Popular Malls and Shopping Centers in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Shopping (By Women) in Saudi Arabia

 

 

Saudi Arabia is indeed a shopping paradise for the woman in Saudi Arabia who likes to shop. It does not matter whether she is young, old, Saudi or an expat woman in the Kingdom. Something is available for each woman’s individual taste in the Kingdom. Naturally among the most popular and generally appealing to all groups of women in the Kingdom are the gold souks, which are plentiful. Saudi gold is rated among the best in the world for its value, design and cost. Even the smallest town will have a gold souk or two.

 

Due to what may be perceived of the limited activities available for women in a segregated society, shopping is a favorite pastime. The malls in the Kingdom are among the finest in the world with their glittering and appealing displays of goods from all around the world. The latest fashions from Rome, Paris, London and New York arrive in Saudi Arabia probably faster than most other major cities in the world. There are many Gucci, Chanel and Armani clad women underneath the shrouding black abayas!

 

While one first naturally notices the gold and haute couture fashions the traditional items should not be overlooked as well. Dressmakers abound in the Kingdom and do a thriving business in part thanks to the plethora of shops offering the finest of fabrics and notions. Why go and buy that haute couture dress when you can have your very own made which fits to perfection? In addition for those who wish to create the Arabian nights experience there are many traditional souks to explore where one can purchase daggers, incense, oud, carved furniture and the finest of carpets.

 

The Kingdom needs to better promote its shopping opportunities. A book which distinguishes between the modern malls and traditional souks as well as their locations and specialties would be very useful regardless of whether a Saudi woman or expat woman.

To begin with if you are not aware, unaccompanied males are prohibited from entering the malls in Riyadh. Males are only allowed to enter if accompanied with a female. Now that being said, I have heard repeated that foreign western men at least are usually allowed entrée. This also explains why security details are always posted at the entrances to all shopping malls.

I’ve made a general list of some of the malls around Riyadh which individuals will commonly frequent:

Al Faisaliyah: Al Faisaliyah is an upscale shopping establishment located as the name indicates in the Al Faisaliyah complex which has its own hotel and apartments under the same name. This complex is owned by the two brothers, HRH Saad Al Faisal and HRH Turki Al Faisal. Al Faisaliyah is a lovely and secure shopping complex with a variety of shops although the emphasis (as typical in the Kingdom) is on shops for women. Al Faisaliyah is located in the Olaya district and known to all taxi drivers.

Al Memlikah: Al Memlikah is an enterprise owned by HRH Alwaleed bin Talal. Like Al Faisaliyah, it is an upscale shopping center. The third floor of Al Memlikah is for women only allowing women to remove their abaya if they choose while they shop. Al Memlikah is known to all taxi drivers and located in the Olaya district.

Granada Mall: Granada Mall is a smaller mall (as compared to the others described here) located off of exit 8. While again an emphasis is on women’s shops, it also has an Obeikan bookstore inside. It also has an outlet of the unique gift shop “Traditionals.”

Sahara Mall: Sahara Mall is among the largest malls in Riyadh going on and on and on. It’s a great place to walk for exercise. While this among the largest of malls, the majority of shops in this mall are for women and specialize in clothing, accessories, shoes, make-up and perfumes. And typical of large malls, this one also has a Safeway (Tamimi) grocery store connected within the mall. This is another mall that any taxi driver would recognize and know.

Hayat Mall: Hayat Mall is my favorite mall. I believe it has the widest variety of differing shops. It is also a large mall although not quite as large as Sahara. At this mall, something can be found for everyone. In addition to the usual plethora of women’s shops, Hayat Mall is a good place for formal dresses. I also like the fact that this mall has a Jarir bookstore attached and a shop called “Extra” which is known for electronics of all kinds. In addition, it has a Danube grocery store which has an outstanding bakery, deli with wide selection of imported cheeses and a good fish market. Hayat Mall is located adjacent to Sahara mall and known to taxi drivers.

