| Victoria Zurakowski
The Insiders’ Guide to Dubai Expo 2020
What to Do at Dubai Expo 2020
Like many things last year, Dubai Expo 2020 was cancelled. But as the world is slowly starting to open, previously postponed and cancelled events are now going ahead, albeit a little later than planned, including the renowned World Expo 2020.
What is Dubai Expo 2020?
With their powerful slogan, "Connecting Minds and Creating the Future” through sustainability, mobility, and opportunity, organizers of the Dubai Expo 2020 know what it takes to build a better world. As a global melting pot and popular layover hub, it's fitting Dubai hosts the World Expo 2020.
Why Dubai Expo 2020 and not Dubai Expo 2021? Like most things scheduled for last year, the event didn't go ahead. But the name has remained the same for the sake of branding purposes.
After a year's break and almost zero travel, we're excited that the world will be under one roof, which will allow different countries to showcase their approaches to sustainability, mobility, and opportunity. This is something we feel passionate about at Sand Dollar Dubai.
From Afghanistan's old bazaar-inspired booths, soft cashmere, and sweet-smelling saffron to experiencing New Zealand's native Māori culture that connects its people to the environment, there's so much to see and do at the Dubai Expo 2020.
What To Do at Expo 2020
In total, there are 192 participating nations and many other cool features that include fire-spitting waterfalls and an immersive interactive video games room.
The Expo 2020 is divided into three districts: Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity. If you're looking at what to do at Expo 2020, it makes sense to tackle each of the three districts separately.
When exploring the Sustainability District, you'll get to witness some of the most advanced technology in the world in action. You'll be able to learn first-hand about what different countries from all four corners of the globe are doing to champion sustainability. If a high-tech future excites you, this would be a great place to start your Dubai Expo 2020 experience.
In the Mobility District, you'll be able to see the endless connections we have in the world. Travel through different horizons and learn how humans have changed mobility over the last few centuries and continue to do so while learning about cultures from around the world.
You'll be inspired by the World Expo's Opportunity District. Learn how just one person can unlock 8 billion opportunities to encourage growth among individuals and communities. In this District, the focus is on creating a better tomorrow by becoming the agent for change. One notable sector of the Opportunity District is the Youth Empowerment Programme that organizes daily and weekly activities and projects specially designed to empower youth and help build the necessary skills to get ahead.
Expo 2020 Location
The Expo 2020 location spans a whopping 438 hectares between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with the main event site being Al Wasl, a central plaza.
But if it's your first visit to Dubai, there are many things to see and do outside the perimeters of the World Expo 2020. From the most Instagrammable places in Dubai to the famed Beach Road, there are plenty of things to keep you busy when visiting the city.
Beach Road Jumeirah
Affluent, chic, edgy, elegant, a little boho - there are several words to describe one of our favourite districts. When in Dubai for the World Expo 2020, be sure to visit Beach Road.
The Michelin 2-star restaurant, Tasca, serves some of the best small but bombastic plates in town - from cones of wagyu to the succulent tempura cod cakes, there aren't many mezze restaurants that can beat it.
Beach Road also offers a plethora of out-of-this-world shopping experiences where no two malls are the same. One noteworthy Beach Road shopping outlet is the beautifully designed Renaissance-inspired Mercato Mall, which comes complete with quaint cobbled pathing and independent pizzerias, not to mention our newest Sand Dollar store. Boxpark Dubai, a mall constructed entirely from abandoned shipping containers, showcases local talent and emerging designers and is worth visiting.
For more cool places to check out on Beach Road, make sure to read our extensive guide to Beach Road.
Family Fun in Dubai
Expo 2020 has tons of interactive and educational activities for kids, but for some unadulterated fun, Dubai is also home to some of the best waterparks in the world. Thrill-seekers will love Laguna Waterpark's hair-raising water rides while taking in the picturesque sea views Dubai is famous for. Wild Wadi Water Park is also worth a visit. Dubbed one of the best waterparks globally, it brings together Arabian folklore with fun-filled water attractions
The little ones love playing make-believe at KidZania. From dressing up and immersing themselves in the role of a firefighter to playing doctors and nurses - this kids' zone is more than just fun - it's educational as well.
For some more family fun inspiration, read this piece on how to entertain the kiddies in Dubai.
Nighttime Fun in Dubai
Dubai Expo 2020 by day - the city by night! Dubai is one of the region's most popular hubs when it comes to nighttime fun.
