Dubai has developed a reputation as a playground for the rich, but don’t let that fool you. While the city undoubtedly has an ultra-luxury side, there are also plenty of free things to do in Dubai. From man-made islands to traditional souks, you can experience the magic of Dubai on even the tightest budget.
This free things to do in Dubai guide will highlight the top free attractions and activities for every type of visitor. Here you will find options perfect for:
- Families with young kids
- Couples looking for romance
- Solo backpackers
- Architecture lovers
- Beach fans, and more!
By taking advantage of complimentary sites and experiences, you can enjoy a full Dubai itinerary without breaking the bank. So, leave your wallet behind, and let’s explore the best of Dubai for free!
15 Exciting Things to Do in Dubai for Free!
1. Visit Dubai Fountain – The Best Places to Visit for Free in Dubai
The Dubai Fountain, located at base of the Burj Khalifa, is one of the world’s largest choreographed fountain systems. This popular free attraction features water jets shooting up to 500 ft in the air. These are accompanied by a range of Arabic, classical, and contemporary music.
The mesmerizing fountain performances take place every 30 minutes in the evenings and are completely free to enjoy. Arrive before dusk to secure a good viewing spot around the large, 11-acre lake. Bring your camera to capture photos of the illuminated fountain set against the glittering Dubai skyline.
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Visiting the Dubai Fountain show is undoubtedly one of the best free things to do in Dubai!
2. Marvel at Burj Khalifa – One of City’s Most Popular Destinations
As the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa is an architectural marvel. At over 2,700 feet tall, you can’t help but crane your neck skywards. Going to the observation deck costs money. However, you can admire the sheer scale of this record-breaking skyscraper for free from the ground below.
The best vantage points are along Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard and the Dubai Fountain. Try to time your visit for sunset when you can see the tower glittering on the Dubai skyline. Don’t forget your camera!
3. Explore Dubai Creek – Best Free Things to Do in Dubai
Dubai Creek divides the city into two areas – Deira and Bur Dubai – and has been an influential port and trading hub for centuries. Explore the bustling wharfs while watching traditional dhow boats sail by.
Cross to the other side via abra boat (more on that later!) and visit the gold and spice souks. Walk along the creek at sunset when the calls to prayer from nearby mosques ring out across the water. Discover hidden alleyways, mosques, and museums dotted around the creek.
Also see, Upcoming Music Festivals in Dubai – September to December 2023
4. Free Things to Do in Dubai Mall – For Holidaymakers
Dubai Mall, one of the world’s largest shopping malls, offers endless entertainment and activities without spending a single dirham. From mesmerizing aquarium views to spectacular dancing fountain shows, here are some of the best free things to do in Dubai Mall.
- Marvel at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
With over 33,000 aquatic animals and 140 species, the giant Dubai Aquarium tank located on the ground level is a visual delight. Walk through the tunnel for an up-close view. The underwater zoo houses crocodiles, penguins and more.
- Stroll through the Waterfall Atrium
The five-story tall Waterfall Atrium features cascading waterfalls and exotic flowers. It’s a perfect spot for taking photos or enjoying the soothing sounds of flowing water.
- People Watch from the Balconies
Head to one of the upper floor balconies overlooking the central atrium to do some prime people watching. It’s fascinating to observe the diverse crowds exploring the mall.
- Explore Fashion Avenue
With over 150 stores, Fashion Avenue is a paradise for shopaholics. Even if you don’t buy anything, window shopping at high-end boutiques is an experience in itself.
Conclude with a visit to Dubai Mall for a memorable trip without emptying your wallet. With numerous free things to do in Dubai, it makes for a budget-friendly destination!
5. Walk along JBR Beach – One of City’s Best Sights and Attractions
Dubai boasts beautiful white sand beaches, with JBR Beach being one of the most popular spots. Take a relaxing stroll along the waterfront promenade, which stretches 7 km from the Dubai Marina to the Palm Jumeirah.
