Dubai is synonymous with luxury shopping. The city houses some of the biggest shopping malls in the world, enticing locals and tourists alike with their many shopping options, dining venues, and entertainment centers. If you want to find the best Dubai shopping mall in the city or explore as many malls as possible, take our guide with you on your first visit.
Things to Know Before You Visit Dubai Shopping Malls
Dubai shopping malls are gigantic, and this is not an exaggeration. You need guides to find the best Dubai shopping mall that can cover your wants, needs, and other preferences. As such, we compiled a list of things you need to know before you visit these malls.
What It’s Like to Shop at Dubai Shopping Malls
Shopping at Dubai’s famous shopping malls offers a different experience compared to regular shopping. For one, the country houses some of the biggest malls in the world. Besides that, it also features luxury and traditional shopping experiences that combine the culture of the UAE and the offerings of the international market.
Who Can Visit Dubai Shopping Malls
Shopping malls in Dubai welcome adults, children, residents, and tourists. As a city, Dubai welcomes people from around the world to boost tourism, and the shopping malls in the area do the same.
Are Dubai Shopping Malls Safe and Regulated?
Dubai is the center point of tourism and business in the UAE, so many companies and organizations with established regional headquarters in the city are responsible for the safety and security of visitors. They work hand in hand with the local and national governments to ensure that busy shopping malls in Dubai are safe and regulated.
Dubai Shopping Malls, including all their individual Dubai mall shops and establishments, follow special health and safety measures to combat COVID-19. Business establishments and commercial rental properties are required by the World Health Organization (WHO) and local authorities to ensure social distancing among guests, sanitize public locations, conduct temperature checks for staff and guests, and promote contactless payments. Some areas and venues inside the malls may limit visitors a day to comply with local regulations.
Guests, too, are required to follow individual safety protocols. Guests should wear face masks during the event, avoid physical contact among staff and other visitors, and submit basic personal information for contact tracing purposes.
All these COVID-19 protocols in place are still subject to change; they may change daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on the local government’s decision and the latest COVID-19 situation. At the time of writing, Dubai is slowly easing restrictions to children and the elderly entering shopping malls. The vulnerable population, however, is still encouraged to stay at home.
When Is the Best Time to Visit Dubai Shopping Malls?
There is no better time to visit any Dubai shopping mall as you’re welcome to enter these huge establishments during their working hours. However, the best time to score for deals, watch free public entertainment, and witness seasonal attractions is during the weekends and holidays. Like any other shopping malls globally, Dubai shopping malls host events and offer discounts to celebrate rest days and holidays. Visitors during the weekends and special holidays, of course, should be prepared for big crowds. The best way to get a day’s worth of full experience is to plan an itinerary.
Dubai mall shops typically open between 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM on weekdays, and 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM on weekends. Other establishments may go beyond the mall working hours, depending on their location and nature of business.
Where are the Best Dubai Shopping Malls Located
The vibrant city of Dubai houses many shopping malls, each with its own unique offerings. Here are the best areas and neighborhoods where big and popular shopping malls in Dubai are usually concentrated.
As a large multi-purpose complex and a financial center, Downtown Dubai houses many shopping malls and establishments. It is home to Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world; that’s why it’s no wonder that Downtown Dubai is a tourist attraction with lots of shopping destinations.
Dubai Festival City (DFC)
DFC is the largest urban community in Dubai and the Middle East. The neighborhood features luxury residential spaces and world-class shopping options for residents and tourists alike. Despite its already large size, DFC is still under construction. It is set to feature more attractions and shopping centers in the future.
Al Barsha isn’t one of the biggest and most luxurious neighborhoods in Dubai, but it offers a strategic location for businesses and shopping malls. It is currently thinly populated but attracts many tourists and visitors through its central hub, the Mall of the Emirates.
Bur Dubai is one of the historic neighborhoods in the city. It carries several mosques and temples, including the Grand Mosque with the tallest minaret in Dubai. Aside from these historical structures, Bur Dubai embraced modernity by housing the BurJuman mall.
One of the oldest historical districts in Dubai, Deira still functions today as a commercial center for residents and tourists. Dubai’s airport is located in Deira, as well as other shopping establishments—with the City Centre Deira Shopping Mall as the biggest and most popular option.
Preparation And Visiting Tips
Being acquainted with Dubai’s shopping and entertainment offerings can be overwhelming, especially that Dubai houses a total of 65 malls. To help you navigate the city and explore as many Dubai mall shops as possible, here are some preparation and visiting tips you should take note of.
How to Get to the Best Shopping Mall Locations in Dubai
All the shopping malls in Dubai stand in strategic locations to attract tourists and residents. Here’s a guide on reaching the districts and neighborhoods with the best shopping malls in the city.
