Top 10 Things to Do in Jeddah

View of Jeddah skyscrapers


With miles of pristine beaches, plenty of cultural venues, and gorgeous weather all year round, it’s a wonder that Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is not on everyone’s must-see travel lists. The coastal city has long been a significant destination for religious pilgrims but only began issuing tourist visas in 2019. Today, the city welcomes thousands of international tourists, and it’s no surprise why. From its winding souqs and UNESCO-listed historic district to the lengthy waterfront walkway along the Red Sea, there are plenty of things to see in Jeddah. 

Jeddah has always welcomed international visitors and, as the home of the Bab Makkah (Mecca Gate), has long been known as the ‘gateway’ through which all Muslims pass on their Pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca. Al-Balad “Historic Jeddah”, is one of a handful of UNESCO-listed sites in Saudi Arabia and features carefully preserved examples of traditional Red Sea architecture. There are myriad souqs (traditional markets) to explore through Jeddah including Al Badu and Al Alawi souqs where you can find delicious local food items, jewelry, artisanal crafts, and more. 

However, Jeddah is not just a historically rich destination. It’s also a thriving contemporary metropolis with many contemporary art galleries, museums, sporting events, and thrilling activities like bungy jumping, scuba diving, and jet skiing. The luxurious and busy Corniche offers everything from calm beach spots for families to an open-air art gallery and cycling pathways. From lounging on the beach and walking through historical markets to swimming with turtles and whizzing away on a jet ski, there are plenty of things to do in Jeddah.

Top 10 Best Things to Do in Jeddah

With so many things to do in Jeddah, it can be overwhelming to decide how to spend your time. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite ways to enjoy this stunning coastal city. 

Here are the top 10 best things to do during your trip to Jeddah:

Historic Jeddah

Exploring Al Balad (Historic Jeddah)

Embark on an unforgettable journey of Jeddah sightseeing in the historical heart of Jeddah is Al Balad (Historic Jeddah), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to some of the best examples of traditional Red Sea architecture in Saudi Arabia. The area is rich in heritage, with wooden Rawashins hanging overhead and historic doorways like Bab Jadeed and Bab Makkah opening onto ancient alleyways that have long welcomed travelers from around the world. Over 10 ancient houses still stand in Jeddah, including Bait Nassif, Bait Matbouli, and Bait Nour Wali, and are a must-see in Historic Jeddah for their unique designs and traditional architecture. The city’s Islamic history is best seen in landmarks like Al Shafi’i Mosque, Rebat Alkhonji, and Al-Mimar Mosque, and the city’s extensive souqs, which are the perfect place for an authentic meal or some artisanal shopping. Today, many of the buildings have been carefully converted to house modern art galleries, shops, and restaurants, creating a seamless blend of ancient tradition and contemporary life. 

Al Taybat International City Museum

Touring Jeddah’s Best Museums

Art and heritage are priorities in Jeddah, and the city has done a wonderful job of preserving and curating its unique history and culture in a series of well-designed and accessible museums. Previously the residence of King Abdulaziz AlSaud, Bait Nassif is a must-see museum for unique local artifacts. The Tayebat Museum is perfect for architecture enthusiasts with its recreation of traditional Hijazi architecture, while the Sheikh Abdul Raouf Khalil Museum is home to exclusive antiques. The Jeddah Open Museum combines a stroll along the beachfront Corniche with an open-air gallery experience. Finally, the Museum of Home Art has a collection of antiques and vintage furniture that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. 

Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabia Grand Prix

Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabia Grand Prix

For sports fans, Jeddah is home to the Formula 1 STC Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, a premier racing event that draws an international crowd. The Jeddah Corniche Circuit follows the Red Sea coastline and is the fastest street circuit in Formula One history. Known for its 27 corners, the track is 6.175 kilometers long with speeds averaging 250 kph. There are a variety of ticket options with the 3-day full-price ticket starting at SAR 520 and premium packages starting at SAR 13,800. Tickets can be purchased easily online. For more information, visitors can visit the official website of the Saudi Arabia Gran Prix. Plus, there are tons of restaurants, cultural activities, and other Jeddah tourist attractions surrounding the track so you can get the most out of your tickets. 

For a more cultural experience, Jeddah has a vibrant art scene that brings together local and international artists in a variety of contemporary art galleries and venues. ATHR Gallery in Sairafi Mall is a go-to for contemporary art with featured artists like Ahmad Mater and Muhannad Shono. The Saudi Center for Fine Arts has exhibitions and offers courses in a wide range of mediums. In the Al Rawda district, the Hafez Gallery showcases national and regional art history, while the Nesma Art Gallery exhibits abstract art and photography. Dar Safeya Binzagr is a good choice for heritage artifacts and is home to an excellent library. While walking through Historic Jeddah, visitors can pass by the Hisham Punjabi Studio and Workshop or the Adham Art Center for a bit of modern creativity amidst the historical buildings. 

King Fahd’s Fountain

King Fahd’s Fountain

One of the most beloved local landmarks in Jeddah is the King Fahd Fountain, an iconic feature of the city. It is one of the places to go in Jeddah that won’t take too much time out of the day. It is the highest water fountain in the world reaching 312 meters at its peak. For the last 30 years, it has offered an enchanting backdrop for photographs and a focal point that can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Walking down the Al Hamra Corniche, visitors can sample a wide variety of culinary delights from stalls like Seven, while enjoying the view of the fountain. Afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton offers a more luxurious experience and panoramic views of the area. The Park Hyatt Resort is another place to get stunning views of the fountain while enjoying a coffee or lunch. After visiting the fountain, lunch at the Italian restaurant Café Aroma is a must – the cafe has been there nearly as long as the fountain itself! 

Sharks in Jeddah marine aquarium

Fakieh Aquarium

For families and the young at heart, the Fakieh Aquarium is the Kingdom’s top venue to experience marine wildlife and one of the best Jeddah tourist spots. The marine exhibition space houses over 200 species with 85% native to the coral reefs off the Jeddah coast, including the Napoleon wrasse to the territorial sohal surgeonfish. Kids will love the huge tanks and sprawling hallways and tunnels to explore. There are sharks, penguins, and mesmerizing jellyfish displays. Plus, like all venues in Jeddah, the staff are attentive and knowledgeable about all things marine conservation. The aquarium is open from 10 am to 11 pm every day except Fridays when it opens at 1:30 pm and on Saturdays when it opens at 1 pm. Tickets start at SAR55 with free entry for children under two. Afterward, visitors can enjoy lunch at Blue Ocean Restaurant, or enjoy more attractions like the Fakieh Planetarium or Al Shallal Theme Park. 

Al Shallal Park

Speaking of Al Shallal Theme Park, this is one of the most fun places in Jeddah and a wonderful place to bring children of all ages. Featuring amusement rides, entertainment venues, and landscaped gardens, visitors can spend a whole day exploring the park, enjoying the sunshine, and engaging in some family-friendly fun. Love winter sports? This desert city even has an ice skating rink! Daily tickets are SAR35 per person with additional options for ice skating, bowling, boating, ziplining, and more. The Theme Park is open from Sunday to Wednesday from 4:30 pm to 1 am and Thursday and Friday from 4 pm to 2 am. 

Jeddah Waterfront

Jeddah Waterfront

The Jeddah Waterfront is a wonderful place to relax after a long day of activities. It’s the ideal spot for a long, meditative scroll, a leisurely meal, or a long cycle on the 4,500-meter sports track. With views over the Red Sea, it’s also the most recommended destination to watch one of the stunning sunsets that have captivated visitors to Jeddah for centuries. As mentioned earlier, this is where you will find Jeddah’s open-air museum experience with sculptures by Henry Moore and Jean Miró, amongst others. There are seaside cafes, markets, and restaurants offering local and international cuisine to suit a variety of tastes and family amenities like playparks. In recent years, the waterfront has received some technological upgrades that have made the experience even more seamless and comfortable. 

