If there’s any city in the world that takes shopping malls seriously, it’s Dubai. Not only do global brands flock to this retail capital, but shoppers from all over the Middle East and beyond come to Dubai to appreciate the grandiosity and beauty of its shopping centers.
The city’s physical climate, consistently sunny and known to surpass 110 °F, mixed with its economic climate, deeply rooted in property development to the point of experiencing hypergrowth creates a unique mix of tropical and capitalistic energy rarely matched in other cities.
Dubai builds with a panache seldom seen anywhere else around the world, so it’s no wonder that stepping into a Dubai shopping mall is an experience in itself.
Playing home to everything from one of the world’s largest indoor aquariums to an indoor ski slope, these are the top five shopping malls in Dubai.
5. Ibn Battuta Mall
Inspired by the Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta, the Ibn Battuta Mall is considered the largest theme mall in the world. Shopping becomes an adventure here, with six distinct retail courts waiting to be discovered and explored. Anchor stores include Debenhams, Geant, Marks & Spencer, Sharaf DG and Decathlon.
4. Dubai Outlet Mall
In 2007, Dubai Outlet Mall opened its doors to the United Arab Emirates. It’s a part of Dubai Outlet City and offers as much as 30%-90% off the regular price across its 240 stores. Labels include Adidas, Coach, Fred Perry, Mango and Aldo.
BurJuman offers a healthy mix of luxury fashion brands and popular labels at the center of Bur Dubai, the city’s business and heritage district. Like many malls in Dubai, BurJuman also places a heavy emphasis on entertainment and lifestyle options, with the most recent addition being its newly-opened 14-screen Vox Cinemas. Shops in BurJuman include Louis Vuitton, Bvlgari, H&M, Charles & Keith and Burberry.
2. Mall of the Emirates
Known as the world’s first shopping resort, Mall of the Emirates has an astounding 2.4 million square feet of retail floor space. Not only does it boast 630 high-end brands, but fashion designers from around the world are put on full display in the mall’s Fashion Dome and Luxury Wing. Tenants include Boutique 1, Centrepoint, Forever 21, Kate Spade New York, DKNY and an Apple store.
If you get tired of shopping, there are still plenty of things to do at Mall of the Emirates. Enjoy the games and be entertained at Magic Planet, a family theme park, or drop by the renowned indoor ski resort, Ski Dubai, for a day of skiing or snowboarding, tobogganing and playing with the penguins.
1. Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall is an exceptionally vast retail, leisure and entertainment space right in the heart of downtown Dubai. It’s the world’s largest and most visited shopping mall, with a total internal floor area of 5.9 million square feet. In 2014, more than 80 million visitors shopped at the mall’s 1,200+ retail stores. Flagship brands include Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Gucci, Chanel and Ralph Lauren.
If the shopping alone isn’t enough, Dubai Mall is also home to one of the world’s largest aquariums and aquatic zoos, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, complete with a 270-degree walk-through tunnel for a truly immersive experience of the deep sea.
Of course, if you can’t find what you need in these five malls, you can always drive the ninety miles to Abu Dhabi, where you’ll find even more world-class shopping malls, or if you need something from abroad, Amazon also ships to the UAE, though not every item the website sells can be sent there directly.
All of that said, Dubai is the international shopper’s dream, but with so many exceptional malls to choose from, hopefully, this short list will help you navigate your way.