It might be the luxury shopping capital of the world, thanks to multi-storied mega malls full of designer label stores – but Dubai has so much more to offer visitors when it comes to retail therapy. If you’re interested in venturing off the beaten track, you’ll find bustling bazaars full of great deals as well as artisanal markets and boutiques with one-off pieces. Read more about Bargains and bazaars: The best places to go shopping in Dubai below!
Shop, dine and unwind is the motto of Boxpark which provides a much more relaxing retail experience than some of the large indoor shopping malls in Dubai. At Boxpark there are shops for guys and gals selling a range of contemporary fashion brands as well as Middle Eastern inspired homewares. Sports brands Adidas and Nike have their own stores in this retail space, and if you’re shopping for little ones – be sure to check out Poupette à la Plage, a Dubai-born, French-inspired brand that has ridiculously cute outfits for toddlers.
For art and design lovers, this is a fascinating part of Dubai to explore and pick up an original artwork from a host of independent galleries. Photography, graffiti, pottery, jewellery, stylish furniture designs and art supplies – you’ll find it all at Alserkal. And you’ll most likely get the chance to meet the artists behind the creations. Be sure to pop into Chi-Ka to see the most exquisite hand-embroidered kimonos while you’re in the area.
Dubai Design District
Keeping with the artistic theme, this creative hub is home to a range of boutiques, restaurants, galleries and showrooms. For fashion lovers, stop by Cartel – where you’ll be able to see a huge range of contemporary design from all corners of the globe. Popular brands in stock include Dion Lee, MM6 Maison Margiela, Pangolin, and Henrik Vibskov. Also worth checking out while you’re in the district is Amato – the UAE’s first global couture fashion brand which specialises in Shakespearean-inspired dresses that you’ll fall in love with.
With a vast array of stand-alone boutiques that sell high-end international fashion – City Walk has both indoor and outdoor spaces, which makes for a relaxed day of shopping. You’ll find designer jeans, jewellery, stylish swimwear, beauty products and big-name brands like Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. If you’re shopping for children, don’t miss Level Kids – a concept store with over 200 brands on display.
Sun, sand and shopping…sound good? The Beach has a range of boutiques that sell swimsuits, beach towels, sunglasses and other tropical-themed items – as well as fashion stores like Lacoste, Essential Antwerp and Patrizia Pepe. There are also a couple of souvenir stores where you can pick up “I love Dubai” paraphernalia. The added bonus will be a view of the sunset over the ocean at the end of the day as you sip on a cocktail beside your bags of goodies.
All of the bargains of a marketplace with the bonus of air-conditioned comfort – that’s what you’ll find at Karma Market. If you’re looking for affordable gifts for family and friends back home such as perfume, watches and sunglasses – you will find them at this indoor market which boasts hundreds of small stalls and retailers. It’s also where you’ll pick up reasonably priced imitation designer handbags and shoes. If you can’t quite bring yourself to pay for a legitimate Chanel clutch…Karama is for you!
Looking to have a suit made while you’re in Dubai? Satwa, one of the original retail areas of the city, is now hub a hub for tailors and fabric stores bursting at the seams with textiles. Don’t expect any glamour in this part of town. You’ll be haggling alongside the locals for your metres of fabric as well as buttons, beading and other accessories. It’s always a good idea to bring a photo of the suit or dress that you want made as the tailors in this part of town are highly gifted at copying designs.
Exploring the Souks
The largest souks are found in the Al-Dhagaya locality in Deira. The Gold Souq features dozens of jewellery shops selling earrings, brooches, bracelets, bangles and anything else bling-related. For sensory overload, venture into the nearby Spice Souk where you’ll see stunning displays of cardamom, cinnamon, curry and cloves – as well as different types of tea, shisha and tobacco. In the same area you’ll find the Perfume Souk with fragrances made from exquisite oud, an oil derived from agarwood, and there’s the chance to mix your own fragrance or buy already made blends of beautiful oils.
For even more Dubai inspirations, check out some of our other blog posts below: