Planning a trip to Kuwait City and looking for the best things to do? You have come to the right place! Read our list of the most popular places to visit in Kuwait City to plan your trip now. We have also included a few travel FAQs to answer all your questions about safety, visas, dress code, and more.
Where is Kuwait and Kuwait City?
Kuwait is a Middle Eastern country that is located between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The city also has a long coastline along the Persian Gulf. Geologically, Kuwait is located in the desert and the nomadic way of life can be strongly felt even in modern Kuwait.
Kuwait’s capital is Kuwait City, a global city known for its cultural attractions. The city is strategically located on the Persian Gulf Coast. In the city, you will find skyscrapers, shopping malls, and the presence of all modern hotels along with expensive cars and brand outlets.
While Kuwait has comparatively fewer visitors, you will find many ex-pats living and working here. In fact, around 70% of the entire population are ex-pats.
Is Kuwait safe to visit?
Whenever we talk about the Middle East, the first question on everyone’s minds is whether Kuwait is safe to visit. Many countries currently have terrorism travel advisories for Kuwait. However, Kuwait is safe to visit for most travelers and incidences of terrorism in Kuwait are very few and far in between.
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Demonstrations and protests can occur at times in which case, it would be safer to leave the area. Also, caution is advised when visiting areas near the Iraqi border, but the rest of Kuwait is safer than most Middle Eastern countries. You should also keep the address and phone number of your embassy with you at all times, just in case, it’s needed.
Kuwait culture and tradition
Since the discovery of oil, Kuwait has been on a fast track to development. The progress was thwarted during the Iraqi invasion in the 90s but the country has recovered from it and is currently the 4th richest country in the world per capita income.
While it may be rapidly developing and becoming modern, at its core Kuwait is traditional and conservative. The official religion is Islam and Kuwait follows Sharia law. Visitors are also expected to follow the law of the land and respect local customs.
So what does that mean for you as a visitor? Keep your passport with you at all times and dress conservatively. Wear full-length clothes that cover your body at all times. Women are also expected to always cover their heads, irrespective of where they go. To know about how to dress in Kuwait, read for more information here.
Since it is an Islamic country, alcohol and pork-related products are banned and you should not carry or consume them. Doing so may get you arrested. Also, follow usual safety precautions of not leaving your bags unattended and not traveling alone at night in unknown areas.
Best Places to visit in Kuwait City
One of the reasons Kuwait City is not that popular with visitors is that it doesn’t have that many tourist attractions. However, there are enough things to do in the city for a weekend or so. Also, if you are an ex-pat, here is a guide of what you can do on weekends.
Kuwait City’s Grand Mosque is the 8th largest mosque in the world. Built-in Islamic style of architecture, the mosque has intricate detailing and patterns and is stunning to visit. Visitors can see the mosque via free guided tours only. The tour guides are knowledgeable and friendly. The ornate ceiling in the prayer hall is the highlight of the tour. The tours are conducted at specific times during the week, so make sure that you look them up before visiting.
The Kuwait Towers are an iconic landmark of Kuwait City. The towers are beautiful and striking. Visitors can dine in the restaurant on top of the tower or have coffee in the coffee shop and visit the observation deck to view the city from above. The towers look beautiful at night when they are lit up. Also, the view from the top at night is worth a visit.
The Avenues is an enormous shopping mall in Kuwait City, comparable to the Dubai Mall. The mall has many branded stores and is a shopper’s delight. Here you can find well known American brands like Starbucks, H&M, etc. Along with shopping opportunities, the mall is also famous for its stunning architecture. It also has many dining options including cafes, restaurants, and eateries. It also has a cinema and lots of other entertainment options. The mall is highly popular with ex-pats and a great way to spend a day in the city.
Kuwait City also has many other popular shopping malls besides the Avenues. Some of the most visited ones include 360 Mall, Marina Mall, Souq Sharq, and Alhamra Mall. Marina Mall, in particular, is a good place to eat and have fun by the waterfront and the beach. It is also a good place to watch the sunrise or sunset in Kuwait City. Souq Sharq also has good waterfront views and you can take speedboat rides. The malls are especially good to stay inside and beat the summer heat in Kuwait City.
If you prefer doing your shopping in a place that’s more traditional, then Souk Al-Mubarakiya is for you. A Souq is a traditional market, you will find one in every Middle Eastern country. Here you can mingle with the locals, drink Arabian tea or coffee, and shop for household goods as well as gifts and souvenirs. Some of the popular things to buy in the Souq include spices, traditional attire, jewelry, dates, and other dry fruits. You can also dine on a budget at the local Kuwaiti restaurants. One of the best things to eat in the Souq is a chicken shawarma sandwich. The Souq is at its liveliest on weekends when most people visit.
Al Klout Beach
If you need a break from the many cultural attractions and malls, then head for the popular Al Klout Beach near the Marina Mall. It is serene and tranquil and has pretty views of the Persian Gulf.
Al Shaheed Park
While one of the less popular attractions, the park is a good place to visit if you are looking for a green space to spend the day. This free park has many attractions including the Botanical Gardens, park museums, visitor center, and a lake. You can walk along the park’s trails and enjoy the beautiful landscaping and sculptures. Kids especially love this park as they can play games and run amok.
The Mirror House is definitely one of the hidden gems in Kuwait City. This private art museum is actually the residence of Kuwaiti artist, Khalifa Qattan. His wife, Lidia Qattan has decorated the house with stunning mirror mosaics and gives tours of the house by prior appointment. This is a unique opportunity to interact with the artists themselves and see their creations. You will need advanced reservations to see the museum. Also, kids are not allowed on the tour. To see pictures of Mirror House, click here.
Tareq Rajab Museum of Islamic Arts
If you love looking at Islamic Art, then the Tareq Rajab Museum is worth a visit. The museum collection is quite vast and you can easily spend an hour or two looking at the exhibits. The collection includes textiles, jewelry, weapons, ceramics, musical instruments, and more. A separate collection is devoted to Islamic calligraphy and contains Qurans, inscriptions, and more. The artifacts are divided by their country of origin. You will find artifacts from all over Arabia and Asia. The museum is a private collection and you need to pay the entry fee to see the collection.
Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Center
This is another of Kuwait City’s underrated gems. The Cultural Center has beautiful architecture and facilities and frequently hosts concerts and musical shows. Even if you are not attending an event, the grounds are beautiful to walk. The musical fountain show is especially worth watching. The show is every half an hour and you can see the fountains dance to music and lights. There are also plenty of places to eat nearby and you can easily spend a relaxing hour or two at the center.
If you are visiting Kuwait City with kids, then you need to visit Magic Planet. This theme park has a variety of rides for kids of all ages. It’s located inside the Avenues and best for younger kids.
Another kid-friendly attraction in Kuwait City! The zoo is rather small but clean and fun for the kids. The zoo also has a toy train ride which delights youngsters. You can see animals like zebras, lions, tigers, giraffes, alligators, as well as tropical birds.