Saudi Arabia Nightlife
Saudi Arabia occupies most of the Arabian Peninsula and is bordered by Islamic countries, such as Jordan and Kuwait, on all sides. Its petroleum and oil reserves attract businesses and Western workers to its cities, though the nightlife in Saudi Arabia may be different than what Westerners are accustomed to.
Visitors to Saudi Arabia should be aware that there are no legal nightclubs in the country. There is virtually no public entertainment in Saudi Arabia, and the only nightlife consists of restaurants and shopping. This also means that there are no bars serving alcohol or places where men and women mingle.
Dining & Shopping
Although clubbing or drinking isn’t an option in Saudi Arabia, visitors have other ways of passing the time. There is a good variety of restaurants in the cities. On the gulf side of Saudi Arabia, around Dhahran and the surrounding area, there are American fast food restaurants, plus Italian, Thai, Chinese, Philipino, and Arab dining establishments. All of the shopping centers, restaurants, and bazaars are open until midnight. Some are even open around the clock.
Visitors should be aware that there are expectations for how visitors will dress. Shorts are not worn in public in the country, and women must be particularly careful about their clothing. Basically, their bodies must be completely covered, though western women are not expected to cover their faces. In some areas though, they must cover their hair or wear an abaya, which is a long black robe that covers their clothes. Some hotels will even have these to loan to their guests.
Religion plays a large part of life in Saudi Arabia. The call to prayer occurs five times a day, which can be frustrating if you want to go out shopping throughout the day. Many shops will close around 11:30 a.m. and won’t open again until after 4 p.m. During Ramadan, the country looks different than it does during the rest of the year. The streets get crammed by people and cars, restaurants are open until 4 a.m. in the morning, and the malls stock new dresses of Islamic-like designs.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about nightlife in Saudi Arabia.