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11 of the Cheapest Things to do in Dubai

Dubai is a city that takes many guises; it’s the Middle East’s shopping capital, the city of gold, and of course, the city of unmatched architectural gems and engineering marvels.

While entry rates to the region’s most iconic landmarks may be exorbitant and deluxe accommodation/dining can set you back quite a fortune, the good news is that Dubai is still budget-friendly.

So if you’re looking for things to do in Dubai on a budget, don’t look further; this post is just for you.

Visit Dubai Mall to admire Dubai’s best attractions & experiences for free

Right in the heart of Downtown Dubai and next to Burj Khalifa, the colossal Dubai Mall is the world’s biggest mall with over 1200 outlets. The entry here is free and you absolutely have to pay nothing unless you plan to shop, dine, or take part in its leisure attractions or activities.

The best thing is that you’ll get to see the part of the massive Dubai Aquarium for free, which allows you to take in several diverse marine creatures like rays, sharks etc. Moreover, you can take pictures against the stunning Human Waterfalls, catch up with Dubai Dino – the 155-year-old dinosaur skeleton, and get the best views from the Apple Store.

See Burj Khalifa

Whether you’re traveling to Dubai on a budget or not, don’t miss this structure which is also the tallest of its kind in the world at a height of 828 meters. Its observation decks on 124th and 148th treat your eyes with the most stunning cityscape views.

Now if you don’t have any plans to spend money for Burj Khalifa entry, you can still watch it from outside and even take some amazing pictures against its larger-than-life backdrop.

Related Content: Most Unique Things to do in Dubai

Watch Dubai fountain show for free

The Dubai Fountain is set on Burj Lake which is outside of Dubai Mall and adjacent to Burj Khalifa. It takes your breath away with its captivatingly choreographed water and light show wherein the water is sprayed out in tune to classic Arabic, western or Bollywood numbers. It’s played every 30 minutes after 18:00 hrs and the most exciting part is that you can watch it for free.

Just try to find a convenient spot to watch this fantastic show in its entire splendor.

Dubai Budget Cheap things to do

Spend only AED 3 to revisit Dubai’s past & the oldest structure

Yes, it costs almost nothing to experience Dubai’s intriguing past and ancient lifestyle at Dubai Museum. Besides its mix of life-size dioramas, ancient Bedouin art objects and intriguing archeological remnants, the museum structure itself is special as it’s housed inside Dubai’s oldest building at Al Fahidi Fort, dating back to the 18th century.

Nosh on cheap yet scrumptious food

Dubai is a true culinary haven, but most people think that it’s for affluent only. The reality is that it caters to every taste bud and pocket. There are some decent dining venues across Bur Dubai, Deira etc. where you can dine for less. You can further rely on cafes / small food joints across the city for the popular Arabic street foods such as falafel and shawarma; they won’t cost you more than AED 6 and also make some great foods to eat on the go.

If you’re in the Downtown area, the sprawling food court within the Dubai Mall has something for every budget. Now for those visiting Palm Jumeirah or Atlantis Aquaventure, one of our top recommendations is to head to the dining options across the 11-kilometer-long Boardwalk. They are super affordable and include food trucks, cafes, kiosks etc.

Related Content: 10 of the Best Street Foods Around the World

Enlighten yourself about the Islamic religion and Emirati culture at just AED 25

It’s known to all that Dubai forms part of an Islamic nation. You can get an authentic and detailed account of the Emirati culture and traditions which are largely inspired by its religion at Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Cultural Understanding. It’s placed in one of the charming old, wind tower structures at the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood.

True to its unique motto, Open Doors, Open Minds, it’s the place where you can strike an open conversation with a knowledgeable Emirati and clear doubt or ask any question about the region’s culture and religion. You’ll also get to enjoy a traditional Emirati breakfast, lunch or dinner as part of this unique program. And all you’ve to pay for this is just AED 25!

Discover Dubai’s souks

Dubai is home to 70 plus massive malls and also an epicenter of haute couture and luxury brands. So it goes without saying that shopping in Dubai is more than just a pastime activity. While this is true, shopping in the city is really not expensive.

Haggling may not be allowed in malls and luxury stores, but you can bargain to your heart’s content at the region’s traditional bazaars, also known as souks. There is perfume souk, textile souk, spice souk, and most importantly, the gold souk where the entire streets are packed with shops selling jewelry made from precious metals like gold, platinum, and silver.

