The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is filled with incredible historical landmarks and sites, such as Riyadh’s historical Diriyah.
However, one of the most significant places in Saudi history lies just outside of the capital of Riyadh.
Known as the birthplace of the Saudi State, the historical district of Diriyah offers a glimpse into the rise of one of the world’s most impressive kingdoms.
Located in the northwestern outskirts of Riyadh, Diriyah was the first home of the Saudi royal family.
It rests on the edge of the stunning oasis of Wadi Hanifa that runs through the Riyadh district and was once home to a powerful city center.
Diriyah was named the capital of the region in 1727 and would be the beginning of a unified Saudi Arabia. After the fall of Diriyah in 1818 to the Ottomans, the capital was moved to Riyadh.
If you’re traveling to Saudi Arabia and looking for things to do in this breathtaking heritage site, you’re in luck!
Not only can you spend an entire day soaking up the history and culture of Diriyah, but you can also have a lot of fun. Here are a few suggestions on how to pass your time in Riyadh’s Historical district of Diriyah.
Find Fun and History with These 5 Things to Do in Riyadh’s Historical Diriyah!
Historical Diriyah Day Tour
Learn more about Diriyah with a historical day tour of the palaces, landmarks, and important nearby sites. You can see everything from the Palace of Rings, to the Al Bajairy district, to walking through the ruins in the At-turaif quarter.
You can learn so much about the true history of the Diriyah region on a guided tour through the ancient city.
There are lots of options to choose from as far as tours go.
You can book a guide to take you through the majority of the region for the whole day, or choose to break it up into sections to get a more detailed experience.
A lot of tours will take you through on carts, or move slowly through the grounds to avoid overheating.
Though it is a “historical” district, it isn’t just old ruins. There are tons of restaurants, hotels, cafes, and so much more in the area.
So you can take a day tour of an ancient Saudi landmark and find yourself in the lap of luxury within the same day.
Walk Through Al Bujairi Heritage Park
A simply beautiful park lined with welcoming lights, rows of well-groomed palm trees and stunning green grasses, and filled with shops and restaurants, this isn’t your typical park.
With the ruins of Diriyah as a backdrop, this remarkable park is located just opposite the At-Turaif district.
Not only is this a gorgeous place to walk at sunset, or spend a nice morning picnic on the grass, but it is filled to the brim with fun things to do.
There are so many wonderful things available for the whole family to try in Al Bujairi Heritage Park. These include things like rides for children, visiting the bustling marketplace, taking classes on painting or crafts, and eating at food stalls.
You can also see projection shows at night projected onto the At-Turiaf district! There are also many local vendors and artist stores to shop at.
Al Bujairi Heritage Park is a magnificent blend of old and new. With sharp clean architecture and ground planning, this large park perfectly compliments the ruins of Diriyah.
Before traveling to the Al Bujairi Heritage Park, check the online schedule for events, concerts, light shows, and so much more. That way you get the most out of your visit here.
Explore the At-Turaif District
The At-Turaif district was the first capital of a unified Saudi Arabia in the Diriyah region. Designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2010, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has taken on an impressive restoration of the historical city.
The area remained largely untouched until 2000 when the initial restoration began, then in 2018, there was a more in-depth archaeological restoration of the area.
You can see the beautiful Saad bin Saud Palace in the Al Bujairy district close by, but you can see the meticulous renovations of the streets and doorways in At-Turaif.
Taking a day to walk through the At-Turaif district will allow you to explore history because the restorations are very well done.
Within the At-Turiaf district, you can find the Salwa Palace, the Guest House and At-Turaif Bath House, and the Imam Mohammad bin Saud Mosque.
The Salwa Palace is built in the distinctive Najdi architectural style, with colorful doors and decorative windows.
There are open-air museums, restaurants, and shops spread throughout the historic district as well.
Though soon a lot of the spaces will be more luxury dining areas and hotels, it is fascinating to see such an impressive historical site being used today in such a creative way!
At-Turiaf Living Museum
In 2018 the Atturaif Living Museum was brought to life by the Arriyadh Development Authority. The galleries dedicated to the historical Diriyah region are absolutely breathtaking.
The giant wall of screens walks you through the details and history of the site, while the winding pathways outdoors, and the floor-to-ceiling glass of the hallways indoors, take you through parts of At-Turaif.
There are high-tech, interactive parts of the museum, as well as impressive additions to the historical site itself.
Like the giant outdoor amphitheater that uses ancient ruins as the backdrop to a stage, and the newly built, elegant modern seating around it.
This is a great choice for the whole family to have a safe vacation spot everyone can enjoy.
If you’re looking for an amazing interactive museum as part of your day in Diriyah, we highly recommend stopping by the At-Turaif Living Museum.
Dine in Luxury and Style
Tired of a long day tour of Diriyah? Looking forward to a traditional Saudi meal after spending a fun day at the Al Bujairi Heritage Park?
Don’t worry about having to wait to get back into the Riyadh City Center to dine in style. Because Diriyah has a wide variety of exquisite cuisine just for you!
When traveling in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, you won’t have to look far for luxury dining options. Even in a well-known historical district like Diriyah.
You can choose between traditional Saudi food, Asian food, pizza bars, and five-star restaurants. So after a long day of walking through history, you can fill your belly with delicious food!
Whether you spend the entire day and night in Al Bujairi Heritage Park or walking through the ancient streets of the At-Turaif district there are so many ways to experience Diriyah.
If you’re looking to travel to Riyadh, and want to spend a day in this wonderful history-filled place, then use this list of five things to do to start planning now!
Additionally, whether you spend the day listening to a wizened tour guide take you through Diriyah, or you find yourself exploring the At-Turiaf Living Museum on your own, there is so much to learn in this historical place.
Not only can you educate yourself about the birthplace of the Saudi State, but you can also have so much fun and eat delicious foods! It’s a great experience for all.