Jackie Northam

The White Foam Cafe in Riyadh is a cheery little place with wooden tables and chairs, and a good reputation for its fair-trade coffees and vegan desserts. It's also well-known for something else.

"This is one of the really famous dating places here. I dated my fiancé a lot here," says a 29-year-old woman enjoying a French-press coffee.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Mobile Market Center is a popular place in Riyadh for anyone who needs computer accessories or help with a cellphone. The two-story mall, next to a busy thoroughfare in the Saudi capital city, has shops selling all kinds of electronics.

It's also where the frustrations and challenges of Saudi Arabia's economic overhaul are being played out.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

On a balmy Thursday evening, dozens of young Saudis stream into the AlComedy Club in the western port city of Jeddah. It's the start of the weekend, and the crowd snacks on popcorn and ice cream before grabbing some of the sagging seats in the theater. Shakira's "Hips Don't Lie" blares from speakers hanging above a tiny stage.

Pages