Dubai is more than just a desert. It is known that the city offers the best luxury shopping experiences in the Middle East and houses some of the biggest shopping malls in the world. What better way to prove this claim than visiting the annual Dubai Shopping Festival?
Discover Dubai’s shopping culture through discounts and deals and visit some of the world’s largest and modern shopping centers under one celebration. Here’s a complete guide to Dubai Shopping Festival for first-timers.
Things to Know Before You Visit Dubai Shopping Festival
Dubai Shopping Festival is one of the most anticipated city-wide celebrations in UAE. For your first visit, you need to make the most out of it. Find the best Dubai Shopping Festival offers and learn some shopping tricks on this comprehensive guide.
What Happens In a Dubai Shopping Festival?
Dubai Shopping Festival is a month-long, city-wide event held annually by the Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment (DFRE). From January to February, the city hosts one of the biggest shopping festivals in the world with the help of local and international retailers and wholesalers. Aside from a wide range of shopping options, the festival also hosts fireworks displays, prize drawings, and live shows.
Who Can Visit a Dubai Shopping Festival?
A shopping festival as big as this welcomes people of all ages from any part of the world. Dubai Shopping Festival is meant to boost the city’s tourism, after all. Children and adults can explore different parts of the festival to find specific retail stores or the perfect activity for them.
Adults, parents or guardians, are responsible for their children’s individual safety and security during the festival. Pregnant women and persons with disabilities can attend the event with extreme supervision. Most malls and venues participating in the festival offer wheelchair-accessible attractions and facilities.
Is Dubai Shopping Festival Safe and Regulated?
DFRE, as host, regulates the entire shopping festival. They ensure the safety and security of all visitors, vendors, staff, and guests, regardless of the shopping venue.
In terms of cleanliness and sanitation, the local government ensures that all shops and areas are safe and clean. The festival even took an innovative step towards a greener community by launching sustainable marketplaces and shopping options.
In terms of safe and secure shopping, the local government assigns police officers to traffic and guard duties to prevent crimes in the area. All vendors and merchandisers in the event are authorized.
All Dubai Shopping Festival participants follow special health and safety measures to combat COVID-19. Malls and vendors in Dubai are required by the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities to ensure social distancing among guests, regularly sanitize public locations, conduct temperature checks for staff and guests, and promote contactless payments. Some venues may limit the number of visitors a day based on local regulations.
Guests, too, are required to follow individual safety protocols. Guests should wear face masks during the activity, avoid physical contact among staff and other visitors, and submit basic personal information for contact tracing purposes. Children and senior citizens may not be allowed to enter some malls.
When Is the Best Time to Visit the Dubai Shopping Festival?
The festival only runs for a month, from January to February, so that’s your only option to participate in the largest gathering of shoppers and sellers in the city. However, the best time depends on the activity you want to join in and the number of visitors.
For a month, the festival opens from 10 am to 10 pm. Other malls and shops may extend their working hours. Dubai Shopping Festival dates for hour or day-long sale events vary. Some hold a 12-hour mega sale. If you want to avoid crowds, don’t go on weekends and during peak hours. If you have a particular activity in mind, set a schedule for that event.
How Many Days Are Needed to Explore Dubai Shopping Festival?
If you’re a resident in Dubai, you can visit the shopping festival for at least three days to explore all its offerings, catch the majority of exclusive events, and score some deals. But if you’re a tourist with a packed itinerary, an evening or overnight visit is enough to go shopping.
Where is the Dubai Shopping Festival Located?
The festival is city-wide, but there’s a central location for the main events. Organizers have been using Burj Park, a small island in Burj Lake that sits within Downtown Dubai, as a central location for the festival’s events—opening day, closing ceremony, concerts, and raffles.
You can find the most extensive shopping options and Dubai Shopping Festival offers in the city center. Dubai Mall, La Mer, Dubai Festival City Mall, Al Seef, Ibn Battuta Mall, and Mall of the Emirates are some of the biggest malls and venues offering deals and bargains during the festival.
