Things to Do in Dubai for Free

Things to Do in Dubai for Free

Dubai is known for its beautiful landmarks, luxurious hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and humongous malls. 

But the city also has a lot to offer for those traveling on a budget. In fact, you can plan an entire day in Dubai without spending anything.

Things You Can Do in Dubai For Free

When you’re in Dubai, here are some of  the things that you can without spending anything:

  • Visit Old Dubai
  • Witness a fountain show
  • Spend a day at the beach
  • Go window shopping at the souks
  • Watch camels race
  • Go on a picnic

So, if you’re traveling to Dubai on a budget, plan an itinerary filled with these things that you can do in Dubai without spending a Dirham.

Explore Old Dubai

Explore Old Dubai
Image source: Gulf News

Address: Al Seef District – Bur Dubai – Dubai Creek – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Operating Hours: 10:00AM to 10:00PM (Saturday-Wednesday)/ 10:00AM to 12:00AM (Thursday-Friday)

Contact Info: +971 800 637227

Before becoming a modern metropolis, Dubai was a fishing village and the Dubai Creek played an important role as the trading hub for the city’s products, especially pearls.

As Dubai developed, the government chose to preserve this part of the city to allow people to experience its rich history and culture.

In 2017, the Al Seef District development was launched with plans to showcase the heritage of Dubai.

Covering more than 2.5 million square feet and 1.8 kilometers of the Dubai Creek’s shoreline, Al Seef was designed to mimic the old villages to take you back in time.

Getting to Al Seef is easy. You can ride a cab, hire a private car or take the public transport where you have these options:

  • Take an “abra” or traditional ferry boat from the Banyas Station in Deira. This is the oldest form of transport in Dubai traversing through the Dubai Creek.
  • Ride the Red or Green Line of the metro and stop at the Burjuman station. From there, you can walk for around 15 minutes to reach Al Seef.

What to Do in Al Seef

What to Do in Al Seef
Image source: Travel+Leisure

Exploring Al Seef is an adventure, so it’s best to start walking around in the morning when the sun isn’t as hot yet, especially during the summer.

Here are some of the things that you can do in Al Seef for free:

  • Explore the corridors and alleyways. 

With over 2 kilometers of alleyways and corridors, there are plenty of things to see as you wander around Al Seef with buildings resembling the old villages of Dubai.

  • Window shop at the Heritage Souk.

Al Seef has a Heritage Souk where local craftsmen sell home decor, jewelry, souvenirs  and other handicrafts. 

But if you don’t want to spend anything, you can always window shop to get a glimpse of local artwork and craftsmanship in Dubai.

  • Visit nearby Al Fahidi.

While you’re in the area, don’t miss visiting the Al Fahidi historical neighborhood to see the traditional wind towers that play a significant part in Dubai’s history. 

Here, you can visit the Dubai Museum, Coffee Museum and Coins Museum for free.

Witness a Fountain Show

Witness a Fountain Show
Image source: Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

Dubai is known for making everything grand and that includes its fountain shows.

There are two places in Dubai where you can see these shows: The Dubai Fountain at the Burj Lake and IMAGINE at Dubai Festival City.

The Dubai Fountain

The Dubai Fountain
Image source: Bayut

Address: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd. – Downtown Dubai – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Operating Hours: 6:00PM to 11:00PM daily

Contact Info: +971 362 7500

Downtown Dubai is the heart of the city with Burj Khalifa as its centerpiece. 

But it’s not the only towering landmark in the area. The Dubai Fountain located on the 30-acre lake near Burj Khalifa is the tallest choreographed fountain system in the world. 

The fountain itself runs over 900 feet with two arcs, five circles of different sizes and a wide range of water nozzles that shoot water up in the air during the show. 

While you need to pay a fee to enter the Dubai Fountain Boardwalk or take the Dubai Fountain lake ride, you can still witness the show from the Dubai Mall for free. 

After strolling around the mall, head to its waterfront promenade to get a glimpse of the show, which runs every 30 minutes starting at 6:00 PM daily.


