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Dubai Shopping Festival

Thursday 21 March 2019 (UAE)   

Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF)

The Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) is an annual one month long event held at the start of the year that puts Dubai on the map more for the marketing of DSF than the actual shopping bargains found. There are some good deals if you look carefully, and there are also various associated events and concerts that can be entertaining, including fireworks displays which are sometimes quite spectacular. And of course a number of raffles and prize draws with money, cars, and gold as prizes. A fine example of Dubai showing off to excess.

  • The Dubai Global Village was originally part of the Dubai Shopping Festival but is now something of an event in its own right, being open for several months in contrast to the one month long DSF.
  • Residents of Dubai sometimes refer not so affectionately to the Dubai Shopping Festival as the Dubai Traffic Festival, due to Dubai looking more like a very large carpark for the duration of the DSF. From 3am to 5am in the morning are good times to be driving if you want to avoid traffic jams.
  • Chairman of the DSF Office (DSFO) Supreme Committee is Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
Dubai Shopping Festival 2014 (DSF 2014) (19th edition)
  • DSF 2014 dates from 02 January to 02 February 2014 (32 days). Theme slogan is "Shop at your Best".
  • DSF organizers are the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE) (CEO is Laila Mohammad Suhail), part of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
  • Opening hours at some shopping malls in Dubai extended from 16 Jan to 02 Feb 2014 (night of 01 Feb 2014). Closing time will be between to 0100 and 0300 (1am and 3am) at shops and foodcourts in the following 5 malls (announced by the DFRE Sun 12 Jan 2014): Deira City Centre, Dubai Festival City Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Mirdif City Centre, The Dubai Mall. Opening times remain as 1000 (10am), or earlier for some stores and services such as supermarkets and banks. No information provided about extended operating times for Dubai Metro and Dubai Bus public transport.
Timings Weekdays (Sun to Wed)1 Weekends (Thu to Fri)1 Saturday1
  Shops Food Courts Shops Food Courts Shops Food Courts
Deira City Center 1000-0100 1000-0200 1000-0200 1000-0300 1000-0200 1000-0300
Dubai Festival City 1000-0100 1000-0200 1000-0200 1000-0300    
Mall of the Emirates 1000-0100 1000-0200 1000-0200 1000-0300 1000-0200 1000-0300
Mirdiff City Center 1000-0100 1000-0200 1000-0200 1000-0300 1000-0200 1000-0300
The Dubai Mall2 1000-0200 1000-0300 1000-0200 1000-0300 1000-0200 1000-0300
  1. Weekends in the UAE are usually regarded as Friday and Saturday, and Thursday night is usually considered to be a weekend night for the purposes of shopping hours, so most shopping malls operate weekend timings from Thu-Sat. The DSF announcement didn't specify which days are included in weekend timings. Saturday timings given where supplied or confirmed, if in italics it's our best guess.
  2. The Dubai Mall opening hours for shops, services (except banks), food court, and restaurants during DSF before 16 Jan 2014 are 1000-0100, and 1000-0300 on Thu to Sat night for waterfront promenade restaurants only.
  • Some roads and areas with a focus on DSF events and activities include:
    • Al Rigga Street.
    • Al Seef Street.
    • Jumeirah Beach Road - weekend street artists and performances?
    • Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard (Emaar Boulevard), Downtown Dubai.
    • The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR The Walk).

