Malls are a big part of the culture of the U.A.E. Since temperatures in the summer can reach 130 degrees, you can understand why. You don’t just go for an hour to two like you do back home, but rather you go for the day. As a result, the malls have EVERYTHING! From the basics like shops and food courts to things like dry-cleaning, grocery stores, real estate agents, pharmacies, banks, etc.
You can find almost every American food chain in the malls – McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, Hardees, Baja Fresh, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone, etc., etc. We even found Garrett’s Popcorn (out of Chicago) who have the best caramel corn ever!
That said, I won’t bore you with a lot of pictures of Orange Julius’ or Baby Gap stores, but just show some clips of the more unusual and fascinating things I found in the malls.
MARINA MALL, ABU DHABI
The most interesting thing in Abu Dhabi’s largest mall is the observation tower in the center. Up top is a nice restaurant and café. Of course, the shops and interior were very well designed and way too expensive for our budget!
DUBAI MALL, DUBAI
Situated at the base of the Burj Khalifa, this mall had several cool features – a beautiful waterfall, a huge ice skating rink and an enormous aquarium that you could walk through.
MALL OF THE EMIRATES
Most famous for its indoor ski slope, this mall is huge. I admit I was completely fascinated by the slope….in the middle of the desert! While I didn’t go skiing (waiting to go with Meg), I will for sure!