The Arabian city of Dubai is a paradise for shopping lovers
As well as marvelous traditional markets, in fact, the city has numerous complexes dedicated to shopping and hosts some of the largest and best stocked shopping malls in the world!
Take advantage of your stay in Dubai to take a walk in BoxPark, The Beach or Dubai City Walk and, why not, to do some shopping. BoxPark is a very particular area, where the premises (restaurants, cafés and super trendy stores) are entirely housed inside old shipping containers.
At The Beach located inside the Jumeirah Beach Residence, you will find a variety of refined stores and clubs overlooking the sea, while at City Walk you will have the impression of being in a European city: the clubs, including stores stocked with the best brands, are arranged on a beautiful tree-lined avenue.
Not to be missed, then, is the Outlet Village, situated on the outskirts of Dubai, where you can find designer clothes and more than a hundred international brands at discounted prices.
Temperatures in Dubai, especially in the summer season, can reach really high values. For this reason, locals and tourists prefer to take refuge in indoor places to enjoy the coolness guaranteed by the presence of air conditioning.
The most popular of these are the shopping malls, which not only offer a wide variety of stores, but also many attractions, often unique in their kind, through which the malls of Dubai offer precious opportunities for having fun and spending one’s free time.
In Dubai, the capital of shopping, shopping malls abound and it would be impossible to list them all. However, the ones most worthy of note are the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates, two spectacular and unique centers dedicated to shopping where you do not need to ask what to buy in Dubai, because there is everything.
Although absolutely ultra-modern, like every Middle Eastern city, Dubai still retains some of its traditional charm. A walk through the narrow streets of its markets will allow you to discover the ancient mercantile soul of the city. The intense olfactory and visual sensations, with all the essences that diffuse and mix in the air and the many colors that combine to create a cheerful painting, will become indelible memories of a typical oriental city.
If you are still wondering what to buy in Dubai, in the markets one can find goods of every kind: precious handmade fabrics, spices, perfumes, essences and incense, gold and jewelry, food products, souvenirs and knick-knacks of every kind.
Where can I go shopping in Dubai?
The Dubai Mall is the largest and most luxurious shopping center in the world: an area of 700×600 meters, about 1200 stores, including points of resale of prestigious international brands, and more than a hundred places including restaurants, cafes and cinemas.
Here you can buy clothing, accessories of all kinds, books, toys, etc.. Here you can buy clothes, accessories of all kinds, books, toys, etc. You can have a quick meal in one of the many fast food restaurants or sit at a table in one of the fine restaurants while admiring the fantastic shows of the highest dancing fountain on the globe.
One can then take a break from shopping by tasting an ice cream and sipping a coffee in one of the cafeterias of the mall. Inside the Dubai Mall there are areas dedicated to children and young people, including a playground which offers truly adrenaline-filled experiences.
For children, but also for adults, in the heart of the Dubai Mall there is the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, an aquarium where more than 200 different species of fish can be admired through a tunnel. The possibility of observing fish and manta rays swimming just a few meters away from visitors is also granted to those who decide to visit the mall alone, without purchasing a ticket for the aquarium, through an immense glass window which crosses the mall.
Another very particular attraction of the Dubai Mall is the enormous skating rink, which today is closed due to restrictions imposed by Covid. The mall is open to the public every day from 00:10 to 00:23 except on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 00:10 to 00:00.
Mall of the Emirates
The second most famous shopping mall in Dubai is the Mall of the Emirates, which is also of considerable size. It has a truly majestic architectural style and houses over 650 stores inside where you can find anything you want. An important commercial hub, it is, however, best known for its attractions, first and foremost Ski Dubai, where you can ski and snowboard.
Another place of entertainment perfect for all ages is Magic Planet, which offers running simulators and theatrical experiences in 4D, inflatable games for the little ones and golf courses. The Mall of The Emirates is open Sunday through Wednesday from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM and Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM.
The historical district of Dubai, Bastakiya
Bastakiya, the historic district of Dubai, is one of the places with a strong traditional charm. Founded at the end of the nineteenth century by wealthy merchants of fabrics and pearls coming from Bastak, in Iran, from which it takes its name, the district still preserves its original commercial soul, with its chaotic and colorful open air market where one can sell just about anything.
The answer to the question of what to buy in Dubai can be found in the most renowned markets of the city of Dubai, those which every tourist does not fail to include in his or her travel itinerary, are the gold market, the fabric market and the spice market. They are absolutely worth visiting, even if you do not intend to make any particular purchases.
Dubai Gold Souk and Spice Souk
If you are thinking what to buy in Dubai, The Dubai Gold Souk is the largest gold market in the Middle East and is located in the exclusive Deira district. If you’re planning to buy or give away a particular piece of jewelry or original furniture items, this market is for you!
The ancient workshops where artisans worked gold and other precious metals (including silver, diamonds, emeralds and pearls) to create fine creations, have now been transformed into modern stores.
It seems that the gold in the market is around 10 tons! The gold trade in the city of Dubai has an ancient history and spread thanks to the arrival in the emirates of traders from India and Iran. The quality of the gold sold at the market is guaranteed by strict quality controls by the government and the safety of the place assured by an accurate surveillance system.
There is nothing more typical in a Middle Eastern city than the classic spice market. The one in Dubai is certainly not as immense as the one in Istanbul, but it is however interesting because it sells typical spices and herbs which are not found everywhere.
The last place to answer your question what to buy in Dubai is the Textile Souk, “fabric market,” or Old Souk. It is a covered market located in the Bur Dubai district. It’s a really atmospheric place, where the many shades of colorful textiles come together. There are not many stores but they sell fabrics of all kinds, clothes and shoes that come from all over the world.
If you stay a few days in Dubai, you can take advantage of it to have a tailor-made dress made, choosing yourself the fabric you like best. The style of the market is typically Middle Eastern with a wooden roof decorated with arches and lighting which creates a particularly evocative atmosphere in the evening.
Next to these markets there are also fish markets, vegetable markets, markets selling handicrafts and gastronomic products typical of the Arab emirate, as well as the charming incense market. The markets remain one of the most important attractions of Dubai and memorable photographs can be taken there, thanks to the warm lights carefully positioned to give these places a touch of magic.
In short, no one can travel to Dubai without shopping, so Dubai is considered the home of shopping in the Middle East. Treat yourself to a Trip to Dubai, this city where modernity and tradition are in harmony.
Dubai: guide to the area and main attractions
Dubai, the new emerging market of the United Arab Emirates, is becoming one of the most popular destinations for new tourism, especially for young people who see there a new America.
The United Arab Emirates are becoming one of the most popular tourist and work destinations. The two major cities Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the most intriguing, and thanks to their economic wealth, mainly due to hydrocarbons, they have been remodeled and made into some of the most modern and technological cities in the world. Dubai, precisely because of this, has become the dream of the younger generations as America was last century.
Capital of one of the seven Arab emirates, Dubai is twinned with 39 cities in the world. The official language is Arabic, but they also speak English very well. The most widespread religion is Islamic
It is located in the Arabian Desert but overlooks the Persian Gulf. Its climate is desert, the summer lasts from April to November with temperatures that exceed 35 degrees, in July and August they reach 45 degrees, instead the winter lasts only 3 months, from December to February and even if temperatures never drop below 12 degrees there are violent cloudbursts, rains and sandstorms. Moreover the desert climate and the sea make the air very humid.
On Holiday in Dubai
If you want to go to Dubai on vacation you must have with you a passport that is valid within 6 months of departure and carefully check the Covid rules that are updated constantly. Clothing should be comfortable and light. We also recommend our sunglasses and hat. Also being Muslim countries avoid too low-cut clothes, topless and try not to smoke, eat and drink alcohol in public during Ramadan.
They are not accepted demonstration of affection or effusions between couples in public.
The time zone
The United Arab Emirates do not use daylight saving time, therefore if you decide to go to Dubai you will have to move your watch 3 hours ahead in standard time, 2 if daylight saving time is in force, in fact compared to the average Greewich time UTC is +4. On your flight ticket the arrival time refers to the local time in Dubai, not to the time in the country of departure and vice versa.
Currency and shopping
The currency used is the Dirham equal to about 0.25 Euro but credit cards, Euros and American dollars are accepted everywhere. Among the bargains to be had in Dubai are finely refined gold and silver, carpets and tapestries.
What to see and what to compare
Even though it is a modern city, there are many things to see in Dubai, which holds many world records. First and foremost are its wonderful fountains. They can be found all over the city, especially near places of interest. Second thing to see is the Burj Al Arab, tower of the Arabs, the real symbol of Dubai. To be seen from the outside obviously at least if you are a millionaire. In fact, the Burj Al Arab is one of the most luxurious 7-star hotels in the world.
If, on the other hand, you love shopping, you cannot miss the Dubai Mall, the largest shopping center on the planet, or the Ibn Battuta Mall, a bit more modest. If you like nature, I recommend the Miracle Garden, the largest and most colorful flower garden in the world. In the list of records there is also the Burj Khalifa, the tallest skyscraper in the world, is in fact 829.8 meters high. This skyscraper was to be called Burj Dubai, but when Dubai asked Abu Dhabi for funding for its construction, the name of the project was changed to Burj Khalifa.