Sunbathe on the soft sand, go for a swim, or just soak up the lively atmosphere. Watch adrenaline junkies take to the waves with jet skis and wakeboarding. Friday evenings offer the best vibe with live music and a bustling local crowd. This is one of the amazing free things to do in Dubai that you shouldn’t miss!
6. Shop at Spice Souk – Free Things to Do in Dubai for Shoppers
Immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of Dubai’s famous Spice Souk, located near Dubai Creek. Vendors sell every herb and spice imaginable in bulging sacks, from saffron and cinnamon to cloves and cardamom.
The authentic Arabian market experience transports you to a different world of exotic aromas and vibrant colours. Grab authentic spices to take home at a fraction of the cost you’d pay elsewhere. Don’t forget to haggle!
Also see, All Inclusive Dubai Resorts & Hotels Deals for 2023 / 2024
7. Ride the Abra across Dubai Creek
A fun way to travel between the traditional neighbourhoods of Deira and Bur Dubai is by abra boat. These traditional wooden water taxis shuttle locals and tourists across the Creek all day long for just 1 dirham (about 30 cents USD).
Hop on an abra at one of the wharfs dotted around the Creek. These include the Spice Souk, for a quick ride to the other side. It’s the cheapest sightseeing cruise around. You’ll get unbeatable views of the dhows and city skyline. All you need is a Dubai Visa UK!
8. Stroll through Safa Park – Top Free Places to Visit in Dubai
Covering over 160 acres of green landscapes, Safa Park is Dubai’s oldest and largest urban park. There are plenty of walking trails to explore, along with grassy areas perfect for picnics and sports.
Kids will especially enjoy the amusement park rides, a giant pond with dancing fountains, and an ice rink (a small fee applies for rink entry). Visit Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s historic house located within the grounds. With so much to see and do, you can easily spend hours here without spending a dirham!
9. Experience Jumeirah Mosque
The elegant Jumeirah Mosque is considered by many to be the most beautiful mosque in Dubai. Non-Muslims can experience the mosque during organized tours every day except Friday.
Learn about Islamic art and architecture as you admire the intricate details and marble work. Tours run for about 75 minutes and offer a firsthand insight into Muslim culture. As one of the few mosques in the UAE open to visitors, it’s a must-do free attraction. All you need to do is apply for a Dubai Visa UK!
Free Things to Do in Dubai with Kids – Fun Family Trips!
Dubai offers plenty of free activities and attractions to keep kids entertained without breaking the bank. From beaches to parks, museums to markets, there are many ways to have fun with family on a budget.
- Visit Kite Beach
This popular free public beach offers plenty of space for kids. Kids can build sandcastles, splash in the Gulf waters, and fly kites. Watch skilled kite surfers catch air against the Dubai skyline!
- Explore Dubai Creek Park
At this large green space, kids can feed birds and rent bikes. They can also enjoy boat rides play sports, or explore the botanical garden. Don’t miss the cable car for aerial views!
- Splash at Al Mamzar Beach Park
Small admission fee gets you access to this family-friendly beach. This park boasts five pools, play areas, gardens, and beach access for swimming and building sandcastles.
- Discover Community Parks
Dubai has many wonderful neighbourhood parks like Safa Park and Zabeel Park. These boast playgrounds, lakes, sports facilities and walking paths perfect for picnicking and leisurely strolls.
- Learn at Etihad Museum
This engaging free museum uses technology, artefacts and displays to vividly showcase Emirati heritage and history. It’s great for older kids!
- Browse Dragon Mart
Kids love the bustling Chinese market with affordable toys, clothing, accessories and knick-knacks. With these fun free activities, families can experience the energy and culture of Dubai without breaking the bank. The options are endless for making memories with the kids. All you need to do is get a Dubai Visa from London!
10. Discover Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood
Transport back in time by wandering around the lanes of Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. This heritage area, built in the early 1900s, was Dubai’s first residential suburb. Stroll past traditional courtyard houses, wind towers, mosques, art galleries, museums and more.
Highlights include the textile-filled Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and the Al Serkal Cultural Foundation. Learn about Emirati culture and history without paying a dirham. All you need is an Emirates Visa!
