A trip down memory lane into Dubai in the 80s as part of shopping fest

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A unique pop-up event organized as part of the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) is inviting people to experience a nostalgic recreation of Dubai in the 80s, according to a press release by Dubai Media Office.


A new addition to the DSF, organized by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), the 10-day event, held at the Last Exit Al Khawaneej, transports visitors into a visual representation of Dubai in the 80’s and early 90s.

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The event is one of a series of attractions and experiences featured in the Dubai Destinations winter campaign.

Cusp of change

The Dubai 80s event aims to capture the moment in time when Dubai was on the cusp of pivotal change.

Apart from being a defining era globally, the 80s were a decade that raised Dubai and the UAE’s profile on the international map. It was a time when the country embarked on a transformative journey that made it a leading global city.

A recreated interior of a study in a Dubai residence of the 80s. (Supplied)
A recreated interior of a study in a Dubai residence of the 80s. (Supplied)



Dubai 80s will explore the defining era of the city’s past, with vintage photo galleries showing pictures of Dubai before its transformation into a global metropolis, with photo booths, shows, anime and live performances, old-school gaming arcades, and classic cars, all offering a blast from the past.

“The event is an attempt to create a heart-warming experience of life in the decade that was a turning point in Dubai’s history. Dubai 80s invites visitors to look back and reflect on a decade in which the seeds of our current prosperity and growth were sown. Looking back, especially at the 80s and early 90s, is fascinating as this was such a transformational era for Dubai,” said Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment.

"Dubai developed rapidly within the span of just a few years. The creation of the city’s modern skyline, its huge festivals, and its remarkable growth as a tourist destination all started from the 80s, which is why we wanted to highlight this specific era.”

On arrival at the pop-up event, visitors will take a giant leap back in time, strolling through a main entrance with a vintage Emirati house that gives them the experience of entering an 80’s neighbourhood, redolent with spices and old music in the air.

Visitors will come face-to-face with memorabilia, including 90s cell phones, Swatch watches, Gameboys, old encyclopedias and floppy disks, vintage televisions and retro cassette players, gadgets that defined a generation.

Old television models that were in vogue in Dubai of the 80s. (Supplied)
Old television models that were in vogue in Dubai of the 80s. (Supplied)



Guests can explore a vintage photo gallery display for a trip down memory lane, with snapshots from local artists depicting Dubai in all its past glory before its emergence as the futuristic city of today.

Visitors can also retrace their childhood memories and explore comic books and cartoons that defined a generation before Marvel and DC Comics moved to the big screen. Revisiting a time when Dubai had its own superhero fanbase, visitors have the chance to re-experience their favorite comic book heroes and watch screenings of anime and animated clips from popular movies.

An arcade with a display of photos from the Dubai in the 80s. (Supplied)
An arcade with a display of photos from the Dubai in the 80s. (Supplied)



They will also get the opportunity to explore the Gaming Arcade, built as a nostalgic 90s themed arcade with vintage arcade machines, featuring all-time favourite games such as Tetris, Mario Kart, Space Invaders, and many more. A display of classic cars will bring back memories of the automobiles of yesteryear. Visitors will also get the chance to win a host of daily prizes.

“This is so much more than a pop-up concept, but a whole heart-warming experience,” he added. “There is something that will resonate with everyone, from Emiratis to residents who have lived here for years,” explained Al Khaja.

A recreated display of architecture in the Dubai of the 80s. (Supplied)
A recreated display of architecture in the Dubai of the 80s. (Supplied)



Dubai 80s will take place at the Last Exit Al Khawaneej from December 23 to January 8 from 4.00 pm to 11.00 pm, with free access toeveryone.
The 28th edition of Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF), which runs untilJanuary 29, 2023, features shopping attractions, innovative events, world-class entertainment, and life-changing prizes.

Featuring the ultimate retail therapy from a wide range of home-grown and global brands as well as live concerts, outdoors markets, pop-up dining and more.

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