets to explore Qasr al Watan, the Presidential Palace.
Yas Island also has many special deals and offers you can find on their Yas for 50 promotion
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.
In addition to Staycation weekend packages, save 50% on all Sense Spa Journey treatments and facials from 1st to 4th December 2021. You can also avail a 50% savings on an Annual Fitness Membership purchased at Rosewood Abu Dhabi between 1st to 4th December 2021.
More to come….
Other things to know about the National Day Holidays in Abu Dhabi
- Schools, Government offices and most businesses will have 2 business days off to celebrate this special occasion – visitors should be mindful of this if they need any sort of visa processing etc.
- If you have a car, public parking is free! (but be mindful everywhere can be INCREDIBLY busy!) Take public transport if you can.
- 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 on in December – don’t miss the Mother of the Nation Festival (MOTN) taking place from 9 to 18 December 2021 on the Abu Dhabi Corniche – more details and ticket pricing can be found here.
- Find a detailed guide to Christmas in Abu Dhabi here
- Find a detailed guide to New Year in Abu Dhabi 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
- Pop into our essential planning information page, it includes everything you need to know about getting around Abu Dhabi, a handy guide on what to pack as well as top tips for first-timers on the dos and don’ts, laws, and customs in the UAE.
- Check the most up-to-date COVID entry rules for Abu Dhabi.
- Don’t forget to pack your travel insurance!
- Discover the best places to stay in Abu Dhabi, or bag a bargain on your accommodation here:
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