Dubai is an epitome of urbanization and consumerism. So, it can be quite a task to find free things to do in Dubai. Hence, we have created this blog post giving you insider details and unique tips to visit all the secret locations in Dubai that you might not find in regular guide books.
If you’re wondering how to accommodate these places in your Dubai trip, refer our detailed 7 day Dubai Itinerary. It has a day-wise plan to cover as much as possible in a short span of 7 days.
As this is an exhaustive list, we’ve taken the liberty to classify these free activities in Dubai in clusters according to their geographic location. It should help you plan your Dubai itinerary better.
Free Things to Do in Old Dubai
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Al Seef Village
Have you seen those videos of the Dubai Starbucks with ancient Arabian architecture on Instagram? That Insta-famous Starbucks is located in the Al Seef village. There are a number of restaurants in its Arabian bazaar styled buildings with shops selling antiques and souvenirs. It also has an umbrella street and a street lit up by Turkish lamps making it a dream for Instagrammers. During the colder months, a lot of musicians perform in the common area which really adds to the vibe and experience of the village. The Al Seef village is located near the Dubai Creek and is absolutely free to enter.
Free Things to Do in Dubai: “Imagine” Light and Laser Show
Taking place in the Bay area of the Dubai Festival city mall, The Imagine Light and Sound show is a spectacle not to be missed! It is a grand sensory extravaganza harnessing the power of light, lasers, water and even fire! It boasts of the largest water screen projection and the biggest Water Projection Mapping in the world and already broken two Guinness World Records. The show takes place everyday night at 8 PM and 9:30 PM, so plan accordingly.
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Free Movie at Wafi City Mall
The architecture of the Wafi City mall is inspired by ancient structures in Egypt. Needless to say, the mall is in the shape of a pyramid and the courtyards and gardens of the mall house many huge stone sculptures and sport facades that’ll make you feel like you’re in the temples of Abu Simbel! What’s more, you can enjoy a free movie beneath the stars here on every Sunday. Just grab a bean bag, take some snacks and may be a couple of blankets to enjoy a cozy movie night.
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Ride an Abra
Abra is a traditional open boat, powered by a noisy diesel engine. Passengers sit around the central casing that houses the engine beneath it.
While not technically free, the cost of riding the Abra across the Dubai creek is 1 AED (0.27 USD). It is the way locals have been traveling across the creek and is one of the most unique experiences you can have in Dubai. You can have this experience while crossing from Bur Dubai to the Gold and Spice souks on the other side.
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Gold Souk and Spice Souk
It is a well-known fact that the UAE is one of the most affluent cities in the world and the Gold Souk is an embodiment of that fact. Every shop in the Gold Souk has huge displays of heavy, opulent jewelry; the biggest display boasting the Largest Gold ring in the world. Marvel at these beautiful works of art and get a peak into the lives of the affluent in Dubai.
Right next door, is another treat for your senses – the Spice Souk. This souk is full of shops selling every known spice and dried fruit in the world from Vanilla bean to saffron. You can wander around in the aromatic alleyways and even buy some spices that you might not find back in your home country.
Free Things to Do in Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai is our favorite area to stay in Dubai. It is central to all the major attractions and is well connected via metro. Check out our guide to the best area to stay in Dubai to ensure that you don’t waste a lot of time and money in commute.
Free Things to Do in Dubai: La Mer Beach
An Amazing option for an evening stroll. La Mer beach is one of the most happening beaches in Dubai. Lots of food trucks, open cafes, street stalls and water sports make La Mer beach a lively destination. The building walls are covered with colorful pop art graffiti and murals. It’s heaven for Instagrammers and chances are you might run into some celebrity while visiting this beach.
Free Things to Do in Dubai: The Dubai Aquarium
The Dubai Aquarium boasts of the largest suspended water tank in the world holding 10 million liters of water and 33,000 thousand aquatic creatures! What’s more, this gigantic tank is absolutely free to see! It can be enjoyed from the outside itself as the tank is located on the ground floor of the Dubai mall. Since it is one of the absolutely-must things to do in Dubai mall, we recommend you buy the ticket to the Underwater Zoo and glass tunnel as well to make the most of your trip.
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Enjoy the Dubai Fountain
After 6 PM, every day, there is a light and sound show with dancing fountains in the Burj Lake. The Dubai fountain was designed by the same people who designed the famous water fountains of the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
The show takes place every half an hour starting 6 PM and is based on different themes. When we visited Dubai with kids, the theme was baby shark and we thoroughly enjoyed it!
