Zero Dirham Delights: Indoor Adventures in Dubai, All FREE!

As a freelancer, I’ve been mostly at home, feeling pretty isolated and stuck in a rut. I figured if I didn’t do something soon, I might actually go insane.

So after some meditation, I decided I needed to get out ASAP. But I have some issues: I’m not keen on being under the sun for too long AND spending money. I’m so thrifty that it might actually take an apocalypse threat to make me splurge!

To make things easier, I asked around and made a cool list of free things to do indoors in Dubai. Check it out and make the most of your dirham-free trips too!

What can you do in Dubai indoors for free?

Appreciate the Charms of Chinatown in Dubai Mall

Media from mahesh_murthy 


Address: Dubai Mall Service Road – Downtown Dubai – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact Details: 800 38224 6255

Operating Hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 12 AM

Chinatown in Dubai Mall, on the first floor near the Dubai Ice Rink, is a vibrant cultural hub with a direct link to Address Fountain Views. It’s a must-see for anyone looking to immerse themselves in authentic Asian vibes!

Just pass through the grand golden gate, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by intricate architecture, vibrant fabrics, and exquisite décor straight out of the Orient.

I also love that the air is filled with the delightful smells and tastes of Asian cuisine, making each stroll a sensory adventure. For me, every corner looks perfect for Instagram, with plenty of photo-worthy spots to capture!

Get Artsy at Jameel Arts Centre

Media from jameelartscentre 


Address: Jaddaf Waterfront – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact Details: +971 4 873 9800, [email protected] 

Operating Hours: 

  • Thursday & Saturday – 10 AM to 8 PM
  • Friday – 12 PM to 8 PM


Jameel Arts Centre is fantastic for art lovers! This cool white building at Jaddaf Waterfront is filled with light, featuring white-walled rooms and cute little gardens. I reckon it’s a great place to dive into contemporary Middle Eastern art.

Here, you’ll wander through 3 floors of ever-changing exhibitions and installations. Don’t miss the Art Jameel Shop for unique finds, the serene Artist’s Garden, and the 7 desert gardens for a bit of nature to chill and soak up some culture.

Right next door, I suggest checking out the Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park with its impressive outdoor sculptures as well. Then, remember to treat yourself to a meal at Teible, a Green Michelin Star restaurant, for some amazing local dishes! 

Explore Dubai’s Poetic Roots at the Museum of the Poet Al Oqaili

Media from muaaz_zakria 


Address: Sikka 26A – Deira – Al Ras – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact Details: +971 800 33222

Operating Hours: 

  • Monday to Thursday – 9 AM to 2 PM
  • Friday – 9 AM to 12 PM

The Museum of the Poet Al Oqaili in Dubai takes you on a journey through Arabic literary history. Housed in a charming heritage building, it showcases the life and works of poet Mubarak Bin Al Oqaili.

Here, you’ll see his original manuscripts and tools, offering insight into his creative process. The elegant architecture preserves Emirati cultural heritage too! In my opinion, this could help in your immersion and make you feel more like a local in the city.

Chill at Souk Al Marfa: Deira’s Cool Market

Media from soukalmarfa 

Address: 78R6+97V Souq Al Marfa – Dubai Islands – Front – Dubai Islands – Front – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact Details: +971 4 777 9500

Operating Hours: 

  • Sunday to Thursday – 12 PM to 12 AM
  • Friday – 2 PM to 2 AM
  • Saturday – 12 PM to 2 AM


Want to do some window shopping? The lively Souk Al Marfa provides a vibrant shopping experience and a dose of cultural flair. This indoor marketplace stretches 1.9 km along the Deira Islands’ waterfront, offering you and your crew a cool retreat.

With over 400 stores to explore, the souk boasts everything from beautiful carpets and aromatic spices to trendy fashion finds and the latest electronics. Even if you’re not buying anything right now, I bet some items can still make your early Christmas list.

Borrow Your Favorite Tales at The Old Library

Media from theoldlibrarydubai 


Address: Gold & Diamond Park – Building 7 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact Details: +971 4 321 3939, [email protected] 

Operating Hours: 

  • Sunday, Tuesday to Wednesday – 12 PM to 4 PM
  • Thursday to Saturday – 10 AM to 6 PM


Bringing your kids with you? The Old Library in Dubai offers a literary treat with weekly storytime sessions starting at 10 am every Monday. Imagine cozy nooks and engaging tales that spark young imaginations!

I also appreciate that first-time visitors can enjoy their first session for free, making it easy to discover this charming English-language library. 

And if you want, becoming a member helps sustain operations and adds to the library’s collection of new books. I think it’s also a fantastic way to encourage a love for reading while supporting a cherished community institution in the city.

