Abu Dhabi Mall and the luxury focused Galleria Mall are the area's two main destinations, for now. Al Maryah Central Mall, with 400 shops, is pegged to open in 2019, while the even bigger Reem Mall (on neighbouring Reem Island) is set to follow suit in 2020.

Shopping for Souvenirs

One of the many rewards of a city with a high density of foreign residents is a lively trade between nations. This is evident at the macro level, of course, with various departments of trade and commerce lobbying hard for favoured status on behalf of their sovereign nations. But it's also evident at the micro level, with many local outlets representing the goods of the local expatriate communities.

While electrical fittings from India or ceramics tiles from Germany may not be of much interest to the visitor, there are many goods that are. Feel it's not authentic to buy Syrian boxes from an Indian tradesman in Abu Dhabi? On the contrary, in buying Kashmiri pashminas or Turkish lanterns from Keralite shop-owners, you'll be participating in a pattern of trade that has been going on locally for centuries. Here are some great buys on sale in Al Zahiyah:

  • Painted ceramics (Turkey)
  • Wooden inlaid boxes (Syria)
  • Sand bottles (Jordan)
  • Cotton towels (Egypt)
  • Dates (Saudi Arabia)
  • Camel-leather baskets (Oman)
  • Khanjars (daggers – Yemen)
  • Carpets (Iran)
  • Embroidered shawls (Kashmir)
  • Printed clothing (India)
  • Spices (Sri Lanka)