Having one of the world’s largest shopping malls, the tallest building on the planet, and one of the most expensive hotels in the world, Dubai has earned the reputation of being one of the most expensive cities on earth. It would seem that there aren’t many places in Dubai to visit for no charge, pointing to the fact that most of them must charge something. There aren’t hundreds of places to visit in Dubai for free with family, but there are plenty of free attractions to see, such as shopping malls, beaches, parks, and historical sites.
Listed below are some of the most enjoyable places in Dubai to visit with your family without burning a hole in your pocket. Let’s have a look at what you have to see for free in Dubai.
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Cultural & Historical Places to Visit in Dubai Free
Al Bastakiya: Journey into Past
While Dubai has a lot of modern skyscrapers, Al Bastakiya is a good place to experience what Dubai was like before skyscrapers. Take a walk through this historical district and see where the Dubai Royal family spent their childhood. As soon as you enter the old city, you will be greeted by traditional sand houses of the Emirates that add to the feeling of a bygone era in terms of the Dubai you are experiencing now.
It is one of those free places in Dubai that has a variety of attractions to appeal to visitors of all ages, such as Museums, such as the Dubai Museum and the Coffee Museum, Art galleries, such as the XVA Gallery and the Majlis Gallery, Traditional shops, markets, and restaurants, which bring back memories of Dubai in its pre-oil days.
Al Bastakiya’s pedestrian-friendly streets make it a safe place to explore on foot, making it a must-see spot for tourists of all ages in Dubai. Having been a hub of Emirate history and culture, Al Bastakiya is home to many of the traditional Emirate souvenir shops so that you can take one home with you as a souvenir that will remind you of your trip to Dubai. Would this not be a good idea?
Dubai Old Souq – Walking Through the Old Market’s
Why not take a boat ride to reach the old souq area while in Al Bastaika? The Old Souq area is where Dubai’s most popular free souqs can be found, including the gold souq, the perfume souq, and the spice souq. If you walk through the gold souq, you will have a fantastic experience at no cost to you. It is home to the world’s biggest ring, so why wouldn’t you enjoy the experience?
If you are finished with the Gold souq, you should head over to the perfume souq that with it’s enticing smell will transport you into another world. Some shops offer visitors the opportunity to smell some perfume themselves if they request it politely.
If gold and perfume aren’t appealing to you anymore, you might consider visiting a spice souq, where you can see hundreds of spices, the smell of which will probably make you hungry. Spend some time in spice souq and experience the world’s best spice aroma before moving on. It is therefore advisable to visit the Old Souk’s if you are looking for some free places to visit in Dubai with your family.
Naif Museum – Built from Clay, Rich in History
If you’re in Deira and looking for places to visit in Dubai with your family for free, the Naif Museum could be the right option. This two showrooms musquem was built in 1939 with a special clay and offer visitors an insight into Dubai’s history, particularly the Dubai Police Force, since it was the headquarters for the Dubai Police Force from 1939 until 1973. In 1997, the Naif museum underwent renovations and was opened to tourists. The museum exhibits traditional clothing, tools, household utensils, and ornate furnishings reflecting Emirati majlis.
With no admission fee, the Niaf museum is one of the free places to visit in Dubai accessible to disabled individuals. The Niaf museum is open Saturday to Thursday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Visit Burj Nahar – 18th Century Defensive Structure
It is well known that Dubai had political conflicts with its neighbors before the UAE foundation, so the structure was built in 1872 to protect Dubai from Sharjah. Renovations to restore it to its original shape were completed in 1992, and since then it has been designated as a historical site in Dubai. There is a beautiful view from the top of the Burj Nahar of the Deira district and the Deira Gardens, which represent the popular Arabic style of gardens.
Antique Museum – A World of Antiques
Many people collect artifacts from past civilizations. Wouldn’t it be a pleasure if you knew of a free museum in Dubai that houses these items? There is an Antique Museum in Al Quozi that displays items excavated from ancient times such as tools, pottery, jewelry, weapons, clothing, furniture, and art etc. Through temporary exhibitions, this museum connects Dubai residents with the past and reveals their shared history. You can take your family to this museum to learn about historical artifacts since there is no entrance fee.
