The 8 Best Places to Go Shopping in Cairo

Man walking through Khan el-Khalili Bazaar, Cairo

Peter Adams / Getty Images

The Egyptian capital is a city with two distinct personalities. Founded in the 10th century, its streets are steeped in history and imbued with an age-old culture. And yet, Cairo is also one of Africa’s most cosmopolitan and progressive modern metropolises. The local shopping scene reflects this dichotomy, with top places to spend your money ranging from storied souks that date back hundreds of years to upscale designer boutiques and glittering modern malls. Here are eight places that most deserve a spot on your Cairo shopping itinerary. 

01 of 08

Khan el-Khalili Bazaar

Grand Archway in Khan El-Khalili Bazaar
Gary Yeowell / Getty Images
Address
El-Gamaleya, El Gamaliya, Cairo Governorate, Egypt

If you have time for just one shopping excursion on your Cairo tour, make sure to visit the capital’s oldest and most iconic souk, Khan el-Khalili. Located in Islamic Cairo near Al-Azhar Mosque, this sprawling marketplace started as a traditional caravanserai at the end of the 14th century, when traders brought their goods from across northern Africa to sell to wealthy Cairenes. Today it has grown to incorporate more than 20 individual caravanserais and their connecting alleyways. Venture into the maze-like bazaar to discover an Aladdin’s cave of treasures, ranging from exotic spices and glimmering silver jewelry to ornately embroidered Bedouin fabrics and jeweled slippers. Haggling is expected, with a general rule of thumb being to offer half of the vendor’s initial asking price before debating back and forth until you settle on a sum somewhere in the middle. 

02 of 08

Street of the Tentmakers

Cushions, Tentmakers' Street, Cairo, Egypt
rhkamen / Getty Images
Address
Al Khayama, El-Darb El-Ahmar, Cairo Governorate, Egypt

For another authentically Egyptian shopping excursion, hop in an Uber for the 10-minute ride south of Khan el-Khalili to the Street of the Tentmakers. This smaller souk is dedicated to the noble Cairene art of creating magnificent tapestries (originally used to decorate the interior of Bedouin desert tents) using brightly colored appliqué stitching. The geometric patterns that adorn these panels are inspired by elements of Egyptian history, including the Islamic tilework and calligraphy found inside the city’s mosques as well as much older scenes from the tombs of the Pharaohs. On the Street of the Tentmakers, you can browse expertly crafted wares and also see the artisans at work, using methods that have been passed down through many generations. To find the street using Google Maps, use the phrase “Al Khayama."

03 of 08

Souk al-Fustat

If the thought of haggling over prices makes you feel exhausted before you even start, opt out of the traditional souk experience by shopping for your souvenirs at Souk al-Fustat instead. Located in the heart of Coptic Cairo, this modern bazaar is the ideal addition to a visit to the Hanging Church (one of Egypt’s oldest places of Christian worship). It is housed in a beautiful stone building of some architectural interest, and includes an array of different boutiques selling modern Egyptian handicrafts from across the country. Keep an eye out for fashion and jewelry by local designers, as well as reinventions of historic artisan crafts such as embroidery, ceramic and metalwork, carvings, and paintings. Best of all, prices are generally fixed and there are far fewer crowds, making for a much more relaxing (although arguably less atmospheric) shopping experience. 

04 of 08

Cairo Festival City Mall

Cairo Festival City Mall

Courtesy of Cairo Festival City Mall

Address
Cairo Festival City Mall, Cairo Festival City, Ring Road, New Cairo، 108.04 km، First New Cairo, Cairo Governorate 11385, Egypt
Phone +20 2 26186000

For a thoroughly modern take on retail therapy, make your way out to Cairo Festival City in New Cairo. This sprawling mixed-use development incorporates everything from houses to offices and entertainment venues (including The Marquee Theatre and KidZania Cairo). Festival City Mall features more than 300 shops and dining outlets, all in a contemporary, air-conditioned setting that provides a welcome respite from the Cairo heat. Explore local and international brand names in fashion, technology, and home décor. Or make a family day of it with a visit to the mall’s trampoline park, arcade, or climbing wall. Galaxy Cinema is also located here. Night owls will appreciate that Festival City shops stay open until 10 p.m. from Saturday to Wednesday, and until 11 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays. Restaurants and cafés close even later. 

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Citystars Heliopolis

Nasr City Shopping Mall in Cairo
Franz-Marc Frei / Getty Images
Address
Citystars, مساكن المهندسين، مدينة نصر، محافظة القاهرة‬ 11771, Egypt
Phone +20 2 24800800

Mega-mall Citystars Heliopolis is well worth the half-hour taxi or Uber ride out to the Nasr City district from downtown Cairo. This ultra-sleek shopping destination features more than 750 stores, including international names like Hackett London, Hugo Boss, and Versace Collection. When you have outfitted yourself in all the latest styles, you can refuel at one of many restaurants serving different types of cuisine from all over the world. Two indoor theme parks and a 22-screen cinema round out the mall’s temptations. Can’t tear yourself away? There are three international hotels in the Citystars complex, the most luxurious of which is five-star InterContinental Cairo Citystars. 

06 of 08

Mall of Egypt

Address
El Wahat Rd, First 6th of October, Giza Governorate, Egypt
Phone +20 2 36120084

Those with time to head to 6th of October City (a satellite town within easy reach of the Giza pyramids) will find unrivaled shopping at the Mall of Egypt. One of the country’s most popular malls, it boats more than 400 stores in addition to a 21-screen cinema, a family entertainment center known as Magic Planet, and a laser tag arena. Feel like strapping on skis in the middle of an Egyptian heatwave? Pay a visit to Ski Egypt, the first indoor ski slope in Africa. Items available for purchase at the mall cover a broad spectrum of Egyptian and international offerings, from fashion and electronics to books, jewelry, and household goods. Dining options are just as varied, whether you’re in the mood for sushi, steak, or Beiruti street food.

07 of 08

The First Mall

Address
35 Giza Street - Inside Four Seasons Hotel, أولى، الجيزة، 11432, Egypt
Phone +20 2 35717803

If you like your shopping experiences to be as glamorous as possible, The First Mall is likely to be your retail outlet of choice in Cairo. Located in the same riverfront Giza complex as the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at The First Residence, this five-star mall spans three floors and features more than 60 luxury stores. Among them are some of the most exclusive names in the industry, including Rolex, Tiffany & Co., Salvatore Ferragamo, Emporio Armani, and Bulgari. Once you’ve stocked up on the latest trends, add the final touches to a perfect day of pampering with a visit to the mall’s spa or salon. The French atrium-style complex also includes dining outlets and a casino, while stylist services can be arranged in advance and valet parking is always available. 

08 of 08

Zamalek

Fair Trade Egypt

Courtesy of Fair Trade Egypt

Shoppers who like to roam around an entire neighborhood in search of the perfect purchase rather than limiting themselves to a single mall or souk will love Zamalek. This upmarket district is located in the northern half of Gezira Island, and is known as one of the most fashionable areas in Cairo for dining, drinking, entertainment, and shopping. Notable stores in this area include: Caravanserai for one-of-a-kind, designer furniture pieces crafted in Giza and inspired by ethnic African and oriental art forms; Nomad for uniquely Egyptian handcrafted items of exceptional quality; and Mamelouk for more affordable souvenirs. Purchase your Egyptian crafts from Fair Trade Egypt, also in Zamalek, to know that the original creators are benefiting as much as possible from the sale. 

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The 8 Best Places to Go Shopping in Cairo