The best things in life are free, as the old saying goes. Fortunately, the many places to see in Abu Dhabi include those that come free of charge, for everyone to enjoy at no cost at all!
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For today’s post, we have gathered a list of things that you can do in Abu Dhabi for free. So when you’re “short on your dough,” just refer to this list and you’ll know where to go!
What You Can Do for Free in Abu Dhabi
Got time on your hands but low on the budget? Here are some things that you can do around the city without having to spend a dirham:
#1 – Stroll along the Corniche.
A walk along the Abu Dhabi Corniche could be the most relaxing thing you can do this weekend. Enjoy the beautiful view, have a leisurely stroll with friends, and watch the sunset!
#2 – Take a trip to Al Ain Oasis.
Speaking of relaxation, another place that comes to mind is Al Ain, a 1,200-hectare area of gardens and oases. It also happens to be the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UAE, did you know that?!
#3 – Visit a museum.
While at Al Ain, don’t forget to explore the Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum, which is also called the Al Ain Palace Museum. Constructed in 1910, this used to be residence of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and his family.
#4 – Go biking.
Bring out your bike and head to the Al Wathba Cycle Track for a day of biking! With sandy dunes on both sides, this track makes for a one-of-a-kind cycling experience!
#5 – Check out Emirates Palace.
This is a luxury hotel and resort spread over 250 acres along the Corniche, and you don’t have to check in to enjoy the view! Visitors are welcome to stroll along the gorgeous grounds.
#6 – Marvel at modern art.
Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a trip to the Etihad Modern Gallery. Open every Saturday to Thursday from 10 am to 10 pm, the gallery features works by emerging local artists.
#7 – Learn about Emirati heritage.
Culture and history buffs would enjoy a visit to Heritage Village. Here, you will find traditional structures, handicrafts, and other artifacts reminiscent of earlier times.
#8 – Take a hike.
Are you up for a challenge? If so, take a hike at Jebel Hafeet. Rising at 1,240 metres above sea level, it is the tallest mountain in the UAE and features over 500 burial tombs. Cool!
#9 – Catch up on your reading.
Reading is one of those hobbies that you can do at no cost! Simply go to any of these public libraries and borrow your favourite titles: Al Nahyan Library at Nahyan Camp, Al Bahia Park Library, Khalifa Park Library, Mazyad Mall Library, and Zayed Central Library.
#10 – Check out the old city gateway.
The Maqta Bridge used to be an old, sandy track that served as the single gateway to the city. If you look closely, you will see an old fort as well as an old watchtower near it. How’s that for a glimpse of history!
#11 – Watch a free movie.
Raise your hand if you like free movies like us! At Manarat Al Saadiyat Auditorium on Saadiyat Island, you can! From time to time, they feature classic movies for free. Just be sure to do your research and find out the screening schedule beforehand.
#12 – Do some window shopping.
The Marina Mall is one of the most popular shopping destinations in Abu Dhabi. Sure, you may have to spend money on food, but if you like window shopping, you’ll definitely enjoy exploring the mall’s over 400 stores!
#13 – Visit a traditional market.
Before the modern malls came, people used to shop for everything they need in souqs (traditional markets). Interestingly, the souqs at Mina Port happen to be the oldest in the city. Featuring local goods and handicrafts, a trip to this port is just like going back in time!
#14 – Explore the Miraj Islamic Arts Centre.
This is another place that art lovers shouldn’t miss, especially those who want to know more about Islamic art, as featured on the many sculptures, textiles, jewellery, vases, and other crafts!
#15 – Join a basketball match.
Gather a bunch of your friends and shoot some hoops in a public court, for free! You will find some courts at Khalifa City Park, Al Nahyan playground, and Al Reef Community Park.
#16 – Visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
It goes without saying that you’ve never been to Abu Dhabi if you haven’t visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Featuring over 1,000 columns, 82 domes, 24-carat gold chandeliers, and the largest hand-knotted carpet in the world — this place should definitely be on your list. Just don’t forget to dress appropriately and be respectful at all times!
#17 – Explore Qasr Al Hosn.
Having been around since 1761, Qasr Al Hosn is the oldest building in Abu Dhabi. Showcasing old photos and artifacts, it is a “living monument” in the UAE capital!
#18 – Head to Yas Marina Circuit.
Aside from hosting the prestigious Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit holds regular activities for racers as well as fitness enthusiasts. Every Tuesday evening, they open the tracks to joggers and cyclists, provided that guests register online in advance… for free!
#19 – Gaze upon Wahat Al Karama.
Literally translated to “oasis of dignity,” Wahat Al Karama is a military memorial, built as a tribute to soldiers who died while protecting the nation. Here, you will learn a bit of history, too, as there is a visitors’ centre that presents the story of the fallen soldiers.
#20 – Remember the founder of the UAE.
The Founder’s Memorial was built to commemorate the legacy of Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the UAE. Set amid beautiful gardens, the centrepiece of the memorial is The Constellation, an illuminated portrait of the late Sheikh Zayed.
You don’t really need to spend a lot of money to enjoy your stay in the capital. With this list, you can look forward to an enjoyable weekend of free activities! Meanwhile, if you are looking for a place to eat Pinoy food, here’s a list of Filipino restaurants in Abu Dhabi!