Great things to do around Dubai that won't break the bank.....
Metro It – Get a great view of Dubai while traveling on the over ground metrosystem. Purchase a ticket, go gold for the best seat, and travel all the way from Bur Dubai to Jebel Ali or vice versa, all in about an hour.
Clear Blue Seas – The beaches and clear blue sea are pretty special in the cooler months. At any time of day, pick your nearest spot in the sand and while away an hour or two. The Beach in JBR already offers a range of facilities, while others are under construction, including Umm Suquiem and Jumeirah Beach.
Dubai Tennis Championships – Tickets are a must for the main court but access to all other courts is absolutely free, with seats offered on a first come, first served basis. Held in February / March.
Irish Village, Garhoud – There aren’t many ‘pub gardens’ in Dubai but this is the original and the best. Most nights throughout the winter they have free musical entertainment too.
Camel Racing –On the road out towards Al Ain you can enjoy this historic and very interesting sport. As these events aren’t a regular thing it requires a bit of planning.
Boat Trips - There are water taxis, abras, ferries and, if budget allows, you can hire your own yacht for a few hours! Popular for birthday parties and other celebrations.
Souks (Markets) – Bur Dubai and Deira are home to the old souks where you can get all sorts of delights, from gold and spices to fabrics! Modern interpretations of the classic souks are also available, such as Souk Madinat and Souk al Bahar.
Mall Walkers – Nothing to be scared of, this is a fitness walk around the malls rather than a ghostly experience. Mall of Emirates is one of the malls that have walkers in before the shops open. It's a good way to window shop and exercise, especially during the summer.
Port City – Admire the colourful and charismatic old dhows and boats on the Creek while remembering that this all started as a small port not that long ago. We just really want to know where all those washing machines go!
Parks – Dubai has too many parks to list but the oldest are Creek Park (where a cable car is also available), Al Mamzar Beach Park, Safa Park (currently closed but re-opening soon) and Mushrif Park. Take your pick, pay the small entrance fee and enjoy some time with grass between your toes.
Dubai Museum – Learn about the dascinating history of Dubai at the museum. It's free to get in, closed on weekends, but open through the week.
Abu Dhabi Mosque – If you have use of a car, take a drive down to Abu Dhabi. An hour or so down the road you will find the stunning Grande Mosque. Entry is free, and appropriate attire can be borrowed on site.
Jumeirah Mosque – This is a great one for education about Islam and a stunning mosque as well. Tours are held at 10am most days.
Mosque Eateries – Every mosque has a small eatery adjoined where you can enjoy proper shawarmas, otherwise known as wraps of deliciousness!
The Entertainer - Not something to hire at a party, but a great way to save money. Pick up a book or download the app and benefit from hundreds of 2 for 1 vouchers on food, spa treatments and other activities.
Bargain Hunt - with all the coming and goings in Dubai, you can pick up lots of preloved goods on Dubizzle. Just surf and haggle for your bargain!
Running Tracks – There is an increasing number of running tracks around Dubai. Probably the most interesting to run along are The Palm Jumeirah, Kite Beach and The Beach, JBR.
Byky Bikes – Set up an account and you can have unlimited use (subject to charges) of the bikes in Downtown Dubai, The Palm Jumeirah and Dubai Marina - keeping fit while taking in the sights!
Burj Khalifa – The tallest building in the world! Book dinner or drinks at At.mosphere rather than queuing for the viewing platform, and you can enjoy the staggering views from the 122nd floor with a cocktail in hand!
Marhaba - Feel like you flew first class even if you didn't with Dubai's flight welcoming service. It always feels good to have your name on one of those boards, plus an extra pair of hands is invaluable when dealing with the kids!
Shisha – One of the best places for sundowners and shisha in the cooler months is QD’s on the creek.
Bird Sanctuary - At the end of the Creek there are some beautiful feathered friends to spot. There are hides kitted out with binoculars which enable you to watch it all.
Flamingos – Can be found at the end of the creek if you have access to a boat, or you can see them from the hides.
Peacocks -Take a drive near the palaces (particularly Zabeel, next to Dubai World Trade Centre) to gaze at these beautiful birds wandering around without a care in the world.
Cycling – Al Qudra Track (beyond Arabian Ranches/Motor City towards Bab Al Shams) is free to use. Get up early to avoid the heat at these purpose-built tracks, starting from 18km to a lot more! You can also hire bikes and equipment nearby if you are new to cycling or on holiday. Nad Al Sheba is also a popular spot but you need your own set of wheels to enjoy it there.
Get on Your Wheels - Every Wednesday, Motor City Autodrome hosts a free Revolution Event, where non-motorised wheels can enjoy the 2.5km circuit without worry, just freedom.
