24 incredible things to look forward to in Saudi Arabia in 2024
Exciting new openings, fabulous festivals and sporting events galore…
Saudi Arabia is shaping up for a mega 2024, with huge events happening all over the country. Plus, there’s new restaurants and hotels to look forward to, entire new destinations, and exciting attractions making their long-awaited debut.
Here are 24 things to look forward to in Saudi Arabia in 2024.
A duo of incredible island escapes will open at The Red Sea
Joining The Red Sea’s desert resort, Six Senses Southern Dunes, will be a duo of gorgeous island properties debuting in early 2024. From January, guests will be ale to check-in to The St Regis Red Sea, one of two hotels on Ummahat Island. The resort, accessible via sea plane or boat, features an array of 1 to 4 bedroom villas with private pools, five restaurants, two central pools and a signature spa. Of course, guests can also look forward to signature avant-garde St Regis style, and the renowned butler service that ensures every stay is memorable and unique. Alongside The St Regis Red Sea Resort, Marriott will open an ultra-luxury Ritz-Carlton Reserve, called Nujuma, on Ummahat Island, also set to debut in Q1, 2024.
Foodies will be able to delight in a string of new restaurants at KAFD
The beating heart of Riyadh’s financial district will become quite the foodie hotspot with a string of new openings in 2024. Joining the likes of Il Baretto, El Camino and AOK Kitchen, we’re looking forward to new openings from globally renowned restaurants like Amazonico, Zuma, Sushisamba and Benoit.
Jeddah will welcome the return of the thrilling F1
One of the biggest sporting events of the year, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix marks the second race in the F1 Calendar and will take place from March 7 to 9. As always, it will take place in Jeddah, home of the world’s fastest street circuit. Fans will once more be able to sit in the Grandstands along the Red Sea Coast and watch their favourite drivers take on the thrilling Corniche Circuit. Expect a full three-day programme of activity both on and off track that will appeal to sport and entertainment seekers alike. Think pop-up restaurants, epic concerts and plenty of parties.
We’ll be riding rollercoasters at Six Flags Qiddiya
Thrill-seekers will soon have a new destination to travel to – Six Flags Qiddiya. Situated on the outskirts of Riyadh, Qiddiya is one of Saudi Arabia’s Giga projects, which is currently under development and set to open its doors by October 2024 per the latest announcement. Larger than Walt Disney World, Six Flags Qiddiya will serve to be a key entertainment attraction for Qiddiya and the city of Riyadh. The theme park will feature 28 rides and attractions, of which 10 will be thrill rides, with 18 rides designed for families and young children.
Via Riyadh’s hotly anticipated Sexy Fish will open
The final piece in the culinary puzzle at luxurious shopping and dining destination, Via Riyadh, will be the first outpost of London’s sleek hotspot, Sexy Fish. Sexy Fish serves a diverse menu of Japanese-inspired sushi, sashimi, seafood, fish, and meat cooked on a Robata grill inspired by the seas of Asia, with a focus on Japan. The Riyadh outpost will retain the signature dishes of the original Sexy Fish, such as duck salad; vegetarian sushi; smoked tuna belly; black cod and king crab, with the addition of new dishes and bold, seasonally inspired flavours. Guests can also expect brilliant entertainment by the restaurant’s resident DJs from lunch to dinner through the later hours.
A huge fight night will take centre stage in Riyadh
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Two undefeated boxing champs Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk are set for an epic showdown on Saturday February 17, 2024, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Fighting it out for the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, all the belts in the heavyweight division are on the line when the two face off in Riyadh as part of Riyadh Season 2023/24 at Kingdom Arena. Official ticket details are expected soon.
A beloved classical artist will perform in AlUla
For a quarter of a century, Andrea Bocelli, the world’s most beloved tenor, has been captivating his countless fans – and maddening classical music purists – with his suave, ingratiating vocal style. His repertoire is broad and eclectic, encompassing everything from Europop to operatic standards, and his concerts are always a treat for fans of all ages. And on Friday January 26, Andrea Bocelli returns to Saudi Arabia. The Italian classical artist will headline a special one-off concert at the award-winning Maraya Hall in AlUla. Tickets start from SAR1,122.