Free Things to Do in Dubai On Your Birthday
Celebrating your birthday in Dubai doesn’t have to break the bank. This glitzy city has plenty of free and fun activities for those looking to celebrate their birthday on budget. From stunning beaches to lively souks, here are some of the best free things to do in Dubai on your birthday.
- Take a Stroll at the Beach
What better way to spend your birthday than by taking a relaxing stroll on one of Dubai’s gorgeous beaches? JBR Beach and Kite Beach offer scenic walking paths with views of the Burj Al Arab. Take your time soaking up the sun and enjoying the ocean breeze.
- Go for a Run at Zabeel Park
Work up an appetite for birthday cake by going on a jog at Zabeel Park. This expansive green space has running tracks, lakes, and even a fitness station. Afterwards, picnic under the palm trees for a relaxing afternoon.
- Ride the Monorail at the Palm Jumeirah
Glide above the ocean on driverless Palm Monorail for picture-perfect views of the Palm Islands and Dubai Marina skyline. A round-trip ride takes about 45 minutes and costs absolutely nothing!
- Go on a Desert Safari
Many tour companies offer free hotel pick-up and drop-off for desert safaris. Enjoy a thrilling drive over sand dunes and camel rides before watching a beautiful desert sunset. Time it right to catch a belly dancing performance at camp!
Also see, UAE Public Holidays 2023 – The Ultimate Guide for Visitors
12. Take Photos at Burj Al Arab
The distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab is an iconic Dubai landmark. While only hotel guests can go inside, anyone can admire the stunning architecture from the outside. Make your way to Sunset Beach for perfect photo ops in front of the luxury hotel perched off the coast on its own island.
Time your visit for sunset when the changing colours make for impressive photos you’ll want to share. Exploring the souks and shops nearby Jumeirah Beach Road rounds off a perfect free Dubai experience. So, why wait? Apply for a Dubai Visa London!
13. People Watch at The Beach Opposite JBR
Soak up the lively ambience as you gaze out over the Arabian Gulf waters at The Beach opposite JBR. This waterfront hub offers alfresco dining, entertainment, and recreational facilities focused around a quirky marketplace.
Grab a beanbag on the sand and relax. Watch beach soccer games, families building sandcastles, and teens trying out water sports. With panoramic oceanfront views, there’s no better free spot for watching the world go by. So, what are you waiting for? Apply for a Dubai Visa UK today!
14. Visit Global Village – One of the Best Free Activities in Dubai
From October to April, Global Village brings together cultures from around the world. Get ready for a delightful showcase of country pavilions, architecture, food and handicrafts. This popular family attraction hosts an array of concerts, carnivals and fireworks throughout the season.
Entry is free, although you’ll need some spending money to enjoy the rides, games and global cuisine on offer. With so much entertainment, it’s easy to spend an entire day exploring without getting bored.
Dubai offers an incredible range of free things to see and do. From modern architectural marvels and sun-soaked beaches to bustling souks and lush parks. You can experience it all without paying a dirham!
Families will love the free parks and entertainment while culture loves can immerse themselves in traditional neighbourhoods. On the other hand, couples will adore romantic sunset strolls along beautiful beaches!
So, don’t be put off visiting Dubai by the perception of high costs. Follow this guide to uncover the diverse attractions and free things to do in Dubai. You’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable trip, without breaking the bank!
Also see, Flights from Manchester to Dubai – Time, Distance & Tickets
Kite Beach and Al Mamzar Beach Park offer accessible public beaches with facilities. JBR Beach has play areas but limited free public beach access.
Many attractions offer free days for children under certain ages, like Dubai Aquarium, Children’s City, and Motiongate Dubai. Check individual websites.
The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary lets you observe flamingos and other wildlife without charge. Also try Quranic Park and Al Mamzar Park.
The Dubai Metro, public buses, and abras offer an affordable way to explore Dubai. Consider getting a NOL travel card.
Etihad Museum and Coin Museum at Dubai Creek offer free entry. Some museums have free days especially for UAE residents.
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