Saudi Arabia: What do the Teens do?


The choices and options for social activities teenagers have in Saudi Arabia depends greatly on who they or more importantly, who are their parents and what is the parents mindset.  I’m referring to Saudi teenagers in this context and not the expatriate teens who are in the Kingdom due to their parents employment.

It is not as if there is a lack of activities in Saudi Arabia for teens.  There is horseback riding, golfing, sports activities, swimming, dancing lessons, art classes, bowling as well as the numerous activities one can do out in the desert.  However who gets to enjoy each activity depends on their location, gender and viewpoint of family.

There are facilities in both Riyadh and Jeddah where teens can enjoy horseback riding.  In Riyadh teens can also watch and likely learn how to play polo.  Some Saudi parents may allow a teenage boy to horseback ride but not give permission to a daughter viewing the activity as unsuitable for a girl.

Not a lot of Saudis have picked up golfing as a hobby.  My husband was one of the rare few but he learned to enjoy the sport outside of Saudi Arabia.  In Riyadh, the Intercontinental hotel offers a 9 hole golf course.  Arizona Compound has a 9 hole golf course too but it is not open to Saudis.  Other golf courses are available for those in Riyadh but these courses are outside of the city.  Golfing is a great activity and test of patience and coordination.

There are numerous sporting opportunities for the male Saudi teenager with soccer as the most popular.  Sporting activities for teenage girls are limited and in some corners discouraged as unsuitable for a young woman.  Most teenage girls in Riyadh are active in sports if they attend an international or other private school in Saudi.  However if a group of Saudi teenage girls are at an estraha or out in the desert there is no reason they could not have their own soccer or volleyball games.

The diplomatic enclave in Riyadh has facilities which offer a variety of enticing and fun classes for female Saudi teenagers such as swimming, dancing and art.  Many expatriate teens attend these activities too.

There are bowling alleys in Riyadh!  One is located and for females only in Al Memlaka ladies mall and the other is at Al Khozama hotel.

As compared to elsewhere in the world at first blush it does seem that activities for teens in Saudi Arabia are more limited.  However, simply by digging a little deeper in the sand more activities will surface.  The best place for a wide variety of activities and to interact with a large group of teens is to be associated with the International School of Riyadh.  Many of the activities are not gender specific or segregated but not all Saudi parents would be in favor of those factors.

Are you a teen in Saudi Arabia?  If so, share your gender and your favorite activities.  What would you like to see as new activities for teens in the Kingdom?


6 Responses

  1. i know some relatives have swimming pools in the homes, or a beach house with pools. that in its self is a great exercise for kids

  2. You’re right Gia. It’s not only a great exercise but there are so many fun games you can play in the pool too such as volleyball or Marco Polo and more!

  3. I used to go horseback riding with my sister and some cousins at the International Horseback Riding Center, but then they segregated it, so I couldn’t be with my trainer or my cousin.
    I also used to go bowling.

    – anoud

  4. It’s sad to hear that some activities were more readily available and then segregated. I will share one of my teen experiences…I think as most young girls I grew up in awe of horses; so much so I would muck the stables at the local riding school just to have that time near the horses! (smile)

  5. I am a saudi teen living in jeddah. Going yo a prestigous international school in jeddah (mixed) and having travelled to many different places around the world, i can safely say: Jeddah is boring. Unless you have friends or relatives to go out with it can be a pain. An excellent choice for teens in jeddah and a very popular hang out area is “in10so” an entertainment place for teens that has everything from indoor and outdoor go karting, archery, mini bar, shooting range, arcade, computer games, Billards, air hockey, climbing, bullet car roller coaster and fun arcade games. This place gets pretty crowded on werkends thpigh 🙂

  6. I am a teen expat in riyadh…..I used to go for swimming at al jawahara compound…..but the environment there was not suitable for a teenage and muslim girl……but now I want a swimming pool (for gils only) also with transportation facility…..I am really fond of swimming… guide me any (if possible cheap) swimming facility…..!

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