We’ll get an exciting new seaside hotel in Jeddah
The Middle Eastern debut of IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Regent Hotels will see Regent Jeddah open in mid-2024, bringing next-level hospitality to the Saudi coastal city. Regent Jeddah will be set on the picturesque corniche, and offer wow-worthy views of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. A collection of 182 elegant rooms will offer unrivalled beachfront splendour, inviting guests to unwind in stunning surrounds and soak up scenic sea views. For sumptuous wellness, an expansive Raison d’Etre spa will welcome guests to enjoy the latest therapies and wellness treatments, and will be complemented by a health club and both indoor and outdoor pools. Catering to the discerning gourmand, three concept eateries and lounges promise unforgettable epicurean experiences.
… and the first five-star stays on Sindalah will open
NEOM’s Sindalah Island will become an ultra-luxury new destination for yachting enthusiasts, and will welcome three Marriott Hotels in 2024. The Kingdom’s first Autograph Collection Hotels property will feature 66 rooms and suites, including one and two-bedroom villas, multiple dining options, a kids club, and a spa. Marriott’s additional two upscale hotels will open on Sindalah island in 2024. Both Luxury Collection properties, the first will offer a mix of 70 luxury rooms and suites. These will include one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom villas all featuring private pools. The second Luxury Collection property will be an all-suite property offering 115 one-, two- and three-bedroom luxury suites. This hotel will be situated in the heart of the retail and marina district of Sindalah Island.
All eyes will be on the polo field at AlUla Desert Polo
The game of Kings is back with the Richard Mille AlUla Desert Polo 2024 taking place from January 17 to 20. Across the four days, visitors can witness the legendary teams playing alongside local and international guests and competing in the fashion stakes, showcasing their favourite winter looks while they cheer on the riders. Tickets start from SAR180.
A futuristic retreat will be one of the summer’s most exciting hotel openings
Shebara resort on Sheybarah Island, is set to open in the summer of 2024. One of a number of ultra-luxury properties planned for The Red Sea, Shebara will be operated by Red Sea Global (RSG), the developer behind the entire destination. The self-described hyper-luxury resort, located at the southern part of the development, is set within the thriving Al Aajh lagoon, reachable via a scenic 20-minute seaplane from The Red Sea Airport. Guests will check-in to one of 73 pod-like beach and overwater villas. Driverless buggies will take them to the inner lagoon, where a lobby and all-day dining restaurant will also be found. To get to their villa, guests will head either north or south. To the north, you’ll find the coral reef water villas, beach villas and signature restaurant. The southern boardwalk will take guests to the lagoon villas, and a unique spa experience.
A major football face off lands in the capital in February
The Last Dance
مباراة تاريخية تجمع أساطير كرة القدم رونالدو و ميسي
نادي انتر ميامي يلعب ضد نادي النصر في بطولة كأس موسم الرياض… ⚽❤️??
في المملكة ارينا ? Feb 2024
It’s the last dance of football greatness! ?
Ronaldo vs Messi clash on the pitch.
Watch Inter Miami FC… pic.twitter.com/3aHtVGtFQI
— TURKI ALALSHIKH (@Turki_alalshikh) November 21, 2023
Two footballing greats will come together in an exhibition match that no football fan will want to miss in February. Saudi-based Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr FC will compete against Leo Messi’s Inter Miami FC in the Riyadh Season Cup. Scheduled for the first week of February 2024 at the recently inaugurated Kingdom Arena, it’s part of a fantastic line-up of sporting events within the Riyadh Season calendar.
It’ll be eyes to the skies at the return of AlUla Skies
Hundreds of colourful balloons will fly high over the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra from April 10 to 27 as part of the AlUla Skies festival. The beloved once-in-a-lifetime experience is one to book early. Alongside the balloons, there will be several events to celebrate the vast open space of the desert and night sky lit up by the milky-way.
Paris’ finest macaroons will come to Laysen Valley
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Flying in from Paris, Ladurée is a beacon of history. The very first branch opened its doors way back 1862, and since then the brand has grown to be the go-to place for the best macarons. It’s set to arrive at Laysen Valley – alongside several new dining destinations – next year.
The world’s richest horse race returns to Riyadh
Diriyah takes centre stage with the exhilarating E-Prix
The Core Diriyah E-Prix 2024 races back into the historic part of Riyadh on Friday January 26 and Saturday January 27, 2024. Held since 2018, the race weekends in Diriyah see tonnes of excitement, including major concerts by international and regional stars. Previously, we’ve seen the likes of John Legend, James Blunt, The Script, and Black Eyed Peas too. So, we can only imagine what’s in store for this year’s edition. Tickets start from SAR80.
