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Top Attractions In Dubai For Free

Dubai, with all its glitz and glamour, might seem like an overwhelming place to visit for tourists traveling on a budget. But despite its reputation as an opulent city, it's definitely possible to explore Dubai even with a limited budget, for as long as you know the cheap things to do in Dubai.

Dubai may be one of the most expensive cities in the world, but you'd be surprised to know that there are several free things to do in Dubai on your trip. Depending on the kind of traveller that you are, you'll surely find something amazing to do even without spending a single cent. For instance, if you love museums, there are free museums in Dubai that you can visit, such as the Beit Al-Rekkab Camel Museum and the Dubai Coin Museum. Of course, there are several other free attractions in Dubai that are definitely worth your time, such as the Dubai Fountain, Gold and Spice Souk, Jaddaf Dhow Ship Building Yard, Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, and many more.

Although winter is the best time to visit Dubai, there are a few attractions that are worth checking out if in the summer. One of the free things to do in Dubai this summer is to stroll around the Dubai Mall, which is the world's largest shopping mall and where you'll find the biggest indoor aquarium. For those who are visiting the city with their kids, one of the free things to do in Dubai with kids is to visit the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, where you'll find different species of plants and animals, including hundreds of beautiful flamingos!

So check out this list of free things to do in Dubai if you are visiting the Middle East city soon and you don't want to go beyond your travel budget.

Free Things To Do in Dubai

1. Gold and Spice Souk (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

Located to the North and South of Dubai Creek in Deira, the Old Town, the Souks offer a glimpse into the past with hundreds of merchants offering their wares at competitive prices. But you don’t have to buy, just window shop as you admire the silk pashminas, the gold jewelry, the scent of the fresh spices, the hustle and bustle of local life as it must have been centuries ago, minus the mobile phones!

The Gold Souk literally is a gold market containing around 300 gold shops with gold chain necklaces like you’ve never seen before and enough diamonds to dazzle you! The Spice Souk is a place to kick your sense of smell into overdrive as you wander the narrow passages lined with every-spice imaginable and displays of nuts, candied fruits, and sweets piled high giving your eyes something to feast over if not your stomach! The array of teas and the gorgeous traditional teapots will make you want to create a tea ritual to take home with you as well.

The whole district is a window shopper’s dream come true with a more intimate atmosphere than that found at Dubai Mall. The streets of the souks are wheelchair accessible with some caution – Use your best pushing/driving skills so as not to knock into any displays!

Address: Deira, Dubai, UAE

Opening Hours: Saturday-Thursday Gold Souk open 9.30am-9.30pm. Spice Souk open 10am-10pm. Friday Open 4pm-10pm

2. Al Fahidi Historical District (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

Feel like you stepped back in time to when the UAE was made up of sheikdoms and where Bedouin lived as herders, farmers, and fishermen. Otherwise known as Al Bastakiya, the historical district is the oldest standing residential area in Dubai and offers an insight into what Dubai looked between the 1600’s up until the 1970’s when the UAE was born.

Al Fahidi is the last quarter, or district, on the Arab side of the Gulf to contain wind towers. The high wind towers, a Persian invention, were used to trap the wind and funnel it down into the houses as an effective method of modern day air-conditioning.

As you wander the narrow winding alleyways, passing the beige coloured buildings made of coral, mud, gypsum, and palm wood you’ll get a glimpse into shady inner courtyards that are lavishly decorated, once the homes of rich 19th century textile and pearl merchants. Browse the traditional markets selling spices, jewellery, and perfume, pop into the quirky shops, the art galleries, and admire the cafes with their courtyard gardens before coming across a delightful public square.

Most of the Al Fahidi Historical District is wheelchair accessible though some shops/cafes may not be so wheelchair friendly.

Address: Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai, Dubai, UAE

Opening Hours: Always Open

3. Dubai Mall (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

The ultimate entertainment, lifestyle and shopping destination in Dubai, Dubai Mall is the largest mall in the world measuring in at 5.4 million sq ft and containing 1,300 stores over 4 levels but you don’t have to spend any money to walk it, witness it, and window shop!

Step foot in the gigantic 10,000 sq ft sweet shop and see if you can stop yourself from drooling! See the 150 million years old dinosaur display and then go watch the sharks, rays, and other fish swim in the public tank of the aquarium. See the indoor Human Waterfall, admire the displays, lighting, and architecture, and watch the action taking place on the olympic-sized ice rink.

