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12 things to look forward to in Saudi Arabia this December

Make it a December to remember…

You know what they say – let’s end the year with a bang. With endless reasons to celebrate and make everlasting memories, this December will certainly be one for the history books. Discover our fun-filled list of things to look forward to in December 2023, including the most talked-about events of the season in Saudi Arabia.

Until December 1: Don your best costume at Jeddah Comic Con 2023


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Gear up, superheroes. Comic Con Arabia, the ultimate pop culture festival, allows fanatics to geek out about all things comic books, manga, anime, film, television, science fiction, and video games. You’ll also have the chance to meet The Arrow’s actor Stephen Amell, author Rachel Litfin, Kaiju comic artist Hiroshi Kanatani, and the man behind iconic comics like ‘Web of Spider-Man,’ ‘Antivenom,’ ‘Zatanna,’ ‘Warlord,’ ‘Wonder Woman,’ comic book illustrator Chad Hardin.

Jeddah Comic Con 2023, Nov 30 to Dec 1, 4pm to 2am, Jeddah Convention Centre. The ticket is priced at SAR120 and can be purchased here. @comicconarabia

December 1: African Lounge, Riyadh’s latest safari-inspired setting, makes its debut

Fans of the new dining destination by Tashas Group in Bujairi Terrace are probably already well aware of the stunning Flamingo Room. And now, mere steps away lies their gorgeous African Lounge – part of the three unique concepts under one roof, with a terrific terrace letting you take full advantage of the Flamingo Collection’s location and the historic At-Turaif as the backdrop. As soon as you step inside, you’ll be greeted by an eclectic mix of bright and bold hues and an ostentatiously designed bar counter. The intimate space is African-inspired, the vibe is relaxed, and the opulent decor is a feast for the senses.

African Lounge, Flamingo Collection, Bujairi Terrace, Diriyah Gate, daily 6pm to midnight. @african__lounge

Until December 2: Riyadh Laughs brings an incredible line-up of comedic talents

If you’re looking for laugh-out-loud entertainment, the new season of Riyadh Laughs, the exciting stand-up comedy extravaganza, has returned to Boulevard City. Headliners include British comedian and actor Paul Chowdry and rising comedy stars from Cairo, Alaa El Sheikh, Mohamed Moula and Reem Nabil, who will perform for the first time in Riyadh.

Riyadh Laughs, until Dec 2, 8.15pm, Muvi Cinemas, Boulevard Riyadh City. The tickets are priced from SAR140 and can be purchased here. @riyadhlaughs

Throughout December: Explore Saudi Arabia’s rich culture at Diriyah Season

Diriyah Season

Diriyah Season is an annual themed festival that brings the cultural heritage of Diriyah to life through a captivating array of hundreds of events and experiences. These include live musical and theatrical performances, the highly anticipated Diriyah E-Prix championship organised by the Ministry of Sport, an expanded and engaging return of ‘Layali Diriyah’, immersive art installations and exhibitions, stellar culinary experiences, and outdoor activities, such as horseback riding, camping, and stargazing. Watch this space for more updates on event and ticketing information.


December 7: Enjoy a spectacular performance of ‘Lang Lang: The Disney Book’


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Prepare to be wowed by superstar pianist Lang Lang. For one night only, exclusively in the Middle East, Ithra presents an unforgettable evening filled with classical renditions of music from beloved Disney films, such as “The Lion King”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Aladdin” and many more. Accompanied by the Beethoven Academy Orchestra conducted by Edwin Outwater and featuring special guests, including Saudi vocalist Loulwa Al-Sharif, this special performance is one of only ten shows being performed around the world.

Lang Lang: The Disney Book, Dec 7, 7pm to 9.30pm, Ithra. For 12 years and above only. The ticket starts from SAR300 and can be purchased here. @ithra

December 7 to 9: Hear all about the latest music trends at XP Music Futures


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XP Music Futures is back for its third edition. Gear up for three days filled with innovative talks, transformative workshops, and eye-opening musical discoveries, supercharging the region’s music industry. Dive into an exciting music-filled weekend, from 11am to 7pm, featuring a thoughtfully crafted line-up of activities to keep you engaged and entertained throughout the day.

