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  • Writer's pictureHilary McCormack

Summer in Riyadh

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

July 2022: It is pretty hot here in Riyadh now, close to 47 each day right now, but if you check the weather reports, you will see that some parts of Europe are just as hot!

The one advantage that the Middle East has over other hot climates during these testing summer months is that everywhere here is air-conditioned. Therefore if you don’t want to set foot outside these air-conditioned spots, you really don’t have to; you can move from your home to your car to the mall and back in a fully air-conditioned 'cool' bubble.

Skybridge Kingdom Tower, open Saturdays to Thursdays Midday -10.30pm & Fridays 4pm - 10.30pm. SAR23 (kids), SAR69 (adults)

Yet, the desire to venture outside during the summer in Riyadh remains; and our weekends often look something like this. The day begins with a sunrise walk, run or cycle around the leafy Diplomatic Quarter (DQ) or Wadi Hanifah in the Diriyah area.

This date with nature is a pleasant way to start the day, and it is refreshing to see so many people out exercising and to hear the morning chorus of local birds in the surrounding trees and flowering bushes.

If you don’t drive, an Uber or Careem taxi app can also take you to these places, and you can agree with the driver to collect you once you are finished.

Pack a hat and a water bottle.

There are several running, cycling, and walking groups in Riyadh that are more than happy to welcome new joiners. If you don't want to exercise alone, you can contact the Riyadh Triathlon Club on,

Incidentally, the Riyadh Triathletes club is has been around a long time, from 1992 to be exact, and has a very strong following in Riyadh.

You can also contact the Irish GAA group, which welcomes new members to play Gaelic Football and be part of a vibrant and fun community of people. Email

The British Golf Society is also active all year long, and you can play golf on a number of fun and challenging courses around the city. Contact the British Golf Society on

And of course, the Riyadh Rovers welcome new explorers all the time. If you want to reach out to join the RR hiking or exploring groups, please contact Alan Morrissey at

Failing all of that, just arrive at about 6 am in Wadi Hanifah, with your bike on a Friday morning and follow the crowd.

Once hunger pains set in, finding a spot to enjoy a delicious breakfast becomes the top priority. There are plenty of choices and here is a list of some of my favorite spots in Riyadh: Dim Light Restaurant Le Grenier a Pain, Urth Caffe, Eric Kayser, Dozen Cracked, Paul’s Bakery and Restaurant, Bateel Café, Face/Off Cafe and honestly this list continues to grow as more new international brands open up across Riyadh.

Oud Square DQ

When it comes to shopping, this capital city has it all. Shopping in the Middle East really is more than a necessity or chore. It is a family fun day out, and malls offer plenty of opportunities to escape the summer heat in Riyadh. They are world-class leisure and entertainment destinations for the whole family.

The sweet spot for leisurely shopping is about 3 pm, all the shops are open, and there is less of a huddle at the check-out tills.

While I love a spot of Manolo Blahnik shoe shopping or perusing the shelves of Massimo Dutti, some of my other fun days out take place in SACO or Al Sanidi camping supplies shop.

Spa treatments are big business all over the world these days, and we are all extremely decerning about the services we like. A bi-weekly mani-padi is now de rigueur for ladies, and it is also increasingly popular for the guys too. My friends and I have a number of popular places that we frequent for relaxing afternoons of nail painting, facials, blow dry’s or massages.

We try to strike a balance between good service and good value for money. To start with, you can check out Al Nakhla Residential Resort Spa 011 511 6000 or Mariyah Ladies Center 056 999 0705 or Me Time Nail Spa 058 328 4414, or Vanilla Spa 055 66 92 446.

You can also check your own residential community as often you will find they have an onsite spa that caters to their own community.


If you are not exhausted after all that activity, you can round out your day with a good movie and a nice dinner.

Riyadh Park is a trendy movie venue. I would also add the Panorama Mall, U Walk, Al Hamra Mall, and al Nakheel Mall, which also have great movie theaters and places to eat in the mall itself or very nearby.

Value for money goes to Piatto Restaurant, PF Chang, Burj al Hamam Bistro, Fatburger, and The Cheese Factory. For great Italian food and produce, check out Eataly .....Bellissimo!

Enjoy your summer in Riyadh.

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