Image source: Discover Dubai

Address: Festival Bay – Dubai Festival City – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Operating Hours: 6:00PM to 11:00PM daily

Contact Info: +971 4 800 332

Holding the Guinness World Record for the largest permanent projection mapping and the largest water screen projection in the world, IMAGINE is a must-watch.

This show doesn’t only use water, but it also combines laser and lighting for a one-of-a-kind sensory experience that you’ll surely never forget.

IMAGINE runs every evening after sunset and it’s free for everyone. Just head to Festival Bay early to get a good spot to watch the show.

Spend a Day at the Beach

The sun is out for most of the year in Dubai and you don’t need to be in one of the beachside hotels to enjoy some sun.

Here, you can get a tan and do different outdoor activities in these free beaches around the city.

Kite Beach

Kite Beach
Image source: TripAdvisor

Address: Umm Suqeim 1 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

If you’re a fan of aquatic sports, this is the beach for you. From its name, Kite Beach is where kite surfers play.

But you can also catch a game of volleyball with other tourists or go kayaking and paddleboarding if kitesurfing isn’t for you.

Kite beach also has an outdoor trampoline, skatepark and different cafes where you can get a bite after swimming.

Jumeirah Public Beach

Address: 36 Al Nessnass Street – Jumeirah 3 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

The most popular beach in Dubai, Jumeirah Public Beach is a favorite among locals and tourists.

Here, you can spend the day getting a tan by the beach or taking a dip in its crystal clear waters.

You can also sign up for paddleboarding, kayaking and kitesurfing lessons for a minimum fee if you have some budget to spare.

If you’re traveling with friends, you can take advantage of group bookings to save money on lessons and equipment rental.

Black Palace Beach

Black Palace Beach
Image source: Sweet Home Dubai

Address: Al Sufouh Beach – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

One of Dubai’s best kept secrets is Black Palace Beach, a hidden gem where you can enjoy the blue waters of Dubai without the massive crowd.

This beach may not have all the amenities of the other free beaches in the city, but it offers stunning views of the Burj Al Arab and the most amazing sunsets.

Just bring some food, a good beach chair and enjoy a day in this hidden beach near the Royal Fortresses.

La Mer

La Mer
Image source: Bayut

Address: Jumeirah 1 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

La Mer is like the Venice Beach of Dubai. Here, you get a combination of a long stretch of beach and an upscale commercial area with restaurants, shops and entertainment.

The beach also offers different outdoor activities and you can take a stroll around the neighborhood to window shop or enjoy a good meal after.

Go Window Shopping at the Souks

Go Window Shopping at the Souks
Image source: Damir Babacic on Unsplash

You can’t visit Dubai without seeing its souks. More than selling gold jewelry, spices and local products, these souks give you a taste of Dubai’s rich culture and traditions.

The souks are also the best spots in Dubai to shop for souvenirs at cheaper prices than malls.

Here are the best souks to visit while you’re in the city:

Gold Souk

Gold Souk
Image source: CosmopoliClan

Location: Deira District – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Operating Hours: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Saturday-Thursday)/ 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM (Friday)

How to Get There:

  • Ride the bus to Al Sabkha
  • Take the abra from Bur Dubai
  • Ride the Green Line metro to the Gold Souk or Al Ras Metro Station

What You Can Buy:

  • Gold, gemstone and diamond jewelry

The Dubai Gold Souk is an institution in Dubai being one of its oldest traditional markets. 

Here, you’ll find a wide range of authentic gold, diamond, pearl and precious stone jewellery pieces designed by local craftsmen.

All of these products are also certified by the Dubai government to ensure their authenticity. So, if you want to invest in a jewellery piece, this is the best place to shop.

Perfume Souk

Perfume Souk
Image source: Discover Dubai

Location: Sikkat al Khali – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Operating Hours: 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 9:30 PM (Monday-Saturday)/ Closed on Sundays

How to Get There:

  • Ride the Green Line metro to the Al Ras Metro Station

What You Can Buy:

  • Oud and Bakhoor 
  • Essential oils, incense sticks and perfumes

Bask in the aromas and scents of the Dubai Perfume Souk. Fragrance is a strong part of  Arabian culture, whether it’s in their clothes or home.

