Top 10 free things to do in Dubai

How to experience the best of Dubai for free
Whether you’re planning a short stopover or a longer break in Dubai, the city offers something to suit everyone – including a number of fantastic free experiences. From world-class art and poolside lounging to racing revelry and showstopping spectacles, here are just some of our favourite free things to do in Dubai.
1

Dancing water

The Dubai Fountain

Dancing water

The Dubai Fountain

A truly unmissable show

Head to The Dubai Mall waterfront promenade to catch The Dubai Fountain’s dancing jets of water in action and you won’t be surprised why this makes every tourist’s bucket list. Combining state-of-the-art technology and a remarkable setting beside the world’s tallest tower, The Dubai Fountain is a mesmerising spectacle of light, music and choreography – all for free. Join the crowds every half hour to watch as streams of water, reaching up to 140m high, dance to the tunes of traditional Arabic music, Indian pop songs and even Michael Jackson.
Contact Details
  Burj Lake by The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai
  +971 800 38224 6255

2

Gallery hopping

Alserkal Avenue

Gallery hopping

Alserkal Avenue

Discover the city’s best galleries

One of the city’s most popular art hubs, Alserkal Avenue is teeming with creativity. Spend an afternoon exploring some of Dubai’s eclectic artwork, housed within cleverly-designed warehouses, including 20th-century art furniture at La Galerie Nationale and Middle Eastern-inspired contemporary works at the Isabelle van den Eynde Gallery. Take a break from art to feast your senses at Dubai’s very own chocolate factory – Mirzam. Cocoa beans from around the world are carefully sorted by hand here, before being roasted and ground for the smoothest, richest flavours.
Contact Details
  Street 8, Al Quoz
  +971 50 556 9797

heritageandculture-teardrop (1)

3

Sense of history

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

Sense of history

Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood

Stroll through the city’s historic quarter

Once the epicentre of city life, the serene Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood presents a treasure trove of delights. Admire the traditional courtyard houses with wind towers, also known as barjeel. These distinctive structures acted as centuries-old air-conditioning systems by directing cooler winds down into the home. Take the time to follow the winding alleys and discover expansive courtyards peppered with museums, art galleries and charming cafes. You can easily spend an afternoon immersed in Dubai’s culture.Don’t forget to stop by the Dubai Coffee Museum, which is free to enter and details the centuries-old history of this delicious drink.
Contact Details
  Opposite Al Fahidi Street
  +971 600 560000

3

It’s showtime

IMAGINE

It’s showtime

IMAGINE

See the light and sound spectacular at Festival City

One of Dubai’s most impressive shows takes centrestage every evening, and it’s free to attend for all. The attraction combines lasers, fountains and surround sound for a spectacle that’s truly unforgettable. With the world’s largest water projection screen, get ready for a fresh wave of entertainment, complete with pyrotechnics and dramatic effects. We recommend combining it with a day of shopping at Dubai Festival City Mall as the mall’s waterfront presents ringside seats from many of its stellar restaurants. Worried you’ll miss out? Don’t fret, there are shows nearly every half hour from 7pm onwards, including weekends.
Contact Details
  Festival Bay, Dubai Festival City
  +971 800 3021 548

Family Holidays in Dubai
5

In the frame

Jameel Arts Centre

In the frame

Jameel Arts Centre

Dubai’s newest contemporary arts hub

Nestled along the banks of the historic Dubai Creek, Jameel Arts Centre has become the hottest new creative destination in the city. It’s home to multiple gallery spaces that showcase contemporary works from around the world in a series of curated commissions, solo and group exhibitions and special collaborations. Head over and explore The Library of Unread Books, a living reference library with a collection of over 700 titles, or stop by the ‘Second Hand’ exhibition with arresting artworks that tackle materialism head on. There are many other exhibitions to explore, complemented by a full programme of talks, workshops, readings and more.
Contact Details
  Jaddaf Waterfront
  +971 4 873 9811

whats on
6

Sun and sand

Beaches in Dubai

Sun and sand

Beaches in Dubai

Enjoy the city’s pristine coastline

Dubai is blessed with year-round sunshine as well as some of the best beaches featuring turquoise waters and golden sand. While most hotels feature private beach clubs for their guests, visitors can also enjoy the sunshine at one of Dubai’s many free public beaches. Kite Beach is a popular choice, with its urban city-meets-sea vibe, as is the Black Palace Beach, which presents stunning views of Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab in the distance. Take your pick. 

Contact Details
  Umm Suqeim Beach

beachesindubai-teardrop
7

Shark selfies

Dubai Aquarium

Shark selfies

Dubai Aquarium

Watch aquatic animals up close

The Dubai Mall stands out as one of our favourite destinations in the city for all-round fun. The mammoth space has it all from the best brands to world-class attractions, including Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. Hailed as one of the largest indoor aquariums of its kind in the world, here you can observe resident Sand Tiger sharks, rays and more than a hundred other aquatic species as they glide by the main glass wall. For a closer look, you’ll need to buy a ticket so you can enter the 48m walkthrough tunnel.
Contact Details
  The Dubai Mall
  +971 800 38224 6255

8

Pool days

Barasti

Pool days

Barasti

Relax at the city’s popular beach lounge

Looking for a lazy pool day? Head to Barasti at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi to soak up the sunshine at one of the city's liveliest venues. With stunning views of Dubai Marina, fun activities and delicious food, this is the place to be all year round. Best of all, it's free to enter. While Barasti's beach is always inviting, the sparkling pool is a prime choice in summer. In the evenings, expect upbeat live entertainment and DJ sets to create the perfect soundtrack to your Dubai holiday.

Contact Details
  Le Meridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, Dubai Marina
  +971 4 318 1313

themeparksindubai-teardrop (1)

9

Splash in

Aquaventure Waterpark

Splash in

Aquaventure Waterpark

A free birthday treat in Dubai

Get ready to slip and slide. Aquaventure at Atlantis, The Palm gives away free day passes on your birthday, which means you can ring in the big day at one of Dubai’s most exciting waterparks. Don’t miss famed rides such as the Leap of Faith or Tower of Poseidon – you guessed it – for free. Vouchers are valid for a week and can also be used for discounted group admission to Dolphin Bay or Sea Lion Point for you and three guests. Register on Atlantis’ website to access this treat.
Contact Details
  Atlantis, The Palm
  +971 4 426 2000

Deals & Offers
10

Play time

The Beach

Play time

The Beach

Food, fun and fantastic finds at this beachside haven

There’s always something happening at The Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residence. At any given time you can expect to see pop-up markets selling locally-made arts and crafts and designer trinkets from further afield, roaming entertainment, art installations and even spectacular fireworks on special occasions. Walk along the sleek palm-lined esplanade and take it all in or go for a swim in the sparkling waters of the Arabian Gulf. For a small fee, you can also rent a sunbed, daybed or cabana here too.

Contact Details
  Opposite JBR, Dubai Marina
  +971 4 317 3999

Top Top