9+ Unusual Things to Do in Jeddah Explored

Uncover the Secrets of Al Balad—venture through the ancient maze of buildings, but what timeless mysteries do these walls whisper? Read on...
Date Published
March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

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Ever wondered what it's like to wander through a city that's a melting pot of ancient traditions and modern-day luxuries? Picture yourself in Jeddah, where the Red Sea softly kisses historic shores, and the city's heartbeat echoes the fusion of past and present. It's not just another dot on the map—it's a treasure chest of experiences waiting to pop open!

I'm talking heart-stopping dives into coral wonderlands, strolls along the bustling Jeddah Corniche where the horizon is a canvas of staggering beauty, and the call to prayer mingles with lively market banter. Why stick to the same old tourist traps when you can uncover the secrets of Al Balad, an ancient district whispering tales of bygone eras? Ready to face off with King Fahd's Fountain, taller than any other of its kind, and shoot sky-high jet streams right into the twilight? Buckle up, my friend, because we're diving into a spellbinding concoction of culture, flavor, and adrenaline-pumped adventure, from the divine serenity of the Floating Mosque to the nostalgic tracks of the Hejaz Railway Station.

This is not just a visit; it's a full-blown escapade into the heart of Arabia—a place where every corner hums with stories, every scent is a memory in the making, and every taste is a patch in the intricate fabric of authentic Saudi cuisine. So, are you ready to embrace the

Uncover the Secrets of Al Balad

Stroll down the labyrinthine alleyways of Al Balad, and let its ancient stones whisper stories of ages past to you. The air almost crackles with history here; every nook and corner has a tale to tell. This is not just a historic district – it's a journey through time.

What's so unique about Al Balad? Its roots stretch back to the 7th century, which means you're literally walking through centuries of history. The buildings here are a testament to the traditional Red Sea architecture, some of which have stood the test of time and remain as proud as they were hundreds of years ago.

Come morning, the hustle and bustle of the local markets will pull you in. The scent of spices, the vibrant textiles on display, and the woodwork will make your heart skip a beat. And just when you think you've seen it all, you'll turn a corner and find an art exhibit displayed on the walls of an ancient building. It's the perfect blend of the old and the new.

For the best experiences in Al Balad, you'll want to hit these top spots:

  • Nassif House, where history meets heart. You can dive into the stories of a prominent merchant family in this restored cultural landmark.
  • The Historic Jeddah Festival, where Al Balad comes alive in a celebration of lights, color, and heritage performances.
  • Bait Sharbatly, once a deserted gem now a canvas for contemporary art within its time-honored walls.

Feel the pulse of Jeddah in Al Balad where every brick is a fossil of the city's soul. It's not just a visit; it's an embrace with the essence of Saudi Arabia. You're going to want to set aside at least half a day here because trust me, once you start exploring, time will slip away like sand through your fingers.

Singles, families, history buffs, or just the plain curious – Al Balad has something to charm everyone. Get your camera ready, because every step in Al Balad is a memory begging to be captured!

An Evening by King Fahd's Fountain

Picture this: you're standing by the sea, and suddenly, there it is—an epic spray of water shooting straight into the twilight sky. Yeah, that’s King Fahd's Fountain, also known as Jeddah Fountain, and folks, it's not just any old squirt of water. This thing is listed as the tallest of its kind on the planet!

So, what makes King Fahd’s Fountain a landmark worth visiting? First up, this fountain is iconic, propelling water up to an astonishing 312 meters—that's more than 1,000 feet. It's like a skyscraper made of water, and when it lights up at night, it’s like a star fell down to hang out with us mere mortals at sea level. It's the perfect backdrop for that envy-inducing selfie to make your friends back home wish they were there.

Think about strolling along the Jeddah Corniche with the cool sea breeze playing tag with your hair, and then, as the sun starts to dip, that colossal fountain kicks into life. The show is absolutely free and runs until midnight, so no rush; it’s all about taking it slow and soaking up every moment. Whether you’re on a romantic date, hanging out with your squad, or chilling with your fam, this fountain is a crowd-pleaser for all.

