Welcome to Dammam, Saudi Arabia!
Dammam is the third-largest city in Saudi Arabia, and although not as frequented by travelers as Riyadh or Jeddah, it has a burgeoning tourist industry. Dammam is a city that toes the line between old traditions and new and modern aesthetics. Driving into the city you’ll see vast desert expanses and camel herders, right before you see giant malls and glass-covered skyscrapers.
As a worldwide local, Dammam is a place that’s ready to be discovered and has everything a traveler would love from bustling markets to beautiful outdoor spaces and tasty local delicacies.
Worldwide Local Tip: Similar to much of Saudi Arabia, the city center can get very hot. If you’re visiting from somewhere where the temperatures rarely go above 90 degrees, get ready to sweat a lot in the Dammam weather. Wear light appropriate clothes and make sure to apply sunscreen liberally.
Start with Some Shopping
After you land at Dammam Airport, you’ll be ready to hit the town, and likely do some shopping. As with other cities in the middle eastern world, the local souq is where you’ll find plenty of interesting goodies to buy, browse through, and possibly pick up a cool local souvenir. There are a lot of modern malls and markets in major Saudi cities, but the souq is the place where you can haggle and find that certain something. The Dammam Souq is located near the waterfront, and aside from being the place to go shopping in a traditional setting, it is also just a good place to spend an afternoon and do a little people watching, as the locals go about their day.
Worldwide Local Tip: Dammam has a substantial Filipino community and as such, they have their own market as well. For a little taste of southeast Asia in Dammam, head to the Filipino market and indulge in some very affordable and delicious food.
Don’t Miss the Dammam Waterfront
Saudi Arabia is hot, so to relieve some of that heat, spend some time by the waterfront. The Al Khobar Corniche is a modern place for a worldwide local to hang out among the locals to get a glimpse into the everyday life of people going about their business. The area is always bustling with families, joggers, cyclists, and cafes. Go from cafe to cafe, enjoying the scenery of the Gulf with cool breezes of the water on a hot day.
Worldwide Local Tip: In Dammam, time seems to creep by if you stay out in the extreme heat. If you’re simply looking to escape the outdoors for a bit and want to hang out somewhere air-conditioned, Ithra is the ultimate cultural hotspot, in Dammam. The building has an odd space-shaped exterior, but inside you’ll discover a library, museums, a cinema, and art galleries.
Eat Like a Local in Dammam
If there’s one thing in Dammam that’s really taking off, it’s the food scene. Believe it or not, Dammam has a wide variety of food options including local delicacies and international favorites. Parkers is a new and cool, open-air, restaurant, that’s very trendy with young Saudis, serving up innovating comfort food dishes - think more East London than Saudi Arabia. There’s also Damascus Garden Pastries, which is said to be the best bakery in Dammam, serving amazing pide.
Worldwide Local Tip: For a very unique dining experience, check out Al-Karia Ash Sha’abia. The restaurant serves very traditional Saudi cuisine and is part of restaurants and museums. Learn about the people of Dammam and Saudi Arabia while trying the food of its people.
Have an Incredible Time in Dammam, Saudi Arabia!
Dammam is coming up as a young, vibrant, and cool place in Saudi Arabia, while still maintaining its sense of tradition and culture. It’s a place where a worldwide local can experience the modern sensibilities while appreciating the old traditions that make it unique.