Casablanca has a number of street markets scattered throughout the city in which you can find a wide variety of goods. These are your basic African street markets where prices are anything but fixed, so get ready to negotiate if you want to get the best price possible!
The market only operates during daylight hours, so I didn't have a chance to see it "in action" despite staying opposite it.
However the small stores/eateries and florists facing the outer streets are still open in the evening, and I had dinner at a restaurant facing the market on a side street.
Small pharmacies can be found in the least expected places. Some are like little hovels tucked away in alleys in the medina’s, others are just by themselves between housing. There are the more natural pharmacies as well where you can buy powders, local herbs and weird and wonderful things as well as those which sell the usual products you see in western pharmacies. If you are looking for henna stencils, you are more likely to find them here. There are also a couple of all night pharmacies in the city.
Marjane is a Moroccan Supermarket which is found throughout major cities the country. It first opened in January 2000 and along with Acima Supermarkets have made a huge difference in Morocco. The supermarkets are usually found close to the highways with easy signage. Here you can buy anything from clothing, shoes, appliances, outdoor furniture, toiletries, groceries and wine. For females you can usually find things here you cannot find in local stores but I was wanting ibuprofen or the like for a toothache and there was nothing like that here. A Pharmacy in the complex was also not open on Sundays.
Darb Gallaf is where the locals go buy stuff, anything and every thing is on sale. Don't come to this place to by souvenirs or things that tourists typically buy because I don’t think you’ll find any thing of that sort. You’ll find every thing else new and used from electronic to clothing and furniture. If you needed a phone this is the place to sho. If you needed to repair something this where you need to go.
I personally came to find used books. There were plenty of old Arabic and French books. You’ll find very few English ones. The prices were OK. It won’t be possible to find these book else where. If you are interested to see other used books stores look at my Rabat Page.
To get to this place ask any petit taxi to take you there. It is not far away, I personally walked to it from down town and I would estimate the distance as 7km, so it is NOT very walk able but I did it. From down town walk along Road Hassan II and keep straight. The name will change to Avenue Abdulmomen keep walking and ask. Some one will point it to you to your right
If you are looking for local craft try to find out something interesting either in Ancienne Medina (old medina) or Nouvelle Medina (new medina).
To be honest I rather didn't look for shopping in Casablanca. But I saw some interesting local crafts in the above places.
What to buy: Leather items, pottery, jellabia if you want to look like locals :-).
What to pay: Once more: do NOT forget to bargain :-)
I found stores (or rather street stalls) on the left side (bordering with the Ancienne Medina) of Boulevard Houphouet Boigny walking from Place des Nations Unies towards a port.
This avenue with palm trees looked much better then hmm... the clothes which the sellers tried to sell there. Better to walk the middle of the avenue, admire the palm trees, blue sky etc. And better not to wake up sleeping on the benches beggars :-).
What to buy: Nothing there, I suppose.
If you don't want over-pay (hmm... what does it mean?) you must bargain. The first price is always higher than the real last price, sometimes even twice higher. Natives are real artists of bargaining and great observers of their foreign customers. So, look at them and learn haha.
A few advices:
1. Never hurry up, be patient and always keep smiling :-), keep in mind that shopping in Morocco takes more time than eating in France :-)
2. Try to be the first consumer in the morning (especially on Monday); some locals believe that the first good deal makes them good luck for the rest of a day/week thus they are ready to lower price more that time.
3. Try not to use English language, use French or Spanish or better none LOL. One of the first question is: where are you from. The highest price - not only the first one - is given for English speaking, American tourists especially. Natives think they are rich and can pay much more. Well, in the past Russian worked well but it changed...
4. Never pay special attention to the item you really want to buy - the natives are perfect observers.
5. If you buy more items be twice more patient and ask a seller to lower price again and again.
6. Do not refuse if they want to give you a tea (usually mentha tea with a lot of sugar) or something else to drink, be patient.
7. Never say in words or in your face that the price seems attractive to you.
8. If you are satisfied with your shopping give the seller a small gift: a cigarette, pen, sticker (label) etc. They love it. Optionally you can take a picture with your seller and ask him for an address to send the picture. Warnings:
- the address will be mostly written in Arabic letters,
- be sure that your picture will be displayed in a street stall/shop.
Anyway, next time you will be a special costumer. They have a very good memory for faces of their customers.
HAVE A GOOD FUN AND HAPPY SHOPPING :-).
What to buy: Local craft.
What to pay: Less than you can even imagine :-).
One of the things I really hated while shopping in Casa, was the fact that you could never 'just look' at things.
The Artisanat Fenouch was the only place where I could have a look around without being pushed into buying. All the objects are marked and prices are fixed. They stock about everything you find in the Medina, and you can make your choice in peace. If you don't buy anything -that's no problem either.
You will never get a real bargain in the old or new Medina, but trying to get the price down as much as possible can be real good fun (if you're in the mood)
I found the new Medina (Habous) a bit tame, and eventhough I didn't see any other tourists the day I went there, they seemed to cater more to tourist's tastes than in the old Medina. While you are there, don't stick to the shopping area though. The little white washed streets are really charming and peaceful
What to buy: earthenware, leather bags, carpets, jewelry
Leather products, jewellery and ceramics are also found in Quartier Habous (the new medina) and some shops even make to order or can customise their products to fit.
What to buy: There are some cool leather satchels around with antique Moroccan coins glued to them, they range in size from handbag to large ones. The second tip picture has a picture of one.
What to pay: Prices for a small one started at 250MAD and that was after a lot of cajoling.
Quartier Habous (the new medina) is home to a largish souk area and we didn’t see a lot of tourists there. There are numerous woodencraft shops, which makes price comparisons easy!
What to buy: You can shop for traditional wooden souvenirs, like chess and toula sets (backgammon), the smaller ones make great gifts for friends.
What to pay: Depends on what you want to buy, but generally the more pieces you buy, the cheaper it is. I paid 50MAD for the smallest size toula/chess set.
Take a petit taxi to Quartier Habous (the new medina) and wander through the souk area.
You can visit Arabic carpet shops and also handmade copper and brass goods.
What to buy: Sit in a carpet shop, drink some mint tea, and patiently bargain over a rug.
What to pay: Depends on size/material/manufacturing process.
Casablanca isn't really the place to go searching from shop to shop. The city has a laidback feeling to shopping, especially if you step out from the market zone of the medina. The commercial areas reminds you principally of Europe's.
But money isn't a problem — and as far as I could determine, the handicraft shops here are not cheap — Casablanca is one of the better places in all of Morocco to buy pick up something nice and different.
Right in from the long Boulevard Muhammad 5, you will find the Marche Central of Casablanca.
The place is a small but high-quality version of the traditional suuqs of Morocco, and everything is aiming at the needs of the locals. And that is a thing that secures good standards.
The Marche Central has vegetables, meat, all kinds of sea food, as well as handicrafts.
On the picture to the left, you see live turtles. Turtle soup should therefore be an option for those visiting Casablanca — the sale of turtles for food is prohibited in many Western countries.
Casablanca is thought to be the most expensive city in Morocco for shopping and so if you are visiting other cities, you might want to just pick up some souvenirs.