DSF 2014 events and shows include

  • 02 Jan 2013 opening day - shows and performances, fireworks display.
  • Al Shindagha Heritage Area (Heritage and Diving Village) - open all year, not just for DSF, but during DSF will organise special Emirati heritage and cultural events including traditional folklore activities, food, weddings, diving shows, games and bands, a traditional souk, marine-related handicrafts, a falconry show, and a camel caravan.
  • Bedouin Lifestyle - dates 02 Jan to 02 Feb 2014, Bedouin customs and traditions on display.
  • Bubble Gum Show - 12-21 Jan 2014 at Mall of the Emirates, each show lasts one hour. Family entertainment with a mixed bag of performers - cheerleaders, Katy Perry impersonator, Nu Sxool dancers, One Direction tribute, and a soap bubble magician. Start times not supplied.
  • Carpet and Art Oasis - dates 02 Jan to 02 Feb 2014, at Dubai Festival City. Sale of carpets, arts and handicrafts.
  • Cirque du Soleil - Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), 30 Dec 2013 to 14 Jan 2014.
  • Concerts (Burj Park) - Arabic music and singers at the Burj Park Downtown Dubai. See concerts heading by date. Performances on 02, 09, 16 Jan 2014.
  • DSF Carnival - street artists and performers on DSF roads and at Global Village, weekends (Thu night to Sat night).
  • Fashion - Abaya Select Show, on 22 Jan 2014 at Emirates Towers. Fashion show event for abayas, attendance by invitation only.
  • Fashion - IT Closet, at shopping malls in Dubai, a virtual shop and dressing room or something so you can see what you look like in different outfits. From 02 Jan to 02 Feb 2014.
  • Fashion - Market Outside the Box, dates 23 Jan to 02 Feb 2014, at Burj Park Downtown Dubai. Souk or market with fashion labels and brands, cafes, entertainment, and food kiosks.
  • Fashion - The Cocoon, 13-14 Jan 2014 at The Dubai Mall. Dedicated area for beauty makeovers for hair, make-up and nails. Free apparently.
  • Fashion - The Fashion Squad - a group roaming the streets of Dubai to hand out competition entry coupons to the best dressed shoppers. From 02 Jan to 02 Feb 2014.
  • Fashion - Vertical Fashion Show and acrobatic performance, 20 Jan 2013, Burj Khalifa.
  • Fireworks - special show on opening day. Daily fireworks displays at Al Seef Street, time 2100 (9pm). Weekend fireworks shows along Dubai Creek at 2000 (8pm), Fri night, not clear if also Thu or Sat or both nights. Arranged by Al Zarooni Group.
  • Flying Superkids Show - from 09-18 Jan 2014 at Al Mamzar Park. Gymnastic performers choreographed with comedy, dance, lights, music, and singing.
  • Furby Live Show - from 16-25 Jan at JBR The Walk. Children's entertainment, show lasts 25 minutes, performed 3x daily, start times not supplied. Blue Furby, Pink Furby, and a couple of other performers will put on a show with dance, drama, humour, music.
  • Global Village - large area in Dubailand with pavilions from different countries selling clothes, crafts, carpets, trinkets, and plastic sandals. Some restaurants specialising in regional cuisines, and some places specialising in fast food. Also a mini amusement or theme park with a handful of rides and attractions to encourage you to expel those chicken shawarmas you just gobbled up.
  • Ice Rink performance by "The Swans" - 24 Jan to 02 Feb at the Dubai Ice Rink, The Dubai Mall. Classical and acrobatic ice skating performance.
  • Indian Republic Day Kavi Sammelan and Mushaira - Hindi and Urdu poetry on 30 Jan 2014 at the Sheikh Rashid Auditorium of the Indian School in Dubai.
  • Mexican Circus - 06 Jan to 02 Feb 2014 at Al Rigga Street, with performing bears and other animal shows, clowns, jugglers, and stunt performances including the Cyclone, Globe of Death, and Wheel of Death.
  • The 7 Sopranos Show, from 02-11 Jan 2014 at JBR The Walk. An Australian opera singing group. Performances 3x daily, duration 30 minutes. Start times not provided.
  • Chinese New Year, The East China State Circus - from 28 Jan to 02 Feb 2014 at Madinat Jumeirah. Acrobatic shows.
  • Theater - Naseeruddin Shah Theatre Fiesta from 16-18 Jan 2014 at the Centrepoint Theatre, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates. Three plays to be performed - Ismat Apa Ke Naam (Urdu), A Walk in the Woods (English), Katha Collage (Hindi).

