On my last day in Dubai I thought I'd connect with a few world records. I visited the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building and with the world's highest observation deck, and the Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping mall (by total area). These two structures adjoin each other, so it's quite easy to see both in one day. I'll soon publish a separate post on the Burj Khalifi, but today I'd like to focus on some of the sights and activities of the Dubai Mall.
Generally speaking, I'm not much of shopper and definitely not a Mall guy, but the Dubai Mall was an interesting and pleasant place to visit, especially as the outside temperature soared to 40oC (105oF), and it was still early in spring. I nearly wore out a pair of shoes trying to see all the different areas the Mall has to offer -- it truly is massive. And modern. And beautiful. And if I had needed new shoes there was no shortage of places to buy them.
The Dubai Mall opened in 2008 and has over 1,200 retail stores (including stores like Bloomingdales, Versace, Burbury) and more than a hundred food and beverage outlets. The Dubai Mall has a total internal floor area of 5.9 million square feet (>135 acres). It attracts over 60 million visitors a year, making it the busiest mall in the world as well.
As you can imagine, it's impossible to visit it all in a day, even if you're extremely motivated. To put it a different perspective, if you wanted to shop for 8 hours, you'd have to visit more than 2 stores every minute and even then wouldn't have seen them all.
So it's best to try to see highlights and focus your visit on those things that interest you. As I had no desire to shop, I focused on seeing the architecture and layout of the place, visiting any stores that caught my attention, enjoying some food and beverages. Also, I wanted to see the fountain show outside. It's a good idea to use a map (provided free at one of the information kiosks) to plan your exploration before you begin.
Besides shops, the mall has some popular places you can visit with kids, including the massive Dubai Aquarium (highlighting 300 species of marine animals), a full-sized ice skating rink and a massive 22 screen cinema complex. The mall has a luxury hotel and over 14,000 parking spaces.
Some more sights from the Dubai Mall follow:
The following photos are of the lake outside the Dubai Mall (which you can see in the background), and it's fountain show. The fountain show is bigger than the Bellagio's in Las Vegas and would have been spectacular after dark, I'm sure, but that was not an option for me.