Preparation Tips And Booking Procedures
Now that you know everything there is to know about the ever-popular and most anticipated Dubai Shopping Festival, let’s head to the actual preparations and procedures involved in visiting the event. Here’s how to improve your shopping experience.
How to Get to the Best Dubai Shopping Festival Locations
The main events are set to take place in Burj Park, but the best shopping venues for Dubai Shopping Festival are in the city’s biggest malls. Here’s a guide on how to reach these locations.
How to Get to Burj Lake
Burj Park sits in downtown Dubai, opposite Dubai Opera. It’s designed for city-wide and corporate events, so you can easily access it in the heart of the city. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the park from the city center by taking the first interchange and proceeding through Financial Centre Road (formerly Doha Street).
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Burj Lake and its surrounding areas. Take buses 29 and F13. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to Burj Khalifa Station. From there, you can take a taxi or ride the F13 bus and get off at the next stop, the Dubai Mall Bus Stop.
How to Get to Dubai Mall
As the largest shopping mall in the world based on total land area, Dubai Mall can indeed offer you all the best shopping options and experiences during the festival. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the mall from the city center through D78 at Sheikh Zayed Rd/E11 or Al Asayel St/D72 in approximately 15 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Dubai Mall and its surrounding areas. Take buses 27, C15, C26, and X28. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to Al Rigga Metro Station or Union Metro Station. From there, you can take a 10 to 20-minute walk to Dubai Mall.
How to Get to La Mer
La Mer is a unique beachfront shopping center in Dubai. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach La Mer from the city center through Sheikh Rashid Rd/E11 in approximately 25 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to La Mer and its surrounding areas. Take buses 12, 8, 88, C10, and X28. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to Burj Khalifa Station. From there, you can walk to La Mer for 20-25 minutes or ride a taxi.
How to Get to Dubai Festival City Mall
Festival City Mall is a big shopping venue with international and local retailers. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the mall from the city center through Rebat St/D83 in approximately 10 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Dubai Festival City Mall and its surrounding areas. Take buses 32C and 53. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to the Emirates Metro Station or Al Jadaf Metro Station. From there, you can ride a taxi or Uber to Dubai Festival City Mall.
How to Get to Al Seef
Al Seef is a historical neighborhood in Dubai, but it houses many retail stores. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the district from the city center through Al Ittihad Rd/D74 at 3rd St. in approximately 15 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Al Seef and its surrounding areas. Take buses 21, 29, C10, and C7. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to the Burjuman Metro Station. From there, you can take a 15-minute walk to reach Al Seef.
How to Get to Ibn Battuta Mall
Ibn Battuta Mall is the largest themed shopping mall in Dubai. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the mall from the city center through Sheikh Rashid Rd/E11 in approximately 30 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Burj Lake and its surrounding areas. Take buses 8 and F46. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to the Ibn Battuta Metro Station. From there, you can take a 9-minute walk to reach the mall.
How to Get to Mall of the Emirates
Mall of the Emirates is an award-winning mall located at interchange four on Sheikh Zayed road. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the mall from the city center through Sheikh Rashid Rd/E11 in approximately 25 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to the Mall of the Emirates and its surrounding areas. Take buses 81, 84, and 93. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to the Mall of the Emirates Metro Station. From there, you can take a 7-minute walk to reach the mall.
What Are the Things Shoppers Need to Prepare?
You need to be physically and mentally prepared before you let yourself loose at the Dubai Shopping Festival. Here are some of the most important things you shouldn’t forget to bring.
Expect big crowds wherever you go, so wear comfortable clothes and shoes that can allow you to move freely for long periods and explore all stores and venues with ease.
Food and Drinks
You can bring food and drinks to any public location participating in the festival, but we don’t recommend this if you want to make the most out of your stay. You may want to try the different dining options at the festival that are only there for a month. Just bring a bottle of water, and get a taste of different cuisines in your chosen venue.
Shopping Bags and Lists
Don’t forget to bring your shopping list. Having a list can save you loads of time and effort. If you plan to buy a lot of physical items, bring a large shopping bag with you, so you won’t have to carry multiple items at once.