Finally, don’t miss the numerous water parks, aquariums and a ride on the Abra, the traditional boat used in Dubai.
I love shopping in Dubai, sheikh sales
Dubai capital of excesses? During the Shopping Festival, without a doubt. Notwithstanding the crisis which hit the Arab emirate over a year ago, and the recent rumors which speak of the sinking of the futuristic project The World Islands, it is events such as these which make the city rise again in all its (golden, it has to be said) splendor.
In these days, in fact, a veritable feast of sales has begun, which will close on February 20. And that non-stop attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world, ready for a week – or less – of intense shopping sheikh.
But absolutely convenient.
Because in the malls of Dubai you can find brands from all over the world, which at this moment are presented with discounts that reach up to 75%: it’s useless to toil through weekends of shopping in London or going in and out of cold New York stores.
It’s hard to risk the usual sell-out or the classic warehouse stocks: even the big mid-range chains guarantee, in this period, an adequate turnover that ensures good deals for the whole period. Without forgetting that this is the ideal time to enjoy, after a day of shopping, the mild temperatures, the calm sea and the wild nightlife of this ancient Bedouin settlement.
It starts with Dubai Festival City, a complex of stores with sea views, cafes on the promenade and, above all, more than 600 outlets of international chains, not to mention the live shows and magnificent restaurants a stone’s throw from the Creek.
The perfect place to find half-price brands like Lacoste, Marc Jacobs, Nara shirts, and the local musthave Hanayen, luxury Arabian clothing. You can get up to 70% with Hugo Boss, Mango, Blanco, Tommy Hilfiger, the American Forever 21 (loved by girls from the States on the move), Balmain, Braccialini.
Do not miss the sales of Mikyaji, the Gulf brand dedicated to cosmetics, very popular locally and with very colorful packaging. It is said that before an evening in the “in” places of the city it is essential to buy the products of the “22k” set.
And for lovers of the four wheels, three draws every ten days at DFC will give away Volvo CX 60, Dodge, Toyota Avalon and vacation packages signed Al Futtaim Travel and a Lexus IS300.
The most fashionable mall in the city
At this point you can continue towards the center of the city at Burjman, in the Bur Dubai area, along the Creek. Undoubtedly, although the Dubai Mall (the largest shopping center in the world, built a few years ago) has stolen the scene, it remains by far the most fashionable mall in the city.
The play of light and fountains at the entrance, the bustle of racing cars and the ceramics in the bathrooms (signed Villeroy & Boch) confirm this. Here even the sales are a matter of style: no internet proclamations or shouted advertising. But the amount of veiled women who come out loaded with duffel bags full of designer purchases says a lot about the quality of the discounts, which range from 30% to 70% – but always at a high level.
There are brands such as Etro, but also the high-class Arabian confectionery of Bateel (you can’t say you’ve been to Dubai if you haven’t tasted their dates stuffed with almonds and pistachios). And again, Alviero Martini, Kenzo, Louis Vuitton, MaxMara, Calvin Klein, Cartier, Chanel, Dior, Christian Lacroix, D&G, Donna Karan, Ungaro, Mont Blanc, Prada, Furla, Gap, Hermes, Just Cavalli (a brand for which the Emiratines have an unbridled passion), Valentino, Trussardi, Tod’s, Ferragamo or Saks Fifth Avenue. Just to name a few.
Moving from Jumerirah Road to Sheikh Zayed Road, one arrives at the Dubai Mall. This Mecca of Shopping, the largest shopping center in the world, rises right opposite the other record of the city, the Burji Khalifa, the skyscraper of records (828 meters), which inside houses one of the most eagerly awaited places in the city, the Armani Hotel (It is necessary to book a month in advance to be able to eat inside its restaurant).
A total of over 1200 stores – including department stores, single brand stores, international chains and food & beverage departments – distributed over more than 540,000 square meters of internal surface area, not counting the Souk dell’Oro, the Fashion Avenue – a true fashion catwalk leading to the island dedicated to Haute Couture proposals, with the first Galeries Lafayette store in the Middle East.
Having to spend a hard day’s shopping there, it is worth mentioning the entertainment: the Ice Rink (which can accommodate up to 2000 people but is closed due to Covid restrictions) and the Aquarium with the adjoining Discovery Centre. Entered in the Guiness Book of Records for its “Acrylic Panel”, the aquarium is the largest in the world, and through its glass you can see over 33 thousand species of marine animals, including many sharks.
