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Abu Dhabi

souk souq cushions colorful market abu dhabiShopping, a national pastime for Emiratis and ex-pats, also draws plenty of visitors. Choose from a traditional souk selling Arabian items or an ultra-modern mall with restaurants and entertainment venues as well as upscale shops selling the latest brands. Stores may be closed or have limited hours on Fridays.

Good buys include local art, wood carvings, specialty foods, perfumes and carpets mostly made in the Middle East, Turkey, China and Central Asia. You'll also find an abundance of gold jewelry, priced daily at the international rate, from 18 to 24 carats. Styles range from modern Western designs to ornate Arabian jewelry -- traditional for weddings. Dates make a delicious edible souvenir and are sold in beautifully wrapped boxes. The sweet fruits come plain or in an array of varieties, including those dipped in chocolate or stuffed with almonds.

For a traditional shopping experience, visit the carpet souk. Unlike most of modern Abu Dhabi, this souk has old-fashioned, white, low-rise buildings where salesmen in Arab dress stand outside beckoning shoppers. Wares are mainly machine-made carpets and majlis, Arabian cushions.

The fish souk is a sight to behold in the early morning when fishermen unload their catch and haggle with buyers. Later in the day, the Emirati restaurant Al Arish, in the Al Meena district on the banks of the port, serves some of the fresh catch.

Among the souks is the modern Souk at Central Market with shops selling traditional items and regional products, such as spices, dates, carpets, scarves, sweets, perfumes, jewelry and handicrafts. You'll find it off Hamdan Street in the Al Markaziyah Sharq district.

Among the modern malls is Abu Dhabi Mall with more than 200 shops in the Tourist Club district in the city center. At the popular Marina Mall, shops sell medium-priced goods and designer fashions and are complemented by an indoor ice rink, a bowling alley and musical fountains. It's on the Breakwater in the city center.

See Abu Dhabi Shopping Tours from Viator

Editor's Note: IndependentTraveler.com is published by The Independent Traveler, Inc., a subsidiary of TripAdvisor, Inc., which also owns Viator.

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