Known as the UAE’s cultural capital, Sharjah is a family-friendly emirate with plenty of activities for all – especially if you’re working with a somewhat restricted budget. So if you’re thinking about a family day out and don’t want to spend the equivalent of taking out a mortgage, Sharjah should definitely be high on your list. With that in mind, here’s our guide of places to visit in Sharjah for free.
PLACES TO VISIT IN SHARJAH FOR FREE
Given the affordable housing and relaxed lifestyle, many UAE residents choose to live in Sharjah and work in Dubai. But that’s not all that the emirate has to offer. There are many places to visit in Sharjah that won’t cost you a single dirham!
VISIT HISTORICAL AREAS AND MUSEUMS
TAKE A TRIP TO THE BURIED VILLAGE
For those who’d like to embark on an adventure in the desert, a trip to the mysterious buried village is one of the top places to visit in Sharjah for free. It is also often called Al Madam Ghost Village due to its proximity to the town of Al Madam.
This is an abandoned village completely engulfed by desert sand. According to the locals, the village was earlier inhabited by the Al Kutbi Tribe. The reason why the village was abandoned is still not known. It’s likely that the sand and desert in the area were inhospitable and drove the residents away.
Take a trip down here and you’ll come across two eerie-looking rows of houses and a mosque, with even the interiors of the buildings buried deep in sand. This is one of Sharjah’s free attractions that’s great for those who like a little mystery and adventure. Plus, the area is the perfect backdrop for some excellent photos.
The buried village is approximately an hour away from Dubai and can be accessed via Dubai-Hatta Road (E44). You will need a four-wheel-drive for the last leg 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 THE AL ESLAH SCHOOL MUSEUM
Among the many museums in the Heart of Sharjah, the Al Eslah School Museum is one of the popular historical places in Sharjah that offers free entry. It was the first formal educational institution in the region and was founded in 1935. Visitors can observe what classrooms of old school looked like back in the day and take part in indifferent educational sessions. It is an excellent venue to hold unique events.
- Location: Heart of Sharjah
- Contact: +971-6-568-4114
Disclaimer: Al Eslah School Museum may be temporarily closed for restoration. Visitors are advised to contact the facility before they plan their visit.
WANDER THROUGH SHARJAH’S HERITAGE DISTRICT
Among 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 art 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 the 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 reward visitors with a piece 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 the emirate. This three-storey museum boasts permanent collections and temporary exhibitions of various art mediums and techniques.
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 to 08:00 pm | 04:00 pm to 08:00 pm (Friday)
- Contact: +971-6-568-8222
TAKE A TRIP TO THE KHOR KALBA CONSERVATION RESERVE
Looking for beautiful things to see in Sharjah? The Khor Kalba Conservation Reserve promises stunning views of mountains, mangroves, lagoons and woodlands. The reserve is located on the UAE’s eastern coast and is home to endangered wildlife species like sea turtles. You can head to this nature reserve to view beautiful landscapes and get 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)
VISIT FREE PARKS
AL MAJAZ WATERFRONT PARK
The beachfront area of Al Majaz is home to Al Majaz Waterfront Park — another of the free tourist places to visit in Sharjah. A major attraction here is the Sharjah Musical Fountain, which is famous for its choreographed light shows. The park also features a jogging and walking track.
While Al Majaz Waterfront Park does not charge an entry fee, charges are applied for mini-golf activities.
- Location: Al Majaz, in front of Khalid Lake, Sharjah
- Contact: +971-6-511-7000
AL ITTIHAD SQUARE PARK
Al Ittihad Square Park is another free-to-visit attraction in Sharjah. It is located between the Sharjah Souk and the King Faisal Mosque. With meticulously planted palm trees and verdant landscapes, it’s the perfect retreat for a picnic.
- Location: Al Soor – Sharjah
- Timings: Open 24 hours
Other parks in Sharjah that are free to visit include Al Safya Park, which is ideal for a fun picnic or a stroll in the evening.
