THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI THAT COST
LESS THAN YOUR LUNCH MONEY!
Dubai is undeniably famous for being a modern metropolis, but there's plenty more to the city than its world-class skyscrapers and stylish malls. Despite its glitzy reputation, it is possible to find things to do in Dubai without spending a fortune - better still, you can even experience some attractions for free! Whether you drop in at glittering souks, savour spice markets or spend the day at the beach, there's never a dull moment in this Middle Eastern gem.
Want to discover this award-winning destination? Browse our last minute holidays in Dubai and jet away as early as next week!
WATCH THE DUBAI FOUNTAIN
As the sun sets over the city, the famous dancing fountain is the place to flock to - it's choreographed waters moving in time with traditional Arabic music and colourful lights. The Dubai Fountain, located at the 30-acre Bur Lake, is an incredible 900ft in length with 6,600 lights and water that shoots up to 500ft high. What makes this fantastic feature even more special, is the fact that it's completely free to experience, so grab a spot near the front and admire the view before continuing onto the bustling promenade for more entertainment.
DROP IN AT THE GOLD & SPICE SOUKS
You don’t need to spend a penny to enjoy the vibrant colours and aromas of the spice souk in the old neighbourhood of Deira, a living example of the bustling markets from Dubai’s historic past. The shop owners will usually be willing to let you taste the amazing spices on display, including cinnamon, vanilla and frankincense, before you continue to explore the centre's meandering lanes. It’s also adjacent to the glamorous Gold Souk, where your eyes can feast on a glittering display of gold jewellery sold by hundreds of retailers, along with silver and platinum goodies too.
EXPLORE SAFA PARK
Image: Ali Machinchery / Facebook
If you want to escape the rush of city life, then tranquil Safa Park is the perfect place for family picnics and barbeques in the sun. Let the kids explore the playground while you relax with a good book, or head out on a boat ride across the lake. If you like to stay healthy, make sure you visit on a Friday when the Organic Food Market is hosted in the park, or lace up your trainers and head to Al Barsha Pond Park, another gorgeous green space in the heart of the city that's complete with a running track, rowing machines and a variety of fitness equipment that's open for use.
ADMIRE BURJ AL-ARAB
Dubai’s most iconic attraction, the sail-shaped Burj Al-Arab, stands tall between Jumeirah Beach and Palm Islands on its own manmade island overlooking the Persian Gulf. The luxurious hotel has its own helipad (of course) and several fine-dining restaurants such as Al Muntaha, located on the 27th floor. It's pretty costly to stay here as you can imagine (we have a variety of fabulous 5 star holidays in Dubaito indulge in, instead?), but there’s nothing stopping you from grabbing some afternoon tea nearby and exploring the aesthetics of this stunning building - you can even admire it from your towel on Jumeirah Beach!
TAKE AN ABRA RIDE ACROSS THE DUBAI CREEK
Image: Rachid EL QOMRI / Flickr
A single Dirham (the equivalent of approximately 20p) can take you across the Dubai creek in a traditional abra or wooden boat. It's one of the best ways to soak up your surroundings, and a little history too as the creek, which divides the city into Deira and Bur Dubai, used to see major trading take place in the old days. Don't forget your camera as you'll cruise past the historic district and a traditional souk along the way.
TRAVEL BACK IN TIME TO HISTORIC DUBAI
Enter a world of private canals and magical canopies as you stroll through the Madinat Jumeirah complex, which gives you a traditional taste of Old Arabia - without costing a thing. It houses quaint shops, great restaurants, a nightclub and more, so you’re sure to be entertained. If you want to learn more about the history of Dubai then drive down to the Bastakiya Quarter, a former fishing village, where you'll be welcomed by grand stone courtyards, colourful spice shops and everything that spells olde-worlde charm.
VISIT THE AL SERKAL ARTS DISTRICT
Whether you consider yourself an art lover or not, you’re sure to enjoy a tour of the Dubai’s creative district Al Serkal. Dubai has a thriving contemporary art scene and this neighbourhood has been revitalised with a handful of galleries, cafes and theatres. Pop into some open exhibitions and grab a coffee or lunch as you watch the world go by.
ENJOY A DAY AT THE BEACH
The public stretch at Jumeriah Beach Residence is located in the heart of Dubai, and serves up a buzzing boulevard where you can browse boutiques, dine in restaurants or simply spend the day soaking up the sun on the soft sands. Dubai has several other public beaches worth visiting too, all of which you can visit for free. The peaceful Kite Beach (also known as Woollongong Beach) is perfect for taking long walks and of course, kitesuring, with the Burj Al Arab visible in the distance. If you want gorgeous views of the bay, drive up to 4x4 Beach next to Jumerirah Beach Park, which offers spectacular scenery.
EAT AT RAVI RESTAURANT
It's easy to get caught up in the fabulous fine-dining opportunities in Dubai, particularly those that serve michelin star meals in sky-high buildings with panoramic views to match - but it is possible to eat delicious, local food for a few Dirham at most. One of the best places for excellent and affordable cuisine is Ravi, a Pakistani restaurant on Satwa Road which boasts a menu full of fabulous flavour - its dahl, biryani and peshwari dishes are to die for! Prices range from as little as Dhs 1- 49, so you can snap up a delicious supper for less than a tenner!
LIVE IT UP ON LADIES NIGHT
Image: China Grill Dubai / Facebook
If you're looking for a fantastic holiday with your ladies, then the glamarous city of Dubai is sure to spring to mind, right? Well, you'll have even more reason to gather your girl group together when you discover a long list of Ladies Nights that let you drink for free! Luxury venues including Gosvenor House Tower Two, China Grill and La Residence Restaurant & Lounge serve a selection of free drinks and nibbles a few nights a week - perfect for fuelling fun-loving evenings with friends!