Al Saif Beach

Al Saif Beach

One of the best beaches near Jeddah is Al Saif, a local favorite for its sandy shores and calm, clear waters. It also has some of the best views over the Red Sea and of the surrounding natural landscapes. Al Saif is the perfect place for sunbathing and swimming with minimal waves and lots of sand banks. It’s ideal for families with children as the water is very serene and the beach is safe. We recommend bringing supplies from Jeddah as there are fewer amenities than other beaches. It’s also a good idea to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and food as it can get very warm and sunny during the day. 

Jeddah Yacht Club

Finally, the Jeddah Yacht Club is our top pick for recreational facilities in Jeddah. A pioneering venue, the Club features designer shopping and high-end dining. Spanning 122,000 square meters, the Yacht Club can house up to 95 boats from 10 to 120 meters long. The Club offers boating, sailing, and water sports activities for the whole family. Well-run, clean, and affordable, the Club has options for yacht rentals and sailing lessons, among other boating activities. It’s also a scenic location for lunch or dinner after a day out on the water. French cuisine at Le Comptoir De Nicole and Angelina Paris or ramen at Mashi no Mashi are sure to please. There’s no better place for waterfront dining and views over the Red Sea. It’s a wonderful spot for those who want to enjoy the best of the marine recreational activities that Jeddah has to offer.

Jeddah in One Day: Must-See Destinations:

While Jeddah has plenty of activities to last several days, it’s also possible to experience the best of the city’s offerings in one day. Here is a one-day itinerary that includes the must-see and do things in Jeddah: 


Start the day off right with a delicious breakfast at Angelina restaurant in the Al-Shati District or at one of the waterfront spots offering international options. Looking for something more high-end? The Jeddah Hilton or Waldorf Astoria Hotels offer a more luxurious breakfast experience. After your meal, take a stroll along the waterfront, enjoying the sea breeze and stunning views over the water. Head to the King Fahd Fountain, or the Park Hyatt Resort, which offers a great panoramic view of the fountain and the surrounding area.


Duck out of the afternoon heat and head to one of Jeddah’s historical museums or exciting contemporary art galleries. Alternatively, you can head over to the Fakieh Aquarium and see some of the most amazing marine exhibitions available in the Kingdom. With over 200 species and a variety of activities available for families, this is a one-of-a-kind experience for travelers of all ages.


After a day of fun, it’s time to experience the charm of Al Balad, Historic Jeddah. As the weather cools down, this is the perfect place to see traditional architecture and the famous gateways that mark Jeddah’s ancient streets. Walking through this maze of alleyways and markets, you can hear traditional Hijazi music or relax and enjoy a meal in one of the restaurants that have been carefully integrated into the ancient buildings. Try some local cuisine and beverages before saying goodbye.

Jeddah Journeys: Top Tips for Travelers

Traveling to Jeddah is a great option for individuals, families, or couples. However, there are some tips we recommend following to make the most of your trip. Getting around Jeddah is easy and smooth with ride-sharing options like Uber readily available. The best time to visit is from November to February when the weather is at its best. Women are advised to dress modestly and cover their arms and legs out of respect for Muslim customs. Public displays of affection are discouraged as well. If visiting during Ramadan, it’s respectful to avoid eating or drinking in public as most of the local population will be fasting. It’s a good idea to carry identification at all times and keep personal belongings carefully secured in large crowds. Lastly, Saudi Arabia can get quite warm so it’s advised that all visitors apply Sunscreen regularly and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Choosing Your Saudi City: Jeddah or Riyadh

Jeddah or riyadh

Saudi Arabia is a large and very diverse country that offers a wide range of experiences for tourists in cities like Jeddah and Riyadh. All of Saudi Arabia’s major cities are vibrant and busy, so choosing between various destinations really comes down to personal preference. It’s important to choose based on your interests and personal requirements. 

