There are events going on all weekend, although finding a list of them can be difficult; the newspaper articles and tourism sites were not very specific on times and exact locations of events. They flew fighter jets overhead trailing colors of the flag and there is a large fireworks display at night. If you are heading to watch the fireworks go towards the Emirati Palace side of the esplanade as they were shot off from there.
The main activity on National Day weekend seems to be decorating your vehicle with pictures of the sheikh or UAE flags and driving slowly through downtown spraying foam, honking and causing your vehicle to backfire. It's really a carnival atmosphere and a great way to see all the Emiratis out in numbers. The road next to the corniche is the center of action for 'cruising' but don't expect to move fast unless you're walking as the road was gridlocked every time we saw it; especially at night.
The best tip I can give is stay at a hotel near the corniche (maybe a couple blocks away if you'd like to sleep) and walk down to where the action is. You can get some good deals if you book in advance or by checking booking.com for last minute deals, as there can be big discounts for empty hotel rooms right before the action begins, which is how we got a great deal for the festivities.