November is an exciting month in Dubai. Al-fresco dining is in full swing, people venture outside for longer than five minutes and shoppers descend on the city’s outdoor night and weekend markets looking for unique buys. This year, a number of our favourite markets have moved to new locations, and one is doing so well it has decided to launch in Sharjah.
To keep you in the loop, we’ve revisited all of Dubai’s markets to find out what they sell, how much they sell it for and what you need to know about spending a day rifling for treasure. Good luck!
Marina Market USP: This newly relocated market offers a wide selection of unique goods, many with a regional twist.
You’ll find: Stunning leather clutch bags with Arabic calligraphy clasps, a great selection of Moroccan and Turkish fashion and accessories, hand-made babies’ leather shoes and funky bibs, eco-friendly childrenswear and Turkish pashminas and scarves.
Price range of items: Dhs50 to Dhs800.
Entertainment/food: Dubai Marina Mall is the closest location to grab a bite to eat, while entertainment is geared towards the kids, so mum can be left free to shop. Keep an eye out for the soon-to-be-installed outdoor ice rink.
Timings/location: The market takes place Wed-Thu 10am-10pm and Fri-Sat 10am-midnight until the end of April. The new location next to Dubai Marina Mall offers better parking and a wide choice of nearby dining options.
ARTE Art & Craft Market and Souk USP: The products sold at this indoor market are all designed and hand-made in the UAE by stall holders from 30 different countries. The markets are held indoors, so they’re not affected by the weather and run throughout the year.
You’ll find: More than 140 stalls selling hand-made items such as fashion for adults and children (and sometimes pets), home decor, jewellery, artwork, photography, ceramics, woodwork, mosaics, knitting/crocheting, children’s toys, locally written books, women’s accessories, soaps, skincare products and hair accessories. There’s also a second-hand book stall run by Feline Friends, which helps raise funds for the care of cats in the community.
Price range of items: Dhs10 for a card or a cake, Dhs1,000-plus for art.
Entertainment/food: Food is sold only at ARTE Souk, which is held at Times Square Centre. All of the items are home-made and range from pickles, jams and chutneys to bread, cakes and tarts. Many vendors offer mini workshops including sewing machine demonstrations, painting classes, tie dye with children and feather hair installations.
Location: ARTE Market takes place at Festival City on the first Friday of the month, noon until 9pm, while ARTE Souk is held at Times Square Centre on Sheikh Zayed Road on the second Friday of the month, noon until 7pm.
Next market: ARTE Market, Friday November 2. www.arte.ae (050 456 7481).
Covent Garden Market USP: A lively outdoor market with two new beachside locations on The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence.
You’ll find: Everything from affordable original gifts and souvenirs to unique hand-made bits and pieces, accessories, jewellery, home decor and floaty maxi dresses – perfect for the beach.
Price range of items: Dhs50 to Dhs1,000.
Entertainment/food: There are no food stalls, but plenty of restaurants nearby. Kill some time and check out the henna artists, airbrush tattooists and a caricaturist.
Frequency/location: It’s held Wed-Thu, 5pm-midnight; Fri-Sat 10am-10pm. The Shams sector (opposite Sheraton Hotel on The Walk) features 35 stalls, while the Murjan sector (before The Ritz-Carlton Dubai) has 22 stalls.
Dubai Flea Market USP: The biggest second-hand market in the region, this flea market runs in two locations (Safa Park and Uptown Mirdif) and features 300 stands full of second-hand goods and handicrafts. Visitors arrive early in the morning (we recommend getting there by 8am) to get the best bargains and spend the rest of the day in the park or doing activities.
You’ll find: All kinds of pre-loved treasures, from electronics and books to clothes and toys. There are even some real gems, such as antique pictures that expats have brought from another country.
Price range of items: Dhs1 to Dhs500 – it’s all about how well you bargain.
Entertainment/food: The Safa Park location is situated next to the park restaurant, and at the more family-oriented Uptown Mirdif location you can snack on popcorn, candyfloss and ice cream as well as live entertainment.
Frequency/location: On the first Saturday of every month at Safa Park, gate 5, 8am-3pm; and the second Friday of every month at Uptown Mirdif, next to Spinneys, 3pm-8pm.
Next market: Saturday November 3 at Safa Park. Look out for the new Sharjah Flea Market, launching in November 2012. www.dubai-fleamarket.com (055 452 6030).
Dubai Designer Market USP: This second-hand designer market is a treasure trove of pre-loved high-end items, fashion and accessories, plus it also acts as a platform for young designers to showcase their creations.
You’ll find: Young designers selling fashion and jewellery from their latest collections, as well as vendors offering used authentic high-end brands such as Gucci, Prada and Chanel. The market officially opens at 3pm, but as vendors start setting up from 1pm, we recommend passing by at around 2pm to grab the unique pieces.
Price range of items: Dhs100 for a piece of hand-made jewellery to Dhs20,000 for a Hermès bag.
Entertainment/food: Shoppers can grab a bite to eat at various restaurants and coffee shops inside Beach Centre.
Frequency/location: The second Saturday of every month, 3pm-7pm at Beach Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road.