12 places to visit for free in Abu Dhabi
Discover our top picks for places to visit for free in Abu Dhabi.
1. Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque's stunning architecture and celebration of cultural diversity make it a must-see for anyone visiting Abu Dhabi. Entry to the Mosque, as well as the cultural tours offered by knowledgeable Emirati guides, is free of charge.
2. Explore Al Jahili Fort
If you’re in the city of Al Ain you must visit one of the UAE’s largest forts, Al Jahili. The fort's lush gardens and exhibition halls are free to stroll through and enjoy. One of the exhibits is dedicated to explorer, Sir Wilfred Thesiger who crossed the Empty Quarter — the world's largest sand mass — twice in the 1940s.
3. Stroll along the Corniche
A great place to enjoy Abu Dhabi’s year-long sunshine is down by the Corniche. The eight kilometres of manicured waterfront are dotted with restaurants, cafes and benches, all of them perfect to take in the views of the Arabian Gulf.
4. Sunbathe on Corniche Beach
If you’re looking for an inexpensive day at the beach, choose Corniche Beach. The beach is two kilometres of white sand and turquoise waters; a dreamy spot to get some sun. There's also a special family zone for groups of beachgoers.
5. Go back in time at Heritage Village
Enjoy a free family-friendly day out at the Heritage Village on the Corniche breakwater. Here you can go back in time and discover how pre-modern Emirati lives were lived in a traditional oasis village, complete with a souk, mosque and camp.
6. Get artsy at Manarat Al Saadiyat
Manarat Al Saadiyat is Saadiyat Island’s art, cultural activity and community events centre. The centre's calendar is always packed with free exhibitions and talks, as well as opportunities to create your own art.
7. Hike up Jebel Hafit
Standing at 1,249 metres, Jebel Hafit is Abu Dhabi’s highest peak. From the top, you’ll capture gorgeous views of Al Ain, the perfect backdrop to photos. Don’t worry, the peak is also reachable by car in case you’re looking for an easier way to the top.
8. Learn about the UAE at the Founder’s Memorial
The Founder’s Memorial is a 30-metre high 3D art installation that depicts the Founding Father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Take in the beauty of the surrounding gardens and immerse yourself in the history of the UAE.
9. Watch camel racing in Al Wathba
Watching camel racing is a popular pastime in Abu Dhabi, and an experience you won't soon forget. Get to the Al Wathba Camel Racing track early on weekend mornings to get a good view of the race — and yes, entrance is free.
10. Pay respects at Wahat Al Karama
Located opposite Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is Wahat Al Karama, a memorial that commemorates martyrs who sacrificed themselves in service of their country. Arrive just before sunset to watch the daily Honour Guard march.
11. Window shop at the malls
Whether you’re wandering Yas Mall or The Galleria on Al Maryah Island, the malls of Abu Dhabi have everything from traditional market stalls to the world’s finest fashion brands. We won’t tell anyone if you want to treat yourself to a new pair of shoes.
12. Spend family time at Umm Al Emarat Park
As one of the largest and oldest parks in Abu Dhabi, Umm Al Emarat is a must for families wanting to enjoy some fun in the sun. Explore the botanical garden, see the iconic shade house and stop by the animal farm to meet camels, baby goats, cows and ponies.