While Dubai is more popular for being home to several swanky attractions in the country, Abu Dhabi too has an array of renowned destinations for visitors and residents to explore. From the exhilarating theme parks on Yas Island to the majestic Sheikh Zayed Mosque there is certainly no shortage of things to do in Abu Dhabi. However, there are times your wallet may not support your explorer instincts. But don’t worry! There are plenty of free things to do in Abu Dhabi that guarantee a great time. Here is MyBayut’s ultimate list of best activities and free places to visit in Abu Dhabi that won’t burn a hole through your savings.
BEST FREE THINGS TO DO IN ABU DHABI 2019
With a slew of new attractions in Abu Dhabi, it’s fair to say that the list of things to do in Abu Dhabi is increasing by the day. But if you are looking for activities that are budget-friendly, this list of exciting things to do for free in Abu Dhabi will come in handy.
1. Spend a day at the Majestic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
The first place most people would point out when you think about attractions in Abu Dhabi is magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. One of the world’s largest mosques with the capacity to hold an astonishing number of 40,000 worshippers, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a pure work of art. Its beauty and splendour makes it deserving to be on this list of best free places to visit in Abu Dhabi. It features 82 domes, 24-carat gold gilded chandeliers, over a 1000 columns and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet. The beautifully landscaped surroundings also call for a day well spent in a calm and peaceful splendour.
2. Explore The Emirates Palace
An iconic landmark of Abu Dhabi, the Emirates Palace is a beautiful hotel that perfectly blends modern luxuries with the magical Arabian hospitality. You’ll only have access to the lobbies and the outdoor courtyard, but the sight of the central passageways and arched ceilings will leave you in awe. Wandering through the majestic halls and corridors of the Emirates Palace is another one of the top free things to do in Abu Dhabi.
3. Spend a relaxing day at the Corniche
Probably the simplest of free things to do in Abu Dhabi today would be to head down to the Corniche for a day of beachside fun. You can try out a multitude of activities in Abu Dhabi Corniche which includes walking down the promenade and cycling! You can also take a book and sit at one of the benches and relax with the tune of the calming waters in the background. The Corniche is one of the best free places to visit in Abu Dhabi as you can watch the scenic magnificence of the sunset without having to pay a thing!
4. Experience an authentic Emirati town at Heritage Village
Showcasing the traditional Bedouin lifestyle, Heritage Village is a recreation of an Emirati village and is one of the best cultural and heritage sites in Abu Dhabi. You can literally take a walk down memory lane, and see an array of precious assets from the old era such as palm leaf houses, Bedouin tents with campfires brewing the famous Arabian tea and stone huts. You can also see some of the things used in such times including swords, souvenirs, pots, potteries and so on. There are also camels, goats and Arabian horses on display that make this one of the best free things to do in Abu Dhabi with kids. If you are lucky, you might get to watch falconry demonstrations that take place often.
5. Witness the Rich History and Legacy of the UAE at Qasr Al Hosn
With historic significance that dates back to the 18th century, the oldest stone building in the country, Qasr Al Hosn is the next spot in our list of free places in Abu Dhabi. It was originally built as a coral and sea stone watchtower by the Bani Yas tribe for the purpose of commanding coastal trade routes and to protect the settlements. Now Qasr Al Hosn has been transformed into a tourism and cultural destination with plenty of exciting activities for everyone who visits. Although there is a charge to visit the fort itself, you can wander around the artist’s area and other attractions for free.
6. Cruise the Dunes at The Empty Quarter
If you didn’t know about this place it’s time you did. Aptly called ‘the Empty Quarter’, Rub Al Khail is the world’s largest uninterrupted sand desert. Get out into this vast sea of sand for an exceptionally thrilling off-road adventure that you could finish off with a wonderful night, camping under the stars. This is probably one of the most unique free things to do in Abu Dhabi.
7. Enjoy a Dose of Formula 1 fun at Yas Marina Circuit
How about an evening of free fitness in the city’s very own Yas Marina Circuit where you can have a dose of the Formula 1 experience? You can run or cycle around the expansive motorsport circuits on three nights of the week, making this one of the best free activities in Abu Dhabi.
- StratYAS which is on Sunday nights from 06:00 pm,
- TrainYAS which is on Tuesday nights from 06:00 pm
- GoYAS which is only for ladies on Wednesday nights from 06:00 pm.
These free fitness activities in Abu Dhabi’s most famous location are certainly exciting for adrenalin junkies!
8. Gear up for a day of cycling at Al Wathba Track
Next on our list of free things to do in Abu Dhabi is a day of cycling. The city’s best cycling area, Al Wathba Track is a public road open 24/7 for a splendid cycling experience. For an even more mesmerising experience, you could choose to go cycling during the time of dawn or dusk, as the view is stunning. Thanks to the solar-powered lights, you will have no trouble riding through the course at night. There is also an ADNOC Oasis store where you can stop by for refreshments. So pack-up your bicycle and drive down to Al Wathba Track, it is located just of the E22 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Road and makes for an awesome option for those looking at things to do in Abu Dhabi for free.
