Dubai is a city filled with money. A large proportion of the people who live there are millionaires and even billionaires, so it figures that there’s not many free things to do in the city, right? Wrong.

There are actually loads of great free things to do in Dubai, so if you’re travelling there on a budget, or just want to keep costs of your trip down a bit then read on to see what you can do for free in Dubai.

1. Stroll around the souks 

The Gold and Spice Souks are some of the most interesting parts of Dubai, especially if you want to get a more local flavour.

The Gold Souk is located on Dubai Creek’s South Bank and is just a short walk from the Spice Souk. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything, the Gold Souk is worth a visit just to ogle all the fantastically over the top jewellery. Much of it is so different to the styles we’re used to seeing in the west and it makes window shopping (and lusting over a few items) seriously fun.

Top tip: if you do decide to splash some cash and make a purchase in the Gold or Spice Souks then remember to haggle for a price. Haggling is completely normal in the UAE and is certainly expected in the souks. 

2. See the Dubai fountains 

Outside of the Dubai Mall, in the shadow of the amazing Burj Khalifa, are the world’s largest dancing fountains. In the middle of the 30-acre Burj Khalifa lake fountains shoot water up to 500 feet in the air and the fountains dance to music, which changes with each half hourly performance.

They’re definitely not to be missed and can be seen from any area around the Burj Khalifa Lake, or from one of the restaurants overlooking the lake if you fancy dining whilst watching the fountains.

3. Explore the Bastakiya Quarter

When you think of Dubai you probably think of towering skyscrapers and you’d be completely right. It is a city of skyscrapers and incredibly modern architecture, but Bastakiya Quarter remains as the city’s only historical district.

This area earned its name from the numerous Bastak (Persian) traders that settled here in the early 19th century. The traders thrived along with Dubai’s economy and were able to built beautiful mansions in this area, many of which now house art galleries, cafes, restaurants and other cultural institutions.

4. Head to the beach 

Whilst many beaches in Dubai are private because they belong to houses and apartment blocks, there are still some great free beaches dotted around the coastline.

JBR Beach is free and incredibly popular thanks to being right at The Walk, where there are plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants to visit before and after going to the beach. If you fancy getting involved in some beach and water sports then head to Kitesurfing beach where you’ll find football, volleyball, kayaking and kitesurfing, obviously. Jumeirah Open Beach is Dubai’s original public beach and is wider and longer than most of the others. The beach has a running track, showers, public toilets and 24 hour shops.

5. Do some (almost free) things

There are loads of things in Dubai that are fun and almost free because prices are so low.

Entrance to the Dubai Museum, which is housed in the Al Fahidi Fort built in the 18th century, is less than £1 and is a great way to learn more about the history of the city.

You can visit the iconic Jumeirah Mosque, which welcomes non-Muslims for less than the price of a coffee. Free tours of the interior are offered on certain days and no booking is required. Women should cover their heads (scarves are available to borrow at the mosque) and should wear long sleeves and trousers or floor-length skirts in order to be respectful.

Hop on board an abra, a traditional wooden boat, to go across Dubai Creek and see the city skyline from the water. It looks incredible from this perspective and a ride from Deira to Bur Dubai takes less than 10 minutes and costs less than a pound.

What free things have you done in Dubai? 

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