Welcome to Al Khobar: the commercial heart of Saudi Arabia
In the commercial heart of Saudi Arabia, Al Khobar’s location on the Kingdom’s eastern coast gives it a pleasant seaside atmosphere. Whether you prefer relaxing beachside, admiring award-winning architecture, shopping up a storm or driving down one of the world’s longest causeways, there’s plenty to keep you busy on a weekend in the city.
Head for the shore
Day and night, the Khobar Corniche remains a popular choice for taking a leisurely stroll, snacking on picnics and of course, people watching. Overlooking the Arabian Gulf and lined with a promenade made up of beige and dusty rose-hued tiles, the Corniche is one of the few green areas in the city. Looking out from the mainland you can see the ornate Water Tower, which overlooks the promenade from its own manmade island.
Swimming isn’t permitted along the Corniche, so for a refreshing dip, Half Moon Beach is the place to be. Shallow, calm water with a high salt content won’t let you sink, so whenever you tire of floating around, go for a run on the dunes adjacent to the beach. Thrill seekers can rent desert bikes or drive over the dunes in ATVs.
More than just an architectural delight, Saudi Aramco’s Al-Midra Tower is an exceptional example of sustainable design. It’s located in the heart of Dhahran, which together with Al Khobar and Dammam is known as part of the Triplet Cities, thanks to their simultaneous rapid growth after the discovery of massive oil reserves.
The Tower is just 20 minutes’ drive from our Park Inn by Radisson Al Khobar, and you won’t be able to miss the sleek, symmetrical building that holds the headquarters of one of the world’s largest oil companies. Inside, the air quality is almost the first thing you’ll notice – triggered by carbon dioxide sensors, fresh air is injected into the building periodically. Solar panels also cover the complex’s vast parking lot, providing enough power for the building’s daytime energy needs.
Shop (and eat) ’til you drop
Arguably the biggest and best shopping mall in the entire Kingdom, Al-Rashid Mall is a shopaholic’s dream. Local and international brands take over five whole floors and there’s even an amusement park in the mall, so staying entertained here won’t be an issue. As long as you don’t mind bumping elbows with others – the Al-Rashid Mall is busiest at weekends – you could easily spent hours lost in the mesmerizing aisles.
After working up an appetite with all that shopping, follow the tantalizing scent of garlic to Gulf Royal Chinese Restaurant on the third floor. A classically decorated restaurant celebrated for dishes such as lemongrass soup, chili beef and cashew chicken, don’t forget to wash it all down with a glass of Saudi champagne (soda water and apple juice).
An essential link
Top off your weekend in Al Khobar by taking a road trip down the King Fahd Causeway. A streak of irregular bumps and flat, far-reaching stretches that snake their way across the sparkling waters of the Gulf, the causeway connects Saudi Arabia with Bahrain in 26km of stellar engineering. Stop at Passport Island, the border post roughly halfway between the two nations, and check out the observation deck in the King Fahd Causeway Restaurant.