24 incredible things to look forward to in Saudi Arabia in the second half of 2024

Exciting new openings, fabulous festivals and sporting events galore…

Saudi Arabia is shaping up for a mega second half of 2024, with huge events happening all over the country. Plus, there’s new restaurants and hotels to look forward to, entire new destinations, and much more

Here are 24 things to look forward to in Saudi Arabia in the second half of 2024.

Gamers will descend on Riyadh for the Esports World Cup


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The first ever Esports World Cup comes to Riyadh from July 4 until August 25, drawing the world’s top gaming talent to the Saudi Capital. An impressive 2,500 gamers are expected to partake in various events through the 8-week challenge, with an eye-watering USD60 million in prize money up for grabs. It’s taking place at Boulevard Riyadh City, with an after-party put on by MDLBeast each night from 8.30pm to 1.30am called AFT_R, with local and international artists headlining.


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 Zuma, Sushisamba and Benoit.


A summer of fun comes to the Jeddah coast

Unsplash Jeddah

The much-anticipated Jeddah Season makes its grand return under the slogan “Once Again”. This year’s festival, which will run until September, will showcase a variety of entertainment, tourism, and cultural activities. Look forward to numerous events being held in several designated areas, including the City Walk, which offers a diverse mix of interactive experiences, motor and skill games, Arabic plays, concerts, restaurants, cafes, and retail stores, as well as a new family-friendly attraction, Warner Bros. Discovery: Celebrate Every Story.


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

ream island getaway coming soon to the stunning Red Sea: Sindalah.

NEOM’s Sindalah Island will become an ultra-luxury new destination for yachting enthusiasts, and will welcome three Marriott Hotels in the final quarter of 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.


We’ll be shopping, dining and playing at a new lifestyle destination in Riyadh

Solitaire is the name of a new lifestyle destination. Setting up shop by King Abdulaziz Road, the venue occupies an area of 60,000 square metres and is set to feature retail, food and beverage, entertainment, wellness, and sports offerings. Spread across three levels, the destination is expected to house Gina Restaurant from the South of France, a second branch of Yann Couvreur from Paris, Liza Restaurant from Beirut, and Jon & Vinny’s from Los Angeles.


A futuristic retreat will be one of the year’s most exciting hotel openings

Shebara resort on Sheybarah Island, is set to open in 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.

Laysen Valley will welcome a string of new eateries

Alongside an Em Sherif Sea Cafe, B+F and BT Burger, French-Japanese inspired café and dining concept Café Kitsuné is to debut in Saudi Arabia in Riyadh’s Laysen Valley. Conceived in Tokyo and named after the fox – an animal that’s greatly revered in Japan – Café Kitsuné features classic pastries and cakes with a Japanese accent and the unique Café Kitsuné coffee blend.


A popular eatery from Monaco will come to Riyadh


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Opening in Riyadh in 2024 is Thai and Japanese fusion restaurant by way of Monaco, Mayabay. Already a popular fine dining restaurant in Dubai, when it opens in Riyadh’s Prince Turki Ibn Abdulaziz Al Awwal Road, the elegant restaurant will boast 750 square metres of space with an expansive 180 square metre outdoor terrace. We hope the Riyadh restaurant includes some of MayaBay’s signature dishes, such as the Maya crispy duck, pad thai, MayaBay sashimi, and black cod with miso and honey.


Horse racing takes centre stage in Taif

While the sweltering heat puts a halt on alfresco experiences in Riyadh, elsewhere in Saudi Arabia, outdoor pursuits can continue. Like in Taif, where the racing season begins with the opening night meeting on July 4, and continues through until the end of September, when the King Khalid Racecourse Championship closes proceedings on September 28. There’s free entry to the general admission areas, with hospitality packages from SAR5,500.


You’ll be able to work up a sweat at a wallet-friendly gym

GymNation Saudi Arabia

First opening its doors in 2017 in the UAE, GymNation was a brand on a mission: becoming “The People’s Gym.” And now, the GCC homegrown brand is making its way to Saudi Arabia. Its first six gym locations will arrive in Saudi Arabia in August 2024, with mens and womens spaces in Jeddah, Al Khobar and Riyadh. Known for its state-of-the-art equipment, dynamic group fitness classes, on-demand flexibility, women’s wellness spaces, expert personal trainers, HIIT studios, and recovery zones, the brand is the region’s leading gym operator with 12 UAE locations and over 70,000 members.


Foodies in Jeddah will get a new serving of fine dining excellence


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Jeddah’s restaurant scene is quite enviable at the moment, welcoming incredible venues like CrustaceanCipriani, and now, all the way from Paris, Noto in Jeddah. Opening its doors in Jeddah Walk, Noto is originally inspired by the southeast Italian city of Sicily, in the town of Noto. Expect the fusion of Greek, Latin and Arabic culinary cultures on your table. Created by Moma Group and founded in 1997, the original venue is located in Rue Du Faubourg Saint Honore in Paris and is one of the most vibrant restaurants in the city.

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.

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 Saudi Arabia Awards will return in on September 17, 2024, ready to crown the finest restaurant, leisure and entertainment operators across Riyadh and beyond. Voting is now open, and you can champion your favourites by voting now.

