Regarded as the UAE’s cultural capital, Sharjah is one of the country’s most family-friendly emirates. Although it’s not as glamorous as neighbouring Dubai, its affordable apartments and calm lifestyle have many residents flocking to the emirate, with many living in Sharjah and working in Dubai. But that’s not all Sharjah has to offer. There are many places to visit in Sharjah that boast a variety of free activities and events. Visiting the emirate and wondering where to go in Sharjah for free? Here are MyBayut’s best picks for free things to do in Sharjah in 2019.
Top Free Events, Places to Visit and Things to Do in Sharjah
Take a Trip to the Buried Village
For those who are up for an adventure in the desert, a trip to the mysterious Buried Village is one of the top free things to do in Sharjah. Located near the town of Al Madam, this is an abandoned village that has been engulfed by desert sand. According to the locals, the village was earlier inhabited by the Al Kutbi Tribe, and the reason for why the village has been abandoned is still not known. It’s likely that the sand and desert in the area was inhospitable and drove the residents away.
Take a trip down here and you’ll come across two neat rows of houses and a mosque, with even its interiors buried deep in sand and an eerie look to them. This is one of Sharjah’s free attractions that’s great for those who like a little mystery and adventure, and the area makes the perfect backdrop for some cool photos, too. The Buried Village is around an hour away from Dubai and can be accessed via the Dubai-Hatta Road (E44). You’ll need a four-wheel-drive for the last part of the journey, as the Buried Village is off-road. Make sure to stock up on enough water and snacks if you are visiting the Sharjah Buried Village.
- Location: Off Al Shuwaib Road, Near Al Madam
Visit Al Qasba Canal
Another iconic destination that is one of the best places to visit in Sharjah for free is Al Qasba. This waterfront complex and promenade that overlooks the Al Qasba Canal on either side is a favourite with residents and tourists alike. Packed with attractions, Al Qasba is just the place for a relaxing evening stroll with the family. Walk down the promenade, take in picture-perfect views from the Al Qasba Bridge and experience the Al Qasba musical fountain. There are also activities for kids like soccer, fun zones and adventure parks. Some of Sharjah’s best restaurants are situated along the Al Qasba Canal, making it the perfect place for a delicious meal.
While the popular Ferris wheel in Al Qasba was moved to Al Montazah Parks last year, there are still plenty of reasons to visit this place. With off-white bridges and fences, Al Qasba is a charming waterfront destination that’s become one of the most famous places in Sharjah you can visit for free. Find out all the things to do at Al Qasba with MyBayut’s in-depth guide.
- Location: Al Majaz Area, connecting the Al Khan Lagoon and Khalid Lagoon
- Contact: 06-525-2444
Visit Al Majaz Waterfront
Another one of the free things to do in Sharjah is to visit the famous Al Majaz Waterfront, which has quickly become the top entertainment and leisure destination in the emirate. It consists of a lush and sprawling park that overlooks the Khalid Lagoon and is dotted with restaurants, activities and attractions. Some of the top free things to do in Al Majaz Waterfront include watching the spectacular Sharjah Musical Fountain or taking in serene views of the lagoon while going for a stroll. There is also a jogging track for those who want to stay active and play areas for the little ones. Al Majaz is also a hotspot during occasions like Eid and New Year’s Eve as the venue hosts an awesome display of fireworks. With so much to do, it’s no surprise that Al Majaz Waterfront is one of the best free places to visit in Sharjah for those on a budget.
Want to live close to this happening venue? There is a wide choice of rental apartments in Al Majaz that boast stunning views and proximity to all the activities and attractions of the waterfront destination.
- Location: Corniche Street, Al Majaz 2
- Contact: 06-511-7000
Other parks in Sharjah that are free to visit include the Al Ittihad Square Park and Al Safya Park, which are ideal for a fun picnic, stroll in the evening or pick-up games at the basketball and football facilities.
Visit the Blue Souk
No one can come to Sharjah and not pay a visit to the Blue Souk, the name of which comes from its beautiful blue tiles. Also known as the Central Souk, this is possibly one of the most popular free things to do in Sharjah. The Blue Souk Sharjah is an architectural delight that embodies the essence of a traditional bazaar, and it’s a treat to just visit the place. Overlooking the Khalid Lagoon, the Central Souk has two large, interconnected buildings ornate with blue tiles on the outside walls. While the Blue Souk is one of the free places to visit in Sharjah, shopaholics will find everything from jewellery including gold and diamonds, watches, clothing and arts and crafts, as well as traditional carpets from Iran, Kashmir and Afghanistan.
- Location: King Faisal Street, Near Al Ittihad Square
- Timings: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm (Saturday – Thursday), 05:00 pm – 10:30 pm (Friday)
Have a Beach Day
The emirate is home to some beautiful beaches, which are amongst residents’ favourite free places to visit in Sharjah. Al Khan Beach, Mamzar Beach and Sharjah Open Beach are some of the best spots for sun and sea in the emirate. While you’re here, you can build sandcastles, take a dip in the sea or even play a game of volleyball with friends! These beaches are also equipped with jogging tracks and outdoor gym equipment for those who want to get in some exercise.
If you’re up for a road trip, Khorfakkan Beach is a scenic spot for residents to visit, with views of the sea and the magnificent Hajar Mountains. There are playgrounds for children to enjoy, as well as parks and gardens nearby for guests to relax and BBQ, for those looking for fun things to do in Sharjah for free. This sandy strip of beach is also lined with restaurants when you get hungry! Take a look at MyBayut’s guide to all the things to do at Khorfakkan Beach, one of the sightseeing places in Sharjah that is an hour-and-a-half away from Dubai.
