Shopping could almost be described as Dubai’s raison d’êtré. This is real shop-till you-drop territory, with an amazing array of vast, modern air-conditioned shopping malls, street markets, large and small shops, and the renowned gold, perfume and spice souks.
There’s plentiful opportunity to use credit cards, but cash is king where bargains are concerned. Tax-free status plus lots of haggling – which, as in all Arab countries, almost reaches the level of an art form – ensures great value and even major stores may come up with special discounts if you ask first, and you should never be afraid to ask.
Deira’s mind-boggling gold souk has some 320 outlets, with pricing usually by weight rather than design or craftsmanship. Perfumes, Arab arts and crafts and carpets have their own dedicated souks. Cameras, computers and other electrical are there in profusion and the prices compare well with those in Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asian shopping paradise cities.
There’s also a vast fish market located close to the sea and to the Deira side entrance to the Shindagha Tunnel. Here there’s an amazing variety of fish and shellfish, fresh from the sea, a good seafood restaurant and a museum devoted to Dubai’s history as a fishing harbour.
Sweetmeats and exotic fruits on display in stalls throughout the city are equally enticing and you’ll also find grocery stores that resemble Aladdin’s Cave with their bounty.
Beating America at its own game, Dubai has a plethora of western-style air-conditioned shopping malls, including the massive Gardens Mall, which currently claims to be the world’s largest - though the soon to be opened AED 235 billion Dubailand and Mall of Arabia will be even bigger.
Among the best malls are Burjuman Centre, Deira City Centre, Lamcy Plaza, Mercato, Wafi Mall, Jumeriah Centre, Dubai Mall and the Oasis Centre. Many hotel lobbies also incorporate malls where designer labels rule. And when feet get weary, many malls feature extensive food courts, catering for everything from a simple burger or sandwich to full-blown Arab cuisine and gourmet offerings.
Straddling January and February, the month-long "Dubai Shopping Festival" attracts more than three-million shopaholics annually, with prices even more competitive than usual. Summertime’s "Dubai Summer Surprise"s is another shopping bonanza. Both these major events are accompanied by dancing, entertainment and a carnival atmosphere.
New retail outlets are opening at breakneck pace and the city’s 20 million square feet of retail space already accounts for more than four times per capita what the USA can offer.
Marina is one of the nicest places to walk with a great view. Street that is filled with shops and cafes, is a wonderful place to go. During the night time the city lights make it ideal for romantics.
Saturn Textiles and Readymade Garments
Saturn Textiles and Readymade Garments is a place that has very good rating due to its price and quality ratio. This is also a shop you want to go if you would prefer a calmer attitude.
The Dubai Mall
The Dubai Mall is a place with endless shopping paradise with everything you wish for. Even for those who are not in to shopping, will enjoy majestically decorated mall.
A perfect shopping area that holds many craftsmen with different set of skills and unique products to sell. This is a place for all the art and music lovers for there is plenty if that.
Gold & Diamond Park
This place is for all those who like pretty things and have money to buy it. If you cannot find a satisfying piece of jewellery from Gold & Diamond Park, it is not a jewellery you want.
Ibn Battuta Mall
Ibn Battuta is a wonderfully shopping mall where you feel like traveling between major ancient cultures such as Egypt, China and Persia. With statues as well as murals made in detail, visitors feel like they have are travelling back in time.
Souk Madinat or City Market in English is very exclusive market with beautiful goods and even better view but what makes this place really special is the fact that it can be visited by boat. So if there is no parking place, simply take the seaways.
Book World by Kinokuniya
Out of many shops in Dubai Mall, Book World by Kinokuniya is one of them that should be brought out because of the knowledge it holds. A huge variation of books for every taste.
Souk Al Bahar
Souk Al Bahar is for those who think that Dubai mall is simply too big and crowded. Being much smaller, this place is easy to get around and find the things needed.
Mirdif City Centre
Mirdif in another alternative to Dubai Mall. It is huge with many different shops inside. It is however more child friendly with even a local mini amusement park inside the mall and a cinema to enjoy.
Dubai Deira Fish Market is for all who would like seafood. Being one of the biggest fish markets in United Arab Emirates, you can be sure to find a great bargain for dinner.
The Global Village
The global Village is definitely a fun way to spend time in Dubai. With pavilions from more than 30 countries and regions, there is much to see, do and eat.
Naif Souq is a smaller shopping mall with also better prices. You cannot find everything from there but it still holds a number of clothes shops and shops for mobile gadgets.
Dubai Festival City
Dubai Festival City is like a small city in Dubai. There can be found residents, hotels, restaurants, and of course a shopping mall. It holds among other things shops like IKEA, ACE and Mark & Spencer.
Gold Souk is a shopping mall full of jewellery and gold shops. With glazing golden colours, visitor will surely be amazed by its glory.
The centre of Al Ghurair is one of the oldest shopping malls in Dubai but with a newly renovated interior it still matches with the high standard.
A place with more than 50 years of history, Meena Bazar is slightly different from big shopping malls. Most of their merchandise is from India and Pakistan and bargain is a must but fun experience to get.
The Karama Market
The Karama Market is not a place you go to buy original items. However, if you would like to have some action while shopping or get good replicas, this is the place to try out.
Dragon Mart sounds like Chinese shopping mall and this is exactly what it is. Millions of products from all price ranges. Not a place to go for a quality shopping but it is an interesting find worth checking out.
Deira Spice Souk
For all the spice fans in Dubai, Spice Souk is a market you will enjoy. Bags of different spices are enough to make you try them all and be a chef for a day.