It’s safe to say Dubai is a city in love with malls; at the last count, there were 90 malls in Dubai, with another eight under construction.
The Dubai Mall is the largest of those open, and is the most visited shopping and leisure destination in the world, with more than 65 million visitors a year. Spread over 13 million square feet (or 50 football pitches), it contains more than 1,200 shops, a multi-level aquarium, an indoor theme park, ice rink and cinema.
You can spend hours traipsing round the mall, and almost as long trying to find your car in the labyrinthine car park – our tip is to take a picture of the parking bay area when you leave so you don’t forget.
Its main contender is Mall of the Emirates, a sprawling 4 storey megalith that contains the world’s largest indoor snow park, more than 700 shops, 100 restaurants and a recently re-developed cinema complex including a Laser IMAX screen.
At the other end of the spectrum is Dragon Mart, which sells everything from wholesale furniture to forklift trucks, fashion and fabrics and kids toys. At over 1km long, the complex houses more than 4,000 stores, and is one of the cheapest mall options in town as long as you can handle the haggling and crowds.
Other large and notable malls include Burjuman, City Centre Deira, Dubai Festival City, Ibn Battuta, Wafi and Dubai Marina Mall. Nearly all of them include free parking, and most will operate from 10am-10pm during the week and open until midnight at the weekend (and as late as 2am during Ramadan).