Don't settle for watching from afar, though. Get close, find your spot, and let the rhythmic sound of the sea fuse with the fountain’s dance. Be there as the sun sets, and light takes over, magic happens, and you’ll feel like you’re part of something truly special. Spend a good hour or two; trust me, the time flies when you're captivated by such a sight.

Single, family, adrenaline junkie or peace-seeker, King Fahd's Fountain doesn’t discriminate. Its grandeur unites everyone under a canopy of shimmering mist. And hey, while you're out here, why not grab a bite to eat or sip on some Saudi coffee at one of the nearby spots? It's the cherry on top of a perfect evening. You won't just watch the fountain; you'll feel part of its story, and the breathtaking pictures you snap won't even do justice to the live spectacle.

Dive Into Red Sea Treasures

Picture this: You're gliding through the crystal-clear waters, schools of vibrant fish darting across your path, and the sun's rays are making the corals below you glisten like buried treasure. Welcome to the exhilarating world of Red Sea scuba diving, where every dive site feels like you've just discovered a secret underwater wonderland.

The Red Sea is home to some of the most astounding dive sites on the planet, and getting there is a breeze from Jeddah. You've got a spectrum of spots to choose from whether you're a seasoned diver or someone who's just looking to get their feet wet (pun intended). Some of the maritime magnificence you'll encounter includes:

  • Endless varieties of corals and reef fish
  • Shipwrecks that tell stories of maritime history
  • Underwater photography opportunities that are second to none

Diving in these fabled waters isn't just a swim in the sea; it's a full-on exploration of a world that's remained untouched for millennia. Plus, the warm temperatures year-round make this a perfect spot no matter when you visit.

For the newcomers keen on diving into this adventure, there are abundant diving schools and centers that offer certifications and guided tours. You'll want to set aside a full day for this – trust me, once you're there, time slips away as easily as sand through your fingers.

And let's chat about who's gonna love this: it's a jackpot for marine enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and even couples looking for a splash of romance under the sea. Whether you're looking to add some excitement to your solo trip, or you've got the whole family geared up for an underwater escapade, the Red Sea caters to all.

When you emerge, the lively Jeddah Corniche is just a stone's throw away – perfect for a post-dive stroll with a sunset backdrop.

So tie up those fins and prep your snorkel; Jeddah's underwater world is ready to take your breath away. And if you need more convincing or a place to start, just dive into more details on the wonders waiting for you in the Red Sea. Dive time's a-wasting, and trust me, you won't want to miss a second of this adventure.

Serenity Walks along Jeddah Corniche

Imagine the soft hum of the sea, the gentle kiss of the sun on your skin, and a breeze that whispers stories of ancient mariners. This isn't a dream; this is your stroll along the Jeddah Corniche. Stretching over 30 kilometers, this waterfront promenade is a delightful blend of serene views, buzzing cafes, and some outdoor artwork that might just make your Instagram followers jealous.

Let's talk specifics. Take about two to five hours of your day for a rejuvenating walk here. The endless blue of the Red Sea on one side, and the charming allure of Jeddah's modern cityscape on the other, offer the perfect backdrop for a leisurely excursion.

It's fantastic for everyone—whether you're a solo wanderer with a penchant for quiet reflection or a lively family looking to burn off some excess energy. And for those of you with a bit of adrenaline in your veins, why not rent a bike and cruise along the designated paths? It's both invigorating and a way to cover more ground without missing out on the Corniche's allure.

Coffee lovers and foodies, take note! There's a slew of delightful spots to refuel. Grab a strong Arabic coffee or a tantalizing Saudi snack as you watch the sun dip below the horizon. As for entertainment, you might stumble upon an outdoor event or a pop-up art installation that'll enrich your cultural palate.

So, as the day closes, find your spot along the Jeddah Corniche to soak in those warm hues of sunset. Trust me, it's a scene that'll stick in your memory long after you've left. Connect with the locals, feel the pulse of the city, and let Jeddah's heartbeat synchronize with yours. If you truly want to get to know this city, the Corniche is not just a walk; it's an experience.

