Dubai Global Village
Area: Arabian Ranches, Dubai
From its humble beginnings in 1996 as a small site by the creek where little kiosks sold products from different countries, Dubai Global Village has grown into a huge attraction. Dubai Global Village is now the star attraction of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), an open-air extravaganza that attracted 4.5 million visitors in 2008.
At the heart of Dubai Global Village are huge pavilions from about 40 countries, bringing together diverse world cultures and selling native food, goods, and handicrafts. There are some real treasures too, including fantastic cottons from China, nuts from Syria, honey from Yemen, carpets from Iran, textiles from India, and furniture from Morocco.
The fairground rides contribute to a distinctly carnival atmosphere, as does the broad spectrum of stalls and activities, including music, dance, and theater. Dubai Global Village is a must-see, but do be prepared for a fair amount of walking.
Dubai Global Village is currently undergoing extensive renovation to replace the temporary pavilions with a permanent display area and is due to relaunch in 2009; check the Dubai Global Village website for more details.