How to Get to Downtown Dubai
Downtown Dubai is a busy and popular district in Dubai. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the district from the city center through Sheikh Zayed Rd/E11 in approximately 15 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Downtown Dubai and its surrounding areas. Take buses 21, 98E, and F11, depending on your location. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to the Emirates Towers Metro Station. From there, you can take a 9-minute walk to reach Downtown Dubai.
How to Get to Dubai Festival City Mall
DFC is near Al Garhoud, Umm Ramool, Nad Shamma, and Ras Al Khor, so it’s easily accessible. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the neighborhood from the city center through Rebat St/D83 in approximately 9 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.
How to Get to Al Barsha
Al Barsha is a premier lifestyle destination in Dubai. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the neighborhood from the city center through Al Khail Rd/E44 in approximately 25 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Al Barsha and its surrounding areas. Take buses 84, 93, and F33, depending on your location. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to the Sharaf Dg Metro Station. From there, you can take a 10-minute walk.
How to Get to Bur Dubai
Bur Dubai sits on the western side of Dubai Creek. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the neighborhood from the city center through Sheikh Rashid Rd/E11 in approximately 11 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Bur Dubai and its surrounding areas. Take buses 21, 29, 8, 93, E306, and X13, depending on your location. If you want to take the metro, ride the Green Line to the Al Ghubaiba Metro Station or Burjuman Metro Station. From there, you can take a 6-minute to 25-minute walk to reach Bur Dubai.
How to Get to Deira
Deira is the commercial center of Dubai, so visitors can easily reach the district anywhere in the city. Travelers with private or rented vehicles can easily reach the neighborhood from the city center through Abu Baker Al Siddique Rd in approximately 12 minutes.
If you want to commute, city buses can take you to Deira and its surrounding areas. Take buses 27, C10, C15, and X28, depending on your location. If you want to take the metro, ride the Red Line to the Deira City Centre Metro Station or Oud Metha Metro Station. From there, you can take a 9-minute to 30-minute walk to reach Deira.
What Are the Things Shoppers Need to Prepare?
Dubai mall shops and shopping establishments are huge, so it’s pretty tiring to explore all of them in a short amount of time. You need to be physically prepared for this shopping journey. As such, here are some of the most important things you should consider preparing:
Your clothing, of course, depends on the mall activities you want to do. The safest thing to do if you plan to explore huge malls all day long is to wear a comfortable, conservative, and casual outfit. Most malls in Dubai require clothing that covers your knees and shoulders.
Luggage / Baggage / Shopping Bags
If you plan to buy lots of items in the mall, it’s best to bring your own shopping bags with you to avoid single-use plastic and organize your purchases well. For your convenience, there are luggage and baggage storage facilities in Dubai mall shops. You can store your heavy items there as you explore all areas of the mall.
What Are The Best Shopping Malls in Dubai
Dubai has 65 malls, so the hunt for the best mall in the city wouldn’t be easy. You need to carefully consider your preferences before choosing the best Dubai shopping mall you want to visit. Here’s a list of the top shopping malls in the city to help narrow down your options.
Dubai Mall is one of the largest and most visited shopping malls in the world. It’s an exceptionally huge leisure, shopping, and entertainment venue, so you can surely find anything you need and want here.
For your shopping options, Dubai Mall houses over a thousand retail outlets and flagship brands, including Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Alexander McQueen, Cartier, and Louis Vuitton. For your dining options, Dubai Malls offers a good combination of fast-food chains, fine-dining restaurants, and casual-dining restaurants. Some of the most recommended restaurants by locals and tourists include Katsuya by Starck (Japanese cuisine), Peppermill (Indian cuisine), New Shanghai (Chinese cuisine), Social House (international cuisine), Tribes Carnivore (Arab and African cuisines).
Dubai Mall also caters to many entertainment establishments, such as the Dubai Ice Rink, Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Cinema, Reel Cinemas, Dubai Dino, Trampo Extreme, and VR Park.
Timing: 10:00 AM to 1:00 AM daily
Location: Financial Center Street, Along Sheikh Zayed Road, Next to Burj Khalifa – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Ibn Battuta Mall
Ibn Battuta Mall is the largest themed Dubai Shopping Mall, taking inspiration from the colorful life and exciting travel experiences of Ibn Battuta, a well-traveled Muslim Moroccan explorer and scholar. The mall divides its areas into countries Ibn Battuta has visited.
For your shopping options, Ibn Battuta Mall features over 400 retail outlets and flagship brands. The mall even has the largest department shops in Dubai, including Marks & Spencer, Al-Futtaim ACE, Carrefour, H&M, and Max. For your dining options, Ibn Battuta Mall offers coffee shops, food courts, and casual and fine-dining restaurants. Some of the most recommended restaurants by locals and tourists include Shakespeare and Co. (cafe-restaurant), Nando’s (Afro-Portuguese cuisine), India Palace (Mughlai cuisine), Zaroob (Arabic cuisine), and Razon’s (Filipino cuisine).