Jameel Arts Centre – The Best of Contemporary Art
If you’re tired of ancient museums made of clay and filled with old-age historical artifacts, and are looking for a museum that reflects modern architecture and contemporary art, then Jameel Arts Centre is the museum for you. With multiple interconnected galleries and extensive landscaping, this high-tech museum was designed by British architecture firm Serpentine Galleries, and was founded in 2018 by businessman Sultan bin Ali Al Owais.
The Jameel Arts Centre is located at Jaddaf Waterfront and accessible by bus and metro. To get Jameel Arst, you can either take the D78 bus or the Green Line to Creek station, and then take the Red Line to Jaddaf station by metro.
Street Art – Bringing life to streets
When you visit the Jamel arts museum in Jaddaf, why don’t you also visit the Karama area while you’re there and see some of the most impressive street art that this area has to offer? The street art that you have to see is actually located in Karma Market where you can see plenty of stunning pieces of street art such as a dhow ship floating on water, a truck flying in the sky, tiger and lions, parrots in a dozen colors, guitars, falcons, etc.
Aside from Karama, Al Quoz is also home to numerous murals and graffiti done by Ruben Sanchez, a Spanish street artist.
Traditional Architecture Museum – Window into Dubai Culture
Built in 1927 as the residence of Sheikh Juma bin Maktoum, the house lies on the banks of Dubai Creek. The museum exhibits Dubai’s traditional architecture since 1994, as well as Emirati clothing, jewelry, furniture, tools, and household items. In traditional Emirati architecture, there are nine main wings and a courtyard designed with wood and gypsum that demonstrate how well-trained The ancient Emirates were without much materials.
XVA Gallery – Current Day Artists Platform
We usually think about historical and cultural things when we hear the word Al Fhadi Historical Neighborhood, but this time you may be mistaken, because there is also a contemporary art gallery here that was founded in 2003 by Mona Hauser, which has rapidly become one of Dubai’s foremost art galleries in recent years. Originally constructed in the early 1900s as a residence for the Seddiqi family, the building now showcases emerging and established Middle Eastern artists.
A number of artists have exhibited at XVA Gallery so far, including Iraqi-born Halim Al Karim, Hussein Al Mohasen, Lana Khayat, Richard Ketley, Solimar Miller and Lahore-based Huma Shoaib.
Coffee Museum – Where Coffee Lovers Unite
Coffee is a very long and rich culture in Middle Eastern and Asian countries and it is extremely unlikely that you will find someone in those countries who doesn’t drink at least two cups of coffee each day. If you’re addicted to coffee, there is no easy why you should not visit this museum. This coffee museum in Dubai tells the story of coffee from its origins to the present day. It is an alternative places to visit in Dubai for free with your family.
While it is not mandatory to buy the type of coffee you want, you will find a variety of coffee in the museum, especially if you are looking for a type of coffee not available elsewhere in Dubai.
Coins Museum – Where Coins tell Stories
In the course of Arab history, coins have been produced and influenced by economics and politics, and this museum in Dubai preserves coins from all eras. Despite its small size, the Coin Museum Dubai has over 470 coins from various historical periods, including the Umayyads, Abbasids, Ottomans, and pre-Islamic Arabs. Many coins feature intricate designs and calligraphy of that time that remind you of the past. Most of the time, this coin museum is uncrowded, so you can visit it with your family members with comfort, and the building is a beautiful piece of architecture.
If you are interested in history, numismatics, or culture, I highly recommend visiting the Coin Museum Dubai. Also, entry is free for everyone regardless of age.
Recreation Places to Visit in Dubai for Free
Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary: A Flamingo’s Paradise
Known as a man-made city, Dubai is filled with buildings, making it challenging for natural creatures such as birds to gather in this city. You can, however, visit a spot where you can see birds in their natural habitat. Approximately 20 minutes away by taxi from Old Souq, Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is home to 47 bird species, including grey herons, great egrets, reef herons, cormorants, black-winged stilts, sandpipers, ospreys, and a variety of other brightly colored birds. But this place is especially home to flemengos, so you are sure to have an enjoyable experience. It is a natural sanctuary in which about 25,000 birds migrate from Asian and African countries in the winter months.
