Dubai on a budget: 10 things to do in Dubai for under Dh20

If you want to enjoy the city on a budget, here are 10 fun activities to indulge in that cost less than Dh 20!


Rida Jaleel

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Published: Wed 24 May 2023, 12:44 PM

Last updated: Sat 27 May 2023, 5:47 PM

Dubai is an expensive city, and you need money in order to do many things here. It’s true – but only partly! Dubai is a city for all people. There are plenty of exciting things that you and your family or friends can do this weekend on a budget. Be it sightseeing, exploring history, or having a bite of the best that the city has to offer, here are 10 things that you can do in Dubai for Dh 20 or less!

Visit the Spice Souk

Located in Deira, the Dubai Spice Souk is a sight for sore eyes and tastebuds. It is a street market that sells not just a wide variety of spices, but also perfumes, textiles, and even cloth! The Spice Souk is one of Dubai’s oldest and most iconic streets and is known for having spices and dry fruits from across the world – Pakistan, Turkey, India, Iran, etc. Not only is it a mela of colour and taste, but you can buy high-quality authentic spices at bargain-worthy prices here.

Entry fee: Free

Stop by the Sikka Art Fair

One visit to the Sikka Art Fair and you will find it unbelievable that the entire exhibit is out there for the general public for free! The Sikka Art and Design Festival takes place in Al Fahidi once a year (typically in February - March). It is a flagship event under the Dubai Art Season that puts together thousands of local and international artists and their works under a single umbrella. It is a truly enriching experience, and the Sikka is also known for its cultural events and food joints that only add to the beauty of your visit!

Entry fee: Free

See the Dubai Canal

The 3.2km canal flowing into the Arabian Gulf, has now turned the major parts of Dubai, including Business Bay, parts of Jumeirah, a major portion of old Dubai including Bur Dubai, Zabeel, Karama, Oud Metha and Satwa, into an island. — Photos by Shihab, Juidin Bernarrd and Neeraj Murali
The 3.2km canal flowing into the Arabian Gulf, has now turned the major parts of Dubai, including Business Bay, parts of Jumeirah, a major portion of old Dubai including Bur Dubai, Zabeel, Karama, Oud Metha and Satwa, into an island. — Photos by Shihab, Juidin Bernarrd and Neeraj Murali

The Dubai Canal is a man-made waterway that connects Dubai Creek to the Arabian Gulf. But apart from this function, the Canal is also a massive attraction as it is lined with thousands of coloured lights and is a true architectural wonder. The canal also has running tracks, footpaths, cycling lanes, as well as a wide range of cafeterias and eateries to stop by once you’re tired from the walk.

Entry fee: Free

Visit the Dubai Museum

Image courtesy WikiCommons
Image courtesy WikiCommons

The Dubai Museum is an iconic Dubai landmark that you ought to visit at least once in your lifetime. Not only is it built in a beautiful sandstone fort that was established in 1787, but it will grant you a glimpse into life in the Emirate in the past. It showcases weapons, architecture, houses, souks, professions, etc., in the region before Dubai attained the glamour that we see today. The Dubai Museum is especially a must-visit for children who will definitely gain a new-found appreciation for the city’s history.

Entry fee: Dh 3 for Adults | Dh 1 for Children

Board the Dubai Marina Water Bus

If you love watching the waters from within the safety of a water bus, the Dubai Marina Water Bus is the ride for you! Considered a step up from the traditional Abra, the Dubai Marina Water Bus plies every 15 to 20 minutes from 10 am to 11 pm on weekdays and from 12 pm to 12 am on weekends and public holidays. There are three water bus lines currently:

Dubai Marina Walk – Marina Terrace

Dubai Marina Mall – Marina Promenade

Dubai Marina Walk – Dubai Marina Mall

Fee: Dh 3 – 5 per ride | Dh 25 for a daily pass

Grab a bite at Manoushe Street

Dubai has a wide range of street food options that are both delicious and won’t hurt your wallet! Manoushe Street is a hidden gem of an eatery that offers authentic Lebanese dishes at strikingly low prices. It has many branches across Dubai, Sharjah, and Ajman and offers delivery services too. Some of the Middle Eastern specialities served on the menu here are Lebanese Zaatar, Fatayers, Pizzas, Fattoush, Kahoulehs, Cheesecakes, Baked Haloumi, Kaak Picon, etc.

Visit the Perfume House, Shindagha Museum

Perfume is a huge part of Arab culture and is considered auspicious and integral. Be it Oudh, Bakhoor, or Muattar, these perfumes are produced in different ways that play a big role in Arabian history. If you’re a perfume fanatic or are just curious about how Arabian perfumes are created, the Perfume House in the Shindagha Museum is a great place to visit. Located inside the former house of the late H.H. Sheikha Sheikha Bint Saeed Al-Maktoum, the exhibit includes many personal artefacts and collections, while shedding light on the production methods and uses of these perfumes.

Entry fee: Dh 10 per family

Walk on the Floating Boardwalk at the Dubai Fountain

The floating boardwalk by the tallest performing fountain in the world allows you the illusion of walking on water. The water fountain, which is a mélange of colours, lights, water, and music, can now be witnessed at a touching distance with the help of the 272-meter-long boardwalk. It offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience of the Dubai Fountain!

Entry fee: Dh 20 per person

Visit the Women’s Museum

Image courtesy official website of Women's Museum.
Image courtesy official website of Women's Museum.

Another underrated spot to visit this weekend is the Women’s Museum located in the old Gold Souq, Deira. The Bait al Banat comprises 2 galleries; Gallery 1 consists of temporary exhibitions by emerging female artists, and Gallery 2 is a space for future collaborations with international artists and forums. The Women’s Museum is a space of great inspiration and insight into the lives of Emirati women and female artists worldwide. It is an important and empowering spot entirely worth the visit.

Entry fee: Dh 20 per person

Ride on the Palm Monorail

If you want a day trip across the splendid man-made island of Palm Jumeirah, then you should definitely take the Palm Monorail. The monorail is a mode of transportation that can be availed of using your NOL card, that is both functional as well as aesthetic. It has various stops that can give you a gorgeous overview of the islands, including the Palm Gateway, The Pointe, the Palm Fountain, the Atlantic Aquaventure, Nakheel Mall, etc.

Cost: Dh 10 - 20 per ride | Dh 35 for a full-day pass

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