If you’re heading to the exciting city of Abu Dhabi, what better way to enjoy it than to hit the best shops and malls! Well known for its extravagant lifestyle, malls and shopping, Abu Dhabi has some great places to see. Whether you’re after a bargain, or something a little more luxurious, Abu Dhabi has it all in air-conditioned comfort and shiny surfaces! Don’t be surprised to see extravagant furniture stores all set up in the middle of a mall or many thousands of dollars worth of jewelry out on display.
It can be overwhelming in such a large city and you may not be too sure where to start, so here are the three best places you MUST go! Pack a few extra suitcases before you go, trust me you will need them!
Shop, shop and shop at Marina Mall
Marina Mall is one of the largest in Abu Dhabi and well worth making the top of the list of shopping centres to visit. With over 122,000 sq km of shops, there really is something for everyone. The key feature is the location, spreading out over the Persian Gulf, you catch glimpses of the ocean while you are enjoying your shopping. The best time of day to start is anytime after 11 am; most locals shop at night when it is cooler and particularly so in the hot summer months.
Even if shopping is not your cup of tea, there is plenty to do inside. For example, be ‘wowed’ by the luxuriously decorated interior, or even pop over to the ice skating rink for a few laps. There are fountains throughout the mall making just walking around it a pleasant experience.
Inside, the range of shopping includes everything from clothing to jewelry with well known designers like Bvlgari, Chanel and more. There are plenty of authentic Middle Eastern gift shops with a range of souvenirs and keepsakes.
The highlight here is the revolving cafe, “Tiara”. You must visit this cafe even if it is for a quick coffee. From Tiara Cafe, you get a 360 degree view over the Persian Gulf and the city. It can get busy, so booking ahead is a good idea.
Be enticed by the smells, food and spices with a traditional shopping experience!
The word ‘Souk’ is equivalent to a marketplace and is the traditional shopping center of the United Arab Emirates. It is here that you will be most likely to find a good bargain or something a little unusual. The Central Souk is located on Hamdan Street. Here at the Central Souk, it is like working your way through a maze.
With various levels and corridors going in all directions, it is easy to get yourself a little lost! You could seriously have a whole day here exploring or getting lost, but this is a good way to experience a more authentic Emirati shopping experience. At the Central Souk, the emphasis is on the great range of food, spices and Arabic style clothing. There is also a range of food on offer, from Arabic to Indian and even a French store with cupcakes and delicious patisseries. Don’t forget that it is common practice to haggle, so be prepared to negotiate with stall owners.
To get here, or anywhere in Abu Dhabi for that matter, it is best to take a taxi. In Abu Dhabi taxis are really cheap – only a few Dirham or 1-2 USD.
Head somewhere a little quieter
Al Wahda Mall is a little quieter than other shopping areas in Abu Dhabi, yet it still has a good range of shopping spread over 3 floors. This one is definitely for the ladies! The shops here are aimed at a younger audience (15-25 year old females), and there is a great selection. The sweet smelling Ajmal perfume shop is highly recommended. This is a place to get a great gift and something memorable of your trip to Abu Dhabi. You first select a bottle to store your perfume in - the selection is creative, unique and really amazing - you can even choose a sword style bottle!
There is a movie cinema and a food court as well as plenty of clothing shops. A supermarket is located under the mall and is accessed by an escalator. This is another good place to visit here, as there is not only food items but clothing and shoes at good prices too.
One pointer to take notice of is that some of the clothing sizes here can differ greatly from one shop to the next. Also, before making a purchase, check out other stores as they sometimes have the same items at better prices.
Choice is everything here!
Shopping is such a key part to many people’s lives here and there are fantastic choices in Abu Dhabi. The amount of shops can be overwhelming, but hopefully you have a good idea now to get you headed in the right direction!
Finally, here are a few remaining tips to make the most of your shopping experience in Abu Dhabi: 1) One central theme worth mentioning about shopping in Abu Dhabi, is they love their shoes! The range of styles available is endless and the prices are really reasonable! 2) Allocate a whole day to each shopping center so you can try every item on! 3) Take comfortable walking shoes, dose up on coffee and you’re ready to go!
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