10 Free and Fun Things To Do in Dubai 2023

City living can often come with a hefty price tag, but if you keep your eyes peeled, you'll find that Dubai is bursting with free or affordable activities that are just waiting to be explored. Whether you're looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure or a peaceful day out, there's something on this list for everyone. In fact, there's so much to do that you could spend months exploring and still not experience it all!

Divers The Dubai Mall

This compilation of activities is particularly useful for those new to Dubai or residents who want to impress their visitors with a taste of what the city offers. For tourists with limited time, simply pick a few of your favorite activities and make the most of your stay. Don't forget to take advantage of Dubai's excellent transportation system - with the metro and buses at your disposal, you'll have no trouble getting around and ticking off all the spots on your list.

Here is the list of 10 free and fun things to do in Dubai

1. Free to Watch Fountain Shows 

The Dubai Mall Fountain

It is one of the world's largest choreographed fountain systems, at the center of Downtown Dubai. I had goosebumps the first time I watched it and it has always been a delight to see it time and time again. It plays every thirty minutes daily from 6 pm to 11 pm. If you have AED 20 to spare, try the Dubai Fountain Board Walk for an up-close viewing experience.

Dancing Fountain at Dubai Mall

Dubai Festival City Light, Water, and Fire (Imagine Show)
Imagine Fountain Show at Dubai Festival City combines Light, Water, Fire, and, Sound. Prepare to be amazed when you watch this show. It plays nightly from 7 pm to 10pm Mondays to Thursdays and 7 pm to 11 pm Fridays to Sundays.

2. Visit Dubai Mall 

The Dubai Mall is one of the largest malls in the world and is home to over 1,200 retail outlets.  It offers many shopping options, entertainment, dining, and leisure activities. Even if you're not a shopper, the mall has plenty of free attractions, such as the Dubai Dino, an animatronic dinosaur exhibit. Another free attraction at the mall is the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Visitors can view the aquarium's vast collection of marine life, including sharks, stingrays, and colorful fish, from the outside for free. They also have the largest candy shop in the world just opposite the aquarium.

You can also visit the newly built Chinatown in Dubai Mall to eat some delicious Chinese food and take pictures with the giant panda for free

Chinatown Dubai Mall Giant Panda

3. Art Spaces for Art Lovers

Free Entry to Alserkal Avenue - is an industrial compound hosting warehouses in the industrial zone of Al Quoz, in Dubai. The area is an arts and culture district for Dubai with a lineup of galleries, facilities, and platforms, such as Alserkal Avenue that houses residencies for local and global artists

Alserkal Avenue

Wander around DIFC Gate Village and DIFC Gate Avenue for free - DIFC is not only the financial center of Dubai, but it also has a large community of art lovers as well. There are plenty of art galleries to browse art here and they are free of charge. Lots of Instaworthy spots too. Watch out for the announcement via DIFC Social to find out about related art events happening on this side of town.

Art in DIFC

XVA Gallery Al Fahidi - is a contemporary art gallery located in the historic Al Fahidi neighborhood. It is a unique and dynamic art space that promotes contemporary art and culture in the UAE and beyond. The gallery is housed in a renovated traditional Emirati house, which was built in the early 20th century and has been carefully restored to preserve its unique architectural features. XVA Gallery Al Fahidi is known for its exhibitions of contemporary art from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. The gallery has a reputation for showcasing emerging and established artists who explore a wide range of themes and mediums, from painting and sculpture to installation and video art

Burj Park (open-air) - is a beautiful and vibrant public space that offers something for everyone, whether you're looking to relax, exercise, or enjoy a cultural experience. Its central location and stunning views of the Burj Khalifa make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Dubai. It is where you will find the IG famous Wings of Mexico for that coveted Instagram photo

4. Nature Enthusiast (Bird watching for free)

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary Watch the beautiful pink flamingos parade as the sun sets during your visit. Come at feeding time since they will be all gathered in one place. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary offers bird watching through three bird hides at strategic locations to give visitors a closer view of birds and other wildlife in the area.

Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary

Zaabeel Palace Gate  - It is the Dubai residence and administrative headquarters of the Ruling Royal family of Dubai. It is worth visiting this pristine palace. You can't go in but there is parking and you can stroll up the driveway toward the impressive entrance gates which are topped by horse statues. Enjoy the serene front garden inhibited by magnificent peacocks.

