While there are plenty of ways to make the most out of your time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (beautiful cities, amazing views, restaurants galore et al), if you’re keen on checking out things to do in KSA in 2020 it’s stellar list of varied events, and we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re a first-time visitor, a long-time local or just wondering when the best time is to hop on a plane and visit Saudi Arabia, keep an eye out for these top events below. Have a gander and take your pick. You won’t be disappointed.
Ever seen artists go head-to-head in an all-out artsy showdown? Well, grab your pals and join in on a wonderful evening of creativity and community, as Art Battle will be putting on a live painting tournament showcasing local artists and connecting Khobar to towns and cities around the world. Watch as artists transform blank canvases into beautiful pieces of art in just 20 minutes, and then help vote to determine the winner of the event. Loving one of the art pieces? Good news, as there will also be a silent auction for all the artwork at the end of the night.
Free entry. Fri Apr 17, 6pm-midnight. Desert Designs, Al-Khobr, Saudi Arabia, www.artbattle.com.
Al Harid Cultural Festival
Preserving the rich culture and long history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the annual Al-Harid festival goes back many years for good reason. And it’s certainly worth checking out this year, as it will showcase the importance of tribal cultures in the Jazan region through performances, literature and cooking. This is your chance to explore the history and traditions of the fisherman communities.
Free entry. Wed Apr 1-Sat Apr 11, 4pm-11pm. Al-Ghadeer Beach, Jizan, www.visitsaudi.com.
Al Janadriyah Festival
A long-standing festival that first started in 1985, the hugely-anticipated annual Al Janadriyah Festival is looking bigger and better than ever for 2020. Set to take place in November, what doesn’t the festival feature? All taking place on the outskirts of Riyadh, celebrators can expect a variety of activities, including camel racing, dancing, historic arts on display, falconry, traditional arts and crafts, and a military air show. Basically, it’s a celebration of all things Saudi Arabia you won’t want to miss.
Free entry. Nov, 2020, dates to be announced. The Janadriyah Village, Riyadh.
Jeddah Summer Festival
When a festival boasts holding a Guinness Book of World Records making the largest kabsa (a dish with rice and lamb or chicken), you know it’s one for the foodies. Showcasing the best of Jeddah, the event starts right before Ramadan, and is considered one of the biggest cultural events of the year in Saudi Arabia. There’s a spectacular fireworks display opening 24-day festival, followed by sporty events including water polo, rowing, Iron Man contest and beach soccer. That’s not all, as there’s also an entertainment village for children and a model car racing contest for little ones to zoom around in. And expect a lot of big feasts (some may be world record-breaking).
Free entry. Times and dates vary. Jeddah Corniche Waterfront, Jeddah.
Riyadh International Book Fair
For all the bookworms of the world, this exquisite book fair is a real treat. The annual exhibition is considered to be amongst the most important Arab book fairs in the region, in terms of the number of visitors, the volume of sales and the diversity of cultural programs. The huge exhibition welcomes some of the most well-known local, regional and international publishing companies each year, so readers can expect some of the best around.
Free entry. Dates to be announced. Riyadh Front, Riyadh, www.visitsaudi.com/en/events/riyadh-international-book-fair.
Riyadh Travel Fair 2020
The largest travel and tourism exhibition in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be attracting visitors not just in the region, but from around the world. And for good reason – while a magnet for travel and tourism professionals, the fair is also open to all, boasting 50 national and regional pavilions sharing the floor. With more than 30,000 visitors set to arrive over the three-day event, get ready for all things travel.
Free entry. Tue Sep 1-Thu Sep 3, 4pm-10pm. Riyadh International Convention & Exhibition Center , Riyadh, www.riyadhtravel.net.
Souk Okaz Festival
Held in the sprawling mountains of Taif, The traditional festival sees countries around the Arab world comes together to celebrate poetry and arts filled with culture. Over the past few years, the festival has become a major tourist attraction, offering art and crafts exhibitions and poetry recital competitions. Even better, you may want to explore ancient footprints of the market, flower orchids in Taif and modern theatre productions in the Festival centre while you’re there. Get ready for a ten-day cultural extravaganza.
Free entry. June-July (dates TBA). Taif, Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The Art of Banksy – Without Limits
For the very first time in the Middle East – The Art of Banksy. Celebrating Banksy’s art and driving his message of hope and humanity to the world, artisans of the region are invited to check out the world of street art at its finest. The special exhibition features 70 art pieces including photographs, prints on different kinds of materials, a ten-minute documentary about Banksy and plenty more. This one’s a must-see – it’s “Without Limits”, after all.
SAR100. Until Tue Apr 21, 11am-11pm. King Abdullah Financial Center, Riyadh, www.visitsaudi.com.