10 Best Free Things To Do In Abu Dhabi To Keep The Fun-venture Going

From famous landmarks and parks to museums and natural wonders, there are plenty of options to explore without spending much money.

by Priyanka Fernandes
10 Best Free Things To Do In Abu Dhabi To Keep The Fun-venture Going

Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital city, offers a range of free attractions and activities for tourists and visitors. You don’t need to break the bank to explore the city’s famous landmarks, parks, museums, and natural wonders. The Visit Abu Dhabi Shuttle Bus provides free transportation to well-known tourist hotspots. Here are the top 10 picks for free things to do and see in Abu Dhabi.

1. Bait Mohammed Bin Khalifa

Bait Mohammed Bin Khalifa
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Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa’s transformation into a cultural hub in Al Ain is a beautiful way to preserve heritage while fostering community engagement. Al Ain Theatre, now a permanent fixture, promises authentic cultural experiences through various events and activities. Plus, its daily open hours make it accessible to a broad audience.
What: Cultural Community At Bait Mohammed bin Khalifa
When: Sun to Sat from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm
Where: Al Mu’tarid – Abu Dhabi

2. Al Wathba Reserve

Al Wathba reserve
Image Credits: Canva Stock Imges

Al Wathba Wetland Reserve reopened in 2021, allowing families to explore the UAE’s natural habitat. Known for its pink flamingos and diverse wildlife, it’s a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, and admission is free. Access is via the E22 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain road, which connects with the E30 Abu Dhabi-Al Ain Truck Road.
What: Open Reserve With Birds, Animals and Aquatic Life
When: Tues to Sat from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm
Where: Al Wathba, Abu Dhabi

3. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
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The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, one of the world’s largest, embodies Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision of cultural unity. Constructed with contributions from artisans worldwide, it boasts unique features like gold-plated chandeliers and marble mosaic artwork. Outside, its towering minarets stand proudly at 106 meters. The Mosque is open from Saturday to Thursday, 9:00 am to 10:00 pm, and Fridays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
What: Largest Mosque In UAE
When: Sat to Thurs from 9:00 am to 10:00 pm and Fridays from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Where: Al Rawdah, Abu Dhabi

4.Manarat Al Saadiyat

Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi
Image credits: Canva Stock Images

Manarat Al Saadiyat on Saadiyat Island is a hub for art, culture, and community events, embodying the island’s enlightenment vision. It hosts the annual Abu Dhabi Art Fair. The facility offers various facilities, including galleries, a 250-seat auditorium, an outdoor terrace, a café, and a gift shop, encouraging visitors to engage in artistic exploration and exchange ideas.
What: Hub For Art And Culture
When: Sun to Sat from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
Where: Al Saadiyat Island, Cultural District 

5. Al Jahili Fort

Al Jahili Fort
Image Credits: Canva Stock Images

Al Jahili Fort, a cultural hub since 2008, stands in Al Ain, an hour and a half from Abu Dhabi. Initially built in the 1890s, it underwent restoration in 1985 and a significant project in 2007-2008, earning the Terra Award in 2016. Now, it hosts temporary and permanent exhibitions, including one honouring explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger, who crossed the Empty Quarter in the 1940s.
What: Fort
When: Sun to Sat from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Where: Al Jahili 

Also Read: 8 Things To Do In Abu Dhabi, Your Ultimate Guide For Thrilling Activities And Cultural Marvels

6. Walk At Corniche 

Abu Dhabi Corniche
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Abu Dhabi’s new Al Gurm Corniche waterfront promenade offers 24/7 access to shaded walkways, exercise platforms, kayaking, and alfresco yoga areas. It’s perfect for families with water play areas, educational installations, and historical hubs. Located near Anantara Eastern Mangroves along Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street, it’s a must-see for everyone.
What: Walk At Corniche
When: 24 hours
Where: Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street

7. Dolphin Sightings In Abu Dhabi

Dolphin In Abu Dhabi
Image Credits: Canva Stock Images

Abu Dhabi boasts unique adventures, including rare encounters with humpback dolphins. It’s potentially the world’s largest community, with approximately 700 endangered creatures in its coastal waters. Saadiyat Island offers prime viewing spots along its northern beaches and Jubail’s mangroves. Head to hotels like Jumeirah at Saadiyat or Rixos Premium Saadiyat Island, or try the affordable option of Soul Beach Club.
What: Spotting Dolphins
When: Not a Particular Time
Where: Different Locations in Abu Dhabi

8. Beaches In Abu Dhabi

Beaches in Abu Dhbai
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Abu Dhabi’s abundant sunshine and sandy islands make it a magnet for beach lovers. Some standout public beaches include Saadiyat Island, with its stunning scenery and wildlife sightings; Corniche Beach, perfect for families with its activities and dining options; Al Bateen Beach, boasting a kilometre-long stretch of blue-flag sand and sports courts; and the newcomer, Hudayriyat public beach, offering not just pristine shores but also access to leisure, dining, and entertainment facilities.
What: Enjoy A Day At The Beach
When: Not a Particular Time
Where: Saadiyat Island, Corniche beach, Al Bateen beach, and Hudayriyat public beach. 

9. Abu Dhabi’s Salt Lakes

Salt Lakes In Abu Dhabi
Image credits: Canva Stock Images

Abu Dhabi’s Salt Lakes, near Al Wathba Wildlife Reserve, became an Instagram sensation last year. Visitors flocked to capture the pastel green lakes with crystalline lily pad features. Accessible via SUV, bringing snacks and backup supplies and informing someone of your whereabouts is advisable. Remember to avoid littering and ensure you have enough fuel for the trip. It’s a journey worth undertaking for the breathtaking views.
What: Picturesque Salt Lakes
When: Not a Particular Time
Where: Al Wathba region of Abu Dhabi

10. Al Ain’s Camel Market

Al Ain Camel Market
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Al Ain’s camel market offers a unique glimpse into traditional Arab culture and Emirati heritage. Located 15km from downtown Al Ain, it’s a family-friendly experience where visitors can interact with young and adult camels, attend mock races, and witness local trading practices. Herded animals are often visible throughout the day despite the morning trading hours.
What: Camel Market And Experience Emirati Culture
When: Sun to Sat from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm
Where: Al Ain, Abu Dhabi

Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or just looking for a budget-friendly way to explore the capital city, Abu Dhabi has something for everyone.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva Stock Images

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