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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Fireworks, concerts and more: Where to celebrate Saudi National Day in Dubai and Abu Dhabi 

Expect a lot of fireworks across the UAE as we celebrate the occasion on behalf of our closest neighbours

National Day celebrations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Faisal Al Nasser / Reuters
National Day celebrations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Faisal Al Nasser / Reuters

This Sunday marks the 88th Saudi National Day - marking the anniversary of King Abdulaziz forming the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.

While there will be plenty of celebrations in Riyadh and Jeddah, the streets of Abu Dhabi and Dubai will also be lit up in green. Here's a guide to what's happening.

1. Sunday: Fireworks on Abu Dhabi Corniche and at Yas Marina

Saudi-themed fireworks at Yas. 
Saudi-themed fireworks at Yas.

There will be a fireworks show at 8pm on Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi to celebrate on Sunday night, and then at 9pm you can expect to see more than 8,000 fireworks light up the Corniche in the colours of the Saudi Arabian flag.

2. All weekend: A lit up Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai

The Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain will put on a coordinated show to celebrate Saudi National Day, which commemorates the formation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after a royal decree by King Abdulaziz in 1932
The Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain will put on a coordinated show to celebrate Saudi National Day

From September 20 to 23, the Burj Khalifa will light up in the pattern of the Saudi national flag, with the Dubai Fountain also coming to life thanks to special choreographed shows to mark the occasion. The fountain shows will run at 8.10pm, 9.10pm and 10.10pm. Residents of Saudi Arabia will also get 50% off many attractions in Downtown Dubai over the weekend, from Dubai Ice Rink to the VR Park, Reel Cinemas and Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo.

September 20 to September 23

3. Saturday: Khaleeji tunes at City Walk

On Saturday night, City Walk will host a free concert starring Saudi singer Dalia Mubarak and Emirati artist Shamma Hamdan from 8.30pm. Riyadh-born Dalia won hearts as a contestant on Arabs Got Talent, and sings in both Arabic and English. Shamma Hamdan also came to prominence on the reality show at the tender age of 18, and her sound combines a wide range of influences - including even flamenco - here is one of her newest tunes:

8.30pm onwards, next to Hub Zero, City Walk, free

4. Saturday: A parade at The Beach

From 6pm at The Beach near JBR you'll find a special parade to honour Saudi Naitonal Day, with horses marching along to melodies from KSA.

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Read more:

Your definitive list of things to do in Dubai

Your essential guide to things to do in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain

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5. All weekend: Saudi Cinema Festival at The Beach, JBR

Dubai’s The Beach, JBR, is to hold its first Saudi Cinema Weekend to celebrate Saudi National Day, which takes place on September 22. From September 20-23, audiences can enjoy a selection of Saudi short films screening at The Beach’s Roxy Cinema including Tawfik Alzaidi’s story of fatherhood and sacrifice The Other, Mohammed Salman’s tale of fighting superstition The Wedding Dress, Mamdouh Salem’s biography of King Abdul Aziz Al Saud Desert Eagle, and Abdulaziz Alshlahei’s Young Adult Drama The Departed.

6. Thursday: A special welcome at Abu Dhabi Airport

Traditional Harbiya dancers will greet all visitors flying in from Saudi Arabia at Abu Dhabi International Airport on Thursday. Then, all Saudi nationals will get vouchers for restaurants in the capital upon arrival, including CuiScene, Olea, Mezzaluna and Sofra Bld.

7. Sunday: Fireworks at La Mer

New Dubai beachfront suburb La Mer will host a huge fireworks display at 8.30pm on Sunday September 23: you'll also be able to see traditional Saudi dance at 7pm and 8.40pm, and be able to ogle supercars from 7pm to 9pm on Saturday.