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Shopping in Abu Dhabi


Shopping in Abu Dhabi can be loads of fun with insignificant import duties, lowest prices in the world, great choices, various bargain offers and air-conditioned shopping malls.

Look for the local antiques and souvenirs along with international brands of watches, cameras, toys, perfumes and leather-goods. The traditional coffee pot is the most identifiable symbol of the Arab way of life. It makes for a good souvenir item whether they are antique coffee pots or the miniatures. Bedouin jewellery made of typical silver designs often combined with precious stones are a must buy.

Antique chests are also major shopping items in Abu Dhabi, as they are highly prized even though quite expensive. The chest is still often the most prominent piece of furniture in an Arab home in Abu Dhabi.

The best time for shopping in Abu Dhabi is during the Abu Dhabi Shopping Festival held every year in early March. It is also the time to win interesting prizes from all the shopping malls. People fly from all over the world to Abu Dhabi for some gold, electronic items, fashion clothes and perfumes particularly during the month of April.

Most shopping malls in Abu Dhabi open from 10 am to 10 pm, Saturday through Wednesday, and from 10 am to 11 pm on Thursdays. On Fridays, shopping venues open later in the day, usually from 2 pm until 10 or 11 pm. Food outlets usually stay open until 1 am. Standalone shops usually close two hours for lunch, from 2 pm to 4 pm, and stay open in the evening until 9 or 10 pm.

Places to Shop

Shopping Malls

There are over 18 shopping malls and centres in the capital and three in Al Ain. Two of Abu Dhabi's biggest shopping malls are Marina Mall and Abu Dhabi Mall. The former, located on the Abu Dhabi Corniche Breakwater near Emirates Palace, is home to over 160 stores, including IKEA, Woolworths, Zara, Versace, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Channel, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as the major hypermarket, Carrefour and a nine screen cinema. A wide variety of restaurants and fast food outlets cater to every taste, and visitors can enjoy a coffee break at any one of the mall’s numerous coffee shops.

The Abu Dhabi Mall, located near the Beach Rotana Hotel and Towers, has over 220 stores, including Bang & Olufsen, Betty Barclay, Esprit, Kenneth Cole, Massimo Dutti, Tommy Hilfiger, Virgin Megastore and the Body Shop. The mall also features over 40 food outlets, a six screen cinema and the Abu Dhabi Co-op hypermarket. The mall’s Dune City Entertainment Centre and Bowling City are a welcome break for young shoppers and their parents.

Other shopping venues in Abu Dhabi include Fotouh al Khair Mall, Hamdan Centre, Lamcy Plaza, City Centre, Liwa Centre, She Zone, Rotana Mall and the Madinat Zayed Shopping and Gold Centre, Alkhalidiyah Mall, Alwihda Mall.

Al Ain also boasts several shopping venues, most notably Al Ain Mall. In addition to a number of brand name stores and 25 food outlets, Al Ain Mall prides itself on its highly popular ice skating rink for children and adults, as well as a bowling alley and a four screen cinema – the Grand Cineplex Al Ain. Other leading shopping venues in Al Ain include Al Jimi Mall and Al Ain City Centre.

Traditional Souks

Souk is the Arabic word for market and Abu Dhabi has several. Traditionally, souks in Abu Dhabi were a maze of shaded alleyways. Today they are more a collection of small shops, but they still have the same relaxed feel as their predecessors. It is here that you will find arts and handicrafts, spices, antiques, oriental carpets and so much more. The Iranian Souk is one of the most authentic souks in Abu Dhabi and well worth a visit, as is the Al Ain Souk, which has retained a charming if somewhat ramshackle appeal. Al Meena Souk is a must for visitors looking for carpets.




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