From famous high street names to boutiques so exclusive you’ve never even heard of them, from bustling souks to vast shopping malls, Dubai is a shopaholic’s paradise. And paradise here stays open late. Most of Dubai’s malls don’t close till 10pm (although some are closed on Friday morning). Smaller shops also tend to have a siesta and open again for the evening. But enough of that, it’s time to go Dubai shopping!
1) The Gold Souk
This place sets the gold standard (pun intended) for authentic Middle Eastern bazaar shopping. Wander through over 300 outlets, all selling jewellery. Most of it is gold, and thanks to the Government’s rigorous standards, it’s all good quality. Don’t worry if you don’t have cash – all outlets take cards. But do remember to haggle. The shopkeepers expect it, and many will drop their prices by as much as 50%.
2) The Spice Souk
Dubai has always been a vital and vibrant international trading post, and dhows have been bringing their wares to the Spice Souk for decades. From spices and herbs through to dried fruit, the souk is a riot of smells, colours and sounds. The spice hawkers will try and engage you in a deal as you walk past – if you get tempted, make sure to haggle hard. They’re expecting it.
3) Mall of the Emirates
It’s difficult to pick out a single mall in Dubai, but this one would be on everyone’s list. The Emirates has all the big names you can think of, like Harvey Nichols and Virgin Megastore, plus lots of top end boutiques. But as the biggest mall in the world, the Emirates has chosen to go one better, with an indoor ski resort. Yes, you read that right. Come shopping and go skiing. Snowboarding, tobogganing, whatever takes your fancy. Magic Planet, the city’s largest indoor family entertainment centre is here too.
4) The Textile Souk
From vast Arabian carpets to dainty Aladdin slippers, the Textile Souk is a bewildering display of colours and fabrics. This is the place to come if you want a sari, and it’s a beautiful building in its own right. After dark the whole space is lit up by traditional hanging lights – bring your camera.
5) Souk Madinat Jumeirah
This is a 21st century spin on a traditional souk, with air conditioning, good quality restaurants and beguiling courtyards and arcades. So if you’re a bit frazzled by all the haggling, this is a more relaxing kind of vibe. Prices will be higher than in the traditional souks, but you know you’re getting good quality.
6) Al Fahidi Street
If you’re in the market for something electronic like a laptop, camera or even a washing machine, then come on down to Al Fahidi. The electronics are much cheaper here than you might be used to, as there’s no tax to pay. Make sure to check the voltage if you’re looking to take your purchase back home with you.
7) Karama Shopping Center
Thinking about the folks back home? If you’re looking for the perfect gift, or just want a souvenir to remember Dubai, Karama won’t disappoint you. There’s plenty to choose from, including watches, clothing and handicrafts. If you’re buying clothes, remember that these are Asian sizes so might be on the small side.
8) Wafi Mall
It may not be as grand as the Emirates Mall, but there are still plenty of reasons to come and visit Wafi. You’ll find big names like Chanel here, but there are some local boutiques too. You never know what you might find. The deli counter is a must-see too, with its huge display of mouth-watering gourmet food.
9) Global Village
Also known as the Dubai Shopping Festival, this extravaganza is held from November to February every year. There are pavilions from countries across the world, and there’s lots of entertainment from entertainers like circus performers. As if shopping wasn’t entertaining enough! If you’re lucky enough to be here in February, you might pick up some real bargains as they sell off the stock.
10) Al Ghurair Centre
There are lots of high street fashion brands at Al Ghurair, but if you’re looking for something a bit more authentically Arabian you’ll find that too. And if your partner isn’t so keen on the shopping, just drop them off at the cinema right next to the mall – that gives you at least 2 hours of uninterrupted, prime time shopping!