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What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

We drove around Riyadh extensively as I was unable to walk for three months due to a broken foot, and much to my surprise, it's a city full of beautiful, innovative architecture, all of which I photographed. We used to "cruise" local neighborhoods for the purpose of taking pictures -- many of the homes are literally palaces or very close to it, and they all have spectacular gates. It became a challenge for me to document these fabulous houses, and it gave us a glimpse into the Saudi lifestyle.

For people who aren't into photographing the local architecture, Diriyah in Riyadh is a fascinating old city to visit, featuring a UNESCO World Heritage site. Janadriyah, the annual cultural festival, is well worth going to. Oddly enough, shopping malls, of which there are a countless number in Riyadh, can be entertaining, especially during the summer. And the camel souk on the outskirts of the city, was quite interesting. The old part of downtown Riyadh, where Deera Souk is located, is great to wander around as well. Just don't go on a Friday as that's when executions take place in the main square next to the grand mosque. - Oct 13, 2017

In/near Riyadh there is Diriyah, Masmak Fort, the museum, Kingdom Tower, equestrian center, various places to go in the desert. - Jan 19, 2017
Desert excursions to view spectacular scenery in total isolation, desert picnics. Great opportunity for the women to doff their abayas. A hidden gem is Mada in Saleh (Saudi Arabia's Petra) and its pre-islamic tombs and ruins scattered around a spectacular desert area. Nearby is the beautiful oasis of Al Ula with its date palm groves and remnants of the Ottoman-built Hedjaz Railway, destroyed by Lawrence of Arabia and his troops. Many Saudis have never heard of Mada in Saleh and are totally uninterested in anything pre-Islamic, since in their view the world started with Islam. - May 20, 2016
If you like shopping, this is the place, malls are everywhere. There are some sites to visit. Red Sands, The End of the World. Camping in the desert if you want. - Nov 9, 2015
You can go to the desert, visit 1 or 2 tourist spots in KSA, that is it. If you are Muslim you can go to Mecca. - Oct 27, 2015
Nothing. There are a lot of malls (very expensive) and restaurants (extremely expensive, no alcohol). Pretty much every American restaurant is here. Hidden gems - not really, but going out to the desert to camp is nice once in awhile but it gets old. - Oct 15, 2015
Beautiful malls, lots of restaurants, trips to the desert. - Jan 23, 2015
Maidan Saleh, some limited tourist sites (no tourist infrastructure, so you can get up close to stuff for cheap, but don't expect any guides). - Sep 28, 2014
Definitely visit old Diriyah -- not only does it host a UNESCO World Heritage site, but it's a charming, very friendly town. Also Riyadh's camel souk is fascinating. The view from atop Al Faisaliyah is far more than just a view of the city -- it's a very unique way of seeing Riyadh in a golden globe. - Mar 26, 2014
Desert treks, hunting for desert diamonds, visiting bronze age burial grounds, Edge of the World, Mada'an Salah, scuba/snorkeling, ancient rock art. I could go on. Do your research. There are lots of things to see, to experience. Use your imagination. This is a great place. - Dec 4, 2013
There really is not much to do here. Maybe just the ease of going to other countries in the area. - Oct 9, 2013
Desert picnics, private parties and dinners, parties on compounds, the Hash, triathlon and road-cycling clubs, motorcycle riding on Fridays, theatre group, choirs, 4WD club, coffee mornings for accompanying female spouses (like craft fairs). - Mar 17, 2013
Desert trips, camping, walking the waddi. Visiting other housing compounds for children to play and swim. - Apr 7, 2011
There are golf courses, lots of rock climbing opportunities, hiking/walking trails, searching for fossils in the desert, camping, lots and lots of shopping. - Jul 27, 2010
Leave the country. - Mar 29, 2010
None - Jan 18, 2010
Bahrain. - Dec 29, 2009
Go to malls, run away from Muttawa (religious police), make fun of Saudis for their amazing hypocricy. - Oct 21, 2008
Socialize with the many varied nationalities. - Aug 6, 2008