The Dubai Fountains - Be blown away by the largest fountain in the world. Take a pew in the evening at an eatery in Souk al Bahar or Dubai Mall and spend an hour or two watching the variety of shows on display throughout the evening.
Al Reef Lebanese Bakery – One drink too many on a night out? Finish it off with a late night stop at the Lebanese Bakery for cheesy bread, or maneesh. After all, it’s a Dubai tradition! Al Reef can be found next to Safa Park and Choitrams.
Beach or Desert Picnic – Bring a picnic to the beach or find a spot in the desert for a BBQ. Time it so that you don’t miss either an energising sunrise or a spectacular sunset. Just remember to take your rubbish back with you!
Outdoor Movies – Various spots throughout the year offer poolside and beach-front movie watching, free of charge. Just buy a drink and some food and get comfy in front of the big screen for a very chilled night. Popular venues include, Wafi, Dubai Polo Club, Dubai Golf Club and Reform.
Turtle Sanctuary - Get a free education at Madinat Jumeirah and participate in the safe return of baby turtles to the wild initiative, every Friday and Wednesday.
Burj Al Arab - If the budget can't stretch to staying, the best way to enjoy 'value' at the self proclaimed seven star hotel is to either book in for afternoon tea or wait for Jumeirah Restaurant Week, held early Summer.
Al Fahidi - Take a walk around the Al Fahidi (Bastakiya) district, otherwise known as Old Dubai. There are many art galleries and spots to mooch, and finish with a bite to eat at XVA Café - serene!
Markets - There are number of markets held weekly, fortnightly and monthly. To find that individual gift, bargain or something for the home, the most popular are ARTE, Baby Bazaar, Dubai Flea Market and The Auction House.
Abra – These are the small boats that taxi people between Bur Dubai and Deira. For a few dirhams you can be part of the scene or you can be extravagant and hire a private abra for 30 mins and have a tour of the Creek.
Aquariums – Spend some time watching and learning about the rich sea life inside the aquariums of Dubai Mall or Atlantis.
Brunch - A Dubai institution, every hotel has one. It just depends on your budget which one you choose. Picture lobster and Peking duck instead of eggs and bacon, Champagne instead of orange juice and espresso martinis instead of coffee.
Made to Measure - Boys and girls can enjoy great tailors at reasonable prices in Dubai. Buy your fabric along with a design or an item to be copied to show your tailor. Everyone who has been in Dubai for a while has their favourite, or follow your nose in Satwa or Bur Dubai.
Water Parks - There are plenty of water parks within an easy drive and they don't have to break the budget when visiting. Summer specials and 2 for 1 vouchers can often be found. Take your pick from Wild Wadi, Aquaventure, Yas Water World, Dreamland and Iceland.
Polo – There are a few spots around Dubai where you can enjoy watching a polo match, darling. It doesn’t have to cost the lordy rates of its station, just put together a picnic and pay the per-car rate, or just trump up and enjoy the sport.
More Café – An institution in Dubai, this independent café chain is one of the few that are guaranteed to be open throughout the day during Ramadan non-fasting patrons. The “Make your own Burger” and Ali’s soup are popular choices at its various locations across Dubai.
Furry Friends - Get yourself a furry friend! There are a wealth of places where you can adopt a pet for a small fee, the most popular being Feline Friends, K9 Friends, Friends of Animals & 38 Smiles or you can look through the classifieds on Dubizzle.
Skiing – You might not ski, and it might be outside your budget to go on the slopes, but there are many restaurants and cafes where you can enjoy a view of the slopes at Mall of Emirates. Apart from skiing and snowboarding you may also catch a glimpse of the zip-liner, zorb or one of Ski Dubai’s famous penguins.
Karama – To pick up a ‘genuine fake’, be ready to haggle! You should aim for at least 50% off, and go after 4pm - you’ll see these shops like beacons in the streets!
Be Pampered - Getting your nails done in Dubai isn’t a luxury, it’s maintenance! Pick your closest nail spa and prepare yourself to be pampered.
Camp Out - Stock up on camping gear and head out to the coast or the mountains to enjoy a sunrise that can't be beaten. Pick up an Explorer Book and choose your spot, or join Outdoor UAE for tips and guidelines on various outdoor activities.
Dubai Skyline Views - Can be found all over Dubai, depending on where you are and what your budget is. Our favourites include, in the Downtown area, 40 Kong, Level 43 and Neos, and around the Marina any of the bars in Pier 7, Shades, Dubai Marina Yacht Club and The Observatory.
Ladies' Nights - There are many bars and restaurants all over Dubai that offer ladies' nights, so just pick your day and choose your options to enjoy the free drinks.
Fireworks - Find your spot on National Day, Eid or New Years Eve and you can enjoy one of the many free firework displays.