Shopping in Dubai: Markets, Malls & Old Dubai

Shopping in Dubai is on a whole other level. In this ever growing city, you'll find intimate souks, selling authentic wares and filling the air with the heady scent of spices. Sprawling shopping malls filled with designers and wares from around the world are tourist attractions in their own right and intimate high streets where independent stores open their doors to tourists and locals are ideal for exploring on those lazy afternoons.  

Whether you have a penchant for designer labels or just want to take some time out to browse the shops, you'll never tire of places to spend your holiday money in Dubai. This city is known for its indulgent side, so we think it's time you treat yourself and leave some room in your suitcase for those holiday souvenirs. 

Malls in Dubai 

Dubai is a haven for larger than life malls, filled with opportunities to shop but also plenty of entertainment for families to enjoy. Whether you're looking for a day out, away from the sun, or simply want to plan an afternoon exploring further than your resort, here are our favourite malls in Dubai. 

The Dubai Mall 

This isn’t only the biggest mall in Dubai, it’s the largest shopping mall in the world. You’ll find Dubai Mall next to the iconic Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building and close to the famous Dubai Fountain which offers spectacular choreographed displays to music. 

Dubai Mall is it's very own tourist attraction, with an ice rink and an aquarium plus there's even a resident dinosaur that dwells in the Souk Dome. In the aquarium, you’ll come face-to-face with more than 140 marine species including sand tiger sharks, rays and giant grouper. It's a great spot for entertaining the kids if they've grown tired of shopping. 

Talking of shopping, you’ll find more than 1,200 shops to check out, including two department stores as well as popular high street and designer brands such as Christian Louboutin and Tiffany & Co. 

Browse row upon row of the latest trendsetting styles, feel luxurious fabrics and take guidance from the in-store experts who can help you find the perfect look for your next dinner out.

But it's not just clothing and accessories that you'll find here. You can also shop for the latest tech and electronics or furnishings for your home. Enjoy the free Wi-Fi throughout the Mall, as well as a porter service and valet parking for your convenience.

If you need a pick me up while carrying all those bags, there’s plenty of places to dine or to enjoy a drink – including the world-famous Cheesecake Factory with over 50 decadent cheesecakes to choose from and views of the Dubai Dino from its seats.

Mall of the Emirates 

A 10-minute drive from The Dubai Mall brings you to the Mall of the Emirates, located close to the Burj Al Arab. This luxury mall is home to more than 560 shops and boutiques including world-famous designers such as Chanel and Burberry. 

There are regular events including fashions shows here for you to enjoy as you shop, plus plenty of places to stop and eat or drink. Options range from popular fast-food restaurants to high-end eateries that you can book a table at for dinner – the perfect way to end a day of shopping.

Once you’ve exhausted the shops, there’s plenty of adventure to be had at the mall too. For example, discover the ski slope with 'real' snow. Here, you’ll forget you’re surrounded by desert when you come face-to-face with penguins, ride the zipline or take the chairlift and then ski or snowboard back down. 

Dubai Outlet Mall 

If you want to grab yourself a bargain then don’t miss the Dubai Outlet Mall during your stay in the city. Discover 1,200 premium international brands in 240 stores – including both designer and high street names – plus, you’ll make savings of up to 90% on top labels.

This mall is located on the outskirts of the city, 25 minutes from the centre. Taxis are readily available for those who haven't hired a car or there is the option to hop on a shuttle bus from several locations across Dubai.

City Centre Mirdif 

Located just 10 minutes from the main airport, City Centre Mirdif is the laidback cousin of the larger Dubai malls. However, you can still expect a huge number of shops to explore (over 400) plus plenty of places to stop for some food and even activity centres for the kids where they can learn and play. 

Check out the iFly centre where you can sign up for indoor skydiving in 10-metre tall wind tunnels or test your skills on the bowling lanes at Yalla! Bowling. Dubai's malls offer so much more than just shopping.

Etihad Mall 

Browse local brands, shop for authentic souvenirs and dine on culinary delights at the food court (be sure to stop by Cake Hut for some of the most incredible baked goods you've ever seen), at Etihad Mall. 

This smaller but by no means less impressive shopping centre is ideal for travellers looking to simply shop, with no distractions. Many travellers enjoy a stop here on the way to Dubai International Airport, to pick up those last-minute gifts. 