Indulge in Authentic Saudi Cuisine

Imagine sitting cross-legged on plush cushions, a table overflowing with vibrant dishes that burst with flavors you've never tasted before. You, my friend, are about to indulge in authentic Saudi cuisine, and it's not just a meal; it's an adventure for your tastebuds.

Authentic Saudi cuisine is as rich in taste as the culture is in history. You're in for a sampling extravganza from succulent lamb mandi, cooked to perfection in a tandoor, to intensely flavorful chicken kabsa, fragrant with spices. Each dish tells a story, an heirloom of flavors passed down through generations.

Don't be shy—dive right in and let the mélange of spices, like cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves, transport you to ancient spice markets where these recipes were born. Let's not forget the sides; your plate will be graced by bowls of hummus smoother than a silk robe and tabbouleh so fresh it's like the garden took a leap right onto your palette.

Whether you're a solo spice voyager or a culinary clan, there's a dish that's perfect for you. The hospitality here is legendary; expect to be welcomed like family and treated to a feast that will spoil you for all other foods.

Spend a leisurely evening for the full experience, because you'll want to savor every flavor and every story that comes with these traditional delicacies. Nearby, you'll find the market's heartbeat, where after your meal, a stroll can lead you to discover local crafts and goods.

Truth be told, it's more than just food—it's a cultural journey wrapped up in a meal. And when you've had your fill, you'll leave not just with a full stomach, but with a slice of Saudi heritage that will linger in your memory long after the last bite. Turn your meal into a memorable experience and let the real taste of Saudi Arabia unfold with every bite.

Desert Escapade Outside Jeddah

Imagine this: the sun's warm glow bathing the endless sand dunes with a golden radiance, your heart pounding as the 4x4 surges over another splendid mound, and a hint of adventure twinkling in your eye. That's right; we're talking about a desert safari adventure just a stone's throw away from Jeddah.

A Desert safari adventure near Jeddah typically lasts between 2 to 5 hours, and it's perfect for those of you with a taste for thrills. Make sure to bring your friends or your family – it's a blast for all ages, and the kids will be talking about it for weeks. Just don't forget to take a bajillion photos, because your Instagram feed is about to look like a highlight reel from an epic movie.

What makes these desert escapades stand out is the raw beauty of the Arabian landscape, practically untouched and ripe for exploration. The tranquility of being out in the vast openness is something you won't find anywhere in the bustling city streets. Whether you fancy some dune bashing, sandboarding, or simply sipping on some traditional tea under the starry sky, the desert outside Jeddah has got you covered.

Here's the scoop on what to expect:

  • Bounce over dunes and feel the rush of adrenaline during dune bashing.
  • Glide down sandy slopes with nothing but a board and your bravery in tow – sandboarding is a must!
  • Wind down as the day fades, with a majestic desert sunset painting the sky in hues of red and purple.

If you're itching for a change of pace and scenery, a desert safari is the perfect indulgence, ideally slated for the cooler hours of the early morning or late afternoon. Plus, these desert jaunts are not too far from Jeddah, which means you can wrap up your desert adventure and still have time for a night out on the town. It's a win-win for anybody seeking to layer their travel memories with the extraordinary.

So go on, embrace the call of the desert – it's whispering, beckoning, practically shouting your name. And with desert safari adventures near Jeddah, your story is just waiting to be written. Let's make some memories that will stick around like the grains of sand in your shoes after an epic day out in the desert!

Charm of Floating Mosque Visits

Imagine the sun kissing the horizon, its rays shimmering against the serene waves of the Red Sea, as you step into the enchanting Floating Mosque. Yes, you heard it right – a mosque that floats! It's not your run-of-the-mill spiritual site; this mosque is a divine blend of architectural marvel and tranquil spirituality wrapped up in the warm embrace of sea breezes.

