I know, I know. We are constantly told Dubai is a shopping paradise. Consumerism at its best! Every holiday or special occasion is accompanied with advertising telling us to buy the latest car, clothes, toys. It may seem strange that I would even compile a list of places to shop in Dubai. However, there is one telling word in that title. ‘Normal’. For those of us that aren’t interesting in luxury or excess, where can you get a good deal? Due to the popularity of my post about furnishing a house in Dubai, I thought I’d create this. So here we go – your guide to where (normal) people shop in Dubai.
A word of warning – I don’t waste my money on expensive things. I will pay for quality items, but I don’t see the point in paying 1000AED for a dress or a pair of shoes. I’m not a fan of many luxury items. I would rather spend my money on experiences – and traveling – then waste it on ‘stuff’. However, you can only survive on one pair of underwear for so long.
Note, I don’t have any children, so there will only be a limited amount of information focussed on the kids. However, if you have any suggestions, feel free to send them through!
Brands For Less – this place is pretty much my favourite store in Dubai. Okay, you really have to rifle through the racks – or the online site – but you can get brand name bargains for nothing. I got Adidas running shorts for 20AED. Stock changes often, and sizes are limited. Various locations in Dubai or online store.
Tchibo – I recently learnt to sail in Gibraltar, and 90% of my wardrobe was from Tchibo. The remainder was old gym clothes. While they’re not exactly going to provide fashionable workwear, they are great for outdoors and fitness clothing. Various locations in Dubai or online store.
Debenhams or Marks and Spencers – I found their clothing a bit on the expensive side, but they have great underwear sales. Also one of the few places that, weirdly, sells dark black tights. Various locations, and Marks and Spencers have an online store.
The North Face – One of the few shops in Dubai that is cheaper than overseas. You can grab absolute bargains here. I got a coat the other day for 600AED – over 400AED off (and 200AED less than I would pay in NZ). Dubai Mall.
Billabong and Quiksilver – Two brands that are also cheaper in Dubai than New Zealand. Good for beachwear, swimwear, bags etc. Mall of the Emirates.
H&M – This old chestnut. Most of the clothing is very gaudy, but they have a great basics/essential line and a work section. Both are worth a look. Various locations or online store.
Ted Baker – If I’m going to buy something expensive, it will be Ted Baker. The quality is fantastic, and the designs are always timeless. Dubai Mall.
Namshi – Good for specials on brand name items. The outlet store is worth the occasional browse, and they offer some cheap British lines like Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Mango and Ginger. Shipping is fast and affordable. Online store.
Sun and Sand Sports (and any of the other fitness shops at Dubai Outlet Mall) – If you need any fitness gear and Tchibo won’t provide, take a trip to Dubai Outlet Mall. This sad, dusty old mall is good for a few things – and sportswear is one of them. There are a huge range of stores to choose from. Be prepared to go searching, but hopefully you will find what you need.
Old Navy – You can occasionally pick up some bargains here, and the large store at Festival City is usually empty! Dubai Festival City.
H&M – Same as above, good for basic stuff, like work shorts and cheap shorts. Various locations or online store.
Sun and Sand Sports (and any of the other fitness shops at Dubai Outlet Mall) – Plenty of fitness gear for the guys out at Dubai Outlet Mall, too!
Namshi – Decent western style brands and clothing, look out for specials on major brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armor and Lacoste. Online store.
Gallery One – It’s a bit overpriced, but they really do have lovely gifts. Your go-to for non-tacky Dubai souvenirs and gifts. Various locations or online store.
Dubai Love – Prints and unique gifts, and they have a little outlet in Le Meridian Mina Seyahi, well worth a look. Le Meridian Mina Seyahi.
Bahr – Nautical bracelets, on either cord or leather bands. Well priced and a good gift. Online store.
Little Majilis – a huge number of shops on this site. The original Little Majilis store is pretty fantastic! Online store.
Virgin Megastore – Have an unusually awesome range of gifts, and things you can’t find anywhere else in the UAE. Well worth a look, especially for teenagers. Mercato Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Deira City Centre, Dubai Mall (currently being renovated) or online store.
Dubai Pet Food – Quick service and helpful customer support. Offer a big range of food and animal/pet products, including Equestrian gear. Online store.
Boutique Nomads – Amazing gift ideas for teenagers. Basically like a local Urban Outfitters. A bit pricier, but the sort of stuff you won’t find anywhere else! Online store.
Namshi – Also good for kids stuff, as I learnt when I needed a last minute gift of children’s clothes and did not have a car! Online store.
Indie June – Cute scandi style leggings and dresses for babies, a little more expensive but great as gifts. Online store.
Brands For Less – Marimekko kids leggings for 9AED? Don’t mind if I do. They also have the Tchibo brand range of wooden toys. Various locations in Dubai or online store.
