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Shopping in Riyadh

Riyadh is a large and growing cosmopolitan city and accommodates the needs of many travelers and residents alike.  For those who are new to the area, finding out where to shop or to purchase household items can be not only frustrating but also time consuming.  Therefore, several locations have been selected which will support newcomers in their daily lives.
Food/Grocery items:

Major supermarkets include places such as Safeway Tamimi, Carrefour, and local chains like Othaim and Panda.  Frequently, major malls are locations for hypermarkets.  LeMall on exit 5 has Carrefour as does Gornata Mall on exit 9.  Two other major shopping malls can be found on the intersection of King Abdullah and King Abdulaziz streets.  These are Sharah Mall which contains Safeway Tamimi supermarket while further down King Abdulaziz is the newer Hayat Mall with Danube Market. 

Off of King Fahad road which runs through the main business center of the city, clients can find the majority of popular goods at HyperPanda – Azazia Mall.  Most of these supermarkets have several branches throughout the city.   
Faisalia Mall

Tamimi markets have at least 6 branches throughout Riyadh which operate 24 hours a day.  They are known to carry many western products as well as a variety of Asian ingredients.  Fresh produce is well maintained and of a good variety.   Although there is only one Danube currently in Al Morsalat, Riyadh, it frequently carries some items not available at other stores. 

Although these are major market names, do not pass up the chance to try shopping at local supermarkets such as Halwani where one can find this brand’s name items such as jams and cheeses known for their quality and flavor.

Household items/Hardware:

Two of the main chains within Riyadh for household items are Ikea and Saco.  Ikea which is open all day, offers all types of furniture, bedding, household decorations, kitchen accessories, children’s’ items and storage ideas.  Ikea also has a family friendly cafeteria on the second floor.  Ikea is located on exit 16.

Saco is a chain of hardware stores which can be found at several locations throughout Riyadh, with the major one, SacoWorld, located between exits 6 and 7.  In addition to all typical hardware and car supplies, Saco also has house wares such as mixers, blenders, personal care items and additionally home repair goods.  If you plan to hang your own wallpaper, curtains, flooring or just add a few new items to the home decorating, Saco can be the place to go.  SacoWorld also offers a picture framing service as well as outdoor living ideas. Both stores offer delivery and installation upon request and for a small fee.

Riyadh Gallary Mall

Another major chain which offers a variety of goods is Centerpoint.  Many families find that this chain offers not only children-adult clothing needs, but also has a wonderful selection of home decorations, furniture and gift items.  Centerpoint is also home of Shoe Mart which carries a wide variety of quality shoes for the whole family.

Local Souks/Markets:

Riyadh has several interesting markets, locally called souks.  A few of the most known include Oaise or Kuwaiti souk, which offers a variety of carpet/rugs, household items such as kitchen ware, thermoses, silver wares, containers and table clothes.  Other stores sell abayas (the black over cloaks for women), children’s clothing, blankets and quilts.  In the back of the market there are stores which sell different selections of furniture, both for home and office.  Lastly, Oaise is also a common location for those who want to purchase material for sewing or quilting.

Tiba, which is located across the street from Oais also offers many stores for Abaya as well as a known gold market.  Similar to Oais, it offers material, children’s clothing, and beautiful ladies dresses called Jalabiya.

Dirah is another very popular place for people to purchase local items: abayas, Jalabiya, children’s and adult clothing, shoes and bags, quilts and comforters as well as quaint “drugstores” which sell hair oils, henna and many other personal care items like makeup.  In the rear of the market handcraft shops are located where people can buy souvenirs, oriental rugs, as well as numerous brass or copper goods.  Many of these shops also sell hand carved wooden boxes or room dividers sure to add a special touch to any room.  Located near to the handcraft stores is the well known gold souk where locals and tourists alike can find unique 21k gold designs.  

Upscale shopping Malls:

In addition to the above mentioned malls, Riyadh supports two high-rise centers, namely Kingdom Tower and Faisaliah Tower.  Kingdom has an observation deck across the top where people can see all of Riyadh for a minimal price.  On the lower floors there is a three level mall with name brand stores such as Debenhams, Marks and Spencer and Next just to name a few.  The top level is a women’s only level.  Also part of the Kingdom Tower is the Four Seasons Hotel which is often the site of many conventions and meetings.  
Kingdom Tower
Faisaliah, further down on King Fahad road, sports a golden globe restaurant which rotates, allowing its patrons to enjoy their meal while viewing the breadth of Riyadh.  Just below it is also an observation deck for those who want to just see the view.  

The lower level surrounding the tower is made up of a fine mall and busy food court.  Many of the shops are well known western names such as Promod, Zara, and Liz Claiborne etc. 

Similar stores can also be found at Riyadh Gallery Mall; however, the unique attractions here are the wonderful theme center on the top floor where children can play, while the ground floor has a beautiful open water area, decorated with trees and greens, surrounded by a large variety of great coffee shops. 

Another large shopping center is Gornata Mall located at exit 9.  This mall also sports many of the famous store brands as well as Carfourre supermarket, a very large food court with many varieties of restaurants, and an Extra Electronics store.  Gornata also offers a Toy Town play center near the food courts. 
As Riyadh is an ever growing metropolis, this list is merely a starting point for newcomers.  Locating local markets such as the Rabwa vegetable souk can add health and charm to your life while here in the Kingdom.  Frequently, the little out of the way markets avail the shopper unique and surprising finds, so while driving around do not hesitate to look deeply and to always ask questions of the local merchants.

Happy shopping!
Mamlaka Tower Bridge

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