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Experiences

18 fabulous things to do in Dubai for free

Tue, June 13, 2023

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

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

1

See water dance at The Dubai Fountain

top-10-free-things-to-do-in-dubai-fountain-1

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's completely free. Join the crowds every half hour from 6pm to watch as streams of water shoot up to 140m in the air and dance to the tunes of traditional Arabic music, Bollywood pop songs and more.

2

Get your art fix at Alserkal Avenue

Al Serkal Gallery Viewing

One of the city’s most popular art hubs, Alserkal Avenue is teeming with creativity. You can explore the galleries housed within cleverly-designed warehouses for free, including modern art at Custot Gallery and North African works at Elmarsa Gallery. This neighbourhood has now morphed into approximately 500,000sqft of urban space and also boasts food, fashion and music plus a host of community events.

3

Take a trip to Old Dubai

dubai-presents-adventure-fahidi

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.

4

Be mesmerised by Imagine

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One of Dubai’s most impressive shows takes centre stage 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 shows every evening, including weekends.

5

See new city perspectives at The Viewing Point

the-viewing-point-dubai-creek

Whether you're after a romantic moment, a stunning social media snap or a spot of quiet contemplation, The Viewing Point at Dubai Creek Harbour is the perfect place to go. The innovative new structure projects 26m over the water and 11.65m above it, offering unobstructed views of both Dubai Creek and Downtown Dubai – and is completely free of charge to visit.

6

Explore contemporary art at Jameel Arts Centre

Nestled along the banks of the historic Dubai Creek, Jameel Arts Centre is one of the city's creative hotspots. 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.

Jameel Arts Centre
Arts & Culture
  • Jaddaf Waterfront - Dubai
7

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. 

8

Meet aquatic life at Dubai Aquarium

Visitors at Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo

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.

9

Spot the birds at Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary

Ras Al khor Wildlife Sanctuary Dubai

Located just metres away from the bustling city of Dubai are the wetlands of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. Spanning 6.2 sqkm, 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 the 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.

10

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.

11

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
12

Enjoy Mohammed Bin Rashid Library

Mohammed Bin Rashid Library

Located along Dubai Creek, this cultural hotspot is certain to catch the gaze of anyone passing by. Designed in the shape of a traditional Islamic lectern, the region's largest library opened in June 2022. Explore more than a million titles in both physical and digital forms, spread out across nine levels and 54,000 sqm. This remarkable building also houses study rooms, exhibition spaces, a cafe, a courtyard, a bookstore and a theatre. There's plenty of children's reading material too, so be sure to bring your little ones along and help encourage their love of learning. Before you visit, it's recommended that you reserve a time slot online or via the library's app. 

13

Catch the camel races 

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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 weekends. 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.

14

Be entertained at Riverland Dubai

DPR - Riverland

Spread over four buzzing districts within Dubai Parks and 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 area, or simply go for a stroll around the themed spaces and capture new memories.

15

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.

16

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 pedestrian bridges offering incredible views. The main draws include the uniquely shaped Tolerance Bridge and a motion-detected waterfall that lights up at night.

17

Hit Mushrif Park's mountain bike trail

mushrif-park-biking-trail

Discover Dubai's newest cycling attraction at Mushrif National Park, with 20km of mountain biking trails winding their way throughout the park's scenic natural setting. The first track of its kind in Dubai, it is soon set to extend a further 30km. There are multiple routes of varying difficulty levels, for beginners all the way up to seasoned mountain biking experts, designed to accommodate up to 3,000 bike enthusiasts every day. While the trails are free to use, there's a nominal fee of AED3 per person for park entry. Cyclists can bring their own gear or pay for rentals on-site.

18

Get in a workout on the city

DFC

Aside from the free citywide sessions available during the month-long Dubai Fitness Challenge, there are plenty of options to stay active year-round without spending a dirham. Start by enjoying some fresh air and scenic sights while getting your steps in along waterfronts and beach- or park-side jogging tracks. These areas often feature free outdoor gym setups, callisthenics equipment and maybe even basketball courts and skateparks, so you can work up a sweat whenever you please. Don't want to workout alone? Look up special yoga or bootcamp events and enjoy wellness as part of a community. Been meaning to try a specific exercise routine or gym? Ask for a free session at the centre or download ClassPass and take advantage of the welcome trial offer, available at hundreds of venues across Dubai.

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