AlUla will get a sensational new serving of desert dwelling

The legendary Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first official UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a collection of 110 tombs set in the middle of the desert. It’s here that guests will be able to check in to The Chedi Hegra: a new boutique luxury hotel opening in 2024. The Chedi Hegra will be built directly into already existing structures including an old railway station, Hegra Fort, and surrounding buildings. Each of the 35 guest rooms are designed to evoke the “art of travel” with minimal interiors to bring the focus to the surrounding environment as well as custom lanterns and leather furniture honouring the heritage.


A huge fight night will put Riyadh centre stage

Fury vs Usyk

Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk will run it back before the end of the year. Turki Alalshikh, chairman of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority, has officially announced that Fury and Usyk’s epic rematch will take place on Saturday December 21, as part of the 2024-2025 Riyadh Season. Not much details have been revealed about the December 21 rematch, but watch this space as soon as we have more updates.

It’s tee time in Riyadh as a golf tournament hits the city for the first time

PIF’s Saudi International is headed to Riyadh for the first time after being held in King Abdullah Economic City for the past five years. Happening from Wednesday December 4 to Saturday December 7, which will as a nail-biting season finale for both the Asian Tour and The International Series. Confirmed golfers include defending champion Abraham Ancer, 2022 champion Harold Varner III, 2019 and 2021 winner Dustin Johnson, and 2022 Open Champion Cameron Smith. Players will be eyeing the USD1 million first prize which is considered the most coveted prize on the Asian Tour. The champion of the season-ending International Series Rankings will secure a spot in the 2025 LIV Golf League.


A huge music festival will descend on the AlUla Desert


EDM music festival Azimuth has become a firm favourite on the AlUla festival calendar, and it returns for 2024 from September 19 to 21. Although the line-up is still under wraps, previous festivals have seen headline sets from Jorja Smith, Tinie Tempah and The Chainsmokers, all against the backdrop of the breathtaking AlUla desert.

We’ll be dining at a fabulous French restaurant in Riyadh when Bambini opens

Riyadh diners love their Italian food, so whenever a new one opens you best believe we’ll be excited. Bambini Riyadh is the next one to join the streets. Currently, the brand has venues in Paris, Megeve and very soon Riyadh. Expect classic dishes like Tagliatelle Al Tartufo, Pistachio Pesto Trofie, and the iconic Milanese Cutlet adorned with the finest harvests from Italian soil. The whole concept of Bambini’s boils down to capturing the vibrancy of Italian street life in an upscale and dynamic atmosphere complete with culinary delights. In its other outposts, the restaurants adapt their menus to the changing seasons offering warmth in winter and vivacity in summer at its Paris and Megève locations. So, we can’t wait to see what Bambini Riyadh is like.


Bibliophiles will be able to get their fix at the Riyadh International Book Fair

Happening from Thursday September 26 to Saturday October 5, the Riyadh International Book Fair has already opened registrations for all local and international publishers. The book fair is one of the largest events of its kind to be held region-wide. You can expect cultural programs like meet-and-greets with writers, poets and intellectuals from all over the region. Usually, the fair is a family affair, complete with a children’s pavilion. The area sees interesting experiences like art, theatre and musical performances, among other cool engaging activities all catered to the tiny tots.


Radisson Collection will expand its presence in the capital

Get ready to check in to Radisson Collection Residence, Riyadh, opening later this year. The newest Radisson Collection property is strategically located on King Fahad Road, within the Al Mutamarat District. The first Salmani architectural tower in the Kingdom, guests will be able to check-in to one of 170 luxurious serviced rooms. All rooms will be adorned in smart, contemporary shades, and fitted with all the luxurious touches you’d expect from a five star stay in Riyadh. At the highest tier, a collection of eight penthouses and four villas promise sumptuous stays for travellers seeking space and privacy in abundance. Residents will be able to enjoy a string of exclusive amenities that you’d expect from a Radisson Collection property. Among them, a crowning jewel will be a rooftop swimming pool, perfect for taking a dip while admiring the panoramic city vistas.

Culinary icon Chotto Matte will finally open in Saudi

Those seeking a taste of the Japanese-Peruvian cuisine from Riyadh’s first location of chain Chotto Matte won’t have to wait much longer. Chotto Matte, which means “wait a minute” in Japanese, is slated to welcome its customers in the heart of KAFD this October. Expect to see bold street art on the walls and a myriad of authentic Nikkei dishes like the best-selling sashimi, shrimp gyoza, and lobster and wild prawn ceviche. The brand is also memorable for its diverse and vibrant atmosphere that suits all types for any occasion.


A Four Seasons Hotel will welcome guests to Madinah

Four Seasons is set to further expand its footprint in Saudi Arabia, with a property in Madinah set to open in late 2024. The luxury brand, which already operates a flagship hotel in Riyadh, will debut the Four Seasons Hotel Madinah later this year in the Holy City. The 246 key hotel boasts a show-stopping modern design, and promises beautiful views of the Prophet’s Mosque, which is located mere steps away. In keeping with its close proximity to one of the world’s oldest mosques, modern interpretations of design elements of the Prophet’s Mosque will be laced into the hotel’s aesthetic. A tasteful and cultural ode to the beauty of Madinah, Four Seasons Hotel Madinah promises to be a tranquil setting for guests.

A dazzling array of designers will showcase their collections at Riyadh Fashion Week

Saudi Arabia’s official fashion week takes place for the second time from October 17 until 21. There will be an array of regional design talents showcasing their SS25 pieces, with runway shows taking place daily across the 5 days. Stay tuned for the calendar.