(Image: Elnur )
Dubai has become synonymous with shopping. The word tax-free has made it an instant magnet for both local and foreign shoppers and bargain hunters.
True to its reputation, one can say that Dubai has pulled out all the stops when it comes to shopping places. If you have the money to burn, then head to any of the giant and opulent shopping malls for the ultimate experience in luxury shopping. If you are looking for a good bargain, then explore Dubai’s famous souks and haggle your way to get the best purchase at the lowest price.
Indeed, visitors in Dubai cannot leave the place without buying and taking home something, be it designer items, souvenirs, gadgets, or local delicacies.
To make your shopping experience easier, here is our recommended 10 best shopping places in Dubai. The list includes elegant and high-end venues as well as more affordable options suited for any taste and budget.
Largest mall in the world: The Dubai Mall’s internal floor area is pegged at 5.9 million sq. ft. with 3.77 million sq. ft. of gross leasable space. It is home to over 1,200 shops, 120 cafes and restaurants, 22 cinema screens, a luxury hotel, and world-class entertainment areas.
Different precincts for different products: The Dubai Mall’s retail shops are conveniently clustered into precincts according to product categories. If you are out to purchase high fashion items, The Fashion Avenue is your best option. For a market-like feel, visit The Souk which features jewelry, accessories and traditional Arab clothing and handicraft. A more casual and outdoorsy ambiance can be enjoyed at The Village.
Extra-ordinary entertainment: The Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is a must-visit landmark in Dubai. Walk through the 270-degree tunnel and enjoy a closer view of the Earth’s vibrant marine life. Kids can also play and learn at Kidzania, while the entire family can have some fun at the SEGA Republic indoor theme park. For a unique experience, put on a pair of ice skates and glide your way around Dubai Mall’s Olympic-size Ice Rink.
World’s first shopping resort: The word resort automatically brings to mind images of vacation, relaxation, and fun times. This is exactly what the Mall of the Emirates offers to shoppers – a fun and relaxing shopping experience that is set apart from other malls in Dubai. Once you enter the mall, you might never want to leave!
Ski Dubai - A snow experience in the desert city: There are a 85-metre-high manmade mountain with 5 ski slopes for snowboarding and a 3,000-square-metre Snow Park with toboggan runs, climbing towers and ice cave for family to have fun together. If you have never ever seen or touched snow in your life, you can start a snowball fight or create your own snow angels there.
Art and shopping in one go: Going inside Wafi Mall is like stepping into a pyramid of artworks that are exquisitely beautiful. At Wafi Mall, you can be awed by the intricate stained glass ceilings, creative sculptures, or even the detailed staircase railings.
Souk Khan Murjan – A traditional marketplace inside a mall: Wafi Mall has its own version of a souk or local market located at the basement. It has 150 shops selling various items like handicrafts and décor from the Arab region.
Gold, gold, and more gold: Did we say gold? The Deira Gold Souk has over 300 retailers that offer 10 tons of gold at any given time. Even if you’re not out to buy gold, a stroll around the market is a must if only to marvel at the intricacy of some of the gold pieces on display.
The art of haggling: There are other shopping places that offer gold but the best bargains can only be found at the Deira Gold Souk. As a useful tip, start bargaining at 50% off and haggle your way around until you get a good price that you are willing to pay for. Some vendors are willing to give as much as a 30% discount! The more you buy, the higher chance you have of getting a good price cut.
Traditional market experience: There is no better way to enjoy an authentic Arab market experience than a visit to the Deira Gold Souk. Here, one can take in the hustle and bustle of traditional marketplaces with all the dazzling display of gold and precious stones amid a cacophony of music and vendor calls.
A tapestry of colors from quality fabrics: One can weave through the covered walkways and feel the beauty of top grade velvet, silk, satin, cashmere, or wool. Among the most popular items at the textile souk are the Indian saris, Kashmir pashminas, Persian carpets, and the local traditional abayas.
Made to order garments: From the textile shops, visitors can bring their purchases to the surrounding tailor shops and have suits or traditional garments made. This personalized service is considered as a luxury in other parts of the world and should be tried out by those who wish to bring home made to order clothes with the perfect fit.
Affordable souvenir shopping: Aside from textiles, we can also buy souvenirs from the Bur Dubai Souk. Popular items include “Aladdin shoes”, Dubai t-shirts, and Burj Khalifa souvenirs.
A gathering of around-the-world products in one village: The Global Village is akin to an international expo where exhibitors from all over the world converge in Dubai and showcase the products of their countries. It is the perfect shopping venue for those who wish to buy products and sample international cuisine from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and the Arab region.
A festival of performances: The Global Village also features a 5-month long entertainment festival that suits various interests. Daily performances vary from concerts, stunt shows, street shows, to international cultural presentations.
Family fun time at Fantasy Island: For family fun and adventure, head to Fantasy Island, and choose among the fun rides like the Ferris wheel and rollercoaster. If you seek a more exciting experience, try out one of the thrill rides like Reverse Bungee and Vortex. For a more leisurely ride, try out the abra along the village canal.
Traditional market in a luxurious venue: At Souk Madinat Jumeirah, we can enjoy a traditional marketplace experience minus the heat and noise of common marketplaces. This recreation of an ancient market is recommended for those prefer a friendlier and more peaceful atmosphere while choosing among common market wares like Arab handicrafts, jewelry, souvenir items, and local delicacies.
A place to enjoy a piece of Dubai nightlife: At dusk, Souk Madinat Jumeirah begins to transform and buzz with entertainment from its restaurants, cafe and bars. It is an ideal venue to savour Dubai nightlife over delicious food and drink as the vibrancy of this place is as equally good as others’
More luxury brands in one shopping centre: The Burjuman Centre is known for its high-end shops with the greatest number of top luxury brands available. Label lovers can find Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Hermes, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, and many more there. The mall also houses Dubai’s only Saks Fifth Avenue outlet.
The mall’s Pavilion Gardens and sunny courtyards is a relaxing oasis: The Burjuman Centre maintains an outdoor feel through its sunny courtyards and the Pavilion Gardens. Most of the malls’ restaurants can be found here, giving shoppers a dining experience that can equal an afternoon at a French café.
A place to buy electronics in Dubai: Al Fahidi Street is your best stop if you want to buy a new cellphone, laptop, or camera at lower prices. Home appliances, like ovens, refrigerators, and washing machines are also available here. Always ask for a warranty and check the voltage if it matches your preference.
Night shopping under the neon lights: When the sun sets, Al Fahidi Street transforms into a busy night market complete with neon signs and night shoppers. Linger around until dark to enjoy the dazzling signs that makes you feel like you’re in Las Vegas.
Souvenirs at lower prices: Souvenirs sold at Karama Shopping Complex are priced lower than in other places. You can also haggle your way to even lower the price of your purchase! Popular items include shisha pipes, shawls, and gold trinkets.
Street art around the complex: If you love art, then you must visit Karama Shopping Complex. 24 huge murals were recently added on the side of 12 buildings around the complex, which makes it a good reason to shop and enjoy art at the same time. 2 local and 6 international artists were commissioned to create these beautiful artworks that added a major draw to the complex.