After visiting the umpteenth mall and restaurant, head a little further out towards Wadi Namar for a pleasant change. The 2km-long dam is surrounded by green spaces, walkways, rocky hills and an artificial waterfall in the middle. You can ride bikes here, take long walks or simply relax by the lake and feed the ducks. At weekends it's as if the whole of Riyadh descends here to have barbecues and picnics or to just sit with a shisha pipe.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Riyadh attractions

1. Clock Tower

4.53 MILES

This unusual green and white clock tower in the shape of an Egyptian needle sits at the western end of Al Thumairi St in the old Riyadh neighbourhood of…

2. Masmak Fortress

4.62 MILES

Surrounded by sand, this squat fortification was built around 1865 and is like a scene out of the movies: a big fortress representing an empire. It was…

3. Al Thumairi Gate

4.68 MILES

Sitting at the mouth of what was once Riyadh's western fringe in the neighbourhood of Ad Dirah, this reconstructed old city gate, made of mud and wood,…

4. Riyadh Water Tower

5.47 MILES

Until the year 2000, when the Al Faisaliah Tower was built, this was Riyadh's tallest landmark. It remains prominent today, and you can climb to the top…

5. National Museum

5.61 MILES

This state-of-the-art museum is one of the finest in the Middle East. Encased within modernist architecture, its two floors contain eight well-designed…

6. King Abdullah Park

7.47 MILES

One of Riyadh’s cleanest and best maintained parks, here there are several green lawns that you can picnic on, wide pathways for jogging and cycling, a…

7. Riyadh Zoo

8.04 MILES

Accessible only for children and those accompanying them, this is the largest zoo in Saudi Arabia and began life in 1957 as a small-scale menagerie…

8. Globe Experience

8.14 MILES

The Globe Experience is a spectacular viewing platform inside an enormous glass ball that's 24m in diameter, made of 655 glass panels and suspended just…