Have you been in a city where you can enjoy free things to do without spending a penny and yet is considered as the most expensive place?
A recent report published by ECA International – an organisation that study expats’ quality of life in different countries – revealed that the UAE along with neighbouring GCC countries are among the most expensive countries for expatriates in 2019.
More tellingly, Dubai and Abu Dhabi emerged as the first and second most expensive cities in the GCC.
Both cities also are also in the top 50 most expensive locations in the world for the first time.
So while Abu Dhabi is ranked as one of the best cities for expats to live in, the rising cost of living is a continuing challenge faced by both residents and expats.
But the good news is that there are still plenty of things to do and see in Abu Dhabi that are not just cheap but absolutely for free.
These experiences range from cultural experiences to arts and leisure activities that are fun and memorable.
Here are some tips on how you can enjoy the day spend-free around the capital…
Visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
This Abu Dhabi landmark continues to marvel with its grandeur both in design and significance.
Its architectural wonder is second to none and its 24 carat gold chandeliers, 82 domes and the world’s largest hand-knotted carpet will enchant visitors from all walks of life.
Trivia: TripAdvisor named Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque second in its readers’ choice for best landmarks in the world for 2017, overtaking favourite tourist spots like Taj Mahal and Great Wall of China.
Free entry. Sat-Thu 9am-10pm; Fri 4.30-10pm. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street. Contact: 02 419 1919
Stroll along the Corniche
Enjoy the picturesque views while enjoying a walk along the Corniche.
Sit back and watch the multitudes of people strolling or riding their bikes any time of the day.
Catch the scenic sunrise or sunset and take pictures or simply cherish the moment.
Walking along the long stretch is also a great way to get some exercise.
Achieve sound mind and body by signing up to Yoga #AtTheGalleria every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday morning.
The complimentary classes will take place outdoors on level 4 at the Sky Park offering beautiful views of the capital and is open to all levels from total beginners to advanced practitioners.
Expert yoga instructors supervise the classes. You only need to bring your own mat and arrive in your best yoga attire.
The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Al Falah Street. 8.30am-9.30am. Sign up with your details at [email protected] 24 hours before the session.
Grab free stuff online
The online marketplace Dubizzle is a great place to bag stuff at a bargain.
But why pay when you can have things for free? Yes, Dubizzle has a free section under its classified category.
The items that you’ll find there vary including show tickets, vouchers, books, toys, car accessories, furniture, appliances and so much more.
Watch a free movie
Cinema Space regularly screens films ranging from old to modern classics to animation to popular to obscure flicks.
The movies are carefully curated to suit all types of audience. What’s more, there are surprise screening events thrown in between to keep viewers guessing – sounds fun!
Manarat Al Saadiyat, Saadiyat Island. Various timings. Visit: cinemaspace-abudhabi.splashthat.com
Enjoy art and culture
Who says you need money to see amazing art? Warehouse421, Manarat Al Saadiyat, the Cultural Foundation and Etihad Modern Art Gallery all carry diverse art exhibitions that are open and free to the public.
These art spaces even have free workshops for kids and adults to participate in.
Make sure to check their websites to see the current programmes (and if they’re free, of course).
Getting in shape doesn’t have to cost you an arm and leg.
The iconic Yas Marina Circuit is hosting free fitness activities through its long-running TrainYAS by Daman programme.
Residents can jog, walk and ride bikes around the track absolutely free and by simply registering. This is even more perfect during the winter season so go for it!
Visit and sign up at yasmarinacircuit.com