Shopping in Abu Dhabi is without a doubt, a national pastime. With the perfect blend of modern malls and souks, it’s a shoppers dream mixing the local trade with more modern and high end fashion stores. In the souks you can practice your negotiation and haggling skills and when the streets are too hot, head into one of the luxury malls for some high fashion and designers.
The smaller and independent city shopping scene is a necessary experience. The stores offer a wide variety of carpets, jewelry, antiques and chocolates. Al Meena is the area famous for souks and Iranian Souk provides some authentic shopping in the city with goods brought in by boat every day. The Grand Souk is where the famous Abu Dhabi gold can be found. Shopping in these stores and souks is more of a cultured experience in Abu Dhabi as you can barter and haggle with the shopkeepers over price. It’s also a good place to pick up unique gifts for friends and family.
Marina Mall is the most spectacular mall in the city. Shaped like a big top circus, it’s glitzy with inspiration coming from the Bedouin tent. It comes with hundreds of shops, a movie theatre, a viewing tower, a musical fountain and even a snow park. It has enough to keep the family entertained whilst you get all your shopping therapy seen to. There is also a large food court area. Al Wahda Mall is another large mall with a lot of designer and high end stores. It also boasts an extensive food court. The malls are generally found in the Corniche and Tourist Club areas.
A few things to note for when you are shopping in Abu Dhabi are the following. Firstly, the sales attendants are super attentive. It’s part of their role and focus on good customer service. They will follow you around a store which can sometimes feel a little intimidating and forceful however bear in mind that this is part of their culture and don’t feel pressurized into buying anything. Some of the best buys in the city are rich coloured carpets which are made in India, Afghanistan and Iran; the Arabic coffee pot is the local symbol of hospitality and a great gift to bring back. Shisha is a popular social pastime and shisha pipes are another great souvenir for when you want to recreate your experience at home.
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