Jeddah and Riyadh offer differing experiences in culture, lifestyle, attractions, climate, and overall ambiance. While Jeddah is a more relaxed coastline city, Riyadh is the Kingdom’s financial and political capital. Both cities have historic landmarks, with Jeddah’s Al Balad district and the impressive Masmak Fortress and National Museum in Riyadh. Jeddah has a picturesque Corniche and the King Fahd Fountain, perfect for a leisurely stroll or cycle down the coastline. Riyadh’s Kingdom Centre Tower offers panoramic views of the city skyline. 

Both cities are great for modern and traditional shopping and dining. Visitors can spend hours wandering through the souqs of Jeddah, and Riyadh’s Souq Al Zal Market offers a traditional shopping experience. For waterfront dining, Jeddah is a better option, with many international options available. However, Riyadh also has some of the Kingdom’s top restaurants and fine dining venues. For outdoor activities, Jeddah is geared toward marine wildlife exploration and water sports, while Riyadh is great for desert safaris and outdoor adventures. Both offer plenty of options for families with kids of all ages. Jeddah has awesome beach destinations and a coastal atmosphere, while Riyadh is more urban and offers a taste of contemporary Saudi life.   

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to decide what kind of experience one wants to have while visiting Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is ideal for history enthusiasts and business travelers, while Jeddah appeals to leisure travelers and beachgoers. The season is also a factor, with Riyadh’s desert climate being more tolerable in winter, while Jeddah’s coastal location offers milder temperatures year-round. Personal preferences, such as interest in urban versus coastal environments and cultural experiences versus modern amenities should also be considered. Either way, you can’t go wrong with either of these fascinating and diverse cities.


Jeddah is a wonderful destination for travelers from any country and of any age. It’s safe, accessible, and full of options for a relaxing, beach getaway. From the historic Al Balad district to the contemporary art galleries and water sports, Jeddah offers a full range of holiday activities. As the ancient ‘gateway to Mecca,’ Jeddah has a long and illustrious past that can still be felt today. However, it also features technological innovations and new additions like high-end dining options and shopping. Jeddah is a great place to see perfectly preserved artifacts and architecture from Saudi Arabia’s ancient Red Sea cities. It’s a must-see for anyone coming to the Kingdom and should not be missed. Make the most of Jeddah by seeing all the diverse offerings of the city and enjoy your trip!


Is Jeddah worth visiting?

Yes, Jeddah is one of the top cities to visit in Saudi Arabia and has a wide variety of cultural, historical, and beachfront experiences for visitors of all ages. From its historic Al Balad district, luxury hotels, and shopping, to beachfront adventures and water sports, Jeddah is a great destination for international tourists.

Is Jeddah tourist-friendly?

Yes, all the attractions and destinations in Jeddah are tourist-friendly, clean, accessible, and well-run. Staff often speak multiple languages including Arabic and English. Tourists are asked to respect Muslim customs such as covering arms and legs for women and not eating during fasting holidays.

What currency is used in Jeddah?

The local currency in Jeddah is the Saudi Riyal (SAR), which is also used throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. To ensure your money is safely exchanged and you get the best rates, we advise exchanging money at local banks, exchange offices, or hotels in Jeddah.

Do I need cash when traveling to Jeddah?

Major credit and debit cards are accepted at most establishments in the city, but you might want to have cash on hand while visiting the markets or for smaller transactions. ATMs are readily available for convenient currency withdrawal.

Are there any traditional festivals or events that visitors can experience in Jeddah?

Jeddah hosts several vibrant festivals and events throughout the year. The Jeddah Season, a multi-month festival featuring concerts, art exhibits, cultural performances, and culinary experiences is a top attraction. The Souk Okaz Festival and the Jeddah International Book Fair also attract large international crowds.