Royal Mall: Royal Mall is a smaller mall very much specializing in formal dresses for women. It also boasts an indoor ice-skating rink which is fun to sit by and watch the skaters as they pass by. Royal Mall is located off of King Fahad Road and known to taix drivers.

Al Owais (Kuwaiti Souk): The “Kuwaiti souk” is among the oldest souks in Riyadh and located in Mohamadiyah off of King Fahad road. One must wander in and out of the many many small shops and narrow alleyways. Everything is negotiable. The Kuwaiti souk contains a little bit of everything from household goods, carpets, furniture to abayas, thobes, shoes and dresses as well as gold and spices and food stuffs. It’s well known to taxi drivers and should be a ‘must-visit’ on anyones list for a traditional shopping experience.

Deira: Deira is an area located in the old city adjacent to the infamous “chop chop square” where public executions are held. Deira, like the Kuwaiti souk, is another traditional style souk that goes on and on with a multitude of shops and offerings. Deira is especially known for antique watches, daggers, traditional clothes, hand carved furniture and other items representative of the Kingdom. All taxi drivers are familiar with how to get to Deira.

Euromarche: Euromarche is located on Takhusseesee street. It was one of the first “western” style shopping centers to be built in Riyadh and during its heyday was most popular among westerners in the Kingdom. It has been overshadowed now by the other larger and more modern malls but still worth at least one visit. The Euromarche shop can be compared to a “Super Wal-Mart” or K-mart back in the States with discounted clothing, groceries and many other items to set up house. It is well known to taxi drivers.

Azizia Mall: Azizia mall is located off of King Fahad road heading outside of the city. It is a smaller mall but a comfortable mall. The majority of shops are for women but it also has a Panda grocery story too. It is located in the same vicinity as the headquarters of Saudi Airlines. It’s not among my first choices but overall not a bad place to go, especially for leisurely strolls out of the heat. Like most malls in Riyadh, it is known to taxi drivers.

 

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74 Responses

  1. Wow! Things have changed in Riyadh, indeed, at least with respect to shopping. You didn’t even mention the two malls popular during my residence there: Shoala and Al Akaria. They might have been the only malls in Riyadh. Euromarche was just branching out into a few shops offering more than groceries. I would love to return to the Kingdom, for many reasons, and now, another one!

    Does anyone remember when Thumari street was a sparkling, noisy, crowded traditional souk, popular with Arabs and Westerns alike, families and couples and children and anyone looking for a place to lose themselves in a crowd of sights, smells, gold, shawarmas, and a multitude of various little shops offering everything from spices to modern sewing machines?

  2. Hi Marahm,

    Shoala and Al Akaria do still exist but it is evident they are older souks and do not have the same level or quality of shops as the more prominent malls now.

    I’ll ask my husband about Thumari street…what you described sounds a lot like Deira to me!

  3. It seems that one day will not be long enough for a visit with all of the shopping to be done! Great post, delhi.

  4. Thanks A2S. So hopefully this post also increases the enthusiasm for you and Y to come for a weekend???

  5. I agree with Marahm — quite a change from the mid-’90s, when Al Akaria (Olaya) had just opened its new wing (Akaria 3) and had the best shopping in Riyadh. I’d love to come back to check out the new spots.

    Where is Royal Mall? I remember an ice rink (men only, of course) in FAL shopping center — home of Tamimi Safeway and Gama Dental Center.

    I love the picture on the Sahara Mall website: a happy family — two kids, dad and mom — out for shopping, no abaya in sight! Or thobe and ghutra, for that matter.

    Speaking of Thumairi Street (which is indeed at Dira) — is it still a pedestrian mall? That whole Dira area was one of my favorite areas of Riyadh — the gold souq, the carpet stalls, the rabbit warren of antiques shops, the old Bedouin women selling nuts and trinkets … fun times.

  6. Royal Mall is off of King Fahad road. And yes, FAL still has a men-only ice rink. From what I have been told, FAL has not changed.

    I don’t know what to think of the photos that are not representative of the reality….trust me, if a woman is shopping there without an abaya she would certainly be challenged although men can certainly wear what they wish.

