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Central markets are quite common in Arab countries, but due to the heat in Dubai, many shoppers prefer the convenience of shopping malls and supermarkets. However, markets and fairs are re-emerging mainly because of the bargains on used items and unique gift items for sale.
Most indoor markets take place all year, but the majority of outdoor markets operate during the cooler months of October to April.
Note: market times are subject to change.
A souk (or souq) is a central marketplace in an Arab city. Shopping in traditional souks is a unique experience. The quality of items for sale can vary and bargaining is a necessity to get the best deal.
Getting to most of the souks is easiest by taxi as parking is limited and traffic is dense. Souks can be visited on both sides of the Dubai Creek by taking a water taxi (abra) across the creek.
Food Souk: The popular fish market and a smaller fruit and vegetable market make up the food souk. The seafood market sells freshly caught seafood at wholesale prices. The best times to visit are early in the morning or late in the evening as the catches come in.
Fruit and Vegetable Market: Local and imported produce from Asia, Europe and the Mediterranean. Mainly caters to wholesale purchasers, but individual buyers are welcome to shop here.
Fruit and Vegetable Market: A smaller produce market than the popular fruit and vegetable market in Ras Al Khor Industrial 3. Local and exotic produce items are sold at reasonable prices.
Farmers' Market: Locally-grown seasonal produce, organic eggs and poultry from farms in Dubai and the other emirates.
Gold Souk: Custom and ready-made jewellery made from gold and precious stones. A variety of traditional Arabic and contemporary designs.
Meena Bazaar: Also known by its former name "Cosmos Lane", this shopping area is known for its textile shops, tailors and Asian (specifically Indian) clothing stores.
Satwa Souk: Imported fabrics are sold by the yard and can be taken to nearby tailors for custom made clothing.
Spice Souk: Walk between stalls selling aromatic and colourful spices and herbs in the oldest souk in Dubai.
Textile Souk: Sometimes known as the Bur Dubai Souk, which sells imported fabrics of varying quality.
The modern souks in Dubai are re-creations of traditional souks with elaborate Arabic architecture and decorations.
Souk Al Bahar: A blend of indoor and outdoor shopping and dining areas with views of Burj Dubai Lake and the Dubai Fountains.
Souk Madinat Jumeirah: A mix of chain stores and boutique shops, restaurants and a theatre.
Khan Murjan: Unique Arabic items such as Persian rugs, stained glass, hand crafted Moroccan furniture and antiques.
Dubai ARTE Souk: Art and craft fair featuring handmade items by local artisans in the UAE, used books and homemade food items.
Dubai Flea Market: This flea market is organised by the ARTE group and held at various locations in Dubai. Only second-hand items can be sold here, special permission for new goods must be granted by Dubai Municipality in advance.
Covent Garden Market Dubai: Handmade artwork, clothing and jewellery by local artisans and designers.
Dubai Designer Market: Individuals selling second-hand high fashion brand clothing and accessories as well as vintage items. Aspiring designers also showcase their clothing and accessory lines.
Uptown Mirdif Second Hand Bazaar: Individuals sell used items such as clothing, accessories, toys, books and furniture.
There are several markets and fairs held at various times throughout the year, particularly around Christmas and at the beginning of spring and summer. These fairs are mostly organised by schools and residential communities.
It is possible to reserve a table for a fee in order to sell second hand goods. These events can be organised by schools or private organisers. Contact a private school or one of the event organisers below for information.