Sporting events during the DSF - World of Sports

  • Basketball - UAE International Basketball Championship
  • Camel racing - Al Marmoum Camel Racing Season
  • Cricket - Sri Lanka vs Pakistan 2013 Cricket Series
  • Golf - Omega Dubai Desert Classics
  • Horse racing - Dubai World Cup Carnival 2014
  • Horse showjumping -
  • Marathon run - Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2014
  • Motor racing - Dunlop 24Hrs
  • Polo - Dubai Polo Gold Cup Series 2014
  • Showjumping - Dubai Show Jumping Championships 2014
  • Table Tennis - GAC World Tour Grand Finals
  • Wrestling - American Wrestling Show

Other concerts and shows (to be updated with dates and locations)

  • Indian Idol Junior and Comedy Show
  • Mix Tape Rewind Show
  • Paris Opera Ballet Gala
  • Philip Kirkorov Concert
  • Salaam Dubai 2014
  • Swaralaya - Symphony of Strings
  • The Weight Loss Show
  • Valeriy Meladze Concert
  • Viennese Orchestra

Concert dates

  • 02 Jan 2014: Rabeh Saqer (Saudi Arabia) and Balqees Ahmad Fathi (UAE) at Burj Park Downtown Dubai.
  • 09 Jan 2014: Mohammad Abdo (Saudi Arabia) at Burj Park Downtown Dubai.
  • 10 Jan 2014: Jamie Rivera Live in Dubai at Al Nasr Leisureland.
  • 16 Jan 2014: Omar Khairat Concert at Emirates Golf Club.
  • 16 Jan 2014: Hatem Al Iraqi and Majid Al Mohandes at Burj Park Downtown Dubai.
  • 24 Jan 2014: ASAP Live in Dubai at Dubai Festival City. Musical show by The Filipino Channel (TFC) with 40 performers and recording artists from the Philippines including Gary Valenciano, Martin Nievera, Vina Morales, Zsa Zsa Padilla.
  • 24 Jan 2014: Mohammad Mounir (Egypt) and Nancy Ajram (Lebanon) at Zabeel Park.
  • 25 Jan 2014: Zakir Hussain Nirvana at Madinat Arena, Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Joined by Shankar Mahadevan (Bollywood), Louis Banks (jazz), Niladria Kumar (sitar), and Taufiq Qureshi (percussion).

