It is a common misconception that expats in Saudi Arabia have no social life. Life, like any country, is what you make of it. You’ll be amazed at what’s on offer if you’re open to invitations, trying new things, and meeting new people. The media portrays Saudi Arabia as an extremely active social scene where one can be as active or as quiet as one wishes.
One of the best ways to make new friends when you arrive in a new country is to join a sporting team. Depending on what suits you there are several clubs and associations around the country available to new arrivals.
The Gaelic Football Club is located in Riyadh & runs across the Middle East with teams traveling to neighboring Middle Eastern countries for championship matches.
The club also has a Hurling and Camogie base for those wanting to branch out from football.
The athletic club has been running since 1978 with branches in the coastal cities of Dhahran & Jeddah. The club focuses on marathons, cycling and
triathlons and hosts races with approximately 250 -300 participants.
If you live in Jeddah and enjoy diving, you can’t miss the Red Sea dive scene. There are a variety of clubs available, and people go out every weekend to explore what the relatively undeveloped coastline has to offer. When you arrive in the country, simply ask around to find a club that suits you.
Latin dancing is surprisingly popular in the Middle East, where many festivals are held. Saudi Arabia has a thriving dance scene, with many compounds hosting classes and salsa clubs springing up throughout the country. You can probably find a club or a dance school near you if you ask around. It’s a great way to meet new people and get your endorphins pumping.
If you’re just looking for a good time, go to BOUNCE, a trampoline park with walls of trampolines. Jump around and embrace your inner child. It’s good exercise and, more importantly, it’ll make you laugh.
Yoga, Pilates, hiking, hockey, rock climbing, badminton, tennis, volleyball, and other sports, as well as a variety of other sporting activities, are all available in the Kingdom. Simply asking around will help you find what you’re looking for.
As the country gradually opens up, you’ll notice that there are more locally run festivals available, allowing you to appreciate the local culture.
It is arguably Saudi Arabia’s largest cultural festival, lasting two weeks each February. Expect to see traditional sword dances, horse and camel races, local arts and crafts, songs and poetry, falconry, and delicious food – it’s the best way to learn more about Saudi culture and experience what your chosen country has to offer.
Riyadh Season was a three-month festival that celebrated Saudi society through a variety of themes. 31 restaurants had pop-up stalls to cater to foodies’ culinary desires. Concerts were held throughout the city, featuring both local Arabian stars and the famous Korean pop band BTS. London’s Winter Wonderland featured ice-skating rinks, Ferris wheels, and fairground rides. The Wizard of Oz and King Lear are two plays that theatregoers may enjoy. The festival had something for everyone and will undoubtedly return this year.
A massive music festival was held in Saudi Arabia as part of the major car racing event E-Prix. Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab, David Guetta, One Republic, and the Black Eyed Peas performed to a sold-out audience.
It’s an exciting time to be in Saudi Arabia, watching the country change before your eyes. A significant amount of money has been invested in a series of cultural events scheduled for the coming months and years.
Many embassies will host events to which expats are welcome. You must contact the embassy and be added to their event mailing list. Some embassies welcome all expats, while others require you to be a “plus one” to someone from their country. Europe month is one of the more popular events hosted by Saudi embassies, with concerts and other cultural events taking place throughout July. Ladies, remember to pack at least two ball gowns because embassy balls are held throughout the year. The Australian and New Zealand embassies will also be hosting events. If you are from one of these countries, please contact us and ask to be added to the mailing list.
Art, Food & Entertainment
Saudi Arabia had almost no art galleries a decade ago. Fast forward to today, and local artists are thriving. More and more art is appearing throughout the city, ranging from traditional to abstract to graffiti. Find out where to find the best art galleries in this article. If you’re looking for more textile art, check out Saudi Design Week, where modern design meets traditional Islamic craft.
If you live in one of the major cities, such as Riyadh or Jeddah, you will find a wide variety of restaurants and dining options. There are numerous opportunities to sample Saudi cuisine, including local street food, food trucks, and fine dining. The Boulevard is a popular hangout for expats looking for a night out and to immerse themselves in the local culture.
Various forms of entertainment are sprouting up across Saudi Arabia as the country diversifies and becomes more tourist-friendly. Escape Rooms are one of the more popular forms of entertainment. Put your brain to the test and solve this puzzle to get to the end of the maze.
There’s so much to explore in the country itself, too much to list in this article