What To Do In Jeddah

WT Writer
Jan 12, 2022

Influencer Lina Malaika on her hometown of Jeddah 

.

What makes Jeddah special?

Unlike other cities in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah follows the bend of the coast, which means its trademarks are white sand beaches and deep blue water views. Affectionately known as ‘The Mermaid of the Red Sea’, the city attracts a variety of people from around the world who bring culture and art with them. Also known as the ‘Art Capital of Saudi Arabia’ there’s a diverse art scene, which includes the annual Red Sea International Film Festival and various sculptural installations across the city. Another reason Jeddah is special is because it’s a gateway for pilgrims who are journeying to either of Islam’s holy cities — Mecca or Medina. 

Lina

My favourite place in Jeddah

For me it’s the place that feels the most nostalgic, and I’ve been going to Salhia Beach Resort for as long as I can remember. It’s located in Ubhur, right on the Red Sea, and the crystal-clear water which laps the soft sand keeps me coming back year-on-year. For a daily dose of sea air, any of the restaurants, hotels and beach resorts along the coast are picturesque places to spend time.

My favourite places for culture 

For streets full of culture, art, and history, Al-Balad (old-town) is equally as show-stopping to residents as it is tourists. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the district dates back to the 7th century with some elements being seamlessly recreated to fit in. Along the streets of the historic town, you’ll find original houses made from colourful coral, authentic Souqs and museums to explore, along with a mix of new, quirky outlets. Although I have been there multiple times, each visit I discover new corners and meet wonderful people. 

My favourite places to eat

Al-Nakheel on the Corniche Road will always be my all-time favourite place to dine. The big screen plays Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum’s performances from the ‘60s, while authentic Saudi flavours are served. I recommend trying their falafels, vegeterian mutabbaq, and finishing off with their sweet Umm Ali dessert. For breakfast, Moonshell in Ar Rawdah is a vegan haven — think delicious summer rolls and fresh açai bowls. Though we have great coffee shops on every street corner, Locals Café in Al-Waha is my go-to. And for dessert, Dots in Ash Shati make the best dougnuts in the world — you must try their glazed and Nutella ‘bitties’. 

My favourite places to shop in Jeddah

Concept store, The Homegrown Market, was opened by my friend Tamara Abukhadra, and is a curated collection through which she showcases popular emerging Arab brands. Stocking everything from fashion, beauty, homeware, and food, the shop in Ar Rawdah has become a hub for the creative community of Jeddah. Another favourite is Farah Hammad’s design studio where she makes one-of-a-kind feminine pieces and sells them online. 

My favourite attractions

Aside from browsing the streets of Al- Balad, I’d recommend you spend some time along the Jeddah Waterfront. I love riding my bike along the famous Corniche as it reminds me of Santa Monica beach in L.A. Of course, if you’ve got a PADI licence, you can’t beat diving in the Red  Sea, which is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs and sea life. Spending time underwater is always so therapeutic for me. Those who have a need for speed will love go- karting at at IN10SO in the Red Sea Mall. If you do only one thing while in Jeddah, I recommend… Prepare a bag with your swimsuit, snorkelling gear, portable speaker, and a picnic. Then head to Bayada Island where you can rent a boat and spend the day in the middle of the Red Sea, soaking up the sun’s rays as you float along.

Fruit Boat Sculpture