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Dubai is a shopper’s paradise. It’s home to one of the largest malls in the world, has multiple shopping complexes and even has its own dedicated shopping festival. With all of these options, it can be hard to know where to even start if you’re looking to do some retail therapy.
This is the big one – in fact, it’s one of the biggest in the world, and definitely one of the most famous. Beyond the luxury brands and fast fashion, you’ll also find a dinosaur skeleton, a massive aquarium and a beautiful fountain with an evening light show. If you’re visiting for the first time and looking to explore, we recommend our self guided tour of Dubai Mall, which takes you to the various attractions and some of the more unique stores in the mall.
This is another of Dubai’s most popular malls. It has plenty of excellent stores, but it is perhaps most famous for its indoor ski park, which allows shoppers to take a break by taking to the slopes. Even if you don’t know how to ski, you can still partake in the experience and simply enjoying the indoor snow. Other attractions at this mall include a bowling alley and an arcade.
Located in Bur Dubai, the older part of Dubai, this mall did not always make the list of must-see shopping destinations in Dubai. However, this mall just underwent a massive expansion and makeover. Now it boasts trendy stores on par with those found in Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates. If your hotel is by the older part of Dubai, this mall is a great option for your shopping needs. And if you’re taking one of our tours of the historic parts of Dubai, Burjuman Mall is within easy reach, making it a great stop to wind down afterwards.
Dubai Marina Mall boasts a prime location in the glamorous Dubai Marina area. It’s a bit smaller compared to the other malls in Dubai, but it is every bit as chic (and a lot more manageable to explore). This mall is particularly child friendly – one of our favorite offerings is a miniature train that goes around the mall. And for the adults, the mall is adjacent to some of the hottest clubs and restaurants in Dubai.
Dragon Mart is massive. While it lacks the multiple floors of many other malls, it makes up for it thanks to its high square meter area. This mall in particular is focused on goods brought in from China and other parts of Asia. There are great deals to be had there on everything from clothes to furniture to electronics, all for comparatively lower prices.
This mall is a contrast to some of the glitzier offerings in Dubai. It’s definitely luxurious, but with a design scheme that mimics the look of a European village. It has a much more relaxed vibe. The mall is known particularly for its selection of deeply discounted designer goods. There is no better place to get a pair of cheap Jimmy Choo kicks or a Tommy Hilfiger polo. The mall is located a bit away from the main parts of the city – however, it is appealingly located near Dubai Parks and Resorts, making it a great stop after spending the day at the park.
City Walk by Meeras is not technically a shopping mall. Instead, it’s more like an “urban shopping destination.” It consists of a collection of stores connected by European-style streets. The stores here are super trendy, even by Dubai standards. So shopping at City Walk by Meeras is a definitely fun evening out. As you walk, you can enjoy the vista of the Dubai skyline in the background and take a break for some al-fresco dining. Because of the wide-open space and eye-catching street features, City Walk is a great place for selfies as well. Some of our favorite places at City Walk by Meeras are
The green planet is a tropical bio-dome, in a shopping complex, in a desert city. Nevertheless, it authentically recreates the experience of stepping into a jungle. The gorgeous flora and fauna – of which there are over 3000 varieties – provide a great way for visitors to connect with nature, while still enjoying the comforts of an indoor setting
Hub Zero is a gaming attraction designed for enthusiasts and first-timers alike. Many of the games have an interactive component. You don’t just shoot lasers at a screen, you play laser tag with friends over a two level battle zone. With the incorporation of 3D and virtual reality technology, and the chance to compete with your friends beside you, Hub Zero is a great spot to bring out your inner adventurer.
This attraction is a fun experience for kids aged 2-10. The fun characters are used to build worlds that develop a child’s reasoning and social skills – a perfect mix of education and entertainment.
Indian cuisine can often be viewed as ‘street food’ – something delicious but not exactly en-vogue. Farzi Café aims to change that, by combining the techniques of molecular gastronomy with the traditions of Indian cooking, to create a unique dining experience.
Walnut Grove is a South African café and bakery that caters to young and old alike. The family-friendly joint is particularly known for its fresh coffee (with cute coffee art) and delicious cakes (we recommend their colorful rainbow cake for a treat that tastes as good as it looks).
Sales in Dubai are a frequent occurrence, as retailers like to encourage people to wander around their stores. If you want to try to time your visit with a major sale, there are several weekends that tend to have discounts across the board. In particular, the first week of December corresponds with the UAE’s National Day, so there tends to be major sales around that date. The timing is perfect for some Christmas shopping.
Other major sales happen around the time of Eid. Eid Al Adha, which takes place near the end of summer, tends to attract massive discounts, as the timing also corresponds with back-to-school season. It’s a great time to pick up a backpack for your little one, or an autumn outfit for yourself.
In celebration of Dubai’s shopping spirit, the city also hosts a variety of shopping festivals – special seasons wherein malls and stores across Dubai host special promotions and crazy discounts. The two biggest ones are:
The Dubai Shopping Festival lasts for about one month and usually takes place in January of the year. Every mall participates in the shopping festival. In addition to the promotions happening at the stores, the malls often host special events such as dance shows. Even if you don’t want to shop, you can have a great time just wandering around.
One of the most popular events is a seasonal affair known as Global Village. It does not take place in a mall, but instead consists of a series of outdoor pavilions. Each pavilion is designed to represent a certain country and one can usually find pavilions focusing on India, China, Thailand, Egypt, Russia and a host of foreign countries. Within these pavilions, one will find a selection of small shops selling wares local to each country. If you want a Persian rug or a Japanese anime doll, this is the place to get it. It’s definitely a unique experience and one we recommend to anyone who loves chopping and culture.
Dubai Summer Surprises takes place for six weeks starting in July. Retailers offer mass discounts during this period, while other attractions in Dubai also offer their own discounts. Dubai Summer Surprises is also particular great for children. The event’s mascot is a colorful character called Modesh. There are multiple shows and games aimed at entertaining children during this time.
Dubai is definitely a shopper’s paradise. There are plenty of options for those who want to go shopping in Dubai. Even if you can’t make the festivals, you’ll always find plenty of sales and offers designed to tempt you. Shopping is a huge part of everyday life in Dubai. So when you visit, make sure to take a stroll in one of the malls or shopping destinations. This is one of the best ways to experience a huge aspect of the city’s social scene.