When you visit Ras Al Khor, you will find three hides – the Mangrove Hide, the Flamingo Hide, and the Lagoon Hide. As a quick summary, you can find ducks, spoonbills, raptors, and other species of birds in the Mangrove Hide, while flamingos are found in the Flamingo Hide, and waders and raptors are found in the Lagoon Hide.
This famous sanctuary is free to visit, so it deserves inclusion on a list of free places to visit in Dubai. Isn’t that right?
Visit Al Qudra Lakes – A Romantic Oasis
The desert oasis of Al Qudra Lake is a popular vacation spot for families in Dubai, providing a variety of fun activities to let you relax and unwind. On sunny days, Al Qudra serves as an ecotourism destination, a wildlife sanctuary, a desert oasis, and a place where you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities. The lake, also called Love Lake, is a great location for evening hikes, viewing animals, and barbecues. A jogging park, pet walk, and picnic area are nearby.
The Viewing Point – The Ultimate Viewpoint
Whether you are looking for a group selfie with your family or simply want to enjoy spectacular views of creek from a height of 11.65 meters, The Viewing Point is a newly developed tourist attraction that is perfect for capturing magnificent views of Dubai Creek and the surrounding area as well as absorbing sensational sunsets. With its 70-metre span above Dubai Creek and 26 metre suspension over the water, it’s an excellent place for family walks, or for getting an uninterrupted view of Downtown Dubai.
Visit a Beach – Unwind with Your Family
Over 72 kilometers of coastline in Dubai isn’t just known for watersports, but also for a variety of other activities you can engage in while at the beach, making it one of Dubai’s most popular tourist attractions. Two beaches in Dubai are suitable for families: Al Mamzar Beach and Jumeirah Beach Park. Jumeirah Beach offers panoramic views of the Burj Al Arab and the Dubai cityscape, as well as a variety of services and a lively atmosphere. Among the activities available at the beach are swimming, sunbathing, beach volleyball, and a number of restaurants and cafes.
Located on the Dubai-Sharjah border, Memzer Beach is another well-maintained family-friendly beach. The water is calm, shallow, and supervised by many lifeguards so children can swim. Besides restaurants, cafes, changing rooms, showers, restrooms, playgrounds for kids, and barbecue pits, the beach offers an ideal family outing spot for families living in Dubai and Sharjah.
Dubai Marina Walk – Experience the Best of Dubai
It is a favorite among locals and tourists since it is surrounded by towers, luxurious flats, a yacht club, and many restaurants, which appeal to people of all ages. Family gatherings are made more enjoyable by the palm trees and planted flora that line the promenade. Located next to Emaar’s Marina Towers is a dancing fountain that attracts all ages visitor. In Dubai Marina, several kid-friendly play areas are available, as well as slides, swings, and climbing structures. Parents can relax on the seats, and kids can play safely on the rubber surface. Best time to visit Dubai Marina is evening time when it is shining with amazing lights, and the temperature is ideal for walking.
The Palm Jumeirah – Most Iconic Man-Made Island
Often referred to as the world’s largest manmade island, it was officially completed in 2009. The island resembles a palm tree from above, and is home to some of Dubai’s most exclusive hotels and resorts, including the Atlantis, The Palm, and Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.
A 5.56-square-kilometer engineering wonder, the Palm Jumeirah has many free attractions, such as Al Ittihad Park, which includes a playground, a lake, walking trails, and an outdoor amphitheater. Also on the Palm Jumeirah, at The Pointe, a shopping and dining complex, there is a large fountain to watch for free. Additionally, Nakheel Mall is a large shopping mall on the Palm Jumeirah that puts on a breathtaking water show every evening. The roof of the mall has a viewing deck offering spectacular views of the island, in addition to shops and restaurants
Visit Al Safa Park – A Park for Everyone
Whatever you are looking for, Safa Park will provide an enjoyable time for you and your family. Visitors to Safa Park can picnic, run around the waterfall, and cheer as rivalry begins. There are four basketball courts, football fields, volleyball courts, and barbecue areas where you can prepare outdoor meals. All you need a chief’s hat and food.
