Dubai Shopping and Districts

(Dubai, United Arab Emirates, UAE)

Photograph showing the vast Mall of the EmiratesThe city of Dubai has become well known for its endless selection of stores, with the tax-free shopping here really being on another level to most cities. You could easily spend all of your time in Dubai doing nothing other than shopping, with the largest malls remaining open until 22:00 or later every day of the week, such as the BurJuman and the Mall of the Emirates, and offer welcomed air-conditioned respite on the hottest of days.

Since 1996, the Dubai Shopping Festival has been a major event in the city and takes place each year from late January until the end of February, or thereabouts, and now attracts in excess of three million visitors. During the festival, shops throughout Dubai discount their stock heavily, while at night, the fireworks fill the sky. Further shopping discounts are available during the month of May, when the Summer Surprises festival takes place.

Interior view of the Mall of the Emirates

Where to Shop

Most of the locals in Dubai choose to shop quite late, often visiting shopping malls as late as 20:00 and therefore avoiding the heat of the day. Many also favour the various 'souqs' (souks), which are traditional markets and filled with character. The Deira Spice Souq is famous for its colourful and fragrant spices, while the Deira Gold Souq is known in Dubai for its 22 carat gold and exquisite gold jewellery - all that glistens here really is gold. Those shopping at the various souqs should examine their goods closely for quality, and then politely ask for a discount.

Although most shoppers in Dubai will frequent the city's characterful souqs and busy shopping malls, there are a number of areas of particular interest to visitors. Within the Bur Dubai district, the Khalid bin al-Waleed Road is home to a wealth of computer accessories, with the nearby Al-Hisn Street being famed for its Bollywood music and sari shops, and the Al-Fahidi Street being a good place for electric items.

Further picture taken inside the Mall of the EmiratesThe Sheikh Zayed Road is almost legendary in Dubai for its designer clothes and fashion, and features a number of glitzy hotel arcades, such as the Emirates Towers Shopping Boulevard in particular. For something a little different whilst you shop, head to the Mall of the Emirates, where you will not only find a huge cluster of shops, but also one of the biggest indoor ski slopes in the world, complete with black runs.

One of the newest shopping centres to arrive in Dubai is the Ibn Battuta Mall, which actually stays open until midnight and is themed around six different 'courts', which offer a flavour of Andalusia, China, Egypt, India, Persia and Tunisia. Also of note is the Mall of Arabia, a truly vast shopping mall and entertainment complex located within the Dubailand theme park, which currently ranks amongst the world's biggest.