Things to Do

13 amazing free things to do in Abu Dhabi

This January, budgeting is most likely a pretty stark reality unless you’re sitting on millions of cryptocurrency or packing that Jeff Bezos cash. In light of this, here are some of our favourite free (or nearly free) activities to do in Abu Dhabi whether you’re wanting to make the most of your free time or if you have guests.

Visit the fossil dunes

Situated in the Al Wathba area of Abu Dhabi, this collection of genuinely natural wonders may be found. The strange Fossil Dunes (geo location linked) are twisted, time-forged dune “skeletons” that need an SUV to reach, but if you want to spend your time marvelling, there’s a campsite close by. But, and this is very important, you must not touch them. Even though the site is aeons old, careless visitors could cause serious harm to it.

Catch a movie in the park (Dhs10)

The well-liked outdoor theatre in Umm Al Emarat Park is operating as usual, presenting its lineup of beloved family films. Although it’s not exactly free, the park entrance price of Dhs10 is still a really good deal. On Fridays and Saturdays, the shows start at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Over the next two weeks, a remarkable lineup of animated films including the Pixar afterlife adventure, Coco; the sister quest, Frozen; and the sea monster epic, Luca, will be released. In addition, Umm Al Emarat Park features a knowledge garden, a botanical garden, a petting zoo, and a fun-sized train.

Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open

This February, see the pinnacle of women’s tennis when the world’s best players gather at Zayed Sports City. Children under the age of twelve can watch the action for free for the first six days of the competition, and on February 3 and 4, you can enjoy the qualifying rounds all weekend long. Do we really need to say more?

Dolphin spotting

As everyone knows, Abu Dhabi gives some really unusual excursions. Enjoying these native treasures makes us feel special and privileged. After all, this city has fewer records under its belt than Paul McCartney. Usually, this scarcity of experience is something to celebrate. We wish, nevertheless that certain meetings weren’t so rare. According to estimates from the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD), there are over 700 humpback dolphins living in Abu Dhabi’s coastal waters. This is tragic because it could represent the greatest population of these endangered animals globally. Furthermore, Saadiyat Island gives you one of the best chances to witness these amazing animals in the nature because their chosen places to eat are the mangroves of Jubail and also the northern beaches. Get a day pass at one of the many accommodations along the coast (Jumeirah at Saadiyat, Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island, etc.) and grab a set of binoculars. Another option for a less expensive option to hotel flop-and-drop is the beach club Soul.

Play sports in a park

Many of Abu Dhabi’s parks have free sports facilities for visitors to utilise. On the active attractions, however, a few of them put in extra effort. Sheikha Fatima Park on the Corniche, which reopened recently, is a good example of a place to KO those Kcals. It has an indoor boulder climbing activity, a child play area, a pet park, a splash pad area, and a skate park with all the amenities. Here, there is also a multi-story parking structure with plenty of shaded space. Reem Central Park has playgrounds, canal walks, beach activities, four multi-sport courts, water features, a skate park, and food establishments like 800 Pizza, Jelly Belly ice cream, and Taqado. A magnificent mural honouring the late, great basketball legend Kobe Bryant is also present.

Enjoy a beach day

Abu Dhabi, with its estimated 1,052 sunny days annually (don’t check the numbers), has long been a popular destination for beach lovers worldwide. In addition, Abu Dhabi is composed of sandy islands, so compared to other beach destinations, there is a greater surface area of shoreline to top off your tan. And across our emirate’s numerous coastline regions are some breathtaking public beaches; some of our favourites are as follows: The public beach on Saadiyat Island, with its rocky dunes, turquoise waters, native turtles and dolphins, and wave swells, is simply the best in the United Arab Emirates; For residents of Downtown, Corniche Beach offers a plethora of family-friendly activities and a wide selection of restaurants. It is also incredibly convenient; Finally, the newcomer, Hudayriyat public beach, has the island’s entire leisure, dining, and entertainment facilities within walking distance in addition to the forever-blue horizon, highly Instagram-appropriate Hudayriyat sign, and gym equipment. Al Bateen beach is a nearly 1-kilometer stretch of blue flag sandy lushness; there’s a playground and several sport courts to keep you and the little ones entertained too.

