- Free cultural activities
- Free outdoor activities
- Free historical attractions
- Other free things to do
- Dubai Pass
Dubai is well known for its magnificent high-rise buildings, hotels, malls and attractions. However, if you are on a budget, you may be asking “What are the best places to visit for free in Dubai?” Well, you are in luck!
Along with all the luxurious experiences and attractions, Dubai has a bunch of things to do for free. From historical neighbourhoods to natural retreats and more, let’s take a look at all the free places to visit in Dubai.
Explore Dubai’s culture for free
The emirate of Dubai is a hot tourist destination, more so because of its rich culture. It is an interesting combination of the old and new. Amongst the towering skyscrapers, glimpses of a bygone era also peek through. You can explore Dubai’s culture for free if you know where to look.
1. EXPLORE THE STREETS OF AL SEEF
A perfect mix of old and new Dubai, Al Seef Dubai is one of the best free places to visit in Dubai. It is situated along the Dubai Creek area, which was revamped and brought to life by Meraas. At this trendy destination, you can enjoy views of the creek’s waters. Moreover, Al Seef is famous for hosting various festivals which feature some of the best free activities in Dubai, so keep an eye out for those if you plan to visit. Want to know more about this spot in the city? Check out our Al Seef Dubai guide.
You can easily travel to Al Seef by car or public transportation. For those travelling with their own vehicle, there is car parking available. For those relying on public transport, the closest metro station to Al Seef is Burjuman; from there it’s a 10-minute walk to the area.
- Location: Al Seef District at the Dubai Creek
- Al Seef Timing: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm (Sat-Wed); 10:00 am – 12:00 am (Thu-Fri)
- Contact: +971-800-637227
2. SEE SOME STREET ART AT AL KARAMA
Take a walk through the vibrant streets of Karama, one of the best places with street art in Dubai and spot larger than life murals on 18b Street. There are 24 stunning pieces of art displayed across the street — part of an ambitious project to give the older buildings of Karama an urban facelift. Art lovers will certainly enjoy this free activity in Dubai. So head to the bustling centre of Old Dubai and appreciate the street art that covers everything from 3D art to graffiti and abstract paintings.
3. Tour the Bur Dubai Grand Mosque
If you and your party would rather not make the trip to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, head to the Bur Dubai Grand Mosque instead. An incredibly beautiful facility, the Grand Mosque is located in one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods.
Visitors can go on free tours from Sunday to Thursday from 09:00 am to 11:30 am. The guides work for the Islamic Information Center so, they know all there is to about the mosque.
4. Free road trips from Alserkal Avenue
If the streets of Al Karama aren’t enough, head to the famed AlSerkal Avenue. The Al Quoz gallery district organises free road trips across the UAE including Dubai.
And this is your chance to get in on the action without spending anything! The road trips take guests to the latest art exhibitions, performances, screenings, art institutions and cultural initiatives across the country.
- Location: Al Quoz
- Contact: +971-4-3333464
5. Visit the camel racing festival
Dubai’s famed Camel Racing Festival is the best way to see these majestic “ships of the desert” outdo each other. Best of all, it’s free.
Celebrating a sport that is deeply rooted in the region, much like the city itself, the festival is one of the best free activities for those who like to explore the country’s culture.
What’s the best way to experience camel racing in Dubai? Plan your trip during the Al Marmoom Heritage Village Festival. The annual competition attracts thousands of visitors every year. It’s one of the best things to do in Al Marmoom. You can also explore the nature reserve and indulge in other activities too.
6. Visit a beach library
If you want to catch up on your reading without skipping the beach, visit any of the city’s free beach libraries. You can find these libraries in several public beaches in Dubai including Al Mamzar Corniche and Umm Suqeim 1.
7. VISIT THE SOUKS IN DUBAI
A shopping spree isn’t cost-free under usual circumstances, but there is no rule against some free window shopping.
Malls and stores aside, the traditional souks in Dubai provide enough free entertainment, especially for new visitors.
The Dubai Spice Souk, Old Souk Dubai and Deira Gold Souk are some examples. You don’t have to buy anything. The trinkets, spices and colourful garments on display make for plenty of Insta-worthy opportunities. It’s one of the best things to do in Dubai for free.
- Location: Multiple Locations
- Timing: Until 9:00 pm
Best free outdoor places in Dubai
From free camping spots to verdant parks, wildlife and more, Dubai is also a haven for nature enthusiasts. Here are some of the best Dubai places to visit for free for those who love the great outdoors.
8. HAVE A PICNIC AT ANY OF THE FREE PARKS IN DUBAI
The parks in Dubai are a natural first pick for your “best places to visit in Dubai for free” bucket list. From picnic spots to barbecue facilities and play areas for kids, the city’s public parks are ideal for families looking for cost-free leisure pursuits in Dubai. Facilities that offer free entry include the Al Barsha Pond Park and Burj Park although the rest do offer free access to differently-abled visitors and children under a certain age.
