Sharjah has been flourishing as a major shopping destination in the world. Sharjah shopping is thrilling and exciting. Attractive souqs and modern shopping malls have everything in store for the impulsive shoppers. Sharjah Souqs are colorful market places where the shopaholics can bargain to their delight.
Sharjah souqs are either open air markets, supermarket or a boutique. The term 'souq' is an Arabic word for market place. Traditional souqs have been renovated to give a new modern look, yet retaining the traditional aura. Shopping in Sharjah souqs is a lifetime experience. Rugs, antiques, jewelery, clothing and a variety of artifacts are found here. Bargaining is an integral part of shopping in the souqs. The main souqs of Sharjah are the Blue Souq or The Central Market, Al Mjarrah Souq, Al Arsah Souq, The Fish Souq, The Fruit and Vegetable Market, The Plant and Pot Souq
Poised on the picturesque Khalid Lagoon, The Blue Souq in Sharjah is the biggest market place. It follows the Islamic type of architecture. The main market comprises of two wings interconnected with a tunnel. The open plan style lends it an aura of a typical bazaar. One of the wing is especially designated for electronics goods and gifts while the other wing is solely for gold, gems and jewelery. There are more than 600 air conditioned shops in this souq. Situated in the heart of Sharjah is the Al Arsah Souq. The mayhem of narrow by lanes crisscrossing each other reminds the shoppers of a by gone era.
Silver artifacts, Indian handicrafts and Omani daggers along with Gulf Pearls are the main attractions. This souq is one of the oldest in Sharjah.
Shopping malls in Sharjah is a relatively new concept. Most the malls have been built during 2001 and 2002. Some of the new shopping malls cover an area of more than 500,000 square feet. As one of the best shopping destinations of UAE, Sharjah ranks third just after Dubai and Doha. The important shopping malls of Sharjah are Al Fardan Center, Al Taawun Mall, Sharjah City Center, Mega Mall, Sahara Center and Sarah Shopping Center.
Al Fardan Center opened its doors in the year 1998 giving a new dimension to Sharjah shopping. The spacious mall has three levels and basement for parking. Retail shops and boutiques selling different kinds of products of international brands are housed in this mall. Mega Mall in Sharjah is a comparatively new mall built in December 2001. It is not only a mall but a family entertainment center. With 85,000 square feet area, the Mega Mall is a haven of shopping games and unique rides. These especially attracts children.
The 6 kilometer stretch of the Al Wahda street is one of the most popular shopping areas. It is crowded with boutiques and garment shops catering to all budgets and specific needs. Shopping in Sharjah is a community activity. The increased popularity of Sharjah as a shopping destination is because of the conglomeration of new age shopping malls, which exist side by side with the old souqs.