There’s no shortage of retail glory in Jeddah, which in recent years has welcomed a wave of new “destination malls” that double as family gathering places. The city’s traditional souqs (markets), meanwhile, are full of surprises and offer an engrossing look at local customs and culture.
For Bargain Hunters and Hagglers: You never what you’ll find in the souqs of al-Abad, Jeddah’s historic old city and long-time centre of trade and commerce. Expect everything from exquisite textiles and Middle Eastern jewellery to knock-off handbags, fashion, and much more. A good place to start—and to put your bargaining skills to the test with savvy vendors—is Souq Al Alawi, the biggest in Jeddah. Note that souqs close during the afternoon.
For Families and Fashionistas: Jeddah’s modern lifestyle complexes aren’t just for shopping, though there’s certainly plenty of that. These modern retail palaces are some of the city’s few family-friendly destinations, and as such offer a vast array of restaurants and fast-food chains, theme parks, huge kids’ playgrounds, and other entertainment options.
Mall of Arabia, for instance, has what’s claimed to be the world’s largest indoor playground, a water coaster, and nearly 50 places to eat. At Red Sea Mall, you’ll find bowling lanes, go-carts, a dedicated kids’ zone and, of course, plenty of food.
Shopping wise, both malls are collectively home to many of the most well-known international fashion and lifestyle brands, from Versace and Karl Lagerfeld to Nike and H&M.