This store requires javascript to be enabled for some features to work correctly.

The UAE Shopping Experience: A Paradise for Shopaholics

| Victoria Zurakowski

The UAE Shopping Experience: A Paradise for Shopaholics

Best Shopping Districts in the UAE

Shopping malls in the UAE are like what Yorkshire tea is to the UK and what sun and surf is to Bali - they are just part and parcel of the culture. So it's no wonder that thousands and thousands head here to try and find whatever it is they're looking for, whether that's luxury designer bags or cool beachwear.

There's no doubt that massive luxurious shopping malls command the UAE shopping scene - the UAE is a shopaholic's dream! And if it's not gigantic shopping malls or world-famous designer brands you're after, the UAE is also home to smaller-scale charming local shops and plenty of traditional souks. There is something for everyone, and even if (for some unbeknownst reason) you have an aversion to shopping, UAE shopping centers, markets, and independent boutiques can't fail to impress. This is why even if you're just passing through - you'll undoubtedly go home with more luggage than when you first arrived.

Shopping Malls in the UAE

UAE shopping centres cater to absolutely anyone and everyone. As well as out-of-this-world shopping experiences, there are plenty of on-site attractions to keep shoppers entertained. It's hard to pinpoint the best shopping mall in the UAE as each one comes with its unique attributes. So, we've collated a few of our favourite shopping malls in the United Arab Emirates so you can make a plan and shop 'til you drop!

1. Wafi Mall

Not your typical shopping mall in the UAE; as soon as you arrive, you'll be greeted by conspicuous sphinx statues and opulent Egyptian decor, including the facade's pyramid structural design that transports you to another world. Located on Oud Medha Road, the Wafi mall is one of the unique shopping centers in the UAE. While admiring the stunning stained-glass pyramids, hieroglyphics, and pharaoh sculptures, you'll be able to browse some 350 shops that make up the Wafi Mall, including high-end designer stores like Roberto Cavalli and Burberry.

The world-famous Souk Khan Murjan, an integral facet of Arabian life for many centuries, is also located in Wafi Mall. Here you'll find absolutely everything and anything from silk scarves to pashminas to carpets to oud fragrances.

shopping mall UAE

2. The Dubai Mall

When talking about the best UAE shopping centers, the Dubai Mall cannot go unmentioned. With well over 1,200 stores and counting, Dubai Mall, located close to the Burj Khalifa, is the world's largest shopping mall, and for this reason alone - a shopper's haven.

But it goes far beyond the typical retail experience. With its entertainment alone, this shopping mall in the UAE attracts hoards of visitors daily. Where else in the world can you shop and see acrobatic performances at the same time? It's also home to Dubai Aquarium and a theme park. And for the candy and chocolate lovers out there, you'll feel right at home in Hershey's Chocolate World. Dubai Mall is indeed a day out in itself, so make sure you wear flat shoes.

3. Mercato Mall

UAE shopping centers are renowned for their hurly-burly - lively is an understatement at the best of times. So, if you're looking for a somewhat calmer shopping experience, make your way to the Mercato Mall. This Italian Renaissance-inspired shopping center boasts authentic-looking cobbled streets and picturesque piazzas.

Compared to any other shopping mall in the UAE, Mercato Mall is small, with just 130 retailers. If you're not used to crowds, you'll love this unique mall's manageable size, charm, and the natural sunlight that penetrates through the glass atrium. With its usual lineup of High Street stores like Mango, Diesel, and Berska, one thing that sets Mercato Mall apart is that it's home to some of the best beachwear in the UAE.

UAE shopping centers

Beautiful and high-quality swimwear in the UAE is a must for any beach or pool aficionado, which is why a visit to Sand Dollar's flagship store is a must. You'll not only find some of the best beachwear in the UAE, but also some of the most fashionable summer dresses and swimwear the UAE has to offer.

4. Mall of the Emirates

Perhaps the most famous shopping mall in the UAE thanks to its unique concept, entertainment facilities, and the title of the world's first shopping resort, the Mall of the Emirates is so much more than a day out shopping. With an indoor ski resort, a vast cinema complex, some 560+ shops, over 600 brands, and countless pop-ups, a trip to the UAE is not complete without visiting this well-known Dubai landmark. This mall has everything your little shopping heart desires, including fashion, electronics, home accessories, and sporting goods.

Connected to two of Dubai's most prominent five-star hotels - The Kempinski Hotel and Sheraton Hotel - this UAE shopping mall with its high wrought-iron ceilings redolent of grand European railway stations promises fun and excitement for all. It also offers an overwhelming selection of dining options to match all tastes - Besh Turkish Kitchen and Din Tai always go down a treat.