Window shop in Fashion Avenue which contains the biggest and best brand-name designer stores of the Western world such as Armani, Louis Vuitton, and Zara and explore the department stores Bloomingdales and Galeries Lafayette before perusing traditional clothing and handicrafts in Souk Al Bahar.

The mall has free wifi and mobile charging stations and can provide disabled visitors with wheelchairs on a first-come-first-served basis.

Address: Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Boulevard, Downtown Dubai, 31166, Dubai, UAE

Opening Hours: Open 7 days a week, 10am-Midnight

4. Beit Al-Rekkab Camel Museum (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

Learn all about camels at the House Of Camels small but insightful museum in the historical district. From camel anatomy, camel racing, and how camels have played their part in agriculture, the military, and even in traditional medicine, you’ll discover the long history of camels in the Emirates and the fascinating relationship between them and the Arabian people.

The museum building is actually a former camel stable used by Sheikhs which dates back to the 1940’s and whilst retaining some of the original features of the stable, the museum has high-tech displays including technology to assimilate a camel race!

Discover how many Arabic names there are for the camel, what they eat and drink, and the illnesses a camel can suffer from including how to treat those problems. It’s not all about healing the camel though, camel dung is said to be a traditional method for treating nosebleeds and you’ll learn all about the use of the camel in traditional medicine.

Video presentations and text are in English and Arabic with plenty of images and artefacts to see. There’s also an auditorium for presentations and free guided tours are also available for visitors who want a more personable experience and the ability to get their questions answered.

Address: House of the Camels, Al Shindagha Heritage District, Dubai, UAE

Opening Hours: Sunday-Thursday 8am-2pm. Closed Friday and Saturday

5. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

At the mouth of the Dubai Creek, you can sit in one of three wooden bird hides with a pair of binoculars (which are provided) and watch flamingos and 67 other species of birds feed and take flight. As well as the Greater Flamingo you might get to see Grey Heron, Greater Spotted Eagles, Kingfishers, Spoonbills, Broad-billed Sandpipers, Pintails, Avocets, Marsh Harriers, and other species.

This natural sanctuary covers 6.2 sq km and comprises mangroves, mudflats, salt flats, lagoons, reed beds, and shrublands, creating an ideal habitat for over 500 species of plant and animal life, more than 150 of those species being water birds which stop here during the Winter when crossing the African-west Asian migratory flyway to feast on the queenfish and milkfish that can be found here.

The flamingo hide, as the name suggests, offers visitors the best views of the Greater Flamingo – Visit in the afternoon and you might catch the park rangers hand feeding them. The Mangrove Hide overlooks the mangrove forest on the Southern edge of the sanctuary, here you’ll be able to watch wading birds roosting and fishing thanks to the Leica telescope that this hide contains.

Address: Ras Al Khor, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Opening Hours: Saturday-Thursday 9am-4pm

6. The Dubai Fountain (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

Located beneath Burj Khalifa which is the world’s tallest building, you’ll find the world’s tallest choreographed fountain system on the 30-acre manmade Burj Lake. A feast for the eyes, the fountain, which only opened in 2009, is a mesmerizing show of light, water, and sound with the water pulsating, or ‘dancing’, in-sync to classical music, Arabic music, and Western Pop music by the likes of Celine Dion, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Enrique Iglesias.

Resembling the Las Vegas Bellagio Show, the Dubai Fountain is made up of 6,000 lights and 50 colour projectors with each show lasting about 5 minutes in length. 22,000 gallons of water are shot up as high as 500ft /152 metres in the air from 5 circular jets, the water shooting so high and the light so bright that it can be seen from 30km away. Stand on the waterfront promenade outside the Dubai Mall to enjoy the show, or better yet, visit the Apple store which has a huge balcony overlooking the fountain.

The Dubai Fountain is visible from all areas of the lake promenade so disabled visitors will be able to find a place to pull up their wheelchair between the crowds of people standing and enjoy the show.

Website: https://www.visitdubai.com/en/pois/the-dubai-fountain

Address: Dubai Fountain, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Blvd – Dubai – United Arab Emirates

Opening Hours: Daily. Evening shows take place every 30 minutes from 6pm-11pm. Afternoon shows Saturday-Thursday at 1pm, 1.30pm, and 2.00pm and Friday 1.30pm, 2.00pm, 2.30pm

7. AlSerkal Avenue Art Galleries (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

AlSerkal Avenue, located in the Al Quoz district, is an eclectic, culturally diverse area with more than 60 art galleries, pop-up design shops, and creative concept spaces including a small black-box theatre and intendant cinema. Anyone and everyone who love the arts, whether that’s painting, photography, design, film, fashion, or music will find plenty to see and do here with exhibitions, workshops, studio’s, lectures, screenings, talks, and more to view and enjoy.

