The Dubai city has various souks featuring different product lines such as spices, gold ornaments, electric goods, designer clothing and a diverse range of Arabian souvenirs. Each of these souks offer an impressive shopping experience with varieties of products displayed in a decorative manner while creating a typical shopping atmosphere.
The Spice souk at Al-Sabkha road has become a popular tourist attraction, whereas the vibrant Gold souk at Sikkat al-Khali Street is one great place to buy gold with discounts. The street showcases beautiful gold necklaces, rings, bracelets, studs and brooches while offering the lowest gold prices in the world. While the customers get gold jewelry at lower prices, the gold souks also ensure to offer the best quality gold. On the other hand, the Electronics Souk near Beniyas Square offers a wide range of electronic goods at discounted prices and whole sale rates.
Apart from the souks, Dubai shopping malls are also preferred shopping destinations. Unlike the expensive malls in the west, Dubai malls are reasonable yet offer best-valued items. The outstanding Dubai Mall is the world's largest shopping avenue with the complex area stretched over the space equivalent to almost 50 soccer fields. The complex has 1,200 retail stores, a 22-screen multiplex, a food court featuring 160 outlets, 220 gold and jewelry stores, an Olympic-sized ice-skating area and a world-famous Hamley's toy store. While the mall is regarded as the best mall, it also has stores offering diverse collections of local products such as carpets, Arabian goods and Bedouin ornaments.
Typically, the opening hours of Dubai's shops are between 8AM to 1PM and 5PM till late night. Usually, shops remain closed on Fridays, whereas malls, shops and souks are closed only during Friday mornings. Dubai also offers finest duty-free shopping opportunities at the sophisticated outlets inside the airport. Both the arriving and departing passengers can buy from these outlets.
While shopping in Dubai is one popular activity, the city also has an annual shopping festival for the local people and tourists. While offering the ultimate shopping opportunities for the people worldwide, the annual Dubai shopping festival or DSF has emerged as a mega tourist event of Dubai. Started in the year 1996, the inaugural DSF has a record of around 1.6 million guests from all over the world. Last year the number increased to over 3.35 million making Dubai Shopping Festival as one leading shopping event in the whole world. After the tremendous success in past few years, the 2011 Dubai shopping festival is expected to offer much more to the guests while boosting the revenue of Dubai tourism industry and the retail sectors.
The festival lasts for a month while providing endless shopping opportunities with entertainment programs for everyone. Each day, the DSF amazes the crowd with some new event such as Arabic cultural exhibitions, firework displays, handicraft shows and promotional entertainment programs. Apart from the typical Dubai goods such as gold, perfumes, carpets, Arabic mementos and spices, the DSF also offers a diverse range of some of the best haute couture clothing, designer handbags and sandals exclusively for the Emirati women. Additionally, Dubai being the main tax-free trading zone, offers low-priced textiles for the clothing merchants.