From a Harry Potter wand shop to meet-and-greets with mermaids, there’s a lot more to Dubai Mall than high street fashion. Don’t miss out on the mall’s hidden gems with our guide to some of the mega shopping centre’s quirkiest spots…
1. The Noble Collection
For Harry Potter fans, one of the most magical things to happen in the books is when the boy wizard visits Olivander’s wand shop for the first time. Sadly, it’s not something us muggles are going to be able to do anytime soon, but the next best thing is a trip to The Noble Collection. Tucked away in a corner near Kidzania, you can pick up all manner of Hogwarts-related memorabilia in this shop, including your own wand. Our other favourites included a chess set based on a scene from Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, and a Time-Turner based on the time-travelling trinket from Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur to Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3308911. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. noblecollection.com
Billed as “the first extreme haunted attraction in the Middle East”, Hysteria allows customers, or as they call them, “victims”, to face their nightmares, whether that’s dark, small spaces, or gruesome things jumping out at you. Be warned though, it’s so terrifying that visitors aged 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur to Sat 10am to midnight, Dhs100. Tel: (052) 2230866. Metro: The Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa. hysteria.ae
3. The Pinocchio Shop
We’re not sure who the target customer is for the Pinocchio Shop, a hole-in-the-wall filled with both weird and wonderful wooden knickknacks: think cuckoo clocks, toys, harmonicas and, of course, puppets. While we reckon children these days would rather have a few minutes with an iPad than a wooden puzzle, there is a retro, novelty quality to it all. Plus, the wooden notebooks are rather cute.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur to Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3253434. Metro: The Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa. facebook.com/pinocchioworlduae
4. Tarsam Image
The name of this store gives away nothing, but the store itself sells just about everything. It’s billed as an electronics store, but that’s only the half of it. If you’re susceptible to frivolous spending, you might want to stay away or risk losing a month’s rent to massage chairs, Star Wars mugs, disco balls and lava lamps. There are some useful things too, though, like phone cases and headphones, but we still left with a back scratcher.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur to Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3398161. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. facebook.com/tarsamimage
5. Super Hero Fashion & Toys
You’ll recognise this niche store from the life-sized Deadpool statue in the window. This is one of the few places in Dubai where you can pick up some nerdy merch, including clothing and even a few bits of costume (who doesn’t need a Batman cowl?). There are some cool logo T-shirts for showing your allegiance to your favourite superheroes, including Captain America, Wonder Woman and The Flash.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur to Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3558226. Metro: The Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa.
6. G1 Mini
The next time we need to buy a gift (or treat ourselves), we’re making a beeline for this miniature outlet of Gallery One. The tiny but bright little store is filled with the sorts of things that stationary lovers would appreciate, from colouring books for adults to slogan pencil sets and gorgeous leather-bound notebooks. There’s a small but quality selection of art supplies too. Plus, their greeting cards are much cooler than the usual tat.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sun to Wed 10am to 11pm, Thur to Sat 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3203688. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. g-1.com
7. The Little Things
Judging by the name alone, you’d probably figure that Little Things was a kitsch, pastel-coloured boutique, maybe filled with baby clothes or children’s toys. Actually, it’s a nerdy haven with lots of miniatures, pop culture memorabilia and collectibles, from miniature superheroes to Star Wars figurines. If you never have time to make it to Comicave in Dubai Outlet Mall, Little Things is a worthy alternative.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, daily 10am to midnight. Tel: (04) 3630794. Metro: The Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa. facebook.com/littlethingsuae
8. Historyland Studios
We would have wandered right past this hole-in-the-wall if it wasn’t for a booming greeting from a man dressed in old-timey clothes, including top hat. He ushered us over and explained how Historyland works: you pick an era as a theme and, through the magic of hair, make-up, costumes and props, you’ll be transformed for a photoshoot. Groups and singles are allowed, the framed photo will set you back Dhs150, and the themes include Wild West, Victorian and Tudor times.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sat to Wed 10am to 12.30am, Thur to Fri 10am to 1.30am, Dhs150. Tel: (04) 3212522. Metro: The Dubai Mall/Burj Khalifa. historylandstudios.com
9. The Mermaid Reef
For any child (or grown-up for that matter) who’s ever wished she was Ariel, the new Mermaid Reef in the Dubai Mall is a must-visit. Part of a collaboration between the Dubai Aquarium and Mermaids Of Arabia, visitors can get a mermaid makeover – think make-up, face-painting, hair-styling, and the all-important mermaid costume – and even have a meet-and-greet with the reef’s resident mermaids. Plus, you’ll get researcher access to the aquarium itself.
The Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sun to Wed 11am to 9pm for mermaid makeovers, Thur to Sat noon to 8pm for mermaid meet-and-greet, Dhs200 for meet-and-greet, Dhs140 for mermaid makeovers. Tel: (04) 3212522. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. mermaidsofarabia.com