Discover 11 (almost) free activities in Dubai

Dubai is the land of outrageousness, where Porsche and Ferrari are everyday cars and the place to spend wildly and extravagantly. Dubai is a luxury destination! But in general it is the plane ticket that costs the most. Once there, lots of things are to be discovered for free or for almost nothing. Catering, entertainment, shopping and even accommodation are affordable if you look hard enough. But you can still visit the most expensive hotel in the world and the only one with 7 stars: the Burj-al-Arab! Here is a non-exhaustive list of 12 things to do or see for free in Dubai!


  • 1/The fountains of Dubai
  • 2/ Dubai Mall: the largest shopping center in the world
  • 3/ Go to the beach
  • 4/ The souks of Deira
  • 5/ Cross Dubai Creek by water taxi
  • 6/ The Dubai Museum
  • 7/ The Bur Dubai souk
  • 8/ La maison du Sheikh Saeed al-Maktoum
  • 9/ Traditional and fishing villages
  • 10/ Jumeirah Mosque
  • 11/ Dubai Art Galleries

1/The fountains of Dubai

The Dubai Fountains show takes place several times a day at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world. Nearly 83,000 liters of water projected 150 m high dance to the rhythm of various music. The show is grandiose and we never get tired of it. Moreover, it is impossible to miss it, because the fountains put on a show every day at 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. (except Friday: 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.) and in the evening every thirty minutes from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

2/ Dubai Mall: the largest shopping center in the world

The Dubai Mall, the largest shopping center in the United Arab Emirates with 800,000 m 2 of commercial space for 1,200 shops , opened its doors onNovember 4, 2008. It covers a total area of ​​1.1 million m2. It is the largest shopping center in the world. Located at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall will amaze you with its grandeur! You can see a souk dedicated to the gold trade, one of the largest aquariums in the world (33,000 animals and 85 different marine species) where sharks, rays, etc. swim, an Olympic ice rink, parks of attractions for children, a 24 m high waterfall and many other spectacular things.

Wikimedia Commons / Diego Delso

3/ Go to the beach

There are a multitude of beaches in Dubai, some private and some free. To be more comfortable with your swimsuit, favor family beaches, in general chador and bikini coexist very well. Umm Suqeim Beach, which is located at the foot of the Burj al-Ara, corresponds very well to these criteria.

Pixabay /PublicDomainPictures

4/ The souks of Deira

Deira is one of the districts of old Dubai. Everything is more traditional and less futuristic than the skyscrapers next door. Start with the gold souk, the largest in the world and continue with the spice souk where there is a delicious smell. It is also possible to eat for cheap and with local specialties.

Flickr/Guilhem Vellut

5/ Cross Dubai Creek by water taxi

The two districts of old Dubai, Deira and Bur Dubai are separated by an arm of the sea: Dubai Creek. To cross it and go from one neighborhood to another, use a water taxi. The abra is a traditional wooden boat. An unusual mode of transport that will only cost you one dirham (25 euro cents). Take the opportunity to admire the sunset which is remarkable.

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Wikimedia commons / yeowatzup

6/ The Dubai Museum

When you venture into the Dubai Museum, housed in Al Fahidi Fort (the oldest fort in our heritage, erected in 1787), you will be overwhelmed by colorful exhibits that depict daily life in the days before the discovery of oil fields in the 1960s. There is also an exhibition on diving for pearl oysters, with measuring and weighing devices and sieves used by merchants. You will have the opportunity to observe objects from various archaeological excavations and dated to the third millennium BC. Admission is not free, but almost: 3 dirhams (or 70 euro cents).

Wikimedia commons / Chris T Cooper

7/ The Bur Dubai souk

To bring a little souvenir home, the Bur Dubai souk is the place for you! The place is pleasant to visit although the seller is sometimes insistent.

Wikimedia commons / Imre Solt

8/ La maison du Sheikh Saeed al-Maktoum

Sheikh Saaed al-Maktoum is the former Emir of Dubai (1921-1958) and grandfather of the current Emir. His old house, built in 1896, has been transformed into a museum retracing the history of Dubai before the oil era. Built in 1896, the mansion has been converted into a museum displaying a fascinating collection of historic photographs, coins, stamps and documents that trace Dubai’s history. The towers provide natural air conditioning and offer a glimpse of traditional architecture, a window into Dubai’s past, while the panoramic view of Dubai’s skyscrapers from the top floor transforms the visit into a journey through time. Admission is 2 dirhams (50 euro cents).

Wikimedia Commons/Diego Delso

9/ Traditional and fishing villages

On the banks of Dubai Creek, you can visit Heritage Village, where there are traditional villages and Diving Village where you will be told and explained about pearl fishing which was the main activity of the region at the beginning of the century. Access is free and plenty of traditional activities await you.

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Wikimedia Commons / Ijanderson9

10/ Jumeirah Mosque

You can’t leave Dubai without visiting a mosque! The Jumeirah Mosque is the only one open to non-Muslims. Be careful, you must arrive on time, because the guide begins his visit at 10 a.m., then it is no longer possible to enter the building. You will learn a lot about Islam, how Muslims pray, etc., and all this from an open and educational perspective!

11/ Dubai Art Galleries


Dubai has become in recent years a popular destination for art lovers. Inevitably, where shopping is a favorite pastime and where the emirs no longer know how to spend their petrodollars, Art becomes the new fashionable investment. Hence the development of numerous art galleries and events, particularly in March, which has become the “Dubai Art Season”. Here again, you don’t need to be rich to enjoy it since the visits to the galleries are free. They are concentrated in two main districts: Bastakia, in old Dubai, a neighborhood to see with its narrow streets lined with houses with wind towers; and Al-Quoz, an industrial district with warehouses (it’s a little out of the way). 

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Mohamed SAKHRI

I am Mohamed SAKHRI, the creator and editor-in-chief of this blog, 'Discover the World – The Blog for Curious Travelers.' Join me as we embark on a journey around the world, uncovering beautiful places, diverse cultures, and captivating stories. Additionally, we will delve into mysterious and, at times, even bizarre destinations.

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