With most of the parts developed in less than two decades, Riyadh – the capital of Saudi Arabia, stuns the expats with sparkling, modern towers and contemporary amenities, but has some shortcomings at the same time. Riyadh translating to “gardens” in Arabic, is home to several beautiful parks, Museums and some world's known international stadiums. Carry your Valid Identification and know your routes in advance for a hassle free trip in the city.
Best Time to Visit Riyadh
Winter months (between November to March) are the best time to visit Riyadh. During these months the city boasts just the climate to explore all the major attractions. Budget travelers can fly into Riyadh in April and October when the climate is still soothing and most of the attractions can be toured.
Riyadh Top AttractionsKingdom Centre
This architectural masterpiece is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the city. The charm of the Kingdom Center multiplies manifold at night when it’s lit up remarkably. Go to the 99th floor Sky bridge to get great views of the city from above 300 meters. Visiting hours are between 4 pm to 11 pm.
This sprawling museum is another massive tourist attraction in Riyadh. It showcases the history and archaeology of the country from as early as Stone Age. The details are in English and Arabic. The depictions of Islamic architecture towards the end of your excursion will keep you enthralled.
Located in the center of the city, the fortress turned museum tells the history of Saudi Arabia’s recent past. The citadel was won by Abdul Aziz in 1902. A spear still can be seen lodged in the doorway as a witness of the battle. The story of the raid and some absorbing images of old Riyadh can be explored in the museum.
Shopping in RiyadhAl Faisaliah Center
Al Faisaliah Center, one of the snazziest shopping malls in the city, offers an unparalleled shopping experience to expats and locals alike. Families can visit the Al Faisaliah from Wednesday to Friday. Anchored by Harvey Nichols, the mall also houses Adidas, DIESEL, H&M, MANGO, D&G and many other popular brands. Also, the food court is claimed to be among the finest in Riyadh to savor some amazing dishes.
This expansive double-storied flagship store is the largest bookshop in Saudi Arabia. It also has a huge collection of stationery, new gadgets and music DVDs. You can find finest travel guides as well as English and Arabic magazines in Riyadh at Jarir Bookstore located on Olaya Road.
Lamsa is the best to place in Riyadh to buy some quality gift items and souvenirs. It’s a great place to find some amazing Arabic Handicrafts and antiques at very reasonable prices. They sell traditional dresses, framed antiques, Arabian jewelries and several other products which are mostly made by the craftsmen at Lamsa Company.
Dining and Nightlife Scene in RiyadhNajd Village
Head to Najd Village, a popular dining place on Al Takhassusi Rd, to savor some of the best Saudi cuisine in a typical Saudi Arabic setting. Along with Najd-special hashi (baby camel), you can also try out Kasba (meat and rice) and many other dishes and beverages. Please note that families are allowed on Fridays only.
Café Amore Bistro
Café Amore can be your haven in Riyadh if you like Italian. Located on Tahila Street, Café Amore is known to serve fresh Seafood and amazing Italian cuisine. You can sample sausages, meatball, salads, several cheese items and other delicacies.
Among the very limited nightlife scenes, Globe is undoubtedly one of the finest places to be at late-night. Nestled in Al Faisaliah Tower at a breathtaking spot, the café-restaurant sports dim lighting and a relaxed vibe. Puff on a Cohiba, sip from your bottle of bubbly and admire the charming views from the windows or the outdoor viewing platform.
A coffee house, a Sushi bar, an oxygen bar, a cigar bar and so much more, the Spazio 77 is an elite night spot in the kingdom. This chic place nested in the Kingdom Tower is frequented by the big shots. And adeptly dishes up some finest servings, it boasts efficient staff and most delectable food.
How to Reach Riyadh
King Khalid International Airport is the primary gateway to Riyadh if you are flying into the Saudi Arabia from any part of the world. Located about 25 miles from the city, the airport has several direct and indirect flights to and from the main cities in India, France, United States, United Kingdom, UAE and many other countries. Saudia, Emirates and British Airways are some of the major airlines are serving to King Khalid International Airport.
Day Trip Destinations from RiyadhDiriyah
Located on the northwestern outskirts of Riyadh, Diriyah is a nice day trip option for the tourists in the city. Once, the capital of the Emirates of Diriyah, the town boasts some spectacular archaeological sights. Acclaimed camel races, traditional dancing, traditional arts and crafts shows and several other activities draw a huge crowd. Visitors can also explore Salwa palace – an important residence during First Saudi State, as well as many other palaces and mosques.
While on vacation to Riyadh, heading towards Bahrain can be a nice one day or a couple of days’ trip for you. Along with some of the kingdom’s heritage, the growing city also boasts an International F1 Circuit. UNESCO World Heritage Site Qalat Al Bahrain, The Bahrain National Museum and some other attractions too are frequented by tourists.
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Visit Riyadh during shoulder months i.e. April and October to avoid rainfall and peak season crowd, as well as high airfares and hotel rates.
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