From haute couture to hand-me-downs, futuristic malls to food markets, it’s always a good time to shop alfresco in Dubai. Whatever’s on your retail agenda, the sun never stops shining, making browsing outdoors a real delight.
Soak up views of the Arabian Gulf as you browse beach side boutiques; admire cutting-edge architecture as you stroll along state-of-the-art shopping boulevards; and take a walk back in time along authentic souk alleyways.
Here are 10 outdoor shopping experiences not to miss while you’re in town.
1. Dubai Design District (D3)
Fashionistas, look no further. From design-led boutiques and cutting-edge cafes, to local pop-ups and art installations, Dubai Design District is the city’s newest go-to area for trendsetters.
Admire the art installations and sculptures dotted between its buildings; pause for coffee at a cafe concept store; and meet local designers at pop-up boutiques and galleries. Whether you’re looking for next season’s must-haves or simply a one-of-a-kind place to browse, this purpose-built creative neighbourhood is ideal for both.
2. The Walk at JBR
With a prime location right by the sea in Dubai Marina, this vibrant waterfront promenade and shopping complex boasts some of the city’s most stylish independent boutiques. Plus, numerous alfresco restaurants and cafes, an outdoor cinema and a varied events calendar.
Sand on one side, shops on the other, The Walk at JBR makes browsing a breeze. For a spot of outdoor shopping, dining with sea views or a great family destination for an evening stroll, this waterside stretch is a true retail paradise.
3. Ripe Market
From organic local produce to one-of-a-kind artisan gifts to live entertainment, Ripe Market makes for a fun morning out. Plus, its lush green setting within Dubai’s Zabeel Park is a hard backdrop to beat.
Snap up organic picnic supplies, watch live cooking demonstrations, let the kids run off steam at special children’s sports classes, and pick up gourmet gifts for your friends back home. If food comes top of your shopping list, there’s no better place to spend your Friday.
Ripe Outdoor Market is held every Friday from 9am to 4pm at Gate 2, Zabeel Park.
4. City Walk
Colourful fountains, street art, upmarket boutiques and outdoor dining effortlessly combine into the City Walk shopping experience. Inspired by European-style shopping streets, its wide, covered boulevards make it a picturesque spot to browse.
Explore its 13,000 sq-metre outdoor complex, conveniently located between Downtown Dubai and Jumeirah Beach. With stores ranging from Sephora to Armani Exchange, it has something for everyone. Plus, its high-tech entertainment zone, Hub Zero, and numerous top-rated dining options mean there’s much more than shopping on offer.
In the mood for a shopping spree change of scene? If offbeat brands in quirky shipping-container stores is your idea of retail heaven, look no further than BoxPark.
Plough its pleasant outdoor strip for an eclectic range of homegrown and international outlets. From OnePiece to Mikado, its pop-up art and hip, urban environment make shopping here a memorable affair. Plus, you’ll find plenty of cool cafes to rest weary feet.
6. Global Village
Whether you’re looking for European fashions, African wood carvings, Russian matryoshka dolls, or Iranian hand-crafted rugs, you’re sure not to leave Global Village empty-handed.
Home to 27 pavilions, representing more than 75 different cultures, you can browse the whole world in a single day at this globally-inspired alfresco complex. Plus, watch live shows and roaming street performers, take a spin on city-themed rides at the carnival, and browse the international street food kiosks for everything from authentic Bosnian to traditional Chinese eats.
7. La Mer
Home to 130 stores, restaurants and beach activities, La Mer is Dubai’s hottest new beachfront address. Complete with views of the city skyline and the Arabian Gulf, the 13.4 million sq-foot district features palm tree-lined boulevards, graffiti art murals, a leisure and entertainment hub and 2.5km of relaxing sandy beaches.
Explore its range of homegrown boutiques and international designers; pause for authentic Japanese or Emirati eats; and let the kids run riot at Hawa Hawa, the only inflatable playground of its kind outside of East Asia. Plus, once you’re done, make a beeline for the beach, where state-of-the-art cabanas await.
8. Souk Madinat Jumeirah
For a contemporary take on a traditional Arabic souk, head to Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Browse its upmarket bazaars and boutiques, explore endless lanes lined with spices and specialty souvenirs, and pause for refreshments at one of its numerous fine dining options.
Located at the heart of several luxury Jumeirah hotels, this high-end, Arabian-themed retail space makes for a memorable backdrop. Plus, you can arrive on the water by abra for an extra magical experience.
9. Spice Souk
Touristy? Yes. Worth it? Definitely. Authentic, intoxicating, and overwhelming at times, Dubai’s Spice Souk is famous for good reason.
Its winding alleyways have remained the same for decades, providing a sensory-rich labyrinth to get lost in. Savour the spices, incense, rose petals and more as you explore its colourful sights and exotic smells. There’s no better place to stock up on cooking staples.
10. Al Seef
As well as a fully-operational marina, a dining boulevard and an events plaza, its charming walkways are lined with homegrown concepts and world-renowned brands. Plus, the 2.5 million sq-foot development pays tribute to centuries-old Emirati traditions – hosting an open-air floating market, creek side pontoons, local cuisine pop-ups and regional arts and crafts stalls.