All the ways you can celebrate Founding Day in Riyadh

Celebrate the 300-year rich history of Saudi Arabia in the right way(s)…

It’s Founding Day week, and you already know the city will pull out all the stops for Founding Day in Riyadh.

The holiday aims to celebrate the Kingdom’s story which dates all the way back to the 18th century, when Imam Muhammad bin Saud founded the first Saudi state in 1727 in Diriyah.

Whether you’re in the market for fantastic foodie events, or after a more cultural way to celebrate the holiday, you’re in luck. Here are the top things to do for Founding Day in Riyadh.

Monday February 20: Catch The Beginning exhibition


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Founding Day in Riyadh is considered to be the beginning of the Saudi Kingdom some 300 years ago. So, it makes sense to celebrate all beginnings on the day, and this one’s for the art lovers. Multidisciplinary creative hub Burble is putting on its second-ever exhibition under the theme of The Beginning. The display will be showcasing works of notable artists in the early stages of their careers or rather, the beginning of them.

The Beginning, until Fri Feb 24, Huna Takhasussi, Panorama Mall. @burblethefirst

Wednesday February 22: Get cozy at Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences

Hilton Founding Day in Riyadh celebrations

Grab your phones, you’re going to want to film this one. Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences is set to be decked out in all traditional decor for the occasion. Guests can look forward to a tent or khaima with a traditional lounging area and live music. Staff will also be getting in on the fun with traditional attire. There will also be a special Saudi Dessert Corner displaying Saudi sweets from the different regions of the country and qahwa (Saudi coffee).

Don’t spoil your appetite with all the sweets though as, the in-house restaurant Teatro will also have curated breakfast and lunch buffets inspired by Saudi cuisine on Wednesday February 22. You can also relax at the eforea Spa & Healthclub throughout Founding Day week until Thursday February 23.  Get cozy on the massage chair or an hour long massage with a free salt and oil scrub to rejuvenate the skin for SAR460, or a 40-minute massage for SAR 230 any day from 10.00am to 4.00pm.

Now, breathe….

Hilton Riyadh Hotel & Residences, Wed Feb 22 (Founding Day activities) until Thu Feb 23 (spa offer), 6623 Eastern Ring Rd, Ghirnatah. @hiltonriyadh

Wednesday February 22: Explore Saudi culture at The Ritz-Carlton

Looking for more ways to celebrate Founding Day in Riyadh? You can head on over to the ever-luxurious The Ritz-Carlton for brunch. You can even make a day out of it, and check out the Saudi art gallery, live horse entertainment, a live Saudi band, and dance entertainment too.

The Ritz-Carlton, Wed Feb 22, noon to 11.30pm,  Makkah Al Mukarramah Rd, Al Hada. Tel: 011 802 8888. @ritzcarltonruh

Wednesday February 22: Dig into the Founding Day menu at Suhail


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What better way to welcome in Founding Day in Riyadh than at one of the the best Saudi restaurant in the capital? Suhail is a fine-dining Saudi restaurant serving up traditional Saudi cuisine with a modern twist. Take bites out of local dishes like manto almadeena and saleeg. End the meal on a sweet note with the hanini cheesecake.

Suhail, Wed Feb 22, noon to 1am. MEFIC Centre. Tel: 9200 02690. @suhail_saudi

Wednesday February 22: Step into the past at Al Liwan

Al Liwan is a cultural event organised by the Ministry of Culture (MOC). Here, you and the family can enjoy traditional markets recreated as they were 300 years ago, traditional Saudi clothes. You can also view interactive exhibitions, cultural seminars, and attend historic theatrical performances. The event is free to attend.

Al Liwan, Wed Feb 22 to Fri Feb 24, 4pm to 11pm, Wadi KAFD. Book your free tickets here.

Wednesday February 22: Sit in on a majlis

Want to learn all about Founding Day? Attend the AlMajlis event. Organised by the MOC, this event aims to educate people on the history of the first Saudi state through lectures, panel sessions, and workshops. There will also be local artists, and calligraphy artists present, too.

AlMajlis, Wed Feb 22 to Fri Feb 24, 4pm, King Fahad National Library. Book your free ticket here.

Wednesday February 22: Check out horses at the Al-Turaif Cup

A big part of Saudi heritage is horse racing, so this Founding Day, you and the fam can go see the races in action for the Al-Turaif Cup. The event will be happening at the AlDuhami Equestrian Center in Diriyah. There will be exciting competitions and activities, along with foodie options.

Al-Turaif Cup, Diriyah, 4pm to 10pm. Book your free tickets here.

Wednesday February 22: Chill out at Riyadh Marriott Hotel

Need some time away? Book a staycation at the Riyadh Marriott Hotel. Enjoy a three-night stay with breakfast included complete with Founding Day brunch on Wednesday February 22.

Riyadh Marriott Hotel, Wed Feb 22 (brunch), King Saud Road Al Wizarat. @riyadhmarriott

Wednesday February 22 to Friday February 24: Eat traditional Saudi food at Nofa Riyadh

No celebration is ever complete without food. So, at Nofa Riyadh, you can dig into traditional and international cuisine at the all day dining area. You can chill out at either the indoor or outdoor dining areas and enjoy the live music. Stay there a while and you can even catch the Saudi national dance (Ardah) performers too.

Nofa Riyadh, Wed Feb 22 to Fri Feb 23, Wed Feb 22 (Ardah only), Riyadh Makkah Highway. @radissoncollectionriyadh

Friday February 24: Watch the Founding Day parade

Who doesn’t love a good parade? We know we do, and especially on Founding Day in Riyadh. The parade will follow the story of how Saudi Arabia came to be through soldiers and countrymen a parade of horses and giant artistic figures. The event is free to attend, but you’ll want to book tickets.

Founding Day parade, Fri Feb 24, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Rd. Book your free tickets here

All week: Try out the Founding Day box at Glaze Craze


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Sweeten your celebrations with the Founding Day box from one of Riyadh’s top doughnut places, Glaze Craze. The box contains five cupcakes, 10 doughnuts, and a cake decked out in Founding Day decor. Additionally you can also enjoy 15 per cent off the breakfast menu and have lunch and dinner for SAR99.

Glaze Craze, Sun 4pm to midnight, Mon to Sat 6.3oam to 12.30am, Thu to Fri 6.30am to 1.30am. Shop No. 14, 7089 Abi Bakr As Siddiq Rd, An Nada. @glazecrazedonuts

Images: Provided/ Instagram