Peacocks at Zaabeel Palace

Zaabeel Palace

5. Adrenaline Junkies

Hiking in Hatta is free - Hiking in Hatta is a popular activity among outdoor enthusiasts in the UAE. Located in the Hajar Mountains, Hatta offers stunning views, rugged terrain, and diverse flora and fauna, making it an ideal destination for those seeking adventure and natural beauty. There are several hiking trails of varying difficulty levels, ranging from easy walks to challenging treks that require experience and skill, with Wadi Hub as the starting point. Along the way, hikers can discover ancient rock formations, natural pools, and traditional villages that showcase the region's rich history and culture. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a beginner, Hatta's hiking trails provide a memorable and rewarding experience that allows you to connect with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Mountain Bike Trail in Mushrif Park - Free if you own a bike or pay for one in the bike rental. The Mountain Bike Trail in Mushrif Park is a popular destination for mountain bikers in Dubai. in uptown Mirdif, this trail offers riders a unique opportunity to experience off-road cycling through a beautiful natural landscape. Come during spring and you'll be greeted with a bed of beautiful yellow flowers around the area. The trail is approximately 8 kilometers long and features a variety of terrains, including rocky sections, dirt paths, and steep inclines, providing an exciting challenge for riders of all levels. This bike trail in Mushrif Park is an ideal way to get some exercise and enjoy the great outdoors in the middle of a bustling city.

You can also now hike at Mushrif Forest Trail and it is also for free. Check out our hike on our YT Channel

6. History Buffs

Visit Al Fahidi Historical District for free - If you like to see what old Dubai looks like, this is the place to visit. Located on the banks of Dubai Creek, this area is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Dubai. It features narrow lanes and traditional wind-tower houses made of sandstone, teak, gypsum, palm wood, and sandalwood. It has been designated a conservation area to preserve Dubai's historical architecture and cultural heritage. Al Fahidi Historic District is also home to several cultural institutions, including the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, which offers visitors a chance to learn about Emirati culture and customs. The neighborhood also hosts the annual Sikka Art Fair, which showcases the works of local and regional artists. 

White you're at it, also visit the Etihad Museum, Coffee Museum, Bur Dubai Grand Mosque, and the Meena Bazaar. 

Al Fahidi District Dubai

Connected to Al Fahidi is Al Seef. Launched in 2017, it is now a popular waterfront destination along Dubai Creek. The best way to enjoy your visit to Al Fahidi and Al Seef is by foot.

Al Seef is divided into two sections: the Heritage Area and the Contemporary Area. The Heritage Area features traditional architecture and a bustling market where visitors can buy souvenirs and local crafts. The Contemporary Area, on the other hand, features modern restaurants, cafes, and shops, as well as a marina and a promenade where visitors can take in stunning views of the creek. 

Another way to enjoy this trip here is to take the abra ride from Al Fahidi to Al Seef then walk back. The view from the water is incredible. 

Abra Boat Ride at Dubai Creek

7. Great Outdoors (Camping Grounds) - Camping in Dubai is free (because there are some areas in UAE where it is now paid to camp) and a unique and exciting experience. While Dubai is primarily known for its luxurious hotels and modern attractions, there are several camping sites that allow visitors to experience the natural beauty of the desert such as Al Qudra Lakes, Love Lake, Expo Lake, and Hatta

Hatta Dam

It's important to note that camping in Dubai can be a challenging experience due to the extreme temperatures and harsh desert conditions depending on the time you are camping. It can be very hot or very cold. Visitors should come prepared with plenty of water, sunscreen, and appropriate clothing, and should follow all safety guidelines provided by the camping site. Make sure to bring all camping essentials. Camping season is from November to March. If you like to go camping outside of Dubai, you might like to check these blog posts about our experience Camping in Jebel Jais, Ras Al Khaima. We belong to a group of Filipino Off-roaders and we usually camp deep in the desert, for that you'll need a 4x4 car.

Pinoy Off Roaders in Dubai

8. The Traveller

Global Village is not free but the entrance fee is not expensive for Dubai's best attractions and shopping destinations. It combines 90 countries' cultures and traditions in one place. Global Village is opening soon for its 28th Seaso. It usually opens its doors in October annually. There are plenty of shows daily, huge dining options, lots of beautiful pavilions, and selfie spots. There's also a carnival and Ripleys Believe it or Not?

Global Village Dubai

9. Parks (minimal entrance fee)

Although Dubai is known for its luxurious lifestyle, vibrant nightlife, and breathtaking skyscrapers, it's not all about the city's modernity and development. Dubai is also home to several parks that provide visitors and residents with a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city where there are plenty of things to do inside. Some are even connected to the beach such as the Al Mamzar Beach Park

There's Zaabeel Park, Safa Park, Creek Park, Murshrif Park, Al Barsha Pond Park, and many more.

10. Beach Lovers and Sunset Chasers

We have the most beautiful white sandy beaches here in Dubai and they are open to the public. What's great is that the government of Dubai has developed the beaches to suit every visitor's needs. We have Al Sufouh Open Beach, The Beach JBR, Sunset Beach, and Kite Beach. Bring water, sunscreen, lounge towels, and large hats, and enjoy the day at the beach.

My Yellow Bells

Carla is a lifestyle blogger based in Dubai who's thankful to call this ever-evolving city her second home. The pages of this blog are filled with stories about her expat life in the sandpit. It features dining and travel adventures in and around the city and beyond. It also features food recipes, parenting tips, and fashion style.

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