Ibn Battuta Mall also carries its fair share of entertainment centers. You can bring your family and friends to Fun City, Novo Cinemas – IMAX, Sing N Swing, Sky Zone, Stay and Play, and Switch Bowling.
Timing: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM from Saturday to Wednesday; 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM from Thursday to Friday.
Location: Sheikh Zayed Road – Jebel Ali Village – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Mall of the Emirates
The Mall of the Emirates is a huge, award-winning, multi-purpose Dubai Shopping Mall owned by Majid Al Futtaim Properties. It bagged the World’s Leading New Shopping Mall at the World Travel Awards in London in November 2005.
For your shopping options, the Mall of the Emirates provides over 600 retail outlets, 80 luxury stores, and 250 flagship stores. Some of the popular stores in the mall include Max Mara, Chanel, Jack and Jones, Dior, and Burberry. For your dining options, the Mall of the Emirates has over 100 cafes and restaurants. It’s best to try some local favorites, such as Salmontini (seafood), Tribes (African cuisine), Umami (Japanese cuisine), Eat Greek Kouzina (Greek cuisine), Après (international cuisine).
The Mall of the Emirates also offers entertainment experiences for children and adults. Don’t forget to visit Dreamscape, Magic Planet. Ski Dubai, The Theatre, and Yalla! Bowling.
Timing: 10:00 AM to 1:00 AM daily
Location: Sheikh Zayed Rd -Al Barsha 1 – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
BurJuman is one of the oldest Dubai shopping malls, but it still attracts millions of visitors and business opportunities. In fact, Forbes named BurJuman one of the best Malls in Dubai. It also won the “Mall of the Year” award at the prestigious 1st Retail Middle East Awards in 2006.
For your shopping options, BurJuman houses over 300 retail and flagship stores. The mall is one of the biggest venues for popular international high street brands, such as Aldo, Omega, Charles and Keith, Calvin Klein, and Beverly Hills Polo Club. For your dining options, the Mall of the Emirates carries highly-rated restaurants that can surely satisfy your taste buds. Locals and tourists alike recommend The Orchestra (Middle Eastern cuisine), 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria (Italian cuisine), Barrio Fiesta (Filipino cuisine), YO! Sushi (Japanese cuisine), and Grk Fresh Greek (Greek cuisine).
If you’re done shopping and dining, you can explore the exciting entertainment options at BurJuman. Plan your unforgettable day at 12D Rides, Magic Planet, Syllogism, The Edge, or Vox Cinemas.
Timing: 10:00 AM to 11:00 PM daily
Location: Khalid Bin Al Waleed Rd – Al Mankhool – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Dubai Outlet Mall
Dubai Outlet Mall is a relatively new and modern Dubai shopping mall that only caters to shopping and dining. Still, it has already attracted millions of visitors worldwide because of its vast shopping venues and numerous sale events.
For your shopping options, Dubai Outlet Mall currently houses 240 retail outlets with over 1,200 brands, including Dolce & Gabbana, Kenzo, Coach, Iceberg, Missoni, Burberry, and Roberto Cavalli. For your dining options, Dubai Outlet Mall offers cafes and restaurants that can tantalize your taste buds. Some of the highly-rated restaurants inside the mall are Al Arrab (Arabic cuisine), Chuck E Cheese’s (American fast food), Cafe Shang Thai (Thai cuisine), Little Manila (Filipino cuisine), Dolma House (Turkish cuisine), and Panda Chinese (Chinese cuisine).
Timing: 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM from Thursday to Friday; 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM from Saturday to Wednesday.
Location: DUBAILAND on Dubai – Al Ain Road (Route 66)
Aside from the top five Dubai shopping malls on this list, also consider visiting Dubai Festival City Mall, City Centre Deira, Mercato Shopping Mall, Al Ghurair Centre, and WAFI Mall if you have more time.
Final First-Timer Tips to Dubai Shopping Malls
Many say that Dubai offers the best shopping options and experiences in the world because of its gigantic malls. But remember that you can only have the best shopping experience if you know where to shop and what to do. We advise you to visit the best Dubai mall shops and shopping establishments that cater to your preferences.
What To Do After Visiting Dubai Shopping Malls
Dubai is home to giant luxury shopping malls, but these venues are not the only places where you can have fun. If you’re done exploring your choice of Dubai shopping mall, don’t forget to visit other tourist attractions, such as the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Dubai Fountain, or the Global Village.