15 of the Best Free Things To Do in Abu Dhabi


Abu Dhabi is one of the seven emirates which together form the United Arab Emirates. Located in Asia, the world’s largest and most populated continent, the United Arab Emirates are situated on the south east fringe of the Arabian Peninsula. Why not take a look at the cheap flights to Abu Dhabi on offer from ourselves?

The City of Abu Dhabi which occupies the emirate of the same name is also the capital city of the UAE, and here are fifteen of the best free things to do whilst there.

1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre is one of Abu Dhabi’s most iconic, famous and visited landmarks.

Open to visitors who wish to enter in order to pray or just learn more about this architectural and religious place of worship, guests at the Mosque are permitted to walk freely about and explore the mosque whilst also being offered a complimentary live guided tour that is open to and welcomes those of all ages.

2. Ripe Market

Ripe Market does not refer specifically to a single market; rather, ‘ripe markets’ can be found across Abu Dhabi.

Providing communities and many visitors as well as locales with a broad range of produce and items from fresh fruit and vegetables to crafts and fashion, ripe markets operate to bring communities together and provide a hub within communities where people can meet, shop and trade.

Whilst the wares on offer certainly are not going for free, Abu Dhabi’s ripe markets are none the less free to meander around and enjoy, and offer a fantastic and friendly means of exploring the culture in Abu Dhabi.

3. Masdar City

Masdar City is the real life and life sized realisation of Abu Dhabi’s ‘city of the future’, and there is nowhere else in the world quite like it.

The goal behind the city was (and still is) to create an eco-friendly and sustainable community where people can live in better harmony with the world.

Free to enter and explore, be prepared to be wowed; the city uses the sun as its major power source, is built around a huge wind tunnel which provides its streets with outdoor air-con and the only cars allowed on its roads are small unmanned electric cars referred to as ‘personal rapid transport pods’.

4. The Change Project

The Change Project is a community initiative in Abu Dhabi created to make a difference, in a very real and yet simple way.

The project aims to inspire, spark discussion, effect real change and grow positive feeling in the community and holds weekly meet ups which are free to attend and encourage people to reconnect with a more ‘authentic’ and happy life.

Hence, whilst a seminar or lecture, even if it costs nothing, might not sound like fun, attending could just turn a holiday in Abu Dhabi into a genuinely life changing and eye opening experience.

5. Saadiyat Public Beach

A 272 mile island, Abu Dhabi has some fantastic beaches and miles of sandy coastline.

Many of Abu Dhabi’s beaches are private though and belong to and are intended for use by hotel and resort guests. Otherwise, some charge a fee to enter their beach.

Saadiyat Public Beach, as the name describes, is a public beach meaning that those heading there can hit the sand and sea for free.

6. Yalla Laughs Comedy Club

Yalla Laughs Comedy Club is Abu Dhabi’s ‘flagship comedy club’ and puts on a number of free comedy events, nights and shows each week which provide a unique insight into the culture enjoyed in Abu Dhabi.

7. Aquaventure Water Theme Park

Travel to Abu Dhabi during the week of your birthday and you will find yourself escaping the entry fee at Aquaventure Water Theme Park in Dubai, which is only an hour’s travel away by bus. Just remember to register first, in order to receive you personal free pass before arriving.

8. Mangrove National Park

Providing a haven of tranquillity to both people and wildlife, Mangrove National Park is home to over 60 species of birds (from herons to pink flamingos) as well as its own 192 km forest and lagoon where people come to kayak, walk or just relax.

9. Al Bateen Beach

Al Bateen Beach is one of the most highly rated Abu Dhabi Beaches which are not owned by or affiliated with a resort and as such can be enjoyed by the public, and hence, for free.

10. Marina Mall

For those looking to save on the spending, Marina Mall is definitely not the place to head; the mall is brimful with fashion, restaurants, coffee shops a cinema and bowling alley.

That said, the mall is none the less free to explore and provides a great place to splash some of that money saved on enjoying the wealth of free things to do and see in Abu Dhabi.

11. Sheikh Zayed Bridge

Named after its architect and Abu Dhabi’s once president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the bridge he designed and which has since been realised is a feat of modern engineering.

Stunning to see and travel over by day, at night its lights studding it turn the bridge into a real life rainbow of colour and light up the Abu Dhabi skyline spectacularly.

12. The Observation Deck at 300

Whilst entry to the Observation Deck at 300 situated on the 74th floor of the second tower at Etihad
Tower Complex is not technically free to all, it is to guests of The Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.

Children are also welcome to visit the Observation Deck, and all children under the age of four years old enter for free.  

13. Abu Dhabi Corniche

Abu Dhabi Corniche is a four mile promenade boardwalk that makes for one of the most scenic and beautiful walks to take whilst in Abu Dhabi.

The Boardwalk is studded with benches where visitors can sit and take in the views over the Arabian Gulf. The Corniche boardwalk provides fantastic on foot access to Marina Mall and Heritage Village.

14. Capital Gate

Abu Dhabi’s Capital Gate is in fact a leaning building structure that makes Italy’s famous Leaning Tower of Pisa look relatively straight.

The world’s furthest leaning manmade tower to date, as testified by the Guinness World Records, Capital Gate is a staggering example of contemporary engineering…and its limits.

15. Qasr Al Hosn

Originally constructed in 1760 as a coral and sea stone watchtower, Qasr Al Hosn is Abu Dhabi’s oldest building and has formally housed Abu Dhabi’s ruling Al Nahyan family.

Today, Qasr Hosn is home to a permanent exhibition which traces the history of Abu Dhabi and is free to enter by all who wish to learn more about Abu Dhabi.