Groove to Live Music at Time Out Market Dubai

Media from timeoutmarketdubai 


Address: Level 3 – Souk Al Bahar – Downtown – Downtown Dubai – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact Details: +971 54 375 2421, [email protected] 

Operating Hours: 

  • Monday to Thursday – 12 PM to 12 AM
  • Friday – 12 PM to 1 AM
  • Saturday – 10 AM to 1 AM
  • Sunday – 10 AM to 12 AM


Time Out Market Dubai is a must-visit, especially if you want to beat the heat indoors. Entry is free, but get ready for a feast with diverse culinary delights like Reif Japanese Kushiyaki and Masti. 

Love music? I think you might like that the market hosts live music 3 nights a week, including chill Jazzy Mondays, perfect for a relaxed evening out.

Discover Art Vibes at an Alserkal Avenue Gallery

Media from alserkalavenue 


Address: 17th St – Al Quoz – Al Quoz Industrial Area 1 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact Details: +971 4 333 3464, [email protected] 

Operating Hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 10 AM to 7 PM


Alserkal Avenue is amazing if you’re interested in art galleries and cultural vibes. You can stroll through cool warehouses like Custot Gallery and Elmarsa Gallery, where you’ll find everything from contemporary pieces to North African art.

Besides art, this spot sprawls across 500,000 sq ft, with food spots, fashion boutiques, and live music venues. It’s a buzzing spot for community events—a perfect hangout place, in my opinion.

And if you love cars, you can check out Nostalgia Classic Cars here as well! Admire restored classics and a showroom full of Ferraris, BMWs, Porsches, and Mercedes from around the globe. Who knows? These might just inspire you to own one someday!

Find Cool Relics at the Antique Museum

Media from antiquemuseumhandicraft 


Address: 12B 19 Street – Al Quoz – Al Quoz Industrial Area 1 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact Details: +971 4 347 9935, [email protected] 

Operating Hours: 

  • Monday to Sunday – 9 AM to 8:30 PM


The Antique Museum is a cool spot for anyone interested in old treasures. This Dubai spot is packed with stalls offering antiques, ceramics, and handmade items, ideal for a unique browsing experience!

You can also expect a fun treasure hunt vibe as you wander through the rustic area. Known as the biggest hub for handicrafts and eco-friendly products, I believe it’s great for collectors or anyone wanting special souvenirs and gifts.

Not only that, but the museum also supports women. It showcases many crafts made by female artisans around the world, so make sure to check out those trinkets too!

Catch a Flick on the House at Cinema Akil

Media from cinemaakil 


Address: Al Serkal Avenue – Warehouse 68 – Al Quoz – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact Details: +971 56 995 1225, [email protected] 

Operating Hours: 

  • Tuesday to Friday – 5 PM to 11 PM
  • Saturday to Sunday – 2 PM to 11 PM


If you fancy just sitting somewhere cool and comfy, Cinema Akil is a lovely spot to catch a movie. This independent cinema brings films from around the world to the UAE. With its red velvet seating and vintage film posters, I feel it’s a lovely place to relax.

Expect a mix of films from different eras and directors here too. I love that the cinema often has free screenings, so keep an eye on their website for these events.

Dive into the Underwater Wonders at Dubai Aquarium

Media from dubaiaquarium 


Address: Dubai Mall – Downtown Dubai – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact Details: +971 800 382246255, [email protected] 

Operating Hours: 

  • Monday to Friday – 10 AM to 10:15 PM
  • Saturday to Sunday – 10 AM to 11:15 PM


The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo provides an amazing marine experience. It’s home to over 33,000 aquatic animals, including sand tiger sharks and graceful rays. 

Located on the ground floor, I bet the free view already offers plenty of ways to see its underwater wonders. Even when you’re just peeking from outside, the view is jaw-dropping!

And if you have kids, why not take them to see the aquarium? They can bring their binoculars for the small fish too! For me, it’s an awesome spot to get them interested in sea creatures from a young age.

Meet Dubai Mall’s Prehistoric Resident Dino

Media from oppseus 


Address: 57WJ+R62 – Downtown Dubai – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Contact Details: +971 800 382246255, [email protected] 

Operating Hours: 

  • Open 24 hours


In Dubai Mall, checking out Dubai Dino is a must! This 24-meter-long Diplodocus skeleton, over 155 million years old, wows visitors of all ages. It’s housed in the Souk Dome, where its immense size and historical value truly stand out. 

Best part? You can swing by to see this ancient giant whenever the mall’s open. The way I see it, this makes it a super convenient stop on your mall adventure.

Volunteer at Make A Wish UAE

Media from makeawish_uae 


Contact Details: +971 2 666 5144, [email protected]


If you’ve got the time for it, why not volunteer with Make A Wish UAE? This organization makes dreams come true for kids with serious illnesses, bringing them hope and happiness when they need it most. 

As a volunteer, you’ll help grant wishes, whether it’s arranging dream vacations, meeting celebrities, or creating unforgettable adventures. Of course, you could always request to do most work indoors, like packing items, fundraising, and the like.

All in all, I believe it’s a deeply rewarding opportunity to make a real impact in the lives of children and their families.