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Planning Your Trip

As Saudi Arabia’s largest and most populous city, there’s no shortage of things to do and sights to see in Riyadh. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, be sure to pack accordingly to make the most of your time in the city.

Tables and seating in the courtyard under large shade trees
Tables and seating in the courtyard under large shade trees
What to Pack

A lightweight shawl is a great versatile piece for women traveling to Riyadh — it can be used to ward off any chill from indoor air conditioning as well as a covering for the head and shoulders if visiting religious sites.

Business Travel
  • As the long-standing financial capital of the country, Riyadh is a decidedly formal city when it comes to doing business. Even in the city’s warm climate, conservative business attire is expected.

  • While locals will typically be outfitted in the traditional thawbs, foreigners are welcome to wear Western business clothing like dark suits and long dresses.

  • Women should plan on wearing an abaya for any meetings in a public setting. The long, black flowing robe is similar to the thawb and covers the body entirely from neck to ankles.

  • Footwear for women should be smart and sensible — a low heel with either an open- or closed-toe is appropriate.
Exploring the City
  • Elegant restaurants, fascinating architecture, plentiful history and culture, and beautiful outdoor spaces make Riyadh a captivating Middle Eastern destination. Pack these essentials for your time in the city.

  • You might find that you’ve walked many miles taking in the sights in this sprawling city without even realizing it. Don’t forget to pack sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your skin.

  • Locals favor modest dress, so it is suggested that visitors wear shirts that cover the shoulders and long pants rather than shorts. For women, wearing an abaya, a full-length traditional robe will help you stand out less.

  • Riyadh’s weather during the summer months are extremely hot — keep cool by wearing clothing made of light, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen.
Cultural Considerations
  • Saudi Arabia has a rich culture that has been shaped by its Islamic heritage and its Bedouin traditions. It is a deeply religious and conservative society, so be sure to plan accordingly when packing your suitcase.

  • Outside of religious sites, head scarfs aren’t required for Western women, but wearing one is sign of respect.

  • Avoid wearing any visible gold chains, especially those with a cross, as these are considered taboo in Saudi Arabia.

  • Both men and women should avoid wearing clothing that reveals their knees. Pack loose, linen pants instead of shorts.
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What To Reserve

There isn’t much you can’t find in Riyadh, one of the region’s most cosmopolitan cities: stunning natural beauty, interesting architecture and fine dining all await. Explore all this and more by making a few plans ahead of time.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image

The largest and most populous city in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is also the country’s financial hub. But long before it became a major modern Middle Eastern destination, the region was the site of countless revolutions, tribal takeovers and uprisings. While its history is complex, its allure is simple. Cultural and historic sites draw visitors with a passion for knowledge, while family-friendly activities, exquisite restaurants and plenty of shopping, sightseeing and open spaces appeal to everyone. Whether you’re spending a day or a week, Riyadh will undoubtedly become one of your favorite world cities.