    And yes, if I am knowledgable then of Thumairi Street it is indeed a pedestrian mall still. Many fun times can still be found there.

  7. you make me want to go shopping.

    Great list, when I go to Saudi I will print this off.

  8. And everytime one turns around, new malls are being constructed!

  9. Hi I like the list too – thanks for sharing!

  10. hey,

    thats a great blog.. nice informative stuff…..abt me, i am an Indian guy…i have spent a few months on-off in KSA… keep up the good work!! good luck!!.

  11. Welcome Aspire and hope you found this info on shopping malls in Riyadh useful! Thanks for commenting.

  12. thanks carol….. was just curious to know if ur staying in a compound in Riyadh or in one of those huge saudi houses :) ? I have myself never had a chance to visit a saudi household…….

  13. hey carol.. maybe u should add the carrefour mall… the one at Exit 8!!

  14. Hi Aspire, I do not recall the exact post but I did write in general about where I live. I am in an all-Saudi compound and the majority of the residences in the compound are villas with walls around them…so I guess it is a bit of both…typical Saudi home within a compound!

    If I’ve missed someone’s favorite mall then I encourage them to let us know about it!

    If I recall, near exit 8 is Le Mall. I was there one time and found it to be very small and limited in selections but Carrefour is always nice to go to.

  15. this is an amazing catalouge whoever is this person to give info bout these is so sweet really helpful thankyou mercy

  16. hello this is chocolate i am pleased to see this catalouge imperative for knowing places in the kingdom i will definitely use this for my help when i go to saudi arabia.

  17. welcome WP and Chocolate. Glad you both find this info useful.

  18. Hey
    How come you guys forgot the biggest Mall in Riyadh…. Riyadh Gallery. Its helluva huge place n gr8 stores. U cant complete your shopping within a day there.

  19. Yasmin – this post was originally written and posted before Riyadh Gallery opened!

    You’re right – it’s a great mall.

  20. Many thanks for all the info!
    I am based in Dubai and own a new Arabic perfume brand under the name of Anfasic Dokhoon (www.anfasicdokhoon.com)
    I was surfing the net looking for information on Saudi Malls in order to plan expansion in KSA next year, and I have to say, this is the best overview of Riyadh’s shopping venues I found so far!

    Which ones would you REALLY recommend for my type of business? thanks!

  21. Hi Olimpia,

    It’s my pleasure. I can speak from the Riyadh perspective… if you are wanting to sell upscale then explore Kingdom (Al Memlika) or Al Fasiliyah. If you are wanting to hit the more moderate masses then target Riyadh Gallery, Hayat, Sahara and Granada.

    Good luck!!

  22. It also occurred to me you may wish to approach the spas/salons as well as most have gift shops:

    Mariyah Center
    Yibreen’s
    Manihal (located in DQ)
    Luthan (Woman’s spa and hotel)

  23. Thank you soooo much for the info!!
    How about retailers? Who are the ‘harvey nichols’ or ‘harrods’ of perfume distribution? I think as a single woman it will be very difficult for me to enter the market (or the country) and open my own stores, so I am not planning to approach the big dept stores and see if they are willing to sell the brand.
    Many Thanks!

  24. Olimpia, if you have not done so, you may wish to explore the SAGIA (Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority) website which will provide you information on doing business in KSA, business licenses, etc.

    I hope that some of my readers will answer your query as I’m just not a big shopper and do not feel qualified to discuss the merits of various retailers. Although that being said, you may wish to investigate “Paris Gallery.”

    Good luck to you!

  25. Thank you again for the precious info!
    Will keep you posted if things work out well…
    I read your post on Oud and Incense and loved it!
    My concept is somewhere in between Arabian fragrances and chic western image… hope you’ll be able to try it soon!

  26. hi, thank you for your notes.
    Granada center might be the largest mall in Riyadh, at a size of 460,000m2. 4500 cars park.
    -230 shops.
    five anchor stores.
    7200m2 of kids fun and rides.
    a food court with 30 food outlet.
    a dine in (steak house)
    a GLA of 83,000m2.
    traffic or footfall, 860,000 a month.ave.

