Shopping in Islamabad
Islamabad is divided into sectors, each sector having its own central shopping area (or markaz) where all local amenities are located. Some of the more popular markazes are the F6 Markaz (aka Supermarket) F7 Markaz (aka Jinnah Market), G6 Markaz (aka Melody Park), G9 Markaz (aka Karachi Company) and so on. There isn't much going on in the markets of F8, G7 an G8 that would interest the tourist. Each markaz has its own peculiarities and each one is worth visiting individually. However most things are catered for in each markaz i.e. clothing, shoes, fast food etc. There’s always a real buzz in the evenings when all the shoppers come out, particularly in the run up to Eid.
- 7th Avenue, located at Jinnah Super Market (F7 Markaz), has large selection of western food products.
- Best Price, located at Super Market (F6 Markaz), also sells western food products and is of the better value 'western' style supermarkets.
- Metro. Located way out in I11 is a huge Walmart type store selling groceries and household goods. Prices are good but not the cheapest in Islamabad - but if you are looking for a western style shopping trolley experience this is your best bet.
- Handicrafts, The Capital Development Authority, has recently established a handicrafts village near super market, where small stalls with handicrafts from around the country are available. You should be able to walk from there to Mahraja (next to united Bakery) and find plenty of other stores much larger and with a much better collection of handicrafts and traditional items. This is a MUST visit for all first time visitors and a useful stop for quick gift items for people back home. A good present for the ladies is Pashmina shawls or wraps, which can cost anywhere between $15 to as much as $700. Remember to bargain, you will be charged Gora price.
- Art See above. Some of the places to visit are, Khaas, The National Art Gallery and Nomad Art Gallery.
- Music Peak Shop 4, Amant Plaza, Main Double Road, F10 markaz. Small modern music shop, with guitars and other instruments.
- Haroons, the perfect place to shop for gifts and women accessories. Is in Super Market.
- Saeed Book Bank is the largest book store in the city, located in the F-7 Markaz. A wide variety, from old books of local interest ("The Story of the Malakand Field Force" by Churchill, for instance) to modern best-sellers. Plenty about geopolitics and war in Pakistan and Afghanistan as well.
- Furniture: There an are a number of places selling antique or new furniture made from antique wood pieces, such as Wood Heritage, Pak Turk, and another small but packed one in E-7.
- Centaurus mega mall: Everything in one package from multiplex to food court.
- World trade centre: A big shopping centre with many handicraft stores build by WTO.
- AL Taqwa mall: Good shopping mall with food court and playland.
- DHA Gold crest.
- AL Safa gold mall.
Foreign Currency Exchange is easily available from F-6 Blue Area where there are 100's of money changers in privately owned shops. It is advised to check the rate with a few of them before going ahead with it.