The perfume souk offers a wide array of perfumes that are specifically crafted by local perfumers in Dubai and the UAE.

Of course, you can’t miss buying oud and bakhoor, which is a traditional scent that’s symbolic of Dubai.

Spice Souk

Spice Souk
Image source: The Telegraph

Location: 26 34 Street – Al Ras – Deira – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Operating Hours: 7:30 AM to 10:00 PM (Monday-Friday)/ 7:30 AM to 11:00 PM (Saturday-Sunday)

How to Get There:

  • Ride the abra to the Deira Old Souk Dubai Abra Station
  • Ride the Green Line metro to the Al Ras Metro Station
  • Ride the bus to the Al Ras Station

What You Can Buy:

  • Different types of spices
  • Oils and nuts
  • Dried fruits
  • Dates

Middle Eastern culture is known for its abundant use of spices and the Spice Souk in Dubai has all the best spices in the world.

Go around the stalls and ask different vendors of the spices that they offer. These locals are more than happy to teach you a thing or two about spices.

You can also find fragrant teas, dried fruits and other local products in this beautiful souk.

Textile Souk

Location: 57 Ali Bin Abi Talib Street – Bur Dubai – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Operating Hours: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Saturday-Thursday)/ 4:00 Pm to 10:00 PM (Friday)

How to Get There:

  • Ride the Green Line Metro to Al Fahidi Metro Station

What You Can Buy:

  • Different types of fabrics
  • Accessories
  • Ribbons, sequins and lace

The textiles and fabrics of Dubai speak a lot of its culture and traditions, and you’ll find the best ones in the Textile Souk in Bur Dubai.

You can also find a lot of ready to wear outfits from local tailors and some traditional sandals that are carefully made by artisans.

Watch Camels Race

Watch Camels Race
Image source: Saj Shafique on Unsplash

Address: Dubai-Al Ain Road – Al Marmoom – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Operating Hours: 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM (Weekends)

Contact Info: +971 4 718 8888

If you’re visiting Dubai between October and April, you shouldn’t miss watching a camel racing event, which is one of the most traditional pastimes in the city.

The Al Marmoom Camel Race Track is located 30 minutes away from the city center, but the trip is definitely worth it as you enjoy more than 60 camels racing to the finish line.

If you come in early enough, you can stop  by the camel laboratory and hospital within the Dubai Camel Racing Club to pet some camels and take photos for free.

Go on a Picnic

Go on a Picnic
Image source: Time Out Dubai

Dubai may be a fast-paced city, but locals love to go on picnics to unwind and enjoy the outdoors without spending much.

Just pack a blanket and some food, and pick a spot in one of these free parks around the city where you can enjoy a picnic: 

Al Qudra Lake

Al Qudra Lake
Image source: Jumeirah

Location: Al Qudra – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Operating Hours: Always open

A 30-minute drive from the city will take you to Al Qudra Lake at the Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve.

Here, you can go on a picnic or go camping in the many designated areas within the park.

You can also enjoy watching Dubai’s wildlife or go cycling at the Al Qudra cycling track.

Al Barsha Pond Park

Al Barsha Pond Park
Image source: Dubai Flea Market

Location: Near Al Barsha Mall – Al Barsha 2 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM daily

Located near the Al Barsha Mall, the Al Barsha Pond Park offers the perfect ambiance for a picnic, as it is set around a man made lake.

If you choose to visit on Saturdays, you can also visit the local Ripe Market to get fresh produce and food for your picnic.

Umm Suqeim Park

Umm Suqeim Park
Image source: Dubai City

Location: 92 8 E Street – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Operating Hours: 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily

Located next to the Jumeirah Beach hotel and across the Jumeirah Public Beach, this park is ideal for picnics with friends or kids because of its relaxing atmosphere and fresh air.

Just remember that the park only admits ladies and children on the weekdays, but men are allowed with their families on weekends.

Explore Dubai for Free

Dubai is definitely a city that can cater to every budget. Although it’s known for glitz, glamor and millionaires, you can still enjoy this beautiful city even on a budget.

So, if you’ve been hesitating to visit Dubai thinking it’s going to be expensive, this is your chance  to start planning that trip.