As the song almost went, "Mall, mall, mall, how do you like it?"
Malls are a huge part of life here in the capital – from being a hangout for kids and families, a refuelling spot to grab a coffee or a bite to eat and, of course, a place to bag a bargain or two at the hundreds of international retailers selling everything from the latest handbag from Paris to the newest hi-tech gadgets.
They all have their own unique character, too, some are glitzy and glamorous, while others have a more earthy sense of charm – and all offer a welcome, lovely air-conditioned escape from the glaring heat of the summer.
All of us have our own favourite mall, and it’s not always just the one that is closest to you. So without further ado, let’s go to the mall today!
Abu Dhabi Mall
The sprawling retail complex first swung open its doors back in 2001 – and it is easy to see why it has stood the test of time.
Nestled in the heart of the city, it is home to more than 200 major outlets, including Zara, Calvin Klein, DKNY and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as great entertainment for the kids, in the form of Fun City, with a Vox Cinema among the coming attractions.
One reason to go: Popping over to the mall is great exercise, too.
The Abu Dhabi Mall Walkers Club go for a climate-controlled stroll in the mall every morning, between 7am and 10am, so don’t let the summer heat put you off getting your steps in.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Fri 10am-11pm. Al Zahiyah, near Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi (02 645 4858).
Al Seef Village Mall
Al Seef has fast become a one-stop dining, shopping and entertainment destination since the launch of the funky The Walk district, just behind the mall. While you are in the area checking out the vibrant addition to the city, it is well worth heading inside this hub.
During a visit here, you can stop by at a number of shops, visit restaurants and even go to the library for some quiet reflection and a good read. Once you are done, make sure to take a leisurely stroll around The Walk.
One reason to go: It is easy to be a bit snobbish about mall restaurants, but leave your preconceptions at the door before heading to Lebanese spot Zaytinya. The elegant décor, great food and excellent value dishes make it a perfect place to fill up after a shopping trip.
Open daily 10am-10pm. Al Salam Street, Khalifa Park area (02 448 8886).
Al Raha Mall
Anything you could ever want is pretty much in store here, from traditional Arabian fashion brands to international outlets, to toy and book stores and a supermarket.
There is also a Fun Zone for the kids and a cinema showing the latest blockbuster releases. If all that shopping builds up a hunger, you can visit the bustling food court and individual restaurant options, too.
One reason to go: If you have a young family member who is a rising creative talent, head on over to the Young Musician Music Institute, which offers lessons in a range of instruments and genres such as classical, jazz, rock, pop, blues and much more.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm; Thu-Sat 10am-11pm. Channel Street, Al Raha (02 556 2229).
Al Wahda Mall
You really can do it all at Al Wahda Mall – especially since the vast space got made even bigger.
There are dozens upon dozens of anchor stores in the extended mall, offering everything from electronics and fashion to jewellery and homeware and entertainment attractions like the popular Challenge Chambers and a nine-screen cinema with space for 1,500 movie-goers.
It is a great spot for a bite to eat, too, with a wide range of eateries, including familiar names such as Peppermill and TGI Fridays.
For football fans with particularly fine taste, there is also a Liverpool FC store in the mall which was opened by Reds legend Robbie Fowler himself.
One reason to go: You can get sporty in the mall extension. Head down to the Sports Lounge in the basement, where you can try out table tennis and take a shot at snooker.
Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Sat 10am-11pm. Hazza Bin Zayed Street (02 443 7000).
There is a little bit of everything for visitors at Deerfields Mall.
It should be high on your list when you need to do your big shop, with a massive Carrefour supermarket taking pride of place here.
Fitness fanatics can work up a sweat at Gold’s Gym, you can look into getting a shiny new motor at Mercedes Benz and spruce up your abode at PAN Emirates Home Furnishings.
The range of restaurants will give you plenty of food for thought, too, with Chili’s, La Brioche and India Palce among the tasty dining options.
One reason to go: This mall is Deerfields of dreams for fun-seeking youngsters. The array of attractions include Fabyland, an indoor entertainment zone that is home to a wide variety of fun rides and activities.
Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Al Shahama Road (02 501 0826).
One of the most striking shopping complexes in the city, Marina Mall boasts more than 400 brands and stores and hosts fun visitor attractions such as an ice rink, a bowling alley, a cineplex, musical fountains and a 100 metre high viewing platform.
The mall has also been given a little Premier League quality by the addition of a Manchester City FC store, featuring a full range of club merchandise.
One reason to go: Kids and adults alike jump at the chance to go to BOUNCE, the indoor trampoline park where you can leap for joy on a raft of brilliant facilities, such as the free-falling experience, Quick Drop, the massive Infinity Wall, a zip line and the new X-Park assault course.
Open daily 10am-10pm. Corniche breakwater (800 6623).
If you are after a taste of the high life, Al Maryah’s luxurious shopping and dining destination is the place for you.
There are a raft of high-end retailers and brands to check out here, including leading fashion names such as BVLGARI, Dolce & Gabbana, Cartier, Dior and much, much more. Foodie fans are also in for a treat.
The upscale Dining Collection includes culinary big-hitters such 99 Sushi Bar, La Petite Maison, Roberto’s, Nusr-Et and Zuma. Throw in a beautiful waterfront setting, and this is an experience to truly savour.
One reason to go: The Dining Collection is an absolute must for food lovers and no visit is complete without sampling the Peruvian pleasures on a plate at our reigning restaurant of the year, COYA. See for yourself why we rave about this remarkable restaurant.
Open daily 10am-10pm. Al Maryah Island (02 616 6999).
The Mall at World Trade Center
The huge mall is quite the history maker. Not only did it welcome the very first House of Fraser in the region, but also introduced Karen Millen, BCBG and Missoni outlets, too.
There are a great selection of retail options to peruse and you will have a good time touring the mall, which is filled with more than 3,000 square metres of terraces and landscaped rooftop gardens.
One reason to go: Once you are done shopping, head up to The Hub, a fantastic collection of dining options, including Pan Latin favourite BU!, laidback bar Back Yard Bistro, the always lively Jazz@PizzaExpress and the very best modern Indian eatery in the city, Tamba.
Open Sun-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-11pm. Al Markaziyah (02 508 2400).
We have saved the biggest until last (and this is in alphabetical order).
If you’re looking for some retail therapy, you can get a comprehensive course at Abu Dhabi’s largest mall. Yas Mall is set over a staggering 2.5m sq, featuring more than 400 big name brands, a 20-screen cinema, a massive family entertainment zone and an array of restaurants.
There’s so much to do you probably actually could shop ’til you drop.
One reason to go: A whole world of flavours can be enjoyed under one massive roof at recently-launched culinary concept Urban RetrEAT.
A terrific twelve different food vendors will be rotated in a vibrant environment, which will take foodie fans on a unique journey through the colourful streets of Venezuela, and a plaza in Italy to a back alley in Dubai and a village in Lebanon.
The current global roster of food vendors includes Firefly Burger, Sukkar Dose, Off The Hook, Pidzza, Casa Latina, Mr. Brisket and Casa De Churros.
Open daily 10am-10pm. Yas Island (800 927 6255).