Dubai is a shopper’s paradise, but it doesn’t all happen indoors
From the cool industrial shipping containers of BoxPark to the beachside glamour of The Beach opposite JBR to the casual elegance of City Walk, Dubai is redefining outdoor shopping precincts, as the city once did for malls. Once the weather cools, shoppers head to outdoor boutiques, al fresco malls and the farmers markets popping up around the city. Add these to the list…
The Beach at JBR
If you like strolling along the beach while you do your shopping, The Beach opposite JBR offers 45 cafes and shops, including minimalist Japanese lifestyle brand Muji, cosmetics heavyweights Sephora and MAC, plus homegrown multi-brand boutique S*uce on the Sea. Every day during winter, outdoor artisanal marketplace The Market hosts more than 36 stalls selling food, trinkets, accessories and one-of-a-kind pieces.
City Walk 2
Nestled between Downtown Dubai and Jumeirah Beach, this sleek outdoor retail area contains a cinema, a London-themed street and plenty of great cafes. The indoor part of the precinct offers a great range of luxury designers including Carven, Karl Lagerfeld, and Danish jewellery designer Georg Jensen as well as the more contemporary NYC-based Rag & Bone and 7 for All Mankind. Stroll the tree-lined esplanade for views of the Burj Khalifa and check out murals by international street artists at City Walk’s art initiative, Dubai Walls.
Discover Dubai’s homegrown street cred at this hip outdoor shopping and dining development stretching out along Al Wasl Road, near City Walk. Also known as the “shipping container mall”, this colourful urban strip features retailers and cafes housed within tricked-up cargo containers. As well as 30 casual dining spots, the al fresco development is home to 14 boutiques including Marimekko, OnePiece, and socially-conscious US casual kicks brand TOMS.
Pioneers of Dubai’s market scene, Ripe sets up shop three days a week in idyllic outdoor locations across the city. Zabeel Park is by far the biggest affair and every Friday the community flocks to the park’s lush grounds to browse 100 local vendors selling everything from fresh organic produce and baked treats to locally made gourmet goodies, food trucks and jewellery, all set to a soundtrack of live acoustic music. Keep an eye on ripeme to find out about pop-up markets, such as the fashion-focused Ripe Design Market at Dubai Design District.
Old Dubai is often overlooked in favour of glossier venues, but the city’s traditional souks offer a glance into Dubai’s past and a chance to do some good, old-fashioned bargaining. The outdoor spice souk and former trading hub in Deira is as embedded in Dubai’s history as pearl diving. Here, narrow alleyways are stocked with bags overflowing with heady spices, such as cinnamon, saffron and frankincense. The Gold and Textile souks are nearby.