A growing number of al fresco shopping spots add outdoor character to the retail scene, from plush European-style boulevards to artisan markets selling handicrafts you can't find anywhere else. At La Mer (800 637 227), stylish boutiques – think Via Rodeo, Trina Turk and Beach Bunny – rub shoulders with cool cafés along a strip of golden sand just off Jumeirah Beach Road.
Over at Dubai Creek, Al Seef (800 637227) delivers a cultural vibe with its setting inspired by a traditional Arabian neighbourhood. Here, you can pick up everything from fashion accessories to perfumes and Emirati handicrafts.
For a more modern feel, City Walk (+971 4 317 3999) has a profusion of funky designer-centric boutiques such as Karl Lagerfeld, Michael Kors, and Whistles, among others, as well as upmarket Parisian department store Le BHV Marais.
Nearby on Al Wasl Road, BoxPark (+971 4 317 3999) draws a hip crowd to its shipping containers, housing contemporary fashion from the likes of Urbanist and OnePiece.
At the Dubai Marina end of town, The Beach at JBR (+971 80 063 7227) blends boho chic market action with holiday-accessories-oriented stores including Sauce On-Sea for swimwear and beach-related accessories. It's bordered by an esplanade packed with family- friendly eateries and attractions.