OTHER FREE TOURIST PLACES IN SHARJAH
VISIT AL QASBA CANAL
Another popular destination counted among the best places to visit in Sharjah for free is Al Qasba. This waterfront complex and promenade overlooking 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 – just a couple of the many things to do at Al Qasba. 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 as well.
With off-white bridges and fences, Al Qasba is a charming waterfront destination that has become one of the most famous places in Sharjah you can visit for free.
- Location: Al Majaz Area, connecting the Al Khan Lagoon and Khalid Lagoon
- Contact: +971-6-525-2444
Although admission is free, some sites and activities have fees.
VISIT AL MAJAZ WATERFRONT
Al Majaz Waterfront has quickly become the top entertainment and leisure destination in the emirate — a visit to where counts as one of the popular free things to do in Sharjah. It features a lush and sprawling park that overlooks the Khalid Lagoon and is dotted with restaurants, activities and attractions. 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: +971-6-511-7000
VISIT THE BLUE SOUK
You go to Sharjah and not visit the Blue Souk (the name of which comes from its beautiful blue tiles), that’s not possible. Also known as the Central Souk, this is one of the most popular places to visit in Sharjah for free. The Blue Souk Sharjah is an architectural delight that embodies the essence of a traditional bazaar and it’s a treat to visit for shopaholics looking for good bargains.
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 to 10:30 pm | 05:00 pm to 10:30 pm (Friday)
VISIT MOSQUES IN SHARJAH
Sharjah is known for its stunning mosques with architecture inspired by global influences. 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 keen to explore these beautiful spaces. The brand-new Sharjah Mosque is now the largest in the emirate and is also 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 pole. Located in the Khalid Lagoon, Flag Island is one of the most interesting places to see in Sharjah, offering spectacular views of the water as well as impressive government buildings that line the embankment. Furthermore, it features beautifully manicured gardens and an art gallery.
- Location: Al Arouba Street
- Contact: +971-6-503-0000
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 water 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.
The beaches in Sharjah which are free for visitors include:
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. You can even whip up a BBQ there to add to your list of fun things to do in Sharjah for free.
Free Events in Sharjah
Several popular annual events occur 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 for you to enjoy.
SHARJAH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FAIR
Amongst the most famous free events in the emirate is the Sharjah International Book Fair! This 11-day event (which usually takes place in November each year) 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, a prestigious annual event. With no entry fee, the book fair is one of the top free events to visit in Sharjah for all UAE residents.
- Contact: 06-514-0000
SHARJAH LIGHT FESTIVAL
This festival may be residents’ favourite among 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.
A celebration of both creativity and heritage, the festival is truly a sight to behold. This highlight of the emirate’s annual events calendar usually takes place in February each year and undoubtedly represents one of the best free things to do in Sharjah.
- Location: Various Locations
Frequently Asked Questions
What else is there to do in Sharjah?
If you have the urge to splurge on your trip to the emirate, there is plenty to do. Some of the top things to do in Sharjah include visits to Al Noor Mosque, Sharjah Museum and more. The Sharjah National Park is also hugely popular with residents and tourists alike.
What activities can kids enjoy in Sharjah?
Looking for kid-friendly attractions in Sharjah? The emirate is known for its family-friendly indoor and outdoor leisure spaces. For example, kids will appreciate the many fun things to do in the Sharjah Discovery Centre — a learning centre with activities designed for three to 12-year-old visitors. Other places that are sure to be fun for children are Adventureland Sharjah and the Sharjah Aquarium. So if you are looking for free activities for kids in Sharjah, you know where to go.
And that concludes our guide to the best things to do and places to visit in Sharjah for free! As you can see, there are a multitude of things to do and places to visit in this emirate, entirely free of charge!
There are also these free activities in Dubai for you to consider. Dubai extreme activities are something you should consider if you consider yourself to be a daredevil. Last but certainly not least? These excellent free things to do in Ras Al Khaimah.
Stay tuned to MyBayut for news on the best attractions in Sharjah and throughout the UAE.