Free Things to Do in Dubai: The Wings of Mexico
“The wings of Mexico” is one of the newer additions to iconic Instagram spots of Dubai. It is a beautifully crafted sculpture of two wings suspended in mid-air, located near the Dubai Fountains. What’s more, if you click a picture here, you will get the famous Burj Khalifa in the backdrop. A must visit place for Instagrammers.
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Burj Khalifa – LED Show
Speaking of the Burj Khalifa, how can you ignore the massive behemoth imposing over the already dominant Dubai skyline? While we definitely recommending going up to the 125th floor of the Burj Khalifa, you definitely can’t miss taking a picture with it. What’s more, just like the Duba fountain, the Burj lights up every half an hour as well! A spectacle that involves 1.2 million LEDs dancing to music and lighting up the Dubai skies. It is a must-do free thing to do in Dubai.
Free Things to Do Near Jumeirah Beach Residences
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Dubai Marina
The most happening part of Dubai, is the Dubai marina. The area is dominated by foreigners and tourists as it was one of the first areas in Dubai that had night clubs and bars. It is surrounded by the tallest skyscrapers adorning the Dubai skyline including the famous Infinity tower. Walking around the Marina is a great way to catch the vibe of the place and it is absolutely free of cost.
The Marina walk is the place to be with open cafes, pubs and sheesha joints. Walk across the beautiful pier lined with the most luxurious yachts, the best restaurants and the trendiest beach clubs.
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Free Pool Access at Barasti Beach Club
Located pretty close to the Dubai Marina, the Barasti Beach Club is probably the only place in Dubai that gives free access to its pool. So if you wish to chill by the pool or inside it and enjoy some good beats, this is the place to be! It happens on a first come first serve basis but this is a killer insider tip. The early bird gets the lounger!
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Blue Waters Dubai
Blue Waters Dubai is a relatively new island that houses the iconic Ain Dubai Observation wheel. Ain Dubai is the tallest Observation wheel in the world at 250m! To put that into perspective, the London Eye is 137m in height!
Blue waters Dubai has a beautiful promenade lined up with palm trees, great cafes, night clubs and food joints. It’s the new favorite of expats and tourists living near JBR.
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Madinat Jumeirah
One of the best places to enjoy the night life in Dubai. The Madinat Jumeirah houses many open cafes and Sheesha joints along its artificial water canal. You can enjoy the atmosphere from the canal steps or take a ride in the traditional Abra boat in the canal. It also houses a lot of antique and souvenir shops, but the prices are through the roof because of its popularity.
Free Things to Do in Palm Jumeirah
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Aquaventure Water Park on your birthday
Aquaventure water park is arguably the best water park in the middle east. You can buy your tickets to the iconic water kingdom here, but if it’s your birthday, you get a free entry! We were genuinely surprised at this too but that’s a great incentive to plan your trip to Dubai around your birthday!
Free Things to Do in Dubai: The Pointe
Since it’s an epitome of luxury and grandeur, nothing in the Palm is free. Except The Pointe. It is a beautiful boardwalk created along one of the leaves of the Palm Jumeirah island. It is arguably the best place to witness the sun set over the iconic Atlantis the Palm. A lot of food trucks line up next to the boardwalk giving you some good options in case you’d like to enjoy a meal with the view. It can be clubbed easily with your visit to Aquaventure Water Park or The Lost chambers in Atlantis.
Free Things to Do a little away from Dubai
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Riverland
Located at the entrance of Dubai Parks and Resorts, Riverland is free to enter. The entire area is designed in the form a French Village with cobblestone streets and stone bridges. You can club this with your visit to Motiongate Dubai or Legoland if you’re traveling with kids. With its Venice-like Canals and Southern French architecture inspired houses, Riverland is a must visit place in Dubai.
Free Things to Do in Dubai: Hatta
Hatta is located about two hours away from Dubai and it provides a completely different landscape from what you’d expect from Dubai. We’re talking stone mountains and lakes in the middle of a desert! Our favorite free thing to do in Hatta is hiking the mountains as the views from the top are breath-taking! You can also rent a canoe or a kayak and explore the beautiful lake between these mountains. A must visit place if you wish for a change of scenery in Dubai.
This was our list of all the amazing free things you definitely shouldn’t miss in Dubai. There are other free activities as well like visiting the Coffee museum and the camel museum. However, museums are not something we find very interesting, hence we haven’t included them here. If you are a history buff, feel free to include in your itinerary as well!