We took a trip to Dubai this week…twice! It’s funny though, I don’t know if I can call my two trips to Dubai, actual trips! Both times were to malls, once for Ikea, and once for shopping and fun! This is a mall society…everything you want to do is pretty much in a mall. Ice skating, skiing, aquarium, Segaland, shopping, eating, theaters, Fun City…and more! More often than not, when we need something or go somewhere, it’s to the mall. I get it though…it’s COOL in the mall, and I don’t mean socially. Well, maybe a little bit for the social scene…but the temperature!
We try doing things outside with the kids, and they get so hot so quickly. Even school field trips are often to the mall…yeah, I didn’t get it either at first, but then I realized, it’s too hot to take them for long periods of time to places outside. My son’s school recently went to the mall just to walk around. I was told it was to introduce the kids to the society around them. I’m not sure that’s a valid reason to take my kid to the mall, but then again, I don’t understand the whole field trip justifications here anyway. But I digress. Back to our fun in Dubai!
So, our first trip was to the Festival City Mall on one end of Dubai. All we needed was Ikea. We have moved into our home, and now it was time to get a few remaining “things” and curtains to bring it all together. I can’t really say what the mall was like though! We walked into Ikea, and 5 hours later…yes, 5 hours later, we walked out. I couldn’t believe it took that long for such a short list! However, my kids were thrilled. They were in Ikea which reminded them of home, and they got to eat their Ikea meatballs. Heaven. You snatch up those moments whenever you can to try and help your kids settle in nicely. While we didn’t get a chance to see the mall, I did notice a Ferrari store at the mall! Jared wanted to hit that up, but we ran out of time. As a side note, there is Ferrari World…a theme park, in Abu Dhabi…we plan on going to that for sure!
Dubai has beautiful buildings…all with the most unique tops. On our second trip to Dubai, was to yet another mall, this time the Dubai Mall. AMAZING! On our drive into this part of the city, we got to see the Burj and watch it as it got closer and closer, until, eventually, it was on top of us. HUGE! Edward calls it the “tallest tower in the World” whenver referring to it. It’s amazed by it. Since it is a holiday week here in the UAE, everything is very crowded and sold out. Tickets to the Burj are completely sold out all week, unless you want to go at 10:30pm, which I wasn’t about to do with my kiddos! So we’ll review that once we get a chance to go up. But even standing outside, it’s just breathtaking. At home, I recall being next to some pretty impressive building throughout the USA. I thought they were huge. Even here, I thought…how big can it really be? But then you see the Burj next to what you once thought were very tall buildings, and you realize it’s magnitude. It’s so delicate looking, so sparkly, so beautiful. I’m amazed that plans are already developed to top this beauty in another country…double the size. Why mess with a good thing?
As for Dubai Mall, it really is quite a mall, unlike any other I’ve visited. I used to wonder what it would be like to be on Rodeo Drive or 5th Avenue…I think I have a pretty good idea now. You have all the high end stores like Tifanny & Co., Bulari, Mont Blanc, and Bloomingdales…to the stores I know…Aeropostale, Guess, Sanrio, Gap, etc. Definitely something for everyone and all budgets. Beyond the shopping, which there’s plenty of scattered on 4 floors, there’s entertainment galore. You have Segaland, Kidzania (a mini city built for kids to learn), ice skating, the Burj tour, the Dubai Fountains, and the Aquarium…a Guinness book title holder. Really, you could spend a week here in the mall just trying to do everything. We opted for the glimpse of everything on this trip, getting our bearings. Next time, we’ll settle in to some of the events more in depth. Before setting off on our tour, we needed a second stroller. This place was way to big and we knew we’d be here for a long time. So, at the information desk, you can “rent” a stroller…a Quinny to be exact. A VERY nice stroller! All you need is to leave your passport, National ID, Driver’s License, or some other form of ID. That’s it, no other fee. It was a lifesaver.
After visiting the amazingly beautiful aquarium (even though I still hold Monterey Bay Aquarium as my favorite), we were off to lunch. My kids enjoyed a Fat Burger meal, while my husband and I enjoyed our long anticipated Baja Fresh! Mexican food is hard to come by here…and while Baja Fresh isn’t “real” Mexican food, it’s still pretty darn good and filled that Mexican food void we had. There are two major food courts in the mall, so it just depends on what you want to eat. But you’ll find everything from Japanese to Lebanese and more. There’s even a natural/organic food store in the mall which I was very happy to see. It’s the only one I know of in the UAE so far…and it’s stocked relatively well. They have a lovely cafe to eat in as well…much like Whole Foods…just less selection.
Make your way outside on the LG floor of the mall, and you’ll run into a lovely boardwalk of sorts with outdoor dining, a souk across the bridge, gorgeous skyline, and the two main attractions…the Burj and the Dubai fountains. The fountains begin at 6pm, and go off on the 1/2 hour. Each time is different music with different choreography. We sat for two of them…they were amazing. You always think of the Bellagio’s fountains in Las Vegas, but now I will think of the Dubai fountains. If you’re in the area, make sure to stop and watch…even two or three of them.
After seven hours at the mall, our feet hurt and we were ready to head home. We managed to squeeze in a merry-go-round ride and a trip to Candylicious before we left. We have so much more to do in exploring Dubai, let alone the mall itself! I can’t wait for more trips back to this place. I hope you find it as magical as I did!