In the UAE, mall-crawling can easily be considered a favourite pastime. Over the years, malls in the country have developed from shopping destinations to modern marvels. From being home to an indoor ski slope to a roller coaster, there’s no dearth of remarkable and awe-inspiring attractions to check out. Here’s a look at the ones to try.
The Storm Coaster, Dubai Hills Mall
You don't have to go far if you fancy a ride on the world's “fastest indoor rollercoaster". Dubai Hills Mall, which opened earlier this month, is home to plenty of Instagrammable backdrops (think giant teddy bears and design installations) as well as The Storm Coaster. Described as a “multivehicle inversion coaster wrapping its way throughout the entire building”, this is a perfect thrill ride for adrenalin junkies. A single ride lasts a little more than two minutes and costs Dh55.
Open daily, 10am-10pm; Dh55; Dubai Hills Mall; www.entertainment.emaar.com/attraction/the-storm
Velocity Slide, WTC Abu Dhabi
Unleash your inner child at World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi. The mall recently introduced Velocity, which appears to be the tallest and longest indoor slide in the capital. The slide features a transparent section as well as a coloured-lights one, to make this a fun, one-of-a-kind experience that will have you zipping through the mall in a new way.
Open daily; Dh15 for one round, Dh25 for two rounds; WTC Abu Dhabi; www.wtcad.ae
Zero Latency Abu Dhabi, The Galleria Al Maryah Island
Bored with shopping and fancy shooting up some zombies instead? Zero Latency is a free-roam virtual reality game located right within The Galleria Al Maryah Island that allows you to play with (or against) your friends in virtual worlds. There are a number of cool games to try out, from Outbreak Origins, which has you killing zombies, to Engineerium, a “puzzling virtual reality walking journey”.
Open daily; Dh150 onwards; Level 3 at The Galleria Al Maryah Island; www.zerolatencyvr.ae
Rolling Wheels, various Abu Dhabi malls
Roller skating is an activity that boomed during the pandemic. If you’ve been thinking of dabbling in the sport — which combines fun with exercise and skill — Rolling Wheels is the skating rink to do it at. It aims to raise awareness on the benefits of rolling skating while also trying to raise its popularity. Rolling Wheels has three branches, all in Abu Dhabi malls, so you can take your pick, too. They also conduct professional training. For those aged five and older.
Open daily; Dh65 onwards for an hour; Delma Mall, Al Wahda Mall, Yas Mall; www.rollingwheels.ae
Dreamscape, Mall of the Emirates
It feels like there's no shortage of cool virtual reality experiences to partake in within UAE malls. Dreamscape offers free-roaming experiences that "transport visitors into new worlds". There are a number of adventures to choose between, from the daring and immersive Curse of the Lost Pearl: A Magic Projector Adventure (featuring an Atlantis-like lost city, majestic landscapes and wild rollercoaster rides) and the deep-dive yet soaring experience of The Blu: Deep Rescue (an underwater swim-with-the-whales outing) to MIB: First Assignment a trippy, fast-paced and edge-of-your-seat thriller.
Open daily; 11am-midnight; Dh78.75 onwards; Mall of the Emirates
The Virgin Mary, The Galleria Al Maryah Island
UAE malls have so many interesting and unique food concepts, that it’s almost impossible to pick favourites. But The Virgin Mary Bar or TVM in The Galleria Al Maryah Island is especially exciting as it’s the first-of-its-kind alcohol-free bar in the region and the first international outpost of the famous Irish bar.
On the drinks menu are concoctions such as upbeet (Borrago paloma blend, beetroot, watermelon and soda), pink preacher (Stillers Celtic Myst, Muscat grape, yerba mate herbal tea, raspberry, cucumber and lime) and Tiki st (pomegranate molasses, hibiscus, pimento, Syrah grape, lime and black cardamom).
Open daily; The Galleria Al Maryah Island; www.thevirginmarybar.com/pages/tvm-abu-dhabi
Infinity des Lumieres, The Dubai Mall
Infinity des Lumieres is a digital art museum that offers a one-of-a-kind experience. Located in the Dubai Mall, it is spread over 2,700 square metres. The venue has more than 130 projectors, 58 speakers and 3,000 HD digital images working together to create moving artworks which you can step into and be a part of. There are a variety of exhibitions being showcased, from Van Gogh’s artistic world to its latest exhibit Destination Cosmos: The Ultimate Challenge, which pays tribute to the UAE’s achievements in space exploration.
Open Monday to Thursday, 10am-9pm; Friday to Sunday, 10am-11pm; tickets are Dh75 for children aged 3 to 13, Dh125 for visitors 14+ if booked in advance, Dh150 for visitors over 14+ on-site; www.infinitylumieres.com
Clymb Abu Dhabi, Yas Mall
How often do you get to step into a mall and wind up at an adventure hub which is home to the world’s widest indoor skydiving flight chamber and the region’s tallest indoor climbing wall? Clymb Abu Dhabi, which is connected to Yas Mall, is an adventure lover’s paradise, offering cool new experiences. For climbers, there are five walls ranging in height to choose from, but if you really want to challenge yourself, try The Summyt which is 42 metres. Meanwhile, the indoor flight chamber allows visitors to “skydive” like never before. They even have a Junior Flying Club for children ages 3 to 14.
Wednesday to Sunday; noon-9pm; prices from Dh100 onwards for a half-day climbing pass; Yas Island; www.clymbabudhabi.com
Ski Dubai, Mall of the Emirates
The Middle East’s first indoor ski resort comes with bragging rights. Ski Dubai, which opened in 2005, features five ski slopes, a family-friendly snow park and also a number of fun activities. This includes the Penguin Encounter, where visitors can spot a colony of King and Gentoo penguins, to the Snow Cinema, where you can watch a movie in sub-zero temperatures with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
Open daily, 10am-midnight; prices start at Dh200 for two people at the Snow Cinema and Dh220 for two hours at the slope; Mall of the Emirates; www.skidxb.com
Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, The Dubai Mall
Undoubtedly a highlight within The Dubai Mall, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is currently home to 140 species of marine life, with more than 400 sharks and rays. It can be enjoyed from outside (selfies with Dubai Aquarium are almost a must) but if you happen to venture within, there are a number of experiences to choose between — from a King Croc Encounter to diving with sharks — if you’re brave enough.
Monday to Thursday, 10am-10pm; Friday to Sunday, 10am-midnight; Dh169 onwards; The Dubai Mall; www.thedubaiaquarium.com