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Dubai’s best shopping

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Last updated: 19 April, 2024

With one of the world’s most connected airports, serviced by one of the world’s biggest airlines, Dubai has become an epicentre of global travel. Probably no wonder then that it has also emerged as one of the world’s leading shopping destinations.

Extraordinary shopping malls – vast in scale and scope – are dotted all over the city. The big malls are destinations in themselves, mini-cities within the city, home to entertainment zones and hundreds of restaurants.

The most atmospheric places to shop though are the traditional souks (bazaars) in Deira and Bur Dubai on either side of Dubai Creek, (although the vendors can be extremely persistent at times).

You’ll also find concept stores in various locations, particularly around the Jumeirah neighbourhood, stocking products from local and regional designers, floaty kaftans, homeware and accessories.

What to buy

Must-buy souvenirs include carpets, Arabian attars (perfumes), sheesha pipes, bronze coffee pots, Aladdin slippers, Bedouin jewellery, antique khanjar daggers, Gulf-style incense burners, dates, and fluffy toy camels for kids.

Who to go with: tour operators

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  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

In a desert city where summer temperatures nudge 50°C, Dubai’s 60-plus shopping malls serve a similar function to city parks – vast open spaces where citizens can gather in comfort to wander and mingle, as well as to dine and shop.

The bigger malls also serve as entertainment hubs, with everything from cinema complexes and kids’ edutainment zones, to giant aquariums and regular live events. Even if you’re not a shopper, a visit to a mall is a quintessential Dubai experience – and one of the city’s favourite pastimes.

Good for age: 4+

Duration: -

Dubai Shopping Festival

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

sign for dubai shopping festival

Experience

More than just a shopping festival – though the festival does bring huge discounts at all the malls – there’s also plenty of entertainment and events, including traditional heritage activities, happening all over the city.

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 6 weeks

When: Mid-Dec & Jan

Freq: annually

Gold Souk

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Gold on the famous "Golden souk" in Dubai Deira market. Deira is an old commercial center of Dubai with the biggest street market.

Experience

An atmospheric bazaar where dazzling chains, earrings, headdresses and more drip from the shop windows, and good deals can be had if you know what you’re looking for. It’s regulated by the Dubai government to ensure authenticity.

Good for age: 18+

Madinat Jumeirah

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Madinat Jumeirah

Experience

A staggering replica of an Arabian walled citadel from medieval times, complete with towering sand-coloured buildings topped by wind towers, a touristy-but-fun covered souk, some great restaurants and bars, and a maze of meandering canals and lagoons plied by abras.

Good for age: 13+

O’de Rose Concept Store

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

O’de Rose Concept Store

Experience

This multi-room concept store in the residential Umm Suqeim neighbourhood is full of Middle East-inspired contemporary treasures, from floaty kaftans and straw beach bags to homewares, glassware, ceramics and accessories.

Good for age: 18+

Spice Souk

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Variety of spices and herbs on the arab street market stall. Dubai Spice Souk, United Arab Emirates.

Experience

While some stores feel a little touristy, locals really do stock up on spices here too. From Iranian saffron to piles of chilis, cloves and spice mixes, the shopkeepers will be happy to tell you about their stock and how you can use the spices back home.

Good for age: 18+

Swiss Arabian

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Swiss Arabian

Experience

The UAE’s first perfume house, established in 1974, Swiss Arabian is the perfect introduction to the heady fragrances so popular in the region, such as oud, amber and musk. You can also pick up bukhoor and dukhoon, perfume-soaked wood chips used to scent the home.

Good for age: 18+

Textile Souk

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

colorful shoes in souk Dubai,United Arab Emirates

Experience

Running alongside Dubai Creek, the main lane of the souk is firmly for tourists and vendors can be quite persistent. Head one street back to find the real textile shops that cater to local tailors, with hues of every colour, shimmering satins, thousands of sequins, and the classic blacks and whites that are used to make Emirati traditional dress.

Good for age: 13+

Souq Madinat

  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE)

People shop at Souk Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The traditional Arab style bazaar is part of Madinat Jumeirah resort.

Experience

It may veer on the kitsch, with its bazaar of Aladdin’s Cave-style shops, but some of the boutiques stock high-quality embroidered fabrics, pashminas and scarves. When you’re shopped out, there’s a great selection of restaurants outside, and cute little abra boats to ride around the man-made canals.

Good for age: 18+

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around
Duration: -