11 of the best budget-friendly indoor activities in Dubai

Make your dirhams go further this summer with our round-up of budget-friendly indoor activities… 

From libraries to cheap eats, art classes to free museums, here are 11 budget-friendly indoor activities in Dubai that cost little to nothing:

Dice Board Game Café

dice board game

Located in the heart of Circle Mall JVC, all game fanatics can get involved in over 1,000 board games, puzzles and mandalas, costing only Dhs40 for unlimited usage. And don’t worry… you won’t get hungry or parched, with an extensive menu of salads, burgers, pizzas, snacks, sharing platters, smoothies, milkshakes, and of course – coffee.

Dice Board Game Cafe, Circle Mall, Jumeirah Village, Dubai, Mon to Thur 10am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 10am to 12am. Dhs40 unlimited usage. Tel: (0)4 582 0108, dice-cafe.com

Coffee Museum

dubai coffee museum

The largest coffee museum in the Middle East is right here in Dubai in the Al Fahidi Historical District and it’s free to enter. It showcases a wide selection of antique items illustrating the regional and international coffee history and culture. You will get to experience a number of different regional styles of coffee including the local Arabic style, Ethiopian style, Japanese style, and more. You can even grab a coffee, sit back and sip as you get more coffee education in the cosy space. Insider tip: make sure to try their coffee-flavoured ice lollies.

Dubai Coffee Museum, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Bastakiya, Villa 44, Dubai, Tel: (0)4 353 8777. @coffeemuseum

Al Safa Art and Design Library

Another great budget-friendly indoor activity to do in Dubai: Al Safa Art and Design Library. The quaint Jumeirah library opened its doors in 1989 and underwent a refurbishment in 2018. You’ll find books that cater to both adults and children. With minimalistic interiors and art on the walls, you can enjoy your reading in a distraction-free zone. It’s also great if you want to get some work or research done.

Al Safa Art & Design Library, behind Safa Park, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 8pm, Fri 8am to 12pm, closed on Sat, Tel: (04) 515 5241. linktr.ee/dubaipubliclibraries

Sketch Art Café

sketch cafe

This cafe can help to bring the Picasso out of you. At this unique coffee shop, guests are invited to sketch, paint and draw whilst sipping a cup of coffee. If you’re looking for somewhere outside of your regular coffee haunt, Sketch will make a fun and pocket-friendly afternoon activity. Sketch also offers DIY art kits to take home and holds regular workshops inside the dedicated art studio from ceramics to rug making.

Box Park, Jumeriah, Al Wasl Rd 35 Street, Sun to Thur 8am to 11pm, Fri and Sat 7am to 11pm, sketchstudioart.com

Ravi’s Restaurant

Ravis alcohol-free activites Dubai

There are a number of must-not-miss restaurants in Dubai, but if you’re looking for one with no frills – go to popular dining and cultural experience Ravi Restaurant. It is located in the bustling neighbourhood of Satwa in Old Dubai where you can tuck into traditional Pakistani and Indian food for a pocket-friendly price. Since you’re here, go check out the Satwa Grand Mosque.

Ravi Restaurant, Al Satwa, open daily from 5am to 2am Tel: (0)4 331 5353, @ravirestaurantuae

Thrift for Good


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Whether you’re having a wardrobe clear-out or on the hunt for some new wallet-friendly finds, this enterprise is putting Dubai’s old clothes to good use: re-homing preloved items to reduce waste. Thrift for Good welcomes all clothes as they are committed to repairing or recycling old items or materials. Go to any of their outlets to find your perfect thrift find, or to donate all of those clothes you have been hiding at the back of your cupboard. All profits go to helping children around the world, in partnership with Gulf for Good.

Multiple locations, Mon to Fri, 10am to 10pm, thriftforgood.org

Jumeirah Mosque

jumeirah mosque

The Grand Jumeirah Mosque first opened back in 1979 and was a gift from the Late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the former Ruler of Dubai and father of the current Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.  This architectural treasure has grown to be one of the emirates’ most loved landmarks for its interactive Open Doors. Open Minds program. Located in Jumeirah 1, the mosque is open to the public at 10am and 2pm every day except Fridays (timings may differ during Ramadan). The 75-minute tour costs Dhs35 per person and comes with light Emirati refreshments at the majlis before the program starts so be sure to get there early for registration.

Jumeirah Mosque, Jumeirah 1. Daily except Fridays 10am and 2pm, Dhs35 per person. jumeirahmosque.ae

Visit a cool gallery in Al Quoz

Efie gallery

The Efie Gallery opened its doors in March 2022 in the heart of Dubai’s cultural centre, Al Quoz. Specialising in the representation and advancement of African art, The Efie Gallery hosts a diverse range of artists, exhibitions, as well as a dynamic residency program that promotes collaborations with local artists, institutions, and community members. Make sure to keep track of their socials as they are always hosting vibrant and interesting new exhibitions, showcasing up and coming talents.

Efie Gallery, Al Khayat Art Avenue, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, Tues to Sun 11am to 7pm, Mon closed, Tel: (0)42 524 182, efiegallery.com

Chinatown Dubai Mall

The eye-catching Chinatown in Dubai Mall is officially open and well worth a meander. As well as the neon lights and lanterns that have already taken social media by storm, there’s a food court with affordable fast food restaurants including Hawker Chan, a Singaporean restaurant that is known for offering the world’s most affordable Michelin-star meals.

Chinatown inside Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, thedubaimall.com

Dubai Frame

Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame is just one of many Dubai’s stunning attractions and is designed to look like… well, a frame. Inside, visitors will be able to capture jaw-dropping views of Old and New Dubai. If you’re bringing family over from abroad or looking to keep the little ones entertained indoors, this is a nice pocket-friendly attraction to visit as tickets for adults cost just Dhs50 and for children aged three to 12 it’s Dhs20.

Dubai Frame Breakfast, Za’abeel Park, Dubai, Dhs50 per adult, Dhs20 for children. . ticketingsales.dubaiframe.ae

Mohammed Bin Rashid Library


Love reading? The eye-catching Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, the biggest library in the Arab world is the place to be. Spanning seven floors, you will find a general library space, a young adults library, a colourful children’s library, a library dedicated to maps and atlases, a media and art library, a business library, an Emirates library, a periodicals library, and the ‘Treasure of the Library’ which features rare items and special collections.  Entry to the library is free but you must book a time slot in advance: tiqets.com

Mohammed Bin Rashid Library, Al Jaddaf, Dubai. Monday to Saturday 9am to 9pm. Friday 2pm to 9pm. Sundays closed. 5 years and above. Tel: (0)4 222 2025. @mbrlae

Images: Supplied/Social