Al Janadriyah Festival is the major Heritage & Culture Festival held in the Kingdom. It is an annual event that takes place in outskirts of Riyadh. The event is being held every year since 1985. Normally the festival is scheduled in February every year but this time around it is shifted to December. The festival will run for 3 weeks and will conclude on 9th January 2019.
Each year a country is invited to be the guest of honor at the Al Janadriyah Festival. This year the guest of honor is Indonesia. They have set up a stage and promote Indonesian culture. For details watch the following video.
There is no entry fee. The event is completely free to attend.
Al Janadriyah Festival timing is from 11 AM to 11 PM daily, except Friday. For Friday, the timing is from 2 PM to 12 AM.
There is a lot of parking space available. If you reach by 4 PM, there will be ample parking available. However after 6 PM finding parking can be very difficult. We reached there around 6 PM on Saturday and had to search for parking for half an hour. It was so crowded and once you inside, you will get to know why. It is such a festive event at large scale that people from all over the kingdom come to attend this.
However, be sure that you park in the designated parking area. The management is very vigilant and any wrongly parked car is towed and placed somewhere else. You will also have to pay a fine if the car is towed.
You can either go by your car or you can take a bus from designated locations. We know 2 of the locations. One is IKEA parking, Exit 17 and the other one is Granada Mall parking, Exit 9.
The event is full of fun activities & information about the culture of different parts of Saudi Arabia and many neighboring countries. Few of the main attractions are follow:
Defense Department Exhibition
Defence Department has set up a huge gallery. Ranging from helicopters to armored vehicles, from shooting range to different activities for kids. There is also a zip line and crossing on ropes between different towers for kids.
A very cool shooting range has been set up. You can get in line and get to target practice with real gun (and off course fake bullets). The lines was pretty long so it may take up to an hour depending on rush for you to have your turn. But it is open for both men and women.
Most of the restaurants have set up their stalls. There is a large variety of food available. We had Rice and stir fried chicken from an Indian Restaurant, Spice. But it is better to explore before settling for a particular food. There are burgers, shawarmas, cuisines from many countries, crepes, homemade food and much more.
Arts & Handicrafts
All major cities in Kingdom and some neighbouring countries have their designated space. They show the craftsmanship by the local people. You can visit and buy stuff also. Some of the people are building stuff at the festival too, like the bike in the gallery.
Best time to have Ice cream is on a cool winter night. You will get a brain freeze but it is totally worth it.
There is a race track built in the Al Janadriyah Festival. This the first year that drifting is being performed at the festival. Drifting is done by professional with complete command over the drifting skills. Drifting starts after Magrib prayer and last till 10 PM. There is seating available to enjoy the awesome sport. Enjoy the video below.
You can roam around in the village streets of old times. They have set up homes that you can visit and admire the beauty of it. It looks like that you have gone from the hustle and bustle of the city to a very peaceful place.
Fireworks started at 9:45 PM and lasted for about 10 minutes. It was very cold and after spending 5 hours we were tired and were about to head back. At that time fireworks started. It was like a cherry on top of the cake. Best activity to wrap things up for an entertaining day. Check out the video.
Following tips will help you enjoy more and hassle free at the Al Janadriyah Festival:
- It is winter time in Riyadh. As the event is in the outskirts of Riyadh it gets really cold at night. Be sure to bring jackets / shawls / uppers / pullover or any other thing to keep you warm.
- Parking area and the Festival area is huge and requires a lot of walking. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes for long walks.
- Finding parking is a very big hassle. You can either come early or use the bus service to reach the Festival.
- We saw a lot of people finding their cars, as they have forgotten where they parked it. The best way will be to save the location of the parking in the Google Maps.