Upon first visiting Dubai, exploring the malls is the ideal choice for most visitors. With some 96 malls across the city, there’s no better time to find that splendid dress, flawlessly tailored suit or quirky memento. But the city’s shopping hubs offer far more than retail therapy, with indoor theme parks, cultural attractions and much more.
1. The Dubai Mall
The world’s largest mall, the Dubai Mall has something for everyone, including an Olympic-sized ice skating rink, and the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. Large stores include Bloomingdale’s, Zara, Marks & Spencer, and Paris Gallery. A section of the mall is even dedicated to high-end designers. It is located right next to The Dubai Fountain and Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai. There are also plenty fine dining restaurants and famous international dining outlets including the Cheesecake Factory, Magnolia Bakery, Laduree, Five Guys and the very first Papa Roti outlet in Dubai.
2. Deira City Center
Deira City Center has got to be one of the first malls that opened in Dubai, which is more popular with residents than tourists. The three-floor mall offers more than 350 stores, a Carrefour hypermarket, jewellery court and a wide section of electronic shops. It also has an 11-screen multiplex cinema and a children’s entertainment centre. Popular stores include Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, Zara and H &M. If you are feeling a little famished you can get a bite at the food court or pop into Carluccios, Paul, Gazebo or any of the other restaurants.
3. Dubai Festival City Mall
This is one of the largest malls in Dubai, its size is equivalent to a football pitch. It is set on the banks of Dubai Creek and is home to around 400 world-renowned stores of fashion, home accessories, jewellery and gifts. It has around 100 restaurants, bistros and cafes, with 12 cinema screens and a Bowling City and various entertainment and recreational centres. It is located along the banks of Dubai Creek. There are quite a few cosy restaurants in Dubai Festival City offering exquisite views of the waterfront in this mall in Dubai, including Eataly, Peppermill and sugar factory. It is also home to the only Hard Rock Cafe in Dubai.
4. Mall of the Emirates
This is one of the world’s first shopping resort centre which has more than 500 international brands and shopping stores, fashion, sports, lifestyle, electronic outlets featuring an Apple store and so on. There is a Magic Planet family entertainment and gaming centre for kids. It also houses a theatre and arts centre, as well as more than 90 dining restaurants and cafes. There is a metro line directly to Mall of the Emirates and two international hotels, Kempinski and Sheraton, conveniently located within the same premises. Some of the famous restaurants in this mall in Dubai include Dean & Deluca, Texas De Brazil, Tribes and Hallab.
5. Ibn Battuta Mall
Ibn Battuta Mall is named after explorer Ibn Battuta who was travelled many places. The mall’s six courts source design inspiration from Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China, the regions in which he travelled. There are plenty of choices with over 250 retail outlets, 50 restaurants, and 21 cinema screens which includes the United Arab Emirates only IMAX theatre set-up. The mall also includes quite a few dining outlets, including Shakespeare and Co, Pizza Express and TGIF.
6. WAFI Mall
The iconic Wafi mall is an Egyptian themed mall. Visitors can indulge themselves in Arabic shopping experience with Middle Eastern fashion boutiques. Khan Murjan, an underground souk at Wafi city, is a great place to buy Arabic souvenirs. The Pyramids and Fort complex next to the mall features a number of licensed restaurants and even shows the free movie once a week. The Wafi Gourmet restaurant here is amongst some of the finest in Dubai.
7. Dubai Marina Mall
Sitting on the shores of the marina, Dubai Marina Mall is convenient for visitors staying in Dubai Marina. It offers a casual family shopping experience. It houses a variety of international retailers with an emphasis on affordable high-street fashion and beauty services in a relaxed atmosphere. There’s plenty of choice for lunch, all with outdoor alfresco seating along the water’s edge. It boasts a number of restaurants with great views of the marina.
8. Mercato Mall
Mercato is the largest mall in Jumeirah and mimics the sights and feel of a Renaissance-era Italian village. Shoppers can choose from international retailers such as Laura Ashley and Jack Wills as well as plenty of bakeries like Cakery Epicerie by Stephane Glacier, and Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar for the city’s creamiest hot chocolate. It also boasts a cinema and family entertainment centre. Pet lovers in Dubai should experience the pet shop which is on the basement level of this mall.
9. Dubai Outlet Mall
Dubai outlet mall is worth the trip for any bargain hunter. Here, the sale runs around the year, with plenty of them to be found from designer labels. The discounts range from 30% to 90%, making it a very popular shopping destination. If you visit the mall on Monday you get an added discount of up to 50% at selected stores.