Shopping in Doha
Shopping is the number one pastime in Doha, and for most families – expat or local – a trip to the mall is an integral part of the weekend. The malls offer a mix of foreign and Arabic stores – Mothercare next to Starbucks next to a store selling Arabic furniture. The other main option is Souq Waqif, which offers a far pleasanter shopping experience (although without the air conditioning).
The souks in Doha are a long way from the Arabian Nights fantasies, with many of them quite slick air-conditioned affairs. The most appealing souks include the Gold Souk, off Grand Hamad Street and Souk Al-Jabor, Al Ahmed Street, which peddles leather goods.
In addition, there’s Souq Waqif, which has been the commercial heart of Doha for around 250 years. Although it was entirely rebuilt in the 1970’s, it still has the feel of a traditional souk, with a lattice of alleyways and streets that feed into a wide pedestrianised boulevard. Locals and tourists both come to buy spices and sweetmeats, intricately-decorated gowns, handmade shoes and jewellery. The northern end of the souk is lined on either side with restaurants offering different ethnic cuisines, from Iraqi to Persian, Lebanese and traditional Qatari. There are plenty of traditional cafes with outdoor seating, which offer fantastic people-watching potential over a cup of tea or glass of juice (no alcohol available).
The Mall, D Ring Road, and the Landmark Mall, Al Shamala Road, are two of the most popular malls in Doha. Other malls to look out for include The Royal Plaza, Al Sadd Street, the Hyatt Plaza, Al Waab Road, and the Villagio Mall, Al Waab Street. You can find designer names at the Pearl-Qatar, Alfardan Centre, Grand Hamad Street, while City Centre Mall, C Ring Road, claims to be one of the biggest shopping malls in the region and easily swallows up a half day.
Malls in Doha tend to be open Saturday to Thursday 1000-2200 and Friday 1400-2200, while the souks keep more irregular hours.
Pick up spices, bukhar (hand-carved incense burners), linens, jewellery and carpets.