The emirate of Abu Dhabi is one of the most fascinating attractions in the UAE but unfortunately, it is often overshadowed by Dubai’s glitz and glamour. About an hour and a half drive from Dubai, the metropolis is home to exotic hotels, top-rated eateries, mind-blowing architecture, and plenty of leisure attractions for travelers and residents alike.
The city has a lot to offer and would require almost a week to explore the hotspots. While there are many premiere locations and luxury attractions for visitors and travelers, there is plenty of spots in Abu Dhabi where you can hang out without spending money. Experience majestic architecture, natural displays, pretty landscapes, and futuristic skyscrapers for some incredible photos and amazing selfies for your Instagram handle.
Here we have put together some of the best free places in Abu Dhabi for you to visit and enjoy with family and friends without spending a single Dirham!
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
Abu Dhabi is synonymous with Grand Mosque. One of the iconic architectural pieces, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is visible even from afar and its sheer magnificence and stunning structure have to be witnessed in reality to believe.
The intricate design, floral motifs carved on the marble floor, giant chandeliers, and ultimate elegance of the mosque speak for themselves.
The place is accessible for free however you would have to register at the counter to pay a visit. Refreshments and snacks can be purchased from the eateries located at the front gate. Enjoy a cup of coffee at Starbucks and munch on light snacks before or after visiting the site.
Please note that no food or drinks are allowed within the premises. Wear moderate clothes and if you do not have any, you can borrow them for free from inside the mosque.
Wahat al Karama
Not known to many people, Wahat al Karama is an ideal place to visit just after paying a visit to the Grand Mosque. Either walk over to the spot or drive away over the bridge at the highway to reach the destination.
It’s a memorial built in remembrance of all the soldiers of the country who lost their lives while in the line of duty. Be respectful when paying a visit and take pictures while being mindful. There are two major spots in Abu Dhabi where you can snap photos with Grand Mosque in the background.
The center of Wahat al Karama houses a huge pond with reflective water and leaning pillars. It’s a perfect spot for photo enthusiasts and would surely provide an incredible background for Instagram pictures.
A lot of people mistake this attraction as part of the Grand Mosque but it’s a separate spot located at a distance.
We advise you to visit Wahat al Karama around sunset or at night for some amazing shots.
Yas Bay Waterfront
Yas Island is a masterpiece developed as a luxury hotspot for dwellers in the capitals. The island is home to versatile entertainment, leisure hotspots, retail giants, and premium residential communities. The newly opened Yas Bay Waterfront is the latest addition to the Island’s exotic attractions.
The palm-fringed pathway with luscious waters behind is a sight to behold. Embellished with twinkling fairy lights and slathered with contemporary eateries, Yas Waterfront is a mini marina with endless entertainment opportunities.
Pay a visit during the evening or at night to capture stunning shots for Instagram and enjoy the festive vibe with a pleasant breeze to lift up the mood.
Al Hudayriat Beach
The man-made wonder, Hudayriat Island is the newest addition to Abu Dhabi’s subliminal leisure spots. The beachfront area is donned with several entertainment facilities and plenty of dining options.
There is also a vast boardwalk zone with a lot of cafes and food trucks. Kids and teens can indulge in watersports and do swimming as part of a family picnic.
The beach is open to the general public for free however you would have to pay for activities and food. The recommended time to visit is late afternoon to avoid heat and high temperatures.
Please note that professional cameras are not allowed on the beach however you can take as many pictures as you want with your mobile phone.
Fairmont Marina Hotel
Often referred to as Abu Dhabi’s Atlantis, the Fairmont Marina Hotel has an uncanny resemblance to Dubai’s Atlantis Hotel. The beautifully designed hotel is located at an amazing location facing Abu Dhabi Corniche and marina. Walk alongside the waterfront with the hotel in the background for some astounding pictures of the gram.
You do not have to access the hotel for capturing photos. The surrounding area has ample spots in Abu Dhabi for some cool selfies and portraits.
Abu Dhabi Corniche
Abu Dhabi Corniche is a highly popular spot for meeting and rejoicing with friends and family in a pleasant outdoor setting. It’s a seaside boardwalk that is almost 8 kilometers long facing the downtown area of the city.
The spectacular waterfront complemented with majestic skyscrapers creates a stunning backdrop for Instagram captures. Pose against lush green trees alongside the corniche or snap photos with the ocean at the back as you walk around the mesmerizing seaside.
The iconic Palace of the Emirate is a stunning architectural masterpiece. The place is home to upscale eating joints, luxury cafes, and a jaw-dropping interior that we vouch will leave you stunned. Entry to the palace is free but you would have to spend some bucks to enjoy delectable food and snacks from the premiere restaurants located inside.
Pose for photos in the Palace Halls and capture shots of the bewildering interiors to adorn your Instagram feed. The place is a total vibe and we just cannot recommend it enough.
Al Wathba Salt Lake
You must have come across some dreamy shots of the turquoise lakes that almost broke social media in recent months. Located in the al Wathba region far from the Abu Dhabi downtown, the salt lake is a treat for the eyes. While it’s still an unresolved mystery how the lake formed, the place continues to attract visitors from far-off areas in the country.
The salt lake was discovered only shortly and is getting popular for its emerald green water and gigantic salt pads.
We recommend you visit in the wee hours of the day to capture the beauty of the natural reserve at its best.