A guide to Dubai's Al Fresco Malls

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A guide to Dubais Al Fresco Malls

Dubai - City Walk and BoxPark, both located on Al Wasl Road, have drastically transformed the city's shopping mall culture

By Deepa Narwani

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Published: Sat 30 Jan 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 1 Feb 2016, 9:01 AM

One of the most striking things of driving down Al Wasl Road is the spectacular Burj Khalifa looming in the skyline along with the traditional shops that have been around the area since the early 90s. But over the past few years, Al Wasl Road has become an uber-cool district thanks to concepts such as City Walk and BoxPark that have infused life into one of the city's oldest neighbourhoods.
Both the concepts have become increasingly popular, both with residents and tourists alike, and with the pleasant weather currently upon us, this is the best time to explore all that these unique concepts have to offer. 
City Walk
Located right opposite Life Pharmacy on Al Wasl Road, the first thing you notice about City Walk is the elegant wooden panels of the façade and the modern exterior that stands out from anything in the area. Resembling the outdoor plazas in Paris or Rome, it is an outdoor concept that offers an eclectic mix of retail and dining outlets. The area is perfect for those early morning walks, or for catch-up sessions with friends in the evenings as it easily blends street café culture with high-end dining, offering something for even the most discerning of visitors.
Its signature attraction is the water fountain that is situated at the centre of the development, and is designed to create a bustling public square offers diners a chance to enjoy a meal overlooking the water. The space further has a bright children's play area for the little ones to have fun. The area features cute kiosks housing everything right from cupcakes to frozen yoghurt stores, along a green promenade and onsite car parking.
Foodies will love sampling meals at outlets such as Hummingbird Bakery, Mo's, Pappa Roti, Sapori Di Bice, and Nar among others. While shopaholics can shop to their hearts' content at stores like S*uce in the Hood, Rivoli, Roberto Cavalli Décor and Sephora. Spanning a large area, City Walk offers open spaces and Al Fresco cafes, all with stunning views of the Burj Khalifa. It makes for an ideal place for a chilled out evening, where you can stop for a bite after a spot of shopping.

 Fact File
.15-minute walk from the Dubai Mall Metro Station
.Spans an area of 13,000 square metres
.Offers 26 dining options
.Houses 16 high-end retail outlets
.Home to Art at City Walk - a market dedicated to art and photography; takes place every Friday and Saturday 
It is impossible to miss BoxPark, located on Al Wasl road and a few minutes away from City Walk, because of its bright and funky containers that light up the whole street. This outdoor urban lifestyle concept has been inspired by urban renewal projects that combine the modern architecture through the aesthetics of shipping containers. The area boasts of unique retail experiences as well as quirky dining concepts from around the world.
The shops have a pop-up feel about them and are reminiscent of London's indie shopping stretch of Shoreditch that is home to a number of such shipping containers that have been converted into stores.
The Dubai version is a great twist to the outdoor strip mall concept and is definitely worth a visit especially at night when you can see the outlets lit up with brightly coloured lights. It offers both retail outlets as well as restaurants a different environment, one that is vibrant, pulsing with street-level energy and is completely different from any mall in the city. Here you will find everything right from food to art, and the stores are all within walking distance of each other.
A sign saying BoxPark beckons you to the site that has a cool and unpretentious vibe. It also includes outdoor recreation spaces and a children's play area.
Some of the popular stores include Urbanist, where you can shop for unique furniture and art; Bubbleology, which has perfected the art of bubble tea; and Kuai, to indulge in authentic Chinese cuisine.
If you are looking for a brand new shopping and dining experience and need a break from the regular mall trawl, this is the place to head to this season.
 Fact File
.Around 220 shipping containers were put together to form BoxPark
.Features 44 retail, restaurant, cafe, and entertainment outlets
.Offers free Wi-Fi throughout the area
.Stretches for 1.2 kilometres
.Features the Dome Box - Dubai's only 360-degree cinema
- supplements@khaleejtimes.com

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