Boasting endless views of a tranquil Arabian Gulf, Dammam is a modern metropolis that thrives on its coastal location. Along with nearby Al Khobar and Dhahran, these ‘triplet cities’ are tailored to a lifestyle in the open air, brimming with lush green parks, airy waterfronts and sandy beaches.
The region also has a growing reputation for arts, sports and entertainment. It is home to the kingdom’s first street art exhibition in Al Khobar’s Bayoonya district, and a range of cultural hubs and museums. Dip into science and innovation at SCITECH, or get a dose of pop culture at the quirky Taybeen and Alfelwah and Aljowharah museums. As evening falls, wander the walkways of Damman’s Share Al-Hob souq, where a lively theatre of traders, performers and street musicians awaits.
A short drive south from Dammam, Half Moon Bay is a glorious pocket of beach resorts ideal for a family getaway. Dana Beach Resort offers watersports including jet-skiing, wakeboarding, sailing and diving, while the aqua play area features three water slides. Go-karting, horse riding and cycling are among the activities available back on land. The Radisson Blu Resort has boat trips and a palm-lined outdoor pool while Palm Beach Resort comes with tennis, football and volleyball courts along with beach-facing villas with an ocean view.
The iconic monolithic design of the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, known as Ithra, has become a symbol of Saudi’s cultural renaissance. The sprawling building houses a theater, library, cinema, galleries and museum, alongside a wealth of interactive activities for children. The Ithra Journey Tour, a 30-minute guided walk, offers an ideal overview from where families can then plot their own extended route.
Dancing fountains and landscaped gardens make this seafront stretch a family favorite, where kids can frolic in playgrounds as adults take Instagram-worthy snaps of the historic water tower and remarkable King Fahd Causeway. For a bite among the sights, discover a range of dining options on the new Ajdan Walk south of the new corniche, or immerse yourself in Al Khobar’s cafe culture at one of its dozens of waterfront coffee shops. Catch the sunset with a private boat trip across the waters.
Where to stay: Pick from the sea-facing views of the Sheraton Dammam Hotel & Convention Centre, or the contemporary Boudl El Corniche. Opt for luxury at the Le Méridien Al Khobar, or make a boutique stop at the Radisson Blu Dharan.
Where to eat: Drop into the Cheesecake Factory in Ajdan Walk for family dining, or book a table at the airy Oriya for creative dishes and oceanfront views. For exquisite Indian fine dining, try Maharaja by Vineet, or sample five-star sushi at Fusion in Le Méridien Al Khobar. For rustic Italian cuisine, visit Da Vinci.
Where to have fun: Get a dose of fast-paced summer fun with a visit to GP Karting, or try your skills at Al Khobar’s Gravity Trampoline Park, where climbing walls, trampolines and virtual reality games await. At the oceanfront Sunset Beach Resort, choose between high-thrill activities, or luxury beach relaxation.
See history and heritage in this jewel-like oasis.
Enjoy souvenir shopping in Al Hofuf’s centuries-old market.
For souq shopping at its best, take a trip to this colorful traditional market.
Thought to date back to 5,000 BC, the castle’s time-weathered walls have seen the rise and fall of multiple empires.
Taybeen Museum is an extraordinary passion-project and wonderfully unexpected trip into a bygone age.
Journey across Saudi by train for a picturesque way to cross the country and still stay on schedule.
The Science and Technology Centre (SCITECH) is home to interactive and immersive exhibits.
The Eastern Province is extending from the rippling waters of the Arabian Gulf to the untamed depths of the Rub’ Al Khali.
Don’t be dissuaded by the laid-back air of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Here are some of the regions' top cultural draws.
The northeastern city of Tabuk has long been a resting point for Jordanian and Egyptian pilgrims, with a rich Bedouin culture that can be felt in the bustling Souq Twaheen, which still supplies patterned rugs and goat-hair tent covers for modern nomads.