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 UAE, Jeddah and Medina, among others, are just a few hours of flight away.

Best Things to do in Riyadh

There are plenty of things to do and see in Riyadh. Here are some of the top attractions and activities:

Visit the Masmak Fortress

It is a clay and mudbrick fort in Qasr al-Hukm District, al-Dirah, Riyadh. Built in 1865 for prince ‘Abdurrahman ibn Sulaiman. This iconic fortress played a significant role in the founding of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The fortress was converted into a museum in 1995, and it is showcasing one of the most important landmarks of Saudi heritage.

Explore the National Museum

The national museum was established in 1999 and located in the al-Murabba neighborhood of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Also, it is part of the King Abdulaziz Historical Centre and surrounded by al-Wadi Park to the north and al-Madi Park to the east, who altogether constitute eastern side of the National Museum Park.

The museum is a great place to learn about the history and culture of Saudi Arabia, with exhibits on archaeology, Islamic art, and more.

Check out the Riyadh Zoo

It is a 55-acre zoo in al-Malazz, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Founded in 1957 as a private menagerie for King Saud and the Saudi royal family. The zoo was opened to the public in 1987 and it’s today home to more than 1,500 animals of around 196 different species, including endangered ones. It is the largest and one of the oldest zoos in Saudi Arabia.

However, the zoo is a great place to spend a day with the family.

Take a stroll in the King Abdullah Park

This beautiful park features Fountain shows, walking trails, playgrounds, and picnic areas, as well as stunning views of the city skyline.

This park covers an area of 31.8 hectares. the square served as a horse racecourse from the early days of Saudi Arabia’s establishment till 2002, then reopened as the largest public park in the country in 2013.

Popular for its 12-meter-wide pedestrian corridor, 110-meter giant laser fountains, and an artificial lake.

The park gets flooded by visitors during festive seasons and publicly organized events. Also, the park displays fireworks before midnight.

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Shop in the Souqs

Riyadh is famous for its traditional markets, or souqs, where you can find everything from spices and textiles to jewelry and handicrafts. One of the famous in Riyadh is Souq AlZal. Also, it is one of Riyadh’s oldest traditional markets that carries 100 years of history within its alleyways.

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Visit the Kingdom Centre

It is a 302.3 m skyscraper in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is the world’s third-tallest building with a hole after the Shanghai World Financial Center and the 85 Sky Tower in Taiwan.

The tower was developed by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and designed by the team of Ellerbe Becket and Omrania, who were selected through an international design competition.

However, it situate on a 100,000–square-meter site and houses the 57,000-square-meter Al-Mamlaka shopping mall, offices, the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh, and luxury apartments.

There is a 65m skybridge atop the skyscraper.

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Try local cuisine

In spite of the existence of many common dishes, Saudi Arabian dishes vary between regions as the culture itself varies. Some of the common food items in Saudi Arabian cuisine include wheat, rice, lamb, chicken, yogurt, potatoes, seafood and dates.

Riyadh has plenty of restaurants offering delicious Saudi Arabian dishes, including lamb kabsa, Madfoon, mutabbaq, and many more.

Take a day trip to the Edge of the World in one of the best things to do in Riyadh

Edge of the World is the name of the 1.131 m2 height cliff. It is the perfect destination of mountain climbing and hiking lovers.

This stunning natural landmark is located just outside of Riyadh and offers breathtaking views of the desert landscape.

Enjoy a cultural performance

Riyadh has a vibrant arts scene, with plenty of opportunities to see traditional dance, music, Art exhibitions, live entertainment, heritage experience, theater performances, and more cultural experiences that will help you truly get to know the city.