Visit Al Ain’s verdant oasis

Al Ain, sometimes known at “The Garden City,” is a pretty decent place to start if you’re seeking for green. Situated in the heart of Al Ain, this 1,200-hectare desert oasis was realised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011. There are around 147,000 date palms there, along with mango, orange, banana, fig, and jujube trees. It’s a location that provides an incredible contrast to Abu Dhabi’s inner jungle with its whimsical shaded walkways under fractal canopy. Further, an Eco-Centre provides historical background information and an overview of the oasis’ conservation initiatives.

Check out Abu Dhabi’s salt lakes

Instagram users went crazy for Abu Dhabi’s Salt Lakes last year. Bloggers, influencers, and inquisitive people flocked to their position close to Al Wathba Wildlife Reserve in order to take pictures of the slender pastel-green lakes that are dotted with crystalline lily pads. Google Maps shows the precise position, but getting there isn’t simple. Make sure you have enough fuel in your SUV, pack snacks and extra supplies, let someone know where you are going, and avoid littering. It’s worthwhile, we assure you.

Have a picnic in a park

Life may really be a picnic if you focus on the little things that make you happy. Among these events should undoubtedly be picnics with your best friends. 38 parks in the emirate are on a list published lately by the Department of Municipality and Transport (DMT), where you can complement your outdoor party with some grill. There are little green oases scattered around Abu Dhabi where you may spread a blanket and have a meal with your loved ones. Our perfect spot for a picnic is Khalifa Park due of its serene water features. It also has an aquarium, splash park, library, and Maritime Museum.

Catch the fireworks at Zayed Festival (Dhs5)

Although it isn’t exactly free, you can still enjoy all the cultural and entertainment-based joys of this incredible festival for just Dhs5 (book at Up to the festival’s conclusion on April 1, 2022, it will hold its weekly firework celebration every Saturday at 10 p.m.

Drop by Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa

Renovated and now serving as a cultural community centre in Al Ain, Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa was once the residence of the late Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, father-in-law of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founding father of the United Arab Emirates. Its new function is to provide a space for community arts, crafts, and creativity in addition to protecting a significant historical relic. *Drop the Curtain* Al Ain Theatre, a fundamental component of the center’s character, has a permanent base at Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa where it hosts genuine artistic and cultural events like festivals, seminars, and courses.

Go for a walk along Abu Dhabi’s ‘other Corniche’

Al Gurm Corniche, a recently constructed seaside promenade in Abu Dhabi, is more than just a (cor)niche attraction. Its seven days a week, twenty-four-hour access to its vistas of Mangrove National Park and its shaded walks are interspersed with interesting spots to relax, exercise, or discover more about the community and its people. In addition to a variety of food and beverage options, there is an exercise track, three outdoor gym-style platforms, kayaking opportunities, spaces set aside for outdoor yoga classes, and overwater cargo net chill stations that are ideal for losing yourself in a gripping book. Plus, there are edutainment nodes with water play, swings, and installations that teach kids about gravity, tidal movements, and nature; binoculars to peer into the green beyond in search of interesting forna; historical hubs with fascinating facts about the region’s past and local ecology; and exhilarating play areas.

Pop in to Al Ain’s camel market

This dromedary expo is located approximately fifteen minutes outside of Al Ain’s downtown. The tale of the United Arab Emirates revolves around the camel, and these vibrant marketplaces are still the hub of camel trading today. A chance to witness camels showcasing their skills in racing pedigree demonstrations may be available to fortunate tourists. It’s uncommon to see examples of traditional Middle Eastern life this accurate and accessible to the public, but be prepared for some very strong scents. Additionally, it offers a chance to take a genuine camel selfie that may never be found elsewhere.

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