Strolling along the corniche, sipping coffee in the café while watching passers-by, or shopping at some of the most iconic brands in the world. These are some of my usual weekend activities in Al-Khobar City Saudi Arabia.
Al-Khobar is a city located in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, Al-Khobar and Dhahran cities make up the more widely known Dammam metropolitan areas. Al-Khobar is a thriving city with lots of shopping malls and boutiques, there are also a handful of high-rise buildings around, and some are currently under construction. The city is quieter and more layback as compared to the capital city Riyadh and Jeddah. Despite, Saudi Aramco’s headquarter is in here (Eastern Province).
Al-Khobar city serves as the gateway to Bahrain, thus the main roads are jammed-packed during holidays and the weekends. Saudi Arabia is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahad Causeway, hundreds of thousands of cars passed by here to visit the more liberated Bahrain. Al-Khobar city is home to various expat communities living and working in Saudi Arabia. Even before the opening of Saudi Arabia, Al-Khobar city is known for its being tolerant and less conservative. If you go into the malls or visit the corniche side of the city, you would see Saudi women with their faces uncovered, or occasionally without covering their head. There are also a few expat women walking around in public without having the “abaya.”
Places to see in Al-Khobar City
There are many things to see in Al-Khobar city, below are some of the most interesting places to visit should you find yourself in Al-Khobar:
Take a photo with the Al-Khobar Water Tower – There is no other landmark in Al-Khobar that could rival the popularity of this building that resembles like a standing mushroom. Its unique architecture captures the attention of most of the visitors in the city, thus it’s the most recognizable symbol of Al-Khobar. It’s specifically built on a man-made island off the coast of Al-Khobar sea-front. It’s always been the subject of both photographers and photo enthusiasts due to its incredible odd design, at night, the building splendors as it changes lighting colors. Your visit to Al-Khobar won’t be complete without seeing this place.
Meander around Al-Khobar Corniche – During the weekend, Al-Khobar is crowded with local tourists visiting or having a picnic in the corniche. Aside from the huge malls, Al-Khobar corniche is the most visited place during the weekend. Perhaps the best place to spend time with your family and friends. Healthy conscious locals and expats love to jog here daily after work-hours, and during the weekends. Personally, this is my favorite spot in Al-Khobar, I could stay here all-day-long simply sitting on the bench and mesmerizing the tranquil Persian Gulf. There are plenty of international coffee shops, restaurants, and boutiques around here as well.
Shop at two of the biggest malls: Rashid and Dhahran malls – If you’re done sightseeing outside, perhaps its time for you to wander inside two of the biggest malls in the Kingdom: Rashid and Dhahran malls. These malls offer a variety of high-end and affordable shops, you can practically get almost everything here, from branded shoes, clothes, children’s wear or that designer’s bags you’ve always wanted. There are also a huge array of cafes and restaurants inside these malls. Avoid going during the weekend as it becomes very crowded sometimes, otherwise, come earlier to avoid the rush hour.
Explore the state-of-the-art King Abdul-Aziz Center for World Culture (ithra) – Built by Saudi Aramco, the biggest oil company in the world. The King Abdul-Aziz Center for World Culture or locally known as “Ithra” is by far the most iconic landmark in Saudi Arabia, not only in Al-Khobar. The building is actually located in Dhahran City, just minutes away from Al-Khobar. The center houses a museum, world-class theater, library, cinemas, and exhibition center. It was inaugurated by King Salman himself last Dec 2017, a number of high profile personalities have visited this building. To visit “ithra” you need to register online through their website.
Shop at Al-Khobar’s famous gold market – If you love pieces of jewelry for giveaways or for your personal use and investment. Don’t forget to visit the famous Al-Khobar jewelry shops in Al-Shamalia area, just a few steps away from Al-Ramaniyah mall. I have personally love to buy jewelry here for my personal collection and souvenirs. The prices are affordable and you can even negotiate for a discount.
Swim at Half-moon bay/beach – Half-moon bay is another popular weekend destination in Al-Khobar, it takes around 40 minutes to 1 an hour drive from the city center. There are various resorts and high-end hotels here for a staycation. And if you’re not willing to pay for the price, you can opt to swim in the public beach free of charge. However, please ensure you’re on a beach allowed for swimming as some beach areas are restricted for swimming for safety reasons. If you don’t like to swim, there are nearby stalls where you can rent an ATV car and enjoy driving through the vast desert land. I tried it before, it was really a great experience. I’ve always wanted to go back there.
There are still various places and exciting things to do in Al-Khobar City, over the past years this vibrant city continues to boom, making it one of the fastest growing cities in Saudi Arabia. Do you like this blog? Don’t forget to share this to your friends!
The author is currently based in Saudi Arabia, the holiest land of Islam. He’s a full-time employee of the largest energy company in the world. He’s a graduate of Communication Management, loves to write and travel.