So, what's the deal with Floating Mosque visits? Well, get ready to have your mind gently blown by the peaceful beauty and innovative design of this iconic mosque. The mosque, officially known as the Fatima Al-Zahra Mosque, looks like it's suspended on water, offering an almost surreal space for reflection and prayer. Unique? Absolutely. Attractive to tourists and locals? Without a doubt. Why? Because where else can you feel like you're praying above the waves? This is where you connect with the divine, flanked by the vast expanse of sea, a sight that's as breathtaking at high tide as it is at low.

For whom does this majestic place beckon?
Well, hearts seeking quiet contemplation will find solace here, while architecture buffs will admire the mosque's intricate designs. If you're a family or a solo traveler, the Floating Mosque is a serene pit-stop amidst your Jeddah adventures.

Don't just snap a photo and dash. Spend time here. Soak in the sights. A visit during sunset amps up the charm as the sky transforms into a canvas of purples and oranges, and the mosque under this celestial painting is nothing short of magical.

Linger awhile, let your thoughts meander as the waves do, and bask in the serenity that this place offers. The Floating Mosque isn't just a visit; it's an experience, one that anchors in your memory long after you've departed its peaceful embrace. After all, it's not every day you get to experience a piece of heaven, floating right here in Jeddah.

Discover Art at Jeddah Sculpture Museum

Picture this: you're wandering through a garden, the breeze is just right, and every few feet, there's a masterpiece that stops you dead in your tracks. That's the Jeddah Sculpture Museum for you! It's an open-air art exhibit that'll knock your socks off.

Amidst the city's buzz, the Jeddah Sculpture Museum stands as an oasis of culture. With more than 20 major international works, it showcases pieces from some of the 20th century's art heavyweights. Yes, we're talking masterpieces by the likes of Henry Moore and Joan Miró! Its uniqueness lies in the fact that some of these sculptures date back to the 1970s when Jeddah's mayor decided to turn the city into an open-air gallery. Imagine taking a stroll where every corner exudes artistic brilliance!

Spend a good hour or two here, soaking up the creative energy. It's perfect for art aficionados as well as curious minds just starting to dip their toes into the world of modern art. Whether you're flying solo, dragging your BFF along, or making it a family affair, there's something at this museum that'll speak to each of you.

What's nearby, you ask? The enchanting Red Sea backdrop. Plus, you'll find yourself close to some of Jeddah's other famed spots, ripe for exploration. It's an art-lover's paradise and a selfie-taker's dream, owing to the photogenic sculptures and sea views.

So, whether you're an art nerd, a culture vulture, or just someone who appreciates a good picnic spot with a view, the Jeddah Sculpture Museum has your name written all over it. Grab your best kicks for a walk in the park, and don't forget your camera – this place is insta-gold!

Revel in Jeddah's Unique Coffeehouse Culture

Step off the bustling streets and into the serene embrace of Jeddah's coffeehouses, where an aromatic fusion of coffee beans and rich cultural traditions awaits you. This isn't just a place to grab a latte; it's where Jeddah's heart beats within the clinking of porcelain and the hum of conversation.

So, what's the big deal about coffeehouse culture in Jeddah? Imagine a space that’s both a contemporary haven and a historical nod, serving up not just espresso shots but also shots of heritage. You're not just sipping on coffee; you're partaking in a ritual that's as old as the city itself.

If you're a coffee aficionado, you’ll relish the opportunity to taste traditional Saudi coffee – a spicy, heady mix that'll have your palate singing. And if you’re not about the caffeine life, fret not. These cozy nooks offer a smorgasbord of herbal teas and local delights, perfect for those Instagram-worthy moments.

Here's why the coffeehouse culture here is unique: These spots double as vibrant social hubs. They're where friendships bloom over board games, where digital nomads find their sanctuary, and where artists’ strokes meet the strokes of keyboards. Everyone has a place, so whether you're a solo explorer or corralling your family for an outing, you're in for a treat.

Nestle in for an hour or two – okay, maybe three – at a vintage-themed coffeehouse near the art-laden corridors of Al Balad. Or catch a seaside breeze at a modern espresso bar along the Jeddah Corniche. Just be sure to chat with the locals. They might just spill the beans on the best cup in town.

