What To See And Where To See It In This Expensive And Scenic Destination
This is a travel guide of recommended things to do in and around the city.
Getting there is easy, for Turkish Airlines has several flights. And yes, Riyadh can be expensive but money is often in the eye of the wallet holder. You can book hotels in Riyadh at various prices.
And there’s a lot more than meets the eye in this desert oasis.
For starters, there is the Kingdom Centre. It could be called a “must see” landmark except it is so tall you can’t help but see it while in Riyadh. At 302 meters (992 feet), it is the tallest building in Saudi Arabia. Its signature design element is an opening that looks like a necklace, thus earning it the nickname of “The Necklace,” and it is illuminated at night in different colors. Naturally, it has an observation deck for expansive views over the entire area.
Al Masaa Cafe is the largest coffee shop in the world. It is located across from the Kingdom Centre. A good time to go is dusk when you can sip on Arabic coffee and look at the Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Rolls Royces zipping by on the busy street below you.
In fact, pop in there after seeing sunset from the Sky Bridge.
For a unique dinner location, The Globe is an all-glass, well, globe that sit on top of the pyramid-shaped Al Faisaliah Center that overlooks the city.
In Riyadh, you can mix your new, gleaming experience with the old, and the place to start is in the old city. The primary attraction here is the Masmak Fortress, home of the original kingdom. It is now a museum.
This is also an excellent place to go shopping for clothes, jewelry, etc. Things are really slow in the afternoons, so that is a good time to explore on your own. However, if you like being in a city at a more lively time, know that things start to pick up at around 8 p.m.
A must-do activity is to visit the Al Bujairi district of Ad’Diriyah, home of the original Saudi family. Go at what is known as the “golden hour,” which in other places is sunset time, for a view that will have you snapping a lot of photos for social media and selfie posts. Known as “the jewel” of Saudi Arabia, this area has several cafes and shops, so there’s plenty to do after the golden hour.
While it’s hot and most people prefer to be indoors, the dancing water fountain at King Abdullah Malaz Park (KAMP) has shows about every 30 minutes every evening starting at 6:15 p.m. The park also has a lake, cafeterias, a restaurant and abundant walking paths. There is an entrance fee.
Two hours south of the city is the towering plateau of “Edge of the World,” a popular weekend hiking spot with endless views that will make you pause for long moments of reflection.
How expensive is Riyadh to visit A Cappuccino will set you back the equivalent of $14 USD and a beer is, well alcohol is prohibited in Riyadh so you’ll have to settle for a non-alcoholic brew, which is about $6 USD.
You won’t encounter many college backpackers here, but Riyadh is a nice place for a pleasant holiday experience and is a booming destination for business travelers.