IKEA – For basic frames, mirrors, lamps, kitchenware, laundry items etc. Dubai Festival City or online store.
Daiso – If you can’t find it IKEA, you might find little kitchen items here. Also good for craft items. Various locations.
Debenhams – For towels and bed linen/duvet inners, when there is a sale. Various locations.
SilentNight – If you have an Emirates Platinum Card, they do some really good deals on beds. Various locations and online store.
Indigo Living – Check out the sale section! I picked up my Orla Kiely towels here, and they’re still going strong – which says something given the water in Dubai. Safa Park Intercharge or online store.
The Green Ecostore – Eco-friendly products for the home. Online store.
Kinokuniya – Supplies a massive range of Japanese art supplies, including watercolors, brush pens, calligraphy, pastels etc. Also has papers/pads, and a number of ready to buy/hang prints. Dubai Mall or online store.
Craft Land – For wool and sewing supplies. A bit over-priced, but a nice range and helpful staff. Jumeirah Town Centre.
Canvas Art Stores – A great range of art supplies, including my favourite Russian watercolors. You can buy them individually, which helps keep the cost down. Festival City Mall, Dubai Mall and Mercato Mall.
HighLife Prints – Available online or in Virgin Megastores, they’re well designed, funny, and a great gift too. Online store.
Debenhams – One of the only places to get The Balm cosmetics, and slightly cheaper than the ‘official store’ – particularly if they have a sale. Various locations.
Carrefour – Some Carrefours in the UAE sell Essence Cosmetics. Don’t be put off by how cheap it is. I use the mascara, and it’s one of the few makeup items that don’t irritate my sensitive eyes and skin! Various locations.
MAC – Visit the Mercato Mall store. It’s always quiet, and now MAC has dropped their prices, it’s a bit more reasonable. Mercato Mall.
Boots – If you want basic, cheap cosmetics or skincare/body care, you can’t go past Boots. They have a huge range, and often have buy two, get one free sales. Various locations.
Balmessence – Sells Living Nature (NZ) Cosmetics, and a range of other imported cosmetics. Good sales! Online store.
The Camel Soap Factory – Great for your skin and a nice gift, too! Various locations and online store.
Kibsons – for fruit and vegetables, and some meats. You might need to be a little picky on the meat front, but they do offer some New Zealand and Australian meats which are very nice. Online store.
Waitrose and Spinneys – for hard to find, niche products. Don’t do your everyday shopping there – you’ll blow your paycheck, and similar items are just as cheap in other supermarkets. However, for special items – like zoodles, sugar-free items or low carb items – it’s worth a look. Various locations.
Choithrams, Union Co-Op and Carrefour – for everyday, run of the mill items. Carrefour Hypermarkets also tend to stock some good organic and speciality foods. Various locations.
Organic Foods and Cafe – for very specific organic and health foods, or fancy meat cuts. Their pork can be well priced. Sheikh Zayed Road or online store.
Takeaways – See my post on healthy eats in Dubai, which includes takeaway options!
Katrina – The best birthday cakes in Dubai! 15% off Emirates Platinum discount, too. Various stores in Dubai or online store.
Brands for Less – They have shoes too! Various locations in Dubai or online store.
Sun and Sand Sports (and any other fitness shop at Dubai Outlet Mall) – Running shoes. Who cares if they are last seasons, it’s not going to stop you from running. Dubai Outlet Mall.
Ecco – One of the few decent non-sports shops at Dubai Outlet Mall, occasionally you can pick up a bargain here. Dubai Outlet Mall
Rubi Shoes – Located at IBN Battuta, this store is a part of the Cotton On range and sells a big range of cheap flats and sandals. IBN Battuta Mall.
BOOKS AND STATIONERY
Kinokuniya – Always my favourite bookstore. A massive range of books and gifts, and one of the only places to get reasonable English magazines in Dubai. There is no substitute! Dubai Mall or online store.
Muji – Good value pens and notebooks. Dubai Mall or Mirdif City Centre.
Carrefour – Surprisingly, Carrefour carries Delsey luggage, and at a fraction of what you pay in many countries. I just picked up an end-of-line large suitcase for 300AED. It would cost at least double that in NZ. If you can tolerate the pushy salespeople, it’s worth a look. Various locations.
Amazon – For Shower Filters. You’ll need one when you get here, but they’re so much cheaper to buy. Online store.
ACE Hardware – Anything hardware or outdoors related. Various locations and online store.
Party Supplies – Party Camel! An incredible range covering every holiday, and good prices too. Online store.
Paperchase and Typo – For greeting cards. Various locations.
VFS Global – If you need to apply for a travel visa and have to go through an agent, check if these guys do it. WAFI is always deserted and they offer a reasonable service. WAFI Mall.
Cara – If you want jewelry made, don’t go near the Gold Souk. Try the shops at Gold and Diamond Park – specifically Cara – first. Gold and Diamond Park.