Dubai Shopping

Dubai is a mecca of shopping, and if it's sheer volume that gets you to part with your dollars there are few spots on earth that can beat it. With tax-free prices and billions of dollars' worth of giveaways for customers, the emirate has gained a reputation as the place for bargains.

Dubai produces next to no products, but it never mattered because historically goods came flooding in from

around the Gulf, the Indian subcontinent, and the horn of Africa. Now they stream in from around the globe, as designers hunger to establish a presence in this red-hot town.

The top buys start with gold and precious stones—Dubai is one of the cheapest places in the world to buy quality jewelry. It's also the largest marketplace, outside of Iran, for handmade Persian rugs, and prices are much more affordable than in the United States and Europe. Indian and Chinese silks and satins occupy an important sector of the market, while spices and incense are must-buy items. The city has what might be the best range of up-market goods outside of New York Fashion Week. It's rare to find such a saturation of French, Italian, American, and British designers together in one city.

The alleyways of the old downtown souks still have the bustling atmosphere of a traditional Arab trading port, and you can get down to some serious haggling here. But Dubai has fallen in love with the air-conditioned mall, and these modern retail temples range over millions of square feet.

Although Dubai certainly appears to be shopping heaven, it's worthwhile keeping in mind the Latin phrase caveat emptor, or "buyer beware." Large electronics producers use Dubai to offload last year's stock, so many computers, electronics, and cameras are not current models. And even though the shopping is tax free, it doesn't necessarily mean that prices for international goods will be cheaper than in your hometown. Numerous shoppers come to Dubai from countries where luxury goods and designer labels are hard to get, so price is less important than availability. If getting a bargain is the main reason for traveling to Dubai, make sure to research prices of similar goods at home before you come.

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Dubai Shopping

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Dubai International Art Centre

  • Art Galleries

Dubai International Art Centre was founded in 1976 by a group of ex-pats. This arts center has become the most influential community-based...


  • Spa/Beauty

At Elche Ilsci Molnar, a Hungarian biochemist and botanist, has spent a lifetime creating the herbal therapies. All the plants are picked...

Mall of the Emirates

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

Mall of the Emirates, currently Dubai's largest shopping center at 2,399,480 square feet, has more than 450 shops and department stores,...

Mercato Mall

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

Images of Mercato Mall, with its Italian Renaissance style, make it into most publicity brochures and travel guides about Dubai. This...

Sensasia Urban Spa

  • Spa/Beauty

Sensasia Urban Spa is a favorite of expat wives, who come to luxuriate in contemporary surroundings. The decor is cool Southeast Asian...

Souk Madinat Jumeirah

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

Souk Madinat Jumeirah, the Jumeirah group's modern take on the traditional Arabian souk, is a beautiful labyrinth of narrow alleyways...


  • Spa/Beauty

Talise is a beautiful day spa with treatment pavilions set among verdant tropical gardens. There are separate facilities for men and...

The Pavilion Marina & Sports Club

  • Spa/Beauty

The Pavilion Marina & Sports Club is a great all-around fitness and spa facility that attracts many expat annual members. It is part...

The Village Mall

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

The Village Mall, with many independent stores selling one-of-a-kind items and smaller brand labels, is the place to shop if you want...

Total Arts

  • Art Galleries

Total Arts, a cathedral-like vaulted gallery, is the work of Dariush Zandi, a local architect and designer who supports local artists...