9. Visit the flamingos at the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Centre
Next on our list of places to visit in Dubai for free is the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. Home to a large number of bird species like flamingos, the sanctuary is an ideal way to witness flocks in their natural habitat without spending a dime.
Periodic feeding sessions allow visitors to see the birds up close. Also, you won’t have to worry about getting scorched by the sun, because the viewing areas are shaded and airconditioned, making it one of the best free indoor spots in Dubai.
- Location: Ras Al Khor Flamingo Hide Viewing Area
- Flamingo Hide Viewing Area Timings: 07:30 am – 05:30 pm (Sat-Thu); 02:00 pm – 05:30 pm (Fri)
- Contact: +971-4-606-6831
10. HAVE A BEACH DAY
Visiting the beach is the best plan for anyone looking for free things to do in Dubai.
Just head to any of the free entry beaches in Dubai and take advantage of the facilities including running tracks, volleyball courts and skate parks. Some of the popular public beaches in Dubai include the JBR beach, Kite Beach and Jumeirah Beach.
- Location: Multiple locations
- Timing: Depends on the beach
11. HAVE A BBQ AT AL QUDRA LAKE
One of the most popular BBQ places in Dubai, Al Qudra Lake offers its visitors some of the best free things to do in the city.
This is also one of the most popular free things to do in Dubai during the Eid holidays and long breaks! If barbequing and camping is not something you enjoy, there are a lot more things to check out at Al Qudra.
- Location: Al Qudra
- Al Qudra Lake timings: Open 24 hours
12. Go Camping at Al Qudra
Al Qudra Lake is also one of the best UAE camping spots.
There are no charges for entering the park and you won’t have to spend anything to pitch up a tent either.
Make sure you bring everything for a campfire if you plan on staying overnight, as it can get chilly. All in all, you can add an Al Qudra camping trip to your “best free family activities in Dubai” bucket list.
13. Free cycling tracks
Al Qudra is also a major attraction for both professional and amateur cyclists. For good reason. For one, you get to cycle while enjoying the pristine views of Al Qudra Lake. Secondly, it’s free, as long as you bring your own bike. Bike rentals are available at the Trek Dubai store near the track.
You can pick from an 18km or the longer 50km track that leads up to the Bab Al Shams Resort. One of the best cycling trails in Dubai, the Al Qudra Cycling Path is an activity that you can add to your growing bucket list of “free things to do in Dubai.” It’s also one of the many activities in Al Qudra Lake, so you have plenty of other options to explore.
Apart from Al Qudra Lake, there are other cycling areas like the Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park where you can pedal for free. Other places, like the Dubai Autodrome, offer free access to their tracks on certain days of the week.
- Location of Nad Al Sheba Cycle Park: Muscat Street, Dubai
- Location of Dubai Autodrome: MotorCity, Dubailand
Free historical attractions in Dubai
Dubai was once a modest fishing village before it rose to fame as a luxury tourist destination and skyscraper haven. You can catch a glimpse of what the city’s architecture looked like when its economy relied on pearl-diving and fishing — by wandering the streets and visiting some of the free museums.
14. EXPLORE THE BASTAKIYA
Want to explore Dubai’s history? Visitors can experience the heritage and culture of the UAE at the historical neighbourhood of Bastikiya, free of charge! Also known as the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Al Bastakiya offers a glimpse of the city’s old architecture similar to traditional desert homes in the UAE.
Want to live near this area? Check out these popular residential areas near Old Dubai.
- Location: Al Fahidi Historical District
- Bastakiya Timings: Open 24 hours
15. Visit the Hatta Heritage Village
Another place where you can learn more about the city’s history for free is the Hatta Heritage Village. If you ever wanted to know what the city looked like before the oil and tourism industry made it the modern Utopia we know, this is the best place for you. The village features forts, citadels and towers. You can also visit the “Bait Al Wali” which was the home of the local ruler of the time.
- Location: Hatta (Around 134 kilometres along the Hajar Mountains area)
- Timings: 07:30 am to 08:30 pm (Saturday to Thursday) | 02:30 pm to 08:30 pm (Friday)
16. VISIT THE FREE MUSEUMS IN DUBAI
Looking for free things to do in Dubai with kids? Take them to any of the free-entry museums in Dubai! Examples include the Coin Museum and Coffee Museum, situated in the Bastakiaya area that offer kids a chance to learn about the history of the nation and view artefacts from the past.
