9 FREE Things You Can Do in Dubai

Published February 11th, 2020 - 10:22 GMT
Have maximum fun on a minimum budget
Have maximum fun on a minimum budget


While Dubai is known for its extravagant experiences and high-end restaurants, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to enjoy your time here. There are a million ways to make the most of the city on a small budget, enjoying beautiful sites, historical districts and even some fast-paced sporting action at no price at all. 

1. Day at the polo

The start of the year means Dubai’s prestigious polo season is playing up a storm at Habtoor Polo Resort and Club. Leading teams and majestic horses are battling it out for the Silver Cup until 7 February and Polo Masters Cup from 10-14 February. Witness it all until April from the free-entry general admission seating – but head over early as spaces are limited.

2. Picnic in the garden

Spend a day basking in charming winter weather at one of the city’s many serene parks. Calm and free to enjoy any time of the week, they provide residents and visitors a welcome respite from the urban buzz. Mamzar Beach Park offers public barbecue and picnic areas, or you can pack your own basket of goodies and a blanket for a day out with the family exploring favourites like Dubai Creek Park and Safa Park

3. Yoga by the sea

There’s no better way to start your day than with some morning yoga. Stretch out and practice deep breathing by the clear blue waters at any one of the city's glittering beaches, from the lively Kite Beach to the quiet Al Sufouh Beach. Do it on your own if you’re familiar with the poses or join fellow yogis at XYoga for two days of free, uninterrupted sessions and activities led by trained instructors.

4. See sports from the seashore

Take a break from all that morning yoga, or simply wake up early to catch the sunrise by the sea and watch watersports from the shore. Free to view, there are a range of traditional competitions to choose from including the 22ft dhow sailing and Al Ghaffal long distance dhow races or modern sprints such as the kitesurfing competition.

5. Pass an afternoon gallery-hopping at Alserkal Avenue

The hub for much of Dubai’s contemporary art scene, Alserkal Avenue is a vibrant district of warehouses which regularly host exciting live music shows, exhibitions and pop-up shops. You don’t need to pay a penny to enter the venue where you can hang out in the central yard, catch the latest showcases at galleries such as The Third Line, Lawrie Shabibi and Ayyam Gallery, or drop by one of the trendy cafes for fresh, artisanal coffee (unfortunately, that won’t be free).

6. Peruse exotic carpets

Perhaps an unusual activity but we recommend you visit Carpet Oasis while it’s around. See a wide selection of handmade pieces from Pakistan to China by talented artisans carrying on an age-old craft into the modern times. Discover breathtaking classics or the latest designs. Whether you’re a dedicated collector, looking to give your home a faraway touch or simply interested in seeing art traditions from across the globe, it makes for a great day out.

7. Stroll along the Jaddaf Waterfront

Top on our list of must-see destinations is the Jaddaf Waterfront Sculpture Park, along Jaddaf Waterfront. It’s the UAE’s first al fresco garden dedicated to arts, displaying memorable sculptures among contemporary landscaping. It boasts views of the Dubai Creek as well as the contemporary art institution Jameel Arts Centre. Wander through diverse artistic legacies from the Middle East to South Asia across three storeys of solo and group exhibitions. While you’re there, check out the impressive library and rooftop frequented by artists.

8. A day at the races

Meydan Racecourse is a state-of-the-art racetrack which annually hosts the region’s exciting horse racing season. It is also home to a horse racing museum, art gallery, five-star hotel, nine-hole golf course and fine dining restaurants. The grandstand alone is more than a mile long and can seat almost 80,000 spectators per session. The best part? You can see all the glitz for free during the ongoing Dubai World Cup Carnivals from the general admission stands– visit Dubai Calendar for the full schedule. 

9. Uncover local history

Once a hub for textile and pearl trading, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood preserves its centuries-old legacy in traditional architecture and an atmosphere of simplicity. Wander down its quaint alleyways, explore the vibrant souk or sample authentic Emirati cuisine at one of its little cafes. The 1787-built Al Fahidi Fort is a must-see attraction, now home to the immersive Dubai Museum. 

Keep up to date with events in Dubai with Dubai Calendar, or download the Dubai Calendar app.  

Copyright © 2021. Dubai Corporation of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

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