  27. Thank you Salman! I know that Granada (off of exit 8) is certainly a very popular shopping center.

  28. hey thx
    for posting this info about ksa. m new here from ind. pls can u tel from where i can buy gold jewlerys i saw in malls but i think they r costly. i have hear that riyadh is wellknown for gold market where it is??? once again thx for posting this info.

  29. @jigs,

    Welcome! Some of the other popular places to buy gold (outside of an
    enclosed shopping mall) include Deira and Al Owais (Kuwaiti souk).
    Good luck!

  30. WHAT A PRECIOUS INFO…ENJOY OF BEING HERE ACTUALLY…DEFINITELY ENJOY SHOPPING =)

  31. [...] begin with most of the Saudi women who shop in the Saudi grocery stores such as Panda, Geant or Tamimi (Safeway) will likely be wearing a long and perhaps trailing black abaya.  They probably have on a [...]

  32. Hi there,
    Many thanks for the great info. I’m actually a Saudi lady, and loved what you wrote. Allow me to add Riyadh Gallery Mall, and Marina Mall to your list. Both are on Olaya Road opposit each other. Riyadh Gallery is a very beautiful mall, it has a make-shift garden with a water lake. Very refreshing and the shops are just fabulous. Geant super market was opened there only to be replaced by Panda supermarket now.
    As for Marina Mall, I have only been there when it was just opened and not all the shops were opened. Now I supoose they are all open and there is a huge funfare for kids too.
    Thank again. Take care!
    nazmia

  33. Welcome Nazmia and thank you for the updates! When I came to Riyadh both Riyadh Gallery and Marina Mall were still in the construction phases. Although Riyadh Gallery Opened and with the Geant like you described. I wonder why it was replaced with a Panda though?

    I welcome additional updates to the fine shopping areas of Riyadh!

  34. [...] Seen on TVGifts and Items of Enjoyment for Saudi WomenDear BeduSaudi Arabia and Popularity of HennaPopular Malls and Shopping Centers in Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia: It’s the Wedding NightMy [...]

  35. American Bedu, if you do not have the answer still to why Pandas replaced the Geants. Please know that Geant management made a lot of investment in French and other stock markets and took hits from which they could not recover.

  36. i love hayatt mall anf al faisaliyah..just love the malls like kingdoms of prince and princess….he!!he!!

  37. Thanks to you for this information about KSA. I like to know about Loose Diamonds store in KSA. Great Job! Keep it on…

  38. Beautifully written! I too prefer Hayat Mall over the others.

    However, the article needs a little update. You must include “Riyadh Gallery”. Right now, I think it is the most beautiful Mall in Riyadh.

  39. Welcome Mubeen and thank you!

    I agree with you that Riyadh Gallery is a wonderful mall.

  40. I would like to ask if there are online shopping website at Riyadh. I would like to buy something there and deliver at the same place.

  41. @Tessa,

    There are not many as compared to most other countries but some businesses are slowly starting to offer online shopping options. You may wish to check the Jarir bookstore site.

    Best Regards, Bedu

  42. Hello again,
    Tessa, there is a website for shopping online, but I have not tried it to be honest. It is http://www.e-mall.com.sa
    Enjoy!
    nazmia

  43. Dear American Bedu , is it possible to write about best shopping centers in Mecca and Medina( specially Medina)? thank you so much :-)
    mariam-Iran

  44. That is a great suggestion, Mariam.

    I’m not as familiar with the two cities in order to write about the shopping malls. I have been to several malls in Makkah but cannot remember their names!

    Can anyone else help out here?

