Free Things to Do in Dundee

dundee waterfront

If you’re a student, local resident, or traveller looking to explore Dundee while keeping your wallet intact, you’re in luck. Dundee offers a plethora of activities and sights that are not only captivating but also free, making it accessible for everyone from spontaneous outings to planned adventures. Known for its universities, innovation, and scenic waterfront, this vibrant city on the east coast of Scotland is brimming with history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in historic landmarks or scenic walks, Dundee continuously evolves while preserving its rich heritage.

This guide highlights the best free things to do in Dundee, showcasing the charm and diversity of the city without the need to spend a dime. By the end, you’ll have a comprehensive list of activities that make exploring Dundee both enjoyable and budget-friendly.

Explore the Waterfront

Dundee’s waterfront is a vibrant area that blends modern attractions with natural beauty. This scenic stretch along the River Tay has been extensively redeveloped and now serves as a focal point for locals and visitors. In this section, we’ll explore various free activities you can enjoy while taking in the stunning views and lively ambience of this key city area.

Rediscover the Dundee Waterfront

The Dundee Waterfront is a hub of activity and a must-visit for anyone in the city. It’s a perfect spot to take a leisurely stroll and soak in the stunning views of the River Tay. The waterfront area has been revitalised with modern architecture, green spaces, and public art installations.

Learn at the V&A Dundee

While the main exhibits at the V&A Dundee may come with a fee, the building itself is an architectural marvel worth visiting. You can explore the public spaces inside, attend free exhibitions, and enjoy the stunning views from the terrace.

Visit Slessor Gardens

Slessor Gardens, located in the heart of the Waterfront, is a beautiful public space where you can relax, read a book, or enjoy a picnic. During the warmer months, the gardens often host free events and concerts, adding to the lively atmosphere.

Wander through Dundee’s Parks

Magdalen Green

Magdalen Green is Dundee’s oldest park and a favourite among locals. The park features a historic bandstand, open green spaces, and breathtaking views of the River Tay. It’s an ideal spot for a peaceful walk or a relaxing afternoon.

Camperdown Country Park

Camperdown Country Park is one of Dundee’s largest parks, offering extensive woodlands, a wildlife centre, and picturesque walking trails. The park is perfect for a day out with family or friends, with plenty of spots for picnics and outdoor activities.

Balgay Park and the Mills Observatory

Balgay Park, with its rolling hills and woodland paths, is another gem in Dundee. Within the park, you’ll find the Mills Observatory, the UK’s only full-time public observatory. Entry is free, and it’s a fantastic place to learn about astronomy and enjoy stunning views of the night sky.

Discover Dundee’s Museums

McManus Art Gallery & Museum

The McManus Art Gallery & Museum is a cultural treasure trove located in the city centre. Admission is free, and the museum houses an impressive collection of art, artefacts, and natural history exhibits. It’s a great place to learn about Dundee’s history and heritage.

Verdant Works

Verdant Works is a restored jute mill that tells the story of Dundee’s industrial past. Although some areas require an admission fee, the courtyard and certain exhibits are free to explore. It’s an excellent way to gain insight into the city’s rich industrial history.

Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA)

Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) is a vibrant cultural centre that offers free access to its galleries. The DCA showcases contemporary art exhibitions, film screenings, and creative workshops. It’s a fantastic place to get inspired and immerse yourself in modern art.

Enjoy Scenic Walks

Riverside Nature Park

Riverside Nature Park is a tranquil haven for nature lovers. The park features walking trails, wildlife habitats, and panoramic views of the River Tay. It’s a perfect spot for a peaceful walk, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the natural beauty.

Law Hill

Law Hill, an extinct volcanic peak, offers one of the best vantage points in Dundee. A hike up to the top rewards you with stunning panoramic views of the city and the river. It’s a great way to get some exercise and take in the breathtaking scenery.

Tay Rail Bridge Walk

The Tay Rail Bridge walk is an exceptional experience that combines history with natural beauty. The walkway runs parallel to the historic Tay Rail Bridge, offering splendid views of the river and the surrounding landscape. It’s a pleasant stroll that’s both relaxing and informative.

Participate in Community Events

Farmers’ Markets

Dundee hosts several farmers’ markets throughout the year, where you can browse and sample local produce, handmade crafts, and artisanal foods. While purchasing items may cost money, attending these markets is free and offers a glimpse into the local culture.

Dundee Literary Festival

The Dundee Literary Festival is an annual event that celebrates literature, poetry, and storytelling. Many of the events and workshops are free to attend, making it a great opportunity to engage with local authors and literary enthusiasts.

Open Mic Nights

Several venues in Dundee host open mic nights, where local musicians, poets, and performers showcase their talents. These events are usually free to attend and provide a lively atmosphere for entertainment and socialising.

