Dubai: With Dubai residents enjoying perfect winter weather, now’s the ideal time to take part in a wonderful alfresco shopping experience at Dubai Shopping Festival’s (DSF) Markets. Free to visit and featuring a range of independent vendors and homegrown makers alongside big-name brands, the markets can be found across the city from the modern Downtown Dubai to the traditional Dubai Creek and the beautiful mountains of Hatta.
Great places to eat, explore and discover super deals and savings on must-have and one-off items, the Dubai Shopping Festival markets are a popular element of the annual retail celebration, which this year are taking place in more locations than ever across the city.
Organised by Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), DSF’s bustling markets are great venues to enjoy super retail, entertainment and foodie moments with friends and family. Each of the markets will be held in accordance with all of the local precautionary health measures, including temperature checks at entrances, social distancing throughout and the mandatory wearing of masks by all visitors at all times.
1. Etisalat Market OTB
A great market in a world class location, Etisalat Market OTB takes place at Burj Park, Downtown Dubai until January 2, 2021. Offering an expertly curated selection of stalls and vendors, food options and family entertainment, Etisalat Market OTB is always a big hit with residents and visitors each DSF. This year, the concept has been revamped and updated with an exciting new ‘Korean NEWTRO’ theme – a mix of ‘New’ and ‘Retro’ – bringing together the Asian country’s best urban and retail trends while blending elements of the vintage 90s style with contemporary culture for a totally unique shopping experience. New to Etisalat Market OTB this year is the Food Alley concept, which will serve a wonderful selection of Asian street food bites from Seoul and beyond.
Other highlights to look forward to include regular movie nights, talent shows, live performers and creative fashion and accessory stalls to browse. This year’s theme for the kids’ area will be ‘Sugar, Shine and Slime’. It will blend a series of activations from inflatable play, featuring a Modhesh Bouncy castle and a dedicated ‘Glitterati – Crafts Station’ for decorating, colouring and slime-making workshops. For the first time at the market, the kid’s area will also include a kid’s bungee trampoline. Etisalat Market OTB timings are Sunday to Wednesday from 4pm to 10pm, Thursday from 4pm to 12am, Friday and Saturday from 12pm to 12am.
2. Dubai Shopping Festival Market at Al Khawaneej
An enticing and exciting destination for families to discover, the Dubai Shopping Festival Market at Al Khawaneej has been created with an Enchanted Garden theme inspired by ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and will feature different activations and entertainment surrounding the classic children’s book each week from 17 December to 16 January. The opening week of DSF will be based around the theme of ‘Through Alice’s Lens’, followed by Week Two’s a ‘Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’, then ‘Queen of Hearts: Ruler of Wonderland’ in Week Three before ending with ‘The Enchanted Garden’ in Week Four. As well as interactive themes to draw families to make return visits, guests can also enjoy daily theatre shows, game shows, musical performances, storytelling sessions and a super three-storey maze complete with interactive rooms, as well as great F&B options and much more. Opening times are Sunday to Wednesday, 6pm to 12am and Thursday to Saturday, 4pm to 2am.
3. Dubai Shopping Festival Market at Al Seef Presented by Al Foah
A month-long celebration featuring family fun, live shows, art installations, Emirati cultural shows and more to delight visitors, the Dubai Shopping Festival Market at Al Seef Presented by Al Foah will run from 24 December to 23 January. The market’s Chocolate and Art Week, held from 24 to 30 December, will feature tasting experiences, workshops, signature products and more. From 31 December to 6 January, Al Seef will host Kite and Bubble Week featuring ocean-themed kite shows, bubble shows and kids’ kite making workshops. Coffee Week will take place from 7 to 13 January featuring specialised cafes with popular coffee favourites, barista showcases and amazing coffee blends from around the world, while Date Week will run from 14 to 20 January and will include date tasting, date-centred food workshops, palm tree crafts and more. Finally, Waterfront Week, held from 21 to 23 January, will feature a grand finale Dragon Boat Race on the Dubai Creek. Market timings are weekdays from 4pm to 10pm and weekends from 2pm to 12am.
4. Dubai Shopping Festival Markets at Al Muraqabat & Hatta Wadi Hub
Great food, deals and family fun can be enjoyed at markets open throughout the festival in one of Dubai’s oldest neighbourhoods and far outside the city in the Hajjar mountains. Held at Al Muraqabat, in Deira, and in Hatta Wadi Hub, an hour’s drive from the city, these markets are a chance for residents and visitors to discover new locations, experience amazing shopping and delight in different foods from all over the world as well as enjoy live performances and shows. Hatta Wadi Hub weekends during DSF will offer a unique programme that combines homegrown artists, kids’ activities, and entertainment for families. Entertainment will include buskers, stage shows and roaming acts in addition to fun kids’ activities such as drumming sessions and Carrom giant game board from 4pm to 10pm daily.
5. Nakheel Mall
Located on the rooftop of the Palm Jumeirah’s landmark shopping destination, Nakheel Mall, the Food and Retail Market is a must-visit stop to stock up on festive treats and enjoy the stunning views and great outdoor retail experience. Taking place until 3 January, the market will also feature a Santa’s Village and Grotto and an ice rink as well as offers, promotions and special Winter Deals.
6. Dubai Festival City Mall
Festival Bay at Dubai Festival City Mall will be transformed into a stunning Winter Wonderland where families can get into the festive spirit of the season. Open until 29 December, the outdoor market will feature a host of great stalls selling retail items and F&B choices. Children can explore a festive interactive maze, an enchanted polar bear valley, and a socially distant Santa’s Grotto for kids of all ages.
7. Mall of the Emirates
Located in the West End of Mall of the Emirates, a specially made and super festive Winter Wonderland will wow shoppers until 24 December. Guaranteed to raise holiday cheer levels, shoppers can enjoy activations held in collaboration with the popular Ripe Market and the mall’s iconic Ski Dubai destination. Youngsters of all ages can meet and take great family photos with a Virtual Santa. Simply scan a smartphone code to be redirected to Instagram where guests can choose between three Santa variations for the perfect festive photo.
8. Ripe Market
Each Friday and Saturday of DSF, the Ripe Market at Academy Park in Umm Suqeim will offer a wide range of healthy family favourite foods, organic and locally grown produce as well as one-off and homemade retail items to visitors. The Ripe Market will be open on Friday from 9am to 7pm and Saturday from 10am to 7pm every weekend.