- Location: Al Fahidi Historical District
- Coin Museum Timings: 08:30 am – 03:30 pm (Sun-Thu) | Closed on Friday and Saturday
- Coffee Museum Timings: 09:00 am – 05:00 pm (Sun-Thu) | Closed on Friday
17. Traditional Architecture Museum
The almost 100-year-old museum was once the former residence of His Highness Sheikh Juma bin Maktoum. Now, it’s home to an array of traditional ornaments and tools used in building houses in Dubai and the rest of the UAE decades ago. So, if you ever wanted to study the history of Emirati architecture for free, this is the place to be.
- Location: Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai
- Contact: 08:00 am to 02:00 pm (Sunday to Thursday)
18. Visit the Camel Museum
Want to learn more about camels for free? Visit the Camel Museum. The elegant beasts play a significant role in the country’s heritage. The museum is a great place to learn how native Bedouins relied on the animals for survival.
- Location: Al Shindagha Historical Area, Bur Dubai
- Timings: 08:00 am to 02:00 pm (Sunday to Thursday)
Other free things to do in Dubai
Dubai has a lot more to offer for those who rather not spend a lot during their trip. Apart from museums and natural wonders, here are other activities and places to visit in Dubai for free:
19. BIND YOUR LOVE TO THE LOVE LOCK BRIDGE AT THE YARD
Looking for a pocket-friendly date night? Just head to the Love Lock Bridge at the Yard with a lock and key. You can place a lock customised with the initials of you and your loved one to the bridge, and toss the key off the bridge. No need to travel all the way to the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris for this experience!
The Love Lock Bridge at the Yard is easily one of the fun things to do in Dubai for free with your loved one. The Yard itself is one of the most popular places to visit in Dubai for free, however, if the Love Lock Bridge is not something you’re looking for, there are plenty of other activities at The Yard that you can try out.
- Location: Al Khawaneej Last Exit D89
- Al Seef Timing: Open 24 hours
20. Visit La Mer
Another great free pace to visit in Dubai is La Mer. Complete with quirky installations and colourful street art, La Mer is definitely one of the top selfie spots in Dubai. There is also the La Mer Beach which offers visitors a range of fun watersports activities for the whole family! And if the urge to splurge hits, you can always shop at the stores in La Mer.
Check out our review of La Mer to get to know all the details about the location and its attractions.
- La Mer Timings: Retail – 10:00 am – 10:00 pm (Sun-Wed) and 10:00 am – 11:00 pm (Thu-Sat)
- Contact: +971-800-637227
31. CATCH A GLIMPSE OF AIN DUBAI AT BLUEWATERS ISLAND
Blue Water Island is another one of the popular places to visit in Dubai for free. It’s a recent addition to the list of Meraas destinations. The area is also home to The Caesars Palace which hosts one of the best celebrity chef-restaurants in Dubai and also Ain Dubai – the largest observation wheel in the UAE. Although Ain Dubai is not open yet, you can still see the marvellous structure towering over the island. If you are curious about this highly anticipated Ferris wheel in Dubai, check out the facts about Ain Dubai.
The best way to get to the island is by car as there is no direct metro or bus route that goes there. If public transportation is your only option, the closest metro station to Bluewaters Island is DMCC but you will need to hail a cab to get to the island.
Check out our review of Bluwaters Island for more insights on the luxury destination.
- Location: Bluewaters Island Dubai, just off the coast of JBR
- Bluewaters Island Timing: Open 24 hours
32. TAKE A WATERFRONT STROLL ON THE MARINA WALK
The Dubai Marina Walk is also one of the popular places to visit in Dubai for free. Tenants who live in the apartments for rent in Dubai Marina can enjoy a relaxing stroll with the family or even a jog across the Marina Walk, which is located close to the flats. The waterfront and the docked yachts make for some spectacular views.
- Location: Dubai Marina
- Timings: Open 24 hours
33. WALK DOWN THE POINTE, PALM JUMEIRAH
The Palm Jumeirah is a renowned luxury destination with lavish hotels and attractions, but the Pointe at The Palm offers a welcome retreat for those who like to explore the spectacular waterfront destination for free. Apart from the many dining and retail options, the 1.5-kilometre promenade is the best place for a photo-op — with amazing views of the sea and the magnificent Atlantis, The Palm in the distance.
- Location: Palm Jumeirah
- Pointe Palm Jumeirah Timings: Open 24 hours
- Contact: +971-4-390-9999
34. VISIT RIVERLAND DUBAI
Go back in time to the streets of France as they were during the 1600s or visit the 1950s America in Riverland Dubai. Located at Dubai Parks and Resorts, Riverland Dubai allows visitors to experience four unique villages from times gone by. The French Village is based on a medieval French town, Boardwalk in 1950s America, Asian-themed India Gate and a 19th-century style piazza at The Peninsula. Entry in Riverland Dubai is free, however, you will have to pay for parking.
