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31 terrific things to do in Saudi Arabia in December

The month ahead is bursting with blockbuster events, from festivals to football stars. 

Saudi Arabia is brimming with brilliant things to do. During December, the Kingdom boasts spectacular sporting events including the FIFA Club World Cup, tennis titans and blockbuster boxing matches. There are festivals galore including Riyadh Street Art Festival, Saudi Food Feast Festival and, of course, Riyadh Season. Get the calendar out – here are the best things to do in Saudi Arabia in December.

Friday 1 December 

Catch the British Asian comedian Paul Chowdhry at Riyadh Laughs

 “What’s happening white people?” might sound like a controversial question. For comedian Paul Chowdhry, however, it has become a catchphrase and name for a show. The performer has made a career from his dry wit, which pokes fun at culture clashes. Catch him at Riyadh Laughs on 1 December.  

GO: Visit https://riyadh.platinumlist.net for more information. 

Paul Chowdhry

Saturday 2 December

Grab a bite at the Saudi Food Feast Festival

Saudi Feast Food Festival takes place from 23 November to 2 December at King Saud University in Riyadh. The event brings together gastronomic experiences, which include cooking competitions and workshops, food tastings, panel discussions and networking opportunities. Come hungry. 

GO: Visit www.ticketmx.com for more information. 

Saudi Feast Food Festival

Sunday 3 December

Watch the new film The Marsh King’s Daughter 

Daisy Ridley shows her range, as she goes from feeling the force in Star Wars to tackling suspense in The Marsh King’s Daughter. The film is based on the international bestselling novel of the same name. Daisy plays Helena – she has been hiding that she was the child of her captive mum and tormentor dad. When her dad escapes from prison, she has to confront her past.

GO: Visit https://ksa.voxcinemas.com for more information. 

The Marsh King Daughter

Monday 4 December

Get inspired by COP28 UAE

World leaders have descended on Dubai for COP28, from King Charles III to Pope Francis. The event takes place from 30 November to 12 December at Expo City Dubai. Leaders will take stock of the world’s climate and hope to come to an agreement that stops global temperatures hitting record highs. Get into the spirit and attend plant-based restaurants including Moon Shell, Naba’at and Wabi Sabi. 

GO: Visit www.cop28.com for more information. 

Wabi Sabi Riyadh

Tuesday 5 December

Check out the world’s latest cars at Riyadh Motor Show 

If you love fast cars, check out the Riyadh Motor Show. The event showcases the latest developments in technology and design, and gives visitors the chance to see the future of the automotive industry. The event runs from 5 to 9 December.

GO: Visit https://webook.com for more information. 

Riyadh Motor Show

Wednesday 6 December

Join the first-ever Riyadh Street Art Festival

Word on the street is that the Riyadh Street Art Festival is one of the coolest exhibitions in the capital. Running from 15 November to 6 December, it brings together more than 30 artists from around the world. The line-up includes Saudi artist, graphic designer and curator, Basmah Felemban; and London artist, writer and curator, Cedar Lewisohn. 

GO: Visit https://mcy.gov.ae for more information.

Riyadh Street Art Festival

Thursday 7 December

Head to the cinema to see Migration  

Giggle the night away with Migration. The new film is expats in animated bird form, and stars the comedians Awkwaafina, Elizabeth Banks and Kumail Nanjiani. Follow the Mallard family who are in a rut, as their dad is content with paddling around New England forever. Watch as the family shake things up and travel from New York to Jamaica.

GO: Visit https://ksa.voxcinemas.com for more information. 

Migration Movie

Friday 8 December

Dine out at the New York institution Carbone  

 Riyadh diners are about to get stars in their eyes – we’re talking MICHELIN Stars. The fine dining Italian restaurant Carbone opened at Mansard Riyadh, A Radisson Collection Hotel in November. The restaurant was created by Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick. The concept pays homage to Italian American restaurants, and the menu includes antipasti, zuppa e insalte, macaroni, pesci, carni and contorni.

GO: Visit www.sevenrooms.com for reservations and more information.

new restaurants in Riyadh

Saturday 9 December

Celebrate the region’s movie scene at the Red Sea International Film Festival

Movie buffs, the Red Sea International Film Festival runs from 30 November to 9 December. Now in its third edition, the festival celebrates local and international talent. The line-up includes Saudi short films, and Australian director Baz Luhrmann has been announced as the jury head. He is behind hit films ranging from Moulin Rouge to The Great Gatsby. Look out for screenings, talks and workshops. 

GO: Visit https://redseafilmfest.com for more information.

Red Sea International Film Festival

Sunday 10 December

Break bread at the newly opened Bread Ahead in Riyadh 

The London favourite, Bread Ahead, has landed in Riyadh. Located in Hittin, this is the spot to indulge in doughnuts, sourdough pizza and baked goods. Try the signature doughnuts, from vanilla to salted honeycomb. Items also include Blackcurrant Cheesecake Doughnuts, Grilled Chicken Pesto Sandwiches, Pistachio Pain Au Chocolat and Sticky Date Pudding.

