Dubai Mall, the largest shopping center in the Middle East

Dubai Mall is undoubtedly the largest shopping center in Dubai and the United Arab Emirates, and the favorite of its inhabitants. It is true that the Dubai Mall has succeeded in creating an aesthetic and pleasant space. In addition to a great shopping experience, it offers exceptional recreational attractions such as its aquarium, fountains or dinosaur skeleton.

View of Dubai Mall, from the artificial lake at the foot of Burj Khalifa. Dubai mall is the largest mall in the Middle East ©Odyfolio

More than just a shopping center

Make no mistake: Dubai Mall is not just a mall, it's a tourist destination itself. Even if you have no intention of spending your holidays in a mall, you have to go to Dubai mall, it's a must. Not for a crazy afternoon shopping, but for discovering modern Dubai and its popular tourist attractions.

Dubai Mall is a huge 1.1 million square meter shopping center, the largest in the world, with 1,200 stores covering more than 800,000 square meters, in the heart of a new urban complex built around an artificial lake. At the foot of the highest tower in the world, and including many hotels, luxury residences, Souk Al Bahar and the famous fountains of Dubai.

Inside the shopping center, along pedestrian walkways, tourist attractions captivate the visitor's gaze: the giant aquarium, the interior fountains, the dinosaur skeleton... in short, many things to amaze young and old alike. For one afternoon, when temperatures exceed 40 degrees outdoors.

Dubai Mall ©Odyfolio

Dubai Mall Aquarium

Centerpiece of the building, located on the ground floor in its center, the giant Dubai Mall aquarium amazes young and old alike. The water reservoir has impressive dimensions and is home to more than 33,000 living species including 400 sharks. In all, there are 85 different species of fish and other marine creatures cohabiting, including large manta rays.

The aquarium is accessible from the ground floor and the first floor. Tip: To avoid the crowd, go upstairs to the H & M store, there is a corridor with several observation windows to be very close to the fish.

The giant aquarium of Dubai Mall, United Arab Emirates ©Odyfolio

Every day at 10 o'clock in the morning, the aquarium team feeds manta rays; at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, the divers go down to the pit to feed the sharks.

That's it for the free activities. You need to know that the aquarium has not been installed solely for the pleasure of visitors. Like anything else in Dubai, it's not a billionaire craze but a big investment that needs to be profitable. Then a large catalog of activities is offered to visitors. The prices of the observation activities range between 100AED and 200AED with combined programs such as visit of the glass tunnel under the aquarium and the aquatic zoo, submarine simulator, visit to the crocodiles, ride on boat with transparent bottom.

If you're not scared of dipping, more sporting activities are offered with a snorkel in a cage to watch the sharks a little closer, see even a dive without protection with sharks (the species of the Dubai Aquarium are not very nasty, rest assured). Some of these activities require a prior dive experience, others do not.

For detailed activities, exact prices and conditions, please refer to the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo's official website. Note that there are combined tickets to visit the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall aquarium.

Diving with sharks in the giant aquarium of Dubai Mall, United Arab Emirates. ©Odyfolio

Dubai Dino

New Dubai mall free attraction, Dubai Dino presents a dinosaur skeleton 24 meters long and 7.6 meters tall. The specimen, more exactly an Amphicoelias brontodiplodocus of the Diplodocidae family, lived in the remote Jurassic times in North America. Updated during excavations in 2008 in the state of Wyoming in the United States, it was purchased by the mall for display.

The dinosaur energizes part of the mall that was originally dedicated to the souk of gold, and because of a difficulty in attracting traders, has turned into a more general souk, with its center on a small place, where Dubai Dino stands. To find it, follow the direction of Dome Souk.

The big indoor fountain

Inside Dubai mall there is also an imposing artificial waterfall decorated with statues of divers.

Artificial waterfall inside Dubai mall, UAE ©Odyfolio

Other activities in Dubai mall

Dubai Mall is also an Olympic sized ice rink, 22 movie theaters, an Airbus 380 simulator from Emirates airline, the Kidzania children's playground, or the SEGA amusement park.

Be careful not to underestimate the walking times in this department store. Touch multimedia plans are useful for easily finding stores.

And what about Shopping?

With all these tourist attractions, we would almost forget to talk about shopping. The shopping center is home to about 1,200 shops... so you would be unlucky not to find your favorite brands. The shops are on all levels, knowing that the lowest level is rather devoted to restaurants and banks, supermarkets, souvenir shops. The top floor is less textile-oriented, with electronics, home stores, a large Kinokuniya bookstore that offers books, magazines and various media mainly in English and Arabic, but also in many other languages.

The major jewelers are located primarily on the ground floor, and upscale fashion boutiques are located on Fashion Avenue.

Route Tips

Start quiet at Fashion Avenue. Even if you do not plan to buy, the decor of the place is worth a look. Then direction the aquarium, from the ground floor, then from the first floor to be more quiet. Then head for Dubai Dino at Souk Dome. Depending on your wanderings, you should see the big indoor waterfall. Then leave the main building direction Souk Al Bahar to find a terrace for lunch or dinner. There, admire the spectacle of the fountains. Then, climb to the top of Burj Khalifa to see the city of Dubai from the highest point.

The hotel The Address Dubai Mall is recommended if you want to be close to the mall. It has direct access to the shopping center and the most expensive rooms have views of the Burj Khalifa and Dubai fountains.

Other nearby luxury options include The Palace Downtown Dubai, the Armani Hotel Dubai, the Taj Dubai or the Sofitel Dubai Downtown next to the metro.

Map of Dubai Mall

Accessing Dubai Mall by car is relatively easy, with clear directions. If you go to Burj Khalifa, take the direction Dubai Mall because this is where the visitor parking is. Two large car parks can accommodate thousands of vehicles: Cinema parking and Fashion parking. Attention in the evening and on Friday, the car parks are quickly saturated with gigantic traffic jams and delirious waiting times to find a place. The taxi is very convenient to get there, maybe a little less to leave with long waiting times due to the crowds. The most convenient rush hour may be to come by subway, Dubai Mall station. Tip if you are driving on weekends: come early in the morning, there are few people and it is easy to park.

Location of Dubai Mall in Downtown Dubai ©OpenStreetMap contributors

Notes and references :

Official website:

Official website Dubai Aquarium:

Official website Icerink Dubaï mall :

Official website The Address Dubai Mall :