9. Enjoy the Charms of Classical Reels at the Free Film event in Manarat Al Saadiyat
When we mentioned things to do for free in Abu Dhabi, you probably did not expect the list to include a free screening. But you heard that right! One of the best free events in Abu Dhabi for the lovers of Hollywood classics starring legends including Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman and more, the Cinema Space at Manarat Al Saadiyat, is a special treat. They do free community screenings of the beautifully restored classics and contemporary world cinemas. Due to limited seats, you will have to book early on to attend a show.
10. Have a hearty laugh at the free comedy show at Frankie’s Comedy Cellar in Fairmont Abu Dhabi
Another one of the best free activities in Abu Dhabi is visiting Frankie’s Comedy Cellar in Fairmont. You get to dine on some delicious Italian cuisine and laugh all your troubles away here. They offer free entry comedy sessions every second Saturday from 07:00 pm – 09:00 pm at Frankie’s Italian Restaurant. But remember you’ll need to keep the kids home for this one, as it’s only for those aged 21 and above.
11. Enjoy a day outdoors at Al Bateen Beach
Al Bateen Beach is one of the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi for free. Complete with a line up of amazing food trucks, the vast stretch of Al Bateen Beach offers an amazing set of activities for the entire family to enjoy! And best of all, its totally free to visit. You can build sandcastles at the beach, go fishing at the Al Bateen Fishing Spot, or just lounge and get a tan – the choice is yours!
12. Relax by the ocean at Al Qurm Beach
As the sun shines bright, one of the best free things to do in Abu Dhabi is head to the Al Qurm Beach. This is a fairly smaller beach compared to the others, but it offers the perfect setting for a small picnic with friends and family; also it’s free!
13. Play volleyball by the beach at Hudayriat Island
If the other two beaches don’t tickle your fancy, make your way to Hudayriat Island and enjoy a game of volleyball – it is one of the most fun things to do in Abu Dhabi. But if volleyball isn’t your sport, there are five football fields, four basketball courts and four beach football courts for everyone to enjoy! Apart from that this beautiful beachfront has cycling tracks, food trucks and children’s’ play areas.
14. Appreciate the beauty of art at the Etihad Modern Art Gallery (EMAG)
If you are into art, the Etihad Modern Art Gallery is one of the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi free. Situated just behind the Al Bateen Mall, EMAG is a multi-purpose space that hosts art shows and exhibitions featuring works from local artists. They are also known for hosting some of the best free activities in Abu Dhabi for art lovers, such as art workshops, poetry nights and music events. This free entry gallery is open Saturday to Thursday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.
- Etihad Modern Art Gallery contact: +971-2-621-0145
15. Learn a new language at the Language Club
If you’re looking for free activities in Abu Dhabi that are fun but also educational, hit up the Language Club (1868 UAE). It is a free initiative is run by translator and linguist Marisol Vasquez who’s passionate about helping language learners.
16. Explore the Mina Markets at Mina Zayed Port
If you want to experience the vibrant buzz of traditional markets, the Mina Zayed Port has the Mina Souk which is amongst the most popular places to visit in Abu Dhabi free. From traditional mattresses and machine-made carpets to exotic fruits and vegetables, this is one of the best traditional souks in Abu Dhabi. There are of traditional shops that are set by the port is an amazing sight. Even if you don’t have to buy anything, just walking through the upbeat area is one of the most fun things to do in Abu Dhabi.
17. Have a picnic at Reem Central Park
For those looking for free places in Abu Dhabi to visit with family, the newly opened Reem Central Park on Al Reem Island is a must-visit! From a fully equipped skate park to a wide range of restaurants, there are plenty of activities in Reem Central Park for adults and kids alike!
18. View exhibits at Manarat Al Saadiyat
Located on the stunning Saadiyat Island, Manarat Al Saadiyat follows a similar concept to the above mentioned Etihad Modern Art Gallery. They have an ongoing calendar of free events in Abu Dhabi that include workshops for children and adults in topics such as printmaking, self-portraits, figure drawing and robotics. Being one of the best Abu Dhabi art galleries, it offers an all-encompassing experience for people looking for free places to visit in Abu Dhabi.
- Manarat Al Saadiyat: +971-2-657-5800
19. Read a book at the public libraries
For all the bookworms, head to an of the amazing public libraries in Abu Dhabi. These libraries are well-stocked with all the popular titles in Arabic and English. These libraries have facilities like reading corners where you can immerse yourself in the lives of your favourite characters.
20. Catch a glimpse of the Flamingos in their natural habitat at the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve
Rounding up our list of best things to do in Abu Dhabi for free we have the Al Wathba Wetland Reserve. It’s similar to Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, where flamingos and dozens of other bird species are offered a safe haven. It’s the best places to visit in Abu Dhabi for free if you’re a nature lover.
That completes our list of things to do in Abu Dhabi for free! So the next time you are feeling bored don’t stay home and wonder ‘what to do in Abu Dhabi for free? Step out and enjoy all the fun activities and attractions on this list!
Let us know on firstname.lastname@example.org which one of these free things to do in Abu Dhabi caught your attention the most or if we missed out on something that you love. While you are at it, check out these free things to do in Dubai for a change.