Twice delayed, Dubai Mall opened on 4 November 2008, with about 635 retailers, marking the world's largest-ever mall opening in retail history. However it is not the largest in gross leasable space, and is surpassed in that category by several malls including the South China Mall, which is the world's largest, Golden Resources Mall, SM City North Edsa, and SM Mall of Asia.
The Dubai Mall recorded 60,000 tickets sold for the Dubai Aquarium and Discovery Centre in the first five days, following its opening. The Dubai Mall hosted over 37 million visitors in 2009, and attracts more than 750,000 visitors every week. while in 2010 it hosted 47 million, and saw footfall increase by around 27 percent over 2009, despite the economic crisis.In 2012, Dubai Mall continued to hold title of world's most-visited shopping and leisure destination, and attracted more than 65 million visitors, an increase of more than 20 percent compared to the 54 million recorded in 2011. It attracted more visitors than New York City with over 52 million tourists in 2012, and Los Angeles with 41 million. The numbers also surpass visitor arrivals to all landmark leisure destinations and theme parks in the world including Times Square (39.2 million), Central Park (38 million), and Niagara Falls (22.5 million).