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Nine fun and free things to do in Dubai

Dubai’s reputation as one of the world’s most lavish holiday destinations is no big secret.

Evidence of the Emirate’s vast wealth can be found in its luxury five-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants, not to mention the hundreds of designer boutiques at the Dubai Mall.

Dubai is a millionaire’s playground, but that doesn’t mean the city isn’t without a wealth of fun and free activities that won’t cost you so much as a UAE dirham (Dubai’s local currency).

From bustling souks to free stand-up comedy nights, you really are spoilt for choice. Read on to find out more about free activities in Dubai.

1. Explore Dubai’s breathtaking Souk Al Bahar

The chances of you finding that must-have souvenir in the Souk Al Bahar are very high, but you can still enjoy a spot of window-shopping before dipping into your wallet.

Situated in the must-see Dubai Mall, this modern marketplace is home to jewellery stores, carpet shops and traders selling traditional Middle Eastern gifts and trinkets.

2. Spend your birthday at the Aquaventure Waterpark

Holidays to Dubai are an experience you will never forget. If you’re heading here on a dream break you simply must visit one of the city’s famed water parks – for free!

The Aquaventure Waterpark offers free entry to anyone celebrating their birthday during the week of their visit, leaving with you more money in your pocket to spend on souvenirs.

3. Visit the historic quarter of Bastakia

If you’re looking for free things to do in Dubai, the district of Bastakia is worth a visit for its quaint traditional cafes, boutiques, teashops and 19th century architecture.

If you’re heading here, why not take some time out to visit the nearby Dubai Museum, which costs next to nothing at just three UAE dirhams for adults (approx. 57p), and one dirham for children!

4. Sunbathe from the comfort of your sun lounger

If there’s one thing nearly all luxury hotels in Dubai have in common, it’s a private stretch of beach on the immaculate Arabian Gulf.

While it may seem like an obvious choice, sometimes an afternoon spent relaxing by the azure sea is the only thing worth doing on a dream Dubai break.

Better yet, if you’re planning to stay at one of Dubai’s all-inclusive resorts, you’ll often have the luxury of complimentary cocktails and beverages.

The Dubai Museum

5. Discover the UAE’s heritage at the Dubai Museum

As previously mentioned, the Dubai Museum does cost. But the entry charge is so low that you cannot afford to miss it.

The museum itself is located in the historic Al Fahidi Fort and houses a selection of magnificent artifacts and relics. The fort dates back to 1787 and is Dubai’s oldest building.

6. Catch a horse race at the Meydan Racecourse

The Dubai World Cup is one of the city’s most highly anticipated sporting events, attracting famous jockeys and trainers from around the world.

The race often takes place in March and is often a sell out. Fortunately, a number of free warm-up races take place in the run up to the event.

7. Exhilarate your senses at the Spice Souq

If you’re looking for a more traditional alternative to the Souk Al Bahar, head to Dubai’s immense Spice Souq.

Situated in the charming district of Deira, the souk is home to every spice and herb imaginable, making it perfect for foodies or anyone planning a shopping holiday to Dubai.

8. Laugh out loud at the Tribeca Kitchen & Bar’s comedy night

Located in the stunning JA Ocean View Hotel, the Tribeca Kitchen & Bar is one of the most stylish haunts in Dubai and makes for the perfect place for an evening out with friends.

The NYC-themed hangout spot hosts a free comedy night every fortnight – perfect if you’re looking for an enjoyable, yet inexpensive night out in the city.

For more advice on where to dine out, check out our guide to the five best restaurants in Dubai.

9. Take in the breathtakingly beautiful Jumeirah Mosque

Situated near the Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, the Jumeirah Mosque is one of Dubai’s most famous landmarks.

Towering spires and ornate stone work make the Mosque a must-visit attraction for all visitors to Dubai. Non-Muslims are invited to tour the inside of the mosque for a small fee.

Otherwise, you can visit the outside grounds for free. We recommend visiting at night to see the Mosque lit up and in all its glory.

Need help planning your dream Dubai holiday? We’ve vast selection of 4 and 5 star Dubai hotels and package deals to suit all holiday types.

Alternatively, why not check out our guide to 20 fun facts you maybe didn’t know about Dubai for more information on the Middle East’s best-loved cities.