The most atmospheric shopping experience in Dammam is the Share Al Hob market, in a series of narrow streets and fountain-filled plazas – so named for the gold and jewelry shops that line its outer streets. The market comes alive at night, when the air is filled with the scents of spice and perfume, and concessions sell everything from traditional carpets to ceramics, art and ceremonial swords. There are live sketch artists and singers, and locals come to eat falafel and steaming luqaimat, a type of sweet fried dumpling doused in date syrup and sesame seeds. The Dammam Souq, also known as the women’s market, is another rich local experience, a 17,500sqm collection of jewelry, handicraft and clothing stores, as well as traditional stalls mostly overseen by women.
Dammam and Al Khobar, its cosmopolitan coastal neighbor, are well catered to when it comes to modern shopping centers. The Al Othaim mall, designed like a ship and filled with high palm trees, is home to global brands like H&M, Mango and Next, as well as a dedicated children’s amusement park and extensive food court. The circular, glassy Marina Mall has views across the Dammam Corniche to the sea from the dining area. In Al Khobar, the Rashid Mall is built around a striking central water feature, and is home to cool global fashion brands from Adidas to Dutch fashion label Scotch & Soda.