7 brilliant things to do in Riyadh this weekend: July 8 to 10

Our recommendations of what to do and where to go…

We’re well past the first half of the year, and what a ride it’s been. But, that aside, the hunt for the best things to do in Riyadh goes on.

Check out these brilliant things to do and some family-friendly activities for a ton of fun this weekend.

Thursday July 8

Catch up with friends over a hearty Greek fare


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Located on the first floor of Al Faisaliah Hotel, Meraki prides itself in offering guests a dining experience that encapsulates the warmth and generosity that Greek hospitality is known for. The restaurant has a relaxing vibe, making it a popular hangout spot not just for those who happen to be in the vicinity but also for those who love good Greek food on any day of the week. From the briny goodness of its signature Lobster Giouvetsi with orzo pasta to the subtle flavours of the freshly grilled fish, the menu at Meraki is unpretentious yet sophisticated. Greek cuisine celebrated here in all its refined simplicity. The good news is the restaurant is now open for lunch from Thursdays to Saturdays.

Meraki Riyadh, Al Moatasem Street, Al Olaya, Riyadh 12212, Thurs to Sun 1pm to 3.30pm & 7pm to 12.30am, Sun to Wed 7pm to midnight. Tel: 9200 01050. @merakiriyadh

Explore the mind-blowing world of illusions

If you still haven’t been to the Museum of Illusions, now’s the chance to immerse yourself in the dizzying array of interactive exhibits. Jump straight into the fun with the Vortex Tunnel, which will have you think the ground is moving, or see yourself in a new light at the True Mirror room. The exhibits make for some unreal Insta-worthy shots, so make sure to charge your phone beforehand.

Museum of Illusions Riyadh, Riyadh Park Mall, Unit FAS2, Sat to Thurs 10am to midnight & Fri 1pm to midnight. Sar80 for 16 years and above, Sar60 for five- to 15-year-olds & Sar250 for a family of two adults and two children. Tel: 011 263 0523. @museumofillusions_riyadh

Friday July 9

Oodles of fun at Al Watan Park


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Al Watan Park overwhelms with enough family-centric activities to fill a long weekend. Families descend on the park for the dozens of accessible rides for children. The theme park features some old-time classics like the miniature Ferris wheel, alongside some adventurous rides where kids pilot their own flying plane, revolving at their own elevation. You can also enjoy a great stay in one of its chalet rentals, which includes a swimming pool.

Al Watan Park, Riyadh Water Tower, King Saud Rd, Al Futah, Riyadh 12632, daily 4pm to midnight. Sar11 for an entry ticket, Sar40 for games wristband. Tel: 050 033 8844. @alwatan_p

Don your cleats and ride to the beats


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“We don’t spin, we ride” – that’s the tagline used to describe 1Rebel’s signature ‘Ride’ class and its army of devout followers (or ‘Rebels’). The banging playlists, sick sound systems, Ibiza-style lighting and special effects transport you to another world – one where exercise is actually fun. But don’t expect an easy 45-minute ride. Instead, ‘Ride’ is full of fast-paced bouncing sprints and slow resistance-filled climbs interspersed with push-ups and curls with dumbbells. Power through, and you could burn up to 800 calories in one class.

1Rebel Rabi – Women’s, King Abdul Aziz Rd, Ar Rabi, Riyadh 11564. 1Rebel Sahafa – Men’s, Ath Thumamah Road, As Sahafah, Riyadh 11564. Sar161 for three sessions for first-timers. Visit 1rebel.com for pricing. Tel: 055 084 4774. @1rebelsaudi

Enjoy an all-American cuisine at 56th Avenue Diner


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Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya’s very own American diner, 56th Avenue Diner, is hosting a feast of American flavours featuring the best cuts of succulent steaks and live stations highlighting iconic dishes from across the 50 states. So be sure to come with a big appetite and eat your heart out.

Made in USA buffet dinner, 56th Avenue Diner, Hyatt Regency Riyadh Olaya, Olaya Street, Riyadh 11433, Fri 6.30pm to 10.30pm. Sar295 per person. Enjoy 15 per cent off when you book online. Tel: 011 288 1234. @56thavenuediner

Saturday July 10

Have fun with virtual reality

Grab a latte, pick a game, and escape to an alternate reality. There are two virtual realms for you to experience at Maps VR & Café, from killing zombies to battling other players head-on. And after all that thrilling adventure, sit back, relax, and enjoy some good coffee and light bites at the café.

Maps VR & Café, Abi Bakr As Siddiq Rd, At Taawun, Riyadh 12477, Fri 4pm to midnight, Sat 9am to midnight, Sun to Thurs 7.30am to midnight. Sar80 per person per game. Tel: 055 528 1816. @maps_vr

Host a summer BBQ party


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The sun is shining. The grill is smoking. It’s time to gather your friends and host an epic barbecue. For some of the best spreads to put on the grill, check out these gourmet butchers in Riyadh. We’ve tried and tested their meat packs, so you can be rest assured that they will provide you with the very best cuts to cook over your coals (or gas).

Images: Instagram