Dragon Mart

Shop for Chinese products in this incredible mall, that's shaped like a dragon. Step inside to discover authentic Chinese goods in almost 4,000 shops, ideal for gifts for friends back home or as a little treat for yourself. 

There's also Dragon Mart 2, which is an extension of this original shopping complex where you'll find shopping that's a little more on the glamorous side plus plenty of places to grab a bite to eat.  

The Best Markets in Dubai 

Ripe Market 

Situated in Police Academy Park, the Ripe Market is one of the most popular outdoor markets in Dubai. It’s a multifaceted attraction open every Friday and Saturday all year round. It moves indoors during the hotter months, where you'll then find it in Times Square Centre.

Browse the stalls and dig out your wallet to take home the various handmade crafts including jewellery and clothing, as well as fresh food direct from The Ripe Organic Farm. Live entertainment takes place throughout the day creating a lively atmosphere for all. There are also food trucks where you refuel on tasty fresh produce plus live workshops and fitness classes to get involved with, including yoga.

The Market 

Aptly named, The Market can be found alongside JBR beach. There are two sections – one where you’ll be able to pick up a souvenir for yourself or to take home to a loved one and the other serving delicious food and drinks, perfect to enjoy on the sands.

The Market is open every day from 10am during the winter months. During the week it closes at 10pm, extended to midnight on the weekends.

Dubai’s Flea Market 

The Dubai Flea Market showcases second-hand goods ranging from clothing and antiques to furniture and ceramics. There are over 300 stalls where you’ll find a whole host of charming trinkets. The stallholders here expect you to negotiate on prices, so don’t be afraid to try out your haggling skills and get a bargain.

Dubai Flea Market takes place around three to four times a month at various locations including Jumeirah Lake Towers and Zabeel Park. If you fancy browsing this bazaar of old and new, make sure you look up the exact dates and location during your visit.

Farmers’ Market 

Situated beneath the Burj Khalifa you’ll find a market selling local produce from organic farmers. Here you can pick up fruit and fresh bread as well as tasty jams and honey – perfect for creating a delicious breakfast that you can enjoy while taking in the backdrop of the world’s tallest building. The market is open every Friday morning for six months of the year – take a look at our guide on the best time to visit Dubai to help you decide when to book your stay to enjoy this popular event. 

Shopping in Old Dubai 

If you want a more traditional shopping experience in Dubai then head either side of Dubai Creek and you’ll find the souks selling everything from textiles to gold, as well as souvenirs.

Like the markets, you can negotiate on prices here.

Perfume Souk

Located on Sikkat Al Khail Street, across from the Gold Souk and filling several streets you’ll find the Deira Perfume Souk. Here you can purchase Arabic perfume as well as variations of the ones you already know and love. You can also bring a perfume with you and ask for it to be re-created if you wish or discuss a custom blend. As well as fragrances in unique and beautiful bottles, you can also buy oil and sandalwood.

Gold Souk

If you're in the market to buy gold then this is the best place in the UAE and one of the most competitive in the world. As the market is everchanging the price you pay will be dependent on the rate of gold that day.

However, even if you don’t want to buy gold, the Gold Souk is worth a visit just to see all that glitters in all its glory. Be sure to try and find the world’s heaviest ring, certified by the Guinness Book of Records – it weighs a whopping 57kg and is worth AED 2.2 million (around £465,000).

There are more than 300 places to purchase gold from at this traditional market which can be found opposite the Dubai Fish and Vegetable Market in Al Ras Deira. It’s open from 10 am to 10pm, although you’ll find some stalls are closed between 1pm and 4pm.

Spice Souk 

Aromatic and colourful, the Deira Spice Souk is lined with herbs and spices, you simply can’t miss it – you’ll probably smell it before you see it. It’s a truly unique experience and one of Dubai’s oldest souks. It’s also home to some of the most expensive saffron in the world that can sell for AED10,000, equivalent to just over £2,000. 

It’s situated opposite Gold Souk and is open from 10 to 10pm Saturday to Thursday and 4pm to 10pm on Fridays. Like with the other souks, some stalls will be closed between 1pm and 4pm.

Looking to book your holiday to this cosmopolitan metropolis? Explore our range of luxury resorts in Dubai here at Best at Travel. You’ll find hotels in delightful locations at a great price, with convenient flights included.