Visit Mosques in Sharjah
Sharjah is known for its stunning mosques, whose architecture has influences from across the globe. These tranquil places of worship are some of the best free places to visit in Sharjah, which allow visitors to learn more about the local culture and religion, Islam, as well as admire the breathtaking architecture. Al Noor Mosque is built in the classic Ottoman style and conducts mosque tours for non-Muslims who are keen to explore these beautiful spaces. The brand-new Sharjah Mosque is now the largest in the emirate and is also definitely well worth the visit. This is also one of the mosques in Sharjah that has opened its doors to non-Muslim visitors, too. If you’re looking for free things to do in Sharjah and have never visited a mosque before, the mosques in this emirate are a great place to start!
- Al Noor Mosque Location: Corniche Street, Al Majaz 1
- Sharjah Mosque Location: Al Tay Region, at the intersection of Maliha Road (E102) and Emirates Road (E611)
Explore Flag Island
Did you know that the world’s seventh-tallest flag pole can be found in Sharjah? Head to the aptly-named Flag Island, which is home to the UAE Flag on a massive 123-metre-high pole and is one of the places to see in Sharjah. Located in the Khalid Lagoon, Flag Island is an excellent spot for views of the water as well as impressive government buildings that line the embankment. Other free activities in Sharjah that Flag Island offers includes flowers gardens and a specialised art gallery and design space. There are also food trucks in the area for those in search of a snack or drink.
- Location: Al Arouba Street
- Contact: 06-503-0000
Wander through Sharjah’s Heritage District
Amongst the cultural attractions in Sharjah you can visit for free is the Heart of Sharjah, an area that is being restored as the heritage and arts centre of the emirate. Situated along the creek, the Heart of Sharjah is made up of diverse art galleries and museums, bustling souks and bazaars, all housed in traditional wind towers. Here, you can stroll through the narrow lanes and admire old Arabian architecture. Some of the souks to visit include Souk Al Shanasiyah, Souq Saqr and Souq Al Arsah, the latter of which is the oldest marketplace in the UAE. Don’t forget to catch a glimpse of Majlis al Midfa, which has the UAE’s only round wind tower! Culture vultures will love these free things to do in Sharjah, which allow visitors a slice of Arabian history.
Visit Sharjah Art Museum
Located in the arts district in the Heart of Sharjah, the Sharjah Art Museum houses one of the largest art exhibitions in the Gulf region and is one of the most interesting places in Sharjah. This three-storey museum boasts both permanent collections as well as temporary exhibitions of artwork of various mediums and techniques. Their permanent collection features artwork by prominent Middle Eastern artists like Abdulqader Al Rais, Obaid Sorour, Fatah Al-Turk and Louay Kayali. The museum’s library also has 4,000 titles in Arabic, English and other languages. For art aficionados, visiting this spectacular museum is one of the best free things to do in Sharjah.
- Location: Arts Area, The Heart of Sharjah, Near Corniche Post Office
- Timings: 08:00 am – 08:00 pm (Saturday to Thursday), 04:00 pm – 08:00 pm (Friday)
- Contact: 06-568-8222
Make a Trip to the Khor Kalba Conservation Reserve
Looking for things to see in Sharjah? The Khor Kalba Conservation Reserve promises stunning views of mountains, mangroves, lagoons and woodlands. Located on the UAE’s eastern coast, Khor Kalba is home to endangered wildlife species like sea turtles. You can head to this nature reserve to view beautiful landscapes and a glimpse of wildlife. However, do keep in mind that certain areas may not be open to the public, as Khor Kalba is a protected area.
- Location: Near Kalba Mall (For Kalba Mangrove Reserve Viewpoint)
Free Events in Sharjah
Several popular annual events that take place in the emirate, which is perfect for those looking for free things to do in Sharjah. Take a look below at some of the free events in Sharjah that visitors can enjoy.
Sharjah International Book Fair
Amongst the most famous free events in Sharjah is the Sharjah International Book Fair! This 11-day event features more than 400 literary programmes, including book signings, panels and workshops by famous authors, cookery demonstrations and other activities. Bookworms will be delighted to know that more than 1,000 publishing houses in over 210 languages attend the Sharjah International Book Festival, which is a prestigious annual event. With no entry fee, the book fair is one of the top free places to visit in Sharjah for all UAE residents.
- Dates: 30 October – 9 November 2019
- Location: Expo Centre Sharjah, Al Taawun
- Timings: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm (Saturday to Thursday), 04:00 pm – 11:00 pm (Friday)
- Contact: 06-514-0000
Sharjah Light Festival
This festival may just be residents’ favourite of free events in Sharjah. Every year, the entire emirate of Sharjah comes together to celebrate the Sharjah Light Festival, when important landmarks light up in a spectacular display of colour, music and light. It’s a celebration of both creativity and heritage and is truly a sight to behold. Dazzling light shows, each one telling a story, will take place across the city at landmarks like Khalid Lagoon, Al Noor Mosque, Al Qasba and various other government and university buildings. If you’re visiting the emirate during this event, make sure not to miss out on the celebrations as it’s one of the best free things to do in Sharjah.
- Dates: 6 February – 16 February 2019
- Location: Various Locations
- Contact: 800-80000
And that concludes MyBayut’s guide to the top free things to do in Sharjah! As you can see, there are several things to do and places to visit in this emirate, entirely free of cost. You may also be interested in taking a look at the best family-free activities in Sharjah, for a fun-filled day out with the kids. And stay tuned to MyBayut to stay updated on the best attractions in Sharjah and the UAE.