Visit Historic Landmarks

Dundee Law

The Dundee Law, a prominent hill in the city, is home to historic war memorials and offers sweeping views of Dundee. The site is steeped in history, and the climb to the top is both invigorating and rewarding.

St Mary’s Tower

St Mary’s Tower is a historic landmark that dates back to the medieval period. The tower is free to visit, and it provides an interesting glimpse into Dundee’s architectural heritage.

Howff Cemetery

The Howff Cemetery is one of the oldest burial grounds in Scotland and is a designated historic site. A walk through the cemetery offers a peaceful and reflective experience, with many notable figures from Dundee’s past resting here.

Engage with Local Art

Street Art and Murals

Dundee is known for its vibrant street art scene, with numerous murals adorning the city’s walls. Take a self-guided tour to discover these colourful works of art, each telling a unique story about the city’s culture and creativity.

Art Installations

Public art installations are scattered throughout Dundee, adding an artistic touch to public spaces. These installations are free to view and often provoke thought and conversation.

Art Exhibitions

In addition to established galleries, Dundee hosts various pop-up art exhibitions and open studio events. Keep an eye out for these free events to engage with the local art community and discover emerging artists.

Experience Dundee’s Music Scene

Outdoor Concerts

During the summer months, Dundee’s parks and public spaces often host free outdoor concerts. These events feature local bands and musicians, creating a lively and enjoyable atmosphere for attendees.

Jam Sessions

Several pubs and cafes in Dundee hold regular jam sessions, where local musicians come together to play and improvise. These sessions are free to attend and offer a relaxed environment to enjoy live music.

Music Festivals

While some music festivals in Dundee may have ticketed events, they often include free performances and activities. Cheque the festival schedules to find out which events are open to the public.

Relax at Dundee’s Beaches

Broughty Ferry Beach

Broughty Ferry Beach is a beautiful sandy beach located just a short distance from Dundee’s city centre. It’s a perfect spot for a relaxing day by the sea, with opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing.

Tayport Beach

Tayport Beach, located across the river from Dundee, offers a peaceful retreat with stunning views of the coastline. It’s a great place for a leisurely walk or a picnic with family and friends.

Tentsmuir Forest and Beach

Tentsmuir Forest and Beach is a natural paradise just outside Dundee. The area features walking trails, a sandy beach, and diverse wildlife. It’s an ideal destination for a day trip filled with outdoor adventures.

Attend Free Workshops and Classes

Public Libraries

Dundee’s public libraries often host free workshops and classes on various topics, from creative writing to digital skills. These events are open to all and provide valuable learning opportunities.

Community Centres

Community centres in Dundee offer a range of free activities and classes, including fitness sessions, arts and crafts, and educational workshops. These centres are great places to meet new people and learn new skills.

University Events

The universities in Dundee frequently organise free lectures, exhibitions, and cultural events that are open to the public. These events provide a chance to engage with academic and cultural life in the city.

Discover Dundee’s Markets

Overgate Shopping Centre

While primarily a shopping destination, the Overgate Shopping Centre occasionally hosts free events and pop-up markets. These events are a great way to explore local products and enjoy entertainment.

City Square Market

City Square Market is a bustling market held in the heart of Dundee. It’s a lively space where you can browse stalls, enjoy street performances, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.

Flea Markets

Various flea markets pop up around Dundee, offering a treasure trove of vintage items, antiques, and collectables. These markets are free to enter and provide a unique shopping experience.

Get into the Spirit of Adventure in Dundee

Exploring Dundee doesn’t have to break the bank. With an abundance of free activities and attractions, you can enjoy the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty without spending a penny. Whether you’re a student, local resident, or traveller, Dundee offers something for everyone. So, grab your walking shoes, a curious spirit, and start discovering all the amazing things this city has to offer.

Store Your Things While You Spend Some Time in Dundee

If you need storage in Dundee, look no further than Storage Vault. Whether you are decluttering, moving, renovating, or just need space, Storage Vault has you covered. With 15 years of experience, we offer premium storage units for individuals, families, businesses, and students. Our unbeatable prices and no long-term commitments have made us Scotland’s fastest-growing self-storage company. Enjoy 24/7 access to your items and support from our friendly team. Our 15 facilities across Scotland are protected by state-of-the-art security systems. For more information, call us at 0800 802 1822

Get in touch
Please fill out our contact form below

    Would you like to receive occasional email correspondence regarding our products including: special offers, events and Storage Vault news?*
    How Much Storage Do You Need?
    At Storage Vault, we have premium storage units to meet all storage requirements. To find out more enquire online, get a quote or call us on 0800 802 1822.
    Got storage questions? Enquire Online