  45. thank you very much for the list, i have being to mamlaka and it was amazing there, but i was wondering if you know any mall that sells emo, punk, or goth clothing or any stores, i recently came from Canada, and i just wasnt able to find any clothing that suite my style,and perhaps my size, you can say am extra thin

  46. i want a rate list of grocery items in riyad plz send me

  47. hi I am visiting my husband here in Riyadh KSA was looking to visit 1 of the wonderfull souk that u mentioned would u please advice

  48. My husband is considering a job in Jizan. I have a few concerns: Firstly, can I go and just purchase a abaya when I arrive or should I try to source one in Ottawa, Canada. Secondly, is it illegal (from a Mattawa perspective) for a women to leave the house unattended. In other words, can I take a walk around the neighbourhood or go shopping by myself. I am not sure about the expat community in Jizan and do not want to be housebound.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  49. @Kim,since you’ll connect to jizan from Jeddah when you arrive it might be possible for you to purchase an abaya when you get to the kingdom. However, jizan is way more conservative than most regions in the kingdom,I’ll advise that you never leave your house unattended. There is not much of an expat community here.

  50. malls in riyadh

  51. what time do the shops open and close??? my husband tells me theyre closed till 4pm??? what am i to do during the day?

  52. Salam everybody. I am a western woman married to a Pakistany working with his own compagnies in KSA. Until yet I never was there , but living mainly in Switzerland or France or Pakistan. Now, he signed a contract in Jizan and wish that I come with him to live there until one of his projects are realised..probably it needs around 2 years. Can someone tell me, who know this town, if there also are all those wonderful stores u all are talking about. I am afraid to br horribly bored there. Can a lady go out by herself or need she a
    her servant or maid with her ? are there tea-rooms a woman can sit in ?
    Oh.. I just read the comment of Kim and the answer of Billie. Pls Kim, if u read those lines . come in touch with me on this Mail: cldebe4@voila.fr
    so if u live there and me too, we can meet eventually. Thank u sincerly

    Claudie

  53. Kim and Ferdie:

    I go out all the time alone to meet my friends at the mall for coffee or shopping. I prefer the mornings when the kids are in school and the malls are not crowded. Only problem with that is you only have from the time the malls open until the noon prayer to do your shopping. (As of today, you have from 10 a.m. to 11:40 a.m). Now, some stores will open again right after the prayer, but some won’t until 4pm. So, if you want to do some “serious” shopping, you should go after 4. So, even if you are not done by the next call to prayer (maghrib), after the stores close for that prayer, they WILL open again right afterwards. No one is going to stop you for walking alone.
    Also, if your husbands are already here, either they could bring an abaya to the airport, or just have one the first time you EVER go out. The shopping is amazing and YES you can shop alone:))

    Carol, have you been Localizer Mall on Tahlia? I accidentally passed it one evening & made a mental note to visit it SOON! It looks tremendous from the outside.
    That being said, HAYAT is my favorite mall, too, but souk Al Andalus Olaya has had a major facelift and I am in love!

  54. I don’t think I’ve been to the Localizer Mall on Tahlia. Someone will have to check it out and give a review!

  55. :)

  56. Robinrcks,
    Do you live in Jizan?

  57. Ooops, sorry, Billie! I’m in Riyadh.:(

  58. Robinrcks,
    It’s alright I just wanted to point that out to Kim and Ferdie. Riyadh is way more westernized than Jizan.

  59. Is it!!! Everyone’s been telling me the contrary: that it’s the strictest region of the KSA. I would think that with Jizan’s location on the water, it would be a bit more relaxed. I found Jeddah a breath of fresh air the 2 times I went with my daughter to take her SAT’s!!

  60. hello here networking engineer is searching a job in saudi arabia. . please guide me anyone. i will pray for you.

  61. hi im in riyadh for a week on business (lady travelling alone) and am looking for a ladies spa with swimming pool to relax in, there is nothing at all for ladies in my hotel so am feeling a little trapped! also looking for somewhere to get some sunshine and fresh air

    i called the Luthan but their pool is only for members – any ideas welcome!!

    many thanks

  62. thank for helping me

  63. As a Saudi who has lived all her years (in the country) in Riyadh, I can tell you folks that this is a great list! Furthermore, I would like to add three more recent malls to the list: Riyadh Gallery, Panorama Mall, and Centria Mall.