When in Dubai, a nighttime Safari adventure should be on your list. Land Rover rides, wildlife spotting, falconry displays, and traditional barbeques under the infinite desert sky make for a memorable (and different) night.
Dubai also has a romantic side to her, and there are plenty of classy venues to head for some adult time. Head to the Mint Leaf to get the most epic nighttime views of the Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai. Mint Leaf, which is on the 15th floor of the Emirates Financial Tower, offers some of the best Indian dishes, including a range of exotic meats.
Iris, a trendy and happening Lebanese bar in Downtown Dubai, is a great place to unwind after a day at the World Expo 2020. With its buzzing atmosphere, moody lighting, disco vibes, and extended opening hours, Iris is the place to head for a laidback night of sushi, drinks, and music.
Do you fancy a romantic, kid-free date night? Be sure to check out our tips on where to go for some couple fun in Dubai.
Dubai's Must-See Places - It's an Instagrammer's Dream
There's no denying that Dubai is up there when it comes to being one of the most aesthetic cities in the world, making it an Instagrammer's Dream.
When it comes to architectural marvels - this Emirate has it all. Take full advantage of the Dubai Expo 2020 and the Instagram opportunities - which includes the largest 360-degree projection surface in the world and more than 90+ unique pavilions. This also includes the UAE's falcon-shaped pavilion that paints an accurate picture of the UAE and its progressive vision.
Other notable places of interest next to the Expo 2020 location include the Dubai Miracle Garden that offers stunning floral backdrops, perfectly curated gardens, and the Instagram-famous heart-shaped archway created entirely from flowers.
For dreamy sunset shots that capture the impressive Atlantis, The Palm, head to the Pointe, the city's trendiest esplanade lined with cool bars and cafes.
And if you haven't had your fix of futuristic architecture and art installations while visiting the Dubi Expo 2020, head to the one-and-only Downtown Dubai. Here you'll be able to photograph the iconic Burj Khalifa in all its glory and get that famous Insta-shot in front of the Wings of Mexico Sculpture.
Dubai isn't just a city of modern skyscrapers and futuristic cityscapes - it's also a place that pays homage to its humble beginnings. Once a small undeveloped fishing village, it's also possible to see glimpses of Dubai's past among the hustle and bustle. Be sure to visit Dubai's Old Town with its labyrinth-like dusty streets and old-fashioned spice markets that juxtapose the city's more contemporary side.
And if your Insta feed is desperate for a pop of colour, you'll relish La Mer, a popular destination for tourists and visitors alike. The brightly painted beach huts that illuminate the promenade at night - thanks to the thousands of tiny fairy lights - often feature on Instagram pages and are worth a mention.
Dubai is full of great photo opportunities. Here are some more places to add to your list. And, if you fancy adding more UAE places to your travel itinerary while checking out the World Expo in Dubai, here are even more places to make your family and friends back home green with envy.
3 More Reasons Why You Need Check Out Dubai Expo 2020
There are many reasons why you should add Dubai Expo 2020 to your list. Its mind-blowing architectural feats and cultural performances from global artists make this year-long event a must when visiting Dubai - it has something for everyone! Here are just a few more reasons why we think you should add the World Expo 2020 and Dubai to your list this year.
1. Female Artists
Dubai Expo 2020 has a global stage for performers worldwide, including a host of powerful all-female groups like the Senegalese National Ballet, an all-female ensemble.
2. Travel The World in a Day
As previously mentioned, the Dubai Expo 2020 is home to more than 190 pavilions representing countries from around the world, which is something all wanderlusts can appreciate. It's a unique way of getting tasters from different countries and immersing yourself into multicultural holidays that include, but aren't limited to, Diwali and Christmas.
3. Multi-Sensory Global Food Experience
Foodies will be drawn to the overwhelming array of food experiences offered at the World Expo. With over 50 cuisines being represented that range from street food to first-class sustainable dining experiences, you'll be able to taste authentic food and see how the world of food is progressing.
With all health and safety measures in place, the Dubai Expo 2020 is your opportunity to start travelling safely again, discover Dubai and all it has to offer.
The organizers of the Dubai Expo 2020 have thought of everything. Not only is the site accessible to people with mobility needs, but parking is also a breeze, with visitors to the expo receiving complimentary parking for two hours at DXB terminals.
Running right through to 31 March 2022, you've got plenty of opportunities to plan your first (or next) visit to the UAE. Discover the wonder that is the Dubai Expo 2020 and all that this amazing Emirate, which we're proud to call home, has to offer.