Hang out at Dubai’s beaches and parks for free

Don’t overlook Dubai as a desert city studded with some architectural markets. It has its fair share of green park spaces and spotless public beaches where you can go on a picnic and enjoy a laid-back afternoon or evening. Most of them come with children’s play areas and also offer BBQ facilities as well as food and beverage outlets. This includes:

  • Zabeel Park: This vast park is not only noteworthy for its picnic areas, jogging track and botanical areas, but also for the attractions it holds, such as the Dubai Frame and Dubai Garden Glow.
  • Safa Park: Filled with trees, lakes, and spongy running track that extend for about 4 kilometers, it’s one of Dubai’s most visited parks.
  • Creek Park: It boasts a strategic yet serene spot along the Dubai Creek’s edge. Besides its verdant lawns, botanical gardens and kids’ rides, the parks offers cable car rides and also houses Dubai Dolphinarium, one of Dubai’s best family attractions.
  • Mushrif Park: This enormous park with over 70,000 trees promises you a cool retreat from Dubai’s glistening sights. Apart from all standard park facilities, it has a World Village with the models of houses from different parts of the world.
  • Al Mamzar Beach Park: This beautifully manicured park provides access to four beaches, along with access to basketball courts, volleyball play area, and well laid-out bicycle path.

Go on a dhow cruise

One of the most authentic ways to experience Dubai’s fascinating culture and traditions is via taking a dhow cruise which allows you to sightsee from water and enjoy fine dining and entertainment onboard. It takes place at the glamorous Dubai Marina or the historic Dubai Creek. Moreover, your dhow cruise creek experience offers the flexibility to choose from diverse packages that suit your budget and preferences.

Enjoy an abra ride for just AED 1

A Dubai trip remains incomplete without taking in the historic Dubai Creek. The above-mentioned dhow cruise is one option. If you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative, then hop on to a wooden abra which sails you down the heart of Dubai’s historic part for just AED 1. It’s a classic experience and one of the most unique things to do in Dubai.

Dubai things to do budget

Sip happy hour drinks & cocktails

Don’t want to hit Dubai’s bars or relish drinks because it’s super expensive? Then be prepared to save tons on your favorite drinks with the Happy Hour wherein a licensed Dubai bar, restaurant or night club sells beverages or cocktails at incredibly low rates for a few hours.


What we mentioned above are just a few of the budget-friendly things to do in Dubai. You can further watch free events at Alserkal Avenue, enjoy free live entertainment and even set out to spot flamingos at Ras Al Khor Bird Sanctuary. So don’t put off your Dubai holiday thinking that it will make a dent in your wallet. A bit of research and some wise choices will help you to enjoy an amazing yet affordable holiday in Dubai.

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Cheap and free things to do Dubai Budget

Guest Post: Neha Singh of is a post-graduate in Mass Communications who loves to write about her travel experiences. In her spare time, she loves listening to music and plans her next travel adventure.

This Post Has 36 Comments

  1. Derek

    I haven’t been to Dubai yet, but this guide will sure help for when I make it there. I’d love to enjoy an abra ride and of course see the Burj Khalifa. That has to be such a thrill, and I’m so glad you left the recommendation to enjoy a happy hour!

    1. Lovicarious

      Thanks! So glad you found this helpful! We hope it can serve as a nice resource when you do plan your trip to Dubai!

  2. Mayuri Patel

    As far as I know Dubai is very expensive country to visit and kind of Luxurious destination,I never knew it is possible to visit it on a budget. Honestly, I wouldn’t like to spent tons of Money on Burj Khalifa ticket instead would spend that much money in some unique cultural experiences. For me, Wooden Abra Ride For Just AED 1 looks quite interesting to visit Dubai Creek, it may look beautiful at Sunset! Loved your travel tips to visit dubai on budget.

    1. Lovicarious

      We didn’t actually go inside the Burj Khalifa either. It was a bit too expensive. Being able to watch the free fountain show in front of the Burj gave us the opportunity to view the impressive building from the ground floor while also enjoying the water display. That was good enough for us haha.

  3. Debjani lahiri

    This is a helpful guide for those who are under the impression that Dubai is a definitely expensive country to visit. Your guide will surely help others to enjoy the benefits of city tour at optimal cost. Oh the happy hours sounded pretty interesting to me .. I have this funny idea to watch Burj Khalifa for cheap. Just get onto any other skyscraper nearby to it and get on the top level to watch the higher levels of Khalifa .

    1. Lovicarious

      I think that is a genius idea! We didn’t have time to find any happy hours in nearby skyscrapers, we just went to a few places by the old souk. If you find any with a view of the Khalifa, please come back and share it with us!

  4. Dada

    We have always wanted to visit Dubai, but always been hesitating because we know its a expensive country. But wow, there are really cool stuff to do in Dubai for budget traveller! I would definitely be going to the free Dubai fountain show, having a cruise at the Dubai creek and yummy eat a lot of kebab in one of the many free beaches and parks.

    1. Lovicarious

      Yes! There are so many budget-friendly things to do if you plan correctly. The Abra ride for AED1 is cheap and so worth it for the memorable experience.

