Saudi Arabia, one of the most developed Muslim countries in the world, is home to people belonging to various countries from all over the world. Especially in recent times, the number of expats has greatly increased and people come here from all over the world in search of jobs, better living standards and a better life. Despite the fact that it is an Islamic State and strictly abides by the Islamic law, where locals and expats alike are expected to follow these rules, Saudi Arabia is still loved by tourists all over. The prime reason for this is the fact that the Kingdom is one of the biggest shopping hubs in the world. Shopping in Saudi Arabia is popular among tourists and westerners as it is very much favorable to them in terms of availability of a great number of international brands, cost and quality. Not only the tourists but the locals and expats in Saudi Arabia also greatly enjoy and benefit from the shopping scene there.
Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, is considered to be the business center of the Kingdom. It is also more on the conservative side where women are clad in abayas and men in traditional thob. Although mostly one observes Wahhabi conservatism there but there is an interesting contrasts of both religious conservatism as well as Western modernization that can be seen, especially in young Saudis. As most types of entertainment are banned here, there is hardly much to do. It is due to this reason that the favorite pastime of Saudi women and expats is shopping. Riyadh caters to one’s shopping needs very efficiently. Huge malls with spacious interiors and most of the International brands available are a most favorite hangout for women. Riyadh’s shopping district is found on Olaya Road and Riyadh’s main roads are nothing but a line of the biggest shopping malls. Men cannot enter malls unless accompanied by a woman and there are dedicated floors for women only. Following are some of the malls in Riyadh.
Al Faisaliah: It is located at the foot of the Al Faisaliah skyscraper and is one of the most luxurious malls of the city. The food court which is located on the third floor is one of the best in the Kingdom and there is also one present in the basement along with a fun park too. It is a very secure shopping mall with emphasis on shops for women. It has the Harvey Nichols department store as well as brands like Benetton, Next and DKNY.
Al Mamlaka: It is also located on Olaya Road and is three stories tall. It is also one of the best malls in the city and has a dedicated floor for women only also called the Ladies Kingdom and all the personnel on that floor are ladies. There is also a Planet Hollywood restaurant present there. It is home to brands like Debenhams, Saks Fifth Avenue, Marks and Spencer, Givenchy, Espirit and Aldo, to name a few.
Jarir Bookstore: Located on Olaya Road, South of Musa Ibn Nosayr Street, is a two level store of Saudi Arabia’s largest bookshop. It has the best English language magazines and book selection in Saudi available. Certainly heaven for all the book lovers out there!
Sahara Mall: The largest mall in the city and a mall that every taxi driver would know of, Sahara Mall is located at the intersection of King Abdul Aziz road and Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Road. It has 180 shops which are connected by a Tamimi grocery store and leads to the annex Sahara Plaza. It is a huge mall which has possibly the largest food court in the city.
Granada Mall: Located near the airport, off of exit 8, is a smaller mall as compared to the others mentioned. It has Carrefour, H&M and Sun and Sands.
Panorama Mall: It is a very nice looking mall and has something for everyone as there is a wide variety of shops here. This mall has a Danube Supermarket, variety of brands like Marks and Spencer.