- Location: Dubai Parks & Resorts
- Riverland Dubai timings: 04:00 pm to 12:00 am (Monday to Sunday)
35. WATCH THE DANCING FOUNTAINS IN DUBAI
This is probably the most popular of all the free things to do in Dubai. Just head on to The Dubai Mall and enjoy the spectacular show of the world’s largest choreographed fountain system the Dubai Fountain, that dance to the popular tunes of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion and many more. Additionally, there are also loads of things to do in Dubai Mall apart from shopping.
- Location: The Dubai Mall
- Dubai Mall fountain timings: Every half hour in the evenings, from 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm.
36. IMAGINE IN DUBAI FESTIVAL CITY MALL (DFC)
If you’ve enjoyed the dancing fountains at The Dubai Mall, the IMAGINE show is another similar experience you can consider. The IMAGINE attraction at the Dubai Festival City Mall comes alive when the sun goes down, which makes the mall one of the best places to visit in Dubai at night for free.
One of the more popular attractions in Dubai Festival City Mall, the water and laser spectacle is a draw for visitors. It also has one of the largest water screen projections in the world, coupled with pyrotechnics, lasers, lights and dramatic effects.
- Location: The Dubai Mall
- DFC fountain timings: Every one hour in the evenings, from 6:30 pm – 11:00 pm
37. WATCH THE WATERFALL AT THE DUBAI WATER CANAL
The Dubai Water Canal is amongst the best free places to visit in Dubai and a natural pick for free things to do in Dubai. The 6.4km artificial canal also features a 3km running track and a 12km cycling path, making it the perfect spot for fitness enthusiasts looking for free places to exercise in the emirate. Nevertheless, if working out is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of open spaces and benches along the waterfront of the Canal where you can kick back and relax. There is also a mechanical waterfall, that changes colours and acts as a curtain when boats pass through it.
You can get to the Dubai Canal either by car or by the metro. If you are travelling by car you can park at the ‘Dubai Water Canal Walkway Parking’ and walk to the canal. For those using public transportation, the closest metro station to the Dubai Canal Waterfall is the Business Bay Sea Side Metro stop; from there the Dubai Waterfall is a 5-minute walk away.
- Dubai Canal Waterfall Location: Sheikh Zayed Road
- Dubai Canal Timing: Open 24 hours
38. SHARE SOME LOVE AT LOVE LAKE
Considered to be one of the best romantic spots in Dubai, Love Lake at Al Qudra offers a fun way to explore the desert. The entire area of Love Lake has been crafted in a way that the lakes and fauna of the area, spell out the word ‘Love’ with two hearts. One of the fairly new things to do in Dubai for free, this place comes equipped with shaded areas with fire pits and facilities such as washrooms.
- Location: Al Qudra Lake, Dubai
39. Visit other trendy spots in Dubai
Next up on our list of best free things to do in Dubai is to visit all the new trending spots in Dubai. Thanks to developers like Meraas, there are now numerous trendy spots all over the city and the best part is that these are free to visit. The places to visit in Dubai for free include:
40. Visit Aquaventure Waterpark on your birthday
Looking for free things to do on your birthday in Dubai? A visit to the famed Aquaventure in Atlantis, The Palm isn’t normally cost-free. But it is so for one day a year, your birthday! Register your birthday on the Aquaventure Birthday website to get the “Free Aquaventure Waterpark Birthday Offer” voucher. The free access is subject to availability and only applies to single admission without any add-ons. Plus, it’s valid on the day of your birthday and can also be used once in the six days that follow. Given the price of admission of a regular Aquaventure Waterpark ticket, it’s definitely one of the most valuable free things to do in Dubai!
Free entry to attractions with the Go Dubai all-inclusive Pass
What is the best way to see Dubai attractions without paying entry fees? Purchase the Dubai Pass. The smart card isn’t exactly free itself. Starting from AED 1,149 for a two-day pass, it grants you cash-free access to some of the city’s top attractions and landmarks. You can use the pass over the course of two weeks. Just download your Go Dubai All-Inclusive pass into your smartphone and have it scanned at each selected attraction. Alternatively, you can also print your pass at home.
Depending on your chosen package, you may get free entry to top attractions like the Burj Khalifa, Aquaventure Waterpark, Warner Bros World and more.
That’s everything about the places to visit in Dubai for free and cost-free things to do. If thriftiness isn’t on the agenda, check out the other things to do in Dubai. Want to walk on the wild side? Sign up for some exciting adventures in Dubai during your next trip. For die-hard thrill-seekers, there are some extreme things to do in Dubai
Which one of these free Dubai activities are you going to try? Let us know by leaving a comment and subscribe to MyBayut for more insights into life in Dubai and the UAE.