GO: Visit www.breadahead.com for more information.

picks of the week

Monday 11 December

Check out ROKA’s Izakaya Night in Jeddah

ROKA’s Izakaya Night has recently launched in Jeddah and runs Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The special menu blends traditional Japanese cuisine with modern flair. Highlights include Fuji Fries with nori and garlic mayonnaise, Tori Katsu with panko fried chicken, and Yaki Udon Tori with stir-fried udon noodles. Plus, each night includes a DJ. 

GO: Visit https://rokarestaurant.com for more information.

Saudi Arabia

Tuesday 12 December

Football fever hits Jeddah with the FIFA Club World Cup 2023

FIFA Club World Cup kicks off in Jeddah from 12 to 22 December. The event proves how Saudi Arabia is a world player when it comes to football. Saudi Arabia’s Sports Minister, Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al Faisal, declared: “We are honoured and extremely excited to be given the opportunity to welcome the world’s leading football clubs and their fans to Saudi Arabia.”

GO: Visit www.saff.com.sa for more information.

FIFA Club World Cup Saudi Arabia

Wednesday 13 December

Light up your day at Noor Riyadh 

Noor Riyadh, the largest light art festival in the world, is back. Now in its third edition, this year’s theme is a nod to Pink Floyd’s album and called The Bright Side of the Desert Moon. Spanning five locations with more than 120 artworks and 100 artists, it includes large-scale public installations and mesmerising projections. The festival runs from 30 November to 16 December.

GO: Visit www.noorriyadh.sa for more information.

Noor Riyadh

Thursday 14 December

Get that Boom Boom Pow at MDLBeast Soundstorm

We’ve got a feeling that 14 December is going to be a good night. The hitmakers Black Eyed Peas will perform on the opening night of the mega music festival, MDLBeast Soundstorm. Expect chart toppers ranging from I Gotta Feeling to Where Is the Love, as they bring their unique blend of hip-hop and pop to Riyadh. 

GO: Visit https://riyadh.platinumlist.net for tickets and more information.

Black Eyed Peas

Friday 15 December

Catch superstars at MDLBeast Soundstorm

MDLBeast Soundstorm in the capital is bringing it with its illustrious line-up. On 15 December, the acts includes British singer Anne-Marie, American star Chris Brown, and the icon Pharell Williams. DJs also include Axwell, Black Coffee and Solumun. Dance the night (and morning) away, Riyadh. 

GO: Visit https://riyadh.platinumlist.net for tickets and more information.


Saturday 16 December

Join the final day at MDLBeast Soundstorm

MDLBeast Soundstorm ends the musical festival in showstopping style. On 16 December, the line-up includes Afrojack, Alan Walker, Armin van Buuren, David Guetta, J Balvin, Steve Aoki and Swedish House Mafia. Look out for local and regional acts, too. 

GO: Visit https://riyadh.platinumlist.net for tickets and more information.

things to do in November

Sunday 17 December

Watch the new film Wonka

We’d recommend taking some chocolate to the cinema for this one. Willy Wonka has been played by Gene Wilder, Johnny Depp and now Timothée Chamalet. The new film focuses on his early years, before the chocolate factory, and sees how he got his inspiration. The cast also includes Rowan Atkinson, Matt Lucas and Sally Hawkins. Oh, and Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa. 

GO: Visit https://ksa.voxcinemas.com for more information. 

Wonka Movie

Monday 18 December

Be charmed by the newly opened Lilly’s Café in Riyadh 

Hailing from Covent Garden, London, Lilly’s Café is a charming café. Located in Al Mamlaka Social Dining, the menu has a British influence. Take your pick from breakfast, small and large plates, and cakes and bakes. Dishes include Avocado Toast, Banoffee Toast and Turkish Eggs. 

GO: Visit https://almamlakasocialdining.com for more information.

Lilly’s Café Riyadh

Tuesday 19 December

Check out the recently opened Café Lilou 

Café Lilou is bringing some chic to the city. The French café and restaurant started in Bahrain and made its way to Saudi Arabia. Located in Hittin, it offers an elegant experience. The menu includes starters, salads, sandwiches, burgers and risotto, and French-inspired dishes.

GO: Follow @cafelilouksa on Instagram for more information. 

Café Lilou

Wednesday 20 December

Have a sophisticated night out at Scott’s Riyadh 

Scott’s has made its way from London to Riyadh, and boasts a captivating heritage. In 1851, the concept started as an oyster warehouse and evolved into a restaurant. The fine dining restaurant is famous for its A-list clientele, and the menu is an ode to seafood. Dishes range from Grilled Sea Prawns to Yellowtail Sashimi. 

GO: Follow @scotts.saudi on Instagram for more information. 

