Riyadh Season 2022 sees an explosion of art, culture and entertainment

RIYADH: The third Riyadh Season, the biggest and most dynamic edition to date, marks a celebration of art and culture in the capital unlike anything the Kingdom has seen before.

According to Turki Al-Sheikh, Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, this year’s Riyadh season includes more than 8,500 activity days and experiences in 15 different zones, each with a special entertainment character.

This includes the largest artificial lake in the world, cable car transport and cloud-embracing lounges, in addition to the international Cirque du Soleil.

It includes, among other things, 252 restaurants and cafes, 240 shops, eight international shows, more than 150 concerts, 108 interactive experiences, seven global exhibitions, two international football matches, 17 Saudi Arabian and Arab plays and WWE events.

It also featured a Riyadh Season Cup that brings together the Paris Saint-Germain team with stars from Al-Hilal and Al-Nasr football clubs.

To top it off, the event features 65 days of fireworks, many Saudi and Arabian plays, concerts, local and international anime, perfume and gaming exhibitions and a host of other events for families, individuals and children.

The zones are Boulevard World, Boulevard Riyadh City, Winter Wonderland, Al-Murabaa, Sky Riyadh, Via Riyadh, Riyadh Zoo, Little Riyadh, The Groves, Imagination Park, Al-Suwaidi Park, Souq Al-Zel, Qariat Zaman, Fan Festival and Riyadh Front.

Winter Wonderland is just one of dozens of activities and experiences across the capital since the Riyadh season kicked off on October 21.

Thousands of people have flocked to Winter Wonderland, an amusement park located in the middle of Riyadh. Now in its third edition, it is one of the most popular attractions.

Winter Wonderland, which originates from London and has traditionally been held in Hyde Park during the winter season from mid-November to mid-January, began in Riyadh in 2019 as part of the first edition of the annual city-wide event.

The Riyadh version features a 37-hectare theme park in the King Abdullah Financial District with over 80 winter-themed rides, five new games and the largest skating park in the Middle East.

Also Read :  Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown will host a tournament for Kanye West's Donda Academy


• Riyadh Season offers a variety of events and experiences in its many zones, including concerts, local and international exhibitions, theater performances, Cirque du Soleil and WWE shows, fireworks displays and football tournaments. There are also restaurants and cafes, lounges and a wide range of interactive activities to suit people of all ages.

• The third Riyadh season includes 15 different entertainment zones and features the largest artificial lake in the world, cable car transportation and sporting events such as the Riyadh Season Cup, which brings together the football team Paris Saint-Germain and stars from Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr clubs.

• The zones are Boulevard World, Boulevard Riyadh City, Winter Wonderland, Al-Murabaa, Sky Riyadh, Via Riyadh, Riyadh Zoo, Little Riyadh, The Groves, Imagination Park, Al-Suwaidi Park, Souq Al-Zel, Qariat Zaman, Fan Festival and Riyadh Front.

“The entertainment industry is one of the tools Saudi Arabia is using to achieve its 2030 goals and objectives,” Ahmed Al-Refaie, Winter Wonderland project manager, told Arab News.

“We developed Winter Wonderland this year by dividing it into five different zones, targeting children and families, and have increased our capacity through an expanded floor plan that has helped us accommodate up to 25,000 visitors a day.”

Al-Refaie said this year’s event featured 35 food and beverage outlets and 20 retail stores. In addition, Winter Wonderland, like other events in the Riyadh season, not only provides entertainment to thousands of citizens and expatriates, but also creates jobs for young Saudis, Al-Refaie said.

“We have more than 3,400 employees working this year on the event,” he told Arab News. “We have many more international visitors this year also because of more events in Saudi Arabia and also the World Cup.”

Another highlight of the season is Boulevard World, which boasts a trip around the world without ever leaving Saudi Arabia.

Also Read :  'I’m topping myself up every week to make sure I can give you everything'

The zone, which opened in Hittin on November 21, offers experiences from nine different countries – France, China, Mexico, America, India, Morocco, Spain, Italy and Greece.

There’s also Boulevard Pier, which overlooks a massive artificial lake and rides including the Sky Loop, Star Flyer and Jumpoline.

For those who love games, there is a life-size version of monopoly and the largest anime attraction in the world called Anime Town, which looks like a colorful Japanese city complete with streets and areas named Animeverse Street, Tokyo Real Nakamise, Neo Scramble Crossing and Matsuri Garden.

There is also a hot air balloon experience for those who want to take their fun and games above ground.

Since Saudi Arabia reopened cinemas in 2018, a wealth of entertainment options, films and cinematic experiences have swept the nation.

Dubbed the Middle East’s fastest growing cinema chain, VOX Cinema, operating under Majid Al-Futtaim, participated in the Riyadh Season through a sponsorship deal with Mrsool Park, which hosts a wide range of sports and entertainment events.

“We provide the Platinum and Sports Lounges with our core F&B catering service, providing guests with an elevated culinary experience,” Mohamed Al-Hashemi, head of KSA’s Majid Al-Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment, Cinemas and Lifestyle, told Arab News.

VOX Cinemas, he said, is also running a cash-back campaign in partnership with STC Pay in the Riyadh Boulevard Zone so that its patrons can enjoy better value for their favorite entertainment experiences.

“Entertainment is fast becoming a key pillar of the Kingdom’s economy and Majid Al-Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment and Cinemas remains committed to investing in Saudi Arabia’s prosperous future,” Al-Hashemi added. “We are proud to be involved with Riyadh Seasons, given our shared commitment to developing a thriving entertainment sector.”

Al-Hashemi said the progressive opening of the entertainment sector is one of several forces driving social and economic change in Saudi Arabia. “It has also laid the foundation for long-term growth and fostered an ambitious pipeline of leisure and entertainment attractions.”

Also Read :  Dan + Shay Celebrate 10 Years Together with Nostalgic Post

“While the entertainment market is relatively new in Saudi Arabia, it is rapidly evolving into a global leisure and entertainment powerhouse and is poised for unprecedented expansion,” he added.

The growth can be seen through VOX Cinemas’ expansion in the Kingdom over the past five years, which Al-Hashemi said “presents a huge opportunity” for the company.

According to Comscore, the media measurement and analysis company, Saudi Arabia is on track to become a billion dollar entertainment market by the end of the decade.

VOX Cinemas has built a strong infrastructure integrated with leisure and entertainment across the Kingdom with a total of 154 screens in 15 cinemas spread over six cities. It was also the first exhibitor to introduce multiplexes in all six cities.

“After establishing a presence in Riyadh and Jeddah, we intensified our efforts to improve access to entertainment in smaller cities and brought the magic of cinema to Hail, Tabuk and Jubail for the first time,” said Al-Hashemi.

In 2023, VOX Cinemas will expand its footprint in the Kingdom with three new openings in Riyadh and Jeddah. Like the Vision 2030 goals for entertainment and employment, VOX Cinemas is also expanding into offerings with a specific focus on creating jobs for young Saudis.

In September, it opened Dreamscape Virtual Reality in Riyadh with a range of new experiences – some of which even let participants become their own heroes.

“With half of Saudi Arabia’s population under 30, there is a large and growing appetite for entertainment in Saudi Arabia,” explained Al-Hashemi.

As the ongoing celebration of entertainment continues in the Kingdom’s capital, with countless activities designed to activate the imagination and create joy, what most will agree defined this year’s Riyadh season, apart from its size and dynamic offerings, is its ability to offer something for everyone — Saudi and international visitors.

Al-Hashemi said: “What makes the event so special is that it has something for everyone.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button