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The Ultimate Guide to Al Balad’s Buildings, Restaurants, Souqs, and More

On February 8-9, Vogue Arabia will take over the neighborhood of Al Balad with Hai Vogue, its first large-scale event in Saudi Arabia — and it’s open to the public! As we gear up for the big festival, which brings together fashion, music, culture, food and celebrities, we take you through the many attractions to visit and things to do in Al Balad, from souqs to museums. Read on to discover our guide to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and find out everything about Hai Vogue — from how to get tickets, to the line-up of musical performances coming your way — here.

al balad

Bait Nassif. Photo: Welcome Saudi


Al Balad is dotted with several significant historic houses. Bait Nassif is one of them and stands as a prominent example of historic architecture in the district. A traditional coral house that encapsulates the city’s cultural identity, Bait Nassif is named after the Nassif family who once owned the home before it was undertaken by the Saudi government and converted to a museum. Some of its distinctive elements include ornate wooden screens, intricately carved doors, and balconies with geometric patterns. Another important building in Al Balad is Bait Dalal, which is known for its stunning facade adorned with geometric patterns and distinctive wooden detailing. Bait Matbouli, another prominent house, showcases the city’s architectural heritage with its intricately carved wooden screens and traditional Arabian design, while Bait Amoudi stands out for its well-preserved structure, featuring detailed wooden balconies and windows. Additionally, Bait Sharbatly, Bait Gazzaz, and Bait Sakakini are some of the other gems to visit in Al Balad.


Al Balad also offers a variety of dining experiences. Located near Nassif House and Al-Shafei Mosque, Al Saidi Bakery is beloved for its delectable baked goods such as rusks or shaborah. Besides traditional Saudi cuisine, there’s also a thriving Levantine food scene in Al Balad, with Hummas Al Jalal serving up the mouthwatering appetizer with a side of eggplant slices or falafels in the oldest area of the district. Other must-visit spots include Naji AlHarbi, Al Maqliah Al Baladi, Baisa Al Ras Al Mandi, and Koshary Abu Tarek.


Al Balad is home to many historic mosques that contribute to the neighborhood’s cultural and religious heritage. One prominent mosque is Masjid Al Shafi Mosque, which is known as the city’s oldest mosque. More than 1,400 years old, its structure remains well maintained to this day as it was rebuilt around 400 years ago, and then renovated in 2009. Al-Mashhad Mosque and Al-Ghamama Mosque are two other places of worship that stand as a testament to Jeddah’s Islamic heritage.


Al Balad offers a unique shopping experience with a variety of fashion stores, blending traditional and modern styles. Souq Al Alawi, for example, is a bustling marketplace where you can explore traditional clothing, accessories, and fabrics. Souq Al Zal, Souq Al-Badu, are Souq Al-Sagha, are famous for their vibrant atmosphere and diverse range of goods, including traditional Saudi attire, jewelry and accessories, and intricate craftsmanship of the region.


Al Balad is also characterized by its diverse neighborhoods, each with its unique charm and history. Some neighborhoods, such as Al-Mazloum, showcase well-preserved coral houses and traditional markets, while Al-Batarji and Al-Sham districts are known for their historic mosques and vibrant street life. Al Baghdadiyah and Al-Magloua are additional neighborhoods within Al Balad that contribute to the area’s rich tapestry. Al Baghdadiyah is notable for its historic buildings and lively souks, while Al-Magloua features traditional houses adorned with distinctive architectural details.

Vogue Arabia is taking over Jeddah’s Al Balad for a one-of-a-kind block party at the UNESCO World Heritage Site. On February 8 and 9, 2024, join us at Hai Vogue, where we will turn the spotlight on Saudi’s spirited youth and creative community, framed by the unique architecture and spirit of this historical neighborhood.

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