Raffles, competitions, prize draws, awards

  • "A daily Infiniti Mega Raffle offers one DSF shopper the chance to win Dh500,000 every day of the event," was reported by some papers but not clear which prize draw the sentence refers to. The Infiniti Mega Raffle has 3 daily prizes - 2 cars, and 100,000 dhs cash. The Shop and Win Raffle has a first prize of AED 500,000 but only once for the DSF, not every day.
  • Dine and Win - 02 Jan to 02 Feb 2014. Spend minimum AED 100 at restaurants and other eat and drink outlets to be entered in a raffle with a cash prize of AED 350,000. Draw held on the last day of DSF.
  • DSF Journalism Award - not a raffle draw but an award to recognise outstanding journalism promoting the Dubai Shopping Festival.
  • DSF Photography Award - also not a raffle draw but another award, this time for press photographers, not the general public.
  • Gold Raffle - from 02 Jan to 02 Feb 2014. Gold and ¼ carat diamond solitaire rings given away by the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group as prizes.
  • Infiniti Mega Raffle from 02 Jan to 02 Feb 2014. Daily prize draw for two Infiniti cars - a G25 and a QX60, and a cash prize of 100,000. Tickets cost AED 200 each, available at Global Village, major shopping malls, some ENOC and EPPCO petrol stations, Global Village, and the Gold Souk.
  • Nissan Grand Raffle from 02 Jan to 02 Feb 2014. Daily prize draw for one of 14 Nissan car models. Raffle coupons handed out at ENOC and EPPCO petrol stations for non-fuel purchases of minimum AED 20.
  • Shop and Win - from 02 Jan to 02 Feb 2014. First prize of AED 500,000, prize draw on last day of DSF. Obtain one raffle coupon for each AED 200 spent at the smaller malls in Dubai (ones with less than 100 stores), which include Al Ain Center, Al Bustan Center, Al Barsha Mall, Bin Sougat Center, Century Mall, Etihad Mall, Madina Mall, Mazaya Center, Karama Center, Times Square Center, Union Cooperative malls.
Dubai Shopping Festival 2013 (DSF 2013) (18th edition)
  • DSF 2013 dates from 03 January to 03 February 2013 (32 days). Marketing slogan is "Dubai at its Best".
Dubai Shopping Festival 2012 (DSF 2012) (17th edition)
  • DSF dates from Thursday 05 January to Sunday 05 February 2012
  • Shopping mall opening hours extended to midnight during weekends and for some malls during the week also for DSF 2012. Food court hours extended to 0100 in some malls.
  • DSF malls include Al Ghurair Centre, Arabian Mall, BurJuman Centre, Deira City Centre, Dubai Festival City, Dubai Marina Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, Lamcy Plaza, Mall of the Emirates, Mercato Mall, Reef Mall, The Dubai Mall, Wafi City Mall.
Dubai Shopping Festival 2011 (DSF 2011) (16th edition)
  • DSF 2011 dates 20 January to 20 February 2011 (32 days) (announced 26 September 2010 by Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE).
  • Dubai International Jazz Festival 2011 from 20-28 January 2011 at JBR The Walk, 08-15 February 2011 at Dubai Media City Jazz Garden, 16-18 February 2011 (main events) at Dubai Media City.
  • Al Seef Street (Bur Dubai) - night souk and other events.
  • Al Rigga Street (Deira) - events
  • Al Diyafa Street (Bur Dubai) - events
  • JBR The Walk (Dubai Marina) -events
  • Global Village
  • Heritage events at Shindaga Heritage Village and Dubai Diving Village.
  • DSF Desert Camp - in Al Warqa 4 area from 20 January to 20 February 2011.
Dubai Shopping Festival 2010 (DSF 2010)
  • DSF 2010 dates Thursday 28 January to Saturday 28 February 2010
  • A Dubai Tourist Visa (30 days, not renewable) is available for free to those travelling with Emirates Airlines if a Visa credit card is used to pay for their flights. The catches are that visitors have to be sponsored by a family member (which doesn't seem to make sense since Dubai visit visas, not tourist visas are usually sponsored by family members), the tickets have to be bought in the UAE, and purchase period dates are 19 January to 01 February 2010. Press release 18 January 2010 said "People looking to travel to Dubai to experience the excitement of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) and spend time with their families will benefit from a free one month tourist visa, when travelling on Emirates and paying with their Visa credit, debit or prepaid card in the UAE."
Dubai Shopping Festival 2009 (DSF 2009)
  • DSF 2009 dates 15 January to 15 February 2009
  • DSF 2009 launch ceremony and party cancelled to show solidarity with the Palestinian suffering in Gaza. New Year's Eve public celebrations and parties on 31 December 2008 were also cancelled for the same reason. Other DSF activities continued as scheduled.
Dubai Shopping Festival 2008 (DSF 2008)
  • 13th annual DSF, held from 24 January to 24 February 2008.
  • Chairman of the DSF Supreme Committee is Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum. Also President of the Department of Civil Aviation, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.
Dubai Shopping Festival 2007 (DSF 2007, or DSF 2006-2007 since DSF 2006 was cancelled)
  • 45-day event, 3.5 million visitors - a 7% increase on DSF 2005
  • 10.2 billion dhs spent, an increase of 53% on DSF 2005
Dubai Shopping Festival 2006 (DSF 2006)
  • Cancelled after Sheikh Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, passed away on 04 January 2006 (not 2005 as seen in some sources).
Dubai Shopping Festival 2005 (DSF 2005)
Dubai Shopping Festival 1996 (DSF 1996)
  • The first Dubai Shopping Festival started in 1996 with dates from 15 February 1996 to mid-March 1996.
Last update Monday 28-Apr-2014. Page development 3D 4L 5C.
Related pages
Related websites (new window)
  • www.mydsf.com - was the DSF website but no longer available (Jan 2012). Update (Apr 2014): available occasionally but appears to be hacked or taken over by an unrelated organisation. Not clear if safe to visit (no warnings in Google Chrome).
  • www.dubaievents.ae - appears to be the official DSF website from 2012.
  • www.mydsf.ae - forwards to www.dubaievents.ae (Jan 2012). And back to www.mydsf.ae (Jan 2014). Will they ever make up their minds?
  • www.dubaishoppingfestival.com is not the official DSF website. Nor are www.dubaishoppingfestival2013.com and similar sites.


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