  5. Subhashish Roy

    I once had the opportunity to stay in Dubai as we were getting a two day stay free offer from the airlines while we were traveling en route to South Africa. However that would have taken away two days from our stay there and hence did not avail the offer. The only thing we experienced was the Dubai Airport Duty Free mall. But Dubai definitely is in our plan in not too distant future. An Abra ride for just AED 1, Dhow cruise, sipping happy hour drinks and cocktails, visiting the beaches, Dubai’s Souks, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain show all make me excited to visit. Thanks for the insights which will help me to plan well.

    1. Lovicarious

      So glad you found this helpful. You can actually just take the Abra over Dubai Creek straight to the souks. It is a good way to kill 2 birds with one stone 🙂

  6. Ha

    I always dream to visit Dubai, so it’s great to know that you can travel on a budget there. Dubai Aquarium Dubai Fountain Show sounds good to me. I also love to see the architecture of Burj Khalifa from afar. Also, great tips on saving budget with Happy Hour Drinks & Cocktails!

    1. Lovicarious

      No matter where you are in the world, you can’t go wrong with happy hour!

  7. Shreya Saha

    I remember on going on a dhow cruise for just a dollar. Well, Dubai does not seem to be cheap with all the largest parks, tallest buildings, etc. But thanks for compiling these free/budget things to do there. Next time I go there I am surely going to visit the souks and relish on some falafel shawarma.

    1. Lovicarious

      Dubai is definitely not the cheapest place to visit, but there are some budget-friendly things to do if you know where to look! Hopefully, this article helped to provide some ideas 🙂

  8. Clarice

    Wow! This is amazing. I did not realize there are a lot of things that you can do for free or cheap in Dubai. The Fountain Show looks beautiful. An Abra Ride also seems fun and interesting.

  9. Pranita

    Nice blog to help tourists enjoy the glitters and glamour of Dubai without spending through their noses. Keep inspiring and motivating travelers through this type of wonderful information.

    1. Lovicarious

      Thank you so much! Glad you found the article helpful. Traveling on a budget is one of our fortes so we are always happy to share some of these travel tips.

  10. cliftontours

    Thanks for sharing nice info its not cheap anything in dubai but some places there which you can visit without spending money

    1. Lovicarious

      Definitely. There are always free and budget-friendly activities if you look hard enough, even in Dubai!

  11. Sharon Odegaard

    This is helpful info about Dubai. I have a good friend who planned to go there in 2020, so I’m sure she will be planning for a trip when things open up. This is a good post to share with her!

    1. Lovicarious

      Feel free to pass the article along. I hope she finds it helpful! 🙂

  12. Tiffany Smith

    So good to learn of some budget-friendly options to give our pocketbooks a break in Dubai! So much to see and do!

    1. Lovicarious

      It is so easy to break the wallet when traveling, especially to a place like Dubai. Glad we could provide some budget-friendly activities to add to your Dubai travel itinerary!

  13. Kayy

    Dubai is really affordable when there based on others reviews. I would love catch the Fountain show and take a Dhow cruise. I can’t wait to visit , hopefully for my birthday.

    1. Lovicarious

      We totally agree with you. Dubai can be an expensive destination without a doubt, but it can also be quite affordable depending on how you plan your trip.

  14. Kitti

    Thank you for collecting some great experiences which cost hardly anything. I know Dubai can be pretty expensive, so I’m always looking out for free or cheap activities to do 🙂

    1. Lovicarious

      We were surprised by how many affordable things there are to do in Dubai. We were always under the impression that it is one of the most expensive places to visit. It was nice to find out that there are many budget-friendly things to do in Dubai if you know where to look!

  15. Krista

    It’s great to know that there are some budget friendly things to do in Dubai! I’ve heard it’s an expensive city to visit in general.

  16. Anne Betts

    I agree that it’s possible to experience Dubai on a budget. In fact, I found the souks, abra ride across Dubai Creek, the Dubai Museum, restaurants of Old Dubai, and the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre more interesting than the high priced glitz and glamour of New Dubai’s malls and restaurants.

  17. Francesca

    Always love cheap things to do on a budget! The Dhow Cruise looks amazing. Burj Khalifa would be a must do as well!

    1. Lovicarious

      The Dhow cruise was such a fun and unique experience. Definitely not something you see everyday in the United States where we are from!

  18. Linzey

    So glad I found this! We are headed to Dubai next summer and I am clueless about it. This is perfect; keeping this handy for when we do out trip. Thank you for putting this together! – Linzey @thefamilyfuntour

    1. Lovicarious

      Dubai can get expensive very quickly, but don’t be intimidated. There are several options for the budget traveler. Let us know if you have any questions as you continue planning for your Dubai trip! We are always happy to help.

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