In this age of global travel, New Year’s revelers are spoiled for choice. It’s not easy to pick from varied holiday destination gems such as Edinburgh, London, Sydney, Hong Kong, Reykjavik, New York, Rio de Janeiro or Koh Phangan. But if your favorite style of celebration is to be enthralled by one of the world’s most modern skylines lit up in a massive fireworks display, consider Dubai’s yearly NYE festivities – in which the UAE and neighboring Kuwait have been known to try and outdo each other in years past. During the 2014 New Year celebration, Dubai set the world record for the largest firework display with a nearly unfathomable record of 479,651 shells released during a six-minute show!
It’s no ordinary celebration, typically kicking off with an epic display from the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa, echoed in following minutes by displays at other famed locations such as the Burj Al Arab and the Palm Jumeirah.
A detailed schedule of the show is usually released in local papers such as The National UAE closer to the date. However, be advised to book early and plan ahead – especially if you want to avoid the New Year festivities’ congestion. Many revelers will find themselves struggling to find a vantage point on the streets of downtown Dubai or pushing to get through the doors of The Dubai Mall to access ideal views. To avoid the hassle, choose from our convenient selection of locations to catch the fireworks so that you can enjoying celebrating with loved ones on the day of and capturing photos that will certainly become the envy of all your friends on social media!
Now is as good a time as many to plan how you’ll celebrate the conclusion of 2016. It’s worth doing research about which events are happening in advance, then picking which ones appeal to you the most. Avoid travelling long distances on NYE, as you will find the public transit system and roads very, very busy. You don’t want to end up watching the show from your car! To catch the best views of Dubai’s spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks, get ready to reach your planned viewing spot before 6.00 pm on 31 December.
Stay at a hotel that acts as a well-located vantage point
Enjoy spectacular views from your hotel room’s balcony or its rooftop, where you’re likely to beat large crowds as you ring in 2017 with your nearest and dearest. Located in the heart of Dubai’s prestigious Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Oaks Liwa Heights Hotel Apartments is just minutes away from the Palm Jumeirah, where much of the action takes place. The property can be booked as part of our Club Escapes programme.
Wine and dine on a New Year’s Eve dinner cruise
The magnificent wooden dhows on Deira Creek are part of Dubai’s attractive charm. Book a 3-hour dhow cruise – dinner and alcohol included – and enjoy live entertainment leading up to the countdown. Cruises board at 9.00 pm and depart at 10.00 pm. Prepare to be wowed by the fireworks exploding over the water, and, in the distance, those being set off at the Burj Khalifa.
Book a dinner reservation around the Burj Khalifa
Although this is one of the pricier options, try keeping an eye on Timeout magazine for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day specials. Some top picks with excellent views include the 360° Restaurant and Bar, Atlantis – The Palm and downtown Dubai’s restaurants and cafes.
Go out with a bang, party style
For something not too outrageously priced, Bidi Bondi on Dubai’s Palm Shoreline throws a great NYE party overlooking the Burj Al Arab fireworks, with views of Burj Khalifa from a distance. Alternately, head to the Barasti Beach NYE party, NYE Party at Aqua, or Souq Madinat Jumeirah to soak in great views, great music, delicious canapés and beverages -including alcohol.
Enjoy a (dry) standing ovation
Those who do not wish to reserve a restaurant can head downtown and pool together in a crowd with thousands of others to wait for the fireworks on either side of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard. Downtown festivities begin from 8.00 pm onwards in Dubai Mall Fountain area, but aim to arrive before 6.00 pm to stake out your spot: this location fills up quickly. Note that the consumption of alcohol is prohibited on the street.
Drive to secret locations recommended by locals
According to locals, a big open sandy space near the ENOC Petrol Station is the closest viewpoint for the Burj Khalifa fireworks display and also a vantage point for the nearby Festival City Fireworks. Arrive early around 8.00 pm, park your car and wait for the show to start.
For a view of the fireworks at the billowing, sail-shaped 7-star Burj Al Arab hotel on the water, drive down Al Wasl road near the property to scout out a parking space. Locals recommend to park at a distance (so that you can escape the post-countdown beach road stampede), and then find your preferred spot of choice on foot.
For those who don’t have access to a rental car, try catching the fireworks from the MBK tower rooftop parking garage in Business Bay.
Celebrate the alternative way in Dubai’s exotic desert
Avoid crowds by escaping to the top of the highest point of the desert in Al Warqaa, where you can watch the city fireworks from a distance. Or, create your own fireworks show in Dubai’s desert on a safari. Ask a local friend how to get out to a campsite, or try booking a NYE desert safari tour package with a local operator.
Finally, there are quieter options for those who prefer to be dazzled from a distance by the pizzazz. If that’s the case, remember that you can always enjoy fireworks from a local friend’s balcony or television screen, over homecooked countdown dinner. Happy New Year!