Dubai

Dubai thrives on trade, and so you'll not be short of somewhere to shop. 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 to spend up big.

Historically goods have come 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 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 over textiles, spices, and jewelry. But Dubai has also fallen in love with the air-conditioned mall, and these modern retail temples range over millions of square feet. Here there is an emphasis on luxury goods, with a capital "L." Residents are very brand-conscious and you'll find every label you'd also expect to see in Paris, New York, and Milan.

Although Dubai certainly appears to be shopping heaven, it's worthwhile keeping in mind the Latin phrase caveat emptor, or "buyer beware." Although prices are tax free, that doesn't necessarily mean 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. Shopping festivals can be filled with bargains, but often involve the retailers bringing out last years' stocks, so be informed if you are making an expensive purchase. Malls and major retailers are safe, but there are many sole traders in parts of Old Dubai around Karama, Satwa, and Bur Dubai, where fakes are rife. This extends over electronics, clothing, and accessories.

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  • 1. Alserkal Avenue

    Jumeirah Beach | Art Galleries

    An entire district rather than just one gallery, Alserkal is an entire creative zone where one could happily spend an entire afternoon; 500...Read More

  • 2. Boutique Le Chocolat

    Jumeirah Beach | Food/Candy

    With its glamorous finishing, 19th-century chocolate factory paraphernalia, life-size chocolate sculptures and the design work of some of the...Read More

  • 3. O De Rose

    Jumeirah Beach | Household Items/Furniture

    Three cousins from Lebanon have brought their love of art and design through New York and London, and delivered them into this eclectic and...Read More

  • 4. Comptoir 102

    Jumeirah Beach | Jewelry & Watches

    A collage of Paris and the Middle East, with a layout out of the pages of a glossy magazine, Comptoir is known for directing residents toward...Read More

  • 5. Dream Girls

    Jumeirah Beach | Clothing

    Undoubtedly one of Dubai's favorite tailoring shops, of which there are many, Dream Girls will make you anything from a simple shirt to a fabulous...Read More

  • 6. Dreamworks

    Jumeirah Beach | Spas

    It's hard to find a good massage in Dubai for less than 400 dirhams, as most legitimate unisex establishments are in five-star hotels. Dreamworks...Read More

  • 7. Gallery One

    Jumeirah Beach | Art Galleries

    At the more affordable end of the spectrum, Gallery One offers mixed art and photography. Owner Gregg Sedgwick took many of the images of Dubai...Read More

  • 8. Garderobe

    Jumeirah Beach | Clothing

    Dubai is known for its glamorous women. It's common for designer labels to be bought and worn only once or twice before being discarded. This...Read More

  • 9. Mercato Mall

    Jumeirah Beach | Shopping Centers/Malls

    Images of Mercato's Italian Renaissance style make it into many publicity brochures and travel guides about Dubai. An oldie, but still a goodie...Read More

  • 10. National Iranian Carpets

    Jumeirah Beach | Household Items/Furniture

    Situated in the beautifully replicated (and air-conditioned) Madinat Jumeirah souq, it's hard to walk past this incredible gallery of textiles...Read More

  • 11. Sensasia Urban Spa

    Jumeirah Beach | Spas

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

  • 12. Souk Madinat Jumeirah

    Shopping Centers/Malls

    The Jumeirah group's modern take on a traditional Arabian souk is a beautiful labyrinth of narrow alleyways packed with fine souvenirs, including...Read More

  • 13. Talise

    Spas

    Talise might be one of the most exclusive addresses in Dubai, but allows you to tick off two bucket list experiences at once. First, you get...Read More

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