Scott's Riyadh

Thursday 21 December

Dine at the recently opened House of Grill in Riyadh 

Fairmont Riyadh has opened the new restaurant House of Grill, which is all about meat, glorious meat. The team will showcase fresh meat and prime cuts, and a chef’s table experience, and the menu has been created by Chef Nicolas Isnard. The décor boasts Art Deco touches that add old-school glamour. 

GO: Visit www.fairmont.com for more information. 

House Of Grill Saudi Arabia

Friday 22 December

Catch the final of the FIFA Club World Cup 2023

FIFA Club World Cup kicked off in Jeddah on 12 December, and runs until 22 December. The event showcases Saudi Arabia on the sporting stage. The event was initially created in 2000, and the Kingdom is the sixth country to host the competition.

GO: Visit www.saff.com.sa for more information.

FIFA Club World Cup

Saturday 23 December

Get ready to rumble at The Day of Reckoning boxing match

Saudi Arabia has been flexing its muscles when it comes to sports. Now, it getting its guns out with The Day of Reckoning boxing match in Saudi Arabia. The line-up includes boxing superstars Anthony Joshua, Einar Wallin, Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder. The fight takes place at the newly opened Kingdom Arena, and is part of Riyadh Season.

GO: Visit https://riyadhseason.com for more information. 

Anthony Joshua Deontay Wilder

Sunday 24 December 

Climb the new Via Ferrata and Canyon Hammock in AlUla

Do you have an adventurous streak? We dare you to try the newly opened Via Ferrata and Canyon Hammock in AlUla. The experience begins with a climb up the mountain, ariel walks and obstacle courses. Once you have reached 200 metres high, you will be between two cliffs. The hammock net awaits and you will be able to, well, hang out.

GO: Visit www.experiencealula.com for more information.

AlUla hammock

Monday 25 December

Get into the holiday spirit with LPM Riyadh 

The FACT Award-winning French-Mediterranean restaurant will be transformed into a winter wonderland in December. Located in Al Olaya, diners can delight in a limited-edition business lunch. The dishes include Duck Confit with Orange and Hispi Cabbage, Foie Gras Terrine with Toasted Brioche, Homemade Rigatoni Pasta with Black Truffle, and Chocolate and Passion Fruit Flan. The menu is available on weekdays from 12.30pm to 3.30pm.

GO: Visit www.lpmrestaurants.com for more information. 

LPM Riyadh

Tuesday 26 December 

Check out the new Arabic café Siwa Coffee

Siwa Coffee is hot off-the-coffee-press. The café recently opened in The Esplanade, Riyadh and is inspired by Arabia. The sophisticated space has been designed by the architects, david/nicholas, and is already popular with locals. So, if you’re a coffee connoisseur, make your way through the hot and cold drinks, which range from an Americano to Khuzamaa Blossom.

GO: Follow @siwa.ksa on Instagram for more information. 

Siwa Riyadh

Wednesday 27 December

Watch tennis titans Djokovic and Alcaraz in Riyadh

Here’s an event that will cause a racket. The tennis titans, Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz, will go head-to-head in Saudi Arabia. The competition takes place in Kingdom Arena, and is part of Riyadh Season. The two players previously met during the Wimbledon 2023 final. Will Alcaraz win once more? 

GO: Visit https://riyadhseason.com for more information.

World Tennis League

Thursday 28 December

Watch the new Trolls 3: Band Together 

You might not recognise Anna Kendrick, Camila Cabello and Justin Timberlake’s faces in this new film, but you’ll certainly recognise their voices. Trolls 3: Band Together continues the animated film franchise, and follows the newly developed romance between Poppy and Branch. Expect a catchy soundtrack – the previous ones included Can’t Stop the Feeling, after all. 

GO: Visit https://ksa.voxcinemas.com for more information. 

things to do in Saudi Arabia

Friday 29 December 

Check into the newly opened Six Senses Southern Dunes 

Six Senses Southern Dunes in the Red Sea is home to 36 guest rooms and 40 pool villas. The site takes full advantage of the stunning vistas of the dunes and wadi. Designed by the British architectural firm Foster + Partners, the design draws inspiration from the vibrant colours and intricate patterns of traditional Bedouin attire.

GO: Visit www.sixsenses.com for more information.

Six Senses Southern Dunes

Saturday 30 December

Get your Mr Chow fix at the restaurant and onscreen 

Mr. Chow was founded in London in 1968, and has spread its culinary charm to Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and most recently, Riyadh. Michael Chow is the man behind the restaurant, and is now the subject of the documentary a.k.a Mr. Chow, which is available on HBO. The show shares his journey from personal struggles to culinary success.

 GO: Visit www.mrchow.com for more information.

restaurants in Riyadh

Sunday 31 December 

Ring in the new year 

It’s the last night of 2023. Saudi Arabia is expected to host firework displays in Jeddah and Riyadh, and there are special events across hotels and restaurants. Look out for events from Riyadh Season, too. Happy New Year! 

GO: Visit https://riyadhseason.com for more information. 

Riyadh Season

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