There’ll be a new private island resort for ultra-luxury stays
Tapping into the ever-growing trend of travellers looking for secluded luxury, Thuwal Private Island is an ultra-luxury private island experience located along the Red Sea coast. It will open in early 2024 and will be exclusively available for full island buy-out. Unrolling along a sugary sand island, the private island resort features a main three-bedroom villa plus three one-bedroom suites, making it a stunning spot for island getaways for up to twelve. Facilities that await you and your crew include your own private wellness centre, a chic beach club, and a gym. Of course, this is the perfect base for endless marine-themed adventures, like snorkelling and diving. For more cultural experiences, visits to the nearby Thuwal village or history-filled Jeddah are an immersion into authentic local life.
Islamic art will be in the spotlight at the annual Biennale
The second edition of the Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale, in the historic town of Diriyah will open to the public from February 20 to May 24, 2024. Titled ‘After Rain,’ it explores the role of a contemporary art biennial in a country that is undergoing rapid social change. So far, 92 artists from 43 countries are confirmed to participate, including 30 artists from the wider Gulf region. As the second edition of the Biennale runs partially through Ramadan, a specific focus will be placed on communal gatherings around sharing food.
Jeddah will get a stunning new attraction, teamLab Borderless Jeddah
Saudi Arabia has linked up with the international art collective teamLab to establish a new digital art museum in the Kingdom. teamLab Borderless museums offer immersive experiences where the viewer becomes part of the work, as the presence of guests causes changes in the art. The museum is still under construction, but we’re hopeful that it will be ready by 2024. teamLab Borderless Jeddah will be located in Al Arbaeen Lagoon, overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jeddah Old Town. The Jeddah centre will also house a section dedicated to children, allowing kids to explore how the joint realms of science and art learning can help inspire the next generation of Saudi creatives.
Prepare for belly laughs as Russell Peters returns to Riyadh
Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for global stand-up legend Russell Peters’ return to Riyadh. Coming by early next year on Saturday February 24, Russell Peters will be taking the Princess Nourah University. The Emmy award-winning comic brings his unique brand of humor to the stage with his latest world tour. Tickets for the major gig have already gone on sale. Tiers include Silver starting at SAR395, Gold starting at SAR595, Diamond starting at SAR650, and Balcony starting at SAR695. Book yours here.
A new wellness destination will start to welcome visitors
AMAALA is set to be an industry-redefining, wellness-focused luxury tourism destination. With sustainability at its core, AMAALA is developed by Red Sea Global and owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and when the first phase of the development opens in 2024, it will feature more than 1,200 hotel rooms across eight different resorts. These will include properties from Clinique La Prairie, Jayasom and Equinox.
We’ll get a gorgeous new glamping option in Riyadh
From 2024, you won’t have to travel far to enjoy a glamping experience amongst nature if you’re in Riyadh, as Envi Lodges are set to open a boutique eco-retreat in Wadi Hanifah. Located in the middle of the Najd Plateau, it’s set to be the perfect spot for your next staycation, with guests able to check in to one of 50 pods each home to a large outdoor seating area, BBQ and its own private pool. At the resort’s heart, guests will be encouraged to meet and mingle at the experiential garden, complete with alfresco dining area, a fire pit for sharing stories, a swimming pool, and a creative space for an array of artsy activities. Relaxation programmes, a meditation facility, and treatments with locally sourced products will all form part of the offering.
A gruelling race comes to the Saudi desert dunes
Motorsports fans, this one’s for you. The 2024 Dakar Rally is set to be one of the most gruelling routes ever, starting in AlUla on January 5 and concluding in Yanbu on January 12. The fifth edition of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia will see the field will tackle an Empty Quarter triptych introducing a brand-new concept: a 48 hour chrono stage held over two days in which the competitors, scattered among eight bivouacs, basically left to their own devices. The rest day in Riyadh will only provide a brief respite, as the varied terrain between that point and the finish in Yanbu is riddled with navigational challenges that could shift the balance of power at any time.
The What’s On Awards will return with a glittering ceremony in September
After a hugely successful inaugural event in September, the What’s On Awards Riyadh will return in 2024, ready to crown the finest restaurant, leisure and entertainment operators across Riyadh and beyond. Stay tuned for more details, and head here to see all of the winners from the 2023 event.