Housed in architect-designed warehouses, the contemporary art galleries and spaces cover 500,000 square feet in what was once an industrial area and is now a thriving arts hub. The area brings together diverse artistic disciplines ranging from painting and sculpture to jewellery design and ceramics in a community driven project that showcases the work of many emerging local artists as well as artists from around the world. The Green Art Gallery hosts exhibitions from emerging artists from the Middle East, South Asia, Turkey and beyond and is dedicated to launching budding artists in the local region. Leila Heller Gallery is the first New York gallery to open in Dubai and the Jean Paul Najar Foundation houses a private collection of American and European post-minimal works from the 1960s-1990’s.

Most of the spaces are accessible for those in wheelchairs though some of the shops, studio spaces, and cafes may be too narrow to move around in easily.

Address: Street 8, Al Quoz 1, P.O.Box: 390099, Dubai, U.A.E.

Opening Hours: Each gallery keeps its own opening hours but generally, opening hours are Saturday-Thursday opening between 8am-10am and closing between 6pm-10pm.

8. Baristi Beach and Pool (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

Experience the world renowned Baristi beach bar and club that has it all. With Dubai’s Marina in the background you can start off the day by swimming a lap or three in the pool and then soaking up the sun on a super comfortable sun lounger with umbrella either by the pool or on the beach, switching between cooling down in the pool or in the sea as much as you want! Top tunes are pumping out from morning until night thanks to the clubs DJ’s so don’t even think of heading back to your room once the sun sets, stay on and dance until dawn if you haven’t had enough of dancing at noon!

You can watch live sports on the big screen or just chill with friends, there’s a vast seating area and only happy vibes with this fun-loving young crowd where you’re sure to make friends, no problem. Unlike many other beach bars/beach clubs, Baristi’s pool is free to enjoy and there’s no minimum spend at the bar, there’s even free parking.

The pool deck area is wheelchair accessible, especially during quieter periods, but the beach lacks wheelchair accessible paths across the sand to the sea.

Address: Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street

Opening Hours: Saturday-Wednesday 11am-1.30am. Thursday-Friday 11am-3am

9. Jaddaf Dhow Ship Building Yard (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

This isn’t a museum but the last working shipyard located in the extensive marina along the Dubai Creek where traditional dhow building and repair work takes place using basic tools and teak and sheesham wood along with the traditional boat building and carpentry methods that have been handed down from generation to generation. It’s pot luck on what you’ll get to see, depending on what vessels are being worked on at that time but generally, you’ll get to see old spice-scented dhows that cross the ocean and the small traditional abras. The mostly-Indian workforce, as well as the boat yard owners, are usually more than happy to chat and answer your questions as you take a look around and snap some photos.

Health and safety standards don’t really apply here, but with care and attention even disabled visitors can visit the Jaddaf yard, just be careful where you step or roll and watch out for things falling from above! For people who love boats and like to experience real local life and get off of the typical tourist trail, this is a unique cultural experience.

Opening Hours: During general working hours.

10. Dubai Coin Museum (Free)

5 Free Tourist Attraction

Learn about the different currencies that have been accepted in Dubai and across the region from historical times to the modern day including the link between the monetary system of the British Empire and India and the countries in the region before independence and the formation of the federation at this small but interesting museum. Arranged in well-lit display cases, interactive touch-screen displays keep visitors engaged as they discover the details of more than 470 rare coins. Magnifying screens allow those visitors with a keener interest to see the coins in greater detail and all information is written in Arabic as well as English with free guided tours available for those looking for a personal touch and the opportunity to have their questions answered.

The museum has Arab-Sasanian Dirhams coins that were used in the age of the Rashidun Caliphate and Umayyad Caliphate. Dinars and Dirhams that were legal currency in the time of Umayyad Caliphate and Dinars and Dirhams used in the Abbasid Caliphate period. As well as this, visitors can see coins minted in North Africa, Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, and the Islamic Orient, the U.A.E and in the Arabian Peninsula.

Located in the Al Fahidi historical neighbourhood, the coin museum has eight display rooms arranged across two floors and is located in a beautiful historical building built of palm tree trunks, teak wood, chandal wood, coral, stone, and plaster.

Address: Coins Museum, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Al Shindagha area, Bur Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Opening Hours: Open Sunday-Thursday 8am-2pm. Closed Friday and Saturday.

During Ramadan, the museum is open Sunday-Thursday 9am-1.30pm

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