5. The Galleria

When you think of a shopping mall in the UAE, Dubai automatically comes to mind, but Abu Dhabi is just as impressive when it comes to shopping. The Galleria Al Maryah Island, situated in the city's heart, is worth mentioning. With well over 400 shops, 300 world-famous brands, and 100-plus dining and beverage options, this shopping mall in the UAE will give many a run for its money.

Spacious and modern, this Abu Dhabi shopping mall on Abu Dhabi Global Market Square boasts an exquisite range of luxury brands, including La Martina, Jimmy Choo, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, and Alexander McQueen. And for anyone that has an active edge, you'll also find Xtreme Zone and urban parks that cater to action-loving families, making this shopping mall in the UAE stand out.

The Best Souks in the UAE

From the best places to shop for beachwear in the UAE and shopping centers, bargain hunters will also love navigating the plethora of traditional souks that bring together both shopping and heritage. From traditional handwoven fabrics to lavish gold jewellery to perfumed oils, the souks offer something more than the average shopping mall in the UAE.

6. Gold Souk

A fitting name for the City of Gold, the Gold Souk in Dubai is the place to head if you're looking for statement gold jewellery and other unique trinkets to remind you of your visit to the UAE.

Shopping centers have nothing on the Gold Souk when it comes to character. With its labyrinth of covered passageways, it's easy to get lost among the gold, silver, diamonds, and other precious jewels on show.

Best Souks in the UAE

7. Spice Souk

It's not all about luxury beachwear in the UAE. The Spice Souk, conveniently located next to the Gold Souk in Dubai, is an aromatic and sensory experience. Whether you enjoy cooking or not, the Spice Souk will surely impress with its range of unique and exotic spices and fragrant teas. You can buy your spices of choice by the gram or by packet, but like with many traditional souks, you get more for your money when buying in bulk. However much you choose to purchase, we guarantee that this shopping trip in the UAE will awaken your senses and allow you to take home a taste of the Middle East.

8. Camel Souk

A far cry from the hustle and bustle of the modern UAE shopping centers, the Camel Souk in Al Ain offers an entirely different experience. While you're most likely not planning on buying a camel ever in your lifetime, visiting the Camel Souk in Al Ain will allow you a close-up look into some long-standing Emirati customs of a camel auction where you'll enjoy watching the locals having heated bidding wars. Local guides will try to convince you to join a tour, but we believe this unusual UAE shopping experience is best explored wandering around the pens at your free will.

9. Carpet Souk Abu Dhabi

Undoubtedly, you'll find thousands upon thousands of carpets in a local shopping mall in the UAE, but they'll come with a hefty price tag. Traditional Arabian carpets make for a memorable souvenir, and to find the carpet of your dreams, head to Abu Dhabi's Carpet Souk that is home to some 100 stores selling - you name it - carpets! Sourced from across the Middle East, you'll find a range of not only locally made carpets but also ones from as far as Persia and Afghanistan.

Outlet UAE Shopping Centers

A shopping mall in the UAE doesn't necessarily have to come with a hefty price tag. There are plenty of budget-friendly outlet stores as well that will allow you to shop without having to feel the stress on your wallet.

10. The Outlet Village

Tuscan-inspired, this is one of the best UAE shopping centers if you're looking for a bargain. With some of the world's leading brands on offer selling at a fraction of the cost compared to your typical Emirati mall, you'll be able to pick up pieces from DKNY, Michael Kors, Galeries Lafayette, Hugo Boss, and more with up to 50% off. There are some crazy cheap deals to be had, so it makes the 45-minute cab ride from the center of Dubai worth it.

11. Dubai Outlet Mall

Dedicated to fashion and lifestyle, this shopping mall in the UAE is known for selling off last season's trends from some of the world's biggest brands, such as Harvey Nics, Bloomingdale's, and Boutique 1. For high-quality luxury goods at slashed prices, this outlet mall in Dubai is the place to go for big names like Givenchy and Stella McCartney.

Camels, swimwear, gold, tea, and beachwear in the UAE are just a few items you could find yourself going home with (OK, perhaps we're exaggerating with the camel, but wouldn't that be fun?) Shopping malls in the UAE are great, but there are plenty more experiences to be had and shopping outlets to be explored - and let's face it, life is short, so buy that cute swimwear. The UAE truly is a shopper's haven.

Leave a comment

Beach Notes

Follow Lucy Gibson on the Sand Dollar Blog to find out about her lifestyle, this seasons latest trends and all things beach related. A hub for people who love to chase the sun, sea and sand way of life, whilst looking and feeling their best. We have all the tips to feel just that!