Concerts, sporting stars and a slew of new restaurants to feast your eyes on…

With the start of the new year, Saudi Arabia is pulling out all the stops to ensure it’s an action-packed kick off. Whether dining at a fun new restaurant in Riyadh or Jeddah, or enjoying the thrills of a live concert or sporting event, here are the best things to do in Saudi Arabia this January.

January 1 to 14: Tune in to an exhilarating rally

Dakar Rally

The adrenaline-pumping action has already begun at the 2022 Dakar Rally, one of the world’s best-known and most challenging events. The third Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia and the 44th edition of the rally itself, it comes with a total of 12 stages over two weeks, with a rest day at the mid-point of competition in Riyadh. It is the biggest rally in terms of participants, with 1,065 racers from 70 countries aboard 578 vehicles. Racers will experience the most demanding adventures in the sport of desert rallying over 14 days, challenging the rough terrains to test their endurance for a total distance of 8,375 kilometres.
2022 Dakar Rally, Jan 1 to 14, 2022. Download the Dakar 2022 app to watch it live.

Throughout January: Dine at a world famous restaurant in Jeddah

While the Nobu restaurant in Riyadh is temporarily closed as the brand gears up to open Nobu Hotel Riyadh, there’s now a second edition of the renowned Japanese restaurant in Jeddah. Located in the heart of Al-Nawras Resort overlooking the pretty Corniche in a prime sea view spot, guests can expect to dine on signature Nobu dishes such as yellowtail and black cod.
Al Nawras Resort, Jeddah, 7pm to 12am daily. Tel: 012 272 4646, noburestaurants.com

January date TBC: See a historic match at Riyadh Season Cup

As part of a dazzling array of Riyadh Season Events, the Riyadh Season Cup will see Paris Saint-Germain play against the stars of Al Hilal SFC and Al Nassr FC, the two biggest football clubs in the region. The single-match tournament will take place in the third week of January.
Date TBC, riyadhseason.com

January 21: Be dazzled by Andrea Bocelli’s desert performance

Beloved Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli is no stranger to Saudi Arabia – or the breathtaking desert landscape of AlUla – having performed their previously on a couple of occasions. He returns on January 21 for an intimate concert at the Instagram-famous Maraya Hall.
Maraya Hall, AlUla, 8pm onwards. experiencealula.com

January 28 and 29: Experience the thrills of Formula E

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is back for the fourth time at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Diriyah, kicking off the season with an incredible double header in the dark. Sparks are sure to fly as drivers navigate this 2.495 km circuit, which skirts around the historic town walls, with drivers navigating some 21 twists and turns before an energy-zapping straight to close out the lap, all completed after dark with an illumination of LED’s lining the circuit.
Diriyah Circuit, Diriyah, January 28 and 29, from SAR 150. halayalla.com

Throughout January: Dine around a desert pop-up

As Riyadh season continues, one of the best culinary pop-ups takes place on the outskirts of the city – Riyadh Oasis. Running until the end of February, Riyadh Oasis features an array of art, music, and fine dining, all set against the backdrop of the rolling desert. Among the must-try restaurants, popular Greek restaurant Opa makes its way from Dubai, while Lebanon’s Antika provides a fusion of Oriental flavours and globally known Novikov presents expertly curated pan-Asian flavours.
Riyadh Oasis, Opening hours vary, until February 28. chefz.co

January 9 to 29: Get inspired and celebrate local talent at a design festival

The first Saudi Design Festival presented by the Architecture and Design Commission will transform Riyadh into a hub for creative dialogue at the city’s JAX District. Across three weeks, SDF will bring together local talent in the region to celebrate great design, connect, reimagine the future and cement Saudi’s presence on the global design map.
JAX District, Diriyah, January 9 to 29, 5pm onwards, SAR 57 weekdays, SAR 75 weekends. saudidesignfestival.com

Throughout January: Get pampered at a Dubai-loved salon

Tips & Toes hair

Tips & Toes, a long-adored Dubai salon and spa, has recently opened in the Al Malqa area of Riyadh with various head-to-toe beauty treatments. The extensive spa menu includes manicures, pedicures, full-body massages, facials, hair treatments, eyelash extensions, and waxing. The salon has 12 stations for nail services, five hair seats and five treatment rooms.
Tips & Toes Riyadh, Showrooms 4 & 5, Building 222, Al Malqa, Riyadh 13522, daily 11am to 9pm. Tel: 053 342 2291. @tipsandtoes.ksa