Fish aside, you can find everything at the Mall, with every price range and balance. Just be careful not to get lost. Among the brands of clothing, sales range from 25 to 50% for Gap and Banana Republic, 30% Stardivarius, 50% Disegual, Yamamay and Swarovski, 60% Womens’ secret, (the most fashionable underwear in town) 70% for Kas Australia and Emirates Nayomi.
Or again: the best technology from all over the world at unforgettable prices from Sega Repubic (which offers coupons worth 50 thousand dirhams, that is about 10 thousand euros, and tickets are received for every 100 dirhams spent). Toy heaven from London-based Hamleys and Chicco clothes at 50% off.
The advice for those who have a few days available and have as their only goal the shopping spree is to devote themselves methodically only to this mall.
Visiting it in one day is impossible.
If the goal is (only) to make good deals, it is useless to be tempted by external purchases: inside this mall there is even a reproduction of the Gold Souk that is on the Creek (of course, larger than the original, with its 220 specialized stores). Faithful version, bargaining included, with lots of salesmen waiting for you on the doorstep, starting in front of the window their show. In these days of the Festival, there are two lotteries up for grabs for those who spend more than 300 dirhams (60 euros): 5 discount vouchers up for grabs every week worth 500 thousand dirhams (about one hundred thousand euros) and two Mercedes.
And again, just outside the Mall, in the artificial lake that divides this shopping city from the world’s tallest skyscraper and the Souk al Bahar district, with its Venetian reminiscences, there is a record-breaking system of fountains.
The Dancing Fountains, illuminated by 6,600 lights and 50 colored projectors, are gigantic fountains that extend 275 meters and are able to shoot jets of water 150 meters into the sky, accompanied by classical Arabic and international music. A game of lights, jets and flashes not to be missed: just wait in front of the lake at sunset.
The show starts every half an hour, from 6pm to 10pm (until 11pm on weekends, which here start on Thursday and end on Saturday), a social distancing is in place and a mask is necessary when watching this show even if outside.
Snow in the golden desert
Nice surprises also for those who go shopping at the Mall of the Emirates, the shopping center situated along Sheik Zayed Road, a stone’s throw from the sea, which has 426 stores in addition to an Arab souk and a street dedicated to luxury shopping (with boutiques by Armani, Versace, Gucci and Bulgari).
The Mall of Emirates, however, is famous throughout the world for being the seat of the Ski Dubai ski resort, where one can ski all year round, thanks to the amazing indoor ski resort which is as high as a 25-storey building and 80 meters wide, with 5 slopes of varying difficulty, equipped with chairlift and ski lift. The snow park includes snow caves, a cabin for a Tyrolean-style refreshment and an ad hoc area for snowboarding enthusiasts at a cost of 26 euros (equipment included).
For those who instead aim only at crazy purchases, know that every 300 dirhams (cumulative, between all the expenses made) you will participate in the weekly extraction of a shopping voucher of 300 thousand dirhams, that is 60 thousand euros. Silver and bronze prizes, two 5-day trips to a 5-star hotel in Paris (or 45 thousand dirhams, the equivalent of 9 thousand euros, in shopping vouchers).
Whether you manage to win the lavish prizes or not, at the Mall of Emirates there remain, within everyone’s reach, fantastic offers. From 25% for Adidas, 30% for Missoni, Lacoste, Diesel and Geox, to half-price for H&M, Massimo Dutti and Nike. Discounts of 60% for Cavalli and Kurt Geiger (which in the Emirates distributes shoes signed Gucci, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Jimmy Choo – this is one of the largest corners of the chain -, Marc Jacobs, Tod’s, Paul Smith, Edward Green, Church’s, John Lobb and Christian Louboutin). Mango, Calvin Klein Underwear and Promod sales are up to 70%. Unique bargains also at Harvey Nichols, which has the largest store outside London.
Do not miss the latest trends from Singaporean designers Charles and Keith Wond, beloved by U.S. celebrities, whose clothes you can take home here at very affordable prices. For those who never take their ears off their iPods, don’t forget to check out the huge Virgin Megastore, which stocks the latest music trends from all over the globe.
Discounts for young fashion victims
To finish, the Deira City Centre, the shopping center that until a few years ago was the spearhead of the city, but that the great shopping new entries have relegated to the role of “secondary” mall. Nothing could be more wrong, here you can get great deals, the crowding is much less and the brands are certainly more affordable but more youthful and from all over the world.
