10 things to look forward to in Saudi Arabia in March 2022
Check out concerts, new restaurant openings, sporting and art events and much more…
Just like that, a new month comes marching right in. It’ll be a month of many firsts. From Saudi Arabia’s first defence show and full marathon to the first Arab music festival, there are a plethora of ways to light up your calendar.
The month of March also marks International Women’s Day. What better way to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women than by launching the Kingdom’s first-ever navigation rally for women? And, of course, more than anything else, we want to be back at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit to watch the highly anticipated Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Wondering what else is in store? Here are ten things to look forward to in Saudi Arabia this March.
March 4 and 5: Take part in Saudi Arabia’s first full marathon
Organised by the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA), with the support of the Ministry of Sport, the Riyadh Marathon 2022 is open to anyone and everyone. The main event is the 42.2-kilometre marathon race, which starts at King Saud University and continues through the city. Other races on offer will be a half marathon for regular runners, a 10-kilometre race for 17 years old and above, and a four-kilometre race for beginners and children. Races aside, participants and visitors can enjoy food, entertainment, and recreational activities at the Riyadh Marathon Village.
March 4 and 5: Attend the first Wasla Music Festival in Riyadh
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Wasla Music Festival, the leading Arab alternative music and arts event, is coming to Riyadh after three years of success in Dubai. The maiden Saudi festival will feature Arab and Saudi alternative and indie talents, such as Egyptian rock legends Cairokee, indie pop and folklore sensation Hamza Namira and world-famous Algerian singer-songwriter Souad Massi. The festival will be held outdoors in a grass valley outside Riyadh. It will include a barbeque brunch, many food and beverage offerings, workshops, children’s activities, local designer art and fashion installations that all reflect Saudi and Arab cultures from across the region.
Wasla Music Festival, Coordinates: VF4V+52, Khayalat Abu Suwaytif 13923, March 4 & 5. The ticket price starts from SAR250. waslafestival.com
March 6 to 9: Check out Saudi Arabia’s inaugural defence show
Organised by the Kingdom’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) and supported by its partner, Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), the World Defense Show is the global stage for defence interoperability across five domains: land, air, sea, space and security. Over the four days, it will showcase the latest, best in class, current and future defence technologies through exhibits, live demonstrations, conferences, and seminars. A day before the launch of the exhibition, the International Institute for Strategic Studies will organise the “Riyadh Defense Forum” as a preparatory event, where it will host an elite of military and political figures from around the world to discuss the latest sector trends that will shape the future of defence and security. The forum on March 5 will be followed by the Riyadh Salute event, where international military aircraft will fly over Riyadh to perform a fantastic air show.
World Defense Show, Malham, Riyadh 13380, March 6-9, 10am onwards. Register here.
Until March 11: Visit the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale
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The Kingdom’s first international contemporary art biennale is running until March 11. It explores spiritual themes, environmental heritage and conservation, gender issues and more. The works, ranging from paintings and installations to performances, are displayed in various mediums. The biennale seeks to introduce Saudi contemporary art within a rich dialogue and present its visions on the international scene. It also aims to encourage audiences in Saudi Arabia to learn more about the world of contemporary art.
March 17 to 19: The first navigation rally for women
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Supporting Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program to support the empowerment of Saudi women across various sectors, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, the authorised distributor of Toyota in Saudi Arabia, has announced the launch of Rally Jameel, the first-ever navigation rally for women in the country. The rally will be held over three days, starting from the city of Hail and ending in Riyadh, passing through the province of Qassim in the process. Each team will consist of a female driver and an assistant. The event is not designed as a speed test; instead, it tests navigational skills to traverse a route, covering between 300 and 500 kilometres per day. What’s even interesting is that each day’s route is kept confidential and will only be issued the night before each stage.
Rally Jameel, March 17-19. Rallyjameel.com
Throughout March: Memorable meals at Al Khobar’s new fine-dining hot spots
When you want to dress up for a romantic dinner or splurge on your birthday, there are some stellar spots at Al Khobar. Residents in the Eastern Province will be pleased to know that Al Matal Complex, a popular beachfront destination, is now home to three new fine-dining restaurants – the award-winning Japanese restaurant Nozomi, Greek restaurant Hellenika, and Belgravian Brasserie, an all-day dining destination.
Al Matal Complex, AlKuraniash, 6536, Al Khobar 34414. Belgravian Brasserie, ground floor, daily 8am to 11pm, Tel: 9200 12594. Hellenika, first floor, Sun to Wed 12.30pm to 4pm & 6.30pm to 11.30pm, Thurs 12.30pm to 4pm & 6.30pm to midnight, Fri 12.30pm to 4.30pm & 6.30pm to midnight, Sat 12.30pm to 4.30pm & 6.30pm to 11.30pm. Tel: 9200 12579. Nozomi, second floor, Sat to Wed 7pm to 11.30pm, Thurs & Fri 7pm to 12.30am, Tel: 9200 12681.
March 18: Say Hello to pop legend Lionel Richie
The Grammy Award-winning performer will be in AlUla on March 18 for a spectacular one-off concert. Lionel Richie will be performing some of his biggest hits from his extensive repertoire spanning decades, all the way from the Commodores to the present day. His live concert will celebrate an incredible songbook of music beloved by all with chart-toppers like ‘All Night Long’, ‘Endless Love’, ‘Lady’, and ‘Truly’.
March 25 to 27: Prepare for an action-packed race weekend
With the memories of the inaugural F1 race in the Kingdom still fresh in the minds of all who witnessed it, the return of Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit – now confirmed as the world’s longest and fastest street circuit – promises to be another glorious weekend of racing action and live entertainment. Be sure to get your tickets now.
Until March 30: Experience an open-air art exhibition like no other
Desert X AlUla 2022 returns for its second edition with an extraordinary open-air art exhibition, placing large-scale contemporary artworks by 15 Saudi and international artists amidst the desert landscape of AlUla. Under the theme of Sarab, this year’s show explores ideas of mirage and oasis, both intrinsic to desert history and culture. Guests can walk the area and visit each exhibition at their own pace or use guided tour options. To best plan your visit in advance, here’s what you need to know about this year’s Desert X AlUla.
Desert X AlUla, until March 30. experiencealula.com
Throughout March: Plan your visit to Ithra
The King Abdulaziz Centre for World Culture (Ithra) offers a variety of educational and cultural programmes and activities for everyone, including a variety of new dining experiences in the Centre’s outdoor food court, works by international artists, as well as studios offering workshops and other activities for all ages and interests.
Ithra, 8386 Ring Rd, Gharb Al Dhahran, Dhahran 34461, Mon to Wed & Sat 9am to 10pm, Thurs 9am to 11pm, Fri 4pm to 11pm. Tel: 013 816 9799. @ithra
Images: Social / Provided