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15 fabulous free things to do in Dubai

Mon, August 24, 2020

Experience Dubai's best sights and attractions that won't even cost you a dirham.

Experience Dubai's best sights and attractions that won't even cost you a dirham.


See water dance at The Dubai Fountain


Head to The Dubai Mall waterfront promenade to watch the dancing jets of The Dubai Fountain in action. With state-of-the-art technology under the shadows of the world's tallest tower, this is a class act, and it is completely free. Join the crowds every half hour from 7pm to watch as streams of water, reaching up to 140m high, shoot up in the air and dance to the tunes of traditional Arabic music, Bollywood pop songs and even Michael Jackson.


Get your art fix at Alserkal Avenue


One of the city’s most popular art hubs, Alserkal Avenue is teeming with creativity. You can explore the 20 art galleries housed within cleverly-designed warehouses for free, including 20th-century art furniture at La Galerie Nationale and Middle Eastern-inspired contemporary works at the Isabelle van den Eynde Gallery. This venue has now morphed into approximately 500,000sqft of urban space, fusing art, food, fashion and music with a host of community events.


Take a trip to Old Dubai


Head to the historic quarter of Dubai to discover artistic excellence in the midst of tradition and culture. Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, located by the charming Dubai Creek, houses respected art galleries within the rooms and courtyards of restored historic houses. Admire the sand-coloured windtowers and don’t forget to stop by the Coffee Museum, which details the centuries-old tradition of this delicious drink.


Be mesmerised by IMAGINE


One of Dubai’s most impressive shows takes centrestage every evening at Dubai Festival City Mall, and it’s free to attend for all. The attraction combines lasers, fountains and surround sound for a truly unforgettable experience. With the world’s largest water projection screen, get ready for a fresh wave of entertainment, complete with pyrotechnics and dramatic effects. Worried you’ll miss out? Don’t fret, there are three shows every evening, including weekends.


Explore contemporary art at Jameel Arts Centre

Nestled along the banks of the historic Dubai Creek, Jameel Arts Centre is one of the latest creative centres in the city. It houses multiple gallery spaces that showcase contemporary works from around the world in solo and group exhibitions as well as special collaborations. Explore the latest works by artists from across the Middle East and Indian subcontinent, including commissioned works from the Art Jameel collection. 


Get some sun at Dubai's beaches

Blessed with year-round sunshine, Dubai is home to some amazing beaches with turquoise waters and golden sand. While most hotels feature private beach clubs for their guests, visitors can also enjoy Dubai’s many beaches and beach districts. With its urban city-meets-sea vibe, The Beach opposite JBR is a popular choice with visitors, while the Black Palace Beach presents stunning views of Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab in the distance. 


Meet aquatic life at Dubai Aquarium


Among the city's most popular destinations, The Dubai Mall is a mammoth space home to the best brands and world-class attractions, including Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. 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.


Spot the birds at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary


Located just metres away from the bustling city of Dubai are the wetlands of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. Spanning 6.2sqkm, the conservation area is known as the ‘Cape of the Creek,’ and features a variety of salt flats, intertidal mudflats, mangroves, and lagoons that birds use for their nests and individual habitats. Flamingos are stars here; but you can also spot more than 60 species of bird and 500 types of flora and fauna from the free-to-access observation points.


Stroll along Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk

Palm Jumeirah Boardwalk

Palm Jumeirah is home to some of Dubai's top luxury resorts including Atlantis, The Palm, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, One&Only The Palm and many more. But a resort stay is not the only way you can enjoy the Palm's charm. Take a stroll down the 11km boardwalk that stretches from one end of the Palm’s crescent to the other, snapping incredible vistas along the way. Afterwards, stop to refuel at one of the many waterside restaurants at The Pointe.


Relax in nature at Al Qudra Lakes

Al Quadra Lake

Take a 30-minute drive from Dubai's bustling city centre to Al Qudra Lakes. Part of the Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve, you can enjoy a host of activities including a picnic or a leisurely ride around the Al Qudra Cycling Track. From desert foxes to the oryx, you can witness Dubai's wildlife in its natural habitat. It's a popular bird-watching spot too, with nearly 200 bird species living around the lakes, including swans, geese, ducks, flamingos and even endangered species like the steppe eagle and Asian houbara.

Al Qudra Lakes
Sights & Attractions

Catch the camel races 


Camel racing is a truly spectacular and unusual experience you can witness live. The racing season runs between October and April, and races tend to take place in an informal setting early mornings on Fridays and Saturdays. There are several tracks around the emirate, but Dubai's biggest one is the Al Marmoom Camel Racetrack, which is open to curious spectators and located half an hour’s drive from the city.


Unwind by the beach at La Mer


Wide open spaces with palm tree-lined boulevards and laidback charm, La Mer has become a favourite address to eat, play and unwind. It presents the best of sun, sea and outdoor fun in Dubai, blending quirky and colourful design. Free to explore, spend the day discovering large-scale graffiti art murals – you'll soon find a favourite backdrop for your selfie. 


Be entertained at Riverland Dubai

DPR - Riverland

Spread over four buzzing districts within Dubai Parks & Resorts and connected by a 1km long river, Riverland Dubai is a destination like no other. Entirely free for both parking and access, The Peninsula is the heart of Riverland and features a large outdoor venue that regularly hosts festivals and concerts. Take a seat and watch as musicians and acrobats liven up the zone, or simply go for a stroll around the themed spaces and capture new memories.


Travel back in time at Dubai's souks

Get a taste of Old Dubai by visiting the traditional souks . Situated on the banks of Dubai Creek, Dubai's souks are at the centre of the city's heritage and history of trade, selling a range of local products such as spices, perfumes and jewellery. After you're done window shopping across the winding alleyways, you can also cross the Creek on a traditional abra for just AED1 and see the city from a new perspective.


Admire the skyline at Dubai Water Canal

Dubai Canal

The Dubai Water Canal stretches from Dubai Creek in Old Dubai, through Business Bay, and onwards to the Arabian Gulf. Visitors are free to roam and explore the promenade areas with five pedestrian bridges offering incredible views. The main draws include the uniquely shaped Tolerance Bridge and a motion-detected waterfall that lights up at night.

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