By Kateryna Kadabashy
If you are a new student at American University of Sharjah (AUS) and are wondering what can you do when you have some free time, don’t fret, there are many options to help you hang out and enjoy your time, especially in our neighbor Emirate of Dubai. Dubai is known, among other things, for the great shopping experiences it offers across its various malls and souks. However, there are malls in the city that offer much more than just shops, they offer much more for you to have a good experience. Here are my top 5 list for you.
Being among the biggest shopping malls in the world, Dubai Mall is not a place to miss. The mall contains several shops, ranging from designer brands, such as Alexander McQueen, to cheaper options, such as New Yorker. It also hosts a spacious cinema, SEGA theme park, and an ice skating rink. You will also be able to enjoy the world’s second-largest choreographed fountains, as they shoot water up to more than 150 meters in height. The fountains are surrounded by beautifully designed outdoor areas, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee from nearby shops. Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, will not skip your notice as you enjoy the outdoor views of the mall. Visitors can get inside the 124th level of the skyscraper upon the purchase of tickets, or enjoy their meals at At.mosphere restaurant, located on the 122nd floor.Video by Viator
There are several reasons why this mall is a nice place to visit, especially after the recent renovations it has undergone. Apart from the various shopping options, it has a good variety of restaurants that offer different cuisines and outdoor seating options. The mall also recently installed a new attraction called IMAGINE, which broke Guinness World Records as the largest water screen projection and largest permanent projection mapping in the world. IMAGINE is a mesmerizing show that features dancing fountains, lasers, fire, and music. For rock lovers, the one and only Hard Rock Dubai is also located in DFC. The restaurant is part of a chain of theme restaurants created by Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton, which have branches in more than 55 countries. The café often features free performances by rock bands.Video by Dubai Festival City
Located next to a breathtaking water canal, the mall provides a cozy and airy atmosphere for visitors. Although this mall is smallest in size on this list, it still has a lot to offer. The four stories are filled with popular destinations for shopping, again, varied between affordable and high-end brands. The mall also offers a wide variety of restaurants and cafes with views on Dubai Marina. As for entertainment inside the mall, there is a Reel cinema where visitors can enjoy the latest movies. However, what sets this mall apart from numerous others in Dubai is the beautiful water canal, surrounded by skyscrapers. Visitors can ride boats or simply enjoy a walk along the canal.
This mall houses more than 500 shops and has the biggest Carrefour hypermarket in Dubai. However, it is the various entertainment options available in the mall that make it an attractive destination. Emirates Mall is mostly famous for Ski Dubai, which is the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. The resort hosts a snow garden, where guests can enjoy playing with snow, and offers activities such as skiing and snowboarding. Another unique opportunity offered at Emirates Mall is Theatre by Rhodes, which is a unique and luxury cinema experience where visitors can order plates from a menu created by Michelin star chef Gary Rhodes. The mall also hosts a DUCTAC community theatre that often hosts regional and international comedians and shows.Video by Viator
Named as the biggest themed shopping mall in the world, Ibn Battuta offers a one of a kind experience for visitors. The mall is designed after the adventures of the Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta during the 14th century. Ibn Battuta mall is divided into six pavilions: Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China. Each pavilion is designed according to the culture that was dominant in the area at the time of his travels. There is a hand-painted dome awaiting to mesmerize guests in the Persian pavilion, as well as pyramids in the Egyptian pavilion and a lion fountain in the in the Andalusian pavilion. While enjoying the views, guests can shop in over the 250 stores in the mall.
Chinese Court at Ibn Battuta Mall. Picture by Ibn Battuta Mall.
The best part about all of these malls is that you can reach them by Dubai Metro. However, to reach Dubai Festival City, you need to exit the metro at Emirates or Al Rashidiya Stations and take a short taxi ride to the mall. American University of Sharjah operate shuttle buses to and from Etisalat and Rashidiya metro stations from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on regular class days. You can check the bus schedules here.
Kateryna Kadabashy is a Mass Communication student at American University of Sharjah.
Visit www.aus.edu for more information about American University of Sharjah.