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Mall of the Emirates | © Peter Gronemann/Flickr
Mall of the Emirates | © Peter Gronemann/Flickr

How to Make the Most of Your Trip to the Dubai Shopping Festival

Picture of Thais Kelly
Updated: 24 May 2017

The Dubai Shopping Festival is the typical Dubai shopping experience — on steroids. Once a year, almost every store in the city holds crazy sales. It involves fireworks, flash mobs and an exciting experience for all shoppers. The tradition started 22 years ago, and runs for five weeks around the beginning of every year. The 2017 DSF ended in January 2017 and people are already counting down for 2018’s. Here’s a DFS survival guide, for the best shopping experience possible.

Avoid weekends

Avoid the mall at weekends at all costs! In Dubai, this means Friday and Saturday. The malls are unbearable on these days, as it’s the time of the week when practically every resident hits the malls. It can be hard to walk around in the malls even on a normal weekend, let alone during DSF. Shop on weekdays instead.

Mall of the Emirates | © Ole Bendik Kvisberg/Flickr

Arrive early

Most malls in Dubai open at around 10AM, so head there early. At around lunch time, the influx of people increases and it becomes increasingly difficult to get around. Also, by arriving early visitors can catch the mall staff at the start of their working day, when they are in a better mood and are more likely to be attentive and helpful!

Visit all the malls

Although Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates are two of Dubai’s most popular shopping malls, there are dozens of other malls that are just as great. Check out Mercato Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, and Sunset Mall, among others. These smaller, lesser known malls include more boutique stores, allowing visitors shop for truly unique items.

Dubai Mall, Financial Centre Road, Downtown Dubai, +971 800 382246255

Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road, +971 4 409 9000

Mercato Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, +971 4 344 4161

Ibn Battuta, Sheikh Zayed Road, +971 4 362 1900

Sunset Mall, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeira 3, +971 4 330 7333

Mercato Mall | © Krista/Flickr

Take your time

All the sale signs can be tempting, but it’s best to take your time and enjoy the whole DSF experience. Unlike Black Friday, when sales only last for the day and shoppers prepare themselves to grab everything as fast as possible, DSF lasts a whole five weeks, so there’s no need to rush. Make sure the shopping is fun!

Check out the discount racks

During DSF, all stores put up massive SALE signs, but only by looking closer can you see the small print saying PART. All sales during DSF are part sales, so it’s important to check out the discount racks and not just the regular racks if looking for real bargains. Don’t expect discounts on the newer collections in shops.

Sale shopping in Dubai | © Ramsha Darbha/Flickr