Due to the harsh heat throughout most of the year, countries in the Gulf region have utilized shopping malls to be more of entertainment and multi-purpose venues for all sorts of indoor activities and even activities that are considered outdoor activities, where people can always enjoy spending their time, without having to worry about the weather.
Being the spot to go to and find everything especially during the warm half of the year, shopping malls in GCC countries are not only about shopping for the finest products or the fanciest brands, but also about a variety of activities, many of which can't be carried out if not for the mall.
If you visit the region, you'll definitely notice how popular a hang out at the mall is for both citizens and the residents' population of expats, which can be understood the minute you visit any of the biggest malls in GCC cities.
Having to offer a range of recreational enjoyment, shopping malls in the GCC are among the biggest in the whole world. The following list will take a close look at five of them and highlight the most interesting activities they provide a platform for.
1. The Dubai Mall - UAE
Even though it's often referred to as the biggest in the world, the Dubai Mall has lost its title a few years ago after it was opened in 2008, but it remains the fifth biggest following four east Asian malls.
The mall is in the heart of an entertainment venue housing the world's longest man-structured building; Burj Khalifa and spreads over 3.7 million square meters.
According to Business Insider, the Dubai mall cost reached $20 billion as it includes 1200 world-class stores and 120 restaurants and cafes, in addition to a 5-star luxury hotel and 22 cinemas.
Those who wish to ski in the Arabian desert can easily do it in Dubai mall's ice rink, while those who prefer the aqua life, can enjoy watching about 33,000 aquatic animals such as sharks in its huge aquarium.
The 10 million litre Dubai Aquarium tank, located on the ground Level of Dubai Malls, is the largest aquarium. pic.twitter.com/Ob2GkiUjzR— Al Property (@alpropertyae) September 16, 2016
The full-of-venues mall promises kids a lot of fun in its Kidzania playground. Young adults can also enjoy their time in the Sega-themed amusement park spreading over 76,000 square feet.
2. The Avenues - Kuwait
Prospective Project:— غالية الظفيري (@ghaleyaarch) March 13, 2019
Avenues Mall Mosque by Zaha Hadid | Kuwait pic.twitter.com/d2XncCCzpI
Known for its unique exterior design depicting the ِsand dunes of the Arabian desert it's located at, the Avenues mall was opened in 2007 over a total area of 1.5 million square meters becoming the country's largest and most famous shopping spot.
In addition to more than 1000 stores offering the world's most luxurious brands, hundreds of restaurants and cafes, and amusement parks such as KidZania and the futuristic TekZone.
The total cost of constructing the Avenues Mall throughout the different phases has reached about $3 billion.
3. Yas Mall - UAE
Located over 2.5 million square meters of Abu Dhabi's Yas Island, the mall costing $ 2 billion was opened in 2014 to combine more than 350 stores, 62 restaurants, and 24 cinemas.
Besides providing large areas of natural scenes overlooking the island, the mall hosts the Ferrari World and other indoor amusement parks equipped with super fun roller coasters.
Additionally, the mall has a one-of-a-kind rollercoaster restaurant presenting a variety of comfort food from across the globe.
4. Mall of the Emirates - UAE
Mall of the Emirates Dubai pic.twitter.com/PTgE2jZqxi— 🇦🇪🤩KJ TeamZero🤩ROCCODubaiOFW🇵🇭 (@KarjonaticF) August 8, 2020
Opened in 2005, the mall spreads over 220,000 million square feet, housing more than 900 stores for the most known global high-end brands and 20 cinemas.
With an estimated cost of $218 million, the mall was the first to introduce indoor snow parks in the Middle East and has a metro stop within the Dubai metro project.
In 2012, Mall of Emirates was ranked the 7th most productive shopping center in the world by the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC), as it reportedly made US$1,423 per square foot per annum.
5. Red Sea Mall - Saudi Arabia
Located over 242,000 m square feet to the north of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast, the mall which was opened in 2008 houses Saudi's first cinema with 12 screening halls. It also has the biggest indoor water fountain and the largest glass covered area in Saudi Arabia, according to Arab News.
It also includes hundreds of shops and restaurants, in addition to indoor gaming facilities and a lot of entertainment-focused venues.
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