Is There a Registration for Dubai Shopping Festival?
Visitors and shoppers don’t need to register to participate in the Dubai Shopping Festival. It’s an open event. Only malls and outside retailers need registration to bring their products and brand names to the event.
Even without registration, you can still score more deals and get updates regarding the event through the DSF App for Android. Download the app to know all information about the event, including the latest deals and flash sales.
What are the Best Shopping Locations Based On Offers, Discounts?
Over 3,000 malls and retail shops take part in Dubai Shopping Festival, so you wouldn’t run out of options. One day isn’t enough to explore all the festival’s offerings and deals. To narrow down your choices, here are the best shopping locations based on offers, discounts, and item categories:
Dubai Mall for High-End Stores
If you want to look for branded and concept stores with lots of shopping options, go to Dubai Mall, the epicenter of luxury shopping in the city. It houses high-end brands like Zara, Prada, Bvlgari, Cartier, and Louis Vuitton, so you’ll easily find the latest and vintage luxury clothing, jewelry, and bags at a discounted price in the area.
To discover the latest offers of Dubai Mall during the festival, visit this page.
La Mer for Original Concept Stores
As a beachfront shopping center, La Mer offers various retail outlets by known brands and unique concept stores. You can visit Bayt Al Saboun for Lebanises bath and body care products; I Love Dubai for unique gifts and collectibles; or Via Rodeo for independent urban pieces.
To discover the latest offers of La Mer during the festival, visit this page.
Dubai Festival City Mall for Mega-Department Stores
If you don’t want to visit different stores to find various items, head to Dubai Festival City Mall during the festival. The mall offers deals and discounts for mega-department stores like Ikea Dubai and Robinsons.
To discover the latest offers of Dubai Festival City during the festival, visit this page.
Al Seef for Modern and Traditional Shopping
Al Seef is a historical district with a modern touch. The district was a famous coastal pearl diving base. Now, it houses many local and international shopping stores and attractions. Shop for Arabic perfume at Albait Al Dimashqi, one-of-a-kind collectible pieces at Anousheh, or popular UAE-made drinks at Dukan Namlet.
To discover the latest offers of Al Seef during the festival, visit this page.
Ibn Battuta Mall for Themed Shopping
Ibn Battuta Mall is one of the largest themed shopping malls in the world. The concept of the mall, which contains six courts, is inspired by the travels of Ibn Battuta, a Muslim Berber-Moroccan scholar and traveler who visited India, China, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia, and Andalusia.
The mall offers various shops for each themed court. You can visit large department stores like H&M, Marks & Spencer, and Al-Futtaim ACE or shop for custom items at BRAND BAZAAR, MMI, and The Custom Shop Bespoke Tailors at Ibn Battuta Mall.
To discover the latest offers of Ibn Battuta Mall during the festival, visit this page.
Mall of the Emirates for Leisure Activities
If you want to score Dubai Shopping Festival offers and discounts for leisure activities during the Dubai Shopping Festival, head to the Mall of the Emirates. The mall already houses some of the best high-end and international brands in the world, but it also offers the best indoor skiing, snow park, and cinema experiences in the city.
To discover the latest offers of Mall of the Emirates during the festival, visit this page.
Final Dubai Shopping Mall Tips for First-Timers
The Dubai Shopping Festival is not just an annual celebration of shopping. It also aims to promote Dubai’s tourism, culture, and heritage. With that, we advise you to start shopping early, discover unique shopping options and experiences, and score deals by participating in various events inside the given annual Dubai Shopping Festival dates. Make the most out of the event, and bring home Dubai with you.
What to Do After Visiting Dubai Shopping Festival
If you get tired of shopping, we recommend trying unique leisure activities in Dubai. You can take a rest while exploring the wonders of the city. If you want to try some relaxing activities, book a ticket to a hot air balloon ride or a dinner cruise. If you wish to experience more indoor activities, try skiing or visit a waterpark.