Dubai is known as a city of superlatives! Everything is bigger, higher, more modern and hardly any other city changes as fast as Dubai. No matter if just for a city trip or on a 96-hour transit stopover – Dubai is definitely the most popular travel destination in the Emirates. As a place famous for its massive creations, such as the world’s biggest skyscraper and largest mall, it’s unsurprising that people flock to its shores to set their eyes on its great feats and achievements.
Accommodation and sightseeing in particular can take a big bite out of your budget in this city! Despite Dubai’s reputation as an expensive city in the world, a short vacation here can actually be relatively affordable – if you know what the best free things to do are. What may surprise you though are the amount of free activities and things to do here that will cost you absolutely nothing.
This country is a wildly exciting place with people coming in from all over the world. You too can have a fun experience there without breaking your budget. With so many free things to do in Dubai you’ll be regretting not booking your flight to Dubai sooner!
Here are 10 free things to do in Dubai that we have collated for you:
1. Explore the Grand Dubai Mall
It’s worth planning a trip to The Dubai Mall for more fun and games. The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping, dining and entertainment centre in the world, with a record-setting 65 million+ visitors each year. With 800,000 square meters of retail space for 1,200 shops, 200 restaurants, an aquarium, an ice rink and a cinema, there is not a single moment of boredom. While you’re at The Dubai Mall, you can also see part of the aquarium for free. The Mall is located at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, which is an integral part of the complex, in Dubai.
2. Watch the Spectacular Dubai Fountain Dance Show
You can experience the world’s largest choreographed musical fountain for free, right outside The Dubai Mall! This mesmerising experience will knock you off your feet! The captivating choreographed spectacle sees illuminated jets of water projected high into the sky, all to the beats of popular tunes, from Arabian classics to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Kids love it, and so do adults.
3. Watch the Dubai Water Canal Waterfall
Dubai Water Canal is the latest addition to the Dubai wonders list. It is a 3.2km long waterway which winds its way to from the Creek on Old Dubai through Business Bay to the Arabian Gulf. The waterfall, where the Canal meets the Sheikh Zayed Road Bridge, is a beautiful motion-operated water feature that is visible from the promenade. There are five pedestrian bridges available including three across the Canal, so you can take in the stunning views. It also brings a non-stop way to travel, with a free-flowing commute from Deira to Dubai Water Canal and Dubai Marina.
Also Read: Top 10 fun things to do with kids in Dubai
4. Bird Watching at Ras Al Khor
The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary (RAKWS) is located at the head of the Dubai Creek. Spread over an area of 620 hectares, the Sanctuary covers a region of 6 km and features a variety of salt flats, intertidal mudflats, mangroves, small lagoons, pools and few small islands for the birds to use for their nests and individual habitat. The sanctuary has 3 different hideouts for the public to view the birds. During winters, RAKWS is home to more than 20,000 water birds of 67 species and acts as a critical staging ground for the wintering birds of the East African-West Asian Flyway. The highlight of the sanctuary is the beautiful pink Flamingos.
5. Admire the Gigantic Dubai Mall Human Waterfall
One of the most prominent features in the mall is the huge man-made waterfall. This artificial waterfall presents a waterfall curtain on which are hung several statues of divers in silver colors. The waterfall crosses the entire height of the mall on all four levels and is adorned with artistic sculptures of human fiberglass divers to create a dynamic visual palette that complements the rhythmic flow of water. Near the waterfall, a café is designed where you can munch on while enjoying the waterfall sound. It is a meeting place where the sound of falling water is very relaxing.
6. Walk along the Palm Jumeirah Beach
Palm Jumeirah is more like a cluster of beaches, rather than a single spot. One of three artificial isles, along with Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira, Palm Jumeirah is part of Dubai’s prestigious man-made archipelago, the Palm Islands. Whether you’re looking for a romantic weekend or fun with the family, Palm Jumeirah’s beaches are filled with endless activities and eateries. Atlantis The Palm is one of the island’s highlights.
7. Dubai Marina Walk with the View of Skyscrapers
The Dubai Marina skyline is breathtaking, and we’d suggest setting out for a leisurely stroll in the morning or evening to soak in all the views. The Dubai Marina Walk is adorned by more than 200 delightful outdoor-seating cafes, restaurants and fancy yachts where you can enjoy some Arabic shisha while viewing the surrounding enormous skyscrapers.
8. View The Imagine Show At Dubai Festival City
Just minutes from the airport, Dubai Festival City Mall, one of the major shopping destinations in Dubai, is home to IMAGINE, a two-time record-breaking attraction that plays a unique water, laser, and light show which is displayed daily on the iconic, Festival Bay. This unique sensory experience harnesses the power of light, water, and fire, combined with giant aqua screens, 30 fountains and surround sound to connect with audiences and produce a show like never seen before. The shows are free-to-attend all year round and travelers are encouraged to take advantage of the waterfront dining that lines Festival Bay and offers patrons some of the best views of IMAGINE and Dubai’s city lights beyond. IMAGINE, a Guinness World Records breaker is a one-of-a-kind attraction that isn’t available to see anywhere else in the world, featuring the latest entertainment technology in water, pyrotechnics, lasers, lights and dramatic effects.
9. Wander around the Spice and Gold Souks
Dubai souks are famous all over the world. Walking through the world’s largest gold market is entertaining and fun. They’re all housed within the vibrant Deira area of Dubai. Renowned since the 1940s when traders and entrepreneurs from India and Iran pitched their stalls in this area, the Dubai Gold Market (also known simply as the Gold Souk) and the Vibrant Spice souk is a major reason why many people opt for Dubai for their holiday. Window upon window is crammed with bracelets, necklaces, rings, diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and more, making the Gold Souk one of the most popular tourist stops in the Middle East. In particular, it looks spectacular at night.
10. Visit Dubai’s Beaches
The Middle Eastern Emirate of Dubai may be well known as a luxury travel destination, but it’s also home to miles and miles of snowy-white, fine-sand beaches. What could be better than you spending this time on the beach, holding your lemon-mint juice and enjoying the atmosphere? With the number of gorgeous beaches in Dubai you may have a hard time picking where you want to go. Some of its famed beaches are Kite Beach, La Mer Beach, JBR Beach, Al Mamzar Beach Park, Black palace Beach, Jumeirah Beach Park and Sunset Beach.
Hopefully this list provides you with some inspiration to plan a trip to Dubai soon, no matter what your budget is, there are still many ways to experience Dubai without spending a fortune! Yes, indeed travel can be expensive, especially when you’re visiting some of the most popular cities. But even if you have a family in tow, you can stick to a budget without breaking the bank by taking advantage of free things that are offered in all countries.
For more great things to do in Dubai, check out our Dubai tour packages or talk to our Holiday Experts.