In a city crowned with the world's tallest water fountain, even the coffee culture reaches new heights. So take a moment to immerse yourself in this liquid lore, and let Jeddah’s coffeehouse culture warm your soul.

Family Joy at Submerged Al Shallal Theme Park

Imagine the thrill that grips your heart when you hear the swoosh of a roller coaster dipping and the laughter of delighted kids! Yes, it's a day out at the Al Shallal Theme Park, folks! Where families flock for the kind of fun that leaves you grinning ear to ear and thrill-seekers buckle up for some serious adrenaline rush. So, what rides can you leap onto here?

First off, the roller coaster! Strap in, hands up, and let the good times roll because this baby will flip your world upside down—in the best way possible. Then, mosey on over to the ice rink. Yep, they've got one! Glide and twirl—or, let's be real, wobble and giggle—around this wintery oasis smack-dab in the middle of warmth. Lastly, don't miss the Flying Carpet, because who hasn't dreamed of soaring over the park, wind in your hair, catching that bird's eye view?

Al Shallal Theme Park isn't just about the scream-inducing rides, though. It's a feast for the eyes, too! The theme park is dolled up like the folk tales of an Arabian night, complete with twinkling lights that'd put the stars to shame.

Is it perfect for tykes and tots? Sure is! But guess what, it's also a haven for grown-ups seeking a break from "adulting." If you're solo, with friends, or have the kiddos in tow, expect to spend a solid half-day at least—it's that engaging.

Got little ones? Keep an eye out for the peppy parades! Bigger kids (and, let's be honest, you too) will get a kick out of the arcade games. Got a competitive streak? Challenge your pals to a race around the go-kart track.

Oh, and the cherry on top? You're right by the Jeddah waterfront, so once you've had your fill of theme park splendor, the serene sea is just a hop, skip, and a jump away to wind down—or keep the magic alive at one of the delectable seaside eateries.

So, take it from your excited tour guide, Al Shallal Theme Park is the playland of your family’s dreams—merriment guaranteed! Just remember to wear comfy shoes. You'll be on your feet a lot, either whooping it up on rides or chasing the kiddos. And hey, if you're all about capturing those memories, your camera's gonna be just as busy as you. Welcome to your Jeddah joyride! 🎢🌟

Traverse the Cultural Hejaz Railway Station

Ready to time travel? Strap in, because when you step into the Historic Hejaz Railway Station, it’s as if the clocks rewound a whole century. This isn't your run-of-the-mill railway station, it's a portal to Jeddah's past where every stone has a story to tell.

What makes it so unique? Picture this: classic Ottoman architecture and hints of the grand Arabian influence meet your gaze at every turn. It’s a picture-perfect spot for history buffs and Instagram aficionados alike. Oh, and you history geeks are in for a treat! Built around 1912, this station played a pivotal role in connecting Damascus to Medina and now stands as a proud slice of history in the heart of Jeddah.

Planning a visit here, expect to spend a decent hour or two soaking in the historic vibes and snapping photos. The station is a no-rush zone—you'll want to linger among the ancient artifacts and relics on display. This spot is a crowd-pleaser, so whether you're flying solo or rolling with your fam, there’s something to catch everyone’s eye.

And the best part? It’s tucked away in a less touristy part of the city, so you can bask in the old-world charm without the headache of bustling crowds. After touring, you can meander in the vicinity, where more culture awaits you or just sit on a bench, and watch the play of sunlight on the historic walls, picturing steam engines and bygone travels.

Trust me, your trip to Jeddah simply won’t be complete without a jaunt through Hejaz Railway Station. History, architecture, photography... this place checks all the boxes! So bring your curiosity, your camera, and a sense of adventure—it's about to get culturally epic up in here.

Sailing into Sunset at Obhur Creek

Imagine yourself gliding through the water as the sun dips low, painting the sky in shades of fiery oranges, pinks, and purples—that's Obhur Creek for you, my friend. This waterfront wonderland is just the ticket for those looking to add a splash of adventure to their travels. Not just a feast for the eyes, but a true voyage for the soul.

