Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh has evolved as one of the wealthiest and busiest cities in the Middle East in the past few decades. Though the city has always been conventional and known for unique architecture, today it offers many fun things to do for people of varying age groups.
For many years, most people who visited Riyadh have been business travelers as it offered little or no entertainment options. Most people thought of Riyadh as a boring city with hardly anything for entertainment. However, the country focusing on tourism more than ever, even for those who travel solo.
Another reason for Riyadh to be picking up on tourist charts is because of its location. Popular tourist/pilgrimage destinations like Bahrain, Jeddah and Medina, among others, are just a few hours of flight away. If you will Google search for Riyadh to Jeddah flights (or to Medina or someplace else) you will realise how travelling anywhere in Saudi Arabia, from Riyadh, is a bargain.
Now let’s get back to the topic at hand and discuss it…
Best Things To Do In Riyadh
Shop at Riyadh Gallery
Malls in Riyadh are not just shopping places but are also ideal for dining and socializing. In the city, there are many malls, but one that you must visit is the Riyadh Gallery.
The shopping centre is a three-story building that houses retail stores from a lot of international brands, including high-street stores and luxury goods. Here, you will find a food court too where you can enjoy excellent delicacies. The mall also houses an artificial lake and a mosque.
One of the most visited places in Riyadh is its biggest museum, the National Museum. It is situated at the King Abdul Aziz historical center, a cultural point that also features a park and a mosque.
The museum displays the history of human civilization, Saudi Arabia and Islam in eight galleries, and its compilation incorporates antiquities, sculptures and audiovisual divisions.
The World Sights Park
The World Sights Park displays replicas of some of the world’s most famous monuments, such as the Taj Mahal, the blue mosque of Istanbul, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower of Paris, and many others.
It also features models of many Saudi Arabian monuments, including the two most sacred mosques. You can explore the park within an hour as it is not too big. You can also enjoy food from snack vendors here.
The Royal Zoo Riyadh
You can check out Riyadh’s zoo which was built to keep wild animals in safe surroundings. In the 1980s, the zoo was opened to the public. The zoological park covers 55 acres of land, and it houses more than 1500 animals of 40 different species.
You would also find here a flamingo park and an area that conserves several local birds that are at risk of extinction. If you are looking for a unique experience, you can board a train for a joy ride at the zoo. Many cafeterias are also there in the park.
Quad Biking On Red Sand Dunes Riyadh
Riyadh is situated in the central province of Saudi, in the middle of the world’s largest desert that is spread over one-third of the country. It is the hub of culture and leisure in the city. The red sand dunes are surrounded by mountains and they are located around 25-minute drive from central Riyadh.
The picturesque region is becoming more and more popular for the residents who visit on the weekends. Particularly, dune-bashing is among the city’s most popular activities, and you can get quad bikes on rent at affordable prices.
The Desert City
Most people who visit Riyadh prefer indoor leisure activities because the summers here are long as well as extremely hot. However, during the cooler months or when the weather becomes pleasant, outdoor activities are a preferred choice.
The King Abdullah Malaz Park is spread over 318,000 square metres and houses a restaurant, cafeteria, many playgrounds for kids, special areas for sports and a 12 m pedestrian pathway. You can find perfect greenery here that can be well appreciated by people. The park is perfect for families because the crowd is lesser than in other parks.
Trekking In Endless Valley
Jebel Fihrayn, also called the Edge of the World, is a desert trek, a perfect spot for some outdoor tranquillity, particularly after exploring the city’s hustle and bustle for a few days. Hikers can pick from a number of trails of varied difficulties.
Its huge cliffs unveil the valley that extends towards an apparently boundless horizon. The ground itself is very beautiful and there are sediments spread all through the escarpment which was underwater in the past, almost 150 million years ago. Here in the desert, mobile signals don’t work. So, it is always good to go in large groups in 4×4 vehicles and of course with an experienced driver.
Useful Travel Tip
If you are on budget travel, I suggest you travel with Flynas Airlines. It is Saudi Arabia’s first low-frills airline and covers many national and international destinations. If you book well in advance, you can find a one-way Delhi to Riyadh flight for about 13 or 14 thousand Rupees. Now that’s a bargain!
Also Read: Tips for Backpacking in Europe