Ten free alternative nights out in Dubai

From camel racing to indie movie screenings, do something new (and free)

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Street Night Art
Discover art in Al Quoz at the largest open-air gallery in Dubai. The Street Night Art exhibition is part of the Al Quoz beautification project and will showcase some fantastic works, while also giving visitors the opportunity to meet with and talk to the artists. Some 30 artists will take the street during one night, and the street will be pedestrianised from 6pm to midnight.
Free. Friday January 24, from 6pm. 4B Street, Al Quoz, www.alquozproject.com (050 430 8200).

See your favourite films al fresco
Watch a classic movie every Sunday, lounging on giant beanbags at the Pyramids Rooftop Gardens. There’s a different film every week, and this Sunday January 12, you can catch Owen Wilson in the comedy Hall Pass.
See website for listings. Free. Every Sun from 8.30pm. Wafi Pyramids, Oud Metha (04 324 4555).

Go to the races
Your budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the excitement, and the race meets leading up to the Dubai World Cup offer an evening of fantastic horse racing at Meydan, with some of the world’s most impressive beasts and jockeys taking part.
The next race night is Thursday January 16. Free, Thursday 16 January, 6.30pm, Meydan Grandstand and Racecourse, Nad Al Sheba (04 327 2110).

Be inspired by a motivational talk
Funky fitness club TribeFit conducts an inspirational series, called TribeTalks, every other month where high achievers from various walks of life are invited to speak and inspire Tribe members and their friends. You don’t need to be a member of the gym, nor is there any obligation to sign up. Phone to register.
Free. Wednesday 22 January, 7pm-8pm. TribeFit, Silverene Tower, Dubai Marina. www.tribefit.com (800 87423).

Watch indie movies
Enjoy independent films for free with The Scene Club. This monthly group screens the best of international independent cinema and provides a platform for the film industry to come together to celebrate and discuss independent productions. On Wednesday January 15, you can see Metro Manila, a film by British director Sean Ellis, with a special appearance from the film’s lead actor Jake Macapagal. To attend, register online for a free ticket.
Free. Wed Jan 15, networking from 7pm, film from 8pm. Main auditorium, conference centre, Dubai Knowledge Village, www.thesceneclub.com/next-screening (04 391 0051).

Dance to cheesy tunes
Societe Dubai, which opened in December, boasts a shabby-chic, almost London-like vibe with leather sofas and oversized lampshades. Head to Societe on a Friday night and you’ll get to enjoy commercial hits from ’80s, ’90s and ’00s, a laid back and egalitarian atmosphere and free entry on the door.
Free. 10pm-3am. Societe Dubai, Marina Byblos Hotel, Dubai Marina (050 357 1126).

Go to the city’s best free house night
Boasting some of the best DJ talent in the city and spectacular views of the iconic Burj Al Arab, 360˚ is also free to get in on its popular Sunset Sessions night. Featuring resident house DJs on rotation with names such as Rich Showell, Raxon and Tristan Bain on the books, it’s the destination of choice for house connoisseurs.
Free (reservations recommended). Friday 1pm-3am. 360°, Jumeirah Beach Hotel (056 682 6617).

Perform your own songs, or hear others’
The appropriately named Jam Nights at Maxx Music Bar & Grill happen every second Friday of the month, and are an open invitation for all musicians to take to the stage with their instruments and showcase their talents. The first Jam Night of the second season saw 25 musicians perform alongside resident band Roxx Empire. To participate in the event, musicians need to register two weeks prior to the event by emailing jamnights@citymaxhotels.com or phoning 050 100 7046.
Free. Every second Friday, 9.30pm-3am. Citymax Al Barsha, Al Barsha (04 409 8000).

View influential contemporary art
Impressive art spot Ayyam Gallery held some strong exhibitions in 2013 including one of our highlights – Nadim Karam’s ‘99 Objects Possible to Find on a Cloud’. The latest show is an exhibition of unique photographs by Iranian artist Eric Parnes, who gained access to the Iranian embassy in Washington, which has been closed since the US Embassy hostage crisis of 1979.
Free. Until January 30. Open Sat-Thu 10am-8pm. Gate Village Building 3, DIFC, Dubai (04 439 2395).

Check out a new ladies’ night
Perched up on the 35th floor of the Hilton Jumeirah Beach Residences, Pure Sky Lounge has a great terrace where you can enjoy views out to the Palm. And, what’s best, if you’re a lady and you head over on a Tuesday night, you’ll get to enjoy free-flowing drinks without spending a single dirham.
Free. Tuesday 9pm-11pm. Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Residences, Dubai Marina (04 374 7888).

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