So, what's to love about Obhur Creek? For starters, it's the go-to spot for water activities. Whether you're up for some serious jet skiing, craving the thrill of parasailing, or chasing the zen with a bit of paddleboarding—Obhur Creek delivers.

  • Jet Skiing: Feel the rush of the waves beneath you.
  • Parasailing: Get a bird's eye view of Jeddah’s coastline.
  • Paddleboarding: Balance and serenity? Yes, please!

But that's not all. Oh no. There's something utterly magical about embarking on a sunset sail here. It's a vibe, a moment, where time seems to stand still and all worries are left ashore. Soak it all in, take those selfies, and maybe, just maybe, you'll spot a dolphin if you're lucky!

And how long should you linger in this slice of paradise? Well, why rush perfection? Give yourself a whole evening to revel in the ocean breeze and let the natural beauty of the creek seep into your bones. It's perfect for anyone really—romantic for couples, thrilling for the solo wanderers, and fun for families.

Nearby, you've got cozy eateries to grab a post-sailing bite, so you won't be sailing on an empty stomach for sure. And for adrenaline junkies to laid-back loungers, young adventurers to wise sea-dogs, Obhur Creek has a little bit of bliss for y'all. Now, don't just sit there—your chariot (well, boat) awaits! 🚤✨

FAQ

Q: What are some unique things to do in Jeddah?

A: Stroll through the historic Al Balad, dive into the Red Sea, and explore the Jeddah Sculpture Museum.

Q: What can you do in Jeddah at night?

A: Visit the bustling Corniche, enjoy the vibrant café scene, or shop at the night markets.

Q: What are the top activities in Riyadh?

A: Tour the National Museum, see the Kingdom Centre Tower, and roam the Al Bujairi Heritage Park.

Q: What are the best places to visit in Jeddah with family?

A: Check out the Fakieh Aquarium, have fun at Al Shallal Theme Park, and relax at Jeddah Waterfront Park.

Q: What is Al Balad in Jeddah famous for?

A: Al Balad is renowned for its traditional Hejazi architecture, souqs, and UNESCO World Heritage status.

Q: What are the must-do things in Makkah?

A: Visit the Grand Mosque, hike in the Hira Cave, and shop at Abraj Al Bait Mall.

Q: Is Jeddah worth visiting?

A: Yes, Jeddah is worth visiting for its rich culture, stunning seaside, and historical landmarks.

Q: Is Jeddah tourist friendly?

A: Absolutely, Jeddah is tourist-friendly with its welcoming locals, various attractions, and easy accessibility.

Q: How can I spend one day in Jeddah?

A: Tour Al Balad, relax at Jeddah Corniche, and cap it off with local cuisine and shopping at a night market.

Q: Is Jeddah or Riyadh better to visit?

A: Jeddah offers a coastal vibe and historical sites, while Riyadh is the choice for traditional heritage and modern business. It depends on your interests!

Final Words

So, you just zipped through a rollercoaster of Jeddah's finest - from the timeless history tucked away in Al Balad's narrow alleys to the refreshing spritzes from King Fahd's Fountain. You dove deep to greet Red Sea marine life and strolled the breezy pathways of Jeddah Corniche. Your taste buds now know the zing of Saudi cuisine and your inner adventurer feels giddy about desert escapades.

You've peeked into the serenity of floating mosques, breathed art at the Jeddah Sculpture Museum, and sipped on Jeddah's lively coffee culture. Whether you've been chasing thrills at Al Shallal Theme Park or pondering history at the Hejaz Railway Station, it's clear that moments are meant to be made here. And as you sail into the Obhur Creek sunset, remember: there's always another treasure around the corner in Jeddah. So keep exploring, because the best things to do in Jeddah are waiting for you.

Meet the Author
Aria Ohlsson
Aria Ohlsson, the Instagram storyteller extraordinaire, takes you on adventures through her enchanting narratives. An avid hiker, she scales peaks and weaves tales of mountaintop triumphs. When she's not conquering trails, you'll find her immersed in classic novels, finding inspiration for her next tale.
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