XP Music Futures 2023, Dec 7 to 9, noon to 2am, JAX District, Riyadh. The ticket starts from SAR150 and can be purchased here. @xpmusicfutures

Until December 9: The Red Sea International Film Festival all set to kick off its third edition


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The third Red Sea International Film Festival will be held in Jeddah from Thursday November 30 to Saturday December 9 under the “Your Story, Your Festival” theme. The gathering boasts a film programme and guests from the MENA region, as well as Europe, Asia, the Americas and Australia. German actress Diane Kruger will be celebrated with an Honorary Award, along with Indian actor Ranveer Singh and Saudi actor-writer Abdullah Al-Sadhan. The Red Sea IFF has also programmed sections called New Saudi/New Cinema, Arab Spectacular, Red Sea: Festival Favourites, Red Sea: Families and Children, Red Sea: New Vision, and Red Sea: Series.

Red Sea International Film Festival, until Dec 9, Jeddah. @redseafilm

Until December 16: Be mesmerised by the largest light art festival in Riyadh

The citywide festival will illuminate our capital city with large-scale light art installations, building projections, performances, and more. Held under the theme “The Bright Side of the Desert Moon”, the event features over 120 artworks by around 100 artists. From urban to natural landscapes, Noor Riyadh is presented as a journey in five hubs – JAX District, KAFD, Salam Park, Wadi Hanifah and Wadi Namar. Accompanying the festival will also be an exhibition titled “Refracted Identities, Shared Futures”, which will be held at the Riyadh Art space in JAX District until March 2, 2024.

Noor Riyadh Festival, Nov 30 to Dec 16, 6pm to 1am, various locations. Noor Riyadh Exhibition, Nov 30 to Mar 2, 2024, Sat to Thurs 11am to 1am & Fri 4pm to 1am, JAX District. @noorriyadhfestival

December 14 to 16: Get ready for MDLBeast SoundStorm

The countdown is on for the loudest festival in the region. MDLBeast SoundStorm is gearing up for an even bigger and louder round in 2023. Put your dancing shoes on and get ready for the beat drop. Festival-goers can look forward to an all-star line-up, including the recently announced Metallica, Black Eyed Peas, Chris Brown, WizKid, David Guetta, and more.

MDLBeast SoundStorm 2023, Dec 14 to 16, Banban. The general admission ticket starts from SAR169 and can be purchased here. @mdlbeast.soundstorm

From December 21: Winter at Tantora is coming

Winter at Tantora

Get ready for the return of Winter at Tantora, the region’s longest-running culture, art, and music festival in AlUla. Part of AlUla Moments, the flagship festival will take place over six weekends. Kicking off the festival is the immersive Tantora Celebrations from December 22 to 31. The heart of Winter at Tantora, this 10-day event transforms part of Old Town into a hive of activity, discovery and celebrations heralding the winter planting season – a tradition that goes back many generations.

Visit: @alulamoments

December 23: Riyadh Season presents a boxing spectacle

Boxing fans will be treated to a festive feast. British boxer Anthony Joshua will headline a historic night of boxing in Riyadh, along with world champions Dmitry Bivol and Jai Opetaia. Set to take place on Saturday December 23 at the Kingdom Arena, Riyadh Season 2023 will play host to the ‘Day of Reckoning’, featuring eight fights and showcasing some of the most famous boxing world champions and leading contenders from the top weight divisions.

Day of Reckoning, Dec 23, Kingdom Arena. Tickets have yet to be released. @riyadhseason

December TBC: The dreamy St Regis Red Sea Resort welcomes guests

Get ready to embark on a Saudi staycation of next-level luxury: The St Regis Red Sea. The dreamy and exclusive island escape is one of two luxurious Marriott Resorts that unrolls along the sugary sands of Ummahat Island, nestled among a protected conservation area on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastline. Accessible via boat or seaplane, the 90-key resort, of all beachfront and overwater villas, invites guests to enjoy blissful getaways where white sandy beaches, tropical gardens and a thriving underwater world await. On the culinary front, guests can dine at five restaurants, including all-day dining with a Levantine twist at Nesma, enjoy refined Japanese flavours at Gishiki 45, and tuck into fine cuts cooked to order at sleek steakhouse Tilina.

The St Regis Red Sea Resort, The Red Sea, opens Dec 2023, with rates from SAR5,000. Marriott.com

Images: Instagram / Provided