Visit Al Barsha Pond Park – Your Urban Retreat
A weekend getaway to Pond Park could be a great idea if you’re looking for a place to take the kids. Quoz Pond Park offers a pond, green spaces, play areas, and grassy lawns along with volleyball, football, and basketball courts. Children ages 3 to 11 will enjoy Al Quoz Park’s two playgrounds, which feature climbing frames, shaded greenery, slides, and swings. Runners and couples alike enjoy the wide track around the pond. You can eat at Wabi Sabi, Huna, or Qahwaty Restaurants after a long day of sports or slides.
Visit Bluewaters Dubai – Family’s Island Getaway
With excellent restaurants and shops surrounding Bluewater, it is an ideal place to enjoy a meal and watch the scenery while eating. A lot of family-friendly attractions are available in the area, along with a wide variety of dining options and breathtaking views. For those who feel adventurous, you can ride your bicycle around the area on your own and experience the area for yourself.
Waterfront Places to Visit in Dubai for Free
Visit the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
As you probably know, you cannot enter the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo because it will cost you a hefty amount of money; however, you should not underestimate the amazing views that you can see from the outside. It is my honest opinion that your family will have a wonderful time here. In fact, you will be able to take some amazing pictures of the aquarium along with fish in front of it. The aquarium is on the ground floor of Dubai Mall and is one of the world’s largest indoor aquariums, so you should definitely visit it.
Dubai Fountain – Where Water Dances to Music
With 6,600 lights and 50 color projectors, this fountain system shoots water 500 feet into the air and uses 22,000 gallons of water per minute. It sits at the foot of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, on a 30-acre lake and costs AED 800 million (USD $218 million). Every 30 minutes, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., the fountain performs a variety of music, including classical, pop, and Arabic music. There are many good restaurants with stunning Dubai Fountain views. If you have young children, open spaces surrounding the fountain are also a great choice for watching the show.
It is free to watch the fountain show, so it is a great place in Dubai to bring the kids for a family outing.
Dubai Water Canal Dubai Tolerance Bridg
With a height of 2.1 meters and a span of 205 meters, the Bridge of Tolerance is 53 meters tall and weighs 1,700 tons with a steel deck made of 20 steel cables.
Other Places to Visit in Dubai for Free
Mohamed bin Rashid Library – Largest Arab Library
With a total area of 650,000 square feet and 4.5 million collections and over 1 million books in a variety of languages, Mohamed bin Rashid Library has nine libraries and seven floors. Its beautiful architecture will capture you from the moment you enter. A wooden frame holds the holy Quran open while Muslims read from it, which symbolizes Islamic culture in the UAE. With a robot retrieving books in less than 10 minutes and interactive reading amenities, as well as solar panels and water recycling for the green areas, this library represents the future of learning in Dubai.
See some classic cars at Alserkal Avenue
A rare example of Renaissance architecture in Dubai, Al Serkal Classic Cars Private Museum is located in Deira, an area built in the XIX or XX century during the Renaissance in France. The irregular quadrangle contains an Arabic multidisciplinary firm and an Arabic Classic Cars Collection. The collection includes three-wheel drive Dodge trucks that were made for the US Army and a 1954 Ford F-100 pickup. There is also the 1948 Chevy Thriftmaster, otherwise known as the ‘Advance-Design’ and the ‘Loadmaster’.
Laser Show at Dubai Festival City
Featuring 2.5 meters of light, fire, lasers, water screens, projections, and fountains, the Stardancer at IMAGINE contemporary dance ballet embodies gravity. Stardancer is a flowing story of struggle, beauty, and innovation that combines contemporary and classical dance with a strong original score. Jessica Hesketh and Daniel Jaber are Stardancer’s lead dancers.