A guide to Riyadh's new entertainment zone The Groves

The area features restaurants, shops and an ice bar

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Elegant entertainment can be found in one of Riyadh Season's newest attractions.

Back for the second year running, a residential park in Riyadh's plush Diplomatic Quarter, also known locally as Al Safarat, has been transformed into The Groves.

It is a 35,000-square-metre entertainment and retail zone with restaurants, retail shops and a dog nursery.

Running throughout the city-wide festival Riyadh Season, which is reportedly set to be extended until March, The Groves is accessed through an online ticket of 50 Saudi riyals purchased from the Riyadh Season website.

Tickets and, in some cases, ID details will need to be shown to security guards at the main gates of the Diplomatic Quarter prior to arrival.

Here's what you need to know about the site.

1. Dinner and a show

While the cuisine on offer is eclectic, all four prominent restaurants in The Groves feature a dinner and a show.

In Zama Zulu, a South African barbecue menu is paired with regular performances by a traditional dance troupe.

Each customer also gets their own maraca.

Mediterranean-inspired dance shows, including flamenco and tango, are featured in the Zodiac Garden, which specialises in Italian and Japanese dishes.

Those looking for a more regional flair should visit Khawaja Yanni, where the Levantine menu is accompanied by a soundtrack of dynamic performances from soulful oud instrumentals and poetry readings to thumping dabke dance displays.

Italian folk music can be experienced at the main stage of The Groves Pizzeria, which serves up traditional Neapolitan pizza baked in a wood oven.

2. Have a mocktail at an ice bar

If the winter weather is not cool enough for you, check out The Polar Ice Bar.

Fortunately, there is more to it than sub-zero temperatures.

The venue resembles a hip circular club with a DJ performing in the middle, while a bar serves a variety of mocktails, such as the minty Peace Maker, as well as hot chocolate and non-alcoholic mulled wine.

Entry to The Polar Ice Bar is 50 Saudi riyals, excluding the entry fee to Riyadh Season. Each visit is capped off at 30 minutes and overcoats are available if needed.

3. Check out the local fashion scene

A highlight of The Groves is the market.

Linked by a series of footbridges, it is made up of mostly local fashion brands selling everything from traditional fabric and clothing to stylish shirts and caps.

This is also the place to find the latest oud brands and taste a variety of local coffee and tea brews.

4. Have fun with furry friends at the dog park

One of Riyadh's few dog parks is also located in The Grove.

Luca Land, also in Boulevard City, has created an impressive pop-up site featuring a garden of artificial grass and a library of toys. Spot everything from ginger Pomeranians to pugs.

"This idea of a dog park is still growing," says attendant Fahad Mohammed.

"But the reception has been great because people come here to pet a dog for the first time in a safe and comfortable environment. There are also plenty of Saudi dog lovers who just want to come here and play. They do it as a form of relaxation for them."

Entry to Luca Land is 50 Saudi riyals, excluding the Riyadh Season entry fee.

5. Check online for all the details

While initially meant to run until Sunday, The Groves has been extended for an indefinite amount of time with new events announced online, including Thursday night’s screening of the anticipated match between the Lionel Messi-led Paris St Germain versus Al Hilal and Al Nassr featuring Cristiano Ronaldo.

It is recommended to check the Instagram account and official website of Riyadh Season for all details.

The Groves is open at 4pm from Sunday to Thursday and 2.30pm on Friday and Saturday. More information is available on riyadhseason.sa

Updated: January 15, 2023, 7:16 PM
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