    Riyadh Gallery has already been mentioned in some of the previous comments. In addition to shopping, it’s the perfect place for time-passing or meeting friends. It’s quite refreshing! Here are some photos I’ve found of the place:

    http://bit.ly/PczLmw

    http://bit.ly/POn3F8

    http://bit.ly/NXXcdx

    Panorama Mall, (photo: http://bit.ly/OcierH), has plenty of shopping options for both men and women. It’s food court is large and it also has a small ‘ladies only’ section with a few shops and large cafe.

    Centria Mall is the perfect luxury shopping destination, with both exclusive and international brands. You can check their virtual gallery to get an idea. http://www.centria.com.sa/virtual-gallery.aspx
    A photo: http://bit.ly/PczWhA

    ————————————-
    A few things I feel I have to make clear after reading some of the comments above:

    – Men can enter malls alone now, unlike before when they had to have women accompanying them.
    – Women can go anywhere unescorted. The only place they can’t go are men-only places. We just *prefer* going with other women (or a man) at places where there aren’t many women to feel more comfortable. Again, it’s only a matter of preference. There’s no such law.
    – For the lady who asked, you don’t have to get yourself an abaaya before you get to the kingdom. But dress conservatively and try to get one as soon as you arrive. The abaaya is required in most places. You don’t the headscarf to cover your hair, though, except maybe when the religious police are around just in case they decide to tell you to cover. That’s in the big cities like my city Riyadh, Jeddah, and cities in the eastern province like Khobar and Dhahran.
    – Jazan is one of the more conservative and traditional cities in the kingdom. Although its weather and nature are more tolerable and much nicer than cities like the capital Riyadh, which have a very harsh climate, it hasn’t really been developed much or taken care of like the big cities. Therefore, there isn’t much to do or see there from what I hear.
    – The cities I’d recommend to live in would be Jeddah, Riyadh, and cities in the eastern province like Khobar and Dhahran.

    And finally, I’d like to add that social life is a big part of Saudi’s lives. So if you want to get a true insight on Saudi Arabia and it’s culture, and if you want to get the real Saudi experience, befriend and ‘mingle’ with the people! Otherwise, you’d get too lonely and find yourself with nothing to do.

    I hope you all enjoy your Saudi experience! :)

  64. Dear “S,”
    Welcome and thank you very much for the updates! I look forward to hearing your comments on other posts too.

    Best Regards,
    Bedu

  65. Is ganada mall open today

  66. I just read the article on the fabulous malls in Saudi Arabia, but I can’t help to ask: if the get the latest fashions first…where do women wear this outfits??
    Don’t tell me they just wear it at home.
    I am also curious ‘why’ women are not allowed in the skating ring?
    Also ‘S’ talked about the ‘mingling’ with the locals…aren’t men and women that are not related….not supposed to ‘mingle’??

  67. Hi Nikki,

    Women will wear their newly purchased outfits to weddings, work (in women only areas the abaya is not required), university, visiting with others, within their own homes and basically whenever they choose.

    In regards to women skating at the rink it is more due to public exposure and the culture.

    Unrelated men and women are not to mingle publicly. Yet women can freely mingle with other women whether a relative or not and the same applies to men.

  68. How to get soler egg incubetor

  69. This is very nice to have a good idea of the different shopping malls, but i think that Riyadh Gallery Mall should also be added. Thank u.

  70. Hi tank you so much fo givin the details of malls. Hey i want to know tat is it possible if i go alone inside the mall. Actually their already written like have to get couple fo shopping malls. Cos m here for new from India. So if i need to purchasin some items i have to go alone na. So is their any idea?? Pls give me a reply. Anyways once again tanks fo the details.:-P:-)

  71. Thanks for the list and info. It is very informative.

  72. Hi girls there is a new boutique in riyadh for evening and coctail dresses called Ganaj
    it is in Rayan on Alemam alshafee rd. you could check there twitter @ganajdresses
    They are retailers of most US and europe evening brands
    As tadashi shoji, jovani ..ect.
    There prices are resnobile as the online retailers.

  73. where to get wholesale textiles in Riyad.thank you

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