Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, had a long history before becoming a part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The museums in Riyadh help visitors understand the rich past of this Arabic city. They take visitors back to the glorious past of Saudi Arabia and Islam. The museums house ancient relics and ruins of the past from the both pre-Islamic and Islamic eras. Further, the museums tell a lot about Riyadh’s transformation over the years.
Top 7 Museums in Riyadh
Museums in Riyadh are a wonderful source to learn about the city’s history, culture, civilization, art, and architecture. Further, tourists visiting with kids can have fun and bond while learning different things about the city. These museums offer a glimpse into the past of the capital city of Saudi Arabia. Therefore, here are some of the best museums in Riyadh:
1. National Museum of Saudi Arabia
The National Museum of Saudi Arabia, is Saudi Arabia’s largest museum offering a plethora of old artifacts. This historical museum in Riyadh has an extensive collection of sculptures, paintings, relics, and other artifacts depicting rich Arabian culture and art. Further, the National Museum building is a marvel of modern architecture. The beautiful gardens filled with varieties of flowers add to the beauty of the place. The museum also has small models of old buildings in ancient cities like Jeddah. This big museum has as many as eight halls namely the origins of life, the pre-Islamic era, the journey of Islam, the life of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), the emergence of the nation of Saudi Arabia, the significance of the holy city of Mecca and Medina and the grandeur of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque.
National Museum of Saudi Arabia’s location: King Saud Rd, Riyadh
National Museum of Saudi Arabia’s timings: Monday to Thursday and on Saturday: 9 am to 7 pm; Friday: 2 pm to 10 pm
Ticket price: SR 10 per adult
2. Al Masmak Palace Museum
The Al Masmak Palace Museum, located in the heart of Riyadh city, is a 150-year-old palace that showcases the heritage of Saudi Arabia. The museum’s exhibition houses weaponry, tools, maps, artifacts, and more. The building is a historical masterpiece that used to function as a military base for a long time in the 1800s. Al Masmak Palace signifies the conquest of Riyadh. There are several documentaries, presentations, and photographs on display in the museum for visitors to explore. Tourists can purchase souvenirs from the famous Souk Al Zal Market located near Al Masmak.
Al Masmak Palace Museum’s location: Al Masmak Palace Museum, Al Thumairi Street
Al Masmak Palace Museum’s timings: 8 am to 9 pm, everyday
Ticket price: Entry is free
3. Royal Saudi Air Force Museum
The Royal Saudi Air Force Museum, also known as the Saqer-Aljazirah Aviation Museum in Riyadh, is one of the most popular museums in Riyadh. It is the best place to revisit the aeronautical history of the country. The Aviation Museum Riyadh displays the power of the Saudi Arabian Air Force department. Visitors can see old airplane models, fighter jet planes, and other aircraft used by the air force. The museum offers a unique exhibition of Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s (the first man from Saudi to go to space) personal items. Special uniforms and weapons used by the air force throughout history are also displayed in the museum.
Royal Saudi Air Force Museum’s location: Eastern Ring Rd, King Abdullah District
Royal Saudi Air Force Museum’s timings: 9 am to 12 pm, 4 pm to 9 pm, everyday
Ticket price: SR 10 for adults and SR 5 for children
4. Historical Diriyah Museum
The Historical Al Diriyah Museum is an open-air museum that also is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ruins of Diriyah have been turned into a beautiful and historical museum in Riyadh. Visitors can walk through the streets of the historic district that was once a seat of administration for the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Through age-old artifacts and tools, people get an insight into the past civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula.
Historical Diriyah Museum’s location: Diriyah Museum, Wadi Hanifah St, Ad Diriyah
Historical Diriyah Museum’s timings: 7 pm to 12 am, every day
5. Currency Museum
One of the most intriguing museums in Riyadh, the Currency Museum or Money Museum has some of the oldest currency and coins of Saudi Arabia. The museum has different sections providing information on the coins from the pre-Islamic and Islamic eras. It is managed by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) and is open for public visits. The exhibits of the Currency Museum have valuable banknotes including the notes and coins that were used by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
Currency Museum’s location: SAMA Head Office, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz Street
Currency Museum’s timings: Monday to Saturday: 8 am to 8 pm; and on Sundays: 8 am to 2 pm
Ticket price: SR 10
6. The Museum of Happiness
The Museum of Happiness, Riyadh, is a modern-age museum displaying unique multi-sensory interactive models and designs. Unlike most other museums in Riyadh, visitors can freely interact with items on display. The museum has different themes throughout its ten rooms. These include a huge teddy bear room, a room dedicated to Studio Ghibli, a room with gumball machines, a room with games, and more. The place helps to relieve the stress and anxieties of life. The restaurant at the museum serves delicacies like ice cream, gumballs, marshmallows, and lemonade. There is a gift shop from where visitors can purchase souvenirs for loved ones.
The Museum of Happiness’s location: Front, Riyadh
The Museum of Happiness’s timings: 4 pm to 12 am, everyday
Ticket price: SR 160 for adults and SR 60 for children below 12 years of age
7. Al-Faisal Museum for Arab-Islamic Art
Image Credits: https://kfcris.com
The Al-Faisal Museum for Arab-Islamic Art exhibits items held and preserved by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS). The art museum in Riyadh is a popular tourist attraction showing the ancient history of Arab-Islamic art and its various influences. It’s exhibitions make visitors think about the past and provide insights into the history of the region. There are displays on Arab-Islamic art, manuscripts, King Faisal memorial collection, coins and currencies, fine arts, and center history.
Al-Faisal Museum for Arab-Islamic Art’s location: Al Faisal Museum, No. 38, Al Olaya, Riyadh
Al-Faisal Museum for Arab-Islamic Art’s timings: 9 am to 9 pm, everyday
Ticket price: Entry is free
Riyadh is the administrative capital of Saudi Arabia and one of country’s commercial hub. The city is also known as the cultural capital of Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has some of the best cultural centers in Saudi Arabia, including the King Abdul Aziz Historical Centre, the National Museum of Saudi Arabia, and other historical sites and exhibitions depicting the history and culture of the country. Tourists can learn more about the Islamic art, culture, and heritage through these historical museums in Riyadh. Further, a visit to these museums widens the perspectives and engages young minds in healthy discussions.
Suggested Read: Al Murabba Palace Museum Riyadh: Ideal For A Day-Visit With Kids
Museums In Riyadh FAQs
Is the Al-Faisal Museum open on Fridays?
No, the Al-Faisal Museum for Arab-Islamic Art is closed on Fridays. The timings from Saturday to Thursday are 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.
Are people allowed to visit the Riyadh Museum Park?
Yes, the National Museum of Saudi Arabia has a public park open to people.
Where is the Diriya Museum located?
The Diriya Museum is located in the At-Turaif district in Riyadh Province.
Which is the best art museum in Riyadh?
Al-Faisal Museum for Arab-Islamic Art is among the top art museums in the city.
Why is Al Masmak Palace Museum popular?
The Al Masmak Palace Museum was once a military base that saw many wars and conflicts. Today it has become a historical site with displays of weaponry, tools, maps, and many more artifacts.