A great place to buy souvenirs and traditional gifts. Or where to buy valuable books in English, at Magrudy’s, the best English-language bookstore in the city. As for the rest, products by Armani Exchange, Birkenstock, Hobbs English clothing, Lacoste, Mont Blanc, Optic Gallery (where you can find the best brands of sunglasses at a great price), the Australian Red Earth and Samsonite can be purchased at half the original price. Offers that reach even 60-70% for Accessorize bags, Banana Republic clothes, Polo Jeans and Guess, CK Underwear, but also Esprit and Pimkie clothing.
Even higher discounts for jackets and coordinates of the German Basler or the French brand Morgan, sportswear of the American Gant or Nautica, collections Hugo Boss, Ted Lapidus and Kathy Van Zeeland. Dedicated to the youngest and lovers of casual clothing are the discounts at Superdry and Ted Backer (English brands much loved by tourists from the City).
In short, the ideal place to make truly cosmopolitan purchases at unbeatable prices and without having to travel all over the world.
What about for families?
The best Beach Clubs for families in Dubai, luxury and fun amidst white beaches and spectacular architecture with extra luxury establishments which house, apart from elegant private beaches, also swimming pools, restaurants and all the services you have always dreamed of. These are the Beach Clubs of Dubai, a must to try at least once during your vacation, and some are extraordinarily family-friendly.
Skyscrapers that stand out against the coastline, spectacular architecture on the edge of physics, one of the largest shopping malls in the world and entire archipelagos of artificial islands – including the famous The World, which, when viewed from above, reproduces the five continents… this is Dubai, capital of one of the seven United Arab Emirates and an icon of luxury vacations that aims to continually exceed its limits.
Everything here is immense and leaves both young and old visitors open-mouthed. And relaxation and fun on the beach are no exception. In fact, waiting for families there are not only the crystal clear waters of the Persian Gulf and white sand as soft as talcum powder, but also dozens of exclusive (and fun!) Beach Clubs.
The Beach Clubs of Dubai, corners of paradise by the sea
Do not call them… establishments! Elegant, trendy, super chic, the Beach Clubs of Dubai are the quintessence of luxury, real worlds in which even the cleaning of sunglasses can be included in the price, and where access to the beach is therefore only one of the infinite opportunities offered.
Usually owned by hotels and resorts, they are also open to external visitors by means of daily passes (often with more advantageous rates during midweek days) and include swimming pools, water activities, restaurants and lounge areas, there is something for everyone!
Dubai beach club for families
The best Beach Clubs for families are mainly located on the south coast, such as the Riva Beach Club: hidden in a corner of the coast on Palm Jumeirah – one of the artificial archipelagos with the stylized shape of a palm tree – it is characterized by a Mediterranean atmosphere, and has a swimming pool for children, a sheltered beach and a high quality restaurant.
Also ideal for families is the Fairmont The Palm (also in Palm Jumeirah) which, in addition to swimming pools, water sports and a private beach, offers an area with water games, a playhouse for younger children and fun climbing walls.
Burj Al Arab
If, on the other hand, you want to spend a day of sea and fun with a view of the worldfamous Burj Al Arab, the 7-star hotel with its unmistakable sail-like profile, book a place at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel (you can not go wrong, as this hotel is also shaped like a small sail) with its 2 km beach, mini-club, no less than 5 swimming pools and the slides at the nearby Wild Wadi Waterpark.
It takes a few more kilometres – but it is worth it! – to reach the JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, where you will find everything, including a kids’ club, swimming pools for the little ones and a floating water park for the older ones, as well as miniature golf, horseback riding and even camel rides!
The Beach Clubs are located at different distances from the “center”, consisting of the two districts of Bur Dubai (the original historic center with its traditional souks) and the ultramodern Downtown (where the tallest skyscraper in the world, Burj Khalifa, and the immense Dubai Mall dominate and where the major attractions for families, such as the Dubai Aquarium or the ice skating rink, are also to be found). It ranges from 15 km for the Jumeirah Beach Hotel to 45 km for the JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa.
However, do not worry too much, here, you have understood, everything is “out of proportion”, but the different areas can be reached by the modern subway and, above all, by cabs, which are clean and very economical. Apart from the Beach Clubs, in various coastal areas of the city – such as Dubai Marina and La Mer in Jumeirah – there are public bathing establishments with access to the beach and useful services such as rental of umbrellas and sun beds, restaurants, bars and sometimes even water parks.
Whatever your choice, it is advisable to plan your vacation with children in Dubai during autumn or winter, when temperatures drop below 30 degrees.
And be careful because when you will try Dubai, you will love it forever…