Dubai is well known for its amazing range of shopping malls and retail outlets. While many people prefer to flock to the malls in Dubai to take care of their retail needs, quite a few quirky finds are hidden in other more hidden locations. The presence of unique open markets in Dubai is an important shopping attraction besides malls and souks in Dubai. Whether you’re looking for high-end brands or local handicrafts, you’ll find flea markets and other retail centres in Dubai that sell exactly what you need. If you’re not looking for branded items or fixed prices, check out these cheap shopping markets. You’ll find plenty to keep you interested.
The Farmer’s Market is a weekend event that happens on the Terrace in Bay Avenue, Business Bay ideally located for people living in rental apartments in Executive Towers and Manazel Al Safa. This winter event has been happening every year since 2010, but there are smaller markets that are set up for those of you who wish to buy fresh produce. The goal of this community-led initiative was to bring locally grown produce to your homes and tables. When you buy from the Farmers’ Market, you know how fresh your purchase is, where it came from, and what you’re spending your money on. Now that’s what we call an informed purchase and that’s what you get from most open markets in Dubai.
- Location: The Terrace, Bay Avenue, Business Bay
- Timings: Fridays and Saturdays – 08:00 am to 01:00 pm
Dubai Flea Market
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. This is true for the Dubai Flea Market, the second entry on our list of open markets in Dubai. The Flea Market is all about buying and selling pre-loved, second-hand items and you can find almost everything here. The variety of things people put up for sale is astounding. Do you want furniture? They have it! They also have textiles, toys, household items, ceramics, antiques, books, games and the list is never-ending. The Flea Market changes its locations quite frequently. You may find it in a different corner of Dubai every weekend. To keep up with their movements, always check their calendar.
- Location: Gate# 1, 2 & 3, Zabeel Park, Zabeel
- Timings: 08:00 am to 11:00 pm
Arte, The Makers’ Market
ARTE is nothing like other open markets in Dubai. It is single-handedly the largest open market dedicated to handmade art, designs, fashion and craft in the UAE. There are almost 150 original and expert designers and craft makers associated with the ARTE. The market has been around since 2005 and aims to promote local talent and craftsmen. You can find art, accessories, pottery, home décor, and more here – everything is handmade.
- Location: Times Square, Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Qouz
- Timings: Fridays 12:00 pm to 07:00 pm
The Market (The Beach)
If you want to experience outdoor shopping in Dubai, head over to The Market. Strewn across The Beach are several stalls selling an interesting variety of products. It is an ideal place to shop if you want to buy handicrafts, seasonal décor, wooden tools and toys, and items that make good gifts. There are different stalls that sell almost everything from locally designed clothes to artisanal home-made soaps and organic skincare products. Just in case the heat gets too much to bear and you get exhausted after shopping too much, hit the food stalls for a quick bite!
- Location: The Beach (opposite JBR)
- Timings: 09:00 am to 11:00 pm
The Ripe Market is one of the most popular open markets in Dubai. This open market is set up every Friday bringing you something fresh, seasonal and exciting. A community-based alfresco event, the Ripe Market takes place across several locations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The aim is to support local growers and businesses by providing them with a weekly platform to sell their produce. Apart from fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, you can find handcrafted products at the Ripe Markets. To stay up to date with locations and different pop-up events, follow their social media pages.
- Location: Held in many locations including Zabeel Park, Gate 2, Barsha Pon Park etc
- Timings: Every Friday 09:00 am to 04:00 pm
Although not strictly an open market, Dragon Mart is certainly one of the most popular places to find obscure finds in the city. If you are a fan of Chinese products, you’ll love the Dragon Mart. Contrary to most other open markets in Dubai, this one is fancy. But here’s the good part – the prices don’t shoot through the roof.
Every Chinese product that you see in the upscale malls of Dubai are first dropped here. Do you know what that means? You can buy the same products from Dragon Mart at a lower price than what you would pay at the mall. The products are sold at the wholesale rate and if you know how to bargain, you’ll get them even cheaper. There’s a huge selection of products available. You may not find branded stuff here, but you can get something unique even on a tight budget. Dragon Mart is hands down the best place to buy Chinese products in Dubai.
- Location: International City, Al Awir Road – Interchange 5
- Timings: Sunday to Wednesday – 10:00 am to 10:00 pm; Thursday to Saturday – 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
The Karama Market or the Karama Shopping Complex has more than 300 shops. Located in one of the older residential areas, this is one of those affordable open markets in Dubai that are vibrant and bustling with customers all year round. The shops in Karama Market offer great deals and an even better opportunity to bargain for your favourite items. This is one of the most preferred cheap shopping markets if you are looking for affordable gifts and souvenirs. You can even buy fashion accessories, handbags, and sportswear without breaking your bank.
- Location: Near Karama Fish Market
- Timings: Saturday to Thursday – 10:00 am to 10:30 pm; Friday – 02:30 pm to 12:00 am
Located in Bur Dubai, Meena Bazaar has the reputation of being one of the oldest open markets in Dubai. Overlooking Dubai Creek, this colourful market transports you to a different world. The bazaar has been named after its namesake bazaar in Delhi, India, which is specifically popular for its extensive collection of traditional clothing for women. Meena Bazaar in Dubai however, is renowned for its unique Pakistani and Indian products. This bazaar is the perfect place if you want to buy jewellery, textiles, and handicrafts with South Asian influences. Shops selling furniture and ceramics are also common here. The best part is that you can haggle for the prices and get a good bargain on almost everything. Put on a pair of comfy shoes, wear something light and airy, carry a big shopping bag and you’re set to conquer Meena Bazaar in Dubai.
- Location: Bur Dubai, Al Ghubaiba Rd – Al Fahidi St
- Timings: Saturday to Thursday – 08:00 am to 12:00 am; Fridays from 04:00 pm to 12:00 am
If you’re heading to Meena Bazaar, you might as well check out the Al-Fahidi neighbourhood – one of the popular heritage sites in Dubai. There’s plenty to see. You wouldn’t be disappointed.
That said, here’s something you need to be careful about when opting to shop at the cheap open markets in Dubai. Many, especially the flea markets and Arte, keep changing their locations. Sometimes they’re seasonal too. So, make sure you check for their availability and current locations beforehand to save yourself the unnecessary hassle.