And the best bits about them…

Dubai is no stranger to a shopping mall, or two, or ten… but each one has its own character and purpose. Choosing a mall that suits you comes down to what you’re looking for from it. Whether you want a ‘one-stop shop’ or you’re looking for more of an entertainment experience, then there’s a mall for you.

Here’s the What’s On guide to Dubai’s best malls.

The Dubai Mall


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Of course we have to start with the main attraction, and an attraction it is. The Dubai Mall is the largest in the world and provides more than just tonnes of stores (1,300 to be exact). It’s also home to over 200 dining outlets set over 5.9 million square feet. Inside, you’ll find one of the world’s biggest aquariums, plus an underwater zoo and the eye-catching Human Waterfall feature. Not only that, there’s an ice rink, a huge cinema, and even a KidZania to keep the little ones entertained.

Best for: Entertaining tourists and shopping ’til you drop.

Word of advice: Go early in the morning when it’s nice and quiet.

Mall of the Emirates


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Its fair to say that Mall of the Emirates is the second most popular mall in Dubai. For those who don’t have the time or energy to walk around Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates has a great selection of popular high-street brands, decent sized stores, and two food courts. There’s also plenty of restaurants and coffee shops to keep you going throughout your shopathon. Upstairs you’ll also find a Vox Cinemas which has a 4DX screen and its own Theatre by Rhodes for the ultimate cinema dining experience.

Best for: Browsing all of your favourite high street and designer stores.

Word of advice: During peak sale times avoid the car parks and taxi queues and catch the Dubai Metro.

Dubai Festival City


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Festival City isn’t the closest for some of us, but if you drive then it’s worth making the trip. Because its not as busy as other malls, the ‘good’ stock tends to last longer, so you’re more likely to find the latest pieces before they sell out. It’s also close to IKEA, in case you need to pick up any bits for the home while you’re there. You’ll find plenty of your favourite high street shops, including a huge new ZARA. There’s even a spectacular laser light show at night.

Best for: Finding pieces otherwise sold out elsewhere.

Word of advice: Make a day trip of it, pop into IKEA and finish with dinner at Hard Rock Cafe.

Ibn Battuta


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Surprisingly not many expats know about (or visit) Ibn Battuta. It’s actually very close to Dubai Marina, just before the Jebel Ali Salik Gate. Unlike other malls, it’s very long so which ever entrance you take, you’ll probably circle back on yourself. Each section, or court, is named and themed after a different country, so you can easily figure out where you want to be. There’s some pretty grand displays in each section, from giant elephant sculptures to a huge wooden ship. There’s a cinema at one end and a large Carrefour at the other, with hundreds of shops and fast food outlets in between.

Best for: Avoiding crowds when shopping on the weekend.

Word of advice: Figure out which ‘court’ you need to be in before you choose an entrance.

Dubai Marina Mall


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This mini mall is handy when you just need one thing, and don’t want to spend hours walking around looking for it. It’s small but has a lot of popular shops, so you can find what you need and be out again within an hour. There’s also a food court and cinema on the top floor, and a selection of popular restaurants on the ground level (including a What’s On favourite, tashas). It’s directly connected to Pier 7, so you can purchase your weekend outfit and head straight to the bar if you need to.

Best for: Dashing in and dashing out.

Word of advice: Skip the first level of parking, you’re more like to find a space on the one above.

City Walk


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While many wouldn’t consider this a mall, its a great shopping destination for premium retail stores. You’ll find shops such as Level Shoes, Urban Decay, Sandro Paris and Karl Largerfeld. There’s also some great cafes to enjoy breakfast or lunch, Hub Zero, Green Planet, and a small collection of licensed restaurants. Just down the road, you’ll find the new Coca-Cola Arena.

Best for: Finding unique dining concepts.

Word of advice: Explore the outdoor area to discover the beautiful street art.

City Centre Mirdif


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Handy for residents in Mirdif area, this mall is an ideal destination to find fashion and technology stores, a Carrefour and a Vox Cinema. There’s also lots of dining outlets to choose from, including Nandos, Carluccio’s, PF Chang’s and a food court. For the kids, there’s even a Magic Planet to keep them entertained for hours and an indoor skydiving experience.

Best for: Serving residents in the area.

Word of advice: Check out the bargains during Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) and Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS).

Dragon Mart


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This giant Asian mall comes in two parts, Dragon Mart 1 and Dragon Mart 2. Dragon Mart 1 is more like your typical mall, with budget friendly shops selling everything from clothes to homewares and beyond. Dragon Mart 2 is a trade destination, a place where people can find every day items at low cut prices. Whether you’re looking to renovate your home and garden, find unique and rare gifts, or purchase stock for your business, Dragon Mart 2 is the place